Monday, October 10, 2011

But I thought, the Left was supposed to want to save us, protect us from the Right, who were busy usurping our rights and violating our liberties and taking away our freedoms.

Calif. Governor Veto Allows Warrantless Cellphone Searches

By David Kravets
October 10, 2011

California Gov. Jerry Brown is vetoing legislation requiring police to obtain a court warrant to search the mobile phones of suspects at the time of any arrest.

The Sunday veto means that when police arrest anybody in the Golden State, they may search that person’s mobile phone — which in the digital age likely means the contents of persons’ e-mail, call records, text messages, photos, banking activity, cloud-storage services, and even where the phone has traveled.

Police across the country are given wide latitude to search persons incident to an arrest based on the premise of officer safety. Now the nation’s states are beginning to grapple with the warrantless searches of mobile phones done at the time of an arrest.

Brown’s veto message abdicated responsibility for protecting the rights of Californians and ignored calls from civil liberties groups and this publication to sign the bill — saying only that the issue is too complicated for him to make a decision about. He cites a recent California Supreme Court decision upholding the warrantless searches of people incident to an arrest. In his brief message, he also doesn’t say whether it’s a good idea or not.

Instead, he says the state Supreme Court’s decision is good enough, a decision the U.S. Supreme Court let stand last week.

“The courts are better suited to resolve the complex and case-specific issues relating to constitutional search-and-seizure protections,” the governor wrote.

Because of that January ruling from the state’s high court, the California Legislature passed legislation to undo it — meaning Brown is taking the side of the Supreme Court’s seven justices instead of the state Legislature. The Assembly approved the bill 70-0 and the state Senate, 32-4.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), was flummoxed by Brown’s action. “It was a curious veto message suggesting that the courts could resolve this more effectively than the state Legislature,” he said in a telephone interview.

Under California statehouse rules, neither Leno nor any other lawmaker may introduce the legislation for at least a year.

Orin Kerr, one of the nation’s leading Fourth Amendment experts, said Brown should have backed the state’s Legislature. “I think Governor Brown has it exactly backwards. It is very difficult for courts to decide Fourth Amendment cases involving developing technologies like cellphones,” he said.

In 2007, there were 332,000 felony arrests in California alone — a third of which did not result in conviction.

Brown’s veto also shores up support with police unions and the Peace Officers Research Association of California, a police union that opposed the legislation and recently donated $38,900 to Brown’s campaign coffers. “Restricting the authority of a peace officer to search an arrestee unduly restricts their ability to apply the law, fight crime, discover evidence valuable to an investigation and protect the citizens of California,” the association said in a message.

That support would be key if Brown decides to seek a second term.

In the last year alone, at least seven police unions donated more than $12,900 each to Brown. Those unions, including the California Association of Highway Patrolmen and the Sacramento County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, had given Brown more than $160,000 in combined contributions.

the left

California: Laws to Make you Safer

California bans use of tanning beds by minors

Sun, Oct 9 2011

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Minors in the state of California will no longer be allowed to use tanning beds after Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill on Sunday prohibiting anyone under the age of 18 from using ultraviolet tanning devices.

California is the first state in the nation to ban minors from using tanning beds, legislators said.

Previously, California had banned minors under the age of 14 from using tanning beds, but allowed those between 14 and 18 years of age to use tanning beds with parental consent.

The bill was part of a cluster of legislation signed on Sunday designed to "improve the health and well-being of Calfornians," according to a statement from the Governor's office.

"I praise Gov. Brown for his courage in taking this much-needed step to protect some of California's most vulnerable residents -- our kids -- from what the 'House of Medicine' has conclusively shown is lethally dangerous: ultraviolet-emitting radiation from tanning beds," the bill's sponsor, state Senator Ted Lieu, said in a statement.

"If everyone knew the true dangers of tanning beds, they'd be shocked. Skin cancer is a rising epidemic and the leading cause of cancer death for women between 25 and 29."

The law will go into effect on January 1, 2012, according to Lieu's office.

dipshits on parade

California Laws: Monnbeam away

Consider this new law, signed by Moonbeam, with the next post - also a new law signed by Moonbeam.

New law lets 12-year-olds consent to preventive care for STDs

October 9, 2011
1:26 pm

California Gov. Jerry Brown stepped into the middle of a debate over parental rights Sunday by signing legislation giving children 12 or older the power to consent to medical care involving the prevention of sexually transmitted disease.

Asssemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) sponsored AB 499 with the aim of providing young people with timely preventative treatment, including the human papillomavirus [HPV] vaccine that proponents say can reduce the risk of certain cancers, precancerous cervical cell changes and genital warts.

The measure was backed by groups including the California STD Controllers Assn., the Health Officers Assn. of California, ACT for Women and Girls and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The bill was opposed by the California Catholic Conference, which opposed previous measures that allow minors to consent to certain treatments without the involvement of parents.

That group wrote to legislators that "this bill is dangerous because it expands a faulty law which assumes that children know better than their parents and because it will allow minors access to HPV vaccines which may cause them permanent harm."

liberal crap

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Men: 20 Years of Progress Undone (How many must die)

About a year ago, a panel of 'experts' determined it was un necessary for women to get pap smears done regularly.  The reason - unnecessary costs and since the cancer caused by unchecked and untested women is as low as it csan get, the panel found it a wasteful process.

Now, a panel has determined that men should not get a simple test for prostate cancer.

20 years of progress would be undone for men and women and that low cancer rate noted for women, will rise dramatically (the same for me) and we will die off. 

How coincidental to Obama's health and death plan - the funding is not available for EVERYONE to be checked and tested, so ... cut out those areas deemed unnecessary!

Death panels indeed.

Healthy men don’t need PSA testing for prostate cancer, panel says

By Rob Stein, Published: October 6
Washington Post

Most men should not routinely get a widely used blood test to check for prostate cancer because the exam does not save lives and leads to too much unnecessary anxiety, surgery and complications, a federal task force has concluded.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which triggered a firestorm of controversy in 2009 when it raised questions about routine mammography for breast cancer, will propose downgrading its recommendations for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) for prostate cancer on Tuesday, wading into what is perhaps the most contentious and important issue in men’s health.

Task force chairwoman Virginia Moyer said the group based its draft recommendations on an exhaustive review of the latest scientific evidence, which concluded that even for younger men, the risks appeared to outweigh the benefits for those who are showing no signs of the disease.

“The harms studies showed that significant numbers of men — on the order of 20 to 30 percent — have very significant harms,” Moyer, a professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, said in a telephone interview Thursday.

The 16-member independent panel is organized by the Department of Health and Human Services to regularly assess preventive medical care. Its recommendations have a widespread impact, especially on what services Medicare and private insurers pay for. The group’s influence was enhanced by the new federal health-care law, which will base some of its requirements for coverage on the group’s ratings.

The proposed recommendations come as doctors, researchers and policymakers are increasingly questioning whether many tests, drugs and procedures are being overused, unnecessarily driving up health-care costs and exposing patients to the risks of unneeded treatment.

Prostate cancer strikes more than 218,000 U.S. men each year. About 28,000 die of it, making it the most common cancer and second-leading cancer killer among men.

Although prostate cancer can be detected with a physical examination of the prostate, PSA testing has become the most common way that a diagnosis is made. The test measures a protein in the blood produced by prostate tissue and has significantly increased the number of prostate cancer cases being diagnosed at very early stages. But it has been a matter of intense debate whether that translates into a reduction in the death rate from the disease. Prostate cancer often grows so slowly that many men die from something else without knowing they had it.

Because it is not clear precisely what PSA level signals the presence of cancer, many men experience stressful false alarms that lead to unnecessary surgical biopsies to make a definitive diagnosis, which can be painful and in rare cases can cause serious complications.

Even when the test picks up a real cancer, doctors are uncertain what, if anything, men should do about it. Many men are simply monitored closely to see whether the tumor shows signs of growing or spreading. Others undergo surgery, radiation and hormone treatments, which often leave them incontinent, impotent and experiencing other complications.

In its last report, in 2008, the task force began to back away from PSA testing, saying that the potential harms clearly outweighed the benefits for men older than 75 and that there was insufficient evidence to recommend for or against the testing for younger men. Other groups have also increasingly been questioning the value of PSA testing.

The proposed recommendations were reported Thursday by CNN, the New York Times and the Cancer Letter, a Washington newsletter that tracks federal developments related to cancer.

As part of the task force evaluation, a team of researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University conducted an exhaustive review of the scientific literature about PSA testing, including five studies of screening and 26 studies of treatment.

“After about 10 years, PSA-based screening results in small or no reduction in prostate cancer-specific mortality and is associated with harms related to subsequent evaluation and treatments, some of which may be unnecessary,” the 116-page review concluded.

The task force plans to recommend downgrading of PSA testing to a “D” rating. The D rating means that “there is moderate or high certainty that the service has no net benefit or that the harms outweigh the benefits,” according to the task force Web site.

The task force’s new proposed recommendations drew immediate criticism from those convinced that routine screening is necessary.

The “decision of no confidence on the PSA test by the U.S. Government condemns tens of thousands of men to die this year and every year going forward if families are to believe the out-of-date evidence presented by the USPSTF,” said Skip Lockwood, chief executive of Zero, a patient-advocacy group. “A decision on how best to test and treat for prostate cancer must be made between a man and his doctor. This decision is coming from a panel that doesn’t even include a urologist or medical oncologist.”

Several other experts agreed.

“The bottom line is that we should encourage screening because it will give men the full range of options to avoid death from prostate cancer,” said William J. Catalona of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

J. Brantley Thrasher of the University of Kansas Medical Center said, “It appears to me that screening is accomplishing just what we would like to see: diagnose and treat the disease while it is still confined to the prostate and, as such, still curable.”

But others praised the new report, saying it would save many men from unnecessary suffering.

“Unfortunately, the best evidence is that while some men might be helped by screening, others would be harmed, and on balance the test is not useful overall,” said Howard Brody of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, would not comment on the task force’s recommendations but said: “I have long been concerned, and it has been very apparent for some years, that some supporters of prostate cancer screening have overstated, exaggerated and, in some cases, misled men about the evidence supporting its effectiveness. We need balanced, truthful information to be made widely available to physicians and patients when making important health decisions. Sadly, that has not happened with this disease.”

Staff writer Brian Vastag contributed to this report.

OH Wait ... Obama was going to end the Bush era intrusion into your civil liberties, was going to end all the violations of your privacy ... was going to restore confidence ........

... where is all that hope now?  Change?

FBI to launch nationwide facial recognition service


The FBI by mid-January will activate a nationwide facial recognition service in select states that will allow local police to identify unknown subjects in photos, bureau officials told Nextgov.

The federal government is embarking on a multiyear, $1 billion dollar overhaul of the FBI's existing fingerprint database to more quickly and accurately identify suspects, partly through applying other biometric markers, such as iris scans and voice recordings.

Often law enforcement authorities will "have a photo of a person and for whatever reason they just don't know who it is [but they know] this is clearly the missing link to our case," said Nick Megna, a unit chief at the FBI's criminal justice information services division. The new facial recognition service can help provide that missing link by retrieving a list of mug shots ranked in order of similarity to the features of the subject in the photo.

Today, an agent would have to already know the name of an individual to pull up the suspect's mug shot from among the 10 million shots stored in the bureau's existing Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System. Using the new Next-Generation Identification system that is under development, law enforcement analysts will be able to upload a photo of an unknown person; choose a desired number of results from two to 50 mug shots; and, within 15 minutes, receive identified mugs to inspect for potential matches. Users typically will request 20 candidates, Megna said. The service does not provide a direct match.

Michigan, Washington, Florida and North Carolina will participate in a test of the new search tool this winter before it is offered to criminal justice professionals across the country in 2014 as part of NGI. The project, which was awarded to Lockheed Martin Corp. in 2008, already has upgraded the FBI's fingerprint matching service.

Local authorities have the choice to file mug shots with the FBI as part of the booking process. The bureau expects its collection of shots to rival its repository of 70 million fingerprints once more officers are aware of the facial search's capabilities.

Thomas E. Bush III, who helped develop NGI's system requirements when he served as assistant director of the CJIS division between 2005 and 2009, said, "The idea was to be able to plug and play with these identifiers and biometrics." Law enforcement personnel saw value in facial recognition and the technology was maturing, said the 33-year FBI veteran who now serves as a private consultant.

NGI's incremental construction seems to align with the White House's push to deploy new information technology in phases so features can be scrapped if they don't meet expectations or run over budget.

But immigrant rights groups have raised concerns that the Homeland Security Department, which exchanges digital prints with the FBI, will abuse the new facial recognition component. Currently, a controversial DHS immigrant fingerprinting program called Secure Communities runs FBI prints from booked offenders against the department's IDENT biometric database to check whether they are in the country illegally. Homeland Security officials say they extradite only the most dangerous aliens, including convicted murderers and rapists. But critics say the FBI-DHS print swapping ensnares as many foreigners as possible, including those whose charges are minor or are ultimately dismissed.

Megna said Homeland Security is not part of the facial recognition pilot. But, Bush said in the future NGI's data, including the photos, will be accessible by Homeland Security's IDENT.

The planned addition of facial searches worries Sunita Patel, a staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, who said, "Any database of personal identity information is bound to have mistakes. And with the most personal immutable traits like our facial features and fingerprints, the public can't afford a mistake."

In addition, Patel said she is concerned about the involvement of local police in information sharing for federal immigration enforcement purposes. "The federal government is using local cops to create a massive surveillance system," she said.

Bush said, "We do have the capability to search against each other's systems," but added, "if you don't come to the attention of law enforcement you don't have anything to fear from these systems."

Other civil liberties advocates questioned whether the facial recognition application would retrieve mug shots of those who have simply been arrested. "It might be appropriate to have nonconvicted people out of that system," said Jim Harper, director of information policy at the libertarian Cato Institute. FBI officials declined to comment on the recommendation.

Harper also noted large-scale searches may generate a lot of false positives, or incorrect matches. Facial recognition "is more accurate with a Google or a Facebook, because they will have anywhere from a half-dozen to a dozen pictures of an individual, whereas I imagine the FBI has one or two mug shots," he said.

FBI officials would not disclose the name of the search product or the vendor, but said they gained insights on the technique's accuracy by studying research from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

In responding to concerns about the creation of a Big Brother database for tracking innocent Americans, Megna said the system will not alter the FBI's authorities or the way it conducts business. "This doesn't change or create any new exchanges of data," he said. "It only provides [law enforcement] with a new service to determine what photos are of interest to them."

In 2008, the FBI released a privacy impact assessment summarizing its appraisal of controls in place to ensure compliance with federal privacy regulations. Megna said that, during meetings with the CJIS Advisory Policy Board and the National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact Council, "we haven't gotten a whole lot of pushback on the photo capability."

The FBI has an elaborate system of checks and balances to guard fingerprints, palm prints, mug shots and all manner of criminal history data, he said.

"This is not something where we want to collect a bunch of surveillance film" and enter it in the system, Megna said. "That would be useless to us. It would be useless to our users."

1/2 a billion dollar loan to a company that touted by Obama as examplary, the future in energy production

The lights seem to have gone out for the company touted by Obama as the future, and their management stafff are being investigated by the law enforcement arm of the government for possible illegal activity in the dark while the lights are off.  Either way, Obama looks like he kissed a frog with the lights off - not only a foolish source to invest in, but ... now it appears warnings were given and the White House ignored those warnings.

Solyndra loan deal: Warnings about legality came from within Obama administration

By Joe Stephens and Carol D. Leonnig
October 7, 2011

Energy Department officials were warned that their plan to help a failing solar company by restructuring its $535 million federal loan could violate the law and should be cleared with the Justice Department, according to newly obtained e-mails from within the Obama administration.

The e-mails show that Energy Department officials moved ahead anyway with a new deal that would repay company investors before taxpayers if the company defaulted. The e-mails, which were reviewed by The Washington Post, show for the first time concerns within the administration about the legality of the Energy Department’s extraordinary efforts to help Solyndra, the California solar company that went bankrupt Aug. 31.

The FBI raided Solyndra last month, shortly after it closed its doors.

The records provided Friday by a government source also show that an Energy Department stimulus adviser, Steve Spinner, pushed for Solyndra’s loan despite having recused himself because his wife’s law firm did work for the company. Spinner, who left the agency in September 2010, did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

The documents offer new evidence of wide disagreement between officials at the Energy Department and officials at the Treasury Department and Office of Management and Budget, where questions were raised about the carefulness of the loan vetting process used to select Solyndra and the special help it was given as its finances deteriorated. Energy Department officials continued to make loan payments to the company even after it had defaulted on the terms of its loan.

The Solyndra controversy has escalated with each new release of documents to a Republican-led House energy subcommittee investigating the matter. President Obama defended the Energy Department in a news conference Thursday, saying its decisions were made by career professionals. Also Thursday, the head of the embattled loan program announced that he would step down, although Energy Department officials said he was not doing so because of the Solyndra matter.

As Republican committee leaders moved to get more information about warnings from Treasury and the OMB, an Energy spokesman, Damien LaVera, said agency officials had listened to Treasury’s advice to consult the Justice Department on the loan restructuring but felt it was appropriate to move forward.

“Ultimately, DOE’s determination that the restructuring was legal was made by career lawyers in the loan program based on a careful analysis of the statute,” he said.

The e-mails show that Mary Miller, an assistant Treasury secretary, wrote to Jeffrey D. Zients, deputy OMB director, expressing concern. She said that the deal could violate federal law because it put investors’ interests ahead of taxpayers’ and that she had advised that it should be reviewed by the Justice Department.

“To our knowledge that never happened,” Miller wrote in a Aug. 17, 2011, memo to the OMB.

In February, the restructuring was approved by Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Company executives said they needed a quick cash infusion to save the company, and private investors agreed to contribute $75 million if loan repayment terms were modified.

Solyndra ran out of money anyway and sought bankruptcy court protection, leaving 1,100 employees out of work. The loan refinancing now makes it likely that taxpayers will have to make up most of the loss, the e-mails show. The Treasury Department’s general counsel had concluded that the renegotiated loan violated the law because it allowed private investors to be first in line for repayment in case of a default.

Those private investors include investment funds linked to George Kaiser, a Tulsa billionaire and Obama fundraiser. Kaiser has said he had no involvement in the loan.

The correspondence also suggests that, at the most senior levels at the White House and down through its ranks, the Obama administration wanted to use the Solyndra loan to highlight progress under the stimulus act.

Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has been investigating the loan, issued a statement Friday saying the correspondence showed a “disturbingly close relationship between President Obama’s West Wing inner circle, campaign donors, and wealthy investors.”

“After 8 months of stonewalling by this Administration, today we finally learn one of the reasons why they fought our investigation every step of the way,” the statement said.

One participant in the Solyndra effort, according to the e-mails, was Spinner. He pressed for OMB officials to speed up review of the Solyndra loan, writing at one point: “Any word from OMB? I have the OVP [Office of the Vice President] and WH [White House] breathing down my neck on this.”

Spinner came from Silicon Valley to serve as a senior adviser on the loan program, and his wife was a lawyer with Wilson Sonsini, the law firm representing Solyndra in its application. Despite an ethics agreement under which he said he would recuse himself from Solyndra’s loan application, correspondence shows that Spinner defended the company, worked to get the president or vice president to visit its factory, and pushed for a final decision on approving the company’s loan.

“How [expletive] hard is this?” Spinner wrote to a career staffer on Aug. 28, 2009, asking for answers about final approval from an OMB official. “What is he waiting for? Will we have it by the end of the day?”

In an Aug. 19, 2009, e-mail, an aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel asked Spinner if he could discuss any concerns among the investment community about Solyndra.

Spinner dismissed the idea that Solyndra had financial problems.

“I haven’t heard anything negative on my side,” he said.

A day after a discussion about possible problems at Solyndra, Spinner forwarded to the chief of staff’s aide a list of Solyndra’s main investors and attached a published profile of Kaiser.

Spinner is now a fellow at the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank.

A senior administration official declined to comment Friday when asked if Spinner violated his recusal agreement.

LaVera, the Energy Department spokesman, said Spinner “was authorized to oversee and monitor the progress of applications, ensure that the program met its deadlines and milestones, and coordinate possible public announcements,” because his wife gave up payments related to loan project clients. “He was not allowed to make decisions on the terms or conditions of any particular loan guarantee or decide whether or not a particular transaction was approved,” LaVera said. “This arrangement was reviewed and approved by the department’s career ethics officer.”

The e-mails also added more evidence that venture capitalists had access to senior White House decision makers.

David Prend, whose firm Rockport Capital was also a Solyndra investor, wrote a March 2009 e-mail to the White House two weeks before Solyndra won conditional commitment on its loan. Prend thanked Greg Nelson, a White House clean-technology aide, for meeting with him.

“It was great to meet you with [then-White House climate czar] Carol Browner last week,” he wrote. “I look forward to working with you to get the message out and to effect real change in the Energy Industry. I will follow up shortly on 2 of the companies we discussed,” mentioning Solyndra as one.


The Global Market: On the Precipice

Who said a collapse of the global trade market would be a bad thing.  We would be back to where we were in 1980 or 1984 - trading in separate markets.  Sovereign states trading with sovereign states and making deals individually.

An entire system of global trade is at risk

Next month’s G20 summit must go beyond the usual rhetoric. Confidence in the eurozone’s banking system has to be restored through recapitalisation of its banks.

By Telegraph View
8:04PM BST 07 Oct 2011

Sir Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, this week called the current financial crisis “the most serious… since the 1930s, if ever”, in justification for a further £75 billion of “quantitative easing”. Since Sir Mervyn cited the chaos of the inter-war years, it seems appropriate to quote Winston Churchill: “Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusions of counsel, until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong – these are the features that constitute the endless repetition of history.”

We are at just such a moment again. Little more than two years ago, global leaders were happily congratulating themselves on having avoided the mistakes of the 1930s, thereby averting a depression. But now it appears that the difficulties of 2008 were but a foretaste of what was to come. With the European banking system again on the verge of collapse, there is a sense that politicians and economists are out of options, that governments and central banks are powerless before events. The best of the cavalry has been sent into battle, and it has come back in tatters. The fiscal armoury has been exhausted, the support offered by the boom in emerging markets such as China and India over the past two years seems to be on its last legs, and there is but the small rifle fire of the central bank printing presses left to defend us.

If it has been obvious for some time that we are caught up in an extreme financial crisis, the extent of its severity has acquired greater clarity in being described by the Governor of the Bank of England. Never before has the global financial system been so interlinked and integrated, which means that problems in one part of the world are capable of causing severe stress almost everywhere else. We once more face a perfect storm of cascading default, contracting credit and collapsing economic activity.

Yet, despite the parallels, the current situation need not end in the same catastrophe of economic, political and social meltdown as occurred in the 1930s. For most advanced economies, these outcomes are still avoidable. But escaping them is going to require leadership, nerve and collective resolve – things that have so far been in short supply.

The problem is not in Britain – which, despite the appalling legacy of debt left by the last government, is doing most of the right things – but in mainland Europe, where lack of foresight, unwillingness to act, confusion of counsel and lack of clear thinking are indeed everywhere to behold. We can but hope that self-preservation will eventually force governments into corrective action, but they are leaving it perilously late.

It is, first, essential that confidence in the eurozone’s banking system be restored through recapitalisation of its banks, where necessary with public money. This would help bring a halt to the destructive downward cycle in credit.

Politically unpalatable though it would be, Britain may have to stand ready to participate in the process by similarly supporting its own banks. To once more dip into our pockets to bail out the bankers, at a time of deep public spending cuts and swingeing tax increases, will to most people be anathema. And for UK banks, it may not be strictly necessary – the Chancellor, George Osborne, insisted yesterday that they were well capitalised and liquid.

Yet, like it or not, we remain joined at the hip to Europe. This is especially the case through the banking system, which is highly exposed to the eurozone’s inner tortures. If a plan of mass recapitalisation is to work, it has to include everyone, good as well as bad. For countries and bankers to start squabbling among themselves about who needs to be bailed out and who doesn’t merely risks accentuating the paralysis.

There are, in any case, ways of sugaring the pill. A precedent already exists with the Royal Bank of Scotland, which pays £320 million a year for a promise by the Government that it will provide £8 billion of new capital if it is ever needed. This is a kind of insurance policy which could be used as a model for a wider recapitalisation of European banks – a way of underpinning confidence in the system without actually having to put up the money to do so.

But in the end, none of these measures can be any more than sticking-plaster solutions. Until the imbalances between creditor and debtor nations in the eurozone and the wider world economy are addressed, it is only a matter of time – and possibly not much time at all – before the crisis returns anew. It is therefore to be hoped that the G20 summit in Cannes next month can come up with some form of global contract that goes beyond the meaningless commitments and rhetoric of the past to provide convincing mechanisms for addressing such imbalances and strains once and for all.

At risk is a system of global trade and interaction unparalleled in human history – one that has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty and delivered unprecedented prosperity to hundreds of millions more. Will this really be thrown away for want of resolve?


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Democrats: How to create a permanent constituency

What a plan they have to ensure a constituency.

October 5, 2011, 2:31 PM ET
Wall Street Journal

Nearly Half of U.S. Lives in Household Receiving Government Benefit

Families were more dependent on government programs than ever last year.

Nearly half, 48.5%, of the population lived in a household that received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2010, according to Census data. Those numbers have risen since the middle of the recession when 44.4% lived households receiving benefits in the third quarter of 2008.

The share of people relying on government benefits has reached a historic high, in large part from the deep recession and meager recovery, but also because of the expansion of government programs over the years. (See a timeline on the history of government benefits programs here.)

Means-tested programs, designed to help the needy, accounted for the largest share of recipients last year. Some 34.2% of Americans lived in a household that received benefits such as food stamps, subsidized housing, cash welfare or Medicaid (the federal-state health care program for the poor).

Another 14.5% lived in homes where someone was on Medicare (the health care program for the elderly). Nearly 16% lived in households receiving Social Security.

High unemployment and increased reliance on government programs has also shrunk the nation’s share of taxpayers. Some 46.4% of households will pay no federal income tax this year, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. That’s up from 39.9% in 2007, the year the recession began.

Most of those households will still be hit by payroll taxes. Just 18.1% of households pay neither payroll nor federal income taxes and they are predominantly the nation’s elderly and poorest families.

The tandem rise in government-benefits recipients and fall in taxpayers has been cause for alarm among some policymakers and presidential hopefuls.

Benefits programs have come under closer scrutiny as policymakers attempt to tame the federal government’s budget deficit. President Barack Obama and members of Congress considered changes to Social Security and Medicare as part of a grand bargain (that ultimately fell apart) to raise the debt ceiling earlier this year. Cuts to such programs could emerge again from the so-called “super committee,” tasked with releasing a plan to rein in the deficit.

Republican presidential hopefuls, meanwhile, have latched onto the fact that nearly half of households pay no federal income tax, saying too many Americans aren’t paying their fair share.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Rape in New York: The Women's Fault


Why is it the women must change to 'prevent' being raped.  And why is a guy going after 'just' women wearing revealing clothing?  Since rape is not a crime of sex or lust, it wouldn't matter, unless the males perpetrating the crime believe in their twisted and sick perverted minds that women who dress in shorts are somehow asking to be raped.

We know that Western Civilization does not promote this belief.  When they find the perpetrator, he should be castrated, and then tossed into general population at Rikers - just at the time the guards get pnemonia.

NYPD Warns Women About Skirts in Brooklyn Sex Attack Probe

By John Noel
Friday, Sep 30, 2011
NBC New York

Women in a Brooklyn neighborhood on edge over a spate of sex attacks are being told by police that wearing skirts and dresses might not be a good idea.

The surprising message from the NYPD is not being taken well.

"I think that women should be able to wear whatever they want," said Theresa Troupson, a Park Slope resident. "I don't think that they should be held responsible in any way for the actions of criminals."

Lauren, who did not want her last name used, told the the Wall Street Journal that she was walking down the street in shorts and a t-shirt after leaving the gym on Monday when she was stopped by an officer who also stopped two other women in dresses.

Lauren said the officer asked them if they knew what was happening in the area, and asked them if they knew what the suspect looked for.

"He pointed at my outfit and said, 'Don't you think your shorts are a little short?'" she told the Journal. "He pointed at their dresses and said they were showing a lot of skin."

The officer also told them that "you're exactly the kind of girl this guy is targeting," according to Lauren.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said the officers "are simply pointing out that as part of the pattern involving one or more men that the assailant(s) have targeted women wearing skirts."

A group called Safe Slope says the NYPD effort is "completely inappropriate."

"There have been reports that the women attacked were all wearing skirts," said Jessica Silk, a Safe Slope founder. "Unfortunately this might be a common link between the women that were attacked but the message shouldn't be that you shouldn't wear a skirt. The message should be that, 'Here are ways that you can protect yourself.'"

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