This is a drop in the bucket in comparison to what needs to cut back from the budget based on the nations GDP ($ coming in). Oh SNAP! I almost forgot, our leaders have not had a budget since 2009…. before the Apple IPAD was sold in stores… THAT IS RECKLESS and endangers the America we once knew it to be – SO – WAKE UP AMERICA – SOMEBODY IS SLEEPING ON THEIR WATCH. How can anybody call themselves an TRUE American and still allow their country to fade into the third world of Socialism via massive debt socialist administration and policies. We need to cut about 2 trillion off the spending addiction our government has acquired in order even start making a difference. The total US spending is 3.5 trillion currently – so that is over half the money is unaccounted for – and borrowed on your children’s lives…. it is shameful.
– WAKE UP AMERICA.
February 25, 2013
The U.S. health care system is a giant money making scam that is designed to drain as much money as possible out of all of us before we die. In the United States today, the health care industry is completely dominated by government bureaucrats, health insurance companies and pharmaceutical corporations. The pharmaceutical corporations spend billions of dollars to convince all of us to become dependent on their legal drugs, the health insurance companies make billions of dollars by providing as little health care as possible, and they both spend millions of dollars to make sure that our politicians in Washington D.C. keep the gravy train rolling. Meanwhile, large numbers of doctors are going broke and patients are not getting the care that they need. At this point, our health care system is a complete and total disaster. Health care costs continue to go up rapidly, the level of care that we are receiving continues to go down, and every move that our politicians make just seems to make all of our health care problems even worse. In America today, a single trip to the emergency room can easily cost you $100,000, and if you happen to get cancer you could end up with medical bills in excess of a million dollars. Even if you do have health insurance, there are usually limits on your coverage, and the truth is that just a single major illness is often enough to push most American families into bankruptcy. At the same time, hospital administrators, pharmaceutical corporations and health insurance company executives are absolutely swimming in huge mountains of cash. Unfortunately, this gigantic money making scam has become so large that it threatens to collapse both the U.S. health care system and the entire U.S. economy.
The following are 50 signs that the U.S. health care system is a massive money making scam that is about to collapse…
#1 Medical bills have become so ridiculously large that virtually nobody can afford them. Just check out the following short excerpt from a recent Time Magazine article. One man in California that had been diagnosed with cancer ran up nearly a million dollars in hospital bills before he died…
By the time Steven D. died at his home in Northern California the following November, he had lived for an additional 11 months. And Alice had collected bills totaling $902,452. The family’s first bill — for $348,000 — which arrived when Steven got home from the Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif., was full of all the usual chargemaster profit grabs: $18 each for 88 diabetes-test strips that Amazon sells in boxes of 50 for $27.85; $24 each for 19 niacin pills that are sold in drugstores for about a nickel apiece. There were also four boxes of sterile gauze pads for $77 each. None of that was considered part of what was provided in return for Seton’s facility charge for the intensive-care unit for two days at $13,225 a day, 12 days in the critical unit at $7,315 a day and one day in a standard room (all of which totaled $120,116 over 15 days). There was also $20,886 for CT scans and $24,251 for lab work.
#3 The United States spends more on health care than Japan, Germany, France, China, the U.K., Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain and Australia combined.
#4 If the U.S. health care system was a country, it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire planet.
February 22, 2013
Source: Michael Snyder, Guest Post
Why are some of the biggest names in the corporate world unloading stock like there is no tomorrow, and why are some of the most prominent investors on Wall Street loudly warning about the possibility of a market crash? Should we be alarmed that the big dogs on Wall Street are starting to get very nervous? In aprevious article, I got very excited about a report that indicated that corporate insiders were selling nine times more of their own shares than they were buying. Well, according to a brand new Bloomberg article, insider sales of stock have outnumbered insider purchases of stock by a ratio of twelve to oneover the past three months. That is highly unusual. And right now some of the most respected investors in the financial world are ringing the alarm bells. Dennis Gartman says that it is time to “rush to the sidelines”, Seth Klarman is warning about “the un-abating risks of collapse”, and Doug Kass is proclaiming that “we’re headed for a sharp fall”. So does all of this mean that a market crash is definitely on the way? No, but when you combine all of this with the weak economic data constantly coming out of the U.S. and Europe, it certainly does not paint a pretty picture.
According to Bloomberg, it has been two years since we have seen insider sales of stock at this level. And when insider sales of stock are this high, that usually means that the market is about to decline…
Corporate executives are taking advantage of near-record U.S. stock prices by selling shares in their companies at the fastest pace in two years.
There were about 12 stock-sale announcements over the past three months for every purchase by insiders at Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) companies, the highest ratio since January 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and Pavilion Global Markets. Whenever the ratio exceeded 11 in the past, the benchmark index declined 5.9 percent on average in the next six months, according to Pavilion, a Montreal-based trading firm.
But it isn’t just the number of stock sales that is alarming. Some of these insider transactions are absolutely huge. Just check out these numbers…
Among the biggest transactions last week were a $65.2 million sale by Google Inc.’s 39-year-old Chief Executive Officer Larry Page, a $40.1 million disposal by News Corp.’s 81- year-old Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch and a $34.2 million sale from American Express Co. chief Kenneth Chenault, who is 61. Nolan Archibald, the 69-year-old chairman of Stanley Black & Decker Inc. who plans to leave his post next month, unloaded $29.7 million in shares last week and Amphenol Corp. Chairman Martin Hans Loeffler, 68, sold $27.5 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, 57, announced plans to sell as many as 3.2 million shares in the operator of the world’s most-popular search engine. The planned share sales, worth about $2.5 billion, represent about 42 percent of Schmidt’s holdings.
So why are all of these very prominent executives cashing out all of a sudden?
That is a very good question.
Meanwhile, some of the most respected names on Wall Street are warning that it is time to get out of the market.
For example, investor Dennis Gartman recently wrote that the game is “changing” and that it is time to “rush to the sidelines”…
“When tectonic plates in the earth’s crust shift earthquakes happen and when the tectonic plants shift beneath our feet in the capital markets margin calls take place. The tectonic plates have shifted and attention… very careful and very substantive attention… must be paid.
“Simply put, the game has changed and where we were playing a ‘game’ fueled by the monetary authorities and fueled by the urge on the part of participants to see and believe in rising ‘animal spirits’ as Lord Keynes referred to them we played bullishly of equities and of the EUR and of ‘risk assets’. Now, with the game changing, our tools have to change and so too our perspective.
“Where we were buyers of equities previously we must disdain them henceforth. Where we were sellers of Yen and US dollars we must buy them now. Where we had been long of gold in Yen terms, we must shift that and turn bullish of gold in EUR terms. Where we might have been ‘technically’ bullish of the EUR we must now be technically and fundamentally bearish of it. The game board has been flipped over; the game has changed… change with it or perish. We cannot be more blunt than that.”
That is a very ominous warning, but he is far from alone. Just the other day, I wrote about how legendary investor Seth Klarman is warning that the collapse of the financial markets could happen at literally any time…
“Investing today may well be harder than it has been at any time in our three decades of existence,” writes Seth Klarman in his year-end letter. The Fed’s “relentless interventions and manipulations” have left few purchase targets for Baupost, he laments. “(The) underpinnings of our economy and financial system are so precarious that the un-abating risks of collapse dwarf all other factors.”
Other big hitters on Wall Street are ringing the alarm bells as well. For example, Seabreeze Partners portfolio manager Doug Kass recently told CNBC that what he is seeing right now reminds him of the period just before the crash of 1987…
“I’m getting the ‘summer of 1987 feeling’ in the U.S. equity market,” Kass told CNBC, “which means we’re headed for a sharp fall.”
And of course the “perma-bears” continue to warn that the months ahead are going to be very difficult. For instance, “Dr. Doom” Marc Faber recently said that he “loves the high odds of a ‘big-time’ market crash“.
Another “perma-bear”, Nomura’s Bob Janjuah, is convinced that the stock market will experience one more huge spike before collapsing by up to 50%…
I continue to believe that the S&P500 can trade up towards the 1575/1550 area, where we have, so far, a grand double top. I would not be surprised to see the S&P trade marginally through the 2007 all-time nominal high (the real high was of course seen over a decade ago – so much for equities as a long-term vehicle for wealth creation!). A weekly close at a new all-time high would I think lead to the final parabolic spike up which creates the kind of positioning extreme and leverage extreme needed to create the conditions for a 25% to 50% collapse in equities over the rest of 2013 and 2014, driven by real economy reality hitting home, and by policymaker failure/loss of faith in “their system”.
So are they right?
We will see.
At the same time that many of the big dogs are pulling their money out of the market, many smaller investors are rushing to put their money back in to the market. The mainstream media continues to assure them that everything is wonderful and that this rally can last forever.
But it is important to keep in mind that the last time that Wall Street was this “euphoric” was right before the market crash in 2008.
So what should we be watching for?
As I have mentioned before, it is very important to watch the financial markets in Europe right now.
If they crash, the financial markets in the U.S. will probably crash too.
And the financial markets in Europe definitely have had a rough week. Just check out what happened on Thursday. The following is from a report by CNBC’s Bob Pisani…
Italy, Germany, France, Spain, U.K., Greece, and Portugal all on track to log worst day since Feb. 4. European PMI numbers were disappointing, with all major countries except Germany reporting numbers below 50, indicating contraction.
What does this mean? It means Europe remains mired in recession: “The euro zone is on course to contract for a fourth consecutive quarter,” Markit, who provides the PMI data, said. A new insight is that France is now joining the weakness shown in periphery countries.
You’re giving me agita: Italy was the worst market, down 2.5 percent. The CEO of banking company, Intesa Sanpaolo, said Italy’s recession has been so bad it could cause a fifth of Italian companies to fail, noting that topline for those bottom fifth have been shrinking 35 to 45 percent. Italian elections are this weekend.
It wasn’t any better in Asia. The Shanghai Index had its worst day in over a year, closing down nearly three percent.
And the economic numbers coming out of the U.S. also continue to bequite depressing.
On Thursday, the Department of Labor announced that there were 362,000 initial claims for unemployment benefits during the week ending February 16th. That was a sharp rise from a week earlier.
But I am not really concerned about that number yet.
When it rises above 400,000 and it stays there, then it will be time to officially become alarmed.
So what is the bottom line?
There are trouble signs on the horizon for the financial markets. Nobody should panic right now, but things certainly do not look very promising for the remainder of the year.
Friday, February 15th, 2013
It came out a couple of weeks ago: the executive summary of a report issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) called, “Civil Rights/Civil Liberties Impact Assessment: Border Searches of Electronic Devices.”
Basically, the DHS was charged with the responsibility of determining whether or not its policy of seizing laptops and cell phones from travelers is a violation of both civil and constitutional rights.
Any moderately-educated American could answer that question quite simply — but no, we had to spend a few more tax dollars for the government to figure that one out. And you’ll never guess what the DHS concluded…
According to the new gatekeepers of our liberty, the Department of Homeland Security’s search policy doesnot violate both the First and Fourth Amendments.
That’s right. These guys believe that allowing government agents to search the contents of your laptop, cell phone, and other electronic devices — without reasonable suspicion of any wrongdoing — is both completely acceptable and legal.
Not So Fast…
According to attorney Katie Haas, for more than four years now it has been the official policy of the DHS that Immigration & Customs Enforcement and Customs & Border Protection (the two agencies that monitor the border), can look at information on citizens’ laptops, cell phones, hard drives, and other devices, and sometimes keep the information or share it with others — even when there is no suspicion that the device contains evidence of wrongdoing.
Haas writes that the DHS has essentially adopted a policy of peering into anyone’s data, at any time, for any reason.
And through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed back in 2010, it has been discovered that between October 2008 and June 2010, about 3,000 U.S. citizens traveling to and from the United States have had their electronic devices searched at the border.
That particular FOIA request also found that between July 2008 and June 2009, border agents transferred data found on travelers’ electronic devices to other federal agencies over 280 times.
Incompetent and Lazy
Look, I understand we have to protect our borders… but it cannot be at the expense of law-abiding citizens.
To accept such a thing is to accept incompetence and laziness. My friends, those are two qualities that continue to degrade our democracy, not strengthen it.
And the unfortunate truth is that harassment of U.S. citizens crossing the border is nothing new. In fact, just last year two Americans documenting pollution concerns and human rights violations were interrogated by border agents while their photos were destroyed.
One of the men, Ray Askins, was told by more than one agent that they would smash his camera if he didn’t delete the photos; the other, Christian Ramirez, was threatened by one Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, who told him: “Give me one reason to take you down.”(This was after Ramirez had already crossed the border back into the United States.)
One of the lawyers defending these two U.S. citizens, M. Andrew Woodmansee, released this statement:
Americans have a right to chronicle the activities of law enforcement. The Department of Justice recently stated that the right of a citizen to gather information about government officials — including photographs — serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting the free discussion of governmental affairs. While the government has an interest in guaranteeing the security of the United States, it should have no role in stifling speech or violating our right to be secure in our person and our papers.
Protect Your Data!
Although border agents can still unconstitutionally search your electronic devices at the moment, there are some steps you can take to protect your privacy…
After all, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation points out, there are any number of reasons why folks would want to protect their data.
- Business travelers, lawyers, and doctors may have confidential or privileged information on their laptops they don’t want others to see — or that they are obligated by law or contract to protect.
- Some people may have sensitive personal information on their devices such as medical records, financial documents, and years of correspondence with family, friends, and business associates.
- Some travelers may have repeated difficulties crossing the border and wish to take proactive steps to protect their data in light of their past experiences.
- And some feel out of principle that the government shouldn’t be able to view their private information simply because they choose to travel internationally.
Whatever the reason may be, there are a number of things you can do to protect your privacy at the border.
The good folks over at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have published a free report called, “Defending Privacy at the U.S. Border: A Guide for Travelers Carrying Digital Devices.” You can access that report here.
Live honorably, live free…
Jeff Siegel for Freedom Watch