CNP Assurances

In 1959, two french companies merged to create the Caisse Nationale de Prévoyance (CNP Assurance) within the Caisse des Dépôts group.

As one of its parent companies was founded in 1848, CNP's origins date back to the beginning of the insurance market. CNP has been the leading player in personal insurance sector in France since 1991. CNP has 14 million policyholders today.

The mission of CNP Assurances is to offer to its 22 million policyholders high quality products to protect them against the risks of everyday life and to meet their savings needs in each phase in their life.

Scope of Operation

  • Personal Insurance
  • Savings Products
  • Pension Products
  • Personal Risk Assurance
  • Personal Services 

Key Statistics

  • Assets of $241.22 billion
  • Profits of $0.85 billion in 2006
  • Operations primarily in Europe
  • 4,501 employees 
The organization of CNP Assurance consists of Regional Centers in:
  • Paris
  • Lille
  • Marseille
  • Nancy
  • Angers
  • Lyon
  • Toulouse
  • Clermont-Ferrand 

International Ranking

  • 223rd in the world according to Forbes Magazine
  • 109th in the Fortune Global 500 list

Headquarter Address

4 Place Raoul Dautry
75716 Paris Cedex 15
Phone: 33-1-4218-8888

Zurich Insurance Group, the world's largest insurance group

Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. (SIX: ZURN), commonly known as Zurich, is a Swiss Insurance company, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. Zurich Insurance Group is Switzerland’s biggest insurer. As of 2011, Zurich was the world’s 79th largest public company according to Forbes’ Global 2000s list and ranked 94th in Interbrands top100 brands.

Zurich Insurance Group Ltd is a global insurance company which is organized into three core business segments: General Insurance, Global Life and Farmers. The company employs around 60,000 people serving customers in more than 170 countries and territories across the globe.

Zurich Insurance Group Ltd is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and as of 2011 the Group’s Capital position was strong with shareholders equity of $31.6 billon.


The company was founded in 1872 as a marine reinsurance under the name “Versicherungs-Verein” (Insurance Association), a subsidiary of the Schweiz Marine Company. In 2000, after a number of acquisitions, it was unified to form one holding company – Zurich Financial Services.

In April 2012, Zurich Financial Services Ltd changed its name to Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. The name change reflects that in recent years Zurich has streamlined its business portfolio to concentrate on insurance. In a statement the group explained the rationale behind the name change. “In recognition of this strategic focus, the reference to financial services in the company name has been replaced by indicating the insurance activity of the Group instead and to specify the purpose accordingly.

Financial performance / information
Zurich Insurance Group Ltd (“Zurich”) is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange under the ticker ZURN. As of the 1st December 2010 there were 147,385,822 fully paid registered shares and 121,715 shareholders. Twenty three percent of the holding of the registered shares were private individuals (14 percent of all issued shares), seven percent were foundations and pension funds (five percent of all issued shares) and 70 percent were other legal entities (44 percent of all issued shares).

In its full year results for 2011 Zurich reported a net income after tax (attributable to shareholders) of $3.8bn[19], an increase of 10% on the previous year, and a business operating profit of $4.3bn. It declared a full year dividend of CHF 17.00, to be paid in April 2012.

The company has a robust capital position with a Solvency 1 ratio of 242% and a Swiss Solvency Test ratio of 190% as of 31 December 2011, far above the minimum capital requirements. The strength of Zurich’s balance sheet is reflected in the reports of the ratings agencies. As of 21 March 2011 Zurich Insurance Company Ltd was rated as ‘AA-/stable’ by Standard and Poor’s, ‘Aa3/stable’ by Moody’s, and A+/stable’ by A.M. Best.

Allianz, the world's largest insurance group

Allianz SE (formerly Allianz AG) is a German multinational financial services company headquartered in Munich, Germany. Its core business and focus is insurance. As of 2010, it was the world's 12th-largest financial services group and 23rd-largest company according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine.

Its Allianz Global Investors division ranks as a top-five global active investment manager, having €1,443 billion of assets under management (AuM), of which €1,131 billion are third-party assets (as of 2010-09-30), with specialized asset managers including PIMCO (Bonds), RCM (Equities) and Degi (Real estate).

Allianz sold Dresdner Bank to Commerzbank in November 2008. As a result of this merger, Allianz gained a 14% controlling stake in the new Commerzbank Group.

Allianz AG was founded in Berlin on 5 February 1890 by Carl von Thieme (a native of Erfurt, whose father was the director of Thuringia) and Wilhelm von Finck (co-owner of the Merck Finck & Co bank). The first step to become an international company started with the opening of a branch office in London in the late 19th century.


Allianz has operations in over 70 countries and has around 180,000 employees. The parent company, Allianz SE, is headquartered in Munich, Germany. Allianz has more than 60 million customers worldwide and its services include property and casualty insurance, life and health insurance and asset management.

New York Life Insurance Company

The New York Life Insurance Company (NYLIC) is one of the largest mutual life-insurance companies in the United States, and one of the largest life insurers in the world, with about $287 billion in total assets under management, and more than $15 billion in surplus and AVR.

The company ranks #71 on the 2011 Fortune 100 list, making it the highest privately held insurance company on that list. In 2007, NYLIC achieved the best possible ratings by the four independent rating companies (Standard & Poor's, AM Best, Moody's and Fitch). In June 2009, the same four rating companies reaffirmed New York Life's "superior" financial strength, which became a selling point in national TV ad campaigns that same year. 

The company is now one of only three life insurers to hold the highest ratings currently awarded to any life insurer by all four rating agencies (Moody's: Aaa, A.M. Best: A++. Standards & Poor's: AA+, Fitch: AAA. All of these are for financial strength. Other New York Life affiliates provide an array of securities products and services, as well as institutional and retail mutual funds.


The company was founded in 1845 as the Nautilus (Capt. Nemo) Insurance Company in New York City, with assets of just $17,000. It was renamed the New York Life Insurance Company in 1849. Its first headquarters were at 112-114 Broadway; the first president was James DePeyster Ogden. The current New York Life headquarters was designed by noted architect Cass Gilbert and completed in 1928. The New York Life building, at 51 Madison Avenue, was constructed during the presidency of Darwin P. Kingsley. He expanded the company’s operations and developed new types of insurance. As with other early insurance companies in the U.S., in its early years the company insured the lives of slaves for their owners. In response to bills passed in California in 2001 and in Illinois in 2003, the company reported that Nautilus sold 485 slaveholder life insurance policies during a two-year period in the 1840s; they added that their trustees voted to end the sale of such policies 15 years before the Emancipation Proclamation.

The company became known for innovative business practices. In 1860, well before state laws required it, New York Life developed the non-forfeiture option, the predecessor to the guaranteed cash values of modern policies, under which a policy remains in force even if a premium payment is missed. It was also the first American life insurance company to pay a cash dividend to policyholders, and the first U.S. company to issue policies to women at the same rates as men. Susan B. Anthony was one of their first female policy holders, and her father worked for NYLIC. In 1896, New York Life became the first company to insure people with disabilities and the first to issue a policy with a disability benefit that presumes total disability to be permanent after a predetermined period.

In the late 1990s New York Life was one of several large mutual life insurers to back a bill that would allow demutualization into a structure known as a mutual holding company (MHC). CEO Sy Sternberg himself argued strongly in favor of the bill, which was ultimately defeated. The NYLIC board of directors subsequently reversed course, with the company strongly and publicly embracing their mutual nature in a series of advertisements.

ROAM (Réunion des Organismes d'Assurance Mutuelle)

ROAM (Réunion des Organismes d’Assurance Mutuelle) is an association at the service of mutual insurance companies for more that 150 years.


Created in 1855 by a group of directors of mutual insurance companies in order to hold exchanges regarding their status as mutual organisations and to defend the provision of insurance services in the mutual form, as an alternative to joint-stock companies.

Today, this professional French association brings together 46 companies all of whom are subject to the regulations of the Insurance Code and to the supervision of the ACAM (Insurance Supervisory Authority in France).

ROAM gathers mutual insurance companies (MIC) : an MIC is insurance company that does not have its capital divided into shares, is collectively managed by it policyholders who are also its members and which acts in their best interests.

At the international level

It is a direct member of Amice (Association of Mutual Insurers and Insurance Cooperatives in Europe) at the European level and its members participate in many of the working groups organised by AMICE (Solvency II, European Mutual, European Affairs, etc.). ROAM has also assumed responsibility for the coordination of the study on comparative law, "MIC: regulatory, financial and fiscal provisions" in five European countries (France, Italy, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands) and the United States

As a direct member of ICMIF, ROAM takes every opportunity to represent the interests of its members at the world level and also shares its experiences by creating links with mutuals across the world.

Challenges to be faced

Solvency II

There is a challenge regarding both Pillar I and Pillar II. Significant changes are underway with the introduction of Solvency II. Both for pillar I, quantitative requirements, and pillar II, internal control requirements, a real revolution is taking place at the European level and this will have considerable repercussions on the French market. Certain specialised French mutual insurance companies could find themselves facing an own funds requirement that is often five to ten times higher than the current requirement. The introduction and effective follow-up of a well-structured internal control system will pose problems for all small structures (in terms of cost and internal expertise). ROAM, which has been involved in this process since the project’s inception, defends its members position by contributing to the consultation process on an on-going basis and also by directly lobbying the European authorities.

Governance would also appear to be a sensitive issue for French mutualists, who have been faced with significant successive changes to their regulations (in 2002, 2003 and then again in 2005) and so have had to respond to the continual challenge regarding the recognition of their statute and of their specificities by adapting to these changes.

European Mutual
Since there is no European instrument to enable them to establish groupings at this level, then the French mutuals are at a competitive disadvantage compared to joint stock companies, since they do not have access to the same legal instruments: ROAM continues its efforts to promote the mutual status at the European level and calls for the introduction of a European Mutual status in order to allow mutuals to join forces with one another to create groupings at a cross-border level. In the context of Solvency II, this instrument becomes essential.

In 2009, ROAM's Mutual insurance companies achieved a turnover of 11 billion Euros (direct business in France + reinsurance accepted + foreign activities), meaning that they therefore hold approximately 6% of the insurance market in France, but more than 39% of the builders liability market and more than 58% of medical malpractice liability market.

Founder       :  Gustave Haugk
Founded      :  1855
Key people  :  Olivier Désert
Area served :  France
Members     :  46 mutual insurance companies
Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Huff Nitrous Oxide:

What is that line up there outside the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, just across the way from the Coliseum, for? Phineas and Ferb on Ice? Extra USC football tickets? No, but it does involve children and the University of Southern California.

See, volunteers from the schools of medicine and dentistry at USC, partnered with the organization Care Harbor, are currently giving free health and dental care to people who come to the L.A. arena. It started yesterday and will continue through Sunday.

Oh, the line-sitters? They aren't waiting to get in to see a doctor or a dentist. No, that only began Thusday. That line is from Monday, when they started handing out wristbands so that nearly 5000 people without insurance could get that lump checked or that cavity filled. Especially the latter, since many people who have health insurance don't have dental, the two things oddly not linked by most insurers.

People started lining up last Friday, sleeping out so that they could have a chance to see medical professionals. In one of the biggest cities in the United States in the year 2012. Whenever someone talks about people in other countries being "savages" or uncivilized, the Rude Pundit thinks of sights like this:

It looks like an evacuation center for a storm. But it's just thousands of people, probably most of them Americans, a good many of them children, getting the charity that Republicans like to talk so much about.

One last thing: the reason people lined up so early? That's obvious. Because the clinic only had so much time and so many volunteers. And people, sick people, hurting people, dying people, were turned away.

Elections have consequences. Once upon a time Mitt Romney would have said he had a solution to this problem. He doesn't claim so now. President Obama's solution, which certainly won't solve everything, but would get us a hell of a lot closer, is slowly coming into action.

Maybe, sometimes, it's a moral issue that moves a person, a feeling of disgust and despair that puts one in the mind of the poor and disempowered in our society. You don't wait three nights outside for a chance to see a doctor a few days later because taxes are too high or because Israel's prime minister is feeling neglected or because government-run health care won't give you your choice of doctors or whatever. You sleep in that line because you don't have anywhere else to go, except here, in one of of the biggest cities. In America. Right now.

Tips & Advice About Insurance

5 Things to Consider About Health Insurance

View of the current hospital as more and more congested. Therefore, various diseases come and go which makes people even more vulnerable to attack. Ranging from mild such as a runny nose or cough, to very risky as cancer, as more and more familiar with our society.

Therefore, the portion of medical and health care should be a priority now. Therefore, if at any time sick, sometimes the cost is not small. Moreover, if it had to do surgery or medical treatment due to a variety of dangerous diseases.

Therefore, the health insurance needs to be considered. Because, at the time of the emergency, health insurance will be the solution in terms of financing and hospital care.

However, there are some things to consider before choosing a health insurance. Here are some things that need to be understood more ..

1. Consider the track record of the insurance companies that offer health insurance. It is important to know how condition of the company, professional firms, and its services over the years. The more bona fide and good history of the company, usually the better the various types of insurance offered.

2. Learn and find out more about how the insurance company's network to hospitals there. Primarily, the pain is all around us and the hospital has facilities for serving a wide range of diseases.

3. Know what kind of health care that are covered by insurance. For example, if a critical illness cover as      heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. Then, if also serves hospitalization and / or treatment of the road. Also, get also related information about the claim payment. By knowing this, we would be more assured when choosing insurance.

4. Understand all the written agreement of the policy, especially that we receive. For example, what classes will be given to us, when to begin the coverage period, and various other things that will bind us when choosing insurance. Do not hesitate ask the people who know if you do not know what is in one grain agreement. Including, for example, whether the money could be paid if in some period of time does not occur claim.

5. Health insurance is one solution. But, the real key solution is to stay fit. Therefore, The best step is to keep in shape and trying to distance themselves from a variety of sources of disease.

Mondial Assistance Group

Mondial Assistance is a leading international travel insurance, assistance and personal services company. It has a staff of 10,920 people and works throughout the world with a network of 400,000 service providers and 180 correspondents.

The Group has operations in 29 countries on 5 continents and was created in the year 2000 following the merger of Elvia (founded in Switzerland in 1950) and SACNAS-Mondial Assistance (founded in France in 1974). Mondial Assistance is part of the Allianz group, Europe’s leading insurance company.

Their U.S. operations are based in Richmond, Virginia. On Wednesday, February 1st, 2012, Mondial USA announced it would change its name to Allianz Global Assistance, in honor of its parent company.

Industry : Travel & Automotive services
Products : travel insurance, travel assistance, event ticket cancellation, roadside assistance, automotive extended warranty, CRM services to automotive manufacturers, telematics, home and property assistance, healthcare assistance, disease management and patient support.
Website :

American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)

AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, is a United States-based non-governmental organization and interest group, founded in 1958 by Ethel Percy Andrus, PhD, a retired educator from California, and based in Washington, D.C. According to its mission statement, it is "a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people age 50 and over ... dedicated to enhancing quality of life for all as we age," which "provides a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for our members."


Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus founded AARP in 1958. AARP evolved from the National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA), which Andrus had established in 1947 to promote her philosophy of productive aging, and in response to the need of health insurance for retired teachers. After ten years, Andrus opened the organization to all Americans over 50, creating AARP. Today, NRTA is a division within AARP. Dr. Andrus founded AARP while living in Ojai, California, where she had established an innovative new retirement home named Grey Gables. Ojai served as national headquarters for AARP from 1958 until the mid-1960s. Honors to Dr. Andrus include National Teacher of the Year in 1954, induction into the Women's Hall of Fame and, more recently, a medallion placed on the Points of Light Institute's "Extra Mile Pathway" in downtown Washington, D.C. According to Andy Rooney, AARP was established by Leonard Davis, founder of the Colonial Penn Group insurance companies, after he met Ethel Percy Andrus.

According to critics, until the 1980s AARP was controlled by Mr. Davis, who promoted its image as a non-profit advocate of retirees in order to sell insurance to members. After a lengthy competitive bidding process, AARP shifted the insurance contracts made available to members to Prudential in 1980. In the 1990s, the United States Senate investigated AARP's non-profit status, with Republican Senator Alan Simpson, then chairman of the United States Senate Finance Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy, questioning the organization's tax-exempt status in congressional hearings. According to Charles Blahous, the investigations did not reveal sufficient evidence to change the organization's status, though in an interview years later by the Des Moines Register, Senator Simpson remained "troubled by AARP's practices", calling AARP "the biggest marketing operation in America and money-maker" and an organization whose practices are "the greatest abuse of American generosity I witnessed in my time in the U.S. Senate."

The organization was originally named the American Association of Retired Persons, but in 1999 it officially changed its name to "AARP" (pronounced one letter at a time, "ay ay ar pee") to reflect that its focus was no longer American retirees. AARP no longer requires that members be retired, but be at least age 50; it does not extend full membership privileges to applicants who are retired but not yet 50.

Health care

AARP has been active in health care policy debates since c. 1960 and its recent engagement is a reflection of this long-standing involvement.

AARP's public stances influenced the United States Congress' passage of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, which authorized the creation of Medicare Part D, in 2003, and also influenced the Congress by resisting radical changes to Social Security in 2005. AARP also addressed health care issues in their campaign targeting the 2008 elections with Divided We Fail.

Health insurance

Approximately seven million people have AARP branded health insurance, including drug coverage and Medigap, as of April 2007 and AARP earns more income from selling insurance to members than it does from membership dues. In 2008, AARP plans to begin offering several new health insurance products: an HMO for Medicare recipients, in partnership with UnitedHealth Group; and a PPO and "a high-deductible insurance policy that could be used with a health savings account" to people aged 50–64, in partnership with Aetna. AARP will likely become the largest source of health insurance for Medicare recipients, and AARP estimates the new products will increase its health insurance customers to 14 million by 2014.

AARP is not an insurer and does not pay insurance claims. Instead, AARP allows its name to be used by insurance companies in the sale of insurance products, for which it is paid a commission like an insurance agent.

Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in 2008 that the "limited benefit" insurance plans offered by AARP through UnitedHealth provided inadequate coverage and were marketed deceptively. One plan offered $5,000 for surgery that may cost two or three times that amount.

AARP does a "thriving business" in marketing branded Medigap policies. As of October 2009, Medical care reform contained a proposal to trim an associated program Medicare Advantage, which was expected to increase demand for Medigap policies. However, as cited above, AARP also brands a Medicare Advantage plan (MedicareComplete), and would also be subject to cuts under health care reform.

How Republicans Think in One Easy Lesson:
Sometimes you need a simple story, a fable, even, to understand something much larger. You need it to understand the template for more complex and more expansive ideas. Follow the bouncing ball of inanity here, for it is an uncomplicated story that explains all you need to know about how Republicans envision their role in the political process:

In Staten Island, New York - aka "The Last Reliably Republican (White) Borough" - incumbent GOP Congressman Michael Grimm is running against Democrat Mark Murphy. The kindest thing you could say about Grimm is that he's a bit better than New York Rep. Peter "Muslims Is Everywhere" King, although Grimm pretty much gargles King's balls. Anyways, this isn't about Grimm's voting record. It's about politics and parties and opportunism writ small.

This past Sunday night, someone vandalized the campaign office of Rep. Grimm by smashing in its large windows (Grimm HQ is in a former car dealership). Grimm told the Staten Island Advance newspaper that whoever broke the windows also erased the hard drives on the computers by installing Linux on them: "All of my polling data, all of the data from my IDs of voters, and a bunch of other campaign information. But fortunately we had everything backed up from literally hours before, so we don't lose anything because we have backups."

Grimm went into full victim mode. "This is an attack against a federal campaign office, which is an attack on our democracy as a whole. It's an attack against what we stand for, for free elections," he said. Further, "You know, especially in light of what happened with Gabby Giffords, we're not in the world today where we can shrug things off." Yes, that's right. Rep. Grimm compared the smashing of his office windows to the attempted murder of Gabby Giffords. Calm down, Mary.

But Grimm wasn't done crying political foul. His campaign issued a statement that read, in part, "[W]e have never seen an attack on a campaign escalate to this level...I do believe this is a politically motivated crime." The statement also said that the broken windows were a cover-up for the hard drive corruptions.

Or, in other words, the Democrats did it. They're to blame, of course.

Almost immediately, though, the story started to fall apart. One law enforcement official told the New York Times that the computers were fine, actually. Another told the Post that the whole thing didn't make sense. Why not just steal the computers if you're gonna bother breaking the windows?

And it's because it doesn't make sense. And that's because it was a random act of vandalism by a couple of teenagers who thought they were breaking the windows at an abandoned building in the middle of the night. It was not, as Grimm, ever the drama queen, said, "a crime against the government." Nope, it was a 14 and a 16 year-old. To compare their misdemeanor to the attack on Giffords is like saying that a mosquito bite is the same as a bear attack.

Now what does this Chicken Little story tell us? Notice that Grimm didn't wait for any more information from the cops to leap into blaming politics. It's like when Mitt Romney didn't wait to get more information before opening his yap about the U.S. embassy protests in Egypt. More to the point, ain't this shit just par for the course for Republicans? There's some problem, something is all fucked up, and instead of trying to figure out what the hell to do, they just instantly blame Democrats. Rather than reason out some solution, it's just a fuck of a lot easier to say it's those sons of bitches ruining the country and they need to be stopped.

And the kicker to this story is just awesome. For, just as Republicans use blaming Democrats as a way to distract from how much they are responsible for the nation's woes, Rep. Grimm is under investigation by federal prosecutors for accepting illegal campaign donations.

Which makes one wonder what might have been on those hard drives that needed erasing, no? Or is that engaging in baseless accusations, like, you know, the GOP?
The Existential Uselessness of Discussing the Mitt Romney Campaign Anymore:
The Rude Pundit has run out of words to describe the utter failure of Mitt Romney as a presidential candidate, as a leader of any sort. The occasion that caused this complete breakdown in the ability to insult or condemn Romney was at a rally yesterday in Vandalia, Ohio (aka "That Strip Mall Town Where Dayton's Airport Is"). Paul Ryan had just finished speaking, and Romney leaped onto the podium and thanked his running mate, which caused the crowd to start chanting, "Ryan" over and over. Romney then really did say, "Now wait a minute. 'Romney/Ryan,' 'Romney/Ryan'" until the crowd apparently switched to that. "There we go," Romney complimented them.

He couldn't let it go? He's that petty? Christ. That's just...oh, fuck, could we please just put three bullets in the skull of this campaign and leave its corpse behind an alley for the rats and rabid dogs to devour its dessicated carrion? Mocking him at this point is not just shooting fish in a barrel. It's using a rocket launcher on it.

There is an unmitigated gloom that now hangs over not just the Romney campaign, but media coverage of the entire race. You can see that despair in the face of everyone on television, in the words of every writer who still has to act as if this is anything but a waste of time until we learn by how much Barack Obama beats Mitt Romney. And the existential despair here is that they - hell, we - are all damned to keep discussing it because there's still over a month left. It's especially keen on CNN, where the anchors and reporters keep up the pretense of balance. You can see the dead stare in Erin Burnett's eyes that says, "Why the fuck are we bothering? Please, let there be a war somewhere that we can be sent to."

On the right, the punditry and reporting ranges from resigned recognition of imminent failure, with a vague hope of stanching the bleed out in congressional races, to desperately hammering away at the same points against Obama because repeating lies has worked so well before. It's pathetic, like watching a wounded seal try to get back to the safety of the shore before the killer whale finishes it off.

On the left, even though champagne corks are shaking in their bottles, that range is from disbelief that it's been this easy to cocky "told-you-so" crowing (guilty as charged). Yeah, there's always that show-off orca that likes to toss around the seal prior to devouring it.

Either way, though, there's truly nothing else to say, not with most swing states now firmly in Obama's camp. Not with Mitt Romney bumble-fucking his way across America, behaving awkwardly, making ads where he sounds like the most sincere used car salesman in history, denying that his greatest accomplishment, Romneycare, would be useful for the rest of the nation. Seriously, what's more important? Having made billions of dollars for millionaires? Or making sure that a mom with lung cancer can be treated like a human being? Romney looks absurd and small.

But all of this is a waste of time. The most desperate on the right will pen simple-minded articles, ranting about how Obama is so godforsakenly awful that Romney will win just because. That's bullshit, and their frantic ululations and blood sacrifices to their awful gods - Reagan, Ayn Rand, and others - demonstrate for all to see that they have nothing but dead virgins to show for their mad rituals at the edge of this exploding volcano.

Really, at this point, barring the discovery of some piece of video where Barack Obama says that he wants to fuck young white girls in front of the Lincoln Memorial, the only thing the President has to worry about with Romney is a surge in the pity vote.
No, GOP, It's Not Us; It's You:
Oh, boo, oh, hoo, the whiny bitches of the Republican party are weeping like desperate middle-aged closet queens who badly want to get ass-fucked by one of the ripped leather dudes in lower Chelsea but suppress it so much that they mix sadness, rage, and unfulfilled sexual urges into a miasma of tears and snot and gasping sobs of self-loathing. Which, of course, brings us to South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.

Regarding Mitt Romney's sinking chances of winning the election, Graham told reporters yesterday (and you should imagine Paul Lynde playing a Confederate general in a sketch on The Dinah Shore Show speaking this), "There's a reason no president has ever been reelected with an economy like this...It would tell me that it's more of a demographic race for president than it is a performance-based race. And that may be where we're at as a nation, and maybe where we are as a party, and we just don't know it."

So, according to Graham, the problem is there's too many non-white people voting. No, that's not an extreme interpretation. Graham himself said in August, "The demographics race we’re losing badly. We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term." But now Graham has taken it to another level; it's a polite way of saying, "The stupid niggers and spics are fucking up this nice country for the rest of us. And they're gonna reelect that nigger president."

Unlike Graham, other Republicans know that the problem ain't just demographics. Sure, that's always an issue, but you don't see Democrats saying, "Shit, if there were fewer white people, we'd be golden." You don't see them trying to actively suppress white people from voting. "Demographics" as an excuse is just so much self-pity. If you haven't cottoned to the fact that there's less white people as a percentage of the voting population, then you are a stegosaurus with one foot in the tar pit.

What other Republicans understand is that the problem is that they nominated an unlikeable jack-off who has all the compassion of a sack of shit, who is an awful candidate, who can't reasonably explain his plans, who constantly says things that demonstrate he gives less of a fuck about the average person than he does his manicure. Mitt Romney is losing because he's Mitt Romney, and even NASCAR fans see that.

Another way to look at this is that maybe people aren't as stupid as Republicans need them to be. Oh, sure, most of the population is a fickle bunch of assholes who are exactly as dumb as you think they are. But you don't have to be a New Yorker-reading dilettante to get that Republicans are a craven bunch of motherfuckers who are either trying to protect the rich or enforce their Christian extremist morality. You don't need to have a Rachel Maddow poster on your bedroom wall to get that it's Republicans who have blocked nearly everything the President and Democrats have tried to do for three years. You don't have to get Media Matters updates on Twitter to get that Mitt Romney's calculated emptiness is frightening.

So, hey, Lindsey Graham, no need to get down with the darkies. You'd just look pathetic doing so. No, what the Republicans need to do is take a long look in the mirror and say, "Wow, we really are unmitigated dickheads." Or you need to admit, "Yeah, we are simply the party of the greedy and the crazy, and we don't know how to change that. Time to give up."

It's the first step back to some self-respect. Or you could just keep blaming those different than you. It's worked before for you guys.
In Brief: Romney in 2007: Some Fun Quotes from an Interview on ABC's This Week:
Back on February 18, 2007, Mitt Romney was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos's hair while at the beginning of his long journey to lose the presidential race this year. There's a few things in there that perhaps deserve to be quoted once again:

On being a missionary: "I was in a pampered home with great advantages. I went to France and I lived on a far more modest, humble basis. We made about $100 a week, we drew out of our savings to live there. That was food, clothing, transportation, housing, the whole bit. And I recognized that the opportunities we have in this country are absolutely extraordinary...Look it's hard. It's real hard being a missionary in France." (Note: Romney was a missionary during the Vietnam War, so, you know, compared to, say, John Kerry's 1968, it wasn't that hard.) (And another note: $100 in 1968 is now worth $658. Many people in this country would kill to make that.)

And here's another quote on his time in France. See, his father, George Romney, was a frontrunner for the 1968 Republican nomination when he went to Vietnam to visit the troops. He came back and said that he had received "the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get" from the generals and diplomatic corps there. It pretty much killed George Romney's presidential aspirations.

Asked if it was a "tough blow," Mitt Romney told Stephanopoulos, "It must have been but I wasn't around. I was lucky, I was in France. I was serving my church at the time. And so I saw from afar the statement and I must admit it didn't impact me as having such huge impact or moment."

You got that? The most degrading moment for his father, whom Mitt Romney has talked about idolizing, had no effect on him at all. That's some automaton-level sociopathic shit right there.

One more thing: You know that Romney was the president of the Boston area Mormon churches? That's right. He's used to being called "President Romney," fucker.

By the way, in 2007-2008, nearly every interview with Romney, including one on 60 Minutes, which he did again last night, focused on him being a Mormon. This time around? Almost nothing.

You'd think someone who has seen such progress in people's attitudes firsthand would be a bit more tolerant. Nah, not Mitt. That'd require compassion, and he left that behind like a snake's old skin a long time ago.
Late Post Today:
Oh, Deathstroke is gettin' all killy again. Better wake up Cyborg and get to work.

Back later with more Mittastic rudery.

Health Insurance, solutions for the self-employed

Individual health insurance is very necessary for you as an entrepreneur, for those of you who run your own business is different from those working as employees in a company because usually employees of a company (especially a large and established companies) usually obtain health insurance from work place they work, so they are not too worried for hospital care cost problem when their health impaired, because all or most of the cost of hospital care costs will be covered by health insurance.

Moreover, an employee also has a relatively fixed income every month while you are running your own business is certainly earning his monthly erratic, sometimes a lot more can ya loads but when more slack may be ngak no income at all.

For that is where the role of "individual health insurance" should be utilized because as you know insurance is where you transfer your risk is halal including the risk in terms of your health, which means that you can set aside a small portion of your funds for the unexpected things in this case is the risk your health in the future.

You always try to maintain your health and fitness, but when health is compromised at least you got a handle "individual health insurance" that will cover all your costs start from when you are sick until you are out of the hospital, there are even insurance companies that provide all facilities cost of care after hospital discharge borne by "individual health insurance", yeah well everything fits that bill to a maximum of 90 days after hospital discharge.

Facilities provided by "individual health insurance" as it is of course very suitable for you, because it can be when you're drag income and uncertainty you have health problems? if you do not have health insurance will definitely be quite a hassle you and your family of course, and you certainly do not want to pester your wife or child is not? especially until they had plaintively ask someone for help?

How to Easily Design Your Own Retirement

What do you think about your retirement future?

Is not that age should we stay break and enjoy the old days? So how in order to enjoy a comfortable retirement so as not troubled by financial problems? And what should be done in a productive age in order to be able to retire in peace? The solution: Prepare everything from now on!

Open an account for old age / retirement is one of the solutions to anticipate the financial problems that may occur during retirement. In general, we work from the age of 25 years up to 55 years usi. Assuming we reach the age of 75 years, the life span of 50 years (75-25) must be financed from the income for 30 years (55-25) works. This means income for 1 month should be used to finance 1.7 months of life during (obtained from the 50 divided 30).

So in conclusion, on the basis of the above data we can not spend all the income in the first month. We must set aside some revenue for the "provision" in the old days later. Having investments such as pension insurance will help to realize you achieve a prosperous retirement, in addition to the pension insurance will also minimize the financial problems that may occur. Maybe you'll be wondering how it works Pension Insurance, and how to obtain such insurance.

Insurance Education a Solution for the Future of Children

Children are a priceless gift from God, and our job as parents is to give the best to him. The best gift for a child is when he earned the right as a child, the best education.

Meanwhile, the cost of education has increased an incredible height. Let us recall, some time ago, when we (the parents) are still in school, how much do we spend? Is the cost the same, are able to educate our children? Let's figure out how much you should prepare for your child. Assumption: Your child is now 1 year old, there is still 17 years until he entered college.

Do not forget to also calculate the cost of other equipment such as tuition fees, living expenses, tuition fees and other components, which have not been considered above. 
We have 3 options:
 1. You do something
 2. You do not do anything
 3. You do everything
Photo of an Important Protest You Haven't Heard About (Updated):

Really, the protesters in the Muslim world have been fanned into outrage over the bullshit Muhammad-fucking film by groups who need to destabilize the region in order to gain power. If they were rioting over drone attacks, then, well, sure, go at it. Warm yourselves over the burning flags. We deserve it. But if it truly is the crap video, then they can suck a bag of cocks.

So let's leave behind the conflagration in the Muslim world for a moment and head over to the former Soviet Union for a protest of something real - in fact, over another film. That picture up top, with its signs with colorful language, is from the days of marches by thousands of citizens of the nation of Georgia, in its capital, Tbilisi. They are angry because of a secret video, showed Tuesday on TV, that showed guards at a Tbilisi prison beating and humiliating prisoners, including raping them with batons and broom handles. People flooded the streets all over the nation, calling for justice. 15 guards were arrested, and President Mikhail Saakashvili promised a full investigation.

Which would be fine, except that the whistleblower, a former guard who fled to Belgium, says that the prisoners chosen for torture and abuse are "ideological enemies" of the Saakashvili regime. Says a former member of the Georgian parliament, "[The] policy imposed by Mr. Saakashvili’s regime calls [for] zero tolerance towards minors, towards those who raised their voice against Saakashvili’s government. There are so many cases, almost 99 per cent of the prisoners, to be precise 98.7 per cent, according to Human Rights Watch, the prisoners pled [sic] guilty." The people in the streets, now for the fourth day, are calling for the president and his Interior Minister to resign. Oh, and there's an election right around the corner.

Which would be bad, but fine, from the average American's perspective, except that the United Nations human right chief called for a wider investigation.

And then there's this:

In January, President Obama praised Saakashvili for Georgia's participation in the war in Afghanistan and promised greater trading between the U.S. and Georgia. Oh, and, "I wanted to say to the President that we appreciate the model of democracy and transparency that they’ve been setting not just for their own country but also for the region as a whole."

That last part is up for a hell of a test.

Update: The Interior Minister did resign yesterday.  And rude reader Sam, who studies the former Soviet Union, offers: "I agree that if the accusations of the prison guard are correct it bodes ill for Georgian Democracy. Problematically, however, evidence of Saakashvili being a closet dictator is very very rare. There is no history of suppressing protest during his presidency, nor of secret prisons or show trials. In fact Saakashvili's tenure has seen a marked decline in police corruption and brutality. Also during this time the Georgian constitution has been reworked to make authoritarianism less likely by removing powers from the president and placing them in the hands of the Prime Minister and Parliament. After the presidential election next year the President will be a mainly ceremonial position. Overall there is very little evidence to suggest that this brutality was motivated by repressive tendencies on Presidents Saakasvili's part."
Mitt Romney: Useless on Univision:
Yes, yes, ha-ha, it sure does look like Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney darkened his skin to appear on Spanish-language network Univision last night or, as the Romneys call it, "El Television de Gardeners." At least he didn't go full taquito and start Speedy Gonzalesing around the set. But, you know, he's still a dumb fuck.

However, as was once again made clear, Mitt Romney is a dumb fuck who either has no answer to issues or the wrong answers. If Romney was a fortune teller, his tarot cards would always show the Three of Whuh? crossed with Death. In answering the questions asked by the hosts and others on the "Meet the Candidate" forum, Romney's performance seemed to be more akin to a bad magician who ends up sawing his assistant in half for real, ignoring the screams and blood because that'd spoil the illusion.

Just a couple of examples: a college student wondered, "What specific steps will you take to — as President — to ease the debt burden of a million young people, and promote a better future for higher education?"

Romney responded like every rich puke whose parents bought an Ivy League degree for them: "The best thing I can do for make sure that when you get out of the University of Miami, you have a job, all right." He added, "[T]he best thing I can do is not to — Hey, I’ll loan you more money. Here let’s loan you — I don’t want to overwhelm you with debts. I want you to make sure you can pay back the debts you’ve already got and that will happen with good jobs" and, blah, blah, blah, he will make sure there's a bunch of new, shiny jobs for her, like a rich puke whose parents have a job waiting for him. You might look at that and think that Romney didn't really answer the question and seemed to indicate he wanted to cut student loans (earlier he had said he likes Pell Grants, though). But then you'd just be another conniving liberal who is taking a man's inelegant words that were said off the cuff too seriously.

But beyond the non-answers and the vague answers rests the truly nonsensical and truly dangerous policies he says he's gonna institute. Sure, he embraced the Massachusetts health care plan, but only as a way of showing that every state should come up with its own. That's right: fifty different plans for fifty different states, all with their own rules and restrictions. No abortion in Alabama and you get charged more for drinking big sodas in New York. Or some such shit. Romney warned, "The idea of a federal government stepping in and telling people here’s the kind of insurance you have to have; you don’t get the choice of whether you want comprehensive or whether you want catastrophic. The government’s going to tell you what you have to have. The government is going to ultimately have a board that tells you what kind of care you can receive." Apparently, though, a state government and state board telling you these things is just fine because freedom, motherfuckers.

In assessing the education system of the nation, Romney said his plan is simple: "Under my federal plan, I’m going to take dollars that normally are sent to states and school districts, I’m going to instead say, 'That goes to the child to take to him or her to the school of their choice.' And let’s let students go to the schools where they think they’re going to get the best education." One hopes he means the dollars go to the parents or Uncle Touchy's School of Playstation is gonna get a lot of money.

It was tedious, useless, and limp as an old burrito (see what the Rude Pundit did there?). Romney said, "I care" a couple of times because nothings says one cares like saying one cares. He closed with the plea of a whore looking to give one last hummer to be able score some rock: "They never get the job done. You’d lose your job in the private sector if you didn’t get the job done. I will get the job done."

Romney's Hispanic minstrel show last night was as worthless as Romney, but it showed again that he may be dull and vague, but he's also gonna wreck the joint if he gets in.
Erick Erickson and the Right Are Tap Dancing as Fast as They Can:
This morning, the Rude Pundit's radio went on, as it does, early, piercing the tequila-induced fever dreams that generally involve things like him starving to death on a raft in the middle of the ocean with Colin Farrell and Scarlett Johansson, trying to figure out the eternal question, "Fuck or eat?" Eeny-meeny... Anyways, slamming into his brain was a whiny-voiced bastard in the middle of NPR's Morning Edition. "The hell?" he wondered. "Erickson? Who invited that creepy doughboy on the show?"

Yes, it was's Erick "Erick" Erickson, a rape-eyed blogger who somehow has been granted a microphone, talking all about how Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (campaign motto: "Vote for Mitt or Kolobians are gonna invade your puny planet") should embrace his secretly recorded statements about 47% of Americans being parasites who will not be pried from their host. Oh-ho, oh-ho, Erickson wants you to know that he didn't like Romney, oh, no, until now. As he said on CNN just a little later, "This is so discombobulated for me to be here defending Mitt Romney. It's just not my natural state." 'Cause we all totally know how absurd that is.

On RedState, Erickson listed all the right-wingers who are so down with Romney taking on the freeloading 47%, all doing their jigs and leaps in order for it to be a net positive. They're making sure we know that Romney was totally misunderstood, speaking as he was in off-the-cuff koans and proverbs. Erickson told CNN, "Well, the 47 percent number also equates to people who don't pay income taxes. Now I don't think he was actually talking about all those people, but I don't think it matters." And he'd be right, except that it totally matters.

Back on that well-designed toilet bowl, RedState, after reminding us all that he is, for some stupid reason, still a CNN commentator, Erickson wrote, "What I explained to them and what I think the media misses is that many of the people the media would claim Mitt Romney described as 'victims' weren’t who Mitt Romney was speaking about. And those people intrinsically know it. They may technically fall into the category Mitt Romney described as government dependent victims, but they know he’s not talking about them. He’s talking about the people they also are talking about."

And that, right there, is pretty much a word picture of a nude, sweaty, baby-faced Erickson, slow-motion dancing, his loose flesh moving in undulating waves across his torso, the mesmerizing contortions attempting to distract you from seeing that, truly, he really is shitty at this.

Right now, Erickson's argument is that people are too stupid to know that Mitt Romney was insulting them. Back on CNN, Erickson continued, "There are a lot of people out there who technically are in the demographic of don't pay income taxes and government benefits who actually would agree with Mitt Romney on this issue." And that's why Republicans keep getting elected to fuck things up.

One last beef with Erickson comes from the following phrase he wrote: "Back when I was running political campaigns..." He uses this to give him some kind of street cred. Is he talking about when he ran for the city council of Macon, Georgia, a position he quit, Palin-like, in his first term to be on the radio? 'Cause whatever wisdom he got from appealing to rednecks and racists probably ain't enough for him advise anyone.

Actually, scratch that. It is enough to keep advising today's Republicans. And they deserve Erickson.
Note to Mitt Romney: Everyone Is Dependent on the Government, You Dumb Fuck:
Good on Mitt Romney for not backing down from the purity of his dickishness. What you get in that secret video released by Mother Jones wherein Romney speaks to a mansion full of rich cocks, cunts, and assholes back in May is undiluted, free and loose Mitt. He said, and he affirmed at his press conference yesterday, that 47% of people are government-dependent, clinging to Barack Obama for fear that Romney will deny them food.

It's not it was "not elegantly stated," as he said yesterday. It's that he has made this his position in the election. And, fuck, it really seems that we've finally discovered a belief, a real and honest belief, that Romney has: "It's us versus them. And we can write off most of them." Here's something else Romney said that didn't get as much play: "[Y]ou and I, we spend our day with Republicans. We spend our days with people who agree with us." He was talking about how to convince the disappointed Obama voter to join with him, but could you easily spend your day with people who agree with you, even if you tried? How narrow must your world be in order to have such a myopic view of human relationships?

What's most aggravating about Romney's dismissal of the 47% as those "who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it," and, horror of horrors, pay no federal income taxes (which is actually true because of policies put into effect by Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and both Bushes) isn't the stunning elitism. Oh, sure, it's pretty damned insulting to necessary voting blocs because, in order to reach 47%, he has to include all senior citizens and a good number of ignorant Obama haters on food stamps, the kind of people who watch this story on Fox "news" and nod that Romney is just a victim of the liberal media. However, the aggravating part is how fucking stupid Romney is in his bifurcation of the population.

See, we're all dependent on the government, you dumb fuck, so blinded by your elitism that you can't see that every place in this country, everybody doing everything is dependent on the government. Some depend on the government for food, others depend on the government to make their businesses possible. It's not two sides of the same coin. It's the same side of the same fucking coin, a coin, by the way, that was made by the government.

Follow the money, motherfuckers: Let's not even deal with roads that get us to work or regulations that make our food at least somewhat safe to eat. Let's take Republicans' beloved defense spending. How many millions of Americans are dependent on the government simply through defense contracts? Way fucking more than you think. Because let's go beyond soldiers and weapons manufacturers and subcontractors and sub-subcontractors. Let's go right to Mitt Romney's cold fucking heart: Staples. Yeah, fuckin' Staples, the company that was funded by Bain Capital and that Romney uses as a glowing example of his business prowess, which somehow, through some kind of right-wing magic, translates into being able to choose Supreme Court justices.

Staples is a major government contractor, providing pencils to those who would push them on paper pads procured through Staples. During the Obama administration, Staples has received over $13 million in contracts just from the Defense Department. Oh, and you want another kick in the nuts? "During the second quarter of 2011, the company received a $21 million cash tax refund." Drop in the bucket for a corporation that grossed over $5 billion during the second quarter of this year? Perhaps, but it affects the bottom line, which affects hiring and dividend payouts to investors like, you know, Mitt Romney.

Holy shit, what's left, huh? What remains to be said about Mitt Romney? In just two weeks, we've learned that he has no clue about how to lead on foreign policy (something that was reconfirmed by another part of the video) and that he simply doesn't give a shit about nearly half the nation. How much more degraded can this most dickish man be, an undoing of amazing proportions simply because no one apparently ever told him that he was just too much of a tool to be president?

Oh, wait. There's this: The video was taken at the house of hedge fund manager Mark Leder in Boca Raton, Florida. Leder made his fortune with his firm, Sun Capital, investing in companies that were failing and attempting to turn them around. Like, hey, look, a paper company, just like Romney's Bain Capital did. Yeah, according to the August 5, 2001 Palm Beach Post, "International Paper closed the plant in February and laid off the mill's 800 workers. Sun Capital renamed the plant Smart Papers and opened a few days later, rehiring 550 workers at wages that were 25 percent lower than their previous pay." Jobs saved? Sure (although it was more like half the workers hired back). Profit made? You bet, motherfuckers. And then they ran the Hamilton, Ohio company into the ground. It's closed now.

One other thing: Leder is also somewhat famous for being another one of those private equity bros who flaunt their wealth. He's not Mormon, so he doesn't have to waste his money on prancing horses or multiple cloned sons. Leder has sex parties in the Hamptons: "[G]uests cavorted nude in a pool and performed sex acts, while scantily clad Russian women danced on platforms. Dancers at the party also twirled flaming torches to booming beats." It's awesome that Romney doesn't care whose jizz-stained hands he shakes, as long as those hands are providing hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign cash. Seriously, at this point, Romney may as well admit that he'd blow an elephant for the entertainment of wealthy donors in order to become president.

By the way, you know why there's still beaches in the Hamptons and Boca Raton? That'd be because of work done by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stave off erosion.  Yeah, the government. Or, as it's also known, us and them.
The Continuing Necessity of Occupy Wall Street (in Spirit, If Not Presence):
There were two disheartening things that the Rude Pundit heard/read this morning related to the actions going on with the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. The first was on an OWS Ustream feed where the incredibly diligent cameraman announced, "We are blocking the sidewalks!" as a kind of small victory, as if making bankers and brokers mildly inconvenienced is the same as shutting things down. Hell, walk on Fifth Avenue in December if you want to see sidewalks brought to a halt.

The other was the tweet "OWS Puppet Guild is performing in front of the National Museum of the American Indian" (which is actually right near the Museum of Finance). Goddamn the motherfucking puppets, even if this one is kind of a cool, grotesque Lady Liberty.

Again, one has to constantly battle one's natural cynicism to support Occupy. But this is not going to be another liberal ragging on protest.

The media is filled with stories now that ask some variation on "Whatever Happened to Occupy Wall Street?" The stories are about internal dissent in the movement or the dissipation of the energy and the activists. They talk about not having a central goal or real leadership. Essentially, it's pretty much the same thing that was written about the movement from its outset. And it's an empty narrative that leaves out the concerted effort by the FBI and police action to infiltrate and discredit, if not destroy, the movement, as they do every leftist movement in this country.

Here's the thing, and perhaps it sounds a bit like what the Obama campaign has been saying about its accomplishments: Change takes time. Yes, we are an impatient, informed-by-the-second, instant gratification-craving people now. What Occupy accomplished is to lay the groundwork for a future where protest is not only possible, but is part of the culture once again, something we haven't seen since the early 1970s. And it's hard to argue that the discussion of the economy in this election, especially for President Obama, wasn't seismically shifted by last year's long season of Occupy actions. But a real change in how the 99% relates to the 1% is gonna take a lot longer.

The movement, still in its nascent, wild phase, has had effects that have reverberated out from lower Manhattan. While the Chicago teachers strike might have happened on its own, one could argue that the support the teachers have gotten is part of that shift in the culture caused by OWS. Yes, once more, we can appreciate workers asserting their power. Eventually the movement will need to coalesce around some specific goals in specific ways. It will need to have, for instance, an Occupy candidate for Congress, like the antiwar candidates of the 1960s.  And that candidate might actually have to be a Democrat.

Obviously, New York City is taking the protests today very seriously, with the NYPD having already arrested over 100 people. But the greatest threats to OWS are not the cops.

Those threats would be the media tiring of the story and moving on to something new and the apathy of the mainstream left to the hippie dreamers in the streets. We here in Left Blogsylvania can actually have an effect on at least one of those so that even if OWS, in its current form, fades away, its spirit can continue to influence our politics.

American Automobile Association

AAA (American Automobile Association), formerly known as the American Automobile Association, is a federation of 51 independently operated motor clubs throughout North America. AAA is a not-for-profit member service organization with more than 51 million members. AAA provides services to its members such as travel, automotive, insurance, financial, and discounts. Its national headquarters are in Heathrow, Florida.

Members belong to one of 69 individual clubs (see List of AAA regional clubs), and the clubs in turn own AAA. The member clubs have arranged a reciprocal service system so that members of any participating club are able to receive member services from any other affiliate club. Member dues finance all club services as well as the operations of the national organization.

The vast majority of AAA clubs have "AAA" as part of their name, although the two largest AAA clubs by membership do not: the Automobile Club of Southern California and Auto Club South.

From the standpoint of the consumer, AAA clubs primarily provide emergency road services to members. These services, which include everything from lockouts, winching, tire changes, automotive first aid, and towing, are handled by private local towing companies contracted by a state AAA club. Many AAA clubs have an automotive fleet division serving large metro areas, while private towing companies cover the surplus call volume by area. Recently, certain clubs have implemented an "on the go" diagnostic/installation automotive battery program, which offers members an additional service to an ever more demanding commute. This is part of AAA's vision for the future of automotive services, termed "On the go".

Clubs also distribute road maps (including customized map guides for specific journeys, branded as "TripTik") and travel publications (TourBooks), and rate restaurants and hotels according to a "diamond" scale (one to five). The best hotels and restaurants according to AAA's criteria receive the Five Diamond Award. Many offices sell automobile liability insurance, provide travel agency, auto-registration and notary services. Maps, TourBooks, and travel agent services are generally free to members. AAA also offers member discounts through its "Show Your Card & Save" program.
Grappling with Obama's Un-Liberal Actions: A Voter's Conscience (Part 3):
The Rude Pundit has never been shy about admitting that, in 2000, he voted for Ralph Nader. It was neither a brave nor foolish action. He lived in a state that was so in the tank for George W. Bush that no candidate bothered to visit it in the general election. So the Rude Pundit was following the late, much-missed Molly Ivins' advice: in firmly Republican states, why not pull the lever for Nader so that he could get 5% of the vote and his party could receive federal matching funds in the next election cycle, thus creating a viable third party? Had the Rude Pundit lived in, say, Florida, he would have voted for Gore.

But there was one controversial part of Nader's campaign that did appeal to him. The Rude Pundit believed that there were more similarities between Bush and Al Gore than differences, as Nader and many other liberals said. That thought, so radical at the time, now just seems childish in retrospect, an indulgence of a time when the nation seemed so strong that no single president could drag it so very far down.

Just as childish is voting for the lesser of two evils because, at the end of the day, you're still voting for evil.

Shortly after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, you could read this headline over at CNN's website: "Drones expected to hunt for suspects in Libya attack." If your first reaction is "No shit," that you simply expect this nation to use "targeted" missile attacks to deal with every problem in the Middle East - you can be certain that the headline would not have been there had the attack been on the embassy in, say, Denmark - then you have an understanding of how little moral authority the United States can claim in the world.

If your reaction was "No shit" followed by "No wonder they wanna blow us up," then it actually matters to you that America under Obama executes people without trial constantly. And you can only sadly laugh when Mitt Romney or some right-wing spooge bucket says stupid shit like that the President sympathizes with Muslim protesters or terrorists. What the fuck else do they want to prove otherwise? Another war? Oh, wait, right. It never occurs to them that a little bit of sympathy might actually go a long way to stopping the violence.

On and on it goes with the Obama administration. After a ruling that placed a permanent injunction on a part of the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act that allowed the government to indefinitely detain anyone who glanced in the direction of someone, including citizens, who glanced in the direction of a terrorist organization, the Justice Department filed an appeal. You got that, right? Barack Obama is asserting the right to indefinitely detain Americans in military custody if they meet criteria the administration refused to define for the judge. So you don't even know what you'd have to do to get snatched by authorities and jailed in Who-the-Fuck-Knows, Romania.

Meanwhile, after ten years of detention, without charge, despite being recommended for release, a poor bastard named Adnan Latif died in custody at the prison at Guantanamo Bay naval base. In 2010, a federal judge ordered his release because he wasn't guilty of anything. It wasn't the Bush administration that appealed the judge's order and had it reversed.


There's this part of Robert's Rules of Order that is aggravating as hell but makes so much sense. It says that you can ask for reconsideration of a motion only if you voted for the winning side of it. The rule prevents the losers from being able to do so because it's only natural that they'd want to gum up the works. But if you voted for a motion and then want to reconsider? That has greater weight.

The Rude Pundit votes because that's what you do in a presumptive democracy, especially if when it comes to a presidential election. For him, not voting is simply not an option. He respects your right to take a stand by staying home, but that's not for him. He will not smoke that drug. He will not fuck that orifice. Everyone's got a line, and that's his. And, frankly, there's no third party candidate he gives a damn about to throw in with.

It's easy to attack the person you didn't vote for. The Rude Pundit did it for 8 years. It's a hell of a lot harder, and perhaps carries more weight, to attack the person who did get your vote.

When he votes for Barack Obama, he will do so in part because he does not want Mitt Romney to have the power that Obama has amassed, greater power than the kind we protested so vociferously in the Bush administration. That power isn't going away any time soon. We see that in the vote in the House to extend secret, warrantless surveillance on Americans overseas. We see that in the drone war. No one should be trusted with the power to kill anyone, anywhere, based on secret evidence. It needs to be stopped, but it's happening.

It ain't gonna change if Obama isn't reelected. It will get worse. And we would end up in a war with Iran along with tax cuts for the wealthy. That's an America that is far worse than anything we can conjure under Obama. And for this voter, that vision is enough to sway him.
The Chicago Teachers Strike Is for the Children:
So yesterday, charmless shitpile Jon Kyl, Republican senator from the so not-great state of Arizona, said that the statement put out by the U.S. embassy in Cairo when it was about to be attacked by protesters "was like the judge telling the woman, ‘You got raped, you asked for it because of the way you dressed.’ That’s the same thing. ‘Well America, you should be the ones to apologize, you should have known this would happen, you should have done’ — done what, I don’t know — but it’s all your fault that it happened." Kyl, who looks like he masturbates to snuff films involving chainsaw dildos and illegal immigrants, took the Romney campaign's complete misinterpretation of the Cairo statement, which didn't once apologize or regret or express sorrow, and grafted a worthless rape analogy onto it. What makes this story even more pathetic is that, just a few days ago, an Arizona judge, Jacqueline Hatch, apologized for blaming the victim in rape a case. Awesome place, Arizona.

We'll get back to Kyl and his wondrous rape imagery in a moment, but instead, let's focus on the Chicago Teachers Union's strike.

Of all the stupid shit that's been written against the teachers, including a New York Times editorial and a column from the normally more thoughtful Nicholas Kristof, as well as the bizarre number of people on the left and center who oppose the TCU (which probably mostly comes from fear of having to find day care should it happen to them), the most ridiculous is from the Chicago Tribune. The gist of its position is laid out right at the beginning: "Chicago Teachers Union officials aren't merely fighting City Hall. They're fighting the inevitability of education reform. They are denying the arc of history."

See, according to the editorial, it's too fucking late. School "reform" has happened: "Those vital reforms — evaluations tied to student growth and empowering principals to hire the best — aren't a whim of Mayor Rahm Emanuel or the Chicago Board of Education. These principles are set in law, federal and state. They're at the heart of the Democratic education reform agenda championed by the Obama administration in its Race to the Top challenges."

"Look around," the Tribune exhorts the teachers, "this fight is over." And it gives examples of how the country has moved, quoting the Times in saying, more or less, "give it up."

Imagine: 90% of the teachers in a major metropolitan area are either greedy motherfuckers or they honestly believe that school reforms that have been shoved down the throat by the corporate bullshit peddlers harm the kids and are willing to risk financial ruin and public scorn in order to take a stand rather than be squashed by the arc of history. The Rude Pundit will go with the latter.

This is one reason why unions exist and a big reason why the protections of tenure exist: so that you can actually do your fucking job without constantly being batted about by market and political forces (even if those forces always exist - it's a question of degrees). And the teachers in Chicago have put up with a lot of shit - from the rescinding of a promised raise to the reliance on charter schools (whose teachers are not unionized) to the cutting back of tenure guarantees to the attempts to go around the union. Again: 90% of the teachers voted to strike. Something was broken. And that was respect for the professionalism of the teachers.

You know what else was part of the arc of history? No Child Left Behind, a boondoggle that fell on the states that has been discredited by nearly every reliable measure. Hell, states are rushing to opt out of the requirements of that act because it failed in concept and action, like, you know, teachers said it would. But teachers had to do it. They had to change they way they taught, no matter how successful they had been, in order to make sure that the NCLB gods were obeyed.

Which gets us back to Jon Kyl. Or, really, to the proper use of a rape metaphor.

Because what else are the teachers being told than they may as well just lay back and take it?

Top 10 Insurance Companies In World

 Country: United States. American International Group, Inc. (AIG), a world leader in insurance and financial services, is the leading international insurance organization with operations in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions. AIG companies serve commercial, institutional and individual customers through the most extensive worldwide property-casualty and life insurance networks of any insurer. In addition, AIG companies are leading providers of retirement services, financial services and asset management around the world. AIG’s common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, as well as the stock exchanges in Paris and Tokyo.

2. AXA Group
Country: France. In 1980, AXA did not exist. Over the next 20 years, the Group would grow to become a major international player.AXA pursues successfully its external growth strategy: consolidation of AXA existing activities, with the acquisition of Oyak’s 50% stake in AXA Oyak, 2nd Turkish insurer, for 525 million dollars, and penetration of high growth potential markets, with the acquisition of 100% of the 3rd Mexican insurer, ING Seguros (for an amount of 1.5 billion dollars). Today AXA is present in geographically diverse markets, with operations concentrated in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.

3. Allianz Worldwide
Country: Germany. The Allianz Group is one of the leading integrated financial services providers worldwide. With nearly 155,000 employees worldwide, the Allianz Group serves approximately 75 million customers in about 70 countries. On the insurance side, Allianz is the market leader in the German market and has a strong international presence.

4. Prudential Financial
Country: United States. Prudential Financial, Inc,
a financial services leader with approximately $580 billion of Assets Under Management as of June 30, 2009, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Leveraging its heritage of life insurance and asset management expertise, Prudential is focused on helping approximately 50 million individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth.

5. Manulife Financial
Country: Canada. Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 22 countries and territories world-wide. We provide financial protection and wealth management products and services, to individual and group customers in Canada, the United States and Asia. These products and services include individual life insurance, group life and health insurance, long-term care services, pension products, annuities, mutual funds and banking products. We offer reinsurance services, specializing in life retrocession and property and casualty reinsurance and provide investment management services with respect to the Company’s general fund and segregated fund assets and to mutual funds and institutional customers.

6. Generali Group
Country: Italy. The Generali Group
is one of the most significant participants in the global insurance and financial products market. The Group is leader in Italy and Assicurazioni Generali, founded in 1831 in Trieste, is the Group’s Parent and principal operating Company. In recent years, the Group has made a significant return to central-eastern European markets and has set up offices in the principal markets of the Far East, among which China and India.

7. MetLife
Country: United States. MetLife, Inc.
is a leading provider of insurance and other financial services to millions of individual and institutional customers throughout the United States. Outside the U.S., MetLife companies have direct insurance operations in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Europe.

8. Aviva
Country: United Kingdom. Aviva
is one of the leading providers of life and pension products in Europe and are actively growing our long-term savings businesses in Asia Pacific and the USA. Their main activities are long-term savings, fund management and general insurance

9. Munich Re Group
Country: Germany. The Munich Re Group
is one of the world’s leading risk carriers. It’s business covers the whole value chain in insurance and reinsurance.

Counry: Netherlands. AEGON
is an international business, providing life insurance, pensions and other long-term savings and investment products to millions of customers around the world. The company has major operations in the United States, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom as well as other businesses in Asia, the Americas and elsewhere in Europe. AEGON is listed on the stock exchanges of Amsterdam, London, New York and Tokyo

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