Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cure for Toxic Proteins Strongly Implicated in Dementia and Alzheimer's Symptoms?

I had known for a few years that mice studies showed that inserting an enzyme into the mice's brain that destroys excess proteins immediately gave the mice the cognitive ability of younger mice without Alzheimer's Disease. So it was obvious that the plaques that form are not the immediate concern of dementia even though with time it can destroy brain cells. Nuns who died intellectually intact had a brain full of plaques. Perhaps their modest diet, medications, and pursuit of intellectual studies helped preserve their thinking brains.

As the study below shows, complexing Oleocanthal at a higher concentration in Extra Virgin Olive Oil with the low molecular weight "beta-amyloid oligomers, ADDLs are structurally different from the amyloid plaques that accumulate in brains of Alzheimer's patients." The complexation with Oleocanthal makes them too large to complex with the synapses which provide the transmission of neuron signals.

Normally we have enzymes that destroy excess proteins all over our body. One commercial antihistamine had to be taken off the market when it blocked the entrance to the formation of this protein destroying enzyme so excess protein accumulated causing harm. By injecting the brain with an enzyme to destroy excess proteins, the researchers found. I found the comment on the last page of Harper's Magazine, a page devoted a bevy of interesting comments, a few years ago.

A number of common medications which resemble antihistamines such as Detrol (bladder incontinence treatment) and a number of other common drugs discussed in "Our Daily Meds" by Melody Petersen, a former award winning New York Times reporter, pages 36-37 as "many drugs, including some used to treat allergies, anxiety, blood pressure, convulsions, depression, Parkinson's disease, and psychosis, have been found o have anticholinergic effects.

Bladder drugs block the action of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter of information required for both learning and retrieval. "... brains of the patients who had taken anticholinergic drugs for two years or longer had more than twice the level of abnormal clumps of amyloid plaque and tangled bundles of fibers as those who had not taken the drugs or had take them for a short time." The size and geometry of the drugs are important because they need to fit the synaptic connections.

Jim Kawakami, Sept 29, 2009, http://jimboguy.blogspot.com Shortened form at this google website. I normally put my more important e-mails and writings on google to preserve them in shortened form.

Mayo Clinic Explains Mediterranean diet: Choose this heart-healthy diet option

Antioxidant Property of Olive Oil May Explain the Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cure for Toxic Proteins Strongly Implicated in Dementia and Alzheimer's Symptoms?
Mayo Clinic Explains Mediterranean diet: Choose this heart-healthy diet option

The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy eating plan combining elements of Mediterranean-style cooking. Here's how to adopt the Mediterranean diet. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mediterranean-diet/CL00011

Antioxidant Property of Olive Oil May Explain the Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet ScienceDaily (Apr. 2, 2009) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090401200447.htm — Scientists have pinned down the constituent of olive oil that gives greatest protection from heart attack and stroke. In a study of the major antioxidants in olive oil, Portuguese researchers showed that one, DHPEA-EDA, protects red blood cells from damage more than any other part of olive oil.
"These findings provide the scientific basis for the clear health benefits that have been seen in people who have olive oil in their diet," says lead researcher Fatima Paiva-Martins, who works at the University of Porto.
Heart disease is caused partly by reactive oxygen, including free radicals, acting on LDL or "bad" cholesterol and resulting in hardening of the arteries. Red blood cells are particularly susceptible to oxidative damage because they are the body's oxygen carriers.
In the study, published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, Paiva-Martins and colleagues compared the effects of four related polyphenolic compounds on red blood cells subjected to oxidative stress by a known free radical generating chemical.
DHPEA-EDA was the most effective and protected red blood cells even at low concentrations. The researchers say the study provides the first evidence that this compound is the major source of the health benefit associated with virgin olive oils, which contain increased levels of DHPEA-EDA compared to other oils. In virgin olive oils, DHPEA-EDA may make up as much as half the total antioxidant component of the oil.
Paiva-Martins says the findings could lead to the production of "functional" olive oils specifically designed to reduce the risk of heart disease. "Now we have identified the importance of these compounds, producers can start to care more about the polyphenolic composition of their oils," she says. ...
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cure for Toxic Proteins Strongly Implicated in Dementia and Alzheimer's Symptoms?

ScienceDaily (Sep. 29, 2009) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090929133123.htm — Oleocanthal, a naturally occurring compound found in extra-virgin olive oil, alters the structure of neurotoxic proteins believed to contribute to the debilitating effects of Alzheimer's disease. This structural change impedes the proteins' ability to damage brain nerve cells. ...

Known as ADDLs, these highly toxic proteins bind within the neural synapses of the brains of Alzheimer's patients and are believed to directly disrupt nerve cell function, eventually leading to memory loss, cell death, and global disruption of brain function. Synapses are specialized junctions that allow one nerve cell to send information another.

"Binding of ADDLs to nerve cell synapses is thought to be a crucial first step in the initiation of Alzheimer's disease. Oleocanthal alters ADDL structure in a way that deters their binding to synapses," said William L. Klein, PhD, who co-led the research with Breslin. ...
Klein and his colleagues identified ADDLs in 1998, leading to a major shift in thinking about the causes, progression and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Also known as beta-amyloid oligomers, ADDLs are structurally different from the amyloid plaques that accumulate in brains of Alzheimer's patients.
Reporting on a series of in vitro studies, the team of Monell and Northwestern researchers found that incubation with oleocanthal changed the structure of ADDLs by increasing the protein's size.
Knowing that oleocanthal changed ADDL size, the researchers next examined whether oleocanthal affected the ability of ADDLs to bind to synapses of cultured hippocampal neurons. The hippocampus, a part of the brain intimately involved in learning and memory, is one of the first areas affected by Alzheimer's disease.
Measuring ADDL binding with and without oleocanthal, they discovered that small amounts of oleocanthal effectively reduced binding of ADDLs to hippocampal synapses. Additional studies revealed that oleocanthal can protect synapses from structural damage caused by ADDLs.
An unexpected finding was that oleocanthal makes ADDLs into stronger targets for antibodies. This action establishes an opportunity for creating more effective immunotherapy treatments, which use antibodies to bind to and attack ADDLs.
Breslin commented on the implications of the findings. "If antibody treatment of Alzheimer's is enhanced by oleocanthal, the collective anti-toxic and immunological effects of this compound may lead to a successful treatment for an incurable disease. Only clinical trials will tell for sure."
In earlier work at Monell, Breslin and co-workers used the sensory properties of extra virgin olive oil to identify oleocanthal based on a similar oral irritation quality to ibuprofen. Oleocanthal and ibuprofen also have similar anti-inflammatory properties, and ibuprofen – like extra virgin olive oils presumably rich in oleocanthal – is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer's when used regularly.
Future studies to identify more precisely how oleocanthal changes ADDL structure may increase understanding of the pharmacological actions of oleocanthal, ibuprofen, and structurally related plant compounds. Such pharmacological insights could provide discovery pathways related to disease prevention and treatment. ... http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090929133123.htm

Greenwald Talk: Hysteria Pushing Us Hard to Attack Iran: Effort Seems to Be Coordinated

Even if we "win" the war in Afghanistan, it won't affect the efforts of Al Qaeda who want to concentrate on Pakistan. The more we fight, the greater the resentment of the Afghan people. Let the Afghans stop the corruption themselves. We know from our worldwide experiences that even first world countries such as Israel have rampant corruption with the former Prime Minister Oldmert, but not the first, to be indicted for corruption crimes.

We can't change the world so we need to be very selective in where we intervene. These wars have weakened our country and kept our so-called Defense Industries rich including Cheney who has millions of shares of Halliburton which received, by far, the largest contracts at the start of the Bush/Cheney War in Iraq. As I said, the same deficient pre-frontal cortical judgement brain function that makes people overly religious about a God or Belief and corrupt at the same time. It is great during brutal wars because we are not inhibited in killing others, some of whom were former friends as we had seen in the Serbs vs Muslim Bosnians war or the current Israeli-Palestinian wars and our wars in Latin America, Vietnam, Iraq, Mexico, Cuba, Iran, and Afghanistan. We had no good reason to go to war in Afghanistan in the first place no matter what most Americans think. All wars have a profit motive. Afghanistan is no longer a profitable war.

Jim Kawakami, Sept 29, 2009, http://jimboguy.blogspot.com

TUESDAY SEPT. 29, 2009 10:30 EDT

Talking about Iran on the TV

(updated below - Update II - Update III)
Earlier this morning, I was on MSNBC, on Dylan Ratigan's Morning Meeting program, discussing Iran. Although I didn't know beforehand, the person charged with making the case that Iran is a Grave Threat was . . . Arianna Huffington. Also on the panel was Washington Post Editorial Page writer Jonathan Capehart. Here's what ensued: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEuxel6Fv-0
Just today, a columnist in Capehart's paper, Richard Cohen, suggests we may have to attack Iran. Over the weekend, another columnist in Capehart's newspaper, David Ignatius, beat his chest and roared: "It’s hard to see how this one will end short of military confrontation if the Iranians don’t start bargaining for real." Last week, Capehart's Editorial Page published an attack-Iran Op-Ed from two former Senators (one from each party) who have spent the last year advocating a detailed plan for blockading, attacking, bombing and invading that country. The same day, Capehart's boss, Editorial Page Deputy Editor Jackson Diehl, said that Israel's so-called "success" in its attack on Gaza may/should create the view that "even a partial and short-term reversal of the Iranian nuclear program [via an air attack] may look to Israelis like a reasonable benefit."
And, oh yeah -- we're currently occupying two Muslim countries on either side of Iran, having invaded them many years ago. There's nothing Iran has done that we and our clients/allies haven't done ourselves to a far greater extent. But remember: it's Iran that is run by people with crazy, belligerent, fanatical, war-loving sentiments and is therefore a grave threat to world peace (imagine if Iran had invaded, bombed and then spent the last eight years militarily occupying Canada and Mexico, only for Iranian media elites to keep insisting that it was the U.S. that was the rogue state run by aggressive fanatics who threatened world peace).

UPDATE: This person points out the irony that -- unbeknownst to me -- the entire time when I was speaking, MSNBC was flashing scary video of Iran testing its missiles (though it omitted video of this andthis), interspersed with this melodramatic and frightening caption:It's genuinely hard to overstate the effect of visuals like this, transmitted over and over and over to a population. And that's on the "liberal" MSNBC.

UPDATE II: Also worth watching: Scott Ritter, this morning on Democracy Now, discussing the hysteria being generated about Iran.

UPDATE III: In Salon today, Juan Cole documents the numerous myths being used to feed hysteria over Iran, and -- yet again -- debunks the claim that Iran has been threatening a first-strike against Israel.

-- Glenn Greenwald

Friday, September 25, 2009

Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY): Decide Why We are In Afghanistan Before Deciding Military or Another Approach

All the experts are worried more about what happens in Pakistan than Afghanistan. Steve Coll gives us some pertinent history about what actually happened in Afghanistan and also a good read.

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 [BARGAIN PRICE] (Hardcover)

by Steve Coll (Author) "IT WAS A SMALL RIOT in a year of upheavals, a passing thunderclap disgorged by racing skies..."

President Obama is cautious in domestic policies when "she" should be more aggressive while "he" seems to be aggressive in foreign policies when he should be cautious. I believe he should determine the best policy for the American people and her nation, but trying to toe the line between the Democrats and Republicans is a failed policy. Do what is right as Rep. Eric Massa is doing.

Obama seems to forget that Afghanistan is chiefly a tribal country with tribal loyalty. The Pashtuns heavily populate both Southern Afghanistan and Western Pakistan with about double the number in Pakistan. Why are we so much against the Taliban, but are for Saudi Arabia which also has just as conservative religious policies towards women? Sure the latter started a coed school as a show piece, but the religious community still reigns.

Even Bush was willing to accommodate the Taliban until they gave the oil/gas pipeline deal to Argentina instead of the USA. We threatened (diplomat) to bomb them if we did not get a pipeline. Of course Bush punished Argentina by bringing back our dollars and led to the economic destruction often blamed on just the Argentinians. Why don't we concentrate on Pakistan, if our true purpose is to destroy Al Qaeda? We cannot afford Nation Building!

Jim Kawakami, Tags: President Obama, Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY), Pashtuns, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Taliban, Saudi Arabia
Sept 5, 2009, http://jimboguy.blogspot.com

Wikipedia: Pashtuns http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pashtun_people
... Pashtun society consists of many tribes and clans which were rarely politically united,[14] until the rise of the Durrani Empire in 1747.[3] Pashtuns played a vital role during the Great Game as they were caught between the imperialist designs of the British and Russian empires. For over 250 years, they reigned as the dominant ethnic group in Afghanistan. More recently, the Pashtuns gained worldwide attention after theSoviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and with the rise and fall of the Taliban, since they are the main ethnic contingent in the movement. Pashtuns are also an important community in Pakistan, where they are prominently represented in the military and are the second-largest ethnic group.[15]
The Pashtuns are the world's largest (patriarchal) segmentary lineage ethnic group.[16] The total population of the group is estimated to be around 42 million, but an accurate count remains elusive due to the lack of an official census in Afghanistan since 1979.[17] There are an estimated 60 major Pashtun tribes and more than 400 sub-clans.[18] ...
Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY): Decide Why We are In Afghanistan Before Deciding Military or Another Approach ... But as Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY), our No Means No guest today, asked me this morning, "What is the job?"
Blue America's friendship with Eric Massa goes back to the very beginning of our PAC and he was one of the first candidates we ever supported. Ultimately it was his character that moved us to endorse him, although his championing of issues impacting the real lives of working families (like "fair trade" over so-called "free trade"), his dogged support of single-payer health care, and his spot-on analysis of the war in Iraq based on experience as a Naval officer are what first drew us to him. He came close in 2006 and he triumphed in 2008-- in one of the only districts in New York that Obama didn't win! Obama tool 48% in NY-29 while Massa scooped up 51% against a multimillionaire incumbent and Bush tool.
In June, Eric was one of only 32 Democrats to vote against the supplemental war budget -- of the 90 who had pledged to vote no. It was an incredibly courageous political act, particularly in a district with a daunting R+5.48 PVI (one of the most Republican districts in the country represented by a progressive Democrat). This morning Eric told me in no uncertain terms that he would "continue to vote against any supplemental."

We're not going to fund any wars in a way that no one knows about. The Republicans gave the wealthiest Americans the largest tax cut in history and then launched two wars without any idea of how to pay for them. It was the most fiscally irresponsible action they could take-- and they took it. ...

For instance, is this about fighting the Taliban or fighting al-Qaeda -- two distinctly different groups -- or is it about creating a democracy, or is it about protecting the Afghan people? These are very different missions that require very different resources. And until we know what we're doing, we cannot begin to get it done. The first thing a military officer asks is 'What is the mission?' And as of right now, that is a very legitimate question." ...

As progressives and men and women of common sense, we should demand a strategy that turns the destiny of Afghanistan over to the Afghans so we can get out of there as soon as possible. If the condition of our departure is creating a Jeffersonian democracy, then we are on a fool's errand. ... http://crooksandliars.com/howie-klein/blue-america-welcomes-eric-massa-talk

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rosenberg: Stocks Are Overvalued And "Tremendously Risky"

David Rosenberg who was rarely interviewed on television when he was the top analyst at Merrill Lynch has more recently established his own firm. http://www.businessinsider.com/henry-blodget-rosenberg-stocks-are-overvalued-and-tremendously-risky-2009-9

Blodget who was the hype master at Merrill Lynch on extremely risky public offerings and the tech industry, resigned after the late 1990s disaster in the market. He now publishes the Business Insider.

I read the Financial Times column by Rosenberg, but since I could not copy it from the Internet, I found the Business Insider discussed it. Although many are still hyping the market to get people in the market which is now happening among the normal sucker investors who buy mutual funds because they have done the best recently might be in for a rude wake-up call.

No one can predict the market, but Rosenberg gives the good advice that he never buys at the low and never buys at the high. He thinks the market advanced too rapidly and when the 4 percent annual growth does not materialize as the market anticipated, stocks should start dropping. Normally I have observed that there is usually lots of ups and downs before the sharper downturn.

What got me first concerned about the market about a month or so ago is that the short sellers have all given up because they misread the enthusiastic market giving us the clue is that it is very hard to predict the market.

JP Morgan, a marvelous investor said "I never buy at the lows, I never sell at the highs, I play the middle 60 percent." In other words he buys 20 percent off the lows and sells 20% from the highs. Be an investor, not a gambler. I don't follow his strategy, but do rebalance my index funds quarterly invested largely overseas, emerging markets, and commercial real estate. I am of the opinion that no one really can logically predict the market. Insider information, fast computers, and lots of security analysts are something I do not have.

Following an index strategy is not as easy as it looks and I recommend Vanguard World Index Funds where expenses are low and we investors own Vanguard. Read "Enough" by Bogle and Yale's David F. Swensen's book for individual investors, "Unconventional Success ... " which is slightly out of date regarding portfolio of Index Funds design so go to http://wealthtrack.com and search Swensen (2 parts) for the video where he recently talked about how to invest, one of the most popular shows where Consuelo Mack, who spent 30 years on Wall Street, was interviewing many of the best investment advisors over decades.

Jim Kawakami, Sept 24, 2009, http://jimboguy.blogspot.com

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Economy Is A Lie, Too: Paul Craig Roberts, Former Reagan Assist Sec of Treasury

Senator James Webb who is Scots-Irish has written a remarkable book "Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish... " describing a reality rarely mentioned in our egalitarian society where everyone has an equal chance of achieving success. But a thousand years of war along the Scotland/English border has resulted in certain personality types surviving this horrible history.

The aggressive and paranoid men survived and passed on these traits to those who make up the Evangelical southern USA who does not put a high priority on education and hated any person or government trying to impose rules on their life and behavior. They loved to fight and made up 70 percent of the casualties in the Civil War. President Andrew Jackson's Scots-Irish heritage was the most evident among our Presidents and the Scots-Irish make up some of the most famous generals in history such as Stone Wall Jackson and Ulysses Grant.

Equally interesting is that James Webb states that the most intelligent Europeans who were quite independent emigrated to the New England area to free themselves from the feudal states and were unusually productive. Scots-Irish started emigrating to America starting in 1690 most likely against their will and eventually settled all along the Appalachian Mountains down to Georgia and eventually spread through the South, Mid-west such as Ohio and even into Pennsylvania, and likely migrated to California during the Oklahoma area famine. Many along Appalachia are still poor and just as feisty. Some eastern Kentucky cities have a majority of Scots-Irish.

I would not be surprised if most of the most feisty healthcare reform detractors at the meetings were Scots-Irish.

Information Clearing House is having a great deal of problems getting donations to continue. That would be too bad because Tom Feeley provides information and opinions rarely seen in mainstream journalism and other blogs. It is a Drudge Report for the Left. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info

Jim Kawakami, Sept 21, 2009, http://jimboguy.blogspot.com

By Chris Hedges
The rage of the disposed is fracturing the country, dividing it into camps that are unmoored from the political mainstream. Movements are building on the ends of the political spectrum that have lost faith in the mechanisms of democratic change. You can't blame them. But unless we on the left move quickly this rage will be captured by a virulent and racist right wing, one that seeks a disturbing proto-fascism.

IAEA Denies Report it is Sure Iran is Seeking Bomb
Obama Should Attack Israeli Jets if They Try to Attack Iran: Zbigniew Brzezinski:
By Jake Tapper
"We are not exactly impotent little babies," Brzezinski said. "They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch? ... "
McChrystal: More Forces or 'Mission Failure'
By Bob Woodward
The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan warns in an urgent, confidential assessment of the war that he needs more forces within the next year and bluntly states that without them, the eight-year conflict "will likely result in failure," according to a copy of the 66-page document obtained by The Washington Post. [War hawks leaking info.]

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kucinich's Guests Formally From Healthcare Industry Tell Us What They Actually Did to Deny Care Using Every Trick in the Book

Don't miss this video or try to watch for replays. I wondered how the Republicans can ethically and morally refuse to grant healthcare insurance. We are back to the caveman days where only family counted and no one else.

Wendell Potter, formerly PR Chief for Philadelphia's CIGNA health insurance, tells you exactly how they get their way in refusing care when it is serious and expensive. In order words they don't provide care when you and your family really need it.

Dr. Peeno who was a medical doctor evaluating claims for Humana tells us many horror stories. Would rather have a Medicare styled healthcare system paid for by our government where no one tells what your doctor has to do to treat you, while the Health Insurance company tries like hell to reject expensive treatments, drop companies they cost too much by greatly raising their rates.

A couple of people tell their stories about how the insurance companies screwed them and put them through horrible experiences.

Jim Kawakami, Sept 16, 2009 http://jimboguy.blogspot.com


Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) chaired a House Oversight Subcommittee to hear from patients and health care providers about the influence private insurance companies have over medical procedures.
Washington, DC : 2 hr. 50 min. http://c-span.org/Watch/Media/2009/09/16/HP/A/23251/House+Oversight+Cmte+Hearing+on+Private+Health+Insurance.aspx

Our Stone-Age Brains Do Not Help Us Survive Future Death Threats Such as Healthcare Disfunction, Global Warming, and Over Population

I grew up at a time after World War II where Americans had been subjected to the constant hate monger racist and fascistic Father Coughlin with the considerable help of government propaganda against over 100,000 Japanese-Americans who developed the feeling the hatred where we could see it almost without words, but just a look.

Black Americans who grew up under de-facto segregation in both the South and North also experienced severe racial discrimination and they can feel it instantaneously too in a way Europeans do not understand.

Malcolm Gladwell in his book Blink shows how the art experts' knowledge gained through experience allows them to see a fake instantaneously before they think about it. Apparently President Obama does not feel racism, or else he is hiding it quite well. Jimmy Carter has felt it and I felt it when I traveled through the South, especially in South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas.

NY Times Nicholas Kristof attributes our problem of not being able to react to future events such as the worsening effects of Global Warming such as floods and famines because they will happen in the future because of our Stone-Age Brains. But even in our more modern world as we have seen drastic changes in the population of short beak and long beak birds on the Galapagos, the environment survival requirements changes these populations quite quickly because the type of bird who cannot feed dies off and those who can survive. I suspect similar situations exists for we humans in times of brutal wars and sparse food and shelter.

Native Americans survived very harsh times due to a lack of food so those who survived could live on sparse food and fight well. But the Europeans with modern weapons and deliberate or not spread of small pox easily subdued these fierce warriors.

A similar situation of survival occurred in the lowlands of Scotland and Northern Ireland many of whose immigrants migrated to the Appalachia Mountains and Southern USA and then spread out to other parts of the country and now make up a substantial part of the Confederate and Republican Party. A combination of ferocity and paranoid behaviors combined with religious fervor makes them a difficult opponent to overcome with logic.

(Only about 50 percent of college students can think abstractly. So why do we spend so much time and effort explaining concepts instead of a more concrete manner. I found that even graduate students have this problem. We are the most religious country in the World and far more religious than other industrial states including Italy. Even forty percent of our Academy of Sciences members go to church regularly. It seems obvious that we need to train pastors and priests to communicate to their flocks. We are the most fearful peoples in the world! Jim)

Of course we also have the hurdle that the wealth and power are quite skilled at taking advantage of them to increase their wealth. Money Equals Power as we have seen in the August disruption of Democrats trying to explain the healthcare bill by interested heathcare insurance companies

The many billionaire funded Republican Think Tanks make up the sound-bites Republican politicians use to appeal to the emotions of their supporters. The Democrats must stop trying to be so logical and appeal to the emotional factors that drive Democrats and Independents and ignore what the Republican politicians can contribute. They don't care about what happens to other Americans.

I talk often with working Americans who are intelligent, but enormously ignorant due to a concerted effort by those with Wealth & Power. If given factual information in an easily understandable manner with all of the truth which politicians such as President Obama who is more honest than most, still cannot tell the whole truth. Telling some of the truth is not the whole truth. Sure insuring another 50 million people is going to cost more, but Obama has done a very poor job in explaining how he plans to cut costs without compromising treatment and outcomes. He needs to spend a whole talk explaining this to Americans in simple language.

Jim Kawakami, Sept 16, 2009, http://jimboguy.blogspot.com

Our Stone-Age Brains Do Not Help Us Survive Future Death Threats Such as Healthcare Disfunction, Global Warming, and Over Population: NY Times Nicholas Kristof July 02, 2009

Evidence is accumulating that the human brain systematically misjudges certain kinds of risks. In effect, evolution has programmed us to be alert for snakes and enemies with clubs, but we aren’t well prepared to respond to dangers that require forethought.

If you come across a garter snake, nearly all of your brain will light up with activity as you process the “threat.” Yet if somebody tells you that carbon emissions will eventually destroy Earth as we know it, only the small part of the brain that focuses on the future — a portion of the prefrontal cortex — will glimmer.

“We humans do strange things, perhaps because vestiges of our ancient brain still guide us in the modern world,” notes Paul Slovic, a psychology professor at the University of Oregon and author of a book on how our minds assess risks.

Consider America’s political response to these two recent challenges:

1. President Obama proposes moving some inmates from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to supermax prisons from which no one has ever escaped. This is the “enemy with club” threat that we have evolved to be alert to, so Democrats and Republicans alike erupt in outrage and kill the plan.

2. The climate warms, ice sheets melt and seas rise. The House scrounges a narrow majority to pass a feeble cap-and-trade system, but Senate passage is uncertain. The issue is complex, full of trade-offs and more cerebral than visceral — and so it doesn’t activate our warning systems. (The Atlantic coast has already seen a measurable increase in average water levels. I recall it is about an inch plus. As we have seen the land ice in Greenland seems to be going into the ocean at a faster and faster rate, well beyond predictions. If all the Greenland Ice melts our coastal cities will be underwater. A German ship is planning to go to Asia via the Arctic Ocean very soon. A first. Jim)

“What’s important is the threats that were dominant in our evolutionary history,” notes Daniel Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard University. In contrast, he says, the kinds of dangers that are most serious today — such as climate change — sneak in under the brain’s radar.

Professor Gilbert argues that the threats that get our attention tend to have four features. First, they are personalized and intentional. The human brain is highly evolved for social behavior (“that’s why we see faces in clouds, not clouds in faces,” says Mr. Gilbert), and, like gazelles, we are instinctively and obsessively on the lookout for predators and enemies.

Second, we respond to threats that we deem disgusting or immoral — characteristics more associated with sex, betrayal or spoiled food than with atmospheric chemistry.

“That’s why people are incensed about flag burning, or about what kind of sex people have in private, even though that doesn’t really affect the rest of us,” Professor Gilbert said. “Yet where we have a real threat to our well-being, like global warming, it doesn’t ring alarm bells.”

Third, threats get our attention when they are imminent, while our brain circuitry is often cavalier about the future. That’s why we are so bad at saving for retirement. Economists tear their hair out at a puzzlingly irrational behavior called hyperbolic discounting: people’s preference for money now rather than much larger payments later.

For example, in studies, most Americans prefer $50 now to $100 in six months, even though that represents a 100 percent return.

Fourth, we’re far more sensitive to changes that are instantaneous than those that are gradual. We yawn at a slow melting of the glaciers, while if they shrank overnight we might take to the streets.

In short, we’re brilliantly programmed to act on the risks that confronted us in the Pleistocene Age. We’re less adept with 21st-century challenges. ... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/02/opinion/02kristof.html?ref=opinion