Friday, January 29, 2010

Cheap Genetic Disease Test for Devastating Diseases before Pregnancy

Obama's Rebuke of Republican House , Cheap Genetic Disease Test for Devastating Diseases before Pregnancy

Tags: Stock Market Herds, Bretton Woods?, Debt Ceiling, Obama's State of Union and Superb Answers to Republican House Questions , Cheap Genetic Disease Test for Devastating Diseases before Pregnancy, Zinn Dies, Rebuke of Supreme Court by Obama, Less Water Vapor Slows Climate Change, Popular Attorney General Cuomo Gets 20% of His Political Contribution from Real Estate Interests, Climate Change which Increases El Nino Rain and Droughts Affects the Northwest States Such as Oregon which Had 50% Less Snow than the Previous Year. Oregon and Washington from Warming Central Pacific Waters which Changes El Nino Effect and Jet Stream Patterns

Investors Move in Herds, Up or Down. Financial Times Jan 29, 2010, John Authers.

Authers says serious money can be made by spotting when the herd is gathering to make a decisive move. I noted the last few days that US stock market volatility is up indicating a decision point, possibly on the upside. Day to day look at the market is useless to base your investing, but spotting trends in the next few days and weeks may indicate that either a downward or upward move. My guess is that it would be up. Before Obama became President, GDP was down 6 percent. Since it is up 6 percent now, I look on this as optimistic. Asia and commodities may be headed down.

French President Sarkozy Demanded that Bretton Woods Currency Movement Plan Be Restored Financial Times Jan 29, 2010 Gillian Tett, Best British Financial Journalist in 2009, reports that Sarkozy being the head of Economic Davos Forum for the next year and going back to Bretton Woods has many in favor in it which gives him lots of power. The Republicans and Wall Street often selectively quotes Adam Smith as a financial genius in his book "The Wealth of Nations" which I have in the complete and unabridged edition, makes the comment that the free flow of currency will hurt weaker countries as we have seen in recent times and it has to be regulated. Sarkozy said that we owe Bretton Woods to the remarkable prosperity after World War II.

Debt Ceiling Raise opposed 100% by Senate Republicans by a vote of 60 to 40. NY Times 1/29/10

Must See/Read: President Obama Answered Poll Tested House Republican Questions January 29, 2010 at 5:58 PM EST

The President Holds an Open Discussion Across the Aisle

Today the President led something unusual in American politics – an open dialogue with members of the opposite party. I hope his talk with Republicans gets through Obama's thick head that Democrats essentially have to go it alone with the caveat that there is a more conservative large group of Independent voters. Be liberal and complete as possible for healthcare even if part of it has to go through the Conciliation Process and pass those parts that Republicans cannot stop bills popular as banning pre-existing conditions and stopping Health Insurance Corporations from dropping people who have an expensive illness by arbitrarily rejecting all expensive treatments as Humana did at one time according to the testimony of former Humana doctors.
Published: January 28, 2010

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — The new movie “Extraordinary Measures” is based on the true story of a father who starts a company to develop a treatment for the rare genetic disease threatening to kill two of his children before they turn 10.

Now, a Silicon Valley start-up is making the bold claim that it can help eradicate that disease and more than 100 others by alerting parents-to-be who have the carrier genes.

The company, Counsyl, is selling a test that it says can tell couples whether they are at risk of having children with a range of inherited diseases, including cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs,spinal muscular atrophy, sickle cell disease and Pompe disease (the one afflicting the children in the movie). Once informed, Counsyl says, couples can take steps like using in vitro fertilization with genetic testing of the embryos, to avoid bearing children who would have the diseases, many of which are incurable and fatal in childhood.

Some genetic testing of prospective parents is done now, but only for a few diseases like cystic fibrosis and Tay-Sachs, and only for certain ethnic groups. Each test can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Counsyl’s test, which analyzes DNA from saliva samples, costs $349 for an individual or $698 for a couple. Similar tests from others are on the way, experts say. The trend shows that new technology could make possible widespread screening for the risk of passing on rare diseases, something that was simply not practical before. ...

Author of 2 Million Best Seller People's History of the United States Has Transformed How Americans in High School and College Students Think and Know About American History Died at Age 87 of a Heart Attack While Swimming

Rare Rebuke of Supreme Court's Reversing 100 Year Law on Corporate Funding of Campaigns at State of the Union

Less Water Vapor Slows Earth's Warming Trends: Climate Science Exceedingly Complex with Many Factors Influencing Climate and Seemingly Contradictions Selectively Picked to Deny Climate Change
As a scientist, I fully appreciate its complexity from my own experience. Most of my career involved solving problems of all kinds where other scientists and engineers could not solve the problems because of contradictory data which could not be resolved. I have the ability based on a large store of knowledge to decide which data are irrelevant and solve these problems fairly quickly. The book Blink addresses people's ability to come to instantaneous conclusions based on a large store-house of knowledge and imagination. For example an expert on art forgeries knows almost immediately that a forgery is a fake, but relies on scientific tests to confirm what he already knows. This latter knowledge helps often for solutions to come when they are not thinking about the problem. This has been true for me. Jim Kawakami SINDYA N. BHANOO

Popular Attorney General Cuomo Gets 20% of His Political Contribution from Real Estate Interests to Protect Against a Large Number of Lawsuits for Shoddy Construction The Times articles distorts the truth in its headline and first few paragraphs to frame the issue in support of Republicans. Cuomo gets five times more money from other sources!

Climate Change which Increases El Nino Rain and Droughts Affects the Northwest States Such as Oregon which Had 50% Less Snow than the Previous Year. Oregon and Washington need snow for hydroelectric power. The change is due to Warm Waters in the Central Pacific which has Different Consequences than the Usual El Nino from Southeast Asia El Nino. Eugene, OR and Portland are experiencing one of the hottest January in history.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bernanke Confirmed, Toyota Recall. What to Do? Health Care: Who Knows Best? Flawed Dr/Patient Decisions

My comments are below. Jim

Bernanke Wins Confirmation for Fed Chairman Jan 28/2010

... But ultimately, a bipartisan majority of the Senate concluded that Bernanke's aggressive actions to combat the crisis, which many argued prevented the recession from becoming a depression, made up for regulatory and other failures by Bernanke and the Fed that contributed to the crisis in the first place. He won confirmation by a wider margin than many Congress-watchers had expected.

"Once the crisis started, he took charge in a way that was unprecedented," said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), during the Senate debate. "I believe when the history of this period is written . . . Bernanke will prove to have been one of the heroes." ...

Facts you should consider about your Toyota Recall and Health Care Decisions
(Sec of Transportation LaHood asked Toyota to stop selling new Toyotas. Indiana company produced gas pedals and now going to replace them. The Indiana company did an extremely good job in producing good gas pedals. Just by chance, it could be the specific tolerance or space in the mechanism in the gas pedal has to vary. For example autos made in the USA including Japanese cars tend to very from the specifications more than a little bit.

In Japan the tolerance is closer to the spec so engines and other parts tend to last longer. In Japan the workers and management work more closely together to make sure procedures in production are optimize. Here it is possible that deviations from the spec is tolerated by management. My Prius is made in Japan and are not subject to the second recall.

In my Prius, I noticed that the rug gets lose quite easily because the hooks holding the rug are poorly designed. I was aware that it might interfere with the accelerator so I fixed it quickly, but I finally removed the rug when the accident alerts came out.

The degree of fear in driving your Toyota should be quite low. The incidence of accidents is extremely low compared to a number of Toyotas on the road. Secondly, just driving your car, any car, is much more dangerous, than the flaw would have on your chance of an accident. Toyota recommends braking hard when the accelerator does not work, but they probably should have recommend putting our foot under the accelerator to force it up.

Health Care: Who Knows "Best Practices," Experts or Doctors who are aware of the science and technology?

In the past doctors had plenty of time to read and attend leading medical research conferences so they were more aware of the latest science and technology. But due to a corporate takeover and the poor design of both Medicare and Medicaid, expenses have run out of control with unnecessary treatments as found by a study of millions of Medicare patient records to see which treatments or over treatments gave better or worse results. The had been available even when Hillary Clinton tried and failed to implement a change due to television propaganda lies and distortions by Health Care Insurance Companies and Big Pharma.

A must read article on healthcare bill by Dr Groopman of Harvard Medical School who wrote an earlier article about the lack of science in doctoring. It takes proven technology and science 17 years to be adopted by half the doctors. He addresses the question whether advice by experts on doctoring should be mandatory or making sure the new science and technology is widely distributed directly to doctors directing them to the government website. But experts can be wrong so it is better to let the doctor who knows the patient condition more intimately to make the final treatment decision, not by ignorance or doing what the patient wants, but actual knowledge as to what the best treatment is. For example Pancreatic cancer is normally not found well after it has spread to other organs. A new blood test can detect it early enough to save lives, but I doubt most doctors know about it.

But what I found even more interesting is how the patients themselves make decisions. They are often allowed to make the final decision by doctors to avoid lawsuits. So ignorance breeds ignorance!

It will also apply to the error prone way most Americans make decisions such as vaccinations and whether they will drive their Toyotas or not. I am really impressed at how completely the Obama Administration has looked into all that is known about health care to improve our current system. Unfortunately it is hard to explain much of this to ignorant Americans without inducing sleep.

Jim Kawakami, Jan 28, 2010,

Health Care: Who Knows 'Best'?

By Jerome Groopman

One of the principal aims of the current health care legislation is to improve the quality of care. According to the President and his advisers, this should be done through science. The administration's stimulus package already devoted more than a billion dollars to "comparative effectiveness research," meaning, in the President's words, evaluating "what works and what doesn't" in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

But comparative research on effectiveness is only part of the strategy to improve care. A second science has captured the imagination of policymakers in the White House: behavioral economics. This field attempts to explain pitfalls in reasoning and judgment that cause people to make apparently wrong decisions; its adherents believe in policies that protect against unsound clinical choices. But there is a schism between presidential advisers in their thinking over whether legislation should be coercive, aggressively pushing doctors and patients to do what the government defines as best, or whether it should be respectful of their own autonomy in making decisions. The President and Congress appear to be of two minds. How this difference is resolved will profoundly shape the culture of health care in America.

The field of behavioral economics is rooted in the seminal work of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman begun some three decades ago. Drawing on data from their experiments on how people process information, particularly numerical data, these psychologists challenged the prevailing notion that the economic decisions we make are rational. We are, they wrote, prone to incorrectly weigh initial numbers, draw conclusions from single cases rather than a wide range of data, and integrate irrelevant information into our analysis. Such biases can lead us astray. ...

Reporters and Editors of Our Press/Media De-Emphasize or Delete Important Facts on Toyota Problem Jan 28, 2010

... Toyota first acknowledged a problem with accelerators last September following the death of a California highway patrol officer and three family members in a high-speed crash. It initially blamed out-of-position floor mats.

Two months later, it said it would replace accelerator pedals on 4.2m vehicles. Earlier this week it said that further investigation had revealed "there is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may, in rare instances, mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position".

The parts are supplied by Indiana-based CTS Corp, whose shares were down 16 per cent in early afternoon trading. However, Toyota said that it accepted full responsibility for the parts. ...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Opinion Favoring Corporate Dominance and Contrary Facts by Thom Hartmann on the Constitution


The Populist Addiction

David Brooks is a Very Smart Conservative and former Opinion Page writer for the Wall Street Journal who writes well. A hurried read of his many columns leads one to miss his real conservative agenda, but read carefully you must.

Skimming or what people wrongly think is reading fast, leads to seeing only what we want to believe.

The first place information is placed in the brain is in the very short term less than a minute and low capacity Temporary Memory Bank. Then it goes to the hippocampus where it is processed further. Highly emotional images, events, and speech goes directly to the Amygdala and by-passes our pre-frontal cortex. Acetyl choline chemical reactions puts them into a more permanent memory bank which can stay with us all our lives. Fear seems to control conservatives and so-called independents than more liberal Democrats.

The reason we often do not remember the names of a number of new people in a crowd is that the host goes from one person to the next at warp speed. A similar incident occurs when we think we need something in the next room, but forget about it unless we think about it a little more. That explains how short term and low capacity temporary memory fails us when we skim. We all tend to filter out contrary information all the time. That is how Google Makes Us Dumb.

I found even very bright scientists and engineers do this too! Some things are not put to strict scrutiny when the conclusions agrees with our own. We tend to more critically look for flaws in others people work in science and politics. Being human, we scientists often accept beliefs and comments in the political and religious realm without much thought or confirming proof or data.
We all vote with out emotions, but to different extents and different knowledge base. The only way to fight this is to read seriously books and articles with different points of view by conservative writers and journalists such as David Brooks and and more liberals one at As one recent article in the NY York times claimed, we vote with our emotions, not with our logic. Emotional opinions with lots of contrary information works much better than emotional combines with ignorance. In the end, all our decisions are emotional. Garbage in, Garbage out applies. Television reporting mostly is a joke.

Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann are some of the few who really think and report what they think. Most television announcers have no input on what they read on the teleprompter. It is obvious that Rachel and Keith have a major input. It is not just high IQ that makes for honest and clear reporting/opinion articles. Clear thinking is what I look for even though I usually disagree to some extent with everything I read or hear. Watch how the BBC TV reporters at work. They usually ask two or three follow up questions as American reporters do to Obama's Gibbs at the Daily Briefings, but in interviews on television. Israel complains all the time about the non-PR ( propaganda) BBC reporting in Palestine.

I think while I read and don't try to speed through opinion articles. Most the editorial writers at the Times are in the worth thinking category, but my favorites are Paul Krugman, Frank Rich, and David Brooks from liberal to centrist to conservative.

You can see from the Op-Ed page of the New York Times, The New Republic, and, and that very smart people can have different interpretations of similar information.

Jim Kawakami, Jan 26, 2010,

Liberal radio host Thom Hartmann Gives Us Real Facts to See Through the Lies of the Establishment and the Press/Media.

Highlights on the Thom Hartmann Show…January 25 – 29 2010

Hour Two: Labor takes on the banksters! Christian Norton of Working America joins Thom
Hour Three: Corporations are people too?! Thom debates corporate personhood with Peter Ferrara of the American Civil Rights Union
Hour Three: American Tea Party…the new counterrevolution? Thom confronts conservative John O’Hara of The Heartland Institute
Book: "What Would Jefferson Do?" by Thom Hartmann, pages 94-95 #1 Progressive Talk Show Host in America
Quotes from Thom Hartmann's book gives us some clarity about how powerful corporations such as Railroads in the 1880s can even erase Supreme Court decisions and change it to something that favors corporations. Jim Kawakami, Jan 26, 2010
"Reality, Government is us."

..." the major innovation of the Founders was the idea that the government is us. It's owned by us, run by us for the benefit of us, exists solely because we continue to approve of it, and is 100 percent answerable to us.

This was an idea that the anti-Revolution conservatives of 1776 strongly opposed. Many of them were among the riches men in America, and to protect their wealth, they wanted the colonies to remain part of Great Britain. But the liberals of 1776 had the new idea that instead of people getting their rights from a king, they, themselves, were the sole legitimate holders of rights. And they could confer privileges on a government they could create, so longs as it behaved in a fashion that supported "We the People."

... "In 1886, conservatives tried to take control of the government by claiming that corporations should have equal rights with humans, and it seemed that the Supreme Court had gone along with it.

(Hartmann found during the 2008 campaign that the defendant bribed the court clerk in 1886 and changed the original ruling by the Supreme Court, but the Chief Justice died before they could ask him to verify an undocumented decision. The crime in the 2,000 election was also undocumented and their decision applied only to Florida because if it applied to all the states, the elections would have had to done over again! The Tenth Amendment leaves rules not in the Constitution to the States.

Jim K.)

Later, corporations began to claim human rights against discrimination and giant chain stores fought communities that don't want them wiping out local merchants by claiming that laws that guarantee rights for African Americans should also protect them. A giant chemical company claimed Fourth Amendment privacy rights to block the EPA from doing surprise inspections looking for cancer-causing poison emissions.

And corporations even asserted the First Amendment human right of free speech, including the right to give politicians campaign cash (formerly a felony in most U.S. states) and the right to lie in newscasts and defended it up through the courts, calling it a "vindication" when a federal court ruled that FCC regulations requiring truth in news reporting were only "guidelines."

But the bottom line in America is that the government is us. Conservatives, however, don't much like this idea of democracy. From trying to overturn elections by judicial process (Gore-Bush, 2,000) to using the power of corporations and corporate money, they consistently laugh at the notions of "the will of the people" or "the good of the people." Instead, they suggest, government should provide huge breaks and welfare for corporations.

"Myth: "The Founders and Framers wee impractical, idealistic Enlightenment-era dreamers."

Reality: Democracy is the most practical, stable, and normal form of governance for both nature and humans.

Jim Kawakami, Jan 26, 2010,


Make Corporations King: Lawyer who Pleaded Successfully to Give Corporations Unlimited Power to Influence Politicians with Money before the Corporate Supreme Court

..." the major innovation of the Founders was the idea that the government is us. It's owned by us, run by us for the benefit of us, exists solely because we continue to approve of it, and is 100 percent answerable to us.

This was an idea that the anti-Revolution conservatives of 1776 strongly opposed. Many of them were among the riches men in America, and to protect their wealth, they wanted the colonies to remain part of Great Britain. But the liberals of 1776 had the new idea that instead of people getting their rights from a king, they, themselves, were the sole legitimate holders of rights. And they could confer privileges on a government they could create, so longs as it behaved in a fashion that supported "We the People." ...

Published: January 25, 2010


(Baran's Disclosure: I filed a brief with the Supreme Court in support of Citizens United and Jan Witold Baran is the author of the book “The Election Law Primer for Corporations.”)

IN just seven years, the Supreme Court has declared most of the fabled McCain-Feingold law unconstitutional. The court has struck down the law’s bans on contributions by minors, on independent spending by political parties and on issue ads within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election, as well as restrictions on “millionaire” candidates. With last week’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the court has now declared that corporations and unions may spend money on political advertising that urges the election or defeat of a candidate for public office.
The reaction was swift and intense. Conservatives and libertarians praised the ruling’s preservation of the First Amendment and freedom of speech. Liberals and reformers expressed horror. President Obama predicted a “stampede of special-interest money in our politics” and declared, “I can’t think of anything more devastating to the public interest.” (Disclosure: I filed a brief with the Supreme Court in support of Citizens United.)

One would think from all this that corporations and unions are now free to buy candidates on the open market. But what, if anything, will be different in our elections?

Will corporations and unions be able to give money to candidates or political parties? No. Federal law, which regulates campaigns for president, the Senate and the House, prohibits such contributions. The ban was left untouched by the Supreme Court.

Can corporations spend money in cahoots with candidates and political parties? No. The Supreme Court decision addressed only “independent expenditures,” which are, by definition, “not coordinated with a candidate.” Monies spent in collaboration with candidates or parties are treated as contributions — and are still banned.

Perhaps all of this corporate spending will be secret? Wrong again. The Supreme Court upheld the laws that require any corporate or union spender to file reports with the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours of spending the first dime.

What about the “stampede of special-interest money”? The president’s comment implies there must not have been any corporate or union spending before Citizens United. In fact, in the final days of the Massachusetts special election for senator, corporations and unions spent at least $2.7 million on television and radio advertising. How do we know? Those reports were filed with the F.E.C. And while this was a good deal of spending, it was not unusual.

So what will actually occur as a result of the Citizens United case? The answer is at once mundane and momentous.

Since the 1970s, Congress has passed an assortment of laws that banned anyone from spending money on independent ads — laws that were uniformly declared unconstitutional when they restricted spending by individuals, political action committees and political parties. But in a 1990 decision, Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the court upheld a ban on corporate spending to expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate.

Because of the 1990 ruling, corporations and unions have been limited to so-called issue ads, which usually end with statements like “call Candidate Jones and tell her” — take your choice — “to stop raising taxes/ support health care reform/ support alternative energy sources.” Now that Citizens United has overturned Austin, corporations and unions can run independent ads that contain words of express advocacy. So instead of “Call Candidate Jones and demand that she not raise taxes,” it can be: “Vote for Candidate Smith because Candidate Jones wants to raise taxes.” ...

Monday, January 25, 2010

How Has the Economic Well-Being of the Middle-Class (< $85,000/yr.) Fared from 1971 to 2007?

Two topics are covered in this blog. One is our financial system harming the middleclass and the other is that our politicians are ignoring the real wishes of the American People. Jim

Professor Elizabeth Warren of Harvard co-author of "The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers & Fathers are Going Broke" and "The Big Squeeze" Tough Times for the American Worker," Steven Greenhouse of the NY Times delineate how the Republicans changed the equality game starting with Nixon who put in place our current healthcare system where corporations make money by denying expensive care. Corporate Healthcare wanted even more so they started denying routine tests, but the consumer storm made then back-off.

The Republican Congress passed the bills to essentially strip any protections for consumers and placed either lobbyists and incompetents in the SEC and other regulating agencies such as the Federal Reserve. The start of the new season of Damages staring Glenn Close is a must see at the beginning of the new season, a superb actor, a strong supporting cast,at 10 and 11 PM ET/PT on FX cable, tackles the complexities of the Madoff billions of dollars fraud. It is Law & Order that goes a whole season to resolve itself so it goes into complexities that Law & Order cannot handle in one episode. I caught it last season in the middle so I had to really think hard to find out what was really happening. Don't Miss !!.

The result of Republican congress since 1994, bad filibuster rule requiring 60 votes in the senate to vote on any bill, made President Clinton weak, Bill Clinton's staff effectively shut out the influence of Hillary Clinton by not telling her about crucial meetings and the extraordinary influence of his financial advisors Summers, Rubin of Goldman Sachs, and weekly meetings with Alan Greenspan made it possible to dispose of the regulatory Glass-Steagal Act passed during the Great Depression to prevent financial manipulations.

When Bill Clinton at the behest of Hillary Clinton vetoed the Bank enrichment bill, wealth and power including the New York Times started putting false scandals such as Whitewater and used the Lewinsky sex scandal to give him a message not to double-cross wealth and power! The greatly weakened Bill Clinton sign the Glass-Steagal Act and more bank deregulation bills that allowed banks to merge with investment banks and insurance companies. These Republican bills that started us on the road to financial armageddon. Super fast computers such as the one by Goldman Sachs makes individual investors and even Mutual Funds at peril.

Investments: Growth is going to be slow in the USA as long as a decade because of the financial harm these crooked bankers and hedge funds did to our economy which was largely a Financial Economy. History shows us that financial economies always fail as the greed meter gets higher and higher. See Niall Ferguson's book "The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World," or the tape that you can buy.

What we all need to do is invest all over the world and de-emphasize the USA. A top thinker on investments appeared on Consuelo Mack last week. On this week’s Consuelo Mack WealthTrack: successfully navigating Wall Street, investment strategy and stock picking with a man who has mastered all three. Consuelo goes in depth with “Financial Thought Leader” Bob Doll, BlackRock’s Vice Chairman, Global Chief Investment Officer, and manager of three highly respected large cap funds.

He favors emerging markets index which I recently cut back on after 90% gains and investments largely outside the USA. He does not Real Estate. I increased my index holdings emphasizing office space recently too. My belief is that the major advisors tells us to invest in things they would like to unload. Otherwise for the next ten years or more, investments outside the USA is where the growth is. I would advise gradually increasing your overseas holdings and how gradual depends on you. It will be hard so if you can get an advisor to do it for you, you are probably better off. Avoid those who promise too much like Madoff did.

Remember it pays to be contrary but also riding out things when ordinary investors pile in when it is near the top based on what TV advisors are telling them! About 25 percent of my holdings are still in the USA in value stock indexes, but my advisor rebalances every quarter so I don't get the maximum uptick, but I increase safety. I tend to tolerate risk more than my advisors so I made up my own system of index funds.

You might consider the Vanguard world index where they do rebalance for you in investments all over the world or use ETF index funds to invest all over the world. Pros trade in these a lot so expect sharp upticks and downticks. Just stay in. But in the end, you need to read books as the ones by John C. Bogle, a former Vanguard chairman, "Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life and "Unconventional Success" by David F. Swensen, the top Yale Fund advisor is quite good. Vanguard Funds are owned by the investors so fees are low, a very important consideration for a slow growth economy.

Elizabeth Warren of Harvard compiled some data of interest to everyone on Inflation Adjusted status of the Middleclass which I saw on the Dylan Ratigan show. Watch the whole show! Some of the Financial stars of CNBC won't appear on Ratigan's show because he knows too much and asks tough questions.

What happened between 1971 to 2007 to the Middleclass in Inflation Adjusted Dollars?

Inflation adjusted numbers show the tough time the Middleclass is having. With even more outrageous interest rates and minimum payments on credit cards, it is a wonder that we are surviving.

We pay 80% more on housing! (Borrowed so much on house equity that many more homeowners are in trouble.)

We pay 75% more on Health Insurance.

We pay 60% more on Automobiles.

We went from 50% on Fixed Expenses which are unavoidable to 75% to leave us with less disposable income!

Top One Percent got 24% of all income in the USA or 3 million or assuming four in a family, 750,000 families.

50% of total income in the bottom 50% of Americans or 150 million people., 37 million families.

Wall Street Profits:

Jim Kawakami, Jan 25, 2010,

What's the Matter With the Democrats? Post-Massachusetts Reflections on Popular Resentment, the Liberal-Left Vacuum, and Right Comeback

By Paul Street

... Last November 3rd, the Republicans took all of the top elected offices in Virginia's off-year election. The GOP expelled Democratic governor Jon Corzine in New Jersey. It repealed a gay marriage law in Maine.
And through it all the ratings of hard-right "paranoid-style"[1] radio and television personalities like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and other demagogues of the FOX News variety have been sky high. The vapid and vicious proto-fascistic former Alaska governor Sarah Palin retains a fierce and stubborn base of support among millions of Americans who believe that Obama is advancing a "secret" socialist agenda and that the corporate media is owned and run by (of all things) "the left."
Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League reports that the number of right-wing paramilitary militias operating in the U.S. rose from 50 to 200 between 2007 and 2010.[2]
MSNBC talk show hosts Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann might portray the American right as a marginal collection of goofy tea-party kooks whose main role is to provide laughs for all-knowing liberals, but there is something much more significant going on.
How did this happen? How could the seemingly discredited and even laughable right get so rejuvenated so quickly in the first year of the "liberal" Obama presidency?
There is deep and widespread anger and resentment across the land, There's nothing mysterious about the material basis of what the establishment media arrogantly dismisses as "populist rage." The official U.S. unemployment measure is over 10 percent, terrible enough though the real joblessness rate (including involuntarily part-time workers and the many millions of workers who have given up on the quest for employment) is over 17 percent.[3] One in four U.S. children now relies on Food Stamps. The foreclosure crisis continues, feeding mass homelessness.
There's nowhere to make an honest, family-supporting living for millions of U.S. (ex-) workers, stuck in a former manufacturing superpower whose corporate overlords have moved the lion's share of production offshore.(To give just one example among many: U.S. luggage producers account for less than 1 percent of the U.S. market, yet nearly every U.S. resident owns luggage[4]).
The top 1 percent of the U.S. population owns more than 40 percent of the nation's total net worth and closer to two thirds of its financial assets.
At least 92 million people - close to a third of the U.S. population - lives at less than 200 percent of the notoriously inadequate federal poverty level (currently $21,834 for a family of four).
Forty-five thousand Americans die each year in connection with their inability to obtain health insurance [5]- a curious commentary on life and death in "the world's greatest democracy," the only "modern" industrial-service economy state not to guarantee health care to its broad populace.
And while economic destitution and its terrible consequences (rising crime, incarceration, suicide, family dissolution and more) stalk the "homeland" even as television pundits speak positively of a Wall Street "recovery," the leading financial firms that caused the economic meltdown of 2008-2009 have benefited from massive federal bailouts to the degree that they have resumed giant, multi-billion dollar bonus packages. The federal government offers relatively little to ordinary working people but has recently passed the largest Pentagon budget (funded at more than $ 1 trillion per year) - a giant subsidy to the high tech corporate sector - in history and is presiding over an expensive five-front terror war in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Yemen.

In December, the nation's commander- in-chief announced (sounding amazingly Bush-like in West Point) that he will be deepening the country's massive and apparently endless investment in the unpopular "Af-Pak" quagmire. His "homeland" economic team is quarterbacked by the arrogant and authoritarian arch-neoliberal Larry Summers, a Goldman Sachs veteran and former Harvard president who callously privileges global finance capital's bottom line over and above job creation and manufacturing within the U.S.[6]

Noam Chomsky rightly sees this as a confirmation of the 18th century economist and philosopher Adam Smith's warning that "the architects of policy protect their own interests, no matter how grievous the effect on others." "And they are the architects of policy," Chomsky ads. "Obama made sure to staff his economic team with advisors from [the financial] sector."[7]

(Note Republicans make selective quotes for Smith's "Wealth of Nations", but ignore some extremely important caveats about uncontrolled Capitalism and free transfer of capital. The world trades 4 Trillion Dollars Daily with only 1 percent on commerce. Currency manipulation can be extremely lucrative. I hope President Obama has the guts to try to place a small tax on these transaction which would really help our deficits. Jim)

All of this is grossly contrary to the policy and social preferences of the majority of U.S. citizens, identical with the U.S. government in quaint democratic theory. The American people are nowhere nearly as reactionary as many middle class liberals I know insist. For what its worth (not all that much in America's corporate managed dollar democracy), popular U.S. attitudes on key policies and values have long stood well to the left of both of the two dominant U.S. political parties, the investor class, and the nation's "mainstream" (corporate) media. Contrary to pundits' routine description of the U.S. as a "center-right nation:"
* 71 percent of Americans think that taxes on corporations are too low (Gallup Poll, April 2007), 66 percent of Americans think taxes on upper-income people are too low (Gallup Poll, April 2007) and 62 percent believe corporations make too much profit (Pew Survey 2004).
* 77 percent of Americans think there is too much power concentrated in the hands of a few big companies (Pew Survey 2004), 84 percent think that big companies have too much power in Washington (Harris Poll 2007), and two-thirds think that "big business and big government work together against the people's interests" (Rasmussen Reports, 2009).
*A majority of American voters think that the United States' "most urgent moral question" is either "greed and materialism" (33 percent) or "poverty and economic injustice" (31 percent). Just 16 percent identify abortion and 12 percent pick gay marriage as the nation's "most urgent moral question" (Zogby, 2004). Thus, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the population think that injustice and inequality are the nation's leading "moral issues" (Katherine Adams and Charles Derber, The New Feminized Majority [Paradigm, 2008], p.72).
* Just 29 percent of Americans support the expansion of government spending on "defense." By contrast, 79 percent support increased spending on health care, 69 percent support increased spending on education, and 69 percent support increased spending on Social Security (Chicago Council on Foreign Relations [hereafter "CCFR"], "Global Views,"2004).
* 69 percent of Americans think it is the responsibility of the federal government to provide health coverage to all U.S. citizens (Gallup Poll, 2006) and 67 percent "think it's a good idea [for government] to guarantee health care for all U.S. citizens, as Canada and Britain do, with just 27 percent dissenting" (Business Week, 2005).
* 59 percent of Americans support a single-payer health insurance system (CBS/New York Times poll, January 2009) and 65 percent of Americans respond affirmatively to the following question: "Would you favor the government offering everyone a government-administered health insurance plan - something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and over get - that would compete with private health insurance plans?" (CBS-New York Times, September 23, 2009)
From the polling data I've seen and from numerous heartland "voter contacts" and conversations I've had with "ordinary Americans" over the last few years. I suspect that a majority - or very close to it - of U.S. citizens would significantly agree with much of what Iraq occupation veteran Mike Prsyner recently said in a remarkable speech to Iraq Veterans Against the War:
"I threw families on to the street in Iraq only to come home and see families thrown on to the street in this county in this tragic, tragic and unnecessary foreclosure crisis. I mean to wake up and realize that our real enemies are not in some distant land. They're not people whose names we don't know and whose culture we don't understand. The enemy is people we know very well and people we can identify. The enemy is a system that wages war when it's profitable. The enemy is the CEOs who lay us off from our jobs when it's profitable. It's the insurance companies who deny us health care when it's profitable. It's the banks who take away our homes when it's profitable. Our enemy is not 5000 miles away. They are right here at home. If we organize with our sisters and brothers we can stop this war. We can stop this government. And we can create a better world." [8] ...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Volcker Trumps Geithner's and Summers' Approach by Looking to Future Needs in Financial Regulation

President Obama's prudent choices of common sense/experienced Vice President Biden and choosing advisors with opposing views made prove to be the elixir to a successful presidency. I suspect both Geithner and Summers will leave the administration after losing their top dog status and take advantage of the riches provided by Bankers/Wall Street and/or lobbying firms.

Just like the New York Times, their online version of news order of priority is to put the newest stuff first and sometimes busy readers will miss the most important news. This morning Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) quoted extensively about the opposition to Bernanke as the next Fed Chairman. So far Bernanke can squeak through with some Republican help, but they need sixty senators to allow a vote because one or more senators have placed a hold which requires 60 votes to overcome. That is why The Transportation Security head dropped out of consideration for the job of securing airports because one Senator from South Carolina, a far right senator DeMint (R-SC) put a hold on it because he claimed he supports unionization of its members even though a search of his records indicates he did not.

These senate rules were put in place to make the senate a body that stops bills more than passes bills. In 2007 and 2008, the Republicans stopped 80 bills by March of 2008 by the Democrats, more than double the two year record in 2007 alone! In 2009, Republicans stopped almost all the bills. Unlike the Democratic senators who are rewarded for resistance of voting for a bill, Republicans are punished for voting for a bill. Bush was able to pass many bills with only a 50 Republicans!

We need a more warrior mentality in the Democrats. If you cross the majority without good reason, you will be punished. Pelosi who grew up steeped in politics knows this and she has a remarkable record of getting the votes to pass a bill out of the House in spite of over 50 conservative Blue Dog members from the South and Midwest. If she is able to get the House to pass the Senate Healthcare Bill, then President Obama will sign the bill without any interference from the Senators.

Knowing and acting on politics which is not a dirty word but something all humans practice all their lives to survive and thrive. Do what is in your interest, but you need to know the facts first and not what you see in corporate and special interest political ads on television. You cannot use your gut feel without knowing much. In the book "Blink" many people who read the book miss the point that art experts have the best intuitive feel for fake art, but still use science to confirm the gut feel!

Investing in ignorance will cause all of us to panic. By knowing more, I am much more calm in crisis. In the past I really knew very little and paid the price. No can do anything about the Financial Melt Down, but if you paid attention, you would know it had to come at some time, but I did not know when. I also knew that if I sold everything in panic, I would be in much worse shape than I am now. Markets go up and down. It is going down now, 6-7% drop in the large financial banks, affects sentiment of the whole market. No one can predict which way it would go. The emotions of ignorant investors in mutual funds lead to panics so it is hard to decide which way the market will go eventually.

The Financial Times in London tends to be more accurate and not agenda driven as the American newspapers and television. You need to know which writers in the New York Times to trust more than others. That is up to you. I dropped my subscription to the Wall Street Journal because I know Murdock (FOX News) to well. He murdered the superb newspaper the London Times and doing the same to the Wall Street Journal and cable television where FOX allows fake news to dominate.

Jim Kawakami, Jan 22, 2010,

Volcker Trumps Geithner's and Summers' Approach by Looking to Future Needs in Regulation
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 22, 2010 (page 1 of the Post in today's paper below the fold)

Excerpt: ... But after the House passed a regulatory reform bill on Dec. 11 that was largely based on the Geithner's vision, the administration began to warm to Volcker's ideas, which had the political value of seeming tough on Wall Street, said sources in contact with the Treasury and White House.

At the time, administration officials were growing concerned that government guarantees designed to spur lending by letting banks borrow cheaply were instead funding banks' speculative investments and fueling soaring profits, said Austan Goolsbee, a member of the president's Council of Economic Advisers.

"We started coming out of the rescue and you saw some of the biggest financial institutions . . . who had access to cheap financing . . . use that money without lending or anything, just doing their own investments," he said. "That clearly started putting [the issue] on the radar screen for us."

Goolsbee said that Vice President Biden became a particular advocate for Volcker's approach.

In mid-December, the president formally endorsed Volcker's approach and asked Geithner and Lawrence H. Summers, the director of the National Economic Council, to work closely with the former Fed chairman to develop proposals that could be sent to Capitol Hill. The three men had long discussions about the idea, including a lengthy one-on-one lunch between Geithner and Volcker on Christmas Eve.

Summers and Geithner had been reluctant to take on battles that weren't at the heart of the problem that fueled the crisis. But ultimately, an administration official said, the two men concluded that reform needs to be about more than just fighting the last war -- it needs to address sources of future risk as well. ...