Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lower Fructose Maintains Healthy Weight, Lowers BP, Uric Acid, High Blood Glucose, Diabetes, and Aging

Tags: Aging from Fructose, proteins, and amino acids AGEs, Sugar Fix, Gatorade, Major Diseases Caused

Fructose and glucose react with proteins and amino acids to produce advanced glycation or glycosylation via a cross-linking process which has the appropriate acronym of AGEs. Since I read the Scientific American article more than three decades ago, I had been fairly careful in keeping my sugar intake low. But the hidden HFCS in Fast Foods fooled me. Obama has come to the rescue by putting in the Healthcare Bill, a provision for Fast Food and restaurants to list all ingredients and calories on foods they sell. (See Chapter 7, "The Sugar Fix: The High Fructose Fallout That is Making You Fat and Sick" by Richard J. Johnson, MD with Timothy Gower, 2008

Again the Republicans under Reagan made corn very cheap with huge subsidies, tariffs on cane sugar, and blessed Corn Syrup or High Fructose Corn Sugar or HFCS as safe without any testing on animals and humans. But it may have passed the FDA anyway because the effects are chronic and not sanctioned for regulation. The FDA spoke out against Tobacco, but could not ban it. But a knowledge campaign proved quite effective. The same needs to be done for HFCS which is extremely dangerous for our health. It is already starting to work with the soft drink companies removing it "voluntarily from schools and Pepsi's Gatorade in the process of removing HFCS. Sugar, The Bitter Truth
Jim Kawakami, April 29, 2010,
Wikipedia: ... AGEs, contributes to age- and diabetes-related chronic inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis, asthma, arthritis, myocardial infarction, nephropathy, retinopathy, or neuropathy. There may be some chemicals, such as aminoguanidine, that limit the formation of AGEs.[16] ... AGEs affect nearly every type of cell and molecule in the body, and are thought to be one factor in aging and some age-related chronic diseases[19][20][21]. They are also believed to play a causative role in the vascular complications of diabetes mellitus.[22] They have a range of pathological effects, including increasing vascular permeability, inhibition of vascular dilation by interfering with nitric oxide, oxidising LDL,[23] binding cells including macrophage, endothelial and mesangial cells to induce the secretion of a variety of cytokines and enhancing oxidative stress[23][24] ...
Hilary Parker, Princeton University Website March 22, 2010, ... High-fructose corn syrup and sucrose are both compounds that contain the simple sugars fructose and glucose, but there at least two clear differences between them. First, sucrose is composed of equal amounts of the two simple sugars -- it is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose -- but the typical high-fructose corn syrup used in this study features a slightly imbalanced ratio, containing 55 percent fructose and 42 percent glucose. Larger sugar molecules called higher saccharides make up the remaining 3 percent of the sweetener.
Second, as a result of the manufacturing process for high-fructose corn syrup, the fructose molecules in the sweetener are free and unbound, ready for absorption and utilization. In contrast, every fructose molecule in sucrose that comes from cane sugar or beet sugar is bound to a corresponding glucose molecule and must go through an extra metabolic step before it can be utilized.
This creates a fascinating puzzle. The rats in the Princeton study became obese by drinking high-fructose corn syrup, but not by drinking sucrose. The critical differences in appetite, metabolism and gene expression that underlie this phenomenon are yet to be discovered, but may relate to the fact that excess fructose is being metabolized to produce fat, while glucose is largely being processed for energy or stored as a carbohydrate, called glycogen, in the liver and muscles.
In the 40 years since the introduction of high-fructose corn syrup as a cost-effective sweetener in the American diet, rates of obesity in the U.S. have skyrocketed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1970, around 15 percent of the U.S. population met the definition for obesity; today, roughly one-third of the American adults are considered obese, the CDC reported. High-fructose corn syrup is found in a wide range of foods and beverages, including fruit juice, soda, cereal, bread, yogurt, ketchup and mayonnaise. On average, Americans consume 60 pounds of the sweetener per person every year. ...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Our Giant Banking Crisis---What to Expect

Tags: Book This Time Is Different, Reinhart-Rogoff approach works, Too much Debt aways Bad,

Our Giant Banking Crisis---What to Expect
by Robin Wells and Paul Krugman

I just looked at This Time Is Different ... review and not read the two IMF book reviews with link above. It is well written and I provided a link to the whole article below. I listened and read many different views on how this crisis happened and how to fix it. All their explanations have flaws because no one really has a great grasp of the whole picture. This study comes closer. The problem is all of us, our culture, and our expectations of getting something for nothing.

Jim Kawakami, April 26, 2010,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Britain's Prime Minister Blair has a discussion about how well Germany's economy is doing compared to the UK. Blair asked her how did Germany do this? Merkel, an engineer, answered succinctly, we make things!

... The Reinhart-Rogoff approach has already paid off handsomely in making sense of current events. In 2007, at a time when the wise men of both Wall Street and Washington were still proclaiming the problems of subprime “contained,” Reinhart and Rogoff circulated a working paper—now largely subsumed into Chapter 13 of This Time Is Different—that compared the US housing bubble with previous episodes in other countries, and concluded that America’s profile resembled those of countries that had suffered severe financial crises. And sure enough, we had one too. Later, when many business forecasters were arguing that the deep recession would be followed by a rapid, “V-shaped” recovery, they circulated another working paper, largely subsumed into Chapter 14, describing the historical aftermath of financial crises, which suggested that we would face a prolonged period of high unemployment—and so we have.
So what is the message of This Time Is Different? In a nutshell, it is that too much debt is always dangerous. It’s dangerous when a government borrows heavily from foreigners—but it’s equally dangerous when a government borrows heavily from its own citizens. It’s dangerous, too, when the private sector borrows heavily, whether from foreigners or from itself—for banks are basically institutions that borrow from their depositors, then make loans to others, and banking crises are among the most devastating shocks an economy can face. ...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

HFCS Making Us Fat and Sick

Tags: Sugar Consumption Increased 50% Since Reagan Made Corn Cheap, Fructose, Prepared Foods, Fat, Sick, high BP, Uric Acid,

USA Sugar 10.6% of All Calories 1977-1978 and 1999-2006 15.8% (21.4 Teaspoons, 359 calories) Reagan's Fault?

This journal article was probably submitted before the Princeton study showing that equal calories of HFCS High Fructose Corn Syrup which is 55% Fructose and 45% glucose and cane sugar 50:50 fructose and glucose. Why did this apparently small change make such a difference in our health?

Reagan wanted to greatly increase the profits of large corporations involved in food production so the farmers got subsidies greater than the cost of producing, but so much corn was produced to keep prices low so the farmers had to produce lots of corn to get enough to feed their families! So the large corporations were able to sell corn worldwide and put local farmers out of business.

Cane sugar could not be added to fiberless foods in high amounts because it tended to crystallize out on freezing or standing. Liquid High Fructose Corn Syrup which is sweeter than glucose and sucrose, could be added in any amount to prepared foods without crystallizing. So they did not have to worry about making the taste good from tasteless corn and soybean, but just added HFCS.

Fructose does not convert to glucose in our blood and has to be processed by our liver. There part of it is converted to glucose which is stored as glycogen to be used as needed for energy, but 30 percent are converted to low density lipoproteins or the bad heavy LDL-2 which leads to plaques in our arteries.

Fructose also increases our triglycerides which leads to heart disease. If this was not enough, it also produces uric acid which acidifies our blood and gives us gout and high blood pressure independent of salt. Note salt does increase our blood pressure when used in excess, but salt also works by another mechanism to thicken our heart which leads to congestive heart disease.

We are the only ones that can change this. Complain to our political leaders, to newspapers, and to the food producers themselves. Already Coke and Pepsi have removed their colas from the school vending machines which Oregon did first and greatly improved the health of the students at a young impressionable age. Jaime a chef on ABC on Friday at 9:00 PM is trying to change the food habits of Americans starting with the most obese town in the USA, Huntington, West Virginia. Almost everyone has family members who died from diseases due to obesity.

With our government health department calling french fries vegetables, you can imagine how difficult it is. I will check him out on Friday and record Bill Moyers whose programs have been outstanding on PBS.

Jim Kawakami, April 22, 2010,

ScienceDaily (Apr. 22, 2010)Consuming a higher amount of added sugars in processed or prepared foods is associated with lower levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C, the "good cholesterol") and higher levels of triglycerides, which are important risk factors for cardiovascular disease, according to a study in the April 21 issue of JAMA.

Jean A. Welsh, M.P.H., R.N., of Emory University, Atlanta, and colleagues assessed the association between consumption of added sugars and blood lipid levels in U.S. adults. The study included 6,113 adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2006. Respondents were grouped by intake of added sugars using limits specified in dietary recommendations (less than 5 percent of total calories [reference group], 5 percent to less than 10 percent, 10 percent to less than 17.5 percent, 17.5 percent to less than 25 percent, and 25 percent or more of total calories).

"In the United States, total consumption of sugar has increased substantially in recent decades, largely owing to an increased intake of 'added sugars,' defined as caloric sweeteners used by the food industry and consumers as ingredients in processed or prepared foods to increase the desirability of these foods," the authors write. No known studies have examined the association between the consumption of added sugars and lipid measures, such as HDL-C, triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).

Various measures calculated in the study included average HDL-C, average triglycerides, and average LDL-C levels and adjusted odds ratios of dyslipidemia (abnormal amounts of lipids and lipoproteins in the blood), including low HDL-C levels (less than 40 mg/dL for men; less than 50 mg/dL for women), high triglyceride levels (150 mg/dL or greater), high LDL-C levels (130 mg/dL or greater), or high ratio of triglycerides to HDL-C (greater than 3.8). Results were weighted to be representative of the U.S. population. ...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Is There a Good Non-Medicative Way to Treat Allergies?

Tags: Allergies, Vitamin D, B-Vitamins, Immune System Fix, Osteoporosis, Cancer, T-Cell Activation, Teeth/gums


I was disappointed to hear that your remedy for allergies cannot work well after the season starts. Recipe below.

My primary care doctor, Dr. Lisa Emond, specializes in treating skin diseases and colleagues in a separate unit just treat allergies which is a big thing in Oregon with all the trees, grass, molds, and dust mite's fecal matter we have. I picked Oregon because we do not seem to have ragweed. She also sees the good alternative medicine can supplement Board Certified doctors.

The approved range for vitamin D metabolite 25-hydroxy-vitamin D is from 30-80 nano-grams/ml or ng/ml. But at about 30, only 30 percent of osteoporosis can be reversed according to studies by the Osteoporosis Foundation.

The Vitamin D council website which examines peer reviewed vitamin D research publications advices us to take 5,000 IU of vitamin D daily. If 2,000 UI of vitamin D which more Americans are starting to take based on doctor's recommendation, about a storage of 12 days is built up. At about 3500 IU of vitamin D, my metabolite went up to about 49 ng/ml. At 4600 IU of vitamin D, it went up to the low 70s so I shall learn if my pre-osteoporosis diagnosis can be reversed to no osteoporosis over a period of time.

Vitamin D does greatly improve our immune system because it activates the germ fighter T-Cells needed to fight everything including cancer cells. Cervical cancer cells are so deadly because they seem to be able to at least partly deactivate vitamin D. Although no double blind study has been done, enough epidemiology studies have been done to show a strong correlation with healthful results. How good these studies are in making conclusions depends how good the data within it are even thought vitamin D was measured but not studied before. But with very few exceptions, the data seems quite good.

What vitamin D does is also fix our immune system so it does not attack harmless stuff such as pollin. That is why I have successfully use it to fix my immune system so my body does not attack itself. It worked marvelously. I hope it does not take the usual 17 years for half the doctors to use scientifically and practically determined Best Practices.

My superb dental hygienist, Carmalita, has Spring allergies and takes 2,000 IU vitamin D which is probably not enough. She should take a vitamin D metabolite test of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D, but it can be expensive so make sure it is covered. If it is too expensive, start with 2,000 to 3,000 IU of vitamin D3. She should gradually go up and I am asking my great dentist Dr. Steve Hull to give this copy to her.

I had problems with dentists a lot in New Jersey and Los Angeles, Dr. Hull is the first one who has done everything well. Carmalita was the first person to persuade me to do the right thing to keep up my dental hygiene. My gums are now in much better shape. Like most Americans, we do not spend the required two minutes of brushing in circles to cover all surfaces and then flossing to remove food particles and paste in between our individual teeth. I have been amazed what I find there!

She told me today that plaque is normally the same color as teeth and only when it gets contaminated with crud does it becomes colored! Brush, brush, and brush some more. Floss, Floss, and Floss forever! Most should go three times a year. Two is not enough. Bacteria builds up when we sleep so brush your teeth first thing. I do! It has a huge effect on our health, especially heart disease.

At some point I will look at these studies in detail to give me confidence that assumptions and simplifications made in the analysis seems reasonable. Even Harvard studies can be wrong because we are all human and prey to our human frailties. Unfortunately these studies are impossible for laypersons to understand including many scientists. I learned to read horribly written articles so normally what I do is take it all in and then organize the information in my head to make sense of the information.

Jim Kawakami, April 20, 2010,

This series of vitamins boosts the immune system to fight the cause of allergies. They must be taken several weeks before the season starts. If you start taking them once you get the symptoms, they won't doing a thing for you. I take them all year because you can't be sure when the agents that cause the allergies effect you and this series of vitamin B's have other benefits for your health and cognition. These are relatively low doses that I have not been able to find in B complex tablet.

B-6 50 mg
B-12 500mcg
Folic acid 400mcg
Niacinamide 100mg

Cost of Living Calculator

Tags: Cost of Living, Calculator, 1913 $100 is now equivalent purchasing power of $2188.90 now! Put in the starting and end dates to determine and say your salary to see what it is now if you kept up with inflation. For example in 1913. the bankers snuck back in the money printing machine of the Federal Reserve Bank banned by President Andrew Jackson who was a true populist President. Apparently the new biography on Jackson is quite good, but I have to look it up.

More of the history now being written is to correct the lies and distortions by some historians. Texas wants to go back to the Robber Barons in the late 19th century when their Supreme Court made corporations people so a railroad could cut tax free through the town of Santa Clara in California. The crooked Corporate Supreme Court headed by Roberts who always made decisions in favor of corporations. Obama did not vote for him because he bothered to look up his record and Alito's record. Even I knew they were strictly supporting Big Business and not the rest of the country by changing laws to suit corporations.

Jim Kawakami, April 20, 2010,

Sunday, April 18, 2010

As Edison Said Genius is 99% Perspiration and 1% Genius

Tags: Geniuses, Foresight or Hard Work?, Outliers, Wasserman and Blumberg,
We focus too much on the perceived superiority of exceptionally smart people to be our inventive geniuses. Sure they need to be able to think abstractly and the ability to learn and understand what has gone on before. Professors scratch their heads to understand why high grades in undergraduate school or lower has very little correlation in predicting geniuses in who makes major discoveries or inventions leading to major progress in both understanding and applications of the new knowledge.

Sure we get some exceptional scientists and innovators, but also many more duds. Was it the school or the individual?

Einstein, a maverick thinker, was not considered a person who will achieve great things because he did not accept the thinking of the professors because they were professors.

Finally a study by a couple of University of Iowa psychologists, Edward Wasserman and Mark S. Blumberg present ideas that challenges the thought that ideas and inventions come from foresight. The dirty knowledge rarely expressed by those highly successful individuals is they got where they are by making lots of mistakes and learning from them! The Beatles were not born great musicians and entertainers. They got so good by lots of trial and errors and practice. See "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell on how The Beatles succeeded. See Edward Wasserman and Mark S. Blumberg

I believe that talent plays a role but unstoppable interest in what we are doing plays a larger role in great achievements.

Jim Kawakami, April 18, 2010,

Marvelous and Provocative Book about Cancer, Racism, Scientific Ethics and Crippling Poverty, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”

Tags: Rebecca Skloot, Reviewed NY Times, Dwight Garner, Henrietta Lacks, Ethics in Science, Poverty, Racism,
Rebecca Skloot who grew up in Portland, Oregon is considered one of the best science columnist and this book which I have read about half, shows clearly that highly educated scientists, medical researchers, and journalists can be just as corruptible as anyone else including those on Wall Street. She will have two book audiences here and I will attend the one at the University of Oregon.

Skloot's book is unusual for a non-fiction book because she is able to make science human with all of their flaws including greed, dishonesty, and exploitive tendencies. She switches between the science and the horrible toll the exploitation of Henrietta Lacks whose cells are forever, but she died in 1951 of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer, once detected, are frequently fatal. A very recent study shows that these cancer cells are able to deactivate some Vitamin D needed to activate our T-Cells which can fight the cancer. This problem may apply to all cancers, but data shows that those with enough Vitamin D in the blood and stored in their tissues have a much greater chance surviving all cancers.

The doctors at John Hopkins removed her cancerous cells to try to have living cells without informing her family or Henrietta Lacks. Without these first surviving cells and still surviving now, we might still be in the stone ages for biological science. Dwight Garner, of the best reviewer at the Times I have noticed so far, does a superb job in bringing out what Rebecca Skloot wanted to convey in her book which took about ten years to write.

Skloot first became interested in the HeLa cells when she was a rebel in high school and was sent to an alternative school and forced to go to a community college to fulfil her requirements for biology. When she was in graduate school, a long report was required to get her Masters in writing. She again resumed her interest in these forever cells and found that practically nothing was known about Henrietta Lacks. So Skloot left graduate school to learn more driving in a Honda without a muffler. But she found that the Lacks family had been double-crossed so many times by scientists and journalist that they essentially refused to talk to anyone. Skloot called every day for a year before she finally established contact, but what eventually led to her success was her inherent generosity and genuine caring for the plight of the Lacks family.

Since our society including the science community tends to punish independent people, I am afraid that nations which allow more freedom to be different will thrive. If Hitler won, our world would be a lot less innovative. We allow the best to go their own way whether they are minorities or not in science, but not as much as I like, because funding is now extremely important for science. in graduate school, my thesis topic fought what the establishment supported from Harvard and other places of great influence. Eventually we won, but the battle was bruising.

Rebecca Skloot's book reads more like a novel with humanity exuding from its pores.

Jim Kawakami, April 18, 2010,

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Reviewed by Dwight Garner, New York Times Feb 2, 2010

Re: British verses American Political Speech. Investing or Not?

Tags: Political Speech, Gregory vs Geithner, UK's Liberal Clegg vs Brown vs Cameron, Bond Crisis, CDOs, Credit Default Swaps, Goldman Sachs Problems, Investing, Candy Crowley, Tea Party, Fees and Bonuses Feeds Wall Street, Secrecy of Bond Trading, analyses markets, Bill Maher, McConnell vs Crowley,


I can't imagine anyone thinking anything tops politics for pure pleasure!

I enjoy the British political debates much better than what goes on in our broken system of government. "Broken Government" by John W. Dean.

The minority leader for the Republicans, Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), was interviewed today by Candy Crowley of CNN. She is turning out to be a much better host of a news program than I ever thought. She is seasoned so McConnell was not able to get away with rehearsed sound-bites. By the end of the interview, I saw sweat coming down his face even though he is a pretty good liar. Candy had to ask him the same question four times to answer a simple question. She gave up after that.

Gregory in Meet the Press gave Geithner pretty tough questions in a long interview. Every day I am getting more and more impressed with Geithner. He has not been polluted by Wall Street and knows everything inside-out. Even though Tim has received criticism for being too close to Wall Street, we need a person like him in charge because he is aware of all the tricks Wall Street is using to avoid regulation.

Don't forget the Wall Street Crisis was not a stock crisis, but a bond crisis. The problem with bond investing is that everything is done basically in secret so it is impossible for individuals to know if they are getting a fair value/price ratio. It is a game that individuals should not play and has to be done by mutual funds such as Vanguard whose fees are probably as low as any but I have not checked. PIMCO is very good, but you pay for their goodness.
Remember Wall Street makes its money from fees and bonuses. These are so big that a neighbor whom I considered of above average intelligence, not among the higher ranks made millions as a bond trader in the 1980s.

I would like all bonds to be traded openly just like stocks so everyone can follow them and the pricing would be more competitive. The derivatives that did us in were secretly un-traded bonds that were leveraged as high as 50:1 in the same ball park as commodities. I found it amusing when Simon Johnson and a professor at MIT try to explain to Bill Maher (HBO-Fridays) the CDOs and Credit Default Swaps. The first is just a lots of weak mortgages combined with some good ones and made the calculations so complex that the regulators could not rate them without the help of JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. This is better than a Fox guarding the open hen house.

Goldman Sachs is in trouble now because they allowed the hedge fund manager Paulson to combine the mortgages that were most likely to fail into a special "CDO" which Goldman Sachs knowingly sold to customers. Then Paulson knowing they will fail, picked up Credit Default Swaps which is just insurance just in case they failed.

The selling of Credit Default Swaps by AIG is what caused that company to essentially fail and is largely government owned. They could not pay off those like Goldman Sachs who bought their credit default swaps. They got the idea to issue these by Goldman Sachs and probably JP Morgan which were probably the only two firms that really understood them and I believe, JP Morgan invented them.

Left unsaid by the media and The Tea Party who got a lot of stuff from government such as good roads, lots of corporate welfare, and tax structures that allowed them to prosper. Now they don't want the minorities including Jews to prosper. I am afraid that if we are not careful, we may once again become a divided nation with one group against other groups.

The Tea Party affluent members had to cut back on their lifestyle and want to blame others for their sins. Based on their emotional reactions, I suspect that they sold and went into bonds which is what a large majority of the public did. So a good investment strategy is to not do what the crowd does. Sure there are lots of worries still, but I am staying in the market and am fully invested. Of course I tolerate risk much more now because I know a lot more than I did before I retired. To most investors, Wall Street is a Black Box. I like to think of individuals on Wall Street as those who Wear Black Hats as we saw in the Westerns.

The mutual fund managers are saying index funds are not the way to go. Go to index funds! Go Vanguard and assume you cannot predict the future. I know it is not that easy to pick which index funds to buy and how to allocate them. I wanted to re-balance my portfolio every quarter so I picked an advisor that could do this more efficiently. Things tend to change much more quickly now so I think worldwide index funds and reallocation every quarter is one strategy you might consider.

Beer, Music, and Lots of Cheers!

Jim Kawakami, April 18, 2010,

LONDON (AFP) – Britain's party leaders clashed verbally Thursday in a first-ever live pre-election television debate, ahead of knife-edge polls next month.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Conservative leader David Cameron repeatedly interrupted each other at the start of the closely-watched debate, the first of three before May 6 ballots.
"You can't airbrush your policies even if you can airbrush your posters," Brown told Cameron, referring to a much-criticised campaign poster showing the Tory leader with suspiciously smooth features.
A snap online poll by broadcaster ITV, hosting the first debate, showed that Nick Clegg of the third party the Liberal Democrats was the early winner with 39 percent backing, with Cameron and Brown both on around 30 percent.
Each was seeking an advantage in the debate on domestic policy, although Britain's first foray into leaders' TV debates was governed by 76 rules hammered out in painstaking negotiations between broadcasters and the parties. ...

Re: British Verses American Political Speech
Many thanks for this. I did watch it or to be more precise, I recorded it and watched it later. Can't let stupid politics get in the way of "good music playing" and good drinking. Good friends are more important than politics.
My take out was that Clegg was impressive and it is worth remembering, as people will, that there was a recent debate between the prospective Finance Ministers, i.e. the Chancellor, Alistair Darling , George Osborne for the Conservatives and Vince Cable for the Lib dems. Vince Cable as ever was by far the most impressive as rather expected. But Clegg's performance last week was better than many expected and I suspect the other two will be laying traps for him in the next two debates. Some nasty Tory jibes about the Lib Dems making us subservient to Europe. All rather silly,.
As for the other two, Cameron failed to convince me that he is Prime Minister material and included a few too many dog whistle elements especially on immigration and crime.
Brown is not a natural in this sort of forum. He did not do badly and sounded competent although he and Clegg missed a chance to nail Cameron when he made a silly claim about how he had met 40 year old black peron who had spent 30 years in the Navy.
Brown however does seem to lack spontinaity. And it showed when he made a slightly good joke (for him a supremely good joke) when he thanked the Conservatives doctoring a picture of him on hoardings to make him smile and then over-egged it with an unnecessary addition about Lord Ashcroft . OK, so we don't like Lord Ashcroft who lives off shore and uses his money to pour into marginal seats. Barely legal if that but the reference here rather spoiled things.
But the debate in general was a little more biting and entertaining than we expected and that owed quite a lot to the moderator Alistair Stewart of ITV who stood for no nonsense. Will the others (on Sky News and the BBC) be as effective? I suspect the gloves will be off more as Brown and Cameron will not let Clegg have an early ride again.
So there we are. A great innovation!! Except that they did it in the US 50 years ago
Cheers and beers

Friday, April 16, 2010

13 Bankers Book by James Kwak and Simon Johnson Explains the Banking Crisis Better than Most

Tags: Johnson and Kwak, 13 Bankers, Stop Another Financial Meltdown,, Moyers, Senator Sherrod Brown, Need Law rather than Regulation

Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio is turning out be one of my favorite senators who is not afraid to call a spade a spade. Do not trust regulators because they need a job after they leave government with a change in administration. With so few banks owning everything worth owning, we are asking too much of regulators to do the right thing. Summers as Treasury Secretary got rid of the woman who wanted to regulate derivatives in the late 1990s. We must have laws on the books that regulate the regulators! Kwak and Johnson's website is quite good. They are superb in explaining the financial system to mainstreet.

Jim Kawakami, April 16, 2010,

Simon Johnson and James Kwak

April 16, 2010

The White House and Democrats in Congress have begun pushing in earnest for a package of financial reforms. But will it be enough to stop Wall Street from causing another meltdown?

To find out what real financial reform needs to look like, Bill Moyers turns to Simon Johnson and James Kwak, the co-authors of 13 BANKERS: THE WALL STREET TAKEOVER AND THE NEXT FINANCIAL MELTDOWN.

The problem, according to Kwak, is that the legislation currently doesn't address the central problem of the crisis, that America's banks have grown 'too big to fail.' In fact, the problem has gotten worse, with just six banks holding assets in excess of
63% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. Kwak explains that the crisis actually made the surviving banks more powerful, "I think what's remarkable is that it used to be maybe eight or nine banks. But what's happened over the last two years, as Simon is saying, is that these banks have gotten bigger, because they've bought each other. They've become more powerful. And they have an even stronger market position in some key markets like credit cards, mortgages, equity underwriting, and derivatives."

Johnson argues that for reform to work, policy makers and regulators must reject the belief that Wall Street knows what's its doing, that its interests are always aligned with the nation as a whole, "The idea that we need Wall Street with its current structure — and a disproportionate economic power that implies — to somehow make this economy work and drive entrepreneurship, that idea is nonsense. This is why we wrote the book, all right? There's plenty of evidence on this issue. We go through it. If you want a faith based economy in this regard, you can disregard the evidence."

Senator Brown and the 'Volcker Rule'

Johnson and Kwak believe Congress should pass a law capping the size of the banks, to keep them from becoming so large that their failure threatens the world economy. This approach has been dubbed the 'Volcker Rule,' after Paul Volcker, the well-respected former Federal Reserve chairman who has pushed hard for its inclusion. Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio has introduced an
amendment to the bill that would do just that, reading in part that, "No bank holding company may possess non-deposit liabilities exceeding 3 percent of the annual gross domestic product of the United States."

The Six Big Banks

The names of the six banking behemoths are no doubt familiar to most Americans. The four largest by assets — Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup —
hold 39 percent of American's deposits.

The six biggest commercial banks by deposit:
  • Bank of America, $817.9 billion
  • JPMorgan Chase Bank $618.1 billion
  • Wachovia Bank $394.2 billion
  • Wells Fargo Bank $325.4 billion
  • Citibank $265.9 billion
  • U.S. Bank $151.9 billion

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Resistance of Average Doctors to Apply Harmless Vitamin D Treatments to Fix Immune System

Tags: South Beach Diet, HFCS, Obesity, Fruit juice, High BP, Uric Acid, Vitamin D Cures Pneumonia

My friends who live in Miami and love South Beach and loved the South Beach Diet which seems to work well. When I was talking to my investment advisor today, she said that she used the South Beach Diet and she mentioned that one thing the authors said about High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). She said that the book's author said that when they use to eat foods and drinks with HFGS they were hungry all the time! Fruit juice probably has more Fructose than Coke and Pepsi which is pushed as a healthful drink by some doctors! It takes a number of blemished oranges or apples to make one small glass of orange or apple juice.

Metabolism of Fructose in the liver produces glucose going to stored glycogen and the harmful LDLP, uric acid, and triglycerides. In addition Fructose somehow stops our ability to produce Leptin which prevents over-eating and the hormone Ghrelin produced by the Omentum or belly organ which grows in size as we eat too much.

My Doctor Lisa Emond, decided to give me a uric acid test, an insulin test, and the comprehensive one to determine such things as fasting glucose, pH of the blood, and other health parameters. Uric acid was tested routinely in the past, but stopped based on conclusions which has been to shown wrong by Richard Johnson in "The Sugar Fix: The High-Fructose Fallout that is Making You Fat and Sick" and a Journal of the American Medical Association or JAMA in 2008.

We must remember that even Nobel Prize winners can be wrong based on the assumptions they made by selecting data available at that time that supported their theories. We paid that price during the recent Financial Meltdown that led the World to the Great Depression. No one has a lock on the absolute truth. We are all flawed and the more we realize that, the closer we would come to making the right decisions most of the time by being open to opposing rational views.

Below is a letter by a woman to Dr. Cannell who runs the which reports on recent academic work by leading scientists on the wonders of vitamin D. When she was told by a team of doctors that her mother will die within 5 days, she forced them to give her a test of vitamin D and they agreed on 5,000 IU. Without the knowledge of the doctors she gave her mother 30,000 IU of vitamin D daily and she remarkably got a lot better!

Dr. Cannell told the daughter that we are working in an unknown area, but he is recommending boosting the dose every day to 50,000 IU and a few other vitamins including vitamin K2 until she gets over the lung infection.

Jim Kawakami, April 14, 2010,

Vitamin D Council


Dear Dr. Cannell:

My 71 year old mother is in the hospital diagnosed with Pseudomonas pneumonia. Because she also has COPD along with years of prednisone use, her doctors have given her only a 5% chance of survival. The hospital is against patients taking any supplements without doctors orders (they kind of have a don't ask/don't tell policy on supplements), but they have prescribed her Vitamin C and zinc. But they failed to prescribe any Vitamin D.

Under my insistence, six months ago my mother had her vitamin D levels tested and found out she was critically low. So she has been taking 5,000 IU a day since then. But after finding out she had Pseudomonas, unknown to her doctors, I have been giving my mother 30,000 IU of vitamin D for the last 5 days (based on the studies I saw about Pneumonia and Vitamin D). The first few days she had a fever of 99+, but these last 2 days her temperature has returned to NORMAL. Needless to say, her doctors are astounded. They fully expected her to be near death now. But out of fear I am not planning on informing them of her Vitamin D intake unless/until after she fully recovers.

At any rate, I do not want you personal medical advice. But because you have studied Vitamin D so thoroughly, I wanted to ask you,
based on the studies and research out there, is 30,000 IU enough for this? Does research show if it is safe or beneficial to take more for this condition? Is there any other cofactors that research shows would be beneficial as well? Really, what has the research shown?

Thank you for any information you can provide. It will be simply wonderful if Vitamin D actually ends up saving my Mother's life.

Much kind regards and thank you for all you do.

Linda Thomas, New York

Dear Linda:

Increase her dose to 50,000 IU per day and continue that dose until she is fully recovered and then reduce it to 5,000 IU per day. Doses of 50,000 IU per day should only be used by critically ill people; they are safe to take for many weeks. This is to be used in addition to her antibiotics, not instead of them.

There is no direct or even much indirect science to support my advice. However, I cannot fail to give my best advice and let your mother die. As far as co-factors, vitamin D needs many but magnesium, zinc, boron, and vitamin K2 are the ones most people are deficient in.

Good reason exists to think that the antimicrobial peptides that vitamin D upregulates (increases) will be effective in a wide variety of infectious disease that peaks in the wintertime, such as pneumonia and meningitis.

I hope your letter may have the effect of reaching others who may be in similar situations.

John Cannell, MD

Executive Director

Vitamin D Council

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