Monday, February 28, 2011

Gov Unions Not Enough to Counter Ignorant Voters Corporations Unlimited Billions

Tags: Rise New Ruling Class Rage of the Bottom 98 Percent French Revolution

In Europe religious wars between Catholics and Protestants set back the advance of learning and progress for centuries. Now I am afraid ideological religious political wars here might lead to the ultimate destruction of a comfortable living for 98 percent of Americans. The Jan-Feb issue of The Atlantic Magazine had a good article by the former USA Financial Times editor, Chrystia Freeland, about who is responsible for our plight, titled The rise of the New Ruling Class: How the Global Elite is Leaving You Behind.

In the last two paragraphs of this article, Mohamed El-Erian, The Pimco CEO as well as Khodorkovsky, one of the six Russian Jewish Oligarchs who took advantage of the indiscriminate privatization of public companies regrets after being thrown in prison by Putin, said … he admitted the he had “treated business exclusively as a game” and “did not care much about social responsibility.”

The global Oligarchs, especially the ones in America, can not imagine the wrath of a large segment of our population with European genes of violence which might make us more similar to Egypt that we would like to admit. Here are the last two paragraphs of the long article. American super elites think they will be able to hide in Galt’s Gulch as depicted in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Guarded communities will not be enough to protect our Oligarchs. Remember the French Revolution.

Mohamed El-Erian, the Pimco CEO, is a model member of the super-elite. But he is also a man whose father grew up in rural Egypt, and he has studied nations where the gaps between the rich and the poor have had violent resolutions. “For successful people to say the challenges faced by the lower end of the income distribution aren’t relevant to them is shortsighted,” he told me. Noting that “global labor and capital are doing better than their strictly national counterparts” in most Western industrialized nations, ElErian added, “I think this will lead to increasingly inward-looking social and political conditions. I worry that we risk ending up with very insular policies that will not do well in a global world. One of the big surprises of 2010 is that the protectionist dog didn’t bark. But that will come under pressure.”

The lesson of history is that, in the long run, super-elites have two ways to survive: by suppressing dissent or by sharing their wealth. It is obvious which of these would be the better outcome for America, and the world. Let us hope the plutocrats aren’t already too isolated to recognize this. Because, in the end, there can never be a place like Galt’s Gulch.” Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged

The rise of the New Ruling Class: How the Global Elite is Leaving You Behind. Aug 25, 2010

Pollin and Thompson: “A few states are facing more serious problems, including New Jersey, Illinois and California. New Jersey is in the worst shape. But this is not because the state has been handing out profligate pensions to its retired employees. The average state pension in New Jersey pays out $39,500 per year. The problem is that over the past decade, the state has regularly paid into the system less than the amount agreed upon by the legislature and governor and stipulated in the annual budgets.”


The Betrayal of Public Workers,

Robert Pollin and Jeffrey Thompson, Feb 16, 2011, Political Economy Research Institute,1

State Pension Funds Are Not Collapsing

(In Wisconsin, 75% of corporations do not pay any taxes at all, but the governor gave McDonald’s and some other corporations tax cuts! Jim)

Not surprisingly, state and local government pension funds absorbed heavy losses in the 2008–09 Wall Street crisis, because roughly 60 percent of these pension fund assets were invested in corporate stocks. Between mid-2007 and mid-2009, the total value of these pension funds fell by nearly $900 billion.

This collapse in the pension funds’ asset values has increased their unfunded liabilities—that is, the total amount of benefit payments owed over the next thirty years relative to the ability of the pension funds’ portfolio to cover them. By how much? In reality, estimating the total level of unfunded liabilities entails considerable guesswork. One simply cannot know with certainty how many people will be receiving benefits over the next thirty years, nor—more to the point—how much money the pension funds’ investments will be earning over this long time span. The severe instability of financial markets in the recent past further clouds the picture. …

Thus, these estimates vary by huge amounts, depending on the presumed rate of return for the funds. The irony is that right-wing doomsayers in this debate, such as Grover Norquist, operate with an assumption that the fund managers will be able to earn returns only equal to the interest rates on riskless US Treasury securities. Under this assumption, the level of unfunded liabilities balloons to the widely reported figure of $3 trillion. To reach this conclusion, the doomsayers are effectively arguing that the collective performance of all the Wall Street fund managers—those paragons of free-market wizardry—will be so anemic over the next thirty years that the pension funds may as well just fire them and permanently park all their money in risk-free government bonds. It follows that the profits of private corporations over the next thirty years will also be either anemic or extremely unstable.

But it isn’t necessary to delve seriously into this debate in order to assess the long-term viability of the public pension funds. A more basic consideration is that before the recession, states and municipalities consistently maintained outstanding records of managing their funds. In the 1990s the funds steadily accumulated reserves, such that by 2000, on average, they were carrying no unfunded liabilities at all. Even after the losses to the funds following the previous Wall Street crash of 2001, the unfunded share of total pension obligations was no more than around 10 percent. By comparison, the Government Accountability Office holds that to be fiscally sound, the unfunded share can be as high as 20 percent of the pension funds’ total long-term obligations.

A few states are facing more serious problems, including New Jersey, Illinois and California. New Jersey is in the worst shape. But this is not because the state has been handing out profligate pensions to its retired employees. The average state pension in New Jersey pays out $39,500 per year. The problem is that over the past decade, the state has regularly paid into the system less than the amount agreed upon by the legislature and governor and stipulated in the annual budgets. For 2010 the state skipped its scheduled $3.1 billion payment altogether. However, even taking New Jersey’s worst-case scenario, the state could still eliminate its unfunded pension fund liabilities—that is, begin running a 100 percent fully funded pension fund—if it increased the current allocation by about 4 percent of the total budget, leaving 96 percent of the state budget allocation unchanged.

In dollar terms, this worst-case scenario for New Jersey would require the state to come up with roughly $4 billion per year to cover its pension commitments in an overall budget in the range of $92 billion. Extracting this amount of money from other programs in the budget would certainly cause pain, especially when New Jersey, like all other states, faces tight finances. But compare this worst-case scenario with the bankruptcy agenda being discussed throughout the country.

To begin with, seriously discussing a bankruptcy agenda will undermine the confidence of private investors in all state and municipal bonds—confidence that has been earned by state and municipal governments. When the markets begin to fear that states and municipalities are contemplating bankruptcy, this will drive up the interest rates that governments will have to pay to finance school buildings, infrastructure improvements and investments in the green economy.

Then, of course, there is the impact on the pensioners and their families. For the states and municipalities to walk away from their pension fund commitments would leave millions of public sector retirees facing major cuts in their living standards and their sense of security. Something few Americans understand is that roughly one-third of the 19 million state and local employees—i.e., those in fifteen states, including California, Texas and Massachusetts—are not eligible for Social Security and will depend exclusively on their pensions and personal savings in retirement. In addition, public sector pensions are not safeguarded by the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Unlike Wall Street banks, state pensioners will receive no bailout checks if the states choose to abrogate their pension fund agreements.

Getting Serious About Reforming State Finances

Of course, there are significant ways the public pension systems, as well as state and local finances more generally, can be improved. The simplest solution, frequently cited, involves “pension spiking”—that is, practices such as allowing workers to add hundreds of hours of overtime at the end of their careers to balloon their final year’s pay and their pensions. This has produced serious additional costs to pension obligations in some states and municipalities, but it is still by no means a major factor in explaining states’ current fiscal problems.

But states and municipalities also have to follow through on the steps they have taken to raise taxes on the wealthy households that are most able to pay. They should also broaden their sources of tax revenue by taxing services such as payments to lawyers, as well as by taxing items purchased over the Internet. And they have to stop giving out large tax breaks to corporations as inducements to locate in their state or municipality instead of neighboring locations. This kind of race to the bottom generates no net benefit to states and municipalities.

Finally, state and local governments are in the same boat as the federal government and private businesses in facing persistently rising healthcare costs. As was frequently noted during the healthcare debates over the past two years, the United States spends about twice as much per person on healthcare as other highly developed countries do, even though these other countries have universal coverage, longer life expectancies and generally healthier populations. These costs weigh heavily on the budgets of state and local governments, which finance a large share of Medicaid and health benefits for state employees. The problem is that we spend far more than other countries on medications, expensive procedures and especially insurance and administration. We also devote less attention to prevention. It remains to be seen how much the Obama healthcare reform law—the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—will remedy this situation. It is certainly the case that more must be done, especially in establishing effective controls on the drug and insurance industries.

These are some of the long-run measures that must be taken to bolster the financing of education, healthcare, public safety and other vital social services, as well as to support investments in infrastructure and the green economy. If states declare bankruptcy they will break their obligations to employees, vendors, pensioners and even bondholders, which will undermine the basic foundations of our economy. As we emerge, if only tentatively, from the wreckage of the Great Recession, this is precisely the moment we need to strengthen, not weaken, the standards of fairness governing our society. …,1

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Krugman Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine,” Repubs Disaster Privatization Ideology in Wisconsin

Tags: Wisconsin Union Busting Klein's The Shock Doctrine Implement Unpopular Policies During Economic Shock Fuzzy Thinking Stress Katrina Example All Teachers Fired Blacks Excluded

When Americans are under shock from Wall Street Stealing their Future, they are more likely to accept goofy solutions to solve the problems. I guess rich criminals who steal lots of money, but steals from the poor don't get prosecuted. Madoff made the mistake of stealing from the rich.

As time goes on, the Democrats who did not vote and the Independents voting Republican are already starting to regret their foolish choice. When only about half the country favors unions after 60 years of propaganda against unions, the 62 percent of Democrats and Independents rejecting the actions the Republicans looks promising for 2012. I prefer to be optimistic.

Historians now favor Teddy Roosevelt as the best President. Obama is in the top 15-20. Hopefully Obama will learn to carry the big stick, but it looks like he might not.

The largely reasonable and balance people of Wisconsin went crazy too! They are starting to regain their sanity. Let's hope the whole country follows.

I was very happy that Boeing got the contract because the Air Force rightly extended the time the fueling plane would be used with better milage as fuel prices increases. The large segment of racist folks in Alabama (European plane) and Mississippi seem to be still living in the 1865 era. So I am doubly happy.

Daniels, the Princeton graduate and a favorite of David Brooks, has not released those in long-term jail sentences in Indiana even though they committed the same drug crimes that he did.

I guess the multigenerational Ivy League families will continue to rule over us unless ... .

Jim Kawakami, Feb 26, 2011,


Shock Doctrine, U.S.A.

Here’s a thought: maybe Madison, Wis., isn’t Cairo after all. Maybe it’s Baghdad — specifically, Baghdad in 2003, when the Bush administration put Iraq under the rule of officials chosen for loyalty and political reliability rather than experience and competence.

As many readers may recall, the results were spectacular — in a bad way. Instead of focusing on the urgent problems of a shattered economy and society, which would soon descend into a murderous civil war, those Bush appointees were obsessed with imposing a conservative ideological vision. Indeed, with looters still prowling the streets of Baghdad, L. Paul Bremer, the American viceroy, told a Washington Post reporter that one of his top priorities was to “corporatize and privatize state-owned enterprises” — Mr. Bremer’s words, not the reporter’s — and to “wean people from the idea the state supports everything.”

The story of the privatization-obsessed Coalition Provisional Authority was the centerpiece of Naomi Klein’s best-selling book “The Shock Doctrine,” which argued that it was part of a broader pattern. From Chile in the 1970s onward, she suggested, right-wing ideologues have exploited crises to push through an agenda that has nothing to do with resolving those crises, and everything to do with imposing their vision of a harsher, more unequal, less democratic society.

Which brings us to Wisconsin 2011, where the shock doctrine is on full display.

In recent weeks, Madison has been the scene of large demonstrations against the governor’s budget bill, which would deny collective-bargaining rights to public-sector workers. Gov. Scott Walker claims that he needs to pass his bill to deal with the state’s fiscal problems. But his attack on unions has nothing to do with the budget. In fact, those unions have already indicated their willingness to make substantial financial concessions — an offer the governor has rejected.

What’s happening in Wisconsin is, instead, a power grab — an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy. And the power grab goes beyond union-busting. The bill in question is 144 pages long, and there are some extraordinary things hidden deep inside.

For example, the bill includes language that would allow officials appointed by the governor to make sweeping cuts in health coverage for low-income families without having to go through the normal legislative process.

And then there’s this: “Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state-owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).”

What’s that about? The state of Wisconsin owns a number of plants supplying heating, cooling, and electricity to state-run facilities (like the University of Wisconsin). The language in the budget bill would, in effect, let the governor privatize any or all of these facilities at whim. Not only that, he could sell them, without taking bids, to anyone he chooses. And note that any such sale would, by definition, be “considered to be in the public interest.”

If this sounds to you like a perfect setup for cronyism and profiteering — remember those missing billions in Iraq? — you’re not alone. Indeed, there are enough suspicious minds out there that Koch Industries, owned by the billionaire brothers who are playing such a large role in Mr. Walker’s anti-union push, felt compelled to issue a denial that it’s interested in purchasing any of those power plants. Are you reassured?

The good news from Wisconsin is that the upsurge of public outrage — aided by the maneuvering of Democrats in the State Senate, who absented themselves to deny Republicans a quorum — has slowed the bum’s rush. If Mr. Walker’s plan was to push his bill through before anyone had a chance to realize his true goals, that plan has been foiled. And events in Wisconsin may have given pause to other Republican governors, who seem to be backing off similar moves.

But don’t expect either Mr. Walker or the rest of his party to change those goals. Union-busting and privatization remain G.O.P. priorities, and the party will continue its efforts to smuggle those priorities through in the name of balanced budgets.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Financial Fraud Rolling Stone Matt Taibbi Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?

Tags: Financial Fraud Wall Street and Banks Not Prosecuted Severely Hurt Pension Plans of States and Teachers Hoodwinking Everyone Crime is White Too

Matt Taibbi has done a great job for Rolling Stone magazine investigating the financial and power brokers. He keeps it simple so we all understand Wall Street did to all of us. When are we going to admit that greed among both Wall Street and Investors has led to this unmitigated disaster that we will live with for a long time ruining the lives of millions of American families. A Wall Street Journal article showed that a large number of Baby Boomers too huge hits and too many sold after the crash and never benefited from the uptick in stocks and bonds due to a huge supply of money from taxpayers and the Federal Reserve. So far we have not felt the inflationary effects because Wall Street Banks are borrowing the money and then buying treasury bonds above zero interest rates they borrowed at. Once they start giving out the money as loans, the money goes into our economy and will lead to inflation in a number of years.

Jim Kawakami, Feb 24, 2011,

Matt Taibbi: "Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?" (Complete Interview)

Nobody goes to jail,” "writes Matt Taibbi in his the new issue of Rolling Stone magazine. “This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth." Here is the complete interview from which we played an excerpt on our Feb. 22 show. Taibbi explains how the American people have been defrauded by Wall Street investors and how the financial crisis is connected to the situations in states such as Wisconsin and Ohio.

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to Matt Taibbi. But before I do, let me read a sentence from a recent paper by Dean Baker, who concludes, "Most of the pension shortfall using the current methodology is attributable to the plunge in the stock market in the years 2007-2009. If pension funds had earned returns just equal to the interest rate on 30-year Treasury bonds in the three years since 2007, their assets would be more than $850 billion greater than they are today."

And this—he quotes David Cay Johnston of "The average Wisconsin pension is $24,500 a year, which is hardly lavish. But what is stunning is that 15% of the money contributed to the fund each year is going to Wall Street in fees," which is why we now ask the question, "Why isn’t Wall Street in jail?"

Actually, that’s the title of reporter Matt Taibbi’s new article for Rolling Stone magazine. In the piece, Matt writes, quote, "Nobody goes to jail. This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth."

Well, I interviewed Matt Taibbi on Sunday about his report, "Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?"

AMY GOODMAN: Welcome to Democracy Now!, Matt Taibbi.

MATT TAIBBI: Thanks for having me back.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re seeing these mass protests in Madison, Wisconsin, and there’s other protests that are happening. We see the working poor, the middle class, under tremendous stress, and yet they’re the ones who are being hit hardest, not Wall Street. Explain what has happened. Why isn’t Wall Street in jail?

MATT TAIBBI: Well, it’s an incredible story. I mean, just to back up and provide some context, I think, for this Wisconsin thing, and especially for the Ohio thing, given what their governor used to do for a living—


MATT TAIBBI: Well, he was an employee for Lehman Brothers, and he was—

AMY GOODMAN: This is Governor Kasich.

MATT TAIBBI: Governor Kasich, yeah, and he was intimately involved with selling—getting the state of Ohio’s pension fund to invest in Lehman Brothers and buy mortgage-backed securities. And of course they lost all that money.

And this, broadly, was really what the mortgage bubble and the financial crisis was all about. It was essentially a gigantic criminal fraud scheme where all the banks were taking mismarked mortgage-backed securities, very, very dangerous, toxic subprime loans, they were chopping them up and then packaging them as AAA-rated investments, and then selling them to state pension funds, to insurance companies, to Chinese banks and Dutch banks and Icelandic banks.

And, of course, these things were blowing up, and all those funds were going broke. But what they’re doing now is they’re blaming the people who were collecting these pensions—they’re blaming the workers, they’re blaming the firemen, they’re blaming the policemen—whereas, in reality, they were actually the victims of this fraud scheme. And the only reason that people aren’t angrier about this, I think, is because they don’t really understand what happened.

If these were car companies that had sold a trillion dollars’ worth of defective cars to the citizens of the United States, there would be riots right now. But these were mortgage-backed securities, it’s complicated, people don’t understand it, and they’re only now, I think, beginning to realize that they were defrauded.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain what the crime is. Who has profited? Who should be on trial?

MATT TAIBBI: Well, you know, again, the broad crime in all of this was just fraud. They were taking—these banks were taking, again, these subprime mortgages, and they would have these billion-dollar pools of mortgages where, in some cases, 70 or 80 percent of the loans were to people who had no identification or no jobs or who had put no money down into the mortgage.

And then they were taking these loans and applying this phony baloney, hocus pocus math, these derivative instruments, and turning them into AAA-rated investments. And they were marketing, again, these securities to, say, state pension funds as AAA-rated investments, which means credit risk almost zero.

So they took the stuff that they knew was very, very risky and very, very likely to default, and they were going to the state of Wisconsin, the state of Ohio, the state of New York, and saying, "Hey, this is almost as safe as—or in fact, it is as safe as United States Treasury bonds. You should buy this, and you’ll earn a little bit more than you’ll earn if you buy T-bills." The reality was, they were just taking absolutely worthless stuff and sticking it with these people and then fleeing the scene. This is no different than drug dealers who take a bag of oregano and sell it to you as, you know, a pound of weed. That’s exactly the same scam. …

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cell Phone Use Activates Emotional Prefrontal Decision Making Center PET Scan

Tags: Cell Phones Microwave Signal Activates Emotional Decision Making Center Prefrontal Orbital Cortex Glucose Metabolism Increases Small Study PET Scan

It has been known for years that the microwave signals affects the brain just like it does in heating food in the microwave oven. This happens when the water molecules in the food vibrate causing heat generation. The same happens to your brain and becomes stronger when you are further away from the towers because more energy hits your brain for reasons I do not understand. It seems logical to me that those closer to the towers gets greater radiation exposure to our brains from cell phones.

When the prefrontal orbital cortex is removed due to disease, we are unable to make decisions. So emotions are always involved in our decisions and there is no such thing as completely logical assessment of the facts.

Fear is what drives the Republican Party, believe it or not. Greed is what drives those at the top who manipulates less intelligent religious Americans which Gingrich and Wall Street/corporations exploits all the time in campaign ads and soundbites.

Emotions are needed to learn and to be creative. Just logic and looking at the literature as so many believe does not give us great ideas unless we already have a treasure trove of information in our brain to determine good ideas from bad ones. Those who achieve such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs who both luckily left Harvard and Reed College respectively as Freshman so they could tinker in their garages, were not contaminated with conventional thinking. Unfortunately the best schools train us to fit the top echelons of society and not necessarily innovate, but the serve Wealth and Power. The primary ideas normally come from elsewhere. They are superb in copying the true innovators and making small changes and call it patentable.

My guess is that Americans are now only interested in being entertained to a large extent so I am truly concerned where we are going. Perhaps President Obama will prove to be that inspiration once he gets reelected in 2012.

When we get contrary facts to our beliefs, we get scared or experience cognitive dissonance which leads may to reject contrary facts and ideas. Only with a great effort and more information can we overcome a lifetime of learning. This is probably the greatest defect in our ideological society now. I hope we can overcome this and do what is necessary to maintain the good life in America.

Yes, excess greed is not logical, but it is a very powerful emotion, just like hate and envy.

Jim Kawakami, Feb 23, 2011,

Wikipedia: The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is a prefrontal cortex region in the frontal lobes in the brain which is involved in the cognitive processing of decision-making. It consists in non-human primates of the association cortex areas brodmann area 11, 12 and 13; in humans it consists of brodmann area 10, 11 and 47[1] Because of its functions in emotion and reward, the OFC is considered by some to be a part of the limbic system.

The OFC anatomically is defined as the part of the prefrontal cortex that receives projections from the magnocellular, medial nucleus of the mediodorsal thalamus.[2] It gets its name from its position immediately above the orbits in which are located the eyes. Considerable individual variability has been found in the OFC of both humans and non-human primates. A related area is found in rodents.[3]

The human OFC is among the least-understood regions of the human brain; but it has been proposed that the OFC is involved in sensory integration, in representing the affective value of reinforcers, and in decision-making and expectation.[1] In particular, the human OFC is thought to regulate planning behavior associated with sensitivity to reward and punishment.[4] This is supported by research in humans, non-human primates, and rodents. Human research has focused on neuroimaging research in healthy participants and neuropsychology research in patients with damage to discrete parts of the OFC. Research at the University of Leipzig shows that the human OFC is activated during intuitive coherence judgements.[5] …

Cell Phone Use May Have Affect on Brain Activity in the Emotion Center of Prefrontal Cortex where Decisions are Made. Science Daily, Feb 23, 2011, Nora D. Volkow, M.D., of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md., and colleagues conducted a study to assess if cell phone exposure affected regional activity in the human brain. The randomized study, conducted between January 1 and December 31, 2009, included 47 participants. Cell phones were placed on the left and right ears and brain imaging was performed with positron emission tomography (PET) with (18F)fluorodeoxyglucose injection, used to measure brain glucose metabolism twice, once with the right cell phone activated (sound muted) for 50 minutes ("on" condition) and once with both cell phones deactivated ("off" condition). Analysis was conducted to verify the association of metabolism and estimated amplitude of radiofrequency-modulated electromagnetic waves emitted by the cell phone. The PET scans were compared to assess the effect of cell phone use on brain glucose metabolism.

The researchers found that whole-brain metabolism did not differ between the on and off conditions. However, there were significant regional effects. Metabolism in the brain region closest to the antenna (orbitofrontal cortex and temporal pole) was significantly higher (approximately 7 percent) for cell phone on than for cell phone off conditions. "The increases were significantly correlated with the estimated electromagnetic field amplitudes both for absolute metabolism and normalized metabolism," the authors write. "This indicates that the regions expected to have the greater absorption of RF-EMFs from the cell phone exposure were the ones that showed the larger increases in glucose metabolism."

"These results provide evidence that the human brain is sensitive to the effects of RF-EMFs from acute cell phone exposures," the researchers write. They add that the mechanisms by which RF-EMFs could affect brain glucose metabolism are unclear. …

Brain: Orbitofrontal cortex


Approximate location of the OFC shown on a sagittal

Climate Change Earthquakes Volcanic Eruptions Tsunamis Increase Explained

Tags: Food Scarcity Climate Change Crisis Riots Changing Governments Earthquakes Tsunamis Volcanic Eruptions Distracted Americans New Zealand Chile Iceland

This week's Bloomberg Business Week major story is about how the Climate Change food crisis causing riots all over the world with the USA being lucky so far in still being able to produce food that we can export. The price of corn and wheat for export has doubled and has led to riots in the Middle East and even in China. Droughts in Northern China where half of the wheat is grown is becoming increasing dry. Canada's winter wheat is low because it is too wet, something that does not happen very much.

The price of corn and wheat has doubled on the commodities exchange. The agriculture commodity stock DBI which I recommended in the past has doubled in more recent times and Deutsche Bank has closed the fund because no products are available to match the future bets.

As most of you noticed Russia had unusual climate change weather where a huge amount of wheat is grown for export. It also had devastating fires as California has had. Now it is being inundated with too much rain in normally drier parts of California having effects on her ability to grow food. Hard to believe, but we may have riots here in the future. Hunger does not discriminate by race.

Bloomberg Business Week top story this week is about the Food Crisis and Climate Change causing these problems. China and Russia who normally export wheat is now keeping what they make because severe droughts in northern China and Siberia and heavy rains in Canada due to Climate Change have severely hit the export market. Only the USA is still exporting wheat.

The agriculture commodities fund which I recommended in the past and run by Deutsche Bank has closed because there is not enough real products to represent the bids. It has doubled in the last year.

Bloomberg Business Week is also very apprehensive that we may not be willing to admit to Climate Change in time because Koch Oil and Exxon Mobile have spent huge amounts of money to stop us from addressing what everyone is honestly well aware of. Insurance Companies and our Pentagon Defense Industries are worried that Climate Change will seriously affect their profits. It is not easy to use bombs to control riots here or elsewhere.

Many of you have had the feeling that we seem to having more earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. You are right! It is easy to predict something after it happens like we often see in stock market predictions. I often feel these analysts have selective memories and pick out something they said in the past or give a logical explanation what happened. Satellite images indicates that Mount St. Helena in Washington is growing by inches in areas surrounding the center of the volcano. Apparently this data is a good clue that an eruption will happen sometime in the future.

Scientific studies have to undergo a test for reproducibility by others. Climate change models have stood the test of time and the basic concepts still hold with more and more data from difference sources reinforcing the truth. Unfortunately Americans are at the bottom in the developed world and the degree of ignorance is truly alarming.

Not understanding the Scientific Method has led many to believe that vaccines cause Autism because some scientists have reported this. But this study misses the Gold Standard of Science. It has to be reproducible by others. It failed and finally after over a decade, those in this fake study finally admitted it! I wonder how many children died or were seriously crippled in mind and body because we have the Internet.

Making predictions means nothing without telling us when it will happen. I knew it was going to happen but I did not know when so I tried to stay invested but became more conservative. Only after the crash did I get very aggressive. Who knew that the whole world and its stocks would crash?

Although none of us really notice it, our planet is undergoing constant change, only it seems to be happening a lot fast. Our magnetic north changes miles each year now indicating that our hot core is changing its center possibly due to a change in the lost of hot lava from volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

We are such a distracted society due to wasteful habits from our electronic age and we no longer can concentrate anymore and no matter how much I and others have tried to alert Americans, we have largely failed. Perhaps the food disaster and Republican over-reach will finally penetrate our distracted brains. Hunger is real.

My mental development may have been impaired because of undernourishment in the World War II so-called Relocation Center with barbed wire fences and machine gun towers to keep up in a desert shoddy one room buildings housing at least two families each with toilet facilities as much as a half block away. Yes, the White Americans starved the Yellow Americans by selling meat, sugar, and salt on the Black Market to profit from rationing. Not one charge of espionage was found by the FBI and U.S. Naval Intelligence among Japanese-Americans. Plenty of German and Italian Americans were found to be sabotaging us, but they were White or called White so no mass incarceration resulted.

I got a F on a final report and a B in an English course at UCLA for writing about this. Professor Bone from Yale was thrown out by UCLA.

Jim Kawakami, Feb 23, 2011,

Climate Change Could Spark Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Daily Mail Online, April 19, 2010, … And some evidence suggests the consequences of climate change are already having an impact on geological activity in places such as Alaska, according to research in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A.

Researcher Bill McGuire, of the Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre at University College London, said warming temperatures melted ice from ice sheets and glaciers and increased the amount of water in the oceans.

As the land ''rebounds' back up once the weight of the ice has been removed - which could be by as much as a kilometre in places such as Greenland and Antarctica - then if, in the worst case scenario, all the ice were to melt - it could trigger earthquakes.

The increase in seismic activity could, in turn, cause underwater landslides that spark tsunamis.

A potential additional risk is from 'ice-quakes' generated when the ice sheets break up, causing tsunamis which could threaten places such as New Zealand, Newfoundland in Canada and Chile.

The reduction in the ice could also stimulate volcanic eruptions, according to the research.

And the greater weight of the water in the oceans where sea level has risen as ice melts can 'bend' the Earth's crust.

This produces magma and causes volcanic and seismic activity in coastal or island areas - where the majority of 550 volcanoes whose eruptions have been historically documented are found.

The research found Increased volcanic activity could cause more landslides, and have impacts well beyond the area where the volcano is situated - for example by releasing sulphur clouds into the atmosphere or by affecting air travel.

Prof McGuire said the changes could occur in the coming decades or over centuries, rather than thousands of years, depending on factors such as how quickly sea levels rose.

And he warned: 'The rise you may need may be much smaller than we expect. Looking ahead at climate change, we may not need massive changes.

'One of the worries is that tiny environmental changes could have these effects.'

His review said there was 'mounting evidence' of seismic, volcanic and landslide activity being triggered or affected by small changes in the environment - even specific weather events such as typhoons or torrential rain.

Prof McGuire said that in Taiwan the lower air pressure generated by typhoons was enough to 'unload' the crust by a small amount and trigger earthquakes.

Other impacts of rising temperatures include glacial lakes bursting out through rock dams and causing flash flooding in mountain regions such as the Himalayas, as well as rock, ice and landslides as permafrost melts.

And he said there may be 'tipping points' in the geological systems, where the crust reaches a threshold that causes a step-change in the frequency of such events - but it was not clear where those thresholds might lie.

At times in the past climate change has been seen to have links with enhanced levels of potentially hazardous geological activity - for example after the end of the last ice age.

But they have not been fully considered as potential impacts of the rapid changes in the climate expected in the future and there was a great deal of uncertainty about what might happen in coming years.

Prof McGuire called for a programme of research focusing on the potential geological hazards that global warming could bring, with the leading body on global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), addressing the issue directly in its future assessments.

Pot Sales by Big Pharma DEA Secretly Being Considered?

Tags: DEA Big Pharma Prescription Pot Sales Responding Demands Big Pharma

DEA Secretly Getting Big Pharma OK to Sell Pot by Prescription Only

Now we know why the DEA and Corporations prevented widespread treatments for drug addiction which the Pentagon Think Tank found would be cheaper and more efficient than trying to stop drugs from coming into our country. It is extremely profitable to get illegal drug cash to boost the bottom line!

Why do we have a law for all of us to be monitored if we deposit more than $10,000 in a bank or in the case of Governor Spitzer of New York, only $3,000 while corporations and Wall Street can accept any amounts of cash from the drug dealers without monitoring?

Why did Vice President George H.W. Bush prevent monitoring the widespread laundering of money via electronic transfer? Although widely quashed by the corporate press/media, investigations by Senator John Kerry in the 1980s and some reporters indicated that our CIA was using drugs to finance the Contra Wars in Central America which led Costa Rica to ban us from going through their country.

Possibly the real reason Big Pharma wants approval is that marijuana is one of the few drugs that prevents central nervous system addiction to kill pain. Big Pharma has been testing similar stuff, but nothing is cheaper than Pot. What happens in chronic pain is that our body/mind enhances the actual pain so higher and higher doses are required insuring addiction to the typical pain killers including morphine and its equivalent which I blogged about in the past.

The Mexican Drug cartel makes the most money from Pot. It seems that at least once a week Oregon's highway patrol catches drivers carrying pot for sale. Most of it gets through including Meth. Gangs distribute the drugs throughout the nation and serious addiction to Meth often now comes from small towns.

Jim Kawakami, Feb 23, 2011,

If the Feds Get Their Way, Big Pharma Could Sell Pot -- But Your Dime Bag Would Still Send You to Jail

We should be very wary about the DEA allowing regulation and marketing of pharmaceutical products containing plant-derived THC.

Paul Armentano, Alter Net, Feb 22, 2011, "Marijuana has no scientifically proven medical value." So stated the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on page six of a July 2010 agency white paper, titled "DEA Position on Marijuana."

Yet only four months after the agency committed its "no medical pot" stance to print, it announced its intent to allow for the regulation and marketing of pharmaceutical products containing plant-derived THC -- the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

But don't for a second believe the DEA has experienced a sudden change of heart regarding patients' use of the marijuana plant -- use that is now legal under state law in15 states and the District of Columbia (although recently approved laws in Arizona, New Jersey, and Washington, DC still await implementation). Despite growing public support for medical marijuana legalization, America's top anti-drug agency remains resolute that these hundreds of thousands of medi-pot patients are no more than common criminals, and their herbal remedy of choice is nothing more than the "Devil's weed."

It's not public pressure that's motivating the agency to consider rescheduling an organic cannabinoid for the first time since the creation of the U.S. Controlled Substances Act of 1970. (Under this act, all prescription drugs are classified as schedule II, III, IV, or IV controlled substances, while all illicit substances are categorized as schedule I drugs.) And it's not the recent publication of a series of FDA-approved "gold standard" clinical trials affirming the plant's safety and efficacy that's prompting the agency into action. (The DEA has so far refused to acknowledge these studies even exist.) Rather, the agency's sudden call for regulatory change is inspired by far more politically influential forces: The DEA is responding to the demands of Big Pharma. ...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Alone Together: Friends in Cyberspace Psychological Side Effects Sherry Turkle

Tags: Loneliness in Cyberspace Friends Like Avatars Discarded Often Alone Together Turkle Creativity

Since I spend a considerable time along reading and writing, I noticed that I really immensely enjoy talking to friends on the phone much more than I remember in the past and also love talking to friendly Eugene friends, shoppers and checkout people which I also enjoy, something I did not do much in New Jersey and Los Angeles because even smiling can be as dangerous as driving.

Ms. Turkle's book Alone Together really answered my gut feeling why I would not enjoy texting, Face Booking, and Twittering. i find even the comments to articles in the New York Times really dumb and superficial. The letters to the editor are just the opposite.

Since the mid-1990s, Americans have become dumber and dumber. I even noticed this when my day-night job became recruiting chemists and engineers at dinners in the mid 1970s. My thesis professor Herbert C. Brown agreed with me when he complained that he could not get the same caliber of Ph.D. candidates to conduct research. One Korean manager told me that if it was up to him, he would only hire immigrants because they were the best. At this time many of the best started becoming medical doctors, a more lucrative and secure profession. The worst doctor I had was a former engineer! Now 30-40 percent of MIT physicists and mathematicians go to Wall Street.

Creativity has gone down 20 percent since the Internet in the USA. Even at MIT, students admitted that they could not sit down and write an essay longer than 15 minutes at a time. Creativity, unlike what is often reported, depends on a vast storage of information from more than one area in our brain. That is why experts are often poor at innovating because they know too much about failures and are stuck in old ideas and information.

Getting an idea from Google is like getting our computer to come up with an original idea. Ludicrous. The Chinese who scored the highest in Science, Math, and Reading are also the most creative. More and more immigrants and women are coming up with the best ideas in science.

Jim Kawakami, Feb 22, 2011,

Alone Together: Friends in Cyberspace Psychological Side Effects, Michiko Kakutani, NY Times, Feb 21, 2011, Teenagers who send and receive six to eight thousand texts a month and spend hours a day on Facebook. Mourners who send text messages during a memorial service because they can’t go an hour without using their BlackBerries. Children who see an authentic Galapagos tortoise at the American Museum of Natural History and can’t understand why the museum didn’t use a robot tortoise instead. High school students who wonder how much they should tilt their Facebook profiles toward what their friends will think is cool, or what college admissions boards might prize. ...

In two earlier books, Ms. Turkle — a professor of the social studies of science and technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a clinical psychologist — put considerable emphasis on the plethora of opportunities for exploring identity that computers and networking offer people. In these pages, she takes a considerably darker view, arguing that our new technologies — including e-mail messages, Facebook postings, Skype exchanges, role-playing games, Internet bulletin boards and robots — have made convenience and control a priority while diminishing the expectations we have of other human beings.

Ms. Turkle’s thesis here — some of which will sound overly familiar, but some of which turns out to be savvy and insightful — is that even as more and more people are projecting human qualities onto robots (i.e., digital toys like the Furby and computerized companions like the Paro, designed to provide entertainment and comfort to the elderly), we have come to expect less and less from human encounters as mediated by the Net.

Instead of real friends, we “friend” strangers on Facebook. Instead of talking on the phone (never mind face to face), we text and tweet. Technology, she writes, “makes it easy to communicate when we wish and to disengage at will.” ...

the author has spent decades examining how people interact with computers and other devices — her first book on computers and people, “The Second Self,” was published in 1984; the next, “Life on the Screen,” in 1995 — and by situating her findings in historical perspective, she is able to lend contextual ballast to her case studies.

Many of the adolescents cited in her book express a decided distaste for using the phone. One high school sophomore says telephone calls mean you have to have a conversation and conversations are “almost always too prying, it takes too long, and it is impossible to say ‘good-bye.’ ” Another student says: “When you talk on the phone, you don’t really think about what you’re saying as much as in a text. On the telephone, too much might show.” ...

There are other consequences to constant networking as well. When we are always tethered to our offices, our families, our friends — even when hiking in the woods or walking by the ocean — then solitude becomes increasingly elusive, and creative, contemplative, carefully considered thought increasingly gives way to immediate, sometimes ill-considered reactions. ... (Zucker, Genius at NBC,Today Show head at 25, destroyed programming at NBC. Hammer, a woman and former head of PBS in Boston, saved NBC cable by listening to her staff and taking risks. Jim)

... the larger and important points she wants to make in this volume — the notion that technology offers the illusion of companionship without the demands of intimacy and communication without emotional risk, while actually making people feel lonelier and more overwhelmed.

“Once we remove ourselves form the flow of physical, messy, untidy life — and both robotics and networked life do that — we become less willing to get out there and take a chance,” she writes. “A song that became popular on YouTube in 2010, ‘Do You Want to Date My Avatar?’ ends with the lyrics ‘And if you think I’m not the one, log off, log off, and we’ll be done.’ ”