Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Economy Need Inflation Rate 4-6% Boost Economy Prevent Deep Recession

Tags: Economy Improved Boost Inflation Magnus UBS Bank, Blanchard IMF Economist, Federal Reserve Role, Karl Marx Das Kapital Correct Path Capitalism

George Magnus of UBS Bank gave us today his analysis of what to do to prevent us from going into a deep recession. He wants Bernanke of the Federal Reserve to boost inflation at 4-6% a year level to boost our economy and prevent us from becoming another Japan who practiced largely what our ideological Republicans are trying to force us to do. He spoke on the EconoChat with Tom Keene and on his show on Bloomberg Television, … Surveillance, 12 Noon, ET.

The Federal Reserve’s primary role is to protect bond holders of the ultra wealthy families by preventing inflation. When inflation reaches 2%, he goes into a panic and largely starts to withhold his inflationary policies even though our economy is largely not growing enough to get business to provide jobs. Profits are still growing because workers now work about 60 hours for 40 hours of pay.

The large corporations are firing people instead of providing jobs. Only the smaller companies are providing jobs and government budgets have been cut so sharply that most of the unemployment is from needed government jobs to make it run.

Obama needs to find a way to get money to the smaller business which are large enough to provide jobs so their spending will help even smaller businesses. Cuidado or Beware: Republicans chart small companies by the number of owners such as Koch Enterprise which has two owners and 15,000 workers, but file as individuals to get better tax deals. Democrats call business small by the number of people working there. For example, Obama has tried to give tax credits to smaller companies with 50 employees and up.

George Magnus received many hate e-mails and tweets when he talked about his 4-6% inflation approach on Bloomberg Television today! Ideology dies hard!

Blanchard from MIT who is on loan to the IMF suggested over a year ago what we should do. The Europeans due to the conservative Germans who always worry about inflation due to their runaway inflation after World War I. The Republicans played the same role.

Tax cuts will not do it because people will pay off their credit cards and mortgages as they did with the $1,000 given to all the households by cutting the Social Security payments in half. Half of the 750 billion stimulus packaged with a “compromise” had half tax cuts.

Karl Marx whom Americans instinctively reject, what Capitalism will reap has largely been true as we have experienced, but the supporters of capitalism rarely admit this.

Jim Kawakami, August 31, 2011,

Give Karl Marx a Chance to Save the World Economy: George Magnus, (George Magnus is senior economic adviser at UBS and author of “Uprising: Will Emerging Markets Shape or Shake the World Economy?” The opinions expressed are his own.)

Policy makers struggling to understand the barrage of financial panics, protests and other ills afflicting the world would do well to study the works of a long-dead economist: Karl Marx. The sooner they recognize we’re facing a once-in-a-lifetime crisis of capitalism, the better equipped they will be to manage a way out of it.

The spirit of Marx, who is buried in a cemetery close to where I live in north London, has risen from the grave amid the financial crisis and subsequent economic slump. The wily philosopher’s analysis of capitalism had a lot of flaws, but today’s global economy bears some uncanny resemblances to the conditions he foresaw.

Consider, for example, Marx’s prediction of how the inherent conflict between capital and labor would manifest itself. As he wrote in “Das Kapital,” companies’ pursuit of profits and productivity would naturally lead them to need fewer and fewer workers, creating an “industrial reserve army” of the poor and unemployed: “Accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore, at the same time accumulation of misery.”

The process he describes is visible throughout the developed world, particularly in the U.S. Companies’ efforts to cut costs and avoid hiring have boosted U.S. corporate profits as a share of total economic output to the highest level in more than six decades, while the unemployment rate stands at 9.1 percent and real wages are stagnant.

U.S. income inequality, meanwhile, is by some measures close to its highest level since the 1920s. Before 2008, the income disparity was obscured by factors such as easy credit, which allowed poor households to enjoy a more affluent lifestyle. Now the problem is coming home to roost.

Over-Production Paradox

Marx also pointed out the paradox of over-production and under-consumption: The more people are relegated to poverty, the less they will be able to consume all the goods and services companies produce. When one company cuts costs to boost earnings, it’s smart, but when they all do, they undermine the income formation and effective demand on which they rely for revenues and profits.

This problem, too, is evident in today’s developed world. We have a substantial capacity to produce, but in the middle- and lower-income cohorts, we find widespread financial insecurity and low consumption rates. The result is visible in the U.S., where new housing construction and automobile sales remain about 75% and 30% below their 2006 peaks, respectively.

As Marx put it in Kapital: “The ultimate reason for all real crises always remains the poverty and restricted consumption of the masses.”

Addressing the Crisis

So how do we address this crisis? To put Marx’s spirit back in the box, policy makers have to place jobs at the top of the economic agenda, and consider other unorthodox measures. The crisis isn’t temporary, and it certainly won’t be cured by the ideological passion for government austerity.

Here are five major planks of a strategy whose time, sadly, has not yet come.

First, we have to sustain aggregate demand and income growth, or else we could fall into a debt trap along with serious social consequences. Governments that don’t face an imminent debt crisis -- including the U.S., Germany and the U.K. -- must make employment creation the litmus test of policy. In the U.S., the employment-to-population ratio is now as low as in the 1980s. Measures of underemployment almost everywhere are at record highs. Cutting employer payroll taxes and creating fiscal incentives to encourage companies to hire people and invest would do for a start.

Lighten the Burden

Second, to lighten the household debt burden, new steps should allow eligible households to restructure mortgage debt, or swap some debt forgiveness for future payments to lenders out of any home price appreciation.

Third, to improve the functionality of the credit system, well-capitalized and well-structured banks should be allowed some temporary capital adequacy relief to try to get new credit flowing to small companies, especially. Governments and central banks could engage in direct spending on or indirect financing of national investment or infrastructure programs.

Fourth, to ease the sovereign debt burden in the euro zone, European creditors have to extend the lower interest rates and longer payment terms recently proposed for Greece. If jointly guaranteed euro bonds are a bridge too far, Germany has to champion an urgent recapitalization of banks to help absorb inevitable losses through a vastly enlarged European Financial Stability Facility -- a sine qua non to solve the bond market crisis at least.

Build Defenses

Fifth, to build defenses against the risk of falling into deflation and stagnation, central banks should look beyond bond- buying programs, and instead target a growth rate of nominal economic output. This would allow a temporary period of moderately higher inflation that could push inflation-adjusted interest rates well below zero and facilitate a lowering of debt burdens.

We can’t know how these proposals might work out, or what their unintended consequences might be. But the policy status quo isn’t acceptable, either. It could turn the U.S. into a more unstable version of Japan, and fracture the euro zone with unknowable political consequences. By 2013, the crisis of Western capitalism could easily spill over to China, but that’s another subject.

(George Magnus is senior economic adviser at UBS and author of “Uprising: Will Emerging Markets Shape or Shake the World Economy?” The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the Bloomberg View editorial board:

Rethinking Macro Economic Policy, Vox, Olivier Blanchard, Giovanni Dell’Ariccia, Paolo Mauro, Feb 16, 2010,

When economic policies or analysis are contrary to the consensus, they are usually rejected long before a careful analysis is done to see if the speaker or writer makes sense. We all tend to experience Cognitive Dissonance when we see, hear, or read something that goes contrary to views we have long held, especially if we are on one ideological end or the other.

The global crisis forced economic policymakers to react in ways not anticipated by the pre-crisis consensus on how macroeconomic policy should be conducted. Here the IMF’s chief economist and colleagues (i) review the main elements of the pre-crisis consensus, (ii) identify the elements which turned out to be wrong, and (iii) take a tentative first pass at outlining the contours of a new macroeconomic policy framework.

Olivier Blanchard
Chief economist, IMF, on leave from MIT

What we have learned from the crisis

  • Macroeconomic fragilities may arise even when inflation is stable

Core inflation was stable in most advanced economies until the crisis started. Some have argued in retrospect that core inflation was not the right measure of inflation, and that the increase in oil or housing prices should have been taken into account.

But no single index will do the trick. Moreover, core inflation may be stable and the output gap may nevertheless vary, leading to a trade-off between the two. Or, as in the case of the pre-crisis 2000s, both inflation and the output gap may be stable, but the behaviour of some asset prices and credit aggregates, or the composition of output, may be undesirable.

  • Low inflation limits the scope of monetary policy in deflationary recessions

When the crisis started in earnest in 2008, and aggregate demand collapsed, most central banks quickly decreased their policy rate to close to zero. Had they been able to, they would have decreased the rate further. But the zero nominal interest rate bound prevented them from doing so. Had pre-crisis inflation (and consequently policy rates) been somewhat higher, the scope for reducing real interest rates would have been greater.

  • Financial intermediation matters

Markets are segmented, with specialized investors operating in specific markets. Most of the time, they are well linked through arbitrage. However, when some investors withdraw (because of losses in other activities, cuts in access to funds, or internal agency issues) the effect on prices can be very large. When this happens, rates are no longer linked through arbitrage, and the policy rate is no longer a sufficient instrument. Interventions, either through the acceptance of assets as collateral, or through their straight purchase by the central bank, can affect the rates on different classes of assets, for a given policy rate. In this sense, wholesale funding is not fundamentally different from demand deposits, and the demand for liquidity extends far beyond banks.

  • Countercyclical fiscal policy is an important tool

The crisis has returned fiscal policy to centre stage for two main reasons. First, monetary policy had reached its limits. Second, from its early stages, the recession was expected to be long lasting, so that it was clear that fiscal stimulus would have ample time to yield a beneficial impact despite implementation lags. The aggressive fiscal response has been warranted given the exceptional circumstances, but it has further exposed some drawbacks of discretionary fiscal policy for more “normal” fluctuations – in particular lags in formulating, enacting, and implementing appropriate fiscal measures. The crisis has also shown the importance of having “fiscal space,” as some economies that entered the crisis with high levels of government debt had limited ability to use fiscal policy.

  • Regulation is not macroeconomically neutral

Financial regulation contributed to the amplification that transformed the decrease in US housing prices into a major world economic crisis. The limited perimeter of regulation gave incentives for banks to create off-balance-sheet entities to avoid some prudential rules and increase leverage. Regulatory arbitrage allowed some financial institutions to play by different rules from other financial intermediaries. Once the crisis started, rules aimed at guaranteeing the soundness of individual institutions worked against the stability of the system. Mark-to-market rules, coupled with constant regulatory capital ratios, forced financial institutions into fire sales and deleveraging. …

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Economy Understanding It How Can We Solve the Problems

Tags: Economic Roles Politics Destroying Globalization Unemployment Spence Peck Ratigan Republican House Senate Obama Democrats

American Idiots: How Washington is destroying the economy

By Allan Sloan, senior editor-at-large August 18, 2011: 5:00 AM ET

What's ailing us? It's not just unemployment. It's not just Europe's debt woes. And, no, it's not Wall Street this time. It's the takeover of the economic debate by fanatics who are up to no good. Fix that -- and maybe you fix the economy.

FORTUNE -- What the hell is going on?

Standard & Poor's, the bond-rating agency, downgrades the U.S., and the world trembles. The markets here go nuts on the first trading day after the downgrade, losing $1 trillion in value. European Union finance chiefs are playing Whack-A-Mole with members' debt problems (see the story by my colleague Shawn Tully). And England … England was literally burning.

Only three short years ago we were all terrified when our financial system was on the brink of disaster after Lehman Brothers went broke in September of 2008. Those scary times seemed to have disappeared in the spring of 2009. But now those fears are back -- and things are even scarier, the stock market's "green" days notwithstanding.

Our current mess is different from the Lehman-related horror because it stems primarily from politics, not economics. …

Kawakami: Nevertheless, don’t get too depressed. The elites are finally starting to understand when mainstream magazine Foreign Affairs, July-August, which I subscribe to now, has an article by Michael Spence is Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of The Next Convergence: The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World. He received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001.


Globalization and Unemployment

By Michael Spence

Jobs growth was slow in May, renewing pessimism about the U.S. economy. Spence, a Nobel Prize-winning economist writes that economic growth and employment in the United States have started to diverge, increasing income inequality and reducing jobs for less-educated workers. July/August 2011

Politics have been the main emphasis by the corporate press and media as the problem for the economic mess we are in. Thanks to Elaine for sending me this Fortune/CNN article. Much of it makes sense in our current environment, but we must not neglect the real problem facing us, something for understandable reasons are deemphasized by the Corporate Press and Media.

The very idea of maximizing profits by Wall Street is a symptom that affects our whole society, especially the top 3 percent who have put substantial amounts of their excess income into the stock and bond markets which with exceptions such as now, have been a winning game.

How is this done? Dylan Ratigan, whose book on Greed is to be published within the next six months or so explains it more simply as corporate extraction of money from the bottom 99% of Americans either due to low wages, layoffs, and sending jobs overseas to maximize their profits.

Yes, corporations provided jobs during this time of maximum profits at the time Americans are suffering and scared about their future. Even those workers on Wall Street are suffering due to expected large layoffs because of lower profit expectation in corporate mergers and bond and stock trading profits. One highly respected technical analyst said that the Financial Industry will soon be in a recession for the next 20 years.

The Bush Republicans and now the so-called patriotic Tea Party wants to accelerate this extraction of income from the middleclass and upper middleclass and devastating the lower middleclass by taking away all the government help they still need to keep them above water.

To make matters even worse, the Republican House Leader, Cantor (R-VA) wants to increase all the money they are getting to fix up earthquake and hurricane damage to his district by lowering benefits for the rest of us!

Many of us who once made $5,000 to $10,000 in their early working years have a distorted gut feeling about the money they make now. Factoring in inflation, close to 80-90% of Americans have the same salaries they had in 1973! Cheap goods from China and elsewhere and two parents or more in a working family has made it possible to survive.

No more. The Republicans and Corporations want to take it all to boost their profits. To keep away dissident lower income Republicans, they now charge a substantial amount of admission fees to attend their meetings with “voters.” I cannot help to think that this is really stupid! What Republican senior will vote for them unless they are wealthy?

However, most of us should not be complacent. Remember what happened to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1936 elections! A record number of House Democrats lost the election, even higher than in 2010. Of course a lowering of government jobs led us back to the Great Depression in 1937.

Many of the elite and rich House Republicans know about this, but they don’t care about the rest of us so they are pushing to increase the age when Medicare will be available or eliminated altogether as well as Social Security where they want to eliminate the inflation basis for increasing the stipend. The more affluent Americans need to give up some of their privileges in the Tax Structure and allow those making over $250,000 to contribute more to Medicare and Social Security because they live substantially longer while Americans with less income are starting to die at a young age because they eat junk food which is the cheapest and calorie loaded. Eating vegetable and fruits is much more expensive now because of Wall Street Commodity Trading which was supposed to be eliminated by the Dodd-Frank Financial Bills. By stopping essentially all appointments by Republican senators, Obama does not have the staffing along with the threat by House Republicans not to fund provisions in the bill.

Yes, the House and Senate filled with Democrats will help our plight much more than a Democratic President such as Obama. But we have no choice. We would be fools to changes horses now and increase the Probability of Republicans controlling the House, Senate, and the Presidency. Vote, vote, and vote and ask all your friends and family members to vote Democratic by explaining what is at stake!

Obama is getting less money from corporations which will be hard to make up. It accounted for half of his money in 2008. So it is up to all who can afford to give a small or larger amount to get involved. This year I have emphasized giving money to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at

It is hard to believe but the Republican House spent almost all their time passing laws to make it almost impossible for the middleclass and working poor to get abortions by cutting off funding of Planned Parenthood. Nothing on getting more Americans to get unemployment insurance that is due to expire at the end of this year and no funding for infrastructure jobs which is badly needed even more since the tornados and hurricane flooding.

The Republican headed states were even worse where they have or still trying to eliminate Federal Workers Unions which provide the main funding for the Democratic Party for elections.

Looks good for Democrats? Look at what happened above in the election of 1936. Don Peck, a features editor at The Atlantic Magazine, wrote an article about what happens to people when they are undergoing hard times. They actually get more conservative! They don’t want to help others because they feel that anything given away would have an effect on them! His book Pinched: How the Great Recession Has Narrowed Our Futures and What We Can Do About it.

I have the book, but have not read it yet, but I have heard him talk on for an hour. He talked at the upscale bookstore in Northwest Washington, DC so very few of the White haired audience had any economic difficulties. It is the same among those associated with the University of Oregon, but it has seriously affected those in Eugene and Lane County where unemployment is 11 percent.

Violence goes up during bad economic times. For the first time, robberies are occurring with guns very visible and family killings are increasing, something I very rarely heard about until more recently.

In Los Angeles, where they studied the effect of a poor economy on violence found it always increases with a particular increase in White majority violence against people of color.

It is now extremely important for all of us to get their friends and relations to vote in the 2012 elections and to provide them with stuff they can read to get over their fears. Fear is used by the Republicans by using scary music in the political ads and by constant repetition of the same phrase which the robotic Republicans can do well, but unfortunately not the Democrats. Fear has worked extremely well. So Republicans usually win in bad times and electing them makes things worse for a large majority of Americans.

Obama’s even handed approach makes me very angry. He got from his mother who was an anthropologist. Clinton’s so-called economic miracle resulted by reducing all constraints, especially regulations, on corporations which led to criminal abuse of the Housing Markets and accelerated the sending of jobs overseas.

We all should start to question whether Free Trade is in our interest as Americans. It has been proven not to be. Who do you want to run our country? Sometimes voting for what is perceived by us to be in our interest turns out not to be in our economic interests. A poor economy hits all of us eventually.

Jim Kawakami, August 30, 2011,

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Predatory Capitalism Drug Wars Free Trade Makes Us Poorer

Tags: Free Trade Predatory Capitalism Drug Wars Too Helps Rich Impoverishes Americans

Drug Wars: Example of Predatory Capitalism Similar to Free Trade which Hurts Both Our and 3rd World Workers

Bottom 98% needs to understand the economics of Predatory Capitalism, Free Trade, and Drug Wars.

The Chinese with ions of trade experience did not fall into the trap from Western Economies. They extracted a high price of a high percentage of profits and requires us to fund an R&D effort in China. We are losing our technological base because we send the jobs there when Americans develop the new inventions, especially in technology. The international corporations here really don’t care about what happens to Americans readily seen by those who have their eyes and ears open.

Now we cannot even repair some of the factories left here because engineers were also fired to enhance the bottomline. Our economy is now controlled by Wall Street and the Big Banks and our ability to produce is rapidly being undermined. The way that Wall Street and Banks work now since Ronald Reagan is to enhance short term profits importance by lowering obstacles in our tax structure to trading for the short term. The CEOs don’t care what happens to Americans.

In a commentary published in the Los Angeles Times this month, the author points of why American corporations have record profits now with no increase in wages. Why? They fire workers and “persuade” the rest to work many more hours per week. Here is an excerpt:

“ … Now the word we use is "productivity," and pundits across the political spectrum revel in the fact that year after year, American companies are wringing more value out of their employees than they did the year before. Just counting work that's on the books (never mind those 11 p.m. emails), we now put in an average of 122 more hours per year than Brits, and 378 hours (nearly 10 weeks!) more than Germans. Worldwide, almost everyone except Americans has, at least on paper, a right to at least one day a week off, paid vacation time and paid maternity leave. … “

“ … Workforce down, output up: No wonder corporate profits are up 22% since 2007, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute. To repeat: Up. Twenty-two. Percent.

To understand how we got here, first consider the Ben Franklin-Horatio Alger-Henry Ford ur-myth: To balk at working hard — really, really hard — brands you as profoundly un-American. All well and good. But today, the driver is no longer American industriousness. It's something much more predatory. As Rutgers political scientist Carl Van Horn told the Associated Press recently: "The employee has no leverage. If your boss says, 'I want you to come in the next two Saturdays,' what are you going to say — no?"

Which brings us to another shared delusion: multitasking. It seems the obvious fix — I'll just answer this email while I help with your homework. But research shows most of us cannot actually multitask. And not only that: If you attempt to multitask constantly, your mental circuitry erodes and your brain loses its ability to focus.

Think you're the exception? Nope, warns Stanford sociologist Clifford Nass. "You're really lousy at it. No one talks about it — I don't know why — but in fact there's no contradictory evidence to this for about the last 15, 20 years." …,0,5795904.story

This weekend on John Gibler’s discussion of his book To Die in Mexico: Dispatches from a Deadly Drug War 1 hr 14 minutes, Mostly questions from audience. Makes sense of what is really happening in the Drug War here. Even an Economist from the University of Cambridge, Ha-Joon Chang knows that many more banks would have failed if they did not get huge amounts of cash from Mexican Drug Lords. He mentioned Wachovia Bank proven to have laundered money from Drug Lords. Almost all the Wall Street Banks have also settled their crimes with large fines, but not jail for similar crimes.

Ha-Joon Chang wrote an easy to read book 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism writes about all the myths about what Free Trade and Predatory Capitalism is in our country and the world. The first of 23 items he chose to discuss in his book at the link which I learned more by looking at seeing it a second time and rereading his book. For example, Free Trade does not exist. Free Trade between countries with unequal economies puts a smaller economy at a huge disadvantage. It helps initially, but the large IMF loans eventually puts the countries underwater where they have to sell their public assets such as Water, Minerals, Pension funds, and what ever is fungible.

Economists try to make economics seem difficult, but Chang says 95% of it is easy to understand and the remaining 5% can be explained in a digestible form without high mathematics being necessary. If it is not a guessing game why do so many top economists come to opposite conclusions about our economy and how to fix it?

Tom Keene, a professor in economics, embarrassed one of bankers in the Federal Reserve of Philadelphia on Bloomberg TV at noon 12 ET show when he asked how do you know your mathematics is correct? The Fed banker got flustered and finally said we know it is right. What did economists use before mathematics in an economic crisis? Keynesian Economics said the banker.

Always remember these equations cannot take into consideration how investors behave. Emotions dominate our lives even in critical thinking. Think for yourself. It is not so hard with practice. If we are under stress, we excrete cortical steroids which lowers our ability to think clearly. Exercise helps our ability to think more clearly. Do some of it everyday. Tai Chi is a marvelous form of exercise and relaxation. Tai Chi for beginners CD by element is at which I found easy to follow and learn.

Jim Kawakami, August 21, 2011,

To Die in Mexico: Dispatches from a Deadly Drug War
Author John Gibler's new book surveys surveys the unending flow of drugs north and guns and cash south and the tens of thousands of murders they cause.

Reviewed: To Die in Mexico: Dispatches from Inside the Drug War, by John Gibler (2011, City Lights Press, 218 pp., $13.95 PB)

In Mexico, journalist John Gibler points out, there is the War on Drugs and then there is the drug war. The War on Drugs is the spectacle -- the well-publicized deployment of troops, the high-level diplomatic meetings, the perp walks of captured capos before the media, all designed to show that the Mexican government is dead serious about confronting the "menace to society" that Mexican drug trafficking organizations, the mislabeled "cartels," represent.

The drug war is what is really going on -- the tens of thousands of murders, the amazing ability of cartel killers to do their dirty work in broad daylight in cities full of police and soldiers and never get arrested, the unending flow of drugs north and guns and cash south, the undeniable collusion between factions of the security apparatus and different cartels, all within the context of a nation unable to provide safety or security for its citizens.

The Mexican War on Drugs is little more than a charade, or, as Gibler puts it, "a terrifying farce." And it is a charade in which the US is complicit. Our government is handing out $1.4 billion in Plan Merida funds, most of it going to the Mexican military and law enforcement apparatus to "strengthen institutions." But those institutions our money is supposed to strengthen -- the army, the national police -- are precisely the ones complicit in the drug wars.

How is it that Ciudad Juarez could see 3,000 drug war murders last year in a city filled with soldiers and military checkpoints? How is it that 95% of those murders are never even investigated? How is it that convoys of SUVS filled with rifle-toting cartel gunmen pass freely through the streets? How is it that 90% of those arrested in the drug war in Juarez are affiliated with the Juarez Cartel (La Linea), while the Sinaloa Cartel, which is waging a deadly battle to take over la plaza (the franchise), has hardly anyone arrested? How is that 90% of those who were arrested are later released without charge?

And how is it that there is la plaza in the first place? To be clear, the term refers to the ability of a cartel to go about its smuggling business unimpeded in a particular geographic location. That means someone, typically a military or national police commander has awarded la plaza to a particular cartel, allowing safe and secure transit for its goods and either looking the other way or actively participating in the killing that needs to be done. ... link above.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Perry Rick Gov Texas Info The Atlantic Magazine Eileen Smith In the Pink Texas

Tags: Rick Perry Molly Ivins Lou Dubose Eileen Smith Info The Atlantic Magazine

Shrub : The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush [Paperback]

Molly Ivins Texas Observer (Author), Lou Dubose (Author) Ivins died of breast cancer and Dubose now writes for the Washington Spectator a superb magazine website and magazine. Want to know the truth? Read this.

We need to be very careful with the mainstream media including the New York Times and especially mainstream and liberal MSNBC. The bottom line is advertising revenues. Neither the New York Times or Washington Post who wrote so-called complete history of Bush in Texas and his failed oil businesses and the rape of affluent Latino whose properties were condemned to allow an expansion of his baseball team.

Ivins and Dubose took investigative articles from newspapers such as the Dallas Morning News who reported on the negative side of Bush, but forgot the facts during the Bush campaign. The Washington Post did an in-depth investigation of Bush but neglected the real important facts showing what kind of President he would be. During Bush 8 million jobs were sent overseas and not replaced here and his favorable policies including tax breaks helped close 50,000 manufacturing plants during his 8 years.

We were already in a recession by 2005-2006 before the crash in 2008. The housing crisis started before Bush and Greenspan were in place. The latter was working with Clinton to pass two disastrous Banking bills. Bush’s SEC also allowed Paulson and others to leverage at twice previously allowed leverage or a factor of ten. Under Bush, all the regulatory heads who helped corporations and neglected all the regulatory laws in place and even erased important environment protection information from the White House and government website. We still do not know all the harm done yet, but we know the financial community scandal and failures will be felt by all of us for at least a decade and we will suffer a jobless economy for some time.

Since 2006, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been boosting his conservative credentials, and now we know why -- he wants to be president. During this year's legislative session alone, Perry has taken on immigration, sanctuary cities, voter ID, women's reproductive issues, airport security, and, of course, the Obama administration, all national issues he can talk about in a national campaign.

Outside his home state, Perry might best be known for toying with the idea of secession. During the rise of the tea party, Perry told supporters at a rally in April, 2009, "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what may come of that." We're still not sure if Perry wants to run for president of the United States or president of the Republic of Texas.

Perry's disdain for the media rivals that of Sarah Palin, as evidenced by his avoiding reporters, eschewing televised debates, and even refusing to meet with the state's editorial boards during the last gubernatorial election. Unfortunately for the governor, he's going to need the media if he wants to run on a national platform. And he's never seen anything like the Washington press corps.

As momentum builds behind Perry's potential run at the White House in 2012, the national press is sure to delve deeper into his record. As that process begins, here's a list of things Texans know about Rick Perry that the national political audience should know, too.

12 Things Texans Know About Gov. Rick Perry That You Should, Too


JUN 20 2011, 3:53 PM ET


Eileen Smith is the editor of the satirical political blog In the Pink Texas, and a guest columnist at the Texas Observer. She lives in Austin.

Rick Perry Facts:


As people have been saying, Perry's not exactly popular in his home state (but, as he told Neil Cavuto last week, "a prophet is generally not loved in their hometown."). An independent poll released June 16 showed that only 9 percent of likely Republican voters in Texas would support him for president.


When Perry first entered politics as a candidate for the Texas House in 1984, he was a Democrat. He remained a Democrat until he ran for Agriculture Commissioner in 1989, when he joined the Republican party. (In 1988, he not only endorsed Al Gore for president, he headed up his campaign in Texas.)


His infamous catchphrase from 2005 later became a Texas Democratic campaign slogan: "Adios, MoFo." He had been referring to a reporter when he thought he was off-mic. (Or he knew he was still on-mic, and wanted to look like a bad-ass.)


In 2007 -- way before all his anti-federal ranting -- Perry pushed hard for the Trans-Texas Corridor super highway, a.k.a. the "North American Union" under NAFTA. Conspiracy theorists in Texas (i.e. Alex Jones) accused him of trying to create a single nation consisting of Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., living under one currency, the Amero.


In 2007, he bypassed the Texas legislature and signed an executive order to require HPV vaccines for all 6th grade girls. It did not sit well with conservative Christians and a lawsuit was filed by a group of concerned parents. Perry's former chief of staff Mike Toomey (Now senator R) was a lobbyist for Merck, which created Gardisil, at the time. The legislature repealed his order.


Last April Perry claimed he shot and killed a coyote while out running with his laser-sighted pistol (a .380 Ruger). He says he carries the gun with him when jogging because he's afraid of snakes. But he'd gone running without his security detail for once, so no one was there to verify the kill.


In 2006, Perry proposed installing hundreds of night vision cameras along the border that would allow anyone to view it live online. During the regular legislative session this year, a bid to create sanctuary cities didn't pass, but Perry added them to the special session agenda. (Plus he has said he thinks Juarez is the most dangerous city "in America.")


The governor has become increasingly Christian over the years, asking Texans to pray for rain and to join him in a Day of Prayer and Fasting to solve the nation's ills. It was sponsored by the American Family Association, which is known for its extreme anti-gay views.


Sarah Palin endorsed him in the last gubernatorial campaign, making public appearances with him. It would be pretty great to see these two on the stage together. Ditto Rudy Giuliani


Last year Perry called the BP oil spill an "act of God." (He considers many things "acts of God.")


Bush loyalists can't stand Perry. But that might be a good thing.


He's really good friends with Ted Nugent, who likes to show up everywhere draped in Confederate flags and tell Obama to suck on his gun.


Perry's top adviser Dave Carney was accused of helping collect signatures for the Ralph Nader campaign in order to help Republicans in the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns.


As people have been saying, Perry's not exactly popular in his home state (but, as he told Neil Cavuto last week, "a prophet is generally not loved in their hometown."). An independent poll released June 16 showed that only 9 percent of likely Republican voters in Texas would support him for president.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Social Animal Vitamin D3: How Much of an Excess Would Increase Calcium in Blood Leading to Kidney Damage

Tags: Vitamin D Excess on Health Social Animal Effect of Culture on Socialization and Brain

Vitamin D: You can get too much of a good thing

Even Dr. Roizen, an anesthesiologist and Dr. Oz, a by-pass surgeon, who have to spend most of their time reading about their specialty, they have to heavily rely on search engines on medical websites to get their information. The official information is largely quite good, but tends to follow previous conclusions reached many years ago. The Institute for Medicine, a part of the prestigious NIH or National Institute of Health, is heavily staff by professionals who in part or all have conflicts of interest.

For example one at the Institute does research with Big Pharma on drugs to regain bone strength.

On the other side is Dr. Mercola who is now so off the wall that I stopped his e-mails. However, lots of it is useful as Dr. Oz who reads his blogs, but he has the same concern about some of stuff that Mercola writes about such as not using vaccines. If you google vaccines, most of the stuff you will see in the first pages would be anti-vaccine diatribes. I read all points of view and use my evidence based scientific thinking approach to determine the validity of their arguments.

Because all humans have differences in metabolism, bacteria in the colon, ability to metabolize drugs and herbs, there is always a wide variety of reactions by people. So a relatively small trial often use to determine drug toxicity are largely not that good. So I follow website. Based on studies, unless there is no alternative to a serious illness, do not take any drugs with less than seven or 7 years of other guinea pig humans testing the drug for you.

No safety studies are on Herbs and some of the most popular have been found to be toxic including the one used often to reduce the symptoms of flu and colds. I often tell my friends that you have to do a double blind study on yourself in a way you cannot tell what the pill is. Put a small amount peanut butter or something else to mask any taste.

Unfortunately with marketing of drugs with many experts beholding to Big Pharma or other large economic interests, it is hard to for all of us to determine how much truth or lies is being told to you. Our society has also changed a lot since the 1980s.

The Social Animal: USA: Effect of Northern and Southern Cultures on How we think and act.

David Brooks made one surprising comment in his book The Social Animal. (Buy the Book because you will be referring to it manytimes. ) He said "Americans are a collective society who believe they are independent, but group think just like everyone else in their social and political group." If you are either a conservative Republican or liberal Democrat, you can be excused for thinking that the other party is from Venus or Mars respectively.

Here is a quote from his chapter on Culture. "If you bump into a man on the street in the American North, the testosterone level in his bloodstream will not rise appreciably. But if you bump into a man in the American South, where a culture of honor is more prevalent, there will probably be a sharp spike in cortisol and testosterone production. Cities in the South are twice as likely to have words like "gun" in their names (Gun Point, Florida), whereas cities in the North are more than twice as likely to have words like "joy" in their names. ...

Furthermore, in the age of globalization, cultures are not converging. They seem to be growing farther apart."...

Brooks goes on further to discuss the role of trust in our society. We have seen this in spades in the current debt ceiling debate where trust is absent. Now only a live together partner, if that, is the only one we trust enough to be vulnerable and discuss things with their partner that they discuss with no one else. Close friends are rapidly disappearing in our winner take all corporate society. Here is a quote from his Culture Chapter.

"Most relationships are bound by trust. Trust is a habitual reciprocity that becomes coated by emotion. It grows when two people begin volleys of communication and cooperation and slowly learn they can rely upon each other. Soon members of a trusting relationship become willing to not only cooperate with each other but sacrifice for each other. ... People in trusting cultures find it easier to organize and operate large corporations. Trust creates wealth."

Shows why the conservative South has much more adultery, out-of-wedlock births, and divorces than the rest of the country, and especially the Northeast. What worries me about Los Angeles now is that it has students who speak over one hundred different languages at home. Immigrants almost always try to live in the same community if possible to get over the language and culturL barriers. Even various countries in Central and South America have different cultures, but Catholicism seems to unite them more as they have started to divorce themselves from the USA.

A great documentary film at called South of the Border by Oliver Stone (2009) describes how South American countries are working together to be less dependent on the USA which has exploited free trade to corrupt their governments. President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and President "Lulu" of Brazil and other countries have changed their dependence on the USA. Brazil, for example, trades more with China than the USA. Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay have a mutual trade agreement.

Netflix viewers reviews both positive and negative: Here is one that is positive. I gave it four stars. Jim

In the film we see democratically elected leaders like Chavez, Morales, and Lula who, for the first time in their countries' history, "look like the people." They are opposed, often violently, by reactionary elements who want to "take back their country." This got me thinking about the USA. We also have a democratically elected president who "looks like the people" and the same thing is happening here. I think it was former President Kirchner of Argentina (who died the same day this film came out on DVD) who made the startling assertion (who knows if it's true or not) that President G.W. Bush confided to him that the best way to improve his country's economy was to go to war. Bush should know, having started two wars. Cynics say we did it for oil. But Kirchner's remark makes you think about the trillions of dollars that have been transferred to the private sector by these wars. (He had regulations that made it impossible for corporations to make the highest profits here so 50,000 factories closed down and 5 million workers were laid off.

Why did Bush get reelected? Most Americans get their sparse information from television ads during the election campaigns. The so-called Independents are the most ignorant politically than Democrats or Republicans. So lies from politicians and television corporate news works very well.

Noam Chomsky who is cited more often except the Bible, the most cited publication, than any other writer, knows how politics works. Google Noam Chomsky. He said that when the Republicans screw up badly in running the country as they invariably do except for Eisenhower and Lincoln, support a Democrat who has conservative credentials is relatively ignorant about how Washington, D.C. works. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton are other examples.

That is why the corporate press/media worked against Gore after a successful Clinton administration, but supported the inexperienced and Harvard and Chicago trained more reliably conservative candidate, Barack Obama rather than Hillary Clinton. Why did Clinton lose congress and the Senate? He raised the Social Security Tax in 1993. He was often praised in the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, something that almost never happens to Democratic Presidents. Only when he vetoed the Bank bill, on the advice of Hillary Clinton, wealth and power sent him a message. They impeached him in the House, and the New York Times helped greatly! Only Keith Olbermann at MSNBC at that time refused to talk about the sex scandal and quit.

Bill Clinton then meekly signed two devastating Banking bills that started the rush to big profits for the banks and the crash on Wall Street. In 2007, Banking and insurance contributed to 8 percent of GDP. Now it is 63 percent and the GDP grew from the 9 Trillion GDP to a 15 Trillion one in a much weaker non-financial economy. When retail accounts for 70 percent of our economy, bad times will be around for years if not a decade. We have used up our massive money printing trick and the rich bond holders are really scared including China which holds about 25 percent of our government Treasury Bonds.

I was shocked that so many highly educated smart people were fooled. Propaganda works extremely well as we saw in the 1930s in Germany and the buying and debt spree of Americans. Yes, advertisements are propaganda. Sure Obama talked liberal, but he acted like a conservative Democrat or more like Carter and Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton talks conservative, but in her heart she has true liberal principles.

Obama's hands-off work was largely was in fund raising for the churches and he rarely interacted with the poor. Lower Middle-class and poor Blacks in Chicago did not like Obama until the so-called scandal in his church when the reverend made anti-White remarks.

When Hillary got her law degree at Yale, she had many opportunities because of her reputation as an outstanding lawyer in the Watergate prosecution. She then went to work in North Carolina directly helping the poor and even stopped Reagan from implementing draconian laws against the young and poor.

Americans really missed up when she was not nominated and elected President. She would have done a much better job uniting the country. She is a proven leader since here elementary school through the rest of her life. She is more popular than Obama now which includes many Republicans.

Jim Kawakami, August 01, 2011,

Vitamin D: You can get too much of a good thing

Appeared in print: Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, page D1

Since you’re reading this column, we bet you’re aware that the news about vitamin D-3 — the superhero of nutrients, able to bolster bones and battle everything from heart disease to cancer — just keeps getting better.

But glowing reports aren’t the whole story. And like repeat rides on the Tilt-a-Whirl at the county fair, more isn’t always better. In fact, too much D may be dangerous.

Haven’t heard much about overdoing D? You’re not alone. In the upbeat mania, that’s getting overlooked. While D’s too crucial to run low on (and many people are low), it takes some finessing to get the best results.

This update’s for you if:

You don’t take any D.

You take more than 1,000 to 2,000 IU daily on your own.

You’re considering the megadoses (as much as 100,000 IU a week) touted on the Internet.

You’re about to plunk down cash for a D blood test that’s not from a doc (the tests can be flukey, so get them from a reliable, consistent source).

So it’s time to get this right. First, we You Docs believe it’s vital for you to get enough vitamin D-3 (more about D-3 ahead). If you’re chronically short, your risk goes up for a passel of nastiness: several cancers (including breast, colon and ovarian), heart disease, osteoporosis, asthma, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and high blood pressure.

New studies also are turning up links between low D and obesity in kids, digestive diseases, pneumonia, anemia and injuries among pro football players.

On the upside, researchers recently have found that having healthy amounts of D-3 relaxes your blood vessels, helps bone-building drugs work better, makes weight loss faster and easier, and even transforms slow sperm into speedy swimmers (think dog paddlers versus Michael Phelps).

That’s cool. But popping lots of D isn’t your next move. Like we said, while enough is great, too much ain’t. Taking more than 10,000 IU per day, for example, might make you absorb too much D and too much calcium, causing kidney damage.

Dialysis anyone? We thought not.

And while enough D helps bones, older women who took gigantic 550,000 IU doses every fall or winter for three to five years in one study had more fractures and more falls than those who got no extra D. Same goes for blood vessels: Too much not only nixes benefits, it stiffens your arteries.

Why can excess D double-cross you? Big doses seem to steal calcium from your bones and spew it into your bloodstream, interfering with muscle function and putting your arteries and kidneys in peril.

By now we bet you’re saying, “OK, docs, what’s too little, what’s too much, what’s just right?” Coming up.

Aim for 1,000 IU of vitamin D-3 per day. Total. Include what’s in your multi, your calcium-D-3-magnesium tablet, your D-fortified milk or other fortified foods. Yes, we’ve seen the Internet buzz about taking super-high doses on your own.

Don’t do it.

The Institute of Medicine says that more than 4,000 IU per day can be harmful; we say don’t go over 2,000 IU without talking with your doc. Superpills packing 10,000 IU should be taken only under medical supervision, usually by those who don’t absorb it well or need a special regimen.

Take D-3, not plain D. It’s the most active form of the vitamin and the type your skin makes naturally when it’s exposed to sunlight for 15 minutes or so.

Get a blood test for D if: you’re dark-skinned; you’re elderly; you always wear sunscreen and a hat outdoors (smart moves otherwise); you’re obese (D stored in fat is less bio-available); you have trouble digesting fats; or you live north of Atlanta — during winter, the sun’s rays above there simply aren’t strong enough for you to create enough D.

What’s low? We consider D low when it’s below 50 ng/mL. While there’s little consensus on what’s definitively healthy or too high, there’s evidence that D’s dark side starts appearing above 80. Levels more than 500 are toxic. Remember that D blood tests (about $35 to $40 from your doctor) can give inconsistent results; recheck ultra-low or -high results.

Bottom line: Aim to hold your D levels steady between 30 and 80 ng/mL. Get tested every six months for 18 months and take the D-3 needed to get and keep you in that range (usually 1,000 IU a day; often 2,000).

If you can’t get regular tests, take 1,000 IU a day. Your “real age” will be younger, and your whole body will run better.

The YOU Docs — Mike Roizen and Mehmet Oz — are authors of “YOU: On a Diet.” Want more? See “The Dr. Oz Show” weekdays on KEZI. To submit questions and find ways to grow younger and healthier, go to, the docs’ online home.