Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ancient 'Micro-Continent' Found Under Indian Ocean





 Unbelievably, the one place that I needed to find continental rocks in support of the conjecture regarding the crustal shift of the Pleistocene Nonconformity happens to be the Indian Ocean about were this item focused. The land masses were there and what was missing was knowledge regarding just what they were deep down.

Had they been merely oceanic rocks then cultural records and the crustal shift theory would have had a problem.

The crustal shift generated two natural regions of subsidence. One is the Caribbean and the other is on the other side of the Globe generated by balancing compression and stretching over the equator. A last echo of that subsidence caught the Atlantean world in 1159 BC.

Ages as usual reflect ages of rocks and not of movements.

Ancient 'Micro-Continent' Found Under Indian Ocean


By Charles Q. Choi,



The remains of a micro-continent scientist call Mauritia might be preserved under huge amounts of ancient lava beneath the Indian Ocean, a new analysis of island sands in the area suggests.

These findings hint that such micro-continents may have occurred more frequently than previously thought, the scientists who conducted the study, detailed online Feb. 24 in the journal Nature Geoscience, say.

Researchers analyzed sands from the isle of Mauritius in the western Indian Ocean. Mauritius is part of a volcanic chain that, strangely, exists far from the edges of its tectonic plate. In contrast, most volcanoes are found at the borders of the tectonic plates that make up the surface of the Earth.

Investigators suggest that volcanic chains in the middle of tectonic plates, such as the Hawaiian Islands, are caused by giant pillars of hot molten rock known as mantle plumes. These rise up from near the Earth's core, penetrating overlying material like a blowtorch. [What Is Earth Made Of?]

Mantle plumes can apparently trigger continental breakups, softening the tectonic plates from below until they fragment — this is how the lost continent of Eastern Gondwana ended about 170 million years ago, prior research suggests A plume currently sits near Mauritius and other islands, and the researchers wanted to see if they could find ancient fragments of continents from just such a breakup there.

Digging in the sand

The beach sands of Mauritius are the eroded remnants of volcanic rocks created by eruptions 9 million years ago. Collecting them"was actually quite pleasant," said researcher Ebbe Hartz, a geologistat the University of Oslo in Norway. He described walking out from a tropical beach, "maybe with a Coke and an icebox, and you dig down underwater into sand dunes at low tide."

Within these sands, investigators discovered about 20 ancient zircon grains (a type of mineral) between 660 million and 1,970 million years old. To learn more about the source of this ancient zircon, the scientists investigated satellite maps of Earth's gravity field. The strength of the field depends on Earth's mass, and since the planet's mass is not spread evenly, its gravity field is stronger in some places on the planet's surface and weaker in others.

The researchers discovered Mauritius is part of a contiguous block of abnormally thick crust that extends in an arc northward to the Seychelles islands. The finding suggests Mauritius and the adjacent region overlie an ancient micro-continent they call Mauritia. The ancient zircons they unearthed are shards of lost Mauritia.

The researchers meticulously sought to rule out any chance these ancient grains were contaminants from elsewhere.

"Zircons are heavy minerals, and the uranium and lead elements used to date the ages of these zircons are extraordinarily heavy, so these grains do not easily fly around — they did not blow into Mauritius from a sandstorm in Africa," Hartz told OurAmazingPlanet.

"We also chose a beach where there was no construction whatsoever — that these grains did not come from cement somewhere else," Hartz added. "We were also careful that all the equipment we used to collect the minerals was new, that this was the first time it was used, that there was no previous rock sticking to it from elsewhere."

Peeling continent pieces

After analyzing marine fracture zones and ocean magnetic anomalies, the investigators suggest Mauritia separated from Madagascar, fragmented and dispersed as the Indian Ocean basin grew between 61 million and 83.5 million years ago. Since then, volcanic activity has buried Mauritia under lava, and may have done the same to other continental fragments.

"There are all these little slivers of continent that may peel off continents when the hotspot of a mantle plume passes under them," Hartz said. "Why that happens is still mind-boggling. Why, after something gets ripped apart, would it rip apart again?"

Finding past evidence of lost continents normally involves tediously crushing and sorting volcanic rocks, Hartz explained. The researchers essentially let nature do the work of pulverization for them by looking at sand.

"We suggest lots of scientists try this technique on their favorite volcanoes," Hartz said.

There's No Way The F-35 Will Ever Match The Eurofighter In Aerial Combat






The moment of truth is arriving for this bird and it is not particularly promising. I will also argue that it is also unnecessary.

Drone technology is advancing in leaps and it is just too huge an advantage to get rid of the on board pilot to not think that is exactly what is about to happen. We need to build a hot drone fighter that is able to blow everything out of the sky long before China or anyone else does.

From this article, it is clear that the real fight has begun for this bird. Canada has already canceled their participation and it is a gimme that others are thinking it through. Expect more and expect a final cancellation however unpleasant that may be.

What is flying today can carry us forward into the age of fighter drones quite handily.


There's No Way The F-35 Will Ever Match The Eurofighter In Aerial Combat

David Cenciotti, The Aviationist

Feb. 13, 2013,

In an interesting piece by Flight’s Dave Majumdar, Bill Flynn, Lockheed test pilot responsible for flight envelope expansion activities for the F-35, claimed that all three variants of the Joint Strike Fighter will have better kinematic performance than any fourth-generation fighter plane with combat payload, including the Eurofighter Typhoon (that during last year’s Red Flag Alaska achieved several simulated kills against the F-22 Raptor) and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

In terms of instantaneous and sustained turn rates and just about every other performance metric, the F-35 variants match or considerably exceed the capabilities of every fourth-generation fighter,” Flynn said.

According to the Lockheed pilot, (besides its stealthiness) the F-35 features better transonic acceleration and high AOA (angle-of-attack) flight performance than an armed Typhoon or Super Hornet.

As Majumdar says in his article, such claims are strongly disputed by other sources. Among them an experienced Eurofighter Typhoon industry test pilot, who tried to debunk all Flynn’s “theories” about the alleged superior F-35 performance.

Here’s what he wrote to The Aviationist:

No doubt the F-35 will be, when available, a very capable aircraft: its stealth design, extended range, internal carriage of stores and a variety of integrated sensors are definitely the ingredients for success in modern air-to-ground operations.

However, when time comes for air dominance, some other ingredients like thrust to weight ratio and wing loading tend to regulate the sky. And in that nothing comes close to a Typhoon, except an F-22 which has very similar values. The F-35 thrust to weight ratio is way lower and its energy-maneuverability diagrams match those of the F/A-18, which is an excellent result for a single engine aircraft loaded with several thousand pounds of fuel and significant armament.

But it also means that starting from medium altitude and above, there is no story with a similarly loaded Typhoon.

Dealing with the transonic acceleration:

Transonic acceleration is excellent in the F-35, as it is for the Typhoon and better than in an F/A-18 or F-16, but mainly due to its low drag characteristics than to its powerplant. That means that immediately after the transonic regime, the F-35 would stop accelerating and struggle forever to reach a non operationally suitable Mach 1.6.

The Typhoon will continue to accelerate supersonic with an impressive steady pull, giving more range to its BVR (Beyond Visual Range) armament.

For what concerns AOA:

Angle-of-attack is remarkably high in the F-35, as it is for all the twin tailed aircraft, but of course it can not be exploited in the supersonic regime, where the limiting load factor is achieved at low values of AoA.

Also in the subsonic regime, the angle-of-attack itself doesn’t mean that much, especially if past a modest 12° AoA you are literally going to fall of the sky! Excessive energy bleeding rates would operationally limit the F-35 well before its ultimate AoA is reached.

Eurofighter superb engine-airframe matching, in combination with it’s High Off-Bore-Sight armament supported by Helmet Cueing, has already and consistently proven winning against any agile fighter.

Last, the F-35 is capable of supersonic carriage of bombs in the bomb bay, but the fuel penalty becomes almost unaffordable, while delivery is limited to subsonic speeds by the armament itself as is for the Typhoon.

Concluding (highlight mine):

[...] it is in the facts that while the Typhoon can do most of the F-35 air-to-ground mission, vice versa the F-35 remains way far from a true swing role capability, and not even talking of regulating the skies.
Provided that the F-35 will be able to solve all its problems, and that the raising costs will not lead to a death spiral of order cuts, both the British RAF and the Italian Air Force will be equipped with both the JSF and the Typhoon.

Mock aerial combat training will tell us who’s better in aerial combat.


The F-35 Folly: How Our Own Fighter Jets Are Killing Us

Tuesday, 19 February 2013 15:08

By Thom Hartmann



This is a story about political dysfunction in Washington.

Say hello to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

The F-35 joint strike jet fighter is one of the costliest weapons programs in human history, with each plane costing $90 million and the project taking more than a decade to complete.

The price tag of the entire program has nearly doubled since 2001, coming in at a staggering $396 billion dollars. And, thanks to a number of production delays and safety concerns, that price tag is still rising.

When you combine the price tag of the program with Government Accountability Office estimated operating and maintenance costs of the planes– the total cost of the program reaches over $1 trillion.

And here's the really tragic and absurd part of this story. Thanks to the decade of delays, the technology in the F-35, once thought to be the best of the best, is now outdated.

The F-35 program is one of several in the current Pentagon budget that is stuck in the last century, and has failed to adapt to changes in modern day warfare.

Yet, Pentagon officials, like current Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, are still pressing for nearly 2,500 of these absurdly expensive and already-obsolete F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

At a press conference in Ottawa, Canada last Spring, Panetta told reporters that, “As part of the defense strategy that the United States went through and has put in place, we have made very clear that we are 100 percent committed to the development of the F-35. It’s a fifth-generation fighter, [and] we absolutely need it for the future.”

What Panetta didn't point out is that over the course of the F-35 program, the world has changed. The F-35 is supposed to be the future of U.S. tactical airpower, but the fact is the entire program is a relic of the Cold War. Rather than face the current threats of today, like cyber warfare, we continue to pour billions, and potentially trillions, into the bottomless pits of projects like the F-35.

On March 1st, if lawmakers fail to reach a new federal budget deal, the automatic sequester cuts will go into effect. Under these cuts, a variety of federal agencies and programs will lose funding, including the Pentagon. If those sequester cuts go into effect, the Pentagon will face more than $500 billion in spending cuts.

Cue Republican war hawks like Sen. Lindsey Graham. Appearing on Fox News Sunday over the weekend, Graham said that, in order to avoid the looming sequester budget cuts that would, he said, "destroy" the military , we should instead eliminate healthcare to the 30 million Americans who are covered under Obamacare.

Instead of taking healthcare away from millions of Americans, lawmakers in Washington should kill the zombie of the F-35.

The Pentagon is facingt $500 billion in budget cuts if the sequester goes into effect. And, amazingly, that's about the amount left in the Pentagon budget for the F-35.

The fact of the matter is eliminating the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program really won’t put a dent in America’s military power.

As Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan, one of the few Republicans in favor of defense cuts, put it, quote, “We are spending maybe 45% of the world's budget on defense. If we drop to 42% or 43%, would we be suddenly in danger of some kind of invasion?”

No. We wouldn’t be.

But it would put a dent in the wallets of America’s war profiteers, which really concerns Republicans who are heavily funded by them, people like Senator Lindsey Graham.

And they sure can afford to fund Graham and his congressional buddies. In the past ten years, the defense industry has seen record profits.

In 2011, the combined profits of the five largest U.S.-based contractors were a staggering $13.4 billion. And, despite going through a recession that devastated both families and business across the country, the defense industry is still making record profits.

FDR said during World War II that, "I don't want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of this world disaster.”

But, in this new age of never-ending war, war profiteers are cashing in like never before. Glance across the Potomac from our nation’s capital, and you'll see virtual castles – thirty and forty room mansions in secure, gated communities - all belonging to the executives and lobbyists of today's war profiteers.

And thanks to these war profiteers and the Republican war hawks they own, it’s ingrained in the American psyche that any decrease in military spending means an automatic increase in the danger that Americans face in their everyday lives.

America has finally fulfilled President Eisenhower's warning in his famous 1961 farewell address.

America is the strongest military power in the world. And that’s not going to change anytime soon.

But while our defense contractors are prospering, working people across America are hurting. Schools and infrastructure are in shambles. We're slipping behind the rest of the developed world in virtually every available measure of national health and wealth.

It’s time to ground the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and other wasteful defense spending projects for good, and use that money to rebuild our economy, and to rebuild the middle class.
Which is the true investment in our future security.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission of the author. 

Scientists Confirm Tetrahedral Model of the Molecular Structure of Water




 At least we are looking closer at the nature of water bonding. What will be welcome is when we can add the odd impurity and discover the implied effect. That will revolutionize chemistry. We are certainly close.

What continues to surprise is the complexities of water as theory. Everything else appears simple.

It is all good.

Scientists confirm tetrahedral model of the molecular structure of water

by Staff Writers

Mainz, Germany (SPX) Feb 15, 2013



Researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) have confirmed the original model of the molecular structure of water and have thus made it possible to resolve a long-standing scientific controversy about the structure of liquid water.

The tetrahedral model was first postulated nearly 100 years ago and it assumes that every water molecule forms a so-called hydrogen bond with four adjacent molecules. This concept was almost toppled in 2004 when an international research group announced that it had experimentally established that water molecules form bonds only with two other molecules.

"The quality of the results was excellent but they merely represent a snapshot of the situation," explained Professor Dr. Thomas Kuhne. He has demonstrated the fallacy of the 'double bonding' theory using computer simulations based on new types of combinations of two computational methods recently developed by his group.

Some very special and unique features of water, such as its liquid aggregate state and high boiling point, are attributable to the effect of the hydrogen bonds between the water molecules.

The H bonds are formed due to the different charges carried by the oxygen and hydrogen atoms that make up water molecules and the resultant dipolar structure. The traditional, generally accepted view was that water had a tetrahedral structure at room temperature, so that on average each water molecule would be linked with four adjacent molecules via two donor and two acceptor bonds.

"In our theoretical approach, the median result we observed over time was always for quadruple bonding," said Kuhne. Thanks to the new simulations, he and his colleague Dr. Rhustam Khaliullin have now been able to confirm the old model and also supply an explanation for why double bonding was observed in 2004. According to Kuhne, the result was not indicative of double bonding "but of instantaneous asymmetrical fluctuation" only.

There is thus significant asymmetry in the four H bonds of the tetrahedral model because of the different energy of the contacts. This asymmetry is the result of temporary disruptions to the hydrogen bond network, which take the form of extremely short term fluctuations occurring on a timescale of 100 to 200 femtoseconds.

These fluctuations mean that one of the two donor or acceptor bonds is temporarily much stronger than the other. But these fluctuations precisely cancel each other out so that, on average over time, the tetrahedral structure is retained.

The results reported in 2004 using x-ray absorption spectroscopy were obtained using water molecules with high levels of momentary asymmetry, which is why essentially only two strong hydrogen bonds were observed in an otherwise tetrahedral structure.

"Our findings have important implications as they help reconcile the symmetric and asymmetric views on the structure of water," write the scientists in an article published in Nature Communications. The results may also be relevant to research into molecular and biological systems in aqueous solutions and provide insight into protein folding, for example.

The work of Thomas Kuhne's group was undertaken within an interdisciplinary joint project and was funded by the Research Unit Center for Computational Sciences at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz; T. D. Kuhne, R. Z. Khaliullin, Electronic signature of the instantaneous asymmetry in the first coordination shell of liquid water, Nature Communications 4, 5 February 2013

Bigfoot DNA Report Published





Not so fast on not so fast.

We have one hundred DNA samples that have been I assume properly analyzed by a lab in the business and a number of check tests done with other laboratories. We have results that support two conjectures.

The results are that the DNA has a recent human component in conjunction with an ancient unknown hominid lineage. We certainly can tell that much and there are enough samples to draw likely conclusions.

1 The human component may well represent contamination although that gets less likely as we increase our sample size. I am sure most samples arrived in a zip lock bag and most of the samplers were very careful but not trained.

2 It is a legitimate hybrid unique to the Americas and plausibly of an Asian wild man. Regardless, the DNA itself is shaking out as an unknown hominid of some sort.

The paper is now available for open review and outright replication. That means children that it is time for our ignorant naysayers to either shut up or to pony up money and replicate these results with superior methodology.

We are on the verge of actually confirming and even interacting with this creature for the sake of a decent trackers budget other well established methods now available.


Bigfoot DNA Discovered? Not So Fast

By Benjamin Radford,


In November of last year, a Texas veterinarian made national news claiming that genetic testing confirmed that not only is the legendary Bigfoot real, but is in fact a human relative that arose some 15,000 years ago.

The study, by Melba S. Ketchum, suggested such cryptids had sex with modern human females that resulted in hairy hominin hybrids: "Our data indicate that the North American Sasquatch is a hybrid species, the result of males of an unknown hominin species crossing with female Homo sapiens," Ketchum said in a statement. The scientific community was rightly skeptical, partly because Ketchum's research — which spanned five years — had not appeared in any peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Now the study has finally been published, kind of, and it raises more questions than answers. The piece, written by a team of researchers led by Ketchum, is titled "Novel North American Hominins: Next Generation Sequencing of Three Whole Genomes and Associated Studies" and published in the "DeNovo Scientific Journal."

The study, which used 1,100 samples of alleged Bigfoot hair, blood, mucus, toenail, bark scrapings, saliva and skin with hair and subcutaneous tissues attached, were collected by dozens of people from 34 sites around North America. Hairs were compared to reference samples from common animals including human, dog, cow, horse, deer, elk, moose, fox, bear, coyote, and wolf, and were said not to match any of them. [Rumor or Reality: The Creatures of Cryptozoology]

The report concluded, "we have extracted, analyzed and sequenced DNA from over one hundred separate samples... obtained from scores of collection sites throughout North America. Hair morphology was not consistent with human or any known wildlife hairs. DNA analysis showed two distinctly different types of results; the mitochondrial DNAcm was unambiguously human, while the nuclear DNA was shown to harbor novel structure and sequence... the data conclusively proves that the Sasquatch exist as an extant hominin and are a direct maternal descendent of modern humans."

DNA Sampling

So what can we make of this? The most likely interpretation is that the samples were contaminated. Whatever the sample originally was — Bigfoot, bear, human or something else — it's possible that the people who collected and handled the specimens (mostly Bigfoot buffs with little or no forensic evidence-gathering training) accidentally introduced their DNA into the sample, which can easily occur with something as innocent as a spit, sneeze or cough.

Though the study claims that "throughout this project exhaustive precautions were taken to minimize or eliminate contamination" in the laboratory, the likelihood that the samples were contaminated in the field by careless collection methods, normal environmental degradation, and other factors was not addressed. In some cases the person(s) submitting the alleged Bigfoot sample also contributed a sample of their own DNA to help rule out contamination, but the possibility of DNA contamination by others (such as hunters or hikers) could not be ruled out.

How did the team definitively determine that the samples were from Bigfoot? Well, they didn't; the report details where Bigfoot samples were retrieved: "hair found on tree" and "hair found on wire fence" are typical. In other words, the people collecting the samples didn't see what animal left it there, possibly weeks or months earlier—but if it seemed suspicious it might be Bigfoot. [Beasts & Monsters:

Scientific Journal?

Ketchum's study had been rejected by other scientific journals. So what about the journal that finally published the study, "DeNovo Scientific Journal"? The journal has no other studies, articles, papers or reviews. Ketchum's is the only paper the journal has "published." No libraries or universities subscribe to it, and the journal and its website apparently did not exist three weeks ago. There's no indication that the study was peer-reviewed by other knowledgeable scientists to assure quality. It is not an existing, known, or respected journal in any sense of the word.

This raises some red flags: If the results of the Ketchum et al. study are so valid and airtight, why didn't they appear in a respected, peer-reviewed scientific journal? Surely any reputable journal would fight Bigfoot tooth and Sasquatch nail to be the first to publish groundbreaking valid evidence of the existence of an unknown bipedal animal.

In fact, researchers from Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology announced last year that they would test any supposed Sasquatch samples that believers volunteered to send.

"I'm challenging and inviting the cryptozoologists to come up with the evidence instead of complaining that science is rejecting what they have to say," geneticist Bryan Sykes of the University of Oxford told LiveScience in May 2012.

In an interview on the MonsterTalk podcast, Dr. Todd Disotell of the New York University Molecular Anthropology Laboratory dismissed the idea that Bigfoot could be a primate that arose as recently as Ketchum's DNA results claim: "If it's a primate that is so similar to us, that's only separated from us about 15,000 years ago, that's us," he said. "Even with people of European extraction, we've got 50,000 years of common ancestry since we left Africa." In other words, there is far more than 15,000 years of genetic diversity among ordinary humans, so the idea that something that split from our lineage would be as different from us as Bigfoot is absurd. 

It seems that the Ketchum Bigfoot DNA study, which was supposed to rock the world with its iron-clad scientific evidence of Bigfoot, is a bust, and tells us more about junk science than about the mysterious monster. Scientists will not be impressed, but Bigfoot believers might be; the report is available to the public for $30 from Ketchum's web site.

Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of "Skeptical Inquirer" science magazine and author of six books including Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore.  His Web site is www.BenjaminRadford.com.

Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mediterranean Diet Skunks Low Fat





 It turns out to be a total rout. It appears that the right oils are even beneficial. The point is that a thirty percent differential is huge and the study was large and well designed. It was halted at the five year mark because it became unethical to continue.

I think we all know how to cook this way. It is simply a matter of no longer buying red meat products and ramping up the fish component.

We really do not have good completely trusted explanations for why this is all true, but that is surely irrelevant as even good explanations often lead to incorrect conclusions. What we do know is that ample vegetables and fish will go a long way to protecting against heart disease.

The take home is that this study was decisive. Henceforth, all medical advice will adhere closely to the Mediterranean diet protocol.


Mediterranean diet, with olive oil and nuts, beats low-fat diet

By Melissa Healy

February 25, 2013


In a head-to-head contest, a Mediterranean diet, even drenched in olive oil and studded with nuts, beat a low-fat diet, hands-down, in preventing stroke and heart attack in healthy older subjects at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

The latest smack-down in the diet wars appears to deal a knock-out blow to the notion that high-fat olive oil and tree nuts — walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts — are a no-no for those wishing to improve their health. On the contrary, Spanish researchers concluded that the consumption of extra-virgin olive oil and nuts "were probably responsible for most of the observed benefits" attained by those in the two groups following a Mediterranean diet.

The study's findings, released Monday by the New England Journal of Medicine, also add to mounting evidence contradicting a long-held tenet of dieting to improve health: that all calories are equal.

The benefits of the Mediterranean diet were pretty substantial too: compared with a group of 2,450 subjects who were urged to follow a low-fat diet, the 4,997 who followed a Mediterranean diet supplemented either with nuts (2,454 subjects) or with extra-virgin olive oil (2,543 subjects) were 30% less likely to suffer one of the following outcomes: a heart attack, stroke or death attributed to cardiovascular disease.

The Mediterranean dieters were almost 40% less likely than the low-fat dieters to have a stroke during the follow-up period. And the superiority of the Mediterranean diet over a low-fat diet was consistent across virtually all sub-categories of participants -- men, women, older and younger subjects, and those with or without every risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Only among the small group of subjects without hypertension did a low-fat diet show better results.

All of the trial's subjects were ages 55 to 80 (women were 60 to 80) and either had type 2 diabetes or satisfied at least three of the following criteria: they were active smokers, were overweight or obese, had a family history of premature heart disease or had hypertension or worrisome cholesterol readings. After randomizing the subjects to the low-fat diet group, the Mediterranean diet with tree nuts group or the Mediterranean diet with olive oil group, researchers followed the subjects for a median of 4.8 years to ensure they were adhering to their recommended regimen and to gauge how many in each group suffered a heart attack or stroke or died of cardiovascular disease.

Many studies have suggested the Mediterranean diet -- which is rich in fatty fish, fruits, vegetables and fatty acids -- trumps other diets meant to induce weight loss when the measure of success is heart health. But the current trial is the first to meet the "gold standard" of biomedical research, in which large numbers of patients are randomly assigned to distinct groups, followed for several years and compared on the basis of predetermined outcomes.

The study's findings "blow the low-fat diet myth out of the water," said Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Steven Nissen, who was not involved in the current research. Nissen, an expert on the effects of drugs and nutrition on cardiovascular risk, called the study "spectacular" and touted the findings as impressive.

Almost entirely missing from the Mediterranean dieters' daily intake was red meat and meat products. Those subjects were urged to keep to a minimum sodas and fats that are in partially solid form and to limit consumption of commercially baked sweets and pastries to no more than three times a week. They were given a weekly supply of either almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts and told to eat about a quarter-cup a day of one of them. Or they were supplied a liter of extra-virgin olive oil each week and instructed to consume at least 4 tablespoons a day.

At the same time, Mediterranean dieters were told they should feel free to drink wine moderately — about seven glasses per week.

Aside from those guidelines, subjects in the Mediterranean diet arms of the trial had an "energy unrestricted" diet: They did not have a calorie limit.

Low-fat dieters were told to avoid nuts and vegetable oils of all kinds (including olive oil), to limit their store-bought sweets to fewer than one per week and to remove visible fat from all meats. In addition to fruits and vegetables, they were encouraged to eat three servings of low-fat dairy product and three or fewer servings of bread, potatoes, pasta or rice each day.

But since the study was conducted in several centers in Spain, even the low-fat dieters tended to eat lots of fruits, vegtables and leaner meats. The researchers found that, while eating slightly more legumes and fish, the Mediterranean dieters largely differed from the low-fat dieters in their nut-and-olive-oil consumption.

While their suspicions fell on nuts and olive oil, the researchers were wary of ruling out the contribution of other elements of the Mediterranean diet to improved cardiovascular health.

"Perhaps there is a synergy among the nutrient-rich foods included in the Mediterranean diet that fosters favorable changes" in the physiological responses, such as inflammation and insulin insensitivity, that give rise to cardiovascular disease, the researchers wrote.

Health Care Spending: A 21st Century Gold Rush






Yes, it has been a gold rush and it has been nasty because there is no easy market driven correction built into the system except outright bankruptcy and that continues to be underwritten by the Federal government even when the private sector simply takes the cream.

The need is universal and it is not voluntary. The solution needs to match. Canada's system can be better but it has a base from which it can be better. The US system delivers excellence to what is on the way to becoming a minority and spotty service to most everyone else. It is time to start over before the bankruptcy court does it for you.

Canada had the good fortune to set up in a time when the industry was overcapitalized to start with. Doctors were not doing great financially although they always did well compared to their patients. Our health care system eliminated the collection problem and allowed them to function on health care albeit with a set of rules to work around.

It is still changing and evolving, however our doctors can have a good life, and even operate under clinic environments which provides him ample time off. I expect it to actually continuously improve as time progresses and folks actively work at it. It certainly has since its inception almost fifty years ago and you can not ask for much more.

Health Care Spending: A 21st Century Gold Rush

Friday, 15 February 2013 09:51By Philip Caper, Bangor Daily News




Winston Churchill once remarked, “Americans will always do the right thing, once they’ve exhausted all alternatives.” His observation, at least the second half of it, is proving itself as we continue to struggle with our health care system, especially its out-of-control costs that are crippling the budgets of businesses and government alike.

There is a lot of money in our health care system, and no enforceable budget. That leads to carelessness when it comes to spending that money.

What are some of the reasons health care costs continue to rise? Here are a few examples.

For at least the past 40 years, I’ve heard colleagues say, “We’d better get our fees and charges up now, because next year they’re really going to crack down on us.” It has never happened, yet. The problem is intensifying as outpatient “providers” have morphed from being real people into being corporations.

The Los Angeles Times reported on a case where a teacher’s group health plan was billed $87,500 by an “out of network” provider for a knee procedure that normally costs $3,000. Her health plan was willing to pay it. Outraged, the teacher ratted on the orthopedic surgicenter to California’s attorney general. After the press got involved, the charge was “reduced” to only $15,000. Not a bad pricing strategy, from the surgicenter’s point of view.

The New York Times reported an incident where a student who needed emergency gallbladder surgery ended up with a couple of “out-of-network” surgeons through no fault of his own. He was billed $60,000. His insurance company was willing to pay only $2,000. He was left to deal with the rest of the bill on his own.

There are many more examples. Privately insured patients are not the only ones affected. Governors around the country are continuing to struggle with how to pay for their Medicaid programs. In Oregon, Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber is trying to find ways to impose a fixed budget on Oregon’s Medicaid program without adversely affecting Medicaid beneficiaries. But, he acknowledges, disciplining Medicaid alone will not do the job. He hopes his approach will be adopted by most other health insurance programs.

In Maine, Republican Gov. Paul LePage is struggling not only with how to keep up with burgeoning current Medicaid costs, but also how to pay the state’s almost $500 million past-due Medicaid debt to hospitals. He has proposed lowering liquor prices to boost sales, and mortgaging Maine’s future liquor revenues to secure bonds to pay the debt. His Republican colleagues in the Legislature have described this idea as “creative.”

One of the central features of Obamacare is the creation of “health insurance exchanges,” or online marketplaces. But the law has recognized that many people will need help making the right choices. So it has created an army of “navigators” to help them. A recent Washington Post story points out that a huge number of such experts will be necessary (California alone plans to certify 21,000 of them). Their cost will be reflected in higher health insurance premiums and has sparked opposition from insurance brokers who view them as competition. That will be an expensive fight, without increasing the amount going to actual health care by a single dollar.

Then there is the purchase of politicians by powerful corporate interests. When the Medicare prescription drug benefit was enacted in 2003, it was prohibited from negotiating lower drug prices, even though the veterans health system and many Medicaid programs are permitted to do so. The lead congressman pushing that provision retired from Congress soon after it was passed to take a lucrative job with the pharmaceutical industry. This has become standard practice in Washington.

And don’t forget the for-profit levels of compensation paid to the executives of nonprofit hospitals.

Meanwhile in Massachusetts, where Obamacare was born, health care costs are expected to rise six to 12 percent next year. Last year, their legislature passed a law capping increases in total private and public spending statewide, limiting them to the rate of growth of the Massachusetts economy. But the job of figuring out how to actually get it done was turfed to an “expert panel” of “stakeholders.” My bet is that such cost control will be difficult or impossible to achieve unless we simplify and centralize the way we finance health care.

Why does this financial abuse of taxpayers and patients continue? Because we let it. Americans often react to structural problems by simply throwing more money at them. We seem to be unable to say “no more.”

Maybe it’s time to revisit the part of Churchill’s comment about Americans always doing the right thing — by emulating the policies of most other wealthy countries. They have health care systems that are more popular than ours, provide better access to care, get better results, and are far less expensive.

Maybe it’s time to put everybody into a single, nonprofit system we can all support, within a budget acceptable to the majority of people. That arrangement would eliminate the political fights among people in different health insurance programs, each questioning change by asking, “How does it benefit me?”

Such a system would be best if done at a national level. But it could work initially at the level of individual states, such as Maine. That’s how the Canadians did it — one province at a time. If Maine could be one of the first states to do that, the people of Maine could truly say “Dirigo, I lead.”

So God Made a Farmer






 The present regime was made possible by two things. The cost of capital and the cost of market access.

This led directly to the present distortion of industrial agriculture as presently constituted. Worse though is that the excess capital allows this industry to buy regulation to preserve bad practice as long as possible and to subsidize it.

The internet has reshaped the market access problem into the individuals favor. The most successful farm model today is a small vertically integrated producer that delivers a quality product to the customer. Production technology is also easily downsized to support this market and one of the largest markets are exactly were those manufacturers are.

The fight to alter regulation has only begun, but the set backs the meat industry has faced shows us that the need it there and also the political support from future customers.

In the past the consumer went to the farmer's gate looking for a simple bargain and accepted the cost of processing. The farmer will soon be better able to do just that to add the margins for his labor. He is also naturally more efficient. After all foods not up to shipping standards are still perfectly fine food and immediate processing means it is produced fresh which is not as likely after it leaves the farm gate.

My own model that I am developing for land based communities solves the capital problem and transitions our agriculture into the new age.

The Real "Farmer" Story: So God Made High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Friday, 15 February 2013 09:23
By Mark Engler



Of the commercials that debuted at this year’s Super Bowl, one of the most talked about has been “Farmer,” a Dodge truck ad that pays tribute to the salt-of-the-earth middle Americans who work the land. (Check it out here if you haven’t seen it yet.)

As a Midwesterner who comes from a family just one generation removed from the farm (both of my parents grew up on family farms that have since been lost), some of the heartland pandering in the video worked on me. At the same time, the main feeling I had while watching was that the ad celebrated a type of farming that corporate agribusiness has all but obliterated in the past fifty years.

The satirists at Funny or Die apparently had the same idea. The other day, they released a sly parody video called “God Made a Factory Farmer”:

As others have noted, the content of the new Dodge ad does not reflect the current state of American farming at all. For one, the imagery is a whitewash; basically all the farmers shown in the commercial are white, while the majority of actual farm workers in the United States today are Latino.

The narration, too, is the product of a bygone age. The speech featured in the ad was given by radio personality Paul Harvey to a convention of the Future Farmers of America in 1978. Even then, Harvey did not claim authorship; the original “So God Made a Farmer” text dates back to at least the 1940s.

In an article at the Atlantic, Garance Franke-Ruta pointed to Harvey’s long-standing conservative politics, as described in his New York Times obituary:

In his heyday, which lasted from the 1950s through the 1990s, Mr. Harvey’s twice-daily soapbox-on-the-air was one of the most popular programs on radio. Audiences of as many as 22 million people tuned in on 1,300 stations to a voice that had been an American institution for as long as most of them could remember.

Like Walter Winchell and Gabriel Heatter before him, he personalized the radio news with his right-wing opinions, but laced them with his own trademarks: a hypnotic timbre, extended pauses for effect, heart-warming tales of average Americans and folksy observations that evoked the heartland, family values and the old-fashioned plain talk one heard around the dinner table on Sunday….

He railed against welfare cheats and defended the death penalty. He worried about the national debt, big government, bureaucrats who lacked common sense, permissive parents, leftist radicals and America succumbing to moral decay.

Of course, in the end, it was not godless California hippies who undermined the family farm and gave us a diet of high-fructose corn syrup. And if you’re looking to condemn welfare scams and big-government boondoggles, you need search no further than the subsidy regime that undergirds the profits of modern corporate agribusiness. Sadly, like members of my own extended family, many people who grew up on the farm, fed on the gospel of hard work and rugged individualism, experienced misery in trying to carry on the family tradition. As sustainable farming advocate Tim Wightman writes in his critique of the Dodge ad:

I fell for the hype of serving a corporate food system with duty, honor and 100 hour weeks and very nearly ruined my health in doing so. I am now reminded of all the John Henrys I have known over the years, desperately trying to stay ahead of the system. I am reminded of the migrant workers who’s names we will never know still working the 100 hour standard. I am reminded of all the farm sons and daughters who are not on the land. God may have made a farmer, but Big Ag broke his back[.]

Could the type of land stewardship celebrated in “So God Made a Farmer” be revived, protected, and made sustainable? Perhaps. But to do so would challenge some of the most cherished values of the market. As the great farmer-poet Wendell Berry explained in a Dissent interview with Sarah Leonard:

To have good farming or good land use of any kind, you have got to have limits. Capitalism doesn’t acknowledge limits. That is why we have supposedly limitless economic growth in a finite world. Good agriculture is formal. You can have limits without form, but you can’t have form without limits. If you look around the country and find small farmers who have prospered in hard times, you’ll probably find that they’ve prospered because they’ve accepted their limits….

There’s a fundamental incompatibility between industrial capitalism and both the ecological and the social principles of good agriculture. The aim of industrialization has always been to replace people with machines or other technology, to make the cost of production as low as possible, to sell the product as high as possible, and to move the wealth into fewer and fewer hands….

In the middle of the last century, Aldo Leopold was writing and publishing on the “land community” and ecological land husbandry. Sir Albert Howard and J. Russell Smith had written of natural principles as the necessary basis of agriculture. This was work that was scientifically reputable. At the end of the Second World War, ignoring that work, the politicians, the agricultural bureaucracies, the colleges of agriculture, and the agri-business corporations went all-out to industrialize agriculture and to get first the people and then the animals off the land and into the factories. This was a mistake, involving colossal offenses against both land and people. The costs have not been fully reckoned, let alone fully paid.

I’d say that’s a story that deserves the widest possible audience. Unfortunately, something tells me it won’t be featured in a Super Bowl ad anytime soon.

Chinese Regime Labor Camp Reforms Bring Panic, Puzzlement, Hope




 We actually do have a lesson from history on this one. It is simple. The police state apparatus will crumble in time. It can only exist because the citizens allow it for good or bad reasons. When they ultimately object, the institution will blow away.

We just saw it happen in Egypt.

In China's case, it became astonishingly corrupted to divert labor and bodies into private hands. The leadership is now trying to distance itself from the activities of what is called internal security while a facade of due process roots out the evil.

In the meantime, those in leadership outside the targeted cadre is no longer supporting those policies as this shows. It is really easy not to arrest someone or even to thwart such an arrest.

Chinese Regime Labor Camp Reforms Bring Panic, Puzzlement, Hope



January the Chinese Communist Party announced that its sprawling network of concentration camps—known as “re-education through forced labor”—would be abolished. Or halted. Or reformed. Like many major, politically sensitive policy changes in China, the details are still unclear, and this has left officials inside the system scrambling to respond, and observers of it puzzling out the implications.

The system of forced labor, called laojiao in Chinese, has been a workhorse of the communists’ repressive apparatus since 1957, and currently holds from hundreds of thousands to millions of prisoners. The estimates are best guesses by human rights researchers because the regime does not publish statistics. Chinese people can be sent to up to four years of forced labor, without access to a lawyer or any judicial proceedings, for something as minor as ridiculing a Party official online, or for the spiritual beliefs that they hold.

Given the centrality of the system to the Communist Party’s stated goal of “maintaining stability,” the idea that it’s going to be abolished has led to the obvious lines of speculation: Will it be a case of, as one Chinese dissident put it, “different broth, same medicine?” Will they instead use the Party-run judicial system to punish enemies of the state? Or is this really a sign of reform?

Their control, monitoring, intimidation, and persecution will be the same.” — Zhong Weiguang, columnist

Panic

The responses from inside the Party indicate uncertainty about all of the above.

According to interviews conducted by The Epoch Times, officials in Chongqing, a major city in the southwest, are in a state of panic as they try to figure out how the new guidelines will impact them personally.

Members of the vast security apparatus in that city have particular reason to be concerned, given that thousands of people are believed to have been wrongly sentenced to forced labor under the watch of Bo Xilai, the now-deposed Politburo member. A large part of his “smashing the black campaign” was based on the idea of labeling political enemies and others as “mafia elements,” seizing their assets, and packing them off to the southwestern equivalent of Siberia. When those men are released, they may seek retaliation against those that put them away.

Phasing It Out

In Guandgong Province, long a vanguard of enterprise and experiment, the response has been more measured. The Party Committee there announced that it would stop using its forced labor system within the year. Labor camps will not receive new detainees, and those currently locked up will serve out their terms.

In Yunnan, a province further from the center and with a strong local identity, officials announced that they would stop sentencing people to forced labor for three kinds of offenses: “endangering state security, disruptive petitioning, and smearing the images of state leaders.” Those currently detained will still serve out their sentences, and after that, the camps will presumably close.

Renee Xia, the international director of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, a rights group based in Hong Kong, said in a press release that it was too early to be optimistic about the shifts. “There may very well be [intra]-Party disagreement and conflicts over the fate of RTL at the top, which cast a shadow on Yunnan or Guangdong’s plans to move ahead with changes,” she said.

The most important thing is the resistance from citizens, that is the most basic power for social change in China.” — Huang Qi, Chinese dissident

Prison Instead

Yet another category of response by Chinese officials was anticipated by the more pessimistic dissidents and political commentators: that cadres would simply switch to other instruments of persecution. That has already started to take place against practitioners of Falun Gong, according to an early report on Minghui.org, which carries first hand accounts of persecution from China. Falun Gong is a spiritual practice that has been persecuted since 1999, after then-Party leader Jiang Zemin became fearful of the popularity of its traditional moral teachings.

According to the Minghui article, heavy prison sentences have been handed down in some regions—the author counts 75 cases during one week of January alone. In this scenario the Party has simply switched to using the judiciary to attack its declared enemies, a process that carries little more protection than the arbitrary system of forced labor.

Same Medicine’

These developments are not surprising to Zhong Weiguang, a columnist and researcher of totalitarian regimes based in Germany. “The form and name of re-education through labor might be removed, because it doesn’t look good. They can temporarily not use it. But their goals, their control, monitoring, intimidation, and persecution of the people under the dictatorial rule of the Party will be the same.”

Without broader political reforms in the Party’s rule, he cannot take the announcements seriously, he said. In the meantime, he sees the exercise as simply one of propaganda.

Zhong has lived outside China for several decades now, though he keeps a close eye on developments. Dissidents and civil rights lawyers inside the country take the general point on board: that the Party will of course continue to repress people. But they have a sober and long-term view of what will be really required for change in China over the long term.

The Fruit of Effort

Huang Qi, who founded one of the first human rights websites in China, Liusi Tianwang, or June 4 Heavenly Net, indicated that there is more behind the policy than a mere public show.
At the current stage, after over a decade of collective protest, it can be said that the laojiao system has already reached its end point. It’s in the face of protests and discontent that they take measures to abolish it,” he said.

International pressure has played a small role. “The thing that really has a decisive impact are the millions of citizens, including our Falun Gong friends, and their years of resistance,” Huang Qi said.

The fact that the regime has been forced to respond to social pressure “is of course a sign of social progress,” Huang Qi says. He sees it as one part in a long campaign of resistance—that, while the system may be replaced by something else, they will also resist the new incarnation. The key is that the shift is a signal that popular pressure changed the official course.

The most important thing is the resistance from citizens, that is the most basic power for social change in China,” Huang Qi said.

A Sign of Progress

Zhang Jiankang, a civil rights lawyer in Shaanxi Province, took a similarly long-term view to the development. “In the early years,” he said, “‘counterrevolutionary crimes’ became ‘subversion of state power’. They just updated the name, though the content is the same. However, getting rid of the name ‘counterrevolutionary crimes,’ on the surface, is still progress.” It shows that the Party has had to budge in the face of popular resistance.

The natural consideration for observers is whether the announcements will have unintended consequences, opening the door to other kinds of reform that will eventually lead to greater freedoms or even democracy in China.

China moving toward the rule of law is a trend that no group can stop,” says Huang Qi. He said it requires China’s people—including journalists, lawyers, scholars, petitioners—to “keep resisting.”

Under that continuous supervision and resistance, I believe that the Chinese mainland will walk toward democracy and human rights. … Only by pushing hard can we get a China that is moving toward human rights.”

Editor’s Note: When Chongqing’s former top cop, Wang Lijun, fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6, he set in motion a political storm that has not subsided. The battle behind the scenes turns on what stance officials take toward the persecution of Falun Gong. The faction with bloody hands—the officials former CCP head Jiang Zemin promoted in order to carry out the persecution—is seeking to avoid accountability for their crimes and to continue the campaign. Other officials are refusing to participate in the persecution any longer. Events present a clear choice to the officials and citizens of China, as well as people around the world: either support or oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. History will record the choice each person makes. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Financial Transactions Tax






It is my personal opinion that the only workable tax regime is some form of flat transaction tax with natural offsetting to prevent double paying. It needs to be applied to interest as well as fees but never to capital. The same method also needs to be applied to incomes and goods. With the same constraints thought out well. Importantly this allows the income tax to be vacated.

In this manner, increasing money velocity means a sharp increase in tax revenue and a natural damper to inflation and bubble building.

However I do not understand how these measures do anything in the short term except to underwrite the present austerity drive. What is needed is a restoration of consumer lending to produce an improving credit environment. The cost of four years of contraction and credit destruction is inevitably a decade of credit rebuilding to restore economic health. It is no longer going to be that easy that way.

While this is underway, it is necessary to underwrite a massive government guaranteed capital rebuilding program. This will provide real stimulation.

How Congress Could Fix Its Budget Woes, Revisited: The Financial Transactions Tax Alternative

Thursday, 21 February 2013 10:37By Jack Rasmus,



In a February 13 article at Truthout, economist Ellen Brown wrote "How Congress Could Fix Its Budget Woes, Permanently." The essence of her piece was a suggestion to engage in a quantitative easing (or "QE") policy for households and consumers. To date, the Federal Reserve, the US central bank, has pumped more than $3 trillion directly into banks, speculators and other investors via its three-plus QE programs since 2009. The result has been minimal economic stimulus and growth, as banks have either sat on the cash, invested it offshore, or loaned it to hedge funds and other speculators, who have pumped up the stock and junk bond markets to near-bubble levels. Brown argues for a populist form of QE for Main Street which would jump start the real economy. Her point is, of course, true. Central banks can pump all the supply of money they want into the economy, but if the demand to hold cash (hoarding) exceeds that supply injection, and if the velocity of money (how fast it circulates) slows dramatically (which it has), then the negative effects of both the demand for money and velocity of money more than negate the injection of money by the central bank. So, Brown argues, why not bypass the banks and investors hoarding or diverting the cash they're given by QE and the Fed to date and inject money into the economy directly?

Brown's argument is economically sound but politically difficult to realize. One reason is that monetary policy is perceived as so arcane that it is too easy for bankers and their media talking heads to oppose a given proposal and confuse the issue with the public. Another problem is that monetary solutions typically have long lag times before they have an effect, and the money doesn't always get to where it was intended to end up.

So, here's another approach that achieves the same results as the path Brown proposes and is more comprehensible to the layperson and, therefore, likely to gain broad public support and be more difficult for the banksters and their friends to oppose.

I'm referring to a more direct fiscal action - the financial transaction tax.

As this piece is being written, a fight over the same financial transaction tax is raging in the European Union. It is the best political and ideological, as well as economic, tool with which to oppose the nonsense of austerity deficit-cutting that has been ravaging the euro economies for four years now. The result of austerity, euro style, has been an inexorable march into chronic and deepening recession throughout the Eurozone. Not only are virtually all the "euro-periphery" economies - Greece, Spain, Portugal, et cetera -mired in a deep recession that has characteristics of a bona fide depression, but the core euro economies are now in recession as well. Germany in the fourth quarter has officially registered a -0.6 percent GDP decline, France a -0.3 percent GDP dip; the UK is in a triple-dip recession, and so forth. Collectively, the EU is an economic region about the size of the US economy, which itself recorded a -0.1 percent decline in the fourth quarter.

On the other side of the world, Japan just recorded its third consecutive quarter of negative GDP and is now also experiencing its third recession since 2008. Its policymakers have recently responded by setting off a global currency war that will further depress the global economy. China's GDP growth is officially around 7.5 percent, down from the 10-12 percent range. Actually, however, it is really around 5 percent, given the way China manipulates its official GDP figures. India, Brazil and other emerging economies are also slowing rapidly or in recession. In short, the world economy is clearly on a slow but inexorable downward trajectory at present that shows all the signs of continuing - as is the US economy. Much of this downward trend can be attributed to various forms of austerity programs.

Instead of counterposing a "monetarist" approach, as Brown has proposed, I would propose a people's "fiscal" approach in the form of a robust financial transactions tax. Better to tax the trillions of dollars wealthy investors and their corporations are hoarding and keeping on the sidelines and for the government to directly and immediately inject the tax revenue back into the economy, where it has the biggest bank for the buck. That's where the alternative idea of a financial transaction tax comes in.

A financial transaction tax today is a growing reality, with significant momentum underway for one right now in Europe. A report issued by the European Commission, the European Union's executive arm, this week summarized the financial tax proposed for the EU, noting that a mere 0.1 percent tax on stock and bond trades plus a miniscule 0.01 percent tax on derivative trades in just 11 countries in the EU would produce annually roughly $47 billion in tax revenue from just the 11 economies. Those 11 regions represent an economic region about two-thirds the size of the US economy. One might therefore assume the larger European Union economy including the UK - together about the size of the US economy in terms of GDP - might easily produce $75 billion a year from the extremely modest Euro Financial Transaction Tax.

The EU financial tax proposal is really miniscule at 0.1 percent for stocks and bond trades and 0.01 percent for derivative trades. It is also limited to stocks, bonds, and derivatives and leaves out other major financial transactions, such as foreign exchange currency trades. It is reasonable, therefore, to have a tax ten times that proposed in the EU. After all, a financial transactions tax is just a sales tax, and if consumers can pay 8-10 percent sales tax on purchases, so should stock traders and speculators. That equivalent "sales tax" would mean a still very modest 1 percent tax on stock and bond trades and a 0.1 percent tax on derivative trades. Those 1 percent and 0.1 percent financial taxes produce an annual financial tax revenue of $750 billion in the United States.

If the financial transactions tax were also extended to speculative trades in foreign exchange, the biggest speculative financial market on the globe in terms of dollar value (worth trillions of dollars annually), the combined result of this broad-based financial transactions tax - that is, 1 percent on stocks and bonds, 0.1 percent on derivatives, and 1 percent on forex trades - would easily yield $1 trillion a year in combined new tax revenue. That's $10 trillion over the coming decade - which retires the entire run-up of around $10 trillion in the US debt from 2001-2012 under Bush-Obama. In other words, one simple tax would resolve not only annual US budget deficit issues, but also the entire cumulative deficits since 2001 to date!

Tax the banksters is something the general populace can get also their heads around more easily than "QE for all." "Make the banksters pay" should be the thrust of recovery programs - not deficit reduction, a k a "austerity, American style," which is still the driving policy force in Washington DC. A financial transaction tax frightens banksters. That's why US banksters are becoming apoplectic about the growing public support for a financial transactions tax in Europe.

For example, the Wall Street Journal on February 14 declared in its lead article, "U.S. Slams EU's Tax-on-Trades Plan." It is not just the banksters who are seriously worried about a financial transactions tax; their good friends in the US Treasury have weighed in now in support of the banksters, slamming the Europeans' idea, declaring, "We do not support the proposed European financial transactions tax ... because it would harm US investors." That's a good sign of something real happening.

As the Wall Street Journal further noted, "The potential reach of proposed [financial] taxes, and the speed at which they could spread, has caught Wall Street off guard."

The banksters aren't presently afraid of proposals for QE for Main Street. They know that won't fly, or that their business talk show talking heads and political friends in government can easily deflate and divert the idea. But they are terrified of the idea of a financial transaction tax because support could catch popular fire and spread rapidly - as evident in the idea now taking hold in Europe.

So to summarize: Tax the banksters and speculators with 1 percent on all stocks and bond trades, 0.1 percent on all derivatives trades and 1 percent on all foreign exchange trades - and thereby raise $1 trillion in new revenue per year. Discontinue all the current nonsense about deficit cutting and even about raising other forms of new tax revenue. All that's needed is a real financial transactions tax. The banksters and speculators aren't spending the $13 trillion they've been given by the Federal Reserve since 2008 on jumpstarting the US economy, anyway. Monetary policies don't work for anyone but the banksters. So, let's tax the SOBs and all those speculators now pumping up the stock and junk bond markets, creating the new financial bubbles of tomorrow in stocks, junk bonds and derivatives, bubbles which will inevitably lead to another financial crash well before the end of this decade - a crash that will make 2007-2008 pale in comparison.

Gadget

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