Wednesday, September 17, 2008

gop just don't add up

- can't escape arithmetic -
for me it's gop numbers never add up, which with most americans struggling to balance overwork and life much less a checkbook or saving (it officially hovers around 0% after all), it probably doesn't matter until it does, then we overreact sideways.

we've already a 1 trillion hole right now arising from the 2 huge tax cuts and/during 2 all-out wars, borrowed with interest from china. mccain wants to double-down on the tax cuts so we've another 3.3 trillion piled on. and for all his talk of cutting Washington pork to pay for the wars and a tax cut double-down, so far he and palin have managed to come up with 17 billion of earmarks to cut. 4.3 trillion – 17 billion. it'd be funny if it wasn't so serious.

it's not possible to escape the basic arithmetic. folks can dogmatically assert that tax cuts solve all economic problems big or small but the evidence say otherwise. despite blazing worker productivity and resulting corporate and market growth, during the past 7 years, wages have fallen drastically behind year-over-year net inflation. Aka empty growth, as benefits accrued to investors. no pay raise for 7 years has never happened before. growth supported not by healthy wage-based growth, rather through the not-so-filling credit and financial bubble kind that is now surreally collapsing right before us.

lop-sided tax cuts for rich spurred an overflow of investments that were shunted to capital markets, much of it overseas, for the best returns as rich don't spend (thus rich). and now we've a gluttony of financial and credit assets going through a firesale w/ prices tanking. and consumer demand, 2/3 of economic activity, has dried up w/ no wage growth or bubble credit left. main street's neglect is now the curse of wall street and the wealthy.

the world is not black and white. if it was, the past 8 years have been utterly pointless, never-ending excuses and right-wing trolling notwithstanding. we deserve so much better.

- past and present -
first time ever in history we go at it with 2(!) full-scale wars simultaneously. and borrowing with interest [for our children] to fund it all. with the bulk of those monies from a hostile power that's outcompeting, out educating, and outsmarting us. and we're now borrowing even more to bail out freddie to fannie to aig. and folks wonder why the u.s. dollar has become monopoly money, worth as much as it was 8 years ago. since w, it has dropped 30%. now with the recent financial crisis, it's worth half. we are the new peso.

and it was mccain's "it's a mental recession you nation of whiners" econ advisor then sen. phil graham who chaired, wrote, and rammed financial deregulation through with an all-gop congress that tied the hands of all financial regulators. and now, it's supposedly the government's fault despite the gop neutering the depression-era forged glass-stegall rules to begin with. yet they are at it again smearing and doing a wholly false rewrite of history, while the fed and treasury are now picking up after their original sin of negligence, rescuing the American economy from an imminent meltdown.

this year alone with 8 straight months of rising unemployment now @ 6.1%, a total of 605,000 net jobs lost (it takes 110,000 jobs a month just to keep up with population growth, which we've not had for god knows how long), and for the first time since sept 2002 unemployment has infected all economic sectors and education levels, beyond just financial and construction, for both college and high school graduates (in fact, fresh college graduates have another record high 15% unemployment rate).

not to mention the lowly fact that there's been almost $3,000 a year average loss of families' incomes under w, in contrast to the $7,000 a year bump under clinton.

- here we go again -
ignorance is often bliss. republicans won't own up to 8 years of failure. they know to win is to double-down with more excuses, distractions, and blame. always about toughness, smarts be damned. so not surprisingly, back in the real world, it's been all talk with zero delivery (measurable ones anyway).

right wingers keep making up a storyline a day to distract and demagogue their way to another 4 years, hoping to run down the clock, keeping palin in seclusion, away from scrutiny as if she should on faith be slotted automatically into the 2nd most powerful job on earth. after less then 1 week of mccain's go-with-his-gut vetting, and a few years of shux i'm like you a small 5,000 folk town mayor and 1.5 years as governor of alaska that osmotically provided russian expertise. move over condi & her elitist stanford russian creds; here's one ready out of the box who's been soaking it up naturally.

on the big issues that matter, republicans offer the same ol'. tax cuts for all economic problems big and small. bleed the government and allow markets to be free for all at beckon whim of the rich, while allowing middle-class wages to anchor drop 7 straight years in a row.

Eod, republicans are repackaging the same ol' dogma they've been proffering for 3 decades. and it always takes wonky democrats to come in and fix the wholesale havoc that the republican fraternity bring about every time they bluster their way into power with empty rhetoric and one-lining agendas.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Numbers That Matter: A Precipice

So we are at a precipice – an awful 6.1% unemployment - #3 says more. Unfortunately, it’s truly a bad dataset that’s a recessionary signal of what’s to come, record debt & -30% weaker dollar notwithstanding. If it isn’t arrested by the next term end, it can turn depressionary. On the other end of matters, we have around $1 trillion deficit now. So far, McCain has identified $18 billion worth of earmarks to cut. 2 months to go & he’s yet to identify the rest. Obama’s numbers actually add up; a stark difference. That’ll be subject next time.

Don’t let the extreme yell-/bag-fest now get in the way of these [Three] Fundamental Facts
(pass it on or as response to any viral scare mails, particularly ones with un-sourced facts)

Here’s straight-up data of the record to inform and to make a case with facts and reasoning, not extremist emotions and fear, for moderate Democratic economic management. One informed by mainstream economics, not decades-old trickle-down dogma – dogma as there is no proof of its success yet to-date (e.g. that it even pays for itself, aka pay as you go).

[#One], Democrats for the past 60 years have run the American economy better, and statistically significantly so. Professor Bartel of Princeton data from 1948 to 2007 demonstrates, which article and chart show. When Republicans occupied the White House for 34 years and Democrats for 26, average annual growth of real gross national product was 1.64 percent per capita under Republican presidents versus 2.78 percent under Democrats.

That 1.14-point difference, if maintained for eight years, would yield 9.33 percent more income per person, which is a lot more than almost anyone can expect from a tax cut.

[#Two], 95% of all American families get [even up to double] tax cuts w/ Obama’s plan. Below breaks it down for everyone. It’s sad to see McCain’s folks voting against their own economic interest, taking his word at face value when it’s a direct lie. Unless McCain’s supporters are just top 5% of income earners. But they’re about half the country. And you can see below that squarely half the country is actually just left out of McCain’s tax relief, getting less than a measly 1% tax cut.

The obvious facts of the matter are McCain’s tax plan is way lop-sided versus Obama’s (this dataset and more can be found in the authoritative economic analysis that the respected bi-partisan Tax Policy Center did just mid-Aug. The last 4 columns of each respective table summarizes the full tax schedule for both candidates’ tax proposals, which the media tend to tease of course with bits & pieces as red meat to draw eyeballs and fatten up their ad buys). You can see for yourself below how Obama rebalances the tax code for everyone, especially folks that actually [need to] spend the money.

And even that doesn’t bring it back to pre-W/Clinton-era rates for the rich, when there was kick-ass growth. So don’t worry, the rich are still pretty rich. Just not dirty rich at the expense the rest of the country gets poorer. Consider that 75% of all income gains during the Bush Administration have gone to the top 1 percent of earners. Another decade perpetuating this kind of distorted rewarding of the pie, we’d have a real class revolt on our hands.

End of day, Obama’s plan is mainstream and prudent, though not a slogan-friendly, economic policy.

[#Three], now it’s 6.1% unemployment, up from 5.7%; economists were expecting 5.8%. 4/10 a point is a huge jump for this brief time period. It’s the highest rate since the jobless recovery of Sept 2003. Spiking so high so fast is a very nasty sign of what’s to come. What makes it an even graver dataset now is that behind the top number, for the first time in each and all categories that follow, it also affected:

- all races,

- all economic sectors (not just financial and construction),

- both college and non-college graduates (15% of college graduates could not find a job, another new high),

- % of workers part-time, at all time high resulting from record number with no full-time work,

- and is the 8th straight month of [big] job losses this year.

Republicans are offering more ambiguous excuses, fairy tales (e.g. no macroeconomic numbers support as it doesn’t have any big positive economic impact other than record debt, so extremists hand wave w/ a lot of personal anecdotal stories), and try to share the blame even though Dems’ no power, and GOP’s no cohunes to own up to their 7 straight years of failures. They are the ones that want to continue the same ol’ tax cutting dogma of the last 7 years, debt-financed w/ love to China; now they own our $1.48 trillion tab to show for it.

We’ve two terms of way out of balance economic non-policies: debt-funded tax cuts for the top 1% to record spending we or our children don’t have anything to pay back with, in our or their lifetimes. Now with burst-bubbled credit markets and financial sector band-aid as dried up as worn out Arizona desert prunes, root problems are now coming to surface.


Bleak jobs data keep economy at center stage - Jobless rate spikes to 6.1%, pressuring candidates to address economy

Job losses are expected to continue for the remainder of the year, according to Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers.

“We do view the economy as facing very significant challenges in the second half of the year,” he said, “particularly the consumer sector where house prices are still falling, equity prices are low, gasoline prices, while falling recently, are still high, and labor income, given these employment reports, is falling.”

So far this year, the economy has held up surprisingly well, given all the headwinds.

One reason may be the continued gains in productivity of American workers. The Labor Department reported Thursday that in the second quarter productivity rose at an annual rate of 4.3 percent.

But it’s not great news for American workers who are, in effect, working harder for the same wages. In fact, the report showed than unit labor costs fell a half-percent in the second quarter. The number of hours worked shrank by 0.8 percent, and wages, when adjusted for inflation, fell by 1.3 percent. That helps explain why, even as the economy has been able to post weak growth this year, American workers feel like they’re losing ground.

[Is America’s promise now really to expect more productive work and to expect and get less in return?]

Friday, March 21, 2008

When All Else Fail, Shout

Swift boating’s officially started. After his race speech, Obama’s now a “reverse” racist. Wonders never cease. Also dismal and depressing.

A Question:

Americans are so funny!! Democrats (as stated in the posts) would rather vote for McCain than Obama even if it means that you loose more men and women in Iraq Even if your economy falls. Even if you can't find jobs or get to remain in the US. Speaking as a proud Caribbean native. We here in the beautiful tropics know that your country is in trouble. How come you all over there can't see it?

An Answer:

At the end of the day, that all goes to conveniently cover over the hard facts that we're 3 trillion peso-dollars in a shattered, flooded bloody red economic hole; 4,000 troops have died for God knows what; households now earn more than a thousand dollars a year less in the 7 years W took office – the first time ever in American history.

It's a typical right-wing scheme which people fall on the sword for time and again. Recall gay marriage or the flag amendment. Or abortion and ban on stem cell research. The GOP did nothing on those "keystone" issues after the elections. It did get them elected. So not surprisingly, the catcalls continue.

When speaking of morality – count the cratefuls of conservative hypocrites and criminals who have been exposed and prosecuted these past 7 years even with W's lame-duck Justice Department.

Or tally how much crap communist China get away with under the guise of free (certainly unfair) markets with W at expense of American consumers and lives.

And now Republicans are for the “Patriot” Act. In just 7 short years, the immemorial conservative mantra of "keeping government out of people's lives" is dead and buried along with Goldwater and Buckley.

Europe was entangled with fascism and Nazism. And I suppose we're bound to have conservative folks who are rightly scared for their families, livelihood, and futures get easily misled into the fire by for all intent and purpose Republican subsidiary Fox Corp, propelling the nation straight into 2nd-rate irrelevance.

There's obviously many a tons to be said about these past 7 years. It’s Obama’s moment to stand up and not be tied down to these emotionally charged and hallow issues. And straight-up continue to tell it like it is and how it's gonna' be with a new sheriff in town.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Got omega-3? Not so much

Love this quote: There's no need to buy "manufactured kibble" spiked with omega-3 fats…

A lot of the omega-3 adverts is misleading. Most of these packaged foods have plant-based omega-3s, which draw on inefficient conversion process by body, yielding a small fraction the benefit of fish.

Got omega-3? Not so much

Kim Painter, USA TODAY
Getting plenty of heart-healthy omega-3 fats used to mean eating fish or taking supplements.

But grocery aisles these days are packed with food labels boasting of omega-3 content. You can buy milk, eggs, yogurt, cereal, orange juice, butter substitutes, mayonnaise and other products that carry the claim.

Behind the boom: studies that show certain omega-3 fats can help prevent fatal heart attacks and offer other heart benefits; less conclusive research hints at brain and eye benefits and possible anti-cancer effects.

But don't cross fish off your shopping list yet, nutrition watchdogs say. That's because many of the new products contain little or none of the omega-3 fats backed by the most scientific evidence: DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).

"The numbers are tiny, but the claims they are making are huge," says Katherine Tallmadge, a Washington, D.C., registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

"It's all very confusing," says Bonnie Liebman, a nutritionist with the Center for Science in the Public Interest. She reviewed omega-3 food claims for a recent newsletter article (at

Her conclusion: Consumers are in real danger of being misled. Even a careful label reader won't learn, for instance, that a carton of Breyers Smart DHA Omega-3 yogurt has less DHA than a teaspoon of salmon.

And that bottle of Hellmann's mayo proclaiming the product is "naturally rich in Omega-3 ALA"? True enough, Liebman says: Most mayonnaise is made with soybean oil, which is a source of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). But that kind of omega-3 fat, found most abundantly in flaxseed, has not been proven to convey the same health benefits as DHA plus EPA, she says.

One study even suggested high intakes of ALA might increase the risk of prostate cancer. But that finding "doesn't make any sense to anyone at this point" and needs more rigorous study, says William Harris, a heart researcher at the University of South Dakota.

Harris, who has advised companies making omega-3 products, says he sees little downside to the grocery-store glut as long as consumers know what they are getting. "But if the label just says omega-3 and makes no mention of DHA and EPA, there's a good chance it's ALA. So it can be a little deceptive."

Tallmadge's advice: "Eat fish." Those concerned about mercury, including pregnant women, can choose low-mercury varieties such as salmon and sardines, she says. Walnuts, ground flaxseeds, tofu and other whole foods containing ALA also are great additions to any diet, she adds, even if the evidence for that fat is not as compelling. There's no need to buy "manufactured kibble" spiked with omega-3 fats, she says.

Vegetarians can take algae oil supplements to get DHA, she says. Others who just don't eat enough fish can take fish oil supplements. But read the labels carefully, she warns, looking for levels of DHA plus EPA.

Studies suggest an average of 500 milligrams a day is beneficial, Liebman says. You can get that much by following the American Heart Association's advice to eat fish, particularly fatty fish, at least twice weekly. The association says patients with coronary heart disease should get 1,000 milligrams of DHA plus EPA daily.
HOW MUCH OMEGA-3 FAT? All food sources of omega-3 fats are not created equal. Here are the amounts of DHA and EPA, the omega-3 fats backed by the most promising studies, in some foods:

Food DHA+EPA (mg)
Atlantic salmon, farmed (6 oz. cooked) 3,650
Coho salmon, farmed (6 oz. cooked) 2,180
Swordfish (6 oz. cooked) 1,390
Bumblebee salmon (Red, Pink or Blueback, 3 oz.)1,200
Sardines in vegetable oil, drained (3 oz.)840
Fish sticks (6) 680
Shrimp (3 oz.) 270
Smart Balance Omega Plus Buttery Spread (1 tbsp.) 160
Land O Lakes Omega-3 Eggs (1) 150
Breyers Smart DHA Omega-3 yogurt (6 oz.) 30
Horizon Organic DHA Omega-3 milk (1 cup) 30
Silk Plus Omega-3 DHA Soy Milk (1 cup) 30

Source: Center for Science in the Public interest (