November 14, 2014 archive

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness News, a weekly diary which is cross-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette. It is open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

John Oliver Calls Out Sugar Industry, Demands They #ShowUsYourPeanuts

Most food and beverage makers are fighting the proposed inclusion of an added sugars label on food packages. And, if there is a label, they don’t want sugars listed in teaspoons. They want it in grams, which Oliver says is because no one knows what a gram is.

So he’s offering a better solution. [..]

Since there are more than 5 grams of sugar in each circus peanut, Oliver said food makers should put a picture of one circus peanut on the front of the package for every 5 grams of sugar in the product.

“Do it, food makers. Expose your peanuts to the world. Because if you’re going to shove your peanuts in our mouths, the very least you can do is tell us what we’re swallowing.”

Oliver called on viewers to support this idea by tweeting food makers with the hashtag #ShowUsYourPeanuts.

Just for fun.

A Fish Rots From The Head Down

Institute for New Economic Thinking

The Real News


Zero Prosecutions Aren’t Few Enough – Wall Street Wants SEC Sanctions Reduced to DMV Points

by William Black, New Economic Perspectives

Posted on November 10, 2014

Let’s begin by reviewing the bidding. We have just suffered through the third economic crisis driven by epidemics of control fraud. In two of the crises the financial industry led the fraud epidemics. In the Enron-era fraud epidemic they eagerly aided and abetted Enron’s frauds. In the current crisis we know that U.S. government investigators have found that 16 of the largest banks in the world conspired to falsify Libor, which is used to price $350 trillion in assets. This is the largest cartel in world history by at least three orders of magnitude. Note that all 16 of the banks that participate in creating Libor falsified their statements for the express purpose of falsifying the Libor “fix.” There were no honest banks and there is no reason to believe that if 25 banks participated in setting Libor the results would have differed. The conspirators are not known to have blackballed any bank from participating in “fixing” Libor because of fears that the blackballed bank was led by an honest CEO who would expose and end the conspiracy.

Government investigators have found that over 20 of the largest banks defrauded Fannie and Freddie by selling them vast amount of toxic mortgages through fraudulent “reps and warranties.” Government investigators have found that over 20 of the largest banks defrauded a series of credit unions by selling them toxic mortgages and toxic mortgage derivatives through fraudulent reps and warranties. Government investigators have found other wide ranging frauds by the large banks to (1) rig bids for issuing municipal securities, (2) to foreclose on people through fraudulent affidavits, and (3) by conspiring to falsify foreign exchange (FX) rates. In sum, the leaders of the largest banks in the world are overwhelmingly leading criminal enterprises that commit financial frauds of unprecedented scope and damage. The resulting financial crisis caused by the three most destructive fraud epidemics in history caused over a $21 trillion loss in U.S. GDP and the loss of over 10 million American jobs. Each of those figures is much larger in Europe.

Worse, no senior banker who led the three fraud epidemics has been prosecuted in the U.S. for those crimes. Virtually no senior bankers who led the three fraud epidemics has even been the subject of a civil suit by the U.S. Virtually no senior banker in the U.S. has had his fraud proceeds “clawed back” by the government or the bank. The senior bankers were made wealthy through the “sure thing” of accounting control fraud – with nearly perfect impunity from the criminal and civil law.

This is the setting in which Fichera writes. As a sometimes good guy, one would expect his column to call for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the SEC to end this impunity and immediately act vigorously to hold the senior bankers personally accountable for leading the frauds that blew up the global economy. Instead, Fichera wrote to urge (1) that the largest banks be treated as “too big to jail,” (2) to decry the “tendency to vilify all Wall Street firms as unscrupulous,” (3) to urge SEC sanctions to be reduced to the level of “DMV” “points,” and (4) to provide that no matter how egregious the fraud the SEC would have no power to remove a Wall Street firm’s license until it committed “multiple” cases of the equivalent of deliberate homicide in which each case could involve deliberately running over millions of investors. Under Fichera’s plan, every dog would get at least one bite – of every investor – which would mean hundreds of thousands of bites. Fichera wants banks to be – officially – entitled to commit securities fraud without effective sanction from the SEC.

This is a great system. I can’t wait for it to be applied to muggers who prey on Wall Street traders. A mugger will have to wait six years after getting caught battering and robbing a Wall Street trader (which will be a small percentage of the times they mug) for their “slate [to be] wiped clean.” I’m sure that if the muggers who specialize in attacking Wall Street traders only get caught every six years “the tendency [of bankers] to vilify all [muggers] as unscrupulous would fade.” But this doesn’t capture the true spirit of Fichera’s DMV plan. His plan proposes that the SEC “forgive points” if the mugger “takes a remedial class” that teaches that it is not appropriate to mug. And if you like a DMV point system for muggers you’ll love one for sex offenders that target your children, girlfriends, and spouses.

I can hear some of you saying – “but mugging and sexual molestation are real crimes” while defrauding people that trust you of tens of billions of dollars is just like driving without buckling your seatbelt. Accounting and securities fraud are really close to being victimless crimes, if one ignores a few million fraud victims who foolishly believed you when you said you were a fiduciary representing them as your principal.

Fichera could not be more wrong – and more revealing of why the “sometimes good” elements of Wall Street cannot be relied upon to clean up its intensely criminogenic environment. First, no banker is ever “too big to jail” or “too big to bar from securities or banking. Second, no “bank” can be “jail[ed].” Third, no matter how big the bank it can be placed in receivership or have its senior managers “removed and prohibited” when they are leading frauds or unsafe and unsound practices. Fourth, the “principles of regulation and justice” do not conflict when we hold elite frauds accountable for their frauds through prosecutions, receiverships, and removals and prohibition orders. Indeed, “the principles of regulation” are: (1) create incentive systems and controls that minimize fraud and unsafe and unsound practices, (2) to remove from any position in which they can endanger the bank, customers, or the public, and (3) to prosecute the most elite criminals to increase deterrence and use enforcement and civil actions to ensure that no senior officer gains a penny from leading the frauds and unsafe and unsound practices. Vigorously pursuing justice not only does not “conflict” with “the principles of regulation” – it is essential to achieving “the principles of regulation.”

What is clear is that when Fichera uses the word “principles” he means “unprincipled.” Fichera has forgotten the most fundamental principle of justice expressed in the famous Latin maxim:. Fiat Justitia Ruat Caelum (Let Justice be done, though the Heavens Fall).

Fichera considers the ancient Latin principle hopelessly naïve, and the fact that he does so demonstrates further that he does not understand that there is nothing more practical than consistently seeking justice through the legal and regulatory systems. Financial crises occur when we abandon the maxim, betray justice, and decide that some elite banks and bankers are so big or so politically powerful that they must be de facto immune from effective regulation and prosecution. A society that deliberately abandons justice and the principles of regulation in order to protect large banks and powerful bankers is a Nation that will see the heavens fall. A Nation that abandons justice encourages massive fraud by the wealthy and powerful and guarantees recurrent, intensifying economic crises and a descent into crony capitalism. There is nothing more practical for a person or a Nation than leading a principled life.

Only elite financial sector officers believe that they and their banks are entitled to being exempted from the rule of law. Normal human beings are nauseated when they read such claims. The reason that Fichera’s ode to the unprincipled life is so distressing is that he was believed to be in the top 10% of the distribution of financial sector CEOs when it came to integrity. That indicates how depressingly deep the rot runs among Wall Street’s CEOs.

The Breakfast Club (Don Quixote)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Nazi Germany bombs English town of Coventry during World War II; ‘Moby-Dick’ published; Nellie Bly begins globe-trotting trek; Leonard Bernstein makes conducting debut; Composer Aaron Copland born.

Breakfast Tunes

The late Leonard Bernstein made his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall on November 14, 1943 when the scheduled conductor fell ill. Oddly, the day was also composer Aaron Copeland’s birthday whom Bernstein had met at Copeland’s birthday party in 1938 while Bernstein was a student at Harvard.


On This Day In History November 14

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

November 14 is the 318th day of the year (319th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 47 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1851, the novel Moby Dick is published. Moby Dick, a novel by Herman Melville about the voyage of the whaling ship Pequod, is published by Harper & Brothers in New York. Moby Dick is now considered a great classic of American literature and contains one of the most famous opening lines in fiction: “Call me Ishmael.” Initially, though, the book about Captain Ahab and his quest for a giant white whale was a flop.

Moby-Dick is widely considered to be a Great American Novel and a treasure of world literature. The story tells the adventures of the wandering sailor Ishmael, and his voyage on the whaleship Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab. Ishmael soon learns that Ahab seeks one specific whale, Moby Dick, a ferocious, enigmatic white sperm whale. In a previous encounter, the whale destroyed Ahab’s boat and bit off his leg. Ahab intends to take revenge.

In Moby-Dick, Melville employs stylized language, symbolism, and metaphor to explore numerous complex themes. Through the main character’s journey, the concepts of class and social status, good and evil, and the existence of gods are all examined as Ishmael speculates upon his personal beliefs and his place in the universe. The narrator’s reflections, along with his descriptions of a sailor’s life aboard a whaling ship, are woven into the narrative along with Shakespearean literary devices such as stage directions, extended soliloquies and asides. The book portrays insecurity that is still seen today when it comes to non-human beings along with the belief that these beings understand and act like humans. The story is based on the actual events around the whaleship Essex, which was attacked by a sperm whale while at sea and sank.

Moby Dick has been classified as American Romanticism. It was first published by Richard Bentley in London on October 18, 1851, in an expurgated three-volume edition titled The Whale, and weeks later as a single volume, by New York City publisher Harper and Brothers as Moby Dick; or, The Whale on November 14, 1851. Although the book initially received mixed reviews, Moby Dick is now considered part of the Western canon.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Beware of the thoughts that linger

Late Night Karaoke

TDS/TCR (Rosewater)


I once shot an Elephant in my pajamas.  How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.


The real news and next week’s guests below.

Net Neutrality May Soon Be Dead, Thank You, Mr. President

Cross posted from the Star Hollow Gazette

The headline in the Washington Post, “Obama’s call for an open Internet puts him at odds with regulators“, is misleading. Yes, President Obama made one of his flowery speeches supporting a free and equal internet but he was the one who appointed  industry lobbyist Thomas Wheeler to head the Federal Communications Commission.

The dissonance between Obama and Wheeler has the makings of a major policy fight affecting multibillion-dollar industries. The president wants clear rules to prevent Internet service providers from auctioning the fastest speeds to the highest bidders, a scenario that could favor rich Web firms over start-ups.

Wheeler, a former lobbyist for the cable and telecommunications industry, has floated proposals that aim to limit the ability of service providers to charge Web companies, such as Netflix or Google, to reach their customers. But critics have argued that his approach would give the providers too much leeway to favor some services over others. [..]

But the move by the White House has put Wheeler in an uncomfortable spotlight. The two men have long been allies. Wheeler raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Obama’s campaign and advised the president on his transition into the White House. Obama last year appointed Wheeler to lead the FCC as it was poised to tackle its biggest issue in years – the rules that govern content on the Web.

A growing source of frustration for White House and congressional Democrats is that they have three of their own on the five-member commission at the FCC, a majority that should give them the power to push through a policy of their liking. But if Wheeler charts a different course, he could bring the other members along with him.

And, as Wheeler reminded participants at his meeting with Web companies Monday, the FCC does not answer to the Obama administration.

The article states that Obama campaigned on Net Neutrality and, according to aides, made the statement to energize his base of  young, tech-savvy progressives. Seriously? He does this now, after the drubbing in the mid-terms? Now Obama wants to curry support of the Democrats in Congress. What happened during the last six years?

And don’t forget, he appointed Wheeler because they’re friends.

Obama Calls for Net Neutrality, But His Own Industry-Tied FCC Appointee Could Stand in the Way

According to The Washington Post, Wheeler met with officials from Google, Yahoo and Etsy on Monday and told them he preferred a more nuanced solution. Wheeler reportedly said: “What you want is what everyone wants: an open Internet that doesn’t affect your business. What I’ve got to figure out is how to split the baby.” On Monday, protesters called on Wheeler to favor net neutrality as they blockaded his driveway when he attempted to go to work. Protests also took place in a dozen cities last week after The Wall Street Journal reported the FCC is considering a “hybrid” approach to net neutrality. This would apply expanded protections only to the relationship between Internet providers and content firms, like Netflix, and not to the relationship between providers and users. We discuss the ongoing debate over the Internet’s future with Steven Renderos of the Center for Media Justice.

The transcript can be read here

There is only one person to blame if the FCC sides with the industry, Barack Hussein Obama, shill for the 1%.