Category Archives : Periodic Posts

Posts made periodically by a particular author. The periodicity may be totally random.


Middle Class Prosperity Project Forum   Recently updated !

Why fool around with an opening statement or two when you can watch the entire forum?

There is a YouTube video of this entire first session of the forum.

Streamed live on Feb 24, 2015

The Middle Class Prosperity Project, launched by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congressman Cummings, will examine economic policies that threaten the middle class and identify new proposals that will ensure the middle class remains the engine of America’s economic growth.

Today’s event is the the first in a series of congressional forums to hear directly from leading economists about how the nation’s economic system has been rigged against the middle class over the past several decades. More details about the Middle Class Prosperity Project are available at http://1.usa.gov/1acRUgT.

Panelists include:

– Dr. Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
– Dr. Beth Ann Bovino, U.S. Chief Economist at Standard & Poor’s Rating Services
– Dr. Gerald Jaynes, Professor of Economics and African American Studies at Yale University
– Dr. Joseph E. Stiglitz, University Professor at Columbia University

There is 2 hours and 13 minutes in this video, but nothing happens until about 11 minutes and 49 seconds, so you can skip through the frames until you see Elizabeth Warren. Rep. Elijah Cummings makes his opening statement at about 18 minutes into the video. The rest of the video is equally fascinating. If you consider yourself a progressive political junkie, you need to watch this video.


The one thing missing from this excellent forum is an expert in Modern Money Theory. Even the Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz falls for the fallacy that increases in government spending in a country with a fiat currency must be “paid for” by cuts elsewhere or increases in taxes. Many of the spending cuts and tax increases they mention have merit for other reasons, but “paying for” increases in government spending is not one of the major reasons. If they had the Senate Budget Committee’s Ranking Member’s economic adviser, Stephanie Kelton, on the panel of one of these forums, they would find that the solutions they are seeking are a lot easier than they realize.

That Ranking Member, Sen. Bernie Sanders, needs to have a talk with Elizabeth Warren to set her straight.


Cummings and Warren on MSNBC’s Morning Joe

It is time we also hear from Rep. Elijah E. Cummings about the Middle Class Prosperity Project Forum that he is co-hosting with Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

He gets short shrift in this interview, Warren and Cummings on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, but at least he does get to field a few questions. He is much more eloquent than one would imagine from seeing video clips where he silently stands beside Elizabeth Warren.


This is all about getting some political focus on these issues instead of the ones that the wealthy want us to concentrate on.


Middle Class Prosperity Project Forum Opening Statement

Elizabeth Warren has posted this video on her Facebook page.

I have a message for my Republican colleagues: you control Congress. Don’t just start talking about helping the middle class – start doing it.

Watch and share my opening statement from yesterday’s first Middle Class Prosperity Project forum.

The video Middle Class Prosperity Project Forum Opening Statement is also posted on YouTube with the following introduction:

The Middle Class Prosperity Project, launched by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congressman Cummings, will examine economic policies that threaten the middle class and identify new proposals that will ensure the middle class remains the engine of America’s economic growth.

This February 24, 2015 event is the the first in a series of congressional forums to hear directly from leading economists about how the nation’s economic system has been rigged against the middle class over the past several decades. More details about the Middle Class Prosperity Project are available at http://1.usa.gov/1acRUgT.

Panelists included:

– Dr. Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
– Dr. Beth Ann Bovino, U.S. Chief Economist at Standard & Poor’s Rating Services
– Dr. Gerald Jaynes, Professor of Economics and African American Studies at Yale University
– Dr. Joseph E. Stiglitz, University Professor at Columbia University


Warren is right, talk is cheap. This is what she is doing to keep this topic in the forefront of the political conversation. What can you say about certain other potential Democratic Presidential contestants for 2016? What are those candidates focusing on, and what are they doing now to get action?


Photo First: Light Captured as Both Particle and Wave   Recently updated !

Discovery has the article Photo First: Light Captured as Both Particle and Wave. The scientists at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have made this cartoon video to drive other scientists batty.


Reminds me of my first job at Sylvania. I managed to create a lab setup to measure two things at the same time to prove to myself that both unexplained conditions were simultaneous. I still had no explanation, though.

As for this situation, I have invented this “explanation”. Under some circumstances the wave model or reality explains how light behaves. Under other circumstances the particle model of reality explains how light behaves. Models are simplifications of reality that are good for explaining behavior. The simplification is necessary because we don’t have words to explain or we can’t handle the complex math of reality. In this situation, we still haven’t come up with the words to explain what light really is without making simplified models of some behavior of light. (Of course, it may be possible that scientists have come up with the explanation of what light really is, but I just have not heard of it, yet.)

Terry Steiner can correct me because I know that I must be wrong. Or maybe Llanda Richardson wants to tackle this.


The Trans-Pacific Partnership clause everyone should oppose   Recently updated !

The Washington Post has the article The Trans-Pacific Partnership clause everyone should oppose by Elizabeth Warren.

Giving foreign corporations special rights to challenge our laws outside of our legal system would be a bad deal. If a final TPP agreement includes Investor-State Dispute Settlement, the only winners will be multinational corporations.

This article and the Obama administration’s disingenuous (being charitable here) response was the subject of my previous post The Administration’s Dishonest Response to Elizabeth Warren’s Attack on Secret Investor Arbitration Panels in Trade Deals.

I want to re-emphasize the point I made in the previous post that these “trade” agreements are making our court system irrelevant.  In particular, the argument that electing any Democrat as President in 2016 over a Republican is important because of the President’s power to nominate Supreme Court justices is a specious argument when we are talking about Hillary Clinton as the potential Democratic nominee.

Coincidentally, after making this point I ran across a video that I put into another previous post Elizabeth Warren Asked About Hillary Clinton & It’s Devastating.

How many ways do you have to be told that Hillary Clinton is from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party?  If you are from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, then Hillary is not for you.

Having voted for President Obama twice, my eyes are becoming fully open to the danger of electing a Democrat who isn’t entirely committed to progressive principles.  Over the past 7 years of the Obama administration, I have been rejecting the meme that Obama is our liar in chief.  His dishonest attempt to sell us on TPP has made me finally wake up to the truth about Obama.  To make matters worse, the few things he did get right can all be overturned by actions against the government brought by investors newly empowered by the TPP.


Elizabeth Warren Asked About Hillary Clinton & It’s Devastating

There is a YouTube video Elizabeth Warren Asked About Hillary Clinton & It’s Devastating.

“It’s no secret that Hillary Clinton badly wants the approval of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (and the liberal wing of the party she represents) in advance of the former Secretary of State’s near-certain 2016 bid. There was the meeting between the two at Clinton’s DC house back in December and the various rhetorical bows Clinton has made to Warren’s populist rhetoric over the past few months.

Given that recent history, what Warren had to say about Clinton during an appearance on Al Sharpton’s MSNBC show Tuesday night has to be disappointing to Clintonworld. Here’s the exchange:


I ran into this video in an If You Only News article. I was doing some further research on a post I am about to make on Elizabeth Warren’s article about TPP.

The case for electing Hillary Clinton is diminishing to about zero as I write.


The Administration’s Dishonest Response to Elizabeth Warren’s Attack on Secret Investor Arbitration Panels in Trade Deals   Recently updated !

Naked Capitalism has the article The Administration’s Dishonest Response to Elizabeth Warren’s Attack on Secret Investor Arbitration Panels in Trade Deals by Yves Smith.  You have to read the article to fully understand the depths of depravity that the TPP represents.  I’ll just quote some final remarks from the article.

And finally, for the Administration to insinuate that the TPP will result in greater transparency is dubious, given that it’s made it well-nigh impossible for anyone in Congress to do a proper review of the text. While the US Trade Representative technically allows access, in practice, that right is empty. The Congressman himself must read the text; no sending staffers or bringing experts allowed, and only staffers from the committees with direct oversight of trade bills (the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee) are allowed to join their bosses. The USTR insists that the Congressman specify what chapter he wants to review in advance. The USTR then insists that the negotiator of those chapters be present. Since those negotiators travel, it usually takes three or four weeks to find a convenient time.

No note-taking is allowed. The text is full of bracketed sections where if language is disputed, the revisions suggested by other countries are in the brackets, with the country initials listed but then redacted, making it difficult to read (as in you can’t even read this dense text straight through; the flow of the document is interrupted by the various suggested changes). Having people from the USTR staring over your shoulder is distracting. And it’s an open question as to whether asking them questions is prudent, since it gives the USTR insight into what the Congressman is concerned about.

Perhaps these Congressmen have exceptional powers of concentration. But I read cases and legally dense material with some regularity, and I find my concentration starts going after an hour to an hour and a half. And I also find it is well nigh impossible to get much more than a general sense of a contract of any length in one pass. You need to go over it again and again to see how the various sections tie together to even have an approximate grasp of what it means. There’s simply no way that any Congressman has anything more than a very fuzzy idea of what is in the TPP and the TTIP.

They very fact that the Administration is going to such absurd lengths to prevent informed Congressional review should be sufficient reason in and of itself to turn down the Administration’s request for fast-track authority.

I’ll take this a step farther.  The very fact that President Obama would risk whatever credibility he has by going on a national campaign tour to tell us lies about TPP shows you how high the stakes must be.

Furthermore, the article puts the lie to the argument that we cannot allow a Republican to be elected President in 2016 because of the President’s power to nominate Supreme Court justices.  What these “trade” deals do is to put the arbitration panels higher than the Supreme Court.  Suits against the country brought by investors will bypass the U.S. court system and all our rules for judicial hearings.  There will be no appeal to any court of the results which will require the country’s taxpayers to give billions of dollars to foreign investors.  In issues that really matter, the U.S. Supreme Court will be made irrelevant by these treaties.  It won’t matter who gets appointed to the Supreme Court.

Lest you think that these arbitration rulings are only about investor issues, let me give you the following excerpt from Elizabeth Warren’s article in The Washington Post. In that article she explains that there are already arbitration agreements in some trade pacts that have been put into effect.

Recent cases include a French company that sued Egypt because Egypt raised its minimum wage, a Swedish company that sued Germany because Germany decided to phase out nuclear power after Japan’s Fukushima disaster, and a Dutch company that sued the Czech Republic because the Czechs didn’t bail out a bank that the company partially owned. U.S. corporations have also gotten in on the action: Philip Morris is trying to use ISDS to stop Uruguay from implementing new tobacco regulations intended to cut smoking rates.

So you can get your Hillary Clinton instead of John Ellis Bush (JEB) as the next President, but it won’t matter at all.  Where is Hillary right now on this important issue to dispute my obvious claim?


The Millennials’ Money Pt. 1   Recently updated !

New Economic Perspectives has the article The Millennials’ Money Pt. 1 by J. D. Alt. The author is presenting several parts of a proposed new book to get feedback from the readers of the New Economic Perspectives blog. I chose to comment on this statement in the article:

While the “idealist” BGX generations have been less interested in desired outcomes than on  insisting that those outcomes be achieved in accordance with their ideological “rules”, the “civic” Millennials view the world as a pragmatic problem to be solved by whatever method works best.

Here is the feedback  that I intended to give:

Is yet another book based on wild over-generalizations what we really need right now?  I am now over 70, and I have always claimed to believe I viewed “the world as a pragmatic problem to be solved by whatever method works best.”

We don’t need to set up another system to achieve good ‘in accordance with their ideological “rules”’ you intend to put forth as MMT.  MMT is a theory that is a good model of the way the world works within the simplifications of what can only be a model of a reality that is too complex to handle without simplification.  As long as the world is mostly acting within the assumptions of the model, then the model’s predictions will be close to reality.  We always need to keep in mind what the simplifications are, so that we can know when the model is likely being over-extended.

Grand over statements of the generality of a model in the introductory chapter are not good signs for the rest of the book.

As I submitted this comment on the February 26th article (only 4 days old) that had 18 comments, the web site informed me that this post was closed to further comments.  Also not a good sign for the actual intentions of the author of this proposed book. Perhaps he had so much positive feedback in the 18 comments, that he felt he didn’t need to hear any more.


Robert Reich Stops Refraining   Recently updated !

Robert Reich has a Facebook post in which he declares the he is not refraining anymore.

Meanwhile, many American Jews who have refrained from speaking out against the right-wing radicalism that has taken hold in Israel – a radicalism that rejects a “two-state solution” and continues to build new settlements on the West Bank, and which we believe imperils the future of Israel — are now feeling emboldened to do so. Aipac does not speak for us. House Republicans do not speak for us. Billionaires do not speak for us. We have been silent for too long. — Robert Reich

I agree even though I am not among “many American Jews who have refrained from speaking out against the right-wing radicalism that has taken hold in Israel.” I mean I am not among the set who has been refraining.

I am surprised at how many American Jewish Liberals are fans of Netanyahu, when they would be strongly opposed to him if he were an American politician of the far right wing or perhaps Tea Party. The right wing is where he would be if he espoused his positions as an American politician.


Here is a bit of BBC propaganda that I picked up from one of the comments to Robert Reich’s post. The YouTube post explains the context.

Uploaded on Apr 11, 2008

This clip is from episode one of a British-made documentary from 2002 titled ‘The Age Of Terror’, and examines the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on 22nd July 1946 by Zionist-Jewish terrorists, in which the south wing of the hotel, then occupied by British civil-military authorities, was bombed killing ninety-one people. Twenty-eight of the victims were British, forty-one Arabic, while seventeen were Jewish.
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I have heard all the justifications for this episode from fellow Jewish parents, teachers, and assorted other folk. All I ask is that as you watch the video and repeat all those stories you have been taught, just for a moment listen to your own justifications. Now think about what your reaction would be if the people posing as Arabs to carry out this attack were, in fact, actually Arabs.