Arianna Huffington’s new book on the US system’s failures

September 29, 2009


Arianna Discusses Her Book “Pigs At The Trough” On “The View”

Arianna visited the women of “The View” yesterday to talk about the re-release of her book, “Pigs at the Trough,” as well as why the financial system remains in dire need of reform. Sherri Shepherd and Arianna discussed how failing CEOs are being propped up by taxpayer bailouts even as millions of ordinary Americans are losing their jobs and their savings, and Joy Behar called out the “corporate welfare” being spready by the federal government… Read more at Huff TV (video embedded)

Thanks very much, Arianna, this analysis has been really needed,  taking into account what you already wrote on HuffPost, this year, in context of the US system’s failures. I also enjoyed your TV presentation!

Supplementary: Global Haplifnet – vanguard topics

haplif – Frank Kalder (HuffPost profile/comments)

Global Navigation Agreements at G20 Summit in Pittsburgh

September 26, 2009


The steering committee of the global financial system, i.e., the leaders of the 20 largest economies reached a series of agreements, yesterday, aimed at navigating the world out of recession and onto the path of recovery.

G-20 Grabs Bigger Role In Global Economy – excerpt  –

Nations to Collaborate To Ward Off Future Crises

The global economy has become stable enough, however, for the leaders to turn their attention to preventing future crises. The United States and European nations were able to settle differences over how best to stem irresponsible risk-taking by financial companies.

The United States had emphasized the need to raise the quality and quantity of capital that banks must hold to cover potential losses. The Europeans had stressed restrictions on bankers’ pay, including hard limits on compensation. In the end, the leaders agreed to those principles — minus the hard limits — along with provisions that better align executive compensation with long-term performance and promote more transparency for trading in complex securities known as derivatives.

Obama also got Europe and China to commit to avoid economic policies that could fuel the huge global imbalances blamed by economists for helping spark the current crisis. Under the agreement, countries with large deficits such as the United States would promise to borrow less and major exporters such as China and Germany would pledge to stimulate domestic consumption. The members agreed to use the International Monetary Fund to help review their economic policies to make sure they do not generate harmful imbalances… Read more by Annys Shin and Juliet Eilperin, Washinton Post  with embedded photo gallery 

haplif – Frank Kalder (Global Haplifnet)

Obama’s envisaged global climate pact hindered

September 23, 2009


At UN summit, Obama promises action on climate

Senate delay may hinder global pact

UNITED NATIONS – President Obama pledged yesterday to take significant action to combat the threat of global warming, warning that the world is running out of time to stop “irreversible catastrophe,’’ but despite his urgent tone Obama was unable to provide a timetable because sweeping climate change legislation is stalled in Washington.

Obama, speaking before 100 world leaders assembled for a climate change summit in New York, alluded to the political difficulties he and advocates are facing to get a bill limiting carbon emissions through the Senate.

“All of us will face doubts and difficulties in our own capitals,’’ he said. “Difficulty is no excuse for inaction.’’

The Obama administration has vowed to reach a sweeping new global climate agreement in December in Copenhagen, but international talks toward such an agreement have sputtered because of inaction by the United States, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases… Read more by Farah Stockman,  Boston Globe

haplif – Frank Kalder  (Global Haplifnet)


September 22, 2009


Henry Markram’s Artificial Brain in a Computer – excerpt

Markram does a good job of breaking down Blue Brain’s approach, as does our earlier article, so I won’t repeat it all. The focus of the simulation is the neocortex, specifically microprocessors in neocortical columns. So far BBP has been able to make 3D models, examining the over 400 types of neurons, electrical signal profiles, protein profiles, connectivity patterns, and signal languages in the neocortex. The journey through the brain that Markram gives you is really cool, especially when he reveals it’s only at 10% density of the actual brain. Apparently neurons are more densely packed than geeks at a comicon.

BBP is not an effort to create an artificial intelligence, it’s an attempt to model how the brain works. As such, its ability to help us explore and treat brain disease has great potential. Markram touches briefly on medical applications such as researching Autism near 12:02.

The modeling and simulating of the human brain is a Herculean feat…  Read more at (VIDEO embedded)  

Coincidentally, the mission of the new Silicon Valley located SINGULARITY UNIVERSITY  is “preparing humanity for accelerating technological change”.

Updates 10-19-09

Ray Kurzweil’s video presentation of the Singularity University (SU)

Craig Venter: On the verge of creating synthetic life

TED sixth sense technology


haplif – Frank Kalder (Global Haplifnet)

Russia scrapped missile deployment plans in Eastern Europe

September 19, 2009


Russia Scraps Missile Deployment after Obama Cancels Missile Shield

Russia says it has scrapped plans to deploy missiles in a region near Poland after U.S. President Barack Obama canceled plans for a missile defense system in Central Europe.

In a radio interview today, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin said Mr. Obama’s move has made the deployment of Iskander short-range missiles in the Kaliningrad region unnecessary.

President Obama said on September 17 he is replacing the planned missile defense system with what he called a new approach for defending the United States and its NATO allies from a missile threat from Iran… Read more at (VOA) Voice of America

Supplementary (earlier today):

Shelved missile defense plan — shattered confidence in Europe


haplif – Frank Kalder (Global Haplifnet)

One EU voice on financial reform ahead of G20 summit

September 18, 2009


EU leaders have agreed on a joint strategy to curb excessive bankers’ bonus payments ahead of next week’s G20 summit in Pittsburgh, putting pressure on US President Barack Obama to support fundamental financial reforms.

At a special summit in Brussels European leaders agreed (Sep 17) that bonuses must be cancelled in case of negative development in the bank’s performance. The proposed reforms would link compensation to a bank or business’ performance and install a waiting period before stock options could be exercised.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the meeting as a “success” and said that demands from Germany, France and Great Britain were fully implemented and adopted as a European position. The three countries had called for bonus payments to be paid in line with banks’ profits and for “guaranteed bonuses” to be stopped… Read more at Deutsche Welle

This refers to the previous post regarding Barack Obama’s recent address to the US congress.

haplif – Frank Kalder (Global Haplifnet)

Barack Obama’s Rhetoric vs. Wall Street Reality

September 15, 2009


Why Obama Won’t Be Able to Reform Wall Street – Excerpt –

As a result, Obama’s rhetoric has not been matched by reality. In his speech today, the president claimed that the actions of his administration have “spurred lending” and “helped responsible homeowners refinance to stem the tide of lost homes and lost home values.”

But, in truth, credit for Main Street is still very hard to come by, and only 12 percent of eligible homeowners have had their mortgages modified by the president’s home ownership plan. Meanwhile cramdown legislation remains lobbyist roadkill (though Barney Frank is vowing to revive it this fall) and mandatory mediation between homeowners and lenders prior to foreclosure is going nowhere on a national level.

That’s why I could picture all the heads of the big banks sitting there today, listening to Obama and smiling — knowing that, in the end, his claim that his administration is “proposing the most ambitious overhaul of the financial system since the Great Depression” won’t mean anything as long as Wall Street’s relentless lobbying and contributing continue to hold sway in the control room of the S.S. America. Read the entire Sep 14 Arianna Hufflington blog

Although I’m a supporter of Barack Obama’s policy, generally (“Yes, we can!”), I assent to Arianna’s appraisement “ultimately naïve speech on financial reform” referring to the full text.

In particular, Obama

also urged support for the far-reaching changes to financial regulation that he has proposed. These include creating a new agency with broad powers to protect consumers of financial products such as mortgages, giving the Federal Reserve new powers to oversee risks to the overall financial system, and obligating firms to meet stronger capital and liquidity requirements… Read more at Washington Post; VIDEO embedded

Addendum, Sep 16

U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for concrete action at the Group of 20 summit in Pittsburgh Sept. 24-25. (Helene Fouquet, Bloomberg)

 Supplementary: Global Haplifnet – vanguard topics 

haplif – Frank Kalder (HuffPost profile/comments)