Presidential polls going down from the start of the presidency in the US?

A lot of people make a lot of noise about the polls of President Obama going down. However, a closer look on the tracker for polls from Gallup shows that most presidential polls go down. Nearly the only exception is that of Bill Clinton's that showed a steady rise all through his presidency. And this was despite the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the failed health care bill.

I'm intrigued about the fight between the Democrats and the Republicans. It seems to me that it is all about which is the American way of this century. Is Obama going to change Robert Kagan's Dangerous Nation into a nation that truly minds its own business and that speaks more softly? Or are the Republicans going to mow him down to a Carteresque existence. As Carter, he is intelligent, and that carries the risk of trying to solve problems by himself instead of leading with his political intelligence.

It is early to guess, but I feel President Obama is going to get his second term, somehow. The main reason is that America is going to be dependent on opinions in the world. The other view, that of Cheney, scares people in for example Europe. However, I remember from the election campaign that China is more Republican.

Health Care Reform in the US

Op-Ed Columnist - Health Care Realities - NYTimes.com: "Right-wing opponents of reform would have you believe that President Obama is a wild-eyed socialist, attacking the free market. But unregulated markets don’t work for health care — never have, never will. To the extent we have a working health care system at all right now it’s only because the government covers the elderly, while a combination of regulation and tax subsidies makes it possible for many, but not all, nonelderly Americans to get decent private coverage."

As the recess of Congress for a month is beginning next week people are currently summarizing the situation of the debate concerning the Health care reform in the press. Read about the notion of free markets not working for health care in Krugman's blog the other day but here he make more solid arguments for this.

There is a discussion now on the public component of the reform and Krugman rightly points out that the government is already deeply involved. Nancy Pelosi said yesterday on The Huffington Post blog that the health insurance industry are the "villains". On the other hand Karl Rove said that the US have the best health care in the world and most people are insured and so it shall be. Charles Krauthammer said that Obamacare is in retreat and that yes Obama will get a bill coming Christmas that he can call reform but not much will change and that a European style health care would not materialize.

David Brooks pointed out the other day that the health care business in the US is a budget of the size of Britain's total economy. It is of course easy to understand that it will take quite a lot to make changes in this system when only half the public think there is a crisis at all.

If it is true that the Americans have the best care in the world, it might be interesting to speculate if it is necessary with a private system to achieve this? The Americans have many of the best schools also but schools are different because the quality of the students matter whereas patients are the same in the best and the worst hospitals.

If the free market doesn't work for health insurances, and we just discovered that banks don't work either, which according to Alan Greenspan gave rise to the financial crisis, maybe the free market theory have severe problems or limitations rather? Banks, health care and the military! Important institutions indeed. What do they have in common? They deal in the livelihood of people.


The Arab World?

The Economist have a Special Report on the Arab World this week. One article have some intriguing information:

"From 1980 to 2000 Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Syria and Jordan between them registered 367 patents in the United States. Over the same period alone South Korea registered 16,328 and Israel 7,652. The number of books translated into Arabic every year in the entire Arab World is one-fifth the number translated in Greece into Greek."

Now, the population of Arabia has doubled the last 30 years and one comment is where shall they find work for all these youngsters. In Sweden we complain about the unemployment of young people but this is something else.

Only one percent of Arabs think of themselves as citizens of the world which probably explain the little interest in what is written in other languages.

I got a feeling reading the Report that the Arabs want to be by themselves. In their own way. The question asked was: will all these youngsters let the rulers have a status quo?

Government benchmarking?

Jakob Heidbrink – Meddelanden från juridikens maskinrum: "Överslagsvis är alltså en knapp åttondedel av alla grundskolor friskolor, och dessas elever är alltså knappt femtio procent bättre än de kommunala skolorna: tror någon att vårt utbildningsproblem eller vårt skatteproblem ligger i vinstutdelningen till friskolornas aktieägare? Jämtin fuskar i sin argumentation, och hon gör det så dåligt att 15 minuters research på nätet leder en rätt."

I have followed the debate Carin Jämtin started a few days ago and Heidbrink is the only one that has pointed out that the "friskolor" performs better than those of the commune. In Sweden we apparently currently have a system that is benchmarked on how the government performs. Private activity goes in and makes a buck on the funds the government think is reasonable to pay. I see no problem with this. On the contrary it may be the best way historically to work health care, schools and general care. Starting by government benchmarking and then work from there with improvements.

The reason I'm bringing this up is that the US have a health care system, that started with private care, have ended up being twice as expensive. Some people even claim that the system is running amok and that it is currrently failing. The main argument for the American health care system was apparently to maintain patient-physician relationships. In Sweden the "husläkarreform", or house physician reform, has taken care of this problem as well.


"A Failed System"?

TheHill.com - Healthcare must be a right, not a privilege, in America: "Healthcare has been the single biggest domestic crisis facing America for at least the last decade, and yet time and again Congress has applied Band-Aids to cover a gaping wound. Every other American, not including members of Congress, is one accident, illness or diagnosis away from financial ruin in the richest nation on Earth. If that isn’t an embarrassment as well as a call to action, then Congress has truly become indifferent to the American people."

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash) speak up for nationalized health care and means that the current system has failed. There was actually an attempt to introduce national health care for all Americans 1949 but the American Medical Association lobbied heavily against it. Among the arguments were that the physician-patient relation was holy.

One argument that McDermott uses is that the government runs the military and does this well. Why would it not run health care well? This is a clever argument knowing that Americans are sensitive about their safety against national treats but not so sensitive about their health.

The Right to Health Care is not written into the Constitution but it is included indirectly in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness as Life, which occasionally requires health care.


Further Political Integration of EU, or not?

”Skattemedel för miljarder går till EU:s propaganda” - DN.se: "När de i folkomröstningar under de senaste tio åren har fått chansen att säga sitt om ytterligare politisk integration i Europa har svaret varje gång blivit detsamma: nej till införandet av den gemensamma valutan euron, i Danmark 2000 och Sverige 2003, nej till Nicefördraget på Irland 2001, nej till EU-konstitutionen i Frankrike och Nederländerna 2005 och nu senast, nej till Lissabonfördraget på Irland 2008"

Are these arguments not quite weak? Think of all positive sentiments that have moved the development of EU forward. According to democratic rules used, the weak no from Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty was not particularly depressing in the light of 26 positives from other countries.

The economical development of Europe is also a success and the security situation for the individual countries is remarkably improved. Take for example Nicholas Sarkozy's negotiation with Russia a year ago when he managed to stop further intrusion by Russia in Georgia. This would not have been possible with a France outside the context of EU.

I guess it is possible to discuss exactly how much money is going to be used for the continued integration, if further integration is going to happen now when the constitutional court of Germany have in essence prevented at least Germany from further integrating itself. However, I sincerely believe that the best future development of world politics is with a strong EU in collaboration with the US for maintaining the values that the authors seems to dislike in the introduction of the article. If the authors think our civilization is not good enough, do they want to work for a dissolution of EU and the temptation of for example Russia or China to "colonize" us with their values?

Five Major Hurdles to Pass Health Care Reform in the US

TIME Magazine has an article which list the five major problems that legislators fight with to pass the Health Care Reform.

As I have tried to discuss earlier, the question is why there should be any problems for a popular president with clear majorities in Congress to pass this bill. There are the following issues in this now 1000 page bill:

1. Curbing Costs
2. Raising Revenue
3. Coverage Questions
4. Personal Touch from the President
5. Public Perception

Curbing Costs: It is now twice as expensive per capita to insure an American compared to a Canadian. On top of this, the costs outrun inflation and the growth of the GDP. When the Swedish and Canadian Health Care systems cost 10% of GDP, the American costs 15%. What they claim in this article is that it is very difficult to see how costs are going to be reduced in the long run with the proposed bills.

Raising Revenue: It is necessary to raise $1 trillion/10 years to pay for the changes. $237bn will come from fines on employers and individuals who don't comply with new rules. $525bn will come from reductions in Medicare payments to private insurers and money ponied up from drug companies. $37bn will come from corporate and foreign tax changes. The rest of the money $200 to $320bn will have to come from some form of taxation. They have been talking about taxing only people over a certain income, i.e. $350,000 or $1m a year but there are also a number of other suggestions.

Coverage Questions: Both the House and the Senate HELP bills include a public plan that will compete with private plans which is controversial with republicans. This is to insure the 47m people now without coverage.

Personal Touch: The bill from Clinton that failed was made in secret by the president, and his wife, and delivered to Congress for approval. Therefore Obama is almost doing the reverse today and have given Congress the job of writing the bill up. There is, however, a need for input from the White House and this has failed somewhat. President Obama has paid attention to this the last week and have been active with input. Rahm Emanuel, the Chief of Staff, was also in a meeting with the Blue Dogs, fiscally conservative Democrats, this week.

Public Perception: Some people say that Obama is doing "too much, too soon" and the failure of meeting the deadline before the August break for Congress might add to these sentiments. The political wing of the Obama administration--Organizing for America--is therefore going to operate all through the August recess. Obama has 8m supporters on email lists.

As can been seen from this short summary of the article, what David Brooks and Paul Krugman said in their columns this week about going to the core of the cost problem is what must be the most important issue but also the most difficult. There has unfortunately not been any further debate on this issue in the press. The article is very vague on actual measures that would improve the cost situation. The critique becomes serious when cost reductions cannot be addressed properly and when the taxation issue is as controversial as it is.

However, deficit neutrality and reduction of the cost increases are clearly stated goals by President Obama. What is also important is that there is going to be regulations that prevents the insurers from dropping the insured when the costs become high and which will prevent insurers from not accepting the insured if they have preconditions.


Health Care Costs and Freedom

Health-Care Experts Say Reform Should Stress Structural Changes Over Cost - washingtonpost.com: "In the past, Congress has framed health reform as a moral imperative to cover everyone. The Obama team approaches it as an economic issue, noting that $1 of every $6 spent in America goes to health care. If nothing changes, it will be $1 of every $5 by 2017.
'The evidence is clear that the biggest threat to our fiscal future is rising health-care costs,' Orszag said."

What I would like to know is whether or not lost business opportunities as a result of bad breath from extended warfare might cost the US a lot of money as well? However, stressing cost over morals might be an attempt to get bipartisan action on the health care bill. Social Security was passed bilaterally in 1935 as was Medicare and Medicaid thirty years later. This year it is more reasonable to assume that it is going to be solely a Democrat affair.

Many are saying these days that the health care reform is stalling and one question is whether this is because of the lack of focus on the moral issue of universal coverage? Or is the Mars over Venus issue relative Europe the reason that more Americans are willing to take risks with their coverage? As I said before I find it difficult to understand why universal coverage would limit freedom. It should increase freedom. Give peace of mind. Perhaps Europeans define freedom differently from Americans?

Another issue, which is paradoxical, is the unwillingness of Americans to take risks with terrorists compared to Europeans. Risking your life towards disease vs. risking your life from attacks by terrorists. It is phrased differently as standing up for freedom but it could also be expressed as less tolerance to risk. Freedom for the European is to live in peace--with a certain risk--whereas the American can't accept this risk. The risk might of course be greater for the US with its more forward position in global business. However, in reality the risks might be quite comparable. Compared to earth quakes in many areas of the world they are quite small. Learning to live with a risk is apparently more biological according to an American biologist acting as a consultant for the US Congress.


The US starts to deal with Russia on the Vice-president level?

Biden Criticizes Russia in Move Called ‘Perplexing’ - NYTimes.com: "“The reality is the Russians are where they are,” Mr. Biden told The Wall Street Journal, according to excerpts posted on the newspaper’s Web site. “They have a shrinking population base, they have a withering economy, they have a banking sector and structure that is not likely to be able to withstand the next 15 years, they’re in a situation where the world is changing before them and they’re clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable.”"

Well, it was clear from Obama's visit in Moscow recently that there was no love. Quite chilly actually. The PEW poll also claims no increase in appreciation from Russia whereas Europe is viewing Obama much more positively.

Does National Health Care makes you less free?

Peggy Noonan: Common Sense May Sink ObamaCare - WSJ.com: "Under a national health-care plan we might be hearing that a lot. You don’t exercise, you smoke, you drink, you eat too much, and “the rest of us have to pay for it.”"

It would be easy to turn this one around. You do all these things and your country will suffer economically from skyrocketing health care costs. This will make you less free! Obama has pointed out the cost question of health care lately. However, they don't tell people this in Sweden even. At least not yet.

Peggy Noonan tells people that ObamaCare will make you less free. I guess this is a very important principal issue. Conservative people become less free if they have free health care, liberals don't.

I guess it will have to rhyme with your political philosophy. If you think free health care is a right for all, then free you will feel if this is the case. Noonan says in her article that Obama has read the nations mood erroneously. People are not in the mood for free health care, according to her.

Nancy Pelosi said that: "this was like a hundred years ago", about the nation turning down Hillary Clinton's plan the other year. I think she means that the possibility for Americans to say: "we don't care that people die on the streets like dogs" has vanished in the wake of the financial crisis and continued war efforts that are not popular abroad.

I hope time has come for the Nancy Pelosis to win over the Peggy Noonans in Obama's USA.

Frihetens Paradox?

"Konservatism är frihetens bästa försvar" - Aktuella frågor - Sydsvenskan - Nyheter dygnet runt: "Frihetens paradox består då i att det är genom att frivilligt uppgå i sammanhang som begränsar den personliga friheten som den personliga friheten garanteras."

It seems to me that it is preferable to join a context that enhances liberty, people that share your views, rather than entering a constraint. I find the paradox in question nonsensical, counterproductive at best.


The Physicians can be sued?

Op-Ed Columnist - Kill the Rhinos! - NYTimes.com: "They feed on fuel sources deep in our system: expensive technological progress, the self-interest of the millions of people who make their living off the system, the public’s desire to get the best care for nothing, the fee-for-service payment system and so on"

Both Paul Krugman and David Brooks, from who the citation is taken, bring up the problem of the large costs of the American health care system compared to other countries. They mention the so called fee-for-service system of payment. Physicians order tests and other procedures that they think are reasonable for the patient, which sounds OK to most people. However, these procedures are not directly linked to the results of the treatment, and perhaps more importantly, patients sue their physicians in the US. Therefore the physician is covering his back with a lot of tests and procedures.

In other words there is a lack of trust in the system which is somewhat paradoxical since it is known to everybody that the health care is at least as good in the US as in other countries, even if they don't seem to get much of a bonus for all the cost.

It seems to me that a public, single-payer system might be best to avoid suits? Perhaps then of the Mayo Clinic variety? Perhaps it would be possible to limit the amount of suits by prohibiting them, but then again, we are touching on a fundamental difference between Americans and Europeans...and Canadians? On the other hand Americans are economical, maybe they forget their right of suing if that get to pay half the price?

I should note that I'm drawing these conclusions from the comparison with the Swedish system.

Health care in the US compared to others

Found an interest in the current debate on health care in the US.

Health care in the US is known to be the most advanced in the world. They often have the best treatments and the shorter lines for access to specialists. As I mentioned earlier 46m people are uninsured whereof 9.7m are not American citizens.

However, arguments for publicly funded health care abound. The US spent US$6714 per capita but Canada spent US$3678 in 2006. Furthermore, the US ranked only 22nd in infant mortality, 46th in life expectancy, and 37th in health system performance. As Obama points out this gives American business a higher load since health care is often paid by the employer.

Obama's program would mean that coverage should be independent of previous health status as would premiums. A single-payer system would greatly reduce administrative costs. 56% of democrats would support a presidential candidate that wanted to make the US health care system more similar to that of other countries. 37% of independents and 19% of republicans would support such a candidate.

According to Obama one of the main problems with the health care system is that its costs are rising faster than inflation and the growth of the economy. A June 2009 New York Times/CBS poll claimed that 85% of Americans support a fundamental restructuring of the health care system. 60% would be willing to pay more tax for everyone to get coverage. However, people are uneasy with the prospect of more government involvement. A June 2009 Washington Post/ABC poll said that 58% of people thought "government reform as necessary to stall skyrocketing costs and expand coverage for the uninsured".


Global Views of US

Global Views of U.S. Helped by Obama, Survey Says - NYTimes.com: "A new global survey has found a vast improvement in views of the United States since the election of President Barack Obama. But it also finds broad opposition to one of his key policies — sending more troops to Afghanistan — and confirms a drop in confidence in the United States among Israelis."

Pew Report in PDF format.

Obama Care and the trans-Atlantic relationship

I have earlier voiced my opinion that I believe universal health care in the US would be positive. There are presently something like 46m people uninsured, something unimaginable for Europeans. Many Europeans would even call this uncivilized.

I believe that this is a fact that makes Europeans down value Americans. Relations would improve between the US and Europe if Obama Care became a reality. According to the Eurobarometer 39% of Europeans think a unified social welfare system in EU would improve their sense of being European. Would improve the European identity. I think it is fair to extrapolate and say that this might mean that they would feel more united with Americans if Obama Care became a reality.

In an interview with Katie Couric, the highest paid news anchor in the US, Obama yesterday said that he would make sure the health care reform did not add to the deficit. That sounds good enough for me. There should not be any problems for a nation of USAs caliber to finance a universal health care plan. I think it is time for the US to prove that they can keep a cutting edge economy with universal health care. A challenge as good as any.


Berlin equals Judea and Samaria?

It occurred to me that it is possible to perform a thought experiment where Berlin 1958-1963 is compared with Judea and Samaria of today.

Judea and Samaria is inhabitated with Jews (West Berliners) and Palestinians (East Berliners). The Soviet Union is the Arab world and Israel is of course West Germany. There is at least one problem with the model and that is that the Palestinians don't speak Hebrew.

After the Berlin crisis, West Berlin was stuck without interference for 26 years before the wall came down 1989. Netanyahu speak about an economic development that would transform the area to equilibrate it which would be consistent with this time-frame.

It would be a one-state two people solution. Reading in Der Spiegel that there are East Germans that want communism back. Maybe Germany was a one-state two people solution as well?

This solution would demand equality between Jews and Palestinians to bring it out from accusations of an apartheid system, which makes it less probable but still possible.


Something has changed in the world economy

This week's issue of The Economist features three articles, here, here and here, concerning the economy and the cover displays an economy text-book that melts like ice cream.

It has been said for a while now that the world economy will never be the same again. Nicolas Sarkozy said this perhaps first and meant that the US would not be so dominant again. The three articles confirms this and the question is what conclusions a layman can draw from this.

Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winner in economy 2008 and columnist at The New York Times, even claim that the last 30 years have been wasted in macro economy studies. When I hear something like that I wonder what it is that has been left out of the models. Have for example people's behavior changed during this time? It would be possible to believe that economists would have missed something like this but that have done their mathematics correctly.

Since it has been a financial crisis the model of the efficient market has been investigated but as they claim in the article why would they have been so naive as to not include data from psychology. To me it seems like it is just another deep crisis from which we will rise again and from which we have learned valuable things. The problem is the economists are not having a unified solution as to a cure so we have to wait for more information in the form of the correct answer as to the type of recovery that we will see. How about also praying that Obama's solution is a good one?

At least if you root for America. Continental Europe did not agree and hope that their response would fit their market better. That will hopefully work out as well.

The Chinese response was apparently a stimulus package and the initiation of dislocating themselves from the dollar. It is perhaps not the economy that has changed so much as peoples around the world's perception of it. The accumulating budget deficit of the US as well as the fact that the West is stuck in AfPak does not make this perception better. As a believer that the Bush administration's intervention in Iraq was better than not acting I however also would say that this notion is probably not appreciated by most people and that, the Iraq war also is a strong negative factor.

Leaving Iraq and AfPak might actually lower the risk of having a nuclear bomb detonate in an American city and the positive effect this might have on the economy might be worth a lot as well. Relations with Europe would also improve.

US on the Edge of a Catastrophe?

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, for some reason says that the US is on the edge of catastrophe. A nuclear bomb might go off in an American city.

This is of course possible, even if I hope it will never happen, but what could the US do about it that they have not been doing since for example 9/11? Why would the risk be greater now? On top of this they have the world largest, by far, defense budget.

There is a link to the full speech by Gingrich in the link above and I recommend it. Gingrich seems to be very intelligent and knowledgeable. However, my question would be if America really can maintain the rather large security level relative the rest of the world. Have we not entered a new phase where we will see a large USA but many other large players as well?

Gingrich recommends to minimize the reaction time for catastrophes. One of the reasons that he gives is that the predicted increase in knowledge from technology and science is going to be very large in the near future. He says: we will become surprised again.

Sitting here in Sweden as an observer, I'm grateful for the resolve of the US for their own and therefore also our security. However, is it really realistic to talk about increasing the defense budget of the US under the current economic scenarios pictured for them?

Gingrich gets a question where he is asked, because of the link between security and prosperity, about the position of the US in the world. He answers that without reform he does not see the US as the leading nation in 30 years from now. He says that the greatest security threat, and Condoleezza Rice has said the same thing, is failure to provide a competitive school with science and math studies.

Presidential Approval Tracker

Found an illustrative tracker for presidential approval in USA Today. President Obama have strated out approximately as George W. Bush and it is not uncommon that the president has less than 50% approval.


Trying to understand conservatism and liberalism

JohanNorberg.Net: "Konservatismen som ideologi är tydligen så ointressant att Claesons främsta argument för den tycks vara att den vinner mer väljare än liberala idéer gör".

I cannot find many ideas in conservatism either but is this argument by Claeson not relevant? Liberal leaders, liberalism seems to be for leaders, are always going to be fewer than content conservatives, or followers. Look at Germany. By the way, I thought lifestyle was good.


President Obama's Health Care Reform

Ted Kennedy Speaks Out on Health-Care Reform Newsweek Politics Newsweek.com: "What chance does my child have if I can only afford half of the prescribed treatments? Or two thirds? I've sold everything. I've mortgaged as much as possible. No parent should suffer that torment. Not in this country. Not in the richest country in the world."


I finally managed to finish reading the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. When the book came I decided not to read it because it was so negative in tone towards religion but I found a copy in Swedish on the shelf of the local bookstore and began reading. His bantering style made it difficult to finish the book.

Today I read the chapter on what to do with children and religion. It is a delicate issue because parents that regularly go to church and that are happy with their religion would want to bring their children. Dawkins exemplifies with horror stories that might very well happen in atheistic families for different reasons.

However, today with my rather rare religion, which is not really Jewish or Christian where I consider that God is materialistic and is equal to Nature, even if I can fit Christendom atop my image of God and enjoy the sermon on radio every Sunday, I would hesitate to tell my children to subscribe to it. I would have let them grow up and form their own opinion.

Christians and Jews probably don't think my religion is Jewish or Christian because of my image of God. They want God in space preferably as a personal God. It is understandable. Few people are actually scientists that would be tempted to my view and find it easier to relate to a personal God.

I began interesting myself for religion when I realized that I needed this to understand the world better, its politics. I have never been an atheist. I began with the Old Testament and went through The Oxford Companion to the Bible and a Study Bible celebrating sabbath to get a feel for it. I was not able to contact any Jews so I continued investigating religion by the New Testament and Roman Catholicism. As I explained earlier, this did not work either, congregation wise. I did go to Catholic Church for one and a half year every Sunday, however, and I did get baptised. I like the Bible and I like churches.

It is my understanding that the clan that controls my body hates religion and actively prevents worshipping. There is no silent prayer, ever for me.

My world view has agglutinated

Now and then I ask myself how the world is currently configurated. It is calm on most fronts because the world has agglutinated.

China is fighting Uighurs. Japan is entering a reelection. Obama is finished on his world tour and is focusing on Health Care Reform. Otherwise he is fighting Mexicans. Germany is entering elections and EU is in trouble because of the sluggish reelection of Barroso. Iran is fighting itself and it is refreshing not to read about their supposed nuclear weapons program for a while.

Frankly, I don't expect much to happen on the Palestine/Israel front either. Hillary Clinton is trying to befriend India on a four day tour. She is apparently in charge of China and India that mostly interact with USA via business channels. South America and Africa are lost from the fronts as usual. Indonesia has problems with terrorism. Nothing good comes out from AfPak, so we don't hear much from this corner of the world either. Iraq simmers.

Sweden, i.e., Carl Bildt, is lost in Baku according to his blog. He works on the Eastern Partnership.

If Obama manage to get the Health Care Reform through this year as he advocates on his weekly address, this is perhaps one of the more interesting changes that he would manage to do. Some people think that this is going to make people in the US lazy, I don't. It is going to potentiate the US. It's going to have a profound effect on the trans-Atlantic relationship. Some say that the US is directed towards Asia but I maintain that their most important relation is Europe.

Sweden and USA are also censoring the Bastille Day violence in France

Erixon brings up the silence in France on the car torchings of Bastille Day celebrations in France this year. However, on my Google there is nothing in the USA or in Sweden on this problem either. However, Der Spiegel features an article.

Sweden as the EU chairmanship nation should definitely be blamed for not spreading this very salient news. If not people in other European countries can pressure the agitators to stop this ridiculous practise, there is going to be war-like state in France. These news should definitely be on regular newscasts in Sweden.

On the other hand it could be intelligent to not make any fuzz about the incident due to the effect this have on the sensation seekers in question.

Well, what is the best approach? The silence in the US is unusual because it is more often the EU that puts the lid on embarrassing news. Like for example the debate on the German constitutional court decisions on the future of EU democracy.


The Future of European Democracy?

Opinion: The Future of European Democracy - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International: "But Europe is the ever-more-convincing proof that domestic and foreign policy can no longer be separated from each other. Each member of the government who sits on a council of ministers in Brussels is simultaneously carrying out both German and European politics. Each German representative on a council should, in the best-case scenario, take the EU's other 26 members into account when making decisions. Naturally he or she has taken an oath to serve German interests."

Does Thomas Darnstädt want Germany to take command in Europe? Or does he want Slovenia to tell Germany what to do? Before he makes this comment he has said that EU is functioning through what he calls "Output democracy". Legitimacy from results not from what the people initiates as wants. He does not call this real democracy. It reminds me of Obama's speech in Moscow recently, where he also talked about evaluation of ideas from what works. Am I to conclude that the people are too slow and stupid to have a say?

"Liberalismens framtid finns på nätet"--Vilket nät?

"Liberalismens framtid finns på nätet" - Aktuella frågor - Sydsvenskan - Nyheter dygnet runt: "Vi tror inte längre på Individens möjligheter. Vi tror inte att legendariska gestalter som Locke och Stuart Mill längre har något viktigt att säga dagens interaktiva nätverkare. Vi tror inte heller att staten kan stå för svaren och visionerna med en aldrig så välmenande socialpolitik i det allt komplexare och snabbföränderliga informationssamhället."

Alexander Bard and Jan Söderqvist apparently believes that the individual will disappear in ethereal nets. However, every net has leaders and dominating personalities. Why would these disappear?

A practical and interesting consequence of this theory would be that Barack Obama will fail as president of the US. He has no possibilities? Another consequence might be that the networks will start diffuse fights against each other like banks in a financial crisis of the credit crunch variety.

I also have a feeling the the visions of the national state is in trouble. Visions are becoming global.

Between the rock and the hard place?

‘Death to China’ heard at Rafsanjani sermon. Why? csmonitor.com: "The Guardian’s Tehran correspondent said that Iranian state-run media censored coverage of the riots in Xinjiang, and “did not refer to Uighur protesters as Muslims, but called them ‘hooligans.’ “"

China has just been awarded contracts to furnish Iran with refineries that produce gasoline according to TIME Magazine after Western companies had turned down the deals. Iran almost gives away gasoline to its people but doesn't have much refining going on and is thus dependent on import. This is an Achilles heal of Iran that can be utilized by West for sanctions.

According to SVT Rafsanjani discussed the problem of confidence in clerics. Iran's world revolutionary support of all muslims have apparently suffered a blow from the election disturbancies.


There is going to be "change we can believe in" in the defense budget

RealClearWorld - Secretary Gates' Address to the Economic Club of Chicago: "It is time to draw the line on doing Defense business as usual. The President has drawn that line. And that red line is a veto. And it is real."

Gates says in essence: we have to do business with cheaper gadgets which today will give the same result. The price tag on the defense budet is also coming down after Iraq and Afghanistan is over, Gates says. I think it is positive that he is begining to see an end to AfPak.

The other day I talked about two different worlds the post 9/11 Bush years and that of now and forward. My own perhaps naive idea. However, I think I like the change because the world out there seems to tag along.

We will continue to have problems with "terrorists" like in Indonesia and other places but it is probably good to not call it a war against the suicide bombers. There has been an unsuccessful war against drugs as well. Terrorism is a form of criminality that we will have to live with for some more years.

Education level in Sweden Compared with that in the USA

It is of course of interest to know whether or not we have reached the maximum possible education in the West or not. The following data gives an indication of that it might still be possible to push the population to a higher educational level.

According to SCB.se 22% of Swedes, aged 25-64, have at least three years of post-gymnasial education, i.e., the college level. In the US 19% have a college degree, Bachelor, according to the Census bureau for age 25 and over 2008 and 7.5% have a Master degree, 1.5% a Professional degree and 1.3% a Ph.D. Obama's proposed extra 5m college graduates, via the community college system,would turn the figure to 22%.

There has been a significant increase in the numbers of people with at least three years of post-gymnasial education the last ten years from 14% to 22%. The increase depends on an expansion of the education system and on demographics. My guess is that the American level of college graduates have been stable during this time. In the age group 25-34, 31% have more than three years of post-gymnasial education so the total is going to increase as time passes by.

It would be strange if Sweden, which is a more homogenous country than the US, couldn't reach higher numbers which also seems to be the case. However, there is a significant entry of educated foreigners in the US that might offset people mired in poverty.

If a Swede wants to bask a little in his own glory, I can recommend the article: Sverige hyllas för kreativitet på DN.se 2006.


Natural aristocracy--a contradiction in terms?

Who’s Best? Who’s Brightest? - The Conversation Blog - NYTimes.com: "these are the circumstances of men that form what I should call a natural aristocracy, without which there is no nation."

It was Edmund Burke, the father of conservatism, that laid down certain criteria for the ruling class of his time. However, there is nothing natural over an aristocracy. There are no Barack Obamas or Sonia Sotomayors in Burke's aristocracy. David Brooks points out that he is more comfortable with the current ruling class--a meritocracy of high SAT scores. It is interesting to compare this ruling class with the Swedish ones. We have not had SAT scores in Sweden. It is just recently when talented kids can get special attention in school. Will the realities of globalisation change this?

Brooks is bringing this topic up due to the death of Robert McNamara and the other Best and the Brightest of his time. The problem was they started the Vietnam war. However, President Obama's team is also a team of high achieving academics and lawyers. They are different from the crowd that came after World War II that according to Brooks were very successful.

The question is of course pressing due to the present situation in the world. I might be wrong, but the financial crisis and the oil prize of $150 per barrel a year ago really changed things with Obama entering the scene. For the US, and of course for the EU, it is very important that he will be successful in turning the economy around and that he solves the AfPak story satisfactorily. Some say he is trying to do too much at the same time. I guess he himself worries that he only have eight years for his project.

How does the Swedish government get along with its American counterpart when they are so differently constructed? Are the "siloviks" of Sweden differently recruited compared to their American counterparts? Do we have a clash of cultures? What makes SAT scores optimal for selection into the ruling class. I'm not sure I'm as confident as Brooks over its usefulness?


Europe's New Lost Generation

Europe's New Lost Generation, by Annie Lowrey Foreign Policy: "Most European programs meant to promote youth employment are still in their early stages and could take months or even years to implement. It was only a month ago, for example, that the European Commission recommended that the 27 EU member states create 5 million apprenticeships to help young workers 'ride out the storm' and to train malleable young people for growing job sectors, such as green energy."

It is apparently not only Obama that believes in the green sector. One question is, however, how the problem of paying for pensions is requiring that more people "work longer and harder" as someone expressed it. Having old people work longer and all unemployed youth finding a job simultaneously is really going to demand a lot of jobs. This is going to happen at the same time as the developing countries creates low paying jobs. Lower salaries in the West, anyone? OK, creativity and entrepreneurial activity is a better solution?

The American dream?

Op-Ed Columnist - White Man’s Last Stand - NYTimes.com: "A wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not know that a gaggle of white Republican men afraid of extinction are out to trip her up."

Maureen Dowd has a way with words. The democrats have, as I pointed out in a post the other day, become the smartest party and apparently Dowd sees the Republicans as dinosaurs. I agree, in Obama's world they indeed have become extinct.

Sweden is quickly becoming a country with a significant fraction of immigrants and the reverse racism introduced by Sonia Sotomayor, and thus endorsed by President Obama, has great importance. I commented earlier on her "wise Latina" comment and gave the reference to that talk in which she mentioned it. She defended herself with a comment that meant she wanted to entice young Latinas into the trade. Thus it is possible to defend her on this by claiming she supports and herself embodies the American Dream.

In other words, it has become more important to defend all races possibility for achieving the American Dream than upholding race neutrality. This was new to me when I wrote my last post about Sotomayor but Obama also speak race when in Ghana the other day. It was certainly not the same talk he gave at the Russian elite school in Moscow. Race is returning now as a power talk against the white blue eyed men that created the financial crisis according to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil.

I think I prefer race neutrality in this world but after being reminded of the history of racism in a TV program yesterday it is clear that we probably have a few miles left on that road. It was not that long ago that we exterminated people of different descent. Let's hope the Democrats are not going to exterminate the Republicans. We might be entering a new era where racial neutrality is actually going to be countered by the Asians, Indians, Africans, Muslims and the Latinos. This will worry the blue eyed whites, for sure, who are not in the majority.

I think I understand why President Obama is promoting the American Dream over racial neutrality. The US is highly dependent on being the magnet of talent from all over the world and clearly making this point will ensure immigration from Asia, India, Africa, and South America. He might alienate himself a little from Europe, the traditional source of talent, but they will probably want to retain their talent these days anyhow.

In any case, I believe Sonia Sotomayor will become an excellent Supreme Court Justice.

One country's terrorists is another country's honorable citizens

Anger China or defend Uighurs? Turkey walks fine line. csmonitor.com: "'Turks originally came from that part of Asia to Anatolia, and the language that Uighurs use is much closer to the language that Turkey speaks than others in Central Asia,' he continues".

I wonder if this brings Turkey closer to EU or not? Recep Tayyip Erdogan has apparently called the Uighur problem a "genocide" performed by the Chinese. China wants him to take this back. Some people would bring up Turkey's own problem with the genocide of Armenians. However, that was then, this is now and therefore a very different matter. If China today is racist against Uighurs, Turks may think they are racist against Turks.

The fact that al-Qaeda has attacked Chinese in Algeria and that China's crack-down on the Uighurs, as well as its secular stance, alienates one billion muslims makes this issue difficult to deal with for the West.


The KIPP (Knowledge is power program) Revolution

The motto of the school is: Work hard. Be nice. The Economist has a overview of Texas in their latest issue. The program is interesting as a discussion on my post the other day on whether it is possible to improve schooling and thus increase the number of kids that graduate from college.

It so happens that typically 7% of kids graduate from college from low-income families. KIPP has increased this number to 90%.

How do they do this? Too good to be true?

The normal graduation for college rate in the US is 25%. Maybe they mean 90% 0f 25?


An argument for further integration of EU?

Opinion: The G-8 Is Dead - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International: "Democracy no longer counts for much. Neither does freedom. And human rights have lost their claim to universal validity."

As an argument for EU it is concluded that "common survival" is now the buzz word. The argument went that even Germany might not have a guaranteed seat at the future world summit tables--EU would however.

According to the people of the EU, as read by the Eurobarometer, are not interested in matters outside their countries or at the most EU itself.

Which leader in EU is going to produce the wake-up call?


Obama wants to increase the number of people with a College degree

Barack Obama - Rebuilding Something Better - washingtonpost.com: "In an economy where jobs requiring at least an associate's degree are projected to grow twice as fast as jobs requiring no college experience, it's never been more essential to continue education and training after high school. That's why we've set a goal of leading the world in college degrees by 2020."

President Obama wants to enhance the US population. A higher percentage with a college degree. The college degree compares with three years of University in Sweden. A person that graduates Swedish Gymnasium is one year through the four year college agewise. He intends to utilize what is called a community college network.

The college degree is approximately the same as the old Fil.Kand. exam. It is interesting to compare with the situation i Sweden because they don't talk so much about this level. They focus on the Gymnasium level and people that don't make it through the Gymnasium is supposed to enter an apprentice system instead.

Have Sweden tried what Obama suggests and failed already? Perhaps not failed but rather realized what the upper limit is? Lowering the ambition for the University preparatory Gymnasium degree must mean fewer people to the college level.


The Battle of Africa Has Begun?

On the White House - The Calculus Behind Obama’s Ghana Stopover - NYTimes.com: "The White House passed over Kenya, where Mr. Obama’s late father was from, in favor of the small nation of Ghana as the site of his first presidential visit to sub-Saharan Africa. A year after Kenya exploded in political violence, it remains a tense and unsettled place. Ghana, by contrast, is an outpost of democracy and civil society in a volatile region."

China's business only strategy for conquering Africa's mineral riches has threatened American and European interests in the region. I cannot help being fascinated in the possible effect that Obama's career must have on people in Africa.

The son of an African, without his father's help, can advance and become the leader of such a complicated society as the US. As Obama has said, there are no excuses anymore.


Final Comment on my TTDE trial

So I have cleared my conscience and made an attempt of enlightening such people that do not know about TTDE.

It is interesting to note that I have many very clear memories of strange events from as early as 1970 when I was fifteen years old. If you don't know the technology it is evident that when it is used illicitly on your being a signal--something is wrong--is generated.

The first clear memory is from a work placement period in school. There were two such events. In the first I wanted to become a researcher in the second I ventured as a physician. It is notable that I on both occasions did not get a placement in the profession that I wished for but rather in a service profession. In my placement as a researcher I tended rabbits in the Animal Facility of Astra, now AstraZeneca, in Mölndal where I lived and went to school. One day I was told I could get to see an actual laboratory and went up to find an empty laboratory. No one came and helped me.

During the second work placement as a physician, I participated together with some ten girls in a small course featuring nurses aid duties at the Hospital of Mölndal. One day as I was standing perfectly OK in a darkened room during a demonstration of hearing aid equipment for the elderly I suddenly fainted and vomited on the floor. Ten minutes later I was OK again and remember going to lunch with some of the girls, a little embarrassed due to my performance. This was with very high probability the first TTDE attack on my person.

There are several more of these attacks on my person over the years many aimed at making me look ridiculous to other people in the best Human Destruction Inc style. In other words, the people of the "clan" that might have been responsible for me might have been involved in the US and might have taken me up again after returning.

Mars, here we come!

SPIEGEL Interview with NASA Manager: 'Mars Is the Planet of Our Destiny' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International: "But the most important thing is the fact that people will one day set foot on Mars and populate it. The red desert planet Mars, provided it doesn't have any life of its own, could become a green Mars through so-called terraforming -- in other words, the active transformation (of its environment). If that's successful, humankind will have created itself a second home, just in case an asteroid impact or other major catastrophe wipes out life on Earth."

This I want to believe in.

Obama and Zakaria might want to change democracy as we know it?

The Dumbing Down of Democracy - WSJ.com: "There is the clear sense that anything the Bush administration did, the Obama sophisticates will not do. Does the fact that the Bushies pushed democracy mean it would be bad form to support even our own political system?"

I erased this question yesterday from my blog post because I had already posed it earlier on, but I'm pleased that it now is officially asked. Obama's speech in Moscow can be interpreted as pragmatism replacing democracy. Fareed Zakaria pensioned the American governmental system in his book The Post-American World and seemed to praise China at the same time.

Another potentially important question to ask is if a one party system is about to form in the US? The demographics place representatives for the Democratic Party in all the hot spots where the intelligent people are and it would of course be good if the US would be ruled by intelligent people? If the Democratic Party indeed is smarter, one might now guess that it will stay in power for ever from now on. Yes, I asked the question. Should the US be ruled by the smartest people or by the people with the warmest hearts?


Obama’s Speech in Russia II

Text - Obama’s Speech at the New Economic School - Text - NYTimes.com: "We see that progress here at NES -- a school founded with Western support that is now distinctly Russian; a place of learning and inquiry where the test of an idea is not whether it is Russian or American or European, but whether it works."

I hope President Obama is not saying that one should not try anything difficult, something that might not work. Like a start-up company. There is also a problem with this statement when assessing the latest G20 meeting where Obama was on one side and the two Continentals Merkel and Sarkozy was on the other. We still don't know what works best. The American or the European way. Different values play out eventually.

Doing only what works could also mean doing what doesn't hurt, what doesn't scare you, not what is right. When there is no dignity, no moral, as some columnists point out, doing what is right becomes important. Belief is needed before you know whether something works or not.

Then again, Obama knows this. So why is he saying the above? Add China and India to the list and you have a universal rule. Pragmatism around the globe? In the speech Obama talks about a new era. American pragmatism around the globe would probably give the US an advantage though.

What works in Russia, without the democracy and civic society of the US, is however corruption. Without values, what works means corruption.

A summary of arguments for exposing TTDE

I have been trying to think about reasons for maintaining secrecy concerning TTDE but I have not been particularly successful. It rather amounts to protecting criminal users and endangering innocent people. The bad outweighs the good.

1. There might be some people that think it could be used to select moral individuals by eavesdropping for further breeding but the simple use of the technology on people without asking for permission is highly immoral and the whole scheme therefore smells of Nazi Germany.

2. One need to dismantle what I have called Human Destruction Inc. TTDE can potentiate defamation of individuals. It can cause death, disease, body lesions and cause symptoms of disease. It can be used to torture people with pain stimuli and in other ways. In short this weapon system has to be regulated in the open.

3. Since Human Destruction Inc. is busy working away all the time, many more than myself must have been shot down from their jobs and stuffed away as "sjukskrivna", i.e., incapable to work due to disease. There is a particular disease that arrived on the scene not to long ago, Chronic Fatigue Syndrom, that in all probability was a deposit diagnosis for TTDE induced disease.

4. Let us speculate that it is possible to see with an other person's eyes and hear with the ears. An individual so engineered is living a normal life as a spy as long as he is not revealed as a walking video camera. After this point the person becomes a pariah in society because no one wants to have anything to do with him. This could be one explanation for my fate?

5. Individuals or whole populations could be held back mentally for competitive reasons.

6. People that get orders "in their heads" probably obey these with higher fidelity than if they hear them the normal way. This creates a more authoritative society and we move one inch closer to Russia and China.

Roman Empire Revisited?

I borrowed this picture from the BBC News. It illustrates the new legions with shields and sticks that governments use to quell uprisings. This one is from Xinjiang.

It really is beginning to occur quite often. I'm thinking especially of the color riots in Thailand recently and the Green complaint in Iran.

President Obama said in his speech in Russia that people from all corners of the world are finding their voice due to information technology. People are increasingly beginning to demand things.

There seems to be two types of governments. Those who use bullets and those that use teargas when overrun by demonstrators. A citizen can be dispensable or of great value to the country.

Will these demanding voices and free flow of information push through the last wave of globalization or will the repressive governments instead infest the world?


What did I actually work with at The Wistar Institute?

Thought I'd describe what I did in science in a way that a layperson could appreciate.

I began scientific work along side with my medical studies already in the third semester at the Department of Medical Biochemistry of The University of Göteborg. Professor Karl-Anders Karlsson had a very interesting program where his group studied a type of compound, a glycolipid, carbohydrate and fat, that was present in the cell membranes of cells at specific locations, such as the inner functional lining of the large and small bowel. Human blood group antigens A, B and O are examples of such compounds. There is also a lot of them in the brain where they are called gangliosides. The function is still unknown for glycolipids. The objective was to elucidate their function by structurally characterizing them.

My project, which I did under the supervision of Prof. Gunnar C. Hansson, was to compare the expression of glycolipids in normal rat large intestine with that of experimentally induced large intestinal tumors, a collaboration with Prof Hans-Olof Sjögren at the University of Lund who worked as an immunologist on a rat large intestinal tumor model.

Somewhat earlier Milstein and Köhler in Great Britain developed a metod to produce so called monoclonal antibodies that was adapted to the production of monclonal antibodies directed to cell surface molecules of human tumor cells by Hilary Koprowski and Carlo Croce at The Wistar Institute who actually patented this adaptation. Milstein and Köhler got the Nobel Prize 1984 for this methodology.

Antibodies are proteins that are produced by white blood cells of the B type that are directed to pathogens and help our body to cure disease from bacteria and viruses. A monoclonal antibody is produced by immunizing a mouse with an antigen, e.g., a viral protein. B lymphocytes are then taken from the spleen of the mouse and fused with a mouse tumor cell that immortalizes the hybrid which then can be used to produce large quantities of the monoclonal antibody. A rather pure protein that after purification could be used as a drug.

Such monoclonal antibodies directed to cell surface molecules of tumor cells were thought to be possible to use in the treatment of human tumors. One such monoclonal antibody called NS19-9 was discovered to be directed to bind to a ganglioside. I actually participated in a collaboration between Karl-Anders Karlsson and Hilary Koprowski, the Director of The Wistar Institute, defining the binding of NS19-9 with the ganglioside and the structural characterization of the ganglioside.

I got the job at Wistar in January 1984 because of an application for a so called National Institutes of Health Program Project Grant concerning Human Melanoma, a skin tumor originating in so called melanocytes, the cells giving us a sun tan. They had monoclonal antibodies directed to many cell surface molecules that needed to be identified and characterized that they got from immunizing mice with human melanoma cells. The Program Project was a collaboration between Koprowski and the group of Prof. Wallace Clark, a renown Dermatology/Pathologist at the University of Pennsylvania across the street. In addition to the therapeutic issue the grant also importantly dealt with the study of melanoma tumor progression, i.e., how the normal melanocytes became tumorous. I actually discovered that a special type of ganglioside was induced at the stage when cells develop from the so called radial cell growth phase to the vertical growth phase, i.e., when they turn malignant. My wife could later use this result to develop her NIH grant application. Dr. Meenhard Herlyn produced the cells used in the study.

A group meeting once a week for a seminar of results or other information was held by The Human Tumor Antigen Group led by Dr. Koprowski. This group was about 30 people at my arrival. The work went well and the Program Project was received once more with Dr. Meenhard Herlyn as the PI after five years, when I was only a consultant and did mostly other things. The objective of being able to treat human melanoma was met partly. About ten percent of patients responded with one of the monoclonal antibodies that I characterized the ganglioside antigen for, i.e., the ME361. I'm on the patent of this antibody. It is very interesting scientifically that this happened, and as far as I know it how this happened is still unknown, but it was unfortunately not enough for enticing physcians for clinical use of the monoclonal.

The Wistar Institute relied to 75% on money from NIH grants and from 25% of money from patents and licensings. The Institute was second after Stanford in the US on bringing in money on patents per capita. There was not teaching but full time research. The easiest way to describe my work at the Institute is therefore to follow the money. I should also mention that my wife Magalena Blaszczyk-Thurin came to the Institute right after did and we came to collaborate in many ways. She had been at the Institute earlier. We married at the time I became Assistant Professor in the summer of 1985. She was a staff scientist at the time. We specialized a little in the direction of carbohydrate antigen work for me and the biosynthesis of carbohydrate antigens via so called glycosyltransferases for her. Blaszczyk-Thurin eventually generated a NIH grant for the study of large intestinal tumor carbohydrate antigen biosynthesis and its possible involvment in the development of the tumor and also became Assistant Professor.

First I should mention a very interesting and pleasant project involving the structural characterization of the NS19-9 ganglioside saccharide which had been synthetized by a Canadian company Chembiomed Inc. As a graduate group member at the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, I had a Ph.D. student in Biophysics, Bethany Bechtel, in collaboration with a Biophysicist Dr. Joshua Wand.

I came to generate two NIH grants in the direction of AIDS research. One was the testing of a hypothesis I believe I was the first one to have suggested namely that the very heavy glycosylation seen on the main viral HIV protein was increasing the virulens of the virus, i.e., making it more harmful. Viral proteins are recognized by the immune system via the recognition of a series of amino acids called epitope. A protein is in fact a series of amino acids linked in a chain. The many carbohydrate chains attached so such epitopes could potentially inhibit the immune response to the virus and thus cause the disease. This project gave rise to a local research grant that I was the PI on and that Dr. Laszlo Ötvös, also at Wistar, and I successfully worked into a more structurally oriented NIH grant where Dr. Ötvös was Principal Investigator and I was Co-Principal Investigator. Dr. Ötvös became Assistant Professor with this grant.

At the time a large effort was taking place at the NIH where people tried to use so called immunological adjuvant to create a vaccine againt the AIDS virus. It should be remembered that there is still no vaccine for this disease. Prof. Bror Morein at the BMC in Uppsala worked on a very promising adjuvant system, the so called ISCOM system. Dr. Koprowski knew him from his Rabies vaccine work and introduced me to him at the Wistar. I was able to help Dr. Morein with the purification and characterization of this adjuvant preparation, actually derived from the bark of a South American tree. The compounds, so called saponins were of course glycolipids. I got an NIH grant, as one of many of the NIH adjuvant group, with Dr. Morein as a consultant for the purification and charactrization of these compounds. I am on Dr. Moreins patent of the ISCOM system.

The problem here was that there was seemingly fierce competition between American and European companies on projects involving these adjuvants and I had to quit this grant before finishing for diffculties of collaborative nature. There was also a "coup" at The Wistar where Dr. Koprowski, the person that built the Institute up from scratch since 1955, lost out and was demoted as director. This led to large changes in the Institute and the new director Dr. Giovanni Rovera made it into a Molecular Biology oriented Institute rather than the Virology and Cancer place it had been under Dr. Koprowski.

For reason still unkown to me a rather severe harassment against me was initiated around 1991. They used TTDE against me although I was of course without a chance not knowing about it. I really had a tough time. Among other things I was vomited once driving my car with my son in the back seat. I woulld like to say that it is not really possible to make progressive science without knowing about TTDE. It is such an insight that I don't understand why I was not informed by representatives at the Institute. After considering many career moves, I finally settled for the MD path to oncology in Sweden in August 1993. I could not do this in the US because of lacking the internship in Sweden.

No Further Integration in the EU?

Germany's Lisbon Treaty Ruling: Brussels Put Firmly in the Back Seat - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International: "'The European train is no longer headed toward an arbitrary destination with no stops along the way,' says former constitutional judge Paul Kirchhof, adding that the court has marked the Lisbon Treaty as a 'clear terminus.' There will be 'no European state under the provisions of the German constitution.' And Schorkopf summarizes the ruling in one sentence: 'The European Union is a contract-based association of sovereign states, and as such, takes a political back seat.'"

The Germans have said not to further integration of EU. I think this is worrisome. As an EU enthusiast I had hopes that we would see further integration of Europe despite all the euroscepsis around.

One problem is apparently that there is not an electorial equality in the European Parliament. I actually took this for granted. However, a Maltese MEP represents 67,000 Maltese, a Swedish MEP represents 455,000 Swedes and a German MEP represents 857,000 Germans. Is it not possible to change this? How silly!

Obama’s Speech in Russia

Text - Obama’s Speech at the New Economic School - Text - NYTimes.com: "I know that NES is a young school, but I speak to you today with deep respect for Russia's timeless heritage. Russian writers have helped us understand the complexity of the human experience, and recognize eternal truths. Russian painters, composers, and dancers have introduced us to new forms of beauty. Russian scientists have cured disease, sought new frontiers of progress, and helped us go to space"

Yes, there is a lot to talk to the Russians about. Pity then that missiles and terrorism (or violent extremism) is what you really can talk to Putin and Medvedev about.

However, President Obama also tries to fire up the students:

"You get to decide what comes next. You get to choose where change will take us, because the future does not belong to those who gather armies on a field of battle or bury missiles in the ground; the future belongs to young people with an education and the imagination to create. That is the source of power in this century. And given all that has happened in your two decades on Earth, just imagine what you can create in the years to come."


More personal information

Europe doesn't exist Presseurop: "Only the European Union – as a collection of laws useful to citizens – is real, argues Dutch philosopher Hermand de Regt. To believe that we can move the Union forward by thinking on the question of Europe’s identity could well be a disastrous mistake."

It is when I read something like this I become American. They are all proud to be Americans. However, I certainly believe there is a European identity. When I worked in Philadelphia at a Research Institute with many Europeans it was very easy to differ the behaviors of the Europeans from the Americans. I'm talking of Germans, Italians, Poles and Swedes. It is very difficult to describe this identity in words, however.

It is funny, and we used to joke about this, and called it the Trans-Atlantic Syndrome, but when we were in the US we became European but well in Europe we reverted to Americans. We enjoyed the culture of both America and Europe. After going through torture and harassment here in Sweden after 1998 I became politically active and also very American. It is necessary to stand up for freedom. However, I also firmly believe in the close collaboration between the US and Europe.

After a couple of years here in Sweden about 1995, I ran out of money. I tried to get on welfare and to look for a job. It is difficult to get a job if you don't have someone recommending you. When I found out that I could not be married while on welfare I tried to divorce. In Linköping they did not let me divorce and they did not give me welfare either. I ended up on welfare in Göteborg instead. But as I have already disclosed, it was not real welfare. I have not cost the Swedish taxpayers anything so far and I used my inheritance to pay back my student loan. It should however be noted that Sweden did not so far let me in. Except as a schizophrenic. My guess is that there is an insurance paying for me if I'm sick. But I don't know this. Apparently I'm doomed to some kind of underground existence. I don't accept this. Being wiped out by Human Destruction Inc. and used as a kind of slave.

In 1995 I actually worked as a nurses aid for two months half time. This was before I knew about TTDE and I now know that someone messed with me when I biked back and force to work. Gave me pain in the back. They also made it hard to remember things useful for working like what the preferences of different patients were. When the personnel started to harass me at work I quit. I simply realized that something was the matter. I wasn't wanted there despite doing a good job. The idea of this job placement was to get used to the health care system before applying for an internship. However, how could I have worked as a physician without knowing of TTDE? Patients can be affected and this is something you must be able to spot.

For me it is morally correct to try to warn fellow human beings for the criminal use of TTDE. I remember when I tried to bring my case to the Court of Göteborg. I was sitting at Arbetsförmedlingen, the work employment agency, and typing it out in portions that I could print the same day because I could not use a disc. Then I walked over Gustav Adolfs Torg to deposit the plaint in portions at the Court. There was no response from the prosecutors office. It's good to have the 250 pages of documentation deposited there in case things will change. It is hard to describe how awful it is to not being able to find any help for my problems. Most of the time I just work on but occasionally I involve myself in elaborations of my situation.

Where is Russia heading?

RealClearWorld - U.S.-Russia 'Reset' Won't Do Much: "Russian journalist Valery Fadeev underscores the existential nature of Russia's angst by quoting a warning from Putin last year that 'Russia would either return to the group of leading world nations or disappear.'"

I wonder if Russia's angst depend on its efforts to be in Asia at the same time as it is in Europe? That magical border region of the Urals. It would interest me to know how the Russians of the European Russia relate to the Eastern domains of the country. Ever since St. Petersburg they have aspired to become Europeanized. Stalin's intrusion into Europe during World War II is an other example.

Putin does not seem to accept that Russia, or rather the Soviet Union, used the wrong economic model and thus lost speed. He wants to dominate or otherwise it does not matter. Slowly rebuilding and trying to be friendly is apparently not an option. When they still had their oil money last year they were hopelessly agitating.

There are also indications that Russia wants to have a sphere of interest, i.e., the former satellite states. Knowing what happened to me with a suppressed learning ability over the years it is easy to envision that they want to suppress this area, for security reasons, using the same technology? Especially since they tend to have higher GDPs per capita than Russia itself. Honestly, why would they be interested in outcompeting satellites as a buffer zone?

Another question is of course how much angst comes from the Chinese border which lacks buffer states? From the above it is reasonable to assume that Russia would become mentally squeezed between a more developed China and EU.

China and Iran?

Uighur Unrest: 140 Killed in Ethnic Riots in China - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International: "Deadly riots in the remote northwestern province of Xinjiang have left at least 140 dead, Chinese officials say. The unrest is the deadliest outbreak of violence in years in a region where ethnic tensions between the Muslim Uighur community and China's Han majority are never far from the surface."

It was only 25 dead in Iran! Iran is an Observer in Shanghai Cooperation Organization that association with a logo with text in Chinese characters and the Cyrillic alphabet. I believe China has just made a precedent for how to deal with societal problems to its prospective members.


A small presentation of myself

Some people might wonder why I interest myself so much in what happens in the US. One reason is definately that I lived and worked there which among other things resulted in two American children and an American wife Magdalena Blaszczyk-Thurin, Ph.D. My wife was Polish before naturalization. My daughter Kristina just graduated College and my son Alexander is still in College. In my understanding I'm still married. Since I'm prevented from working in Sweden and forced to accept being "sjukskriven", incapable of working due to disease, this means I would be supported by my wife. In sickness and in health. For rich and for poor, etc. You don't get welfare in Sweden with an American wife that has a well paid job.

My father Erik I. Thurin was, he died 2005, also an American since many years. He made his Ph.D. in English at the University of Minnesota on the American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson and remarried which means I have an American stepmother Susan Thurin, Ph.D. They both worked at a College in Wisconsin called Stout State University situated in Menomonie, a small place some 1 hours drive from Minneapolis-St. Paul.

I myself came to The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, in 1984 after having spent 2.5 years after Läkarexamen on my Ph.D. in Medical Biochemistry. It was a gamble to leave before completing my Ph.D. but the offer was very challenging. I started as a staff member on a position called Associate Scientist and became Assistant Professor after 1.5 years which in a sense meant that I graduated to a Ph.D level in 1985. Things went very well. I became Associate Professor in 1991.

To make a long story short. In 1991 strange things started to happen. Things went bad and I decided to go to Sweden to finish my M.D. by working for 22 mth as a physician on an internship in 1993. This career move was in theory very good. It would direct my career more towards biology and I would even get paid during this study period. The problem was, as I discovered later, I was in a so called "bubble" and could not really engage with any person for real. Now I also know that I have been learning inhibited all this time. I did manage to pass a test for internship in medicine though after studying for half a year.

After half a year, in January 1994 my sister Ann Kjellberg, Ph.D., and former brother-in-law Anders Thurin, both physicians, decided I was mentally ill and forced me to accept accommodation at the psychiatric rehabilitation ward at Linköping where I lived then. I have learned since then that this is a procedure to contain TTDE problematic people in Sweden. Arrange so that when they start talking about hearing voices they can be diagnosed as schizophrenics. I did not get to know about TTDE until 1998 though. I was studying medicine full time during the stay of three months and then I moved to a student dormitory. That was in essence good bye to my sister.

When I realized that I would never get any internship I started on a different career. I began studying privately for a degree in International Politics and Economy. This is what I in essence is still doing even if the going is slow due to my handicap.

As I told you already, I'm a new kind of prisoner and I now live with my mother Inga-Lena Thurin since 3.5 years. My mother started her career as a midwife but became a headmaster for Vårdskolan in Göteborg. A school that educated nurses aids.

The Christian Democrats?

Dick Erixon — I hjärtat rebell: "Störst effekt har nihilismen haft på välfärdsstaten. När bidragssystem av olika slag byggdes upp under 1900-talet fanns den gamla moralen kvar om att det var fel att kräva bidrag, det var något som kom i fråga i yttersta nödfall när alla andra vägar prövats. Men efter 1968 fick nihilismen genomslag också i medborgarnas tänkande, och då började man kräva bidrag, eftersom det ju fanns bidragssystem att mjölka."

From reading his blog I have found that Erixon is apparently a conservative who think crime should be punished harder and possibly in younger years. He wants immigrants to assimilate completely to preserve what he believes is the Swedish character. But I did not know that he was also a cynic that believes that people on welfare live on other peoples expenses just because they are mean and lazy.

Charlie Weimers, the leader of the youth organization of Kristdemokraterna, and Erixon apparently seem to believe that all people in a country are able to take responsibility for their lives. This is in all probability not a correct assumption and amounts to a lack of empathy.

There has been a lot of writings about a party lately that is rather small and that some people believe have the potential of growing extensively which seems unrealistic. It seems Kristdemokraterna is and will be a small party. My question has been if it is not time to fuse the four right wing parties to an alliance. The points recently given by Poirier Martinsson seems to be valid for many different parties and I don't see how they would define a functional party by themselves. In his case it would be necessary to have a charismatic leader to join all these people under one banner.

Henrik Oscarsson has a graph of the polls on KD since 2006 and one finds a negative trend from 5% down to 4%. I agree with PJ Linder that this should not be the reason for joining forces in an alliance of the four parties but a more compelling reason is that there are simply not so many large differences among these entities to risk loosing governance 2010. Especially since the Left party is involved in the Red-Green alliance. Another reason would be that the Centerparti is also on a low negative trend risking a below 4% result in the election 2010.

Roland Poirier Martinsson's population also seems to passive. I lack the entrepreneurial spirit and risktaking ability that would characterize a viable concept. I don't know why he is including snuff in this picture. Maybe to see if someone is ridiculous enough to discuss it? I think EU is right on snuff. The stuff is disgusting and it is good that they stop it.

Another characteristic of the conservative Erixon is that he dislikes the media or "tyckareliten" or "mediavänstern". Too moral apparently. The question is how he can claim this when he himself wants to tell people what is right and wrong. Erixon is perhaps a little too much black or white in his writings?

Sarah Palin's career change

Op-Ed Columnist - Now, Sarah’s Folly - NYTimes.com: "She can better “effect change” in government from outside government."

Maureen Dowd doesn't like Sarah Palin. I picked this article because of the citation above. It is indeed an interesting idea that for Palin to be a better Senator or Vice President or President work outside government might be better. I don't understand all the negative remarks that speak of an erratic move by Palin.

Krauthammer pointed out that Palin was still very young and that she might be aiming for the 2016 election rather than the 2012. She will apparently only be 52 years old in 2016.

The critique she is getting is highly illogical. All the complaints she got earlier cannot be fixed if she stays on the local governor job...with five kids. She instead needs to work herself up to a firm national position in some other fashion.

Good luck to Sarah Palin!


Vad är socialdemokrati? - www.socialdemokraterna.se .: "Vi socialdemokrater anser att frihet förutsätter jämlikhet. Jämlikhet innebär att alla människor, oavsett vad, ska ges samma möjlighet att forma sitt eget liv och påverka sitt samhälle. Denna jämlikhet förutsätter givetvis att människor har rätt att välja och utvecklas olika, men utan att dessa olikheter leder till en del människors underordning eller klyftor mellan människor i fråga om makt och inflytande."

This is complete nonsense. I got curious about how the Social Democrats define freedom after reading that Mona Sahlin says that freedom concerns welfare in Anna König Jerlmyrs blog. I do believe that preventing poverty gives peace of mind to people that in this sense can be called more free. However, freedom does not require "jämlikhet" or equality defined as in this text, i.e., as some miraculous equalizer that rends all men on the same level and non-dependent on each other.

To start with freedom does not mean the same thing for all people. There are leaders and there are followers, for example. They claim that "people should have the right to choose and to develop differently" but the way they have set up the school system demonstrates that the don't live like they teach. Jan Björklund have changed that to the better now. He finally put Procrustes, the bandit from Attica, to rest.


Obama is opening the crown of the Statute of Liberty

At the Pinnacle of Liberty, Feeling a Bit Confined - NYTimes.com: "The statue was restored for its centennial in 1986, and has undergone other restorations since then. The torch, soaring about 306 feet above the foundation, has been closed since 1916, when German saboteurs blew up a munitions depot at the nearby Black Tom Wharf in New Jersey."

Some terrorists shut the statute down because of 9/11 in 2001. Liberty takes the back-seat of security again and again. Today the statue is reopened for Americans and for the people of the world. It was partly opened in 2004.

We see the effect of the 9/11 catastrophe here in Sweden with the FRA law. How much does the open society need to protect itself? Where do you set the limits? In the US they are now apparently so far away from 9/11 that the Statute of Liberty is no longer considered a target. How many years for AfPak to clear?

The trend against closing society might be slowly reversing in the US but what is the situation here in Sweden. Do people talk about freedom? Do they aspire to the same amount of security as the US with out the same amount of threat of terrorism?

Freedom and risk are connected. I used to in-line a few years ago. I used the bicycle path despite not having any brakes. A summer night at 20 m/h having the wind caressing your body is one measurement of freedom. If risk is not so important. What about responsibility then? With in-lining it was always possible to leave the path if it got too crowded. It would hurt but it was a real possibility.

The article I'm citing displays a whiff of ridicule of people wanting to honor freedom at Liberty Island. Is it not possible any longer for The New York Times to talk seriously about freedom? Is it so far away? Are the "siloviks" laughing at you? You want to be part of high society? For us common folks, however, freedom is still important. Some of us don't even know they have been robbed of it.

Happy 4th of July

Here is a 4th of July greeting from The Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


To criminalize a whole youth generation?

So called pirate copying involves the desire to, for no cost, procure music and films for personal consumption. The Pirate Party have apparently benefited from individuals so inclined. For example they got a lot of new members after the verdict on The Pirate Bay case.

Since I have not ever copied any film or any music, I would like to be provocative, for the sake of argument.

Why do we have a whole generation of suspected criminals on our hands? Could it be that their parents and grandparents are equally culpable? They have been doing something criminal as well. They have been utilizing a new technology that officially does not exist--the technology that does not exist (TTDE)--on people that does not know it exists.

Children tend to do what you do, not what you suggest verbally.

Therefore it is possible to see that the Pirates are gaining ground. They have silent benefactors.


The Integrity Party?

Sanna Rayman and Katrine Kielos asked Rick Falkvinge, the party leader of Piratpartiet, some questions about his party in Korseld, a program on SvD Webb TV. Sanna Rayman asked why they did not call the party The Integrity Party instead, mindful of the criminal taste of the word pirate.

He claimed that the name Piratpartiet was a necessity for their success. He would not have been in Almedalen if not for this name. The 19 and a half minutes long interview dealt very little with integrity as it turned out.

Let me predict something. Freedom of thought, the integrity of mind, might just become one of the more important concepts in the future. I have detailed why earlier in my blog.

The Western world currently face competition by authoritative dictatorships, notably China. I'm less concerned about Russia but we might feel them since they are so close by. Somewhat worried that the Chinese have found an socioeconomic model that would outperform ours one might turn to the concept of freedom and the pursuit of happiness to find consolation that we are still on the right track.

The question I ask myself is if an answer to this problem is found in political philosophy or in biology. If I have understood matters correctly, John Locke used biology to lay the ground for liberalism. This was in the end of the 17th century. Have this concept been improved recently?

People are starting to support ways of optimizing human potential rather than talking of democracy, like for example Caroline Glick at The Jerusalem Post when she cited Hillary Clinton, President Obama's Secretary of State. Based on what I know, I could speculate that it is possible to "stabilize" people and that this implies a new government praxis--towards authoritative.

This stabilization has everything to do with human integrity. Do we want to enter such a race of robotization of humanity? Or should we trust our instincts--pursuit of happiness.