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Links 2/10/12

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Golfer stabbed in the leg after trying to play through Yahoo (hat tip Lambert)

Psychologists fear US manual will widen mental illness diagnosis Guardian (hat tip reader John L)

Steve Jobs FBI File Notes Past Drug Use, Tendency to ‘Distort Reality Bloomberg

iEmpire: Apple’s Sordid Business Practices Are Even Worse Than You Think AlterNet

Nokia ends phone assembly in Europe, cuts 4,000 jobs Associated Press (hat tip reader Aquifer)

Are ‘sweatshops’ an economic necessity? CNN

Eurozone dismisses Greek budget deal Financial Times

In Europe, Stagnation as a Way of Life New York Times

Self-Interest and the Pathology of Power: the Corruption of America Part 2 Charles Hugh Smith

Repulsive progressive hypocrisy Glenn Greenwald

About my ‘spilled semen’ amendment to Oklahoma’s Personhood bill Guardian (hat tip reader John L)

Follow my leader: A group’s “intelligence” depends in part on its members’ ignorance Economist (hat tip reader May S)

Double Double — The Absolute Simplest Look at Wages and Pensions Angry Bear (hat tip reader Aquifer)

Unprecedented Regulator Complaints to Change Volcker IFLR (hat tip reader Michael C). Get this: the foreign central banks are being treated as independent of the banks they regulate, even in countries where the banking system is obviously undercapitalized (meaning the ECB)

This is no bailout for Main Street America Guardian

Foreclosure Deal to Spur U.S. Home Seizures Bloomberg. This isn’t as clear as the story would have you believe. Servicers have also been dragging their feet on foreclosures already initiated.

Housing deal set to boost US economy Financial Times. This piece is embarrassing. First page of the FT, and the author does not even understand how the deal works. There is no drain on banks: 1. The majority of the money will come from investors (that’s how you get to the $40 billion total he cites v. the $26 billion in the official PR) and 2. The banks have ALREADY reserved for the deal. Plus 3. He clearly has no grip on the magnitude of the shadow inventory. An NYT piece also missed the point clearly messaged by Shaun Donovan over the weekend: the Administration wants, even prefers, mods of investor owned mortgages, since the fact that they get only 50% credit means they will lead to more mods.

Your Humble Blogger on NBC News. I haven’t had time to look, but readers say Andrew Ross Sorkin looked mighty uncomfortable.

Settlement Does Not Apply To ‘Mortgage Practices Industry Wide,’ American Bankers CEO Says Financial Fraud Law

Why the Foreclosure Deal May Not Be So Hot After All Matt Taibbi. Not many people will admit they might have gotten something wrong, particularly in such a public way.

K&L Gates Launches Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. You cannot make this up. This is written to create the impression that this law firm, which kept maintaining that nothing was wrong with securitization industry practice and people who said otherwise were alarmists or worse, has now launched a practice to defend banks and individuals targeted by the Federal investigations.

Keep taking the testosterone Financial Times. Aieee!

Antidote du jour:

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95 comments

  1. KFritz

    Re: Foxconn/Apple

    What about conditions in factories that supply HP, Dell, Acer, Samsung, etc, etc? Is Apple an egregious violater or just one of the crowd?

    1. vlade

      Very likely it isn’t. But there are two things that work against Apple.

      First, economically, it’s margins are huge, and is sitting on a pile of cash for which it hasn’t found use for a few years. So it could drop the price, increase what it pays to suppliers (even to the point where it may be feasible to have some suppliers in US), or even return the money to the investors. As it it, it’s squeezing the suppliers achieving perfectly nothing.

      Secondly, Apple is extremely smug, selfcongratulatory, unable to admit mistakes yadayadayad and it gets on people’s nerves.

      Someone so bumbling as HP is just considered incompetent, so their evil is a copycat one, me-too evil rather than the cold calculating one.

      Overall, I’d argue that Apple in this is about as evil as your average bank, the difference is that with bank I expect it – it’s almost part of the business model now, and if you get into water with sharks, you’d better be careful. Apple had a choice.

      1. LD

        It is widely known that Jobs was a psychopathic dictatorial-styled manager, publicly humiliating his EEs at corp-wide mtgs denoting his expectations “betrayed,” and that their performances were “pitiful” and “stupid” etc etc etc. So, from the Alternet piece, parts of FC do not fall far from the Jobs Apple tree:

        “The details of the internship program paint a far more disturbing picture than the Times does of how Foxconn, “the Chinese hell factory,” treats its workers, relying on public humiliation, military discipline, forced labor and physical abuse as management tools to hold down costs and extract maximum profits for Apple.”

    2. craazyman

      one of the crowd.

      I work for a company that tries to persuade corporations to adopt global vendor standards policies, human rights policies, environmental best practices, etc. I’ve talked at length with folks there about Apple/Foxconn.

      Apple is not unique, except for the sanctimonius too-cute-for-words preening that seems to be their marketing spin.

      and the cult-like deification — even before he passed — of their recently deceased fearless leader.

      why do the Chinese organize their society to permit this stuff? that’s an equally valid question. why don’t they “just say no”? hmmmm. why don’t we “just say no” to our banksters? sleeping is so much easier than being awake.

      1. aet

        China needs to create 23 million new jobs every year just to stay in place, and to head off social unrest.

        Any job is better than no job: a truth which too many people forget, especially when their own bellies are full.

        1. craazyman

          there’s a billion of them.

          why can’t they cooperate with each other in a way that offers broad-based prosperity to themselves?

          they don’t need anybody’s “free trade”, if their social organizational structures and beliefs were different. they have all they need to live and thrive.

          The need for sweatshops to climb the economic ladder is yet another of the overly numerous absurdities of contemporary economic reasoning — the need for an “outside realm” to “trade” with for “mutual enrichment” is another.

          What if there were only a billion people in the world? How could they possibly “grow their economy” without another world? By selling crap to aliens from outer space for payment in astral dollars? The need for an “other” to act as a foil to “us” is such an archetype.

          The dicussion around economic development & sweatshops is so absurd it’s almost too stupid to continue to pay any attention to. Why I do, I don’t know. I guess it just gets me somehwere to think of the Chinese girls there, bent over their stupid tables killing themselves. I imagine if it was my mom there, forced to do that, and it makes me mad. What if I get reincarnated as a Foxconn girl. Holy Shit! Whoa! I’d hope that some blockhead in America said “F-ck that. It’s wrong.” It’s not much, but it’s a little.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The Confucians thought so. They destroyed all of Admiral Zheng He’s Treasure Boats, thinking China had everything she needed. And guess what, they had been right for over 2,000 years, when they didn’t have tyrants.

            Then came the Westerners who showed the Chinese the First Mover disadvantage – you invented it only to have others improved on it – with superior fire arms.

            Then came Mao who also believed in self-sufficiency. At one time, during the Great Leap Forward, I belive, he had farmers making domestic steel in the coutnryside, without the help of comrade USSR. Lots of steel, not so prime quality though.

            So, Deng followed Mao and you know the rest of the story.

            The point of the post? Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

            The whole thing (capitalism, communism, feudalism, neoconservatism, globalism, etc) is just one big experiment and when it doesn’t turn out too bad,…well, at least according to the official history, it’s called progress.

            But that (whether it turned out horribly or not so horribly) is not the key issue. The key issue here is that they experiment with us without permission.

          2. Susan the other

            Beef: I think I remember wondering about all those crappy little back yard forges. I thought that they were smelters; just smelting ingots of various metals valued in international trade. Subsistence smelting. When I puzzled over this weirdness, I thought it was zinc. But it could have been any of the rare earths, really. Why hasn’t anyone looked at this, or described it?

      2. dangermouse

        Have you looked at Apple’s profits?

        Apple is one of the crowd the way Don Corleone was just one of the gang.

        1. another

          “You’re taking this very personal. Tom, this is business and this man is taking it very, very personal.”

      3. svaha

        I do think it’s interesting that when Apple’s 1984 advertisement aired, they were an underdog company that was ‘fighting the system’.

        Yet, ultimately, the FoxConn plant looks more like the 1984 reality than any other building ever created.

        I do think that some of the old school ‘big players’ are very happy that Apple is receiving so much attention for this. I don’t think you can buy ANY HDTV, smart phone, game device, laptop or tablet made in good working conditions thee days.

    3. Roger Bigod

      All of Foxcomm’s customers profit from the working conditions, not just Apple. They’re the whipping boy because of the ironic contrast between the cute elegance of the marketing image and the nasty reality. Their pile of cash and market valuation adds to the fun. It’s easy to forget that not so long ago they were on the edge of bankruptcy and were kept on life support because Bill Gates needed a competitor to point to in his antitrust cases.

      The issues here are ancient. The Industrial Revolution involved two rounds of exploitation. First the cotton was raised under a setup we’re all familiar with from history classes. This was a bonanza for the slave owners for a while, but the value of the slaves was amortized, so that by 1860 they carried a lot of debt. The cotton was shipped to Manchester, where the high-tech nerds of the time had invented the weaving machines. It cut orders of magnitude off the process cost, but still required tens of thousands of workers to do the scut work. By the time of Textiles 3.0, working conditions were famously awful, so much so that a Mr. Engels wrote a book on the plight of the “Working Class” and alerted his buddy Karl to the problem. Fortunes were made, but not as much as one would expect from the volume of trade, because there was enough free-market competition that nobody could hold a source of rents for long. In one analysis, the winners were the customers in the UK and Western Europe who got cheap, well-made clothes at a lower price than they were used to. Probably elegant and cute too, though retro funk now.

      So should the consumers have boycotted the products of the dark satanic mills? They didn’t have Twitter and the NYT (for which they were better off), but would it have made a difference?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Would it make any difference?

        Would having NYT make any difference? Probably not.

        Would boycotting make any difference? I hope so.

    1. Jessica

      Thank you for posting this link. I recommend this article to anyone interested in this discussion, especially if you read the Hedges article.
      I found Graeber’s article challenging, in the good sense, because my own instincts lie more with Chris Hedges and I respect him, but Graeber makes his case extremely well. He presents information that I was not aware of and organizes it in a way that allows me to digest it in my own way. He does not try to bludgeon me into conforming to his interpretation. Also, the manner in which he takes issue with Chris Hedges’ piece, without demonizing or condescending or mocking, is a model of mature political discussion within the same side.

    2. Goin' South

      Graeber’s reply is excellent.

      I remain completely baffled by Hedges’ rant. It is completely inconsistent with his own expressed admiration for Wobblies like Big Bill Haywood, who definitely believed in a diversity of tactics.

      I had a personal opportunity to witness the real “cancer on Occupy” at a recent meeting in my city. The young Occupiers had called a group together to consider the call for a May 1 General Strike. Present were the usual suspects from the “Liberal Class” that Hedges so rightly despises: AFL-CIO bureaucrats; religious do-gooders, etc. Predictably, the meeting went nowhere. The reps of these groups wanted to shunt everything into identity politics, demonstrating against Republicans and phone-banking for Democrats. When I half-jokingly said we (an IWW GMB) would be happy to show up for an action and asked if it would be OK if we brought our red and black flag, these “progressives” responded not with a friendly laugh but with horror.

      Hedges knows better who the real problem is. I hope he reconsiders that piece.

    3. ohmyheck

      Link to response from Anarchist website:

      http://greycoast.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/things-were-smashed-and-rightfully-so/#respond

      Personally, I am thoroughly unimpressed. They come across as bigots and are biting the hand that feeds them. If they want to disassociate themselves with Occupy, they should go ahead. Just how successful were they before Occupy gave them a platform? Not very. More links:

      http://greycoast.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/the-need-for-radicals-to-say-goodbye-to-occupy/

      http://greycoast.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/the-folly-of-christopher-hedges/

      The door swings both ways……

    4. lambert strether

      This from ChicagoLand is more nuanced both on Graeber and on Hedges.

      One question: “Black Bloc is a tactic, not a group.” How does one know, if they’re masked? I don’t see how this can be verified, one way or another. One could model them as a group if consistent activities and forms of discourse were there. Or not.

      A second question: ““diversity of tactics” means leaving such matters up to individual conscience, rather than imposing a code on anyone. OK, so DoT overrides a GA? So what is the GA for? As a connoisseur of weasel wording for many years, that’s exactly what “diversity of tactics” sounds like to me. In fact, it sounds very much like the infinitely flexible free market,” where power asymmetries between actors are ignored, tranparency is assumed, accountability for actors is assumed. One translation of “diversity of tactics” is “too many cooks spoil the soup,” especially when one cook is adding vegetables, another is adding meat, and the soup was billed to the general public as vegetarian. “But my conscience told me to add meat,” says the cook. Alright, but what now?

      Finally I agree that Hedge’s eliminationist rhetoric is wrong; Graeber justly calls bullshit on it. In America, violence is pervasively justified and seen as always rational. Hedges seems to fall into that trap. Unfortunately, I’d argue that Graeber does as well, since at least for some readers, violence against the police is justified — as it is against videographers, aka “snitches” to some in Oakland — and Graeber carefully measures Hedges for a “Peace Police” uniform. (Actually, I’m glad to see this, since if Graeber allows that Hedges is of the police, even if metaphorically, and is also of good conscience, as Graeber admits, that allows for the possibility that police are part of the 99%, not “pigs,” and so forth. So that’s a good outcome.)

      1. reslez

        You want to compare Occupy to the Civil Rights movement. You think you can win the same way. But elites have always been willing to concede on social issues. When it comes to money, they respond with private armies.

        OK, so DoT overrides a GA?

        Yup. Individual conscience always overrides a GA. Are you implying it shouldn’t? Fine, but how do you intend to enforce the GA’s decision? “People in masks aren’t allowed at the GA”? Ok, what if they show up anyway? When the GA reaches consensus, but rocks are still thrown?

        A movement that requires saints who get pepper sprayed in the face and stand by with stoic calm while police chuck shock grenades at their heads is not going to expand to the larger population. The authoritarian one-third think those people are losers. People with kids in strollers saw that video. They’re not taking little Ethan and Hannah.

        So what is the GA for?

        It’s certainly not for imposing its will on those who disagree. And it can’t compel obedience… unless it adopts the very coercion it stands against. Even when the GA comes out against violence, there still will be some small amount of it. Then the media paints the GA as hypocritical and/or powerless and police violence used against the GA remains perfectly justified. (For a huge percentage of the population, police violence is always justified. Why are you worried about what they think?) Concerned about mass reprisals from the police? Some moron breaks a window and the police break out the tear gas, and that scares off “all walks of life”. But the police are going to break out the tear gas anyway.

        Meanwhile you end up with endless self-righteous hand-wringing and self-appointed protest police beating up fellow protestors. If a couple people in black sweatshirts are capable of killing this movement, nothing can save it.

        Fight from a position you can win. The conversation should be about justice and right, not some non-existent hooligan army.

    5. agrrrpe

      What Hedges does best is be a seething ball of rage. His best story is how he beat up two punk kids and then felt bad real about it, when he was a pastor. He’s gone after atheists in the same demented tone. He’s trained as a theologian, which means only so much rationality and no more, so he doesn’t have Graeber’s analytical gimlet eye. Like Graeber says, it wasn’t all Satyagraha in the Raj – the Germans funded lots o’ violent self-determination there. Hey, if nonviolence worked so good, our government woulda knocked over Libya and Syria with that, instead of with CIA paramilitaries and extrajudicial executions and bombs.

      1. agrrrrpe

        Irony? I beg your pardon, due to my high ideals I am always achingly sincere. Re your probing question 2: A GA can decide things in minute detail, or a GA can decide things at a more general level. A GA does not have to proscribe tactics or mandate internecine sanctions. That would be kind of suicidal in a brutal regime like this one. Our Occupy buds are not Iranian tykes toddling through the minefields for Allah – gotta let em think for themselves, when they’re violently attacked by an illegitimate police state in breach of CAT Article 16 and CCPR Article 21.

        I really think people have no inkling of what it will take to bring this country back to the civilized world.

  2. G3

    Greenwald’s piece on tribalism and Economist piece on “follow the leader” seems related.

    When reading Greenwald’s piece, I was again reminded that progressives/liberals can be as tribal and hence, stupid and/or evil as conservatives/teabaggers. The liberal hypocrisy is stunning because after all they crow about how unlike Fox News loving conservatives/teabaggers, they are more informed, can think for themselves blah blah blah….
    And seems they also mimic the conservatives/teabaggers’ “it can’t happen to us” mentality.

    A poignant reminder of the rise of Nazis :
    “THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

    THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

    THEN THEY CAME for me
    and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

    1. aet

      Catapult that propaganda!

      There’s more than one way to skin the occupy cat…they need to be sure it goes nowhere!

      They’re too violent and radical!

      Oh no, they’re too “estblishment” and peaceful!

      Boo-hoo-hoo!

      Why not support the stable, clear, predictable and rational “war is always the answer” right-wingers instead?

      1. Paul Tioxon

        Does your cat look like Hitler? Do you see fascism, everywhere? You could be a radical with no one to vote for or believe in because of the psyops division of the over lords.

        http://www.catsthatlooklikehitler.com/cgi-bin/seigmiaow.pl

        Here, take this un-brainwashing quiz and free your mind so your ass will follow:

        http://www.gotoquiz.com/how_much_like_hitler_are_you

        And finally, to avoid being a decadent blogger resorting to Hitler, Hitler everywhere, Hitler in your underwear analysis please read George Orwells’s indispensable essay on urging people who write about politics to try to get over themselves and speak clearly:”Politics and the English Language,” 1946

        http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm

        An illuminating excerpt for your reading pleasure:

        “Many political words are similarly abused. The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies “something not desirable.” The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. Statements like Marshal Pétain was a true patriot, The Soviet press is the freest in the world, The Catholic Church is opposed to persecution, are almost always made with intent to deceive. Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian, science, progressive, reactionary, bourgeois, equality.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In addition to involving meaningless words, writing is like interior decoration – you just rearrange those meaningless words (factory pre-fabricated) like you would pieces of furniture, to be visually appealing, or even audibly appealing, if you have hi-tech talking furniture.

          That’s why interior decorators make the best writers in the world.

          Wait. I forget to mention dress-makers. All that cutting and pasting can train you to become a good writer as well.

        2. AccruedDisinterest

          Regarding Orwell’s wordsmithing prowess, and ‘Repulsive progressive hypocricy’, the new term to paint those who would point out Obomba’s transgressions is “purist”, best spoken while peering down-nose with a dismissive scoff.

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          Those cats don’t even rate on the “cats that look like HItler” spectrum. My mother’s first cat, Kitty, had a white face and a perfect Hitler mustache. She adopted it from the pound because she thought no one would.

          The cat was a neurotic mess, threw up a lot, and would sleep in the sofabed in a way that she was hard to detect when it would be folded back up, but it would cry during the folding up process (usually when she was getting compressed) and they reverse and let her out).

          That was OK until one day she didn’t make a noise soon enough and got killed. Fortunately this all took place before I was born. I don’t think I would have liked to see my mother and grandmother, who was the person who used the sofabed when visiting, as cat murderers.

      1. Praedor

        You can’t appeal to Gandhi. The Indian revolution was NOT peaceful. It had armed resistance AND Gandhian resistance. It also had Gandhi stating clearly and repeatedly that while he preferred non-violence, he never attacked those who used violence AND he preferred the use of violence over doing nothing.

        People need to get over the cartoonish hollywood version of the Indian revolution and Gandhi.

        Note something else: upon gaining India’s independence…why was there an Indian military? If Gandhi was all peace all the time no matter what, there would have been NO Indian military henceforth. Yet there was. Odd.

        No tactic is universally useful. No tactic can work in all circumstances at all times. That is magical thinking and thus nonsense to believe.

        1. RanDomino

          Not to mention the subsequent wars, massacres, terrorism, etc. Millions of people died. India has more people in squalid poverty than the entire population of the United States. But somehow Gandhi gets held up as this great example. The answer, I think, was that even though he essentially failed, his SOUL was apparently pure, which is all that some people care about.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            For some, it’s worse to kill a man’s soul and his/her body.

            I imagine they despise Hollywood.

          2. Lambert Strether

            Not sure what you’re saying here. Why does the state of anybody’s soul matter? Or is the argument that only violence advocates have pure souls? That US situation is like Indias? Not like Indias? That India is tex suxx0r therefore….

          3. RanDomino

            Lambert: I mean that ur-pacifists don’t care about outcomes, just morality. India has been a disaster for the entire history of its independence, but there’s this myth that Gandhi “won”. It’s the same mentality that thinks Jesus “won” even though the Jews were annihilated not long after- the people who have nothing but praise for Gandhi, MLK, and Jesus are Christians who place value only in the mythical hereafter.

            1. Lambert Strether

              I care about outcomes. That’s why I posted on Chenoweth. People can argue with the methodology, that’s fine, but I think it’s better to operate from a base of data than not. Sometimes, it’s like India’s the only country that ever was, and Ghandi the only practitioner.

          1. Praedor

            I do not denounce Gandhi. I denounce the West’s cartoonish vision of what actually happened. I denounce revisionist history. I denounce pretty lies people tell themselves as truth. I denounce puritanism in all forms.

            Oh, and I’ll fight to the death against any pacifist that seeks to force pacifism on me. Of course, it would be an easy fight. :)

            1. Lambert Strether

              Well, I don’t think that anybody ever said that non-violence advocates were saints or didn’t make tactical errors. IIRC, the GA had said the march was to be non-violent, so the vandals — unless we go into parsing of words, here — broke GA discipline. I don’t think that response was appropriate, given the outcomes, but fortunately the incident was filmed. Which is why I look at efforts in #oo to shutdown videographers with a lot of suspicion. If we don’t have transparency, what do we have?

  3. Rex

    The link to that NBC news TV video, where Yves appears briefly, must be seriously edited from what was broadcast, as Sorkin isn’t in it at all.

    I didn’t see it on TV so can’t tell how much is gone.

  4. Foppe

    I posted this link yesterday as well, but it may be that it got a bit lost being fairly far down the comment list. Also, the link was dead for most of the day yesterday. It’s Graeber’s response to Hedges’s attempt to demonize “black blocs” as being the “cancer in Occupy”. To summarize, in that piece Hedges fairly oddly denounces all violent actions (even though in 2010 he praised the Greeks for being willing to use it in moderation), and he suggests that only “the” black bloc engages in violence, and that all violent actions that occur during protests can be traced back to them and blamed on them.

    Graeber offers some background on what purposes black bloc sections of protests tend to serve and why they are dressed in black, and on the discussion surrounding the choice to try for peaceful protests. He suggests that Hedges is wildly exaggerating the problems caused by those sections, that he does not appreciate the role they play in protecting the rest of the protest, and that he is misinformed in his suggestion that “black bloc anarchists” hate/despise peaceful protesters, and that they draw their inspiration from Zerzan. (He also provides some info on what happened in Seattle.)
    The only thing he sort of leaves open is the problem of “agents provocateur” mentioned by Hedges, but apart from that it should dispel the notion that the “black bloc” is a “cancer” that must be “rooted out”.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Well, you can set up a process that makes it really, really easy for these guys, like (a) masks, (b)an ideology where personal autonomy trumps GA decision making, and (c) a self-licking ice cream cone of common proclivity for escalation, let us say, or you can try to set up a situation that makes all of that more difficult.

          I’m not a purist. I don’t recall saying that agent provocateurs would go away; that’s straw manning.

        2. ScottS

          I’m sorry, but that’s absurd. A group of masked people doing violent or at least aggressive things are just thugs on a petty power-trip with no accountability.

          Take off the masks and do your violence. No takers? I didn’t think so.

          And what does this violence achieve? Undecided people suddenly deciding against Occupiers.

          Black Block: take off your masks and have your own protests. Don’t be such cowards hiding behind bandanas and Occupiers.

          AND THEN, there’s the agents provocateur problem. You’re saying that cleaning up a big mess won’t send roaches scurrying elsewhere, they’ll just stand there in plain sight. I’m not buying it.

          AND THEN, there’s the question of effectiveness. Watch the YouTube videos of Davis protesters being sprayed in the face with pepper spray, and Berkeley women being beaten with billy clubs. Tell me that’s not infinitely more powerful than watching jackbooted thugs throwing trashcans through windows. I know whose side I’m on. I’m sold on non-violence.

          1. RanDomino

            Good news! That’s already happened. In fact, black bloc-esque people have been independently engaging in petty vandalism AWAY from Occupy events, with none AT (or even near) Occupy events since that ONE time three and a half months ago. By every indication it’s going to stay that way. So, there’s nothing to complain about.

  5. dearieme

    That golf story is horrible. When will Americans learn the difference between a foursome and a fourball?

  6. pghman

    The NBC piece referred to Yves Smith as Susan Webber, in the caption under her image. Who is the real author of this blog?

      1. pghman

        I didn’t realize Yves Smith was pen name. But thanks for informing me of that fascinating concept of “Nom de plume” instead of just saying, “Yves Smith is a pen name.”

        1. scraping_by

          You may have been mislead by the absence of any ink implement involved in the process.

          Nom-de-keyboard? Oui?

  7. René

    RE: Matt Taibbi. Not many people will admit they might have gotten something wrong, particularly in such a public way.

    To paraphrase Richard Dawkins: To be proven wrong is the scientific ideal. You should be rejoicing in been shown wrong and that scientific truth has been advanced.

    We are not dealing with science here but I would say you could apply the scientific ideal to journalism, especially so as there are many, many “scientist” providing us with CLAPTRAP.

    1. MontanaMaven

      I find Taibbi’s ability to say he was wrong both refreshing and very mature (Hello Chris Hedges). However, I liked this comment on his Rolling Stone blog piece as another possible explanation:

      Matthew Weidner |5 hours, 10 minutes ago

      I read it on the front page of NY Times, “SEAL TEAM 6 RESCUES MATT TAIBBI IN DARING MIDNIGHT RAID ON GOLDMAN SACHS HEADQUARTERS” He had apparently been held hostage and forced to write cheer leading pieces for the banks and Obama. thank you for rescuing him boys!

      Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/why-the-foreclosure-deal-may-not-be-so-hot-after-all-20120209#ixzz1lzpxcM2W

      1. Aquifer

        Actually, considering Taibbi’s usual fair prior to his mini-stroke, i would think it more likely that Seal Team 6 would be dispatched to dispense with him …

    2. Doug Terpstra

      I was glad to see Taibbi’s mea culpa too, though it was a bit tepid, without the obvious indictment of the Obama adminstration. At least he referenced Yves’ “12 reasons to hate the settlement” and noted she’s been right all the way through.

  8. René

    RE: Psychologists fear US manual will widen mental illness diagnosis, Guardian

    “Til Wykes, professor of clinical psychology at Kings College London, said: “The proposals in DSM-5 are likely to shrink the pool of normality to a puddle with more and more people being given a diagnosis of mental illness.”

    The American Psychiatric Association strongly defends DSM-5.”

    Diagnosis: Clinical PSYCHOpathic behaviour has been detected within The American Psychiatric Association.

    1. John L

      It’s Catch 22 backwards. Only a crazy person would appear normal in this society. The rest of us are mentally ill and need to be medicated.

      How many big pharma and insurance industry reps on that board? Or doctors who take money from them?

      1. aet

        Most people in jail in the USA suffer from mental illnesses, you know.

        The USA denies mental illness exists – they think it’s a something for religion to deal with!

        1. John L

          Do you read any of the articles before you comment? It’s considered courteous on this blog to do so, so that you understand the context in which other comments are made, and can keep your comments relevant. Thank you for your attention.

        2. scraping_by

          Actually, the USA believes strongly in mental illness, as long as there are expensive pharmaceutical involved. If you can pair the behavior with a drug, it’s real. Otherwise, it’s neurotic.

          Morality only applies to economics, as in, welfare queens and job creators. Public service and deadbeats. And so on.

      2. nobody

        For DSM-IV:

        “Of the 170 DSM panel members 95 (56%) had one or more financial associations with companies in the pharmaceutical industry. One hundred percent of the members of the panels on ‘Mood Disorders’ and ‘Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders’ had financial ties to drug companies. The leading categories of financial interest held by panel members were research funding (42%), consultancies (22%) and speakers bureau (16%). Conclusions: Our inquiry into the relationships between DSM panel members and the pharmaceutical industry demonstrates that there are strong financial ties between the industry and those who are responsible for developing and modifying the diagnostic criteria for mental illness. The connections are especially strong in those diagnostic areas where drugs are the first line of treatment for mental disorders.”

        http://www.tufts.edu/~skrimsky/PDF/DSM%20COI.PDF

        1. Sock Puppet

          You’re nobody till somebody loves you. Thanks for doing the spade work, much appreciated. Why am I not surprised by what you dug up?

      3. René

        @ John L

        “It’s Catch 22 backwards. Only a crazy person would appear normal in this society. The rest of us are mentally ill and need to be medicated.”

        Philsopher-psychatrist Erich Fromm and Aldous Huxley on our societies;

        Our contemporary Western society, in spite of its material, intellectual and political progress, is in­creasingly less conducive to mental health, and tends to undermine the inner security, happiness, reason and the capacity for love in the individual; it tends to turn him into an automaton who pays for his human failure with increasing mental sickness, and with despair hidden under a frantic drive for work and so-called pleasure.

        Our “increasing mental sickness” may find expres­sion in neurotic symptoms. These symptoms are con­spicuous and extremely distressing. But “let us beware,” says Dr. Fromm, “of defining mental hygiene as the prevention of symptoms. Symptoms as such are not our enemy, but our friend; where there are symp­toms there is conflict, and conflict always indicates that the forces of life which strive for integration and happiness are still fighting.” The really hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. “Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been si­lenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does.” They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their per­fect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted, still cherish “the illusion of indi­viduality,” but in fact they have been to a great extent deindividualized. Their conformity is developing into something like uniformity. But “uniformity and free­dom are incompatible. Uniformity and mental health are incompatible too. . . . Man is not made to be an automaton, and if he becomes one, the basis for mental health is destroyed.”

        In the course of evolution nature has gone to endless trouble to see that every individual is unlike every other individual. We reproduce our kind by bringing the father’s genes into contact with the mother’s. These hereditary factors may be combined in an al­most infinite number of ways. Physically and mentally, each one of us is unique. Any culture which, in the interests of efficiency or in the name of some political or religious dogma, seeks to standardize the human individual, commits an outrage against man’s biological nature.

        http://www.huxley.net/bnw-revisited/#overorg

    2. Praedor

      Hey, they are simply protecting their jobs. The DSM-5 is a jobs program for shrinks. If virtually EVERYONE is nutsy-cookoo then their jobs are safe!

      Big Pharma will also certainly be pleased. Hundreds of disorders that need drugs conjured from thin air!

      It is a ghastly thought when one starts to think that Scientologists may actually be right about shrinkology (*shudder*).

    3. Praedor

      All those poor shrinks were discombobulated after 9/11. They were just so certain that people are fragile and New Yorkers would just be total mental wrecks and broken (and in need of their services) forevermore. Sadly, it turned out that most people got over it. People turned out to be much more resilient and vastly less mentally fragile than they thought (hoped).

      No surprise to those of us who could see the absolute absurdity of the idea in the first place. Let’s see, humans of modern form have existed for ~200,000 yrs. For 99.9% of those years humans lived lives that were so many orders of magnitude HARDER and more brutal than ANYONE experiences today, particularly in pampered “developed” nations…and yet here we are today. Ancient humans thrived and lived and continued in spite of predations and difficulties that makes 9/11 a true pathetic joke. Unless humans have truly become absolute pansies in a few short decades (evolution doesn’t operate that fast and one would hope not in that direction) of modern life then one should not be surprised that New Yorkers had actually little problem getting past 9/11 WITHOUT NEEDING DRUGS AND CONSTANT “THERAPY”.

      I hate shrinks and all they stand for. Candyasses.

    4. Tim Mason

      Also in the Guardian, an opinion piece by Richard Bentall. I strongly recommend his ‘Madness Explained’, which includes a devastating critique of DSM IV. For an account of how the drug industry, hand in hand with the psychiatric profession, has treated the insane, see ‘Anatomy of an Epidemic’ by Robert Whittaker.

  9. Max424

    Is China the wealthiest nation-state ever? Yeah, they are. With this small purchase, they nudged into first place all-time ahead of the Achaemenid Empire of Darius to Darius II.

    http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/China-Buys-Into-Portuguese-National-Power-Company-Politicians-Aghast.html

    I read two or three of these articles per week (sometimes two or three per day); China purchases some vital asset away from some stupid ass country. Could be anybody. Could be Portugal, could be the US. Doesn’t matter. All blind marks are equal in China’s eyes.

    This is my favorite so far, though. One Portuguese politician stands up for honor and country, and he is told he has “lost face,” because the vital national assets were sold, not for “peanuts,” but for real cash money.

    Real cash money (guffaw!). Something China has plenty of. Yup, China has what no other great nation-state has, or has ever had; the knowledge that it has a fiat currency, and more importantly, the knowledge that it has the ability to use this fiat currency as a sovereign weapon of mass acquisition.

    Note: Not only do they have the ability and the knowledge, but what lucky timing! Never before in history has a nation had such an opportunity as China has right now. They are BEYOND rich, at a time when the broke and prostrate nations of the West are holding fire sales … on everything, including their souls.

        1. René

          You could throw a grenate right smack in the middle of Europe and have all these little countries with their obscure languages and funny habbits DIVIDED so that you can CONQUER them :-)

    1. scraping_by

      Selling immovable sovereign assets has the one advantage that, with the right law, it’s a nationalized company and the colonizers can go jump. You might have to throw in a little nontraditional warfare, an insurgency or an Arab Spring, but nothing too good for the homefolks.

      Or is that socialism?

  10. Jeff

    “However, the DSM’s influence is uniquely strong in the United States, where the private healthcare system requires a diagnosis recognised by the manual for the patient to be considered legitimately ill and be reimbursed by the health insurer for any treatment.”

    So, how much influence does Big Pharma and the insurance industry have in this process? How Machiavellian are they?

    Homosexuality was once considered mental illness.
    Therefore insurance companies had to pay for treatment.
    No pills available, only “treatment”. Expensive treatment. How to save the insurance corporations hundreds of billions? “Normalize” homosexuality in the DSM.

    You DSMize OUT the conditions that are expensive to treat and DSMize IN the conditions where an inexpensive pill can be marketed and sold to the taxpayers via Medicare or to private insurance for the cost of a few cents to manufacture it.

    Who is media’s biggest advertiser after the car companies?
    Big Pharma. Think they have any influence on editorial policy?

  11. elliot

    I noted when Brian Williams ‘interviewed’ Andrew Ross Sorkin he referred to you Yves as “the woman in the setup piece” but in that piece they label you “Susan Webber” — they don’t seem to want to really listen to or further project what you are and have been saying. Perhaps they can photoshop the right name in later. Well keep it up then, loud and clear. More good energy, strength and health to you.

  12. Gareth

    If the Wall Street suits just stopped using cocaine they wouldn’t need the testosterone. They work long hours because the Bolivian marching-powder has them spinning their wheels.

    1. Praedor

      I would like to suggest they REALLY load up on the testosterone. We will all then be freed of their criminality and greed when they wipe each other out in uncontrolled testosterone rages.

      I’d pay to watch.

  13. Susan the other

    Why can’t we just put up a fence around Oklahoma and call it a reservation for insane white people?

    1. scraping_by

      The utility of a wedge issue lies, partly, in being completely personal/subjective yet powerfully emotional. You can keep a vague point like this dividing people without end. The point has to be kept alive, though, or reality and decency might break out.

      And be thoughtful of you Okie brethren. Imagine that full bore crazy not welded to the elite by fake patriotism, fake Christianity, fake fellow feeling, and the rest of the propaganda program, but turned towards self-defense. The book clubs are already on the side of the angels.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Looks like spring is here.

    A balanced antidote – a plant and one animal.

    I am feeling better.

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