Links Summer Solstice

Sorry for not having more posts or links, but my internet service was effectively down for two hours :-(

World’s oceans in ‘shocking’ decline BBC (hat tip reader May S)

In fight against floodwater, sand running out CBS (hat tip reader Tim C)

Dawn of Agriculture Took Toll On Health Science Daily (hat tip reader furzy mouse). I’ve heard this before, but good to see this information get more profile. Convenience and more predictability is not necessarily a boon!

WSJ and Al-Jazeera Lure Whistleblowers With False Promises of Anonymity EFF (hat tip reader Dimitris)

Popular Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox hacked, prices drop to pennies VentureBeat

Immigrant slashes throat to avoid being deported deported Independent (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Short-Term Greek Debt Yielding JUST 28.118% Clusterstock

Greece: Private-sector voluntary aid may be impossible Robert Peston BBC

Cool reception for Greek debt plan Financial Times. This is an important read and I had wanted to write about it. Bottom line: only banks will roll the debt. Private investors won’t. So do we have a deal here even if the IMF and the EU and Greek deal, the other side of the trade may not be there.

Treasury plans for Greece to go bust Telegraph (hat tip reader Swedish Lex)

Time for Plan B Der Spiegel (hat tip reader freude bud)

Greece debt crisis: how exposed is your bank? Guardian (hat tip reader bmeisen). Dexia and Commerzbank are the non-Greek banks most at risk.

The commodity bubble MacroBusiness

Feds Sue Bankers Over Fall in Bonds Wall Street Journal. This is a representation and warranty suit. We’ve discussed them AT LENGTH. Even though the abuse seems obvious (they lied!) you need to prove the lies actually led to damage (as in the loans went bad due to the lies, as opposed to the economy went into the crapper and employment and housing prices plunged). That is not trivial, so these cases are pretty much always settled for way less than the face value of the claims.

Ciudad Juarez is all our futures. This is the inevitable war of capitalism gone mad Guardian (hat tip reader May S)

The World Held Hostage by Credit Default Swaps. Dick Alford on the FOMC: Watch what they say Chris Whalen

Correcting Clinton on the Economy Dean Baker

What are the differences between QE1, QE2 and QE3? Ed Harrison

The Illusions of Psychiatry New York Review of Books (hat tip reader Garnett). Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour:

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    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We might becoome more dependent on Saudi Arabia than ever; we might have to do some sand importing from them, as we are running out of it fighting floodwater.

  1. dearieme

    Psychiatry: ever since it appeared, the man in the street has suspected it of being a great fraud – at least, the man in the street outside Vienna and New York. The bien pensants have dismissed him as an ignorant yokel. But ‘e were roight, weren’t ‘e?

    1. alienswillsaveus

      Oceans in shocking decline ?

      uh, newsflash, the PLANET is in shocking decline.

      and 2billion more parasites on the way.

      The earth is going to be fine, human civilization is another story.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That is so true – the planet will be just fine, not sure about us.

        Another thing is they always say we have to protect the Amazon rainforest because it could provide cancer cures. The thing is if we do find them, the forest will be destroyed as we exploit it, as sure as we are destroying the oceans because eating fish is good for our health.

      2. with the doves

        Planet won’t be fine – extinctions, spreading desert, degraded oceans, wrecked habitat, too hot, etc., etc.

        I mean the ROCKS will be OK, I guess, but the life on the earth’s surface is paying a big price for humanity’s overreach.

    2. craazyman

      If they just gave all that money directly to the patients, most would be fine within a day. bowahahahaha

      The other drug that works almost as well as Xanax was invented by Jack Daniels, PhD (Pretty Heavy Drinker). Side effects include nausea, vomiting, headache, dehyrdration and difficulty operating heavy machinery. But so what. bowahahahah

      If you look into mental illness in other cultures, it’s quite different. Somebody who’s certifiably loonybin crazy in our culture might be a medicine man or a priestess in some other culture — or they might be a Hollywood actress or a belle dame sans merci in ours. bowahahaha

      All in all, I’ll take Jack Daniels and Xanax and stay away from the pychiatrists. And if push comes to shove, I’ll just head for the woods and lay down on the ground and wait it out.

      But a lot of people can’t do that. It’s either the madhouse of each day or the madhouse of a drugged-out stupor. Not sure what to say to them, not that they’re asking. I guess I would say “2 shots of Jack Daniels and 1 mg Xanax when you feel it coming on, and head for the woods and try to avoid the psychiatrist if you possibly can. What are you really going to do with a psychiatrist except go completely broke, and that’s usually what started your problems anyway. ha ha ha. ”

      So like I said, best if the money spent on R&D was just given to the people, along with some Jack and Xanax, and there’d be a lot less crazy people in the world. I bet the ROI would be incredible. :)

  2. Toby

    Re: “World’s oceans in ‘shocking’ decline”

    From the article:

    Life on Earth has gone through five “mass extinction events” caused by events such as asteroid impacts; and it is often said that humanity’s combined impact is causing a sixth such event.

    The IPSO report concludes that it is too early to say definitively.

    But the trends are such that it is likely to happen, they say – and far faster than any of the previous five.

    “What we’re seeing at the moment is unprecedented in the fossil record – the environmental changes are much more rapid,” Professor Rogers told BBC News.

    “We’ve still got most of the world’s biodiversity, but the actual rate of extinction is much higher [than in past events] – and what we face is certainly a globally significant extinction event.”

    “what we face is certainly a globally significant extinction event.”

    But yet:

    “The IPSO report concludes that it is too early to say definitively.”

    Ok then, so let’s wait until it’s really, really, really clear that we’re consuming beyond the planet’s carrying capacity, and then begin to discuss how Perpetual Growth might not be the right mode for humanity any more.

  3. Diane

    Have worked and been studying in the mental health field since the late 70’s. I lived through the “biological psychiatry revolution”. Before the advent of Prozac (a generally good medication, sorry to disappoint) we basically had a handful of drugs to treat SEVERE conditions like hallucinations, suicidal depressions, psychotic manias. Post prozac things changed. There were now safer options (relatively speaking) to treat real mental illness. People die from mental illness too, lest we forget hundreds of thousands of annual deaths by suicide, homicide and substance abuse. Many imo are at least partly attributable to mental illness.

    With Prozac Big Pharma had a major blockbuster. Psychiatrists loved Prozac because patients could take it without risk of lethal intentional overdose i.e. suicide attempts, unlike its predecessors which are highly lethal in overdose. Yes, doctors hate to see their patients die, especially by their own hand.

    The biological psychiatry movement is not all nefarious. Nor is it all good. I just hope the people who really need help still can trust the profession to provide it. The ties to big Pharma have provided funding for much research but have also steered the field away from providing psychotherapy and other possibly safer interventions. Unfortunately, it has become malpractice for physicians to offer these other interventions without medications. Psychiatrists can be sued for medical neglect if they do not medicate any of these conditions and there is any bad outcome. It is not just about the money. Patients also have been seduced into thinking a pill with fix everything.

    Still, there are severe illnesses (like that of the Arizona shooter who shot Congresswoman Gifford) that merit treatment. And milder problems that respond well to non medication treatments (and I think Dr. Carlat would agree).

    Just a few thoughts from someone in the field

    1. Jim

      Oh boy. Prozac. Prozac has flouride in it.

      “Did you know that sodium Fluoride is also one of the basic ingredients in both PROZAC (FLUoxetene Hydrochloride) and Sarin Nerve Gas (Isopropyl-Methyl-Phosphoryl FLUORIDE) – (Yes, folks the same Sarin Nerve Gas that terrorists released on a crowded Japanese subway train!). Let me repeat: the truth the American public needs to understand is the fact that Sodium Fluoride is nothing more (or less) than a hazardous waste by-product of the nuclear and aluminum industries. In addition to being the primary ingredient in rat and cockroach poisons, it is also a main ingredient in anesthetic, hypnotic, and psychiatric drugs as well as military NERVE GAS! Why, oh why then is it allowed to be added to the toothpastes and drinking water of the American people?”

      1. Sock Puppet

        Eeven worse Jim, did you know that chlorine, a chemical warfare gas used in the first world and other wars, is an ingredient of table salt! They’re trying to kill us!
        Please, learn some chemistry.

        1. Jim

          I’m too dang sick to study anything else. All my time is spent trying to figure out how a big old propaganda machine can seemingly control any kind of scientific research they want with bogus studies, journals and newpapers all spinning the information.

          You should watch the Burzynski Movie to understand how the dang FDA behaves towards natural therapies and other therapies not developed by big pharma.

          Unbelievable. but I post here because the average reader here is not a chicken who is going to vote for Colonel Sanders. At least I hope they can catch on quick and put a stop to the madness.

          1. Sock Puppet

            Feel better. Agree totally on the FDA etc., but please resist the temptation to invoke bad science, it just weakens the argument.

          2. Jim

            I’m speaking of the UK and US governments attempt to railroad the Whittemore Peterson Institutes recent science on XMRV, not Burzynski. But Dr. Burzynski made a good movie that exposes the FDA and NCI dirty tricks with many facts and references to check and see for yourself what is going on.

        2. Jim

          OK better example. Try looking into Vicodin. Loaded with acetominphen. That stuff is hard on the liver. That is fact.

          1. Sock Puppet

            325mg, same as one regular strength tylenol. I’d be a lot more worried about the hydrocodone.

          2. Jim

            Ok sock puppet. I know your type. Who you working for the Science Media Centre?


            “The Science Media Centre is first and foremost a press office for science when science hits the headlines. We provide journalists with what they need in the form and time-frame they need it when science is in the news – whether this be accurate information, a scientist to interview or a feature article.

            In between these big stories, we are busy building up our database of contacts on the areas of science most likely to feature in the news. This allows us to be pro-active and puts us in a position to facilitate more scientists to engage with the media when their subjects hit the headlines.

            We also run a series of longer term activities to improve the interaction between science and media, such as advice guides for scientists talking to the media, background briefings for journalists and ‘Science in a Nutshell’ cheat sheets for newsdesks.

            Our aim is to ensure that when a major science story breaks, we can quickly offer news desks a list of scientists available to comment, a summary of the main scientific points involved and details of which press officers or web sites to go to for further information. The feedback from journalists has been very positive.”

          3. Sock Puppet

            Jim, no i’m a chemist and computer engineer who finds it unfortunate when people ruin a perfectly good argument by showing a lack of basic scientific literacy or numeracy.

          4. Yves Smith Post author


            I only took high school chemistry (although I did do very well in that course) and I can tell you Sock Puppet is right on that one. Including on hydrocodone. That stuff is AWFUL and they hand it out like candy if you have any kind of pain. Yeeech.

          5. ambrit

            I’m here to testify for Mz Smith and Sock Puppet. Ever see someone run a backhoe (one of those big John Deere kind,) high on vikes? They don’t want to get off the machine and ‘go take a rest’ cause they’re ‘feeling no pain.’ Acetomenophin does some good for what ails you, but doesn’t zonk you out at least. And, they’ve yet to find out it’s addictive. PS He didn’t get the ax because he was too good at his job when straight.

    2. Sock Puppet

      “Unfortunately, it has become malpractice for physicians to offer these other interventions without medications.”

      “Psychiatrists can be sued for medical neglect if they do not medicate any of these conditions and there is any bad outcome.”

      “Patients also have been seduced into thinking a pill with fix everything.”

      Where are the subjects in these sentences? Who made it so? Cui bono? Lawyers, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, aided and abetted by the medical profession in collecting rent from patients and taxpayers.

      1. chaim dershowitz

        You have to read between the lines Sock Puppet. Each one of those statements is an admission of guilt.

        1. Sock Puppet

          Yves, links may be thin but the quality is not! Thanks so much for posting the psychiatry book reviews and to all the posters for the great comments. The nybooks’ reviewer “Marcia Angell is a Senior Lecturer in Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and former Editor in Chief of The New England Journal of Medicine. Her latest book is The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It. “. I am heartened that some in the medical profession have not sold out. Keep up the great work!

    3. Jim

      Wait a few years until you get a little Biliary Cirrhosis down the road from the crap you are ingesting.

      The fact is the CDC has a cozy partnership with the big pharma. With psychiatry, the symptoms are so subjective it is impossible to tell if the drug is any better than a dang placebo. That is the beauty of it.

      Then the CDC research is created to make it seem as though illness have an element of depression. With the help of many big pharma advisers on various boards etc..

      Once the research is there, the CDC updates it webpage with treatment suggestions.

      Once the CDC webpage is updated, your doctor prescribes the crap. He makes money, big pharma makes money, the patent is happy because he saw a commercial and asked his doctor for it and got it. Everybody is happy.

      One big money machine.

      Then of course government officials get a big old cozy multi-million dollar job in big pharma after the fact.

      1. ambrit

        Happy Solstice! Don’t forget to come on over for the big party! There will be pony rides, the Baba Dada bouncy castle, and Woad Body Painting for all! BYOB: Bring Your Own Beatitude.
        On the Big Pharma front: Are we in America and the Kiwis still the only countries that allow advertising for prescription drugs direct to the public? “Ask your doctor if he thinks Placebin is right for you.”

        1. Search& Seizure Epileptic

          doctor if he thinks Placebin

          And when you are there don’t forget to ask him about our flagship product, our Spiffy New Frontal Lobotomy. Remember also, Folks, to ask him about our lower prices on those golden spark plugs that are growing out of your neck just below each ear. They come will a drive train warranty. Yes!

          22 Year Warranty

    4. Dave of Maryland

      I’m not in the field, but I’ve danced around it the last 40 years or so. My opinion: Avoid these bunglers. They’re dangerous.

      There is, first off, the ego problem. The ego of the researcher & his breakthrough. He wants to promote himself & his new idea. Become famous, etc. To him, of course he’s right.

      With his students, there is the diagnosis problem. They can treat the condition (whatever it is) provided they can define it according to what they’ve been taught. But that’s not the same as curing the patient. Too many of these doctors are happy to call drug-induced stupor a successful treatment. Too many others are happy to write off patients who do not respond to treatment as not the doctor’s fault. A few – a handful – a tiny number – feel pangs of guilt & either leave the profession, or invent their own system. Of these, a good number fall prey to ego, above.

      Dancing around the edges are outright fakes. People who claim to have Ph.D.’s in Psychiatry who, in fact, read a couple of books as teenagers but who never set foot in a university class. There is a >>quite famous<< American woman who has lived the last, let me see, 36 years in London, authored a dozen books, set up her own school & publishing house, who is a COMPLETE FRAUD, as I proved some years ago. And, yes, I have every one of her books in my library. (And having done so, there is no longer any reason to drag her through the mud again.)

      Unique among all of these was M. Scott Peck. His progress, from traditional psychiatrist, to something close to an avatar/guru, was amazing. Read his books, starting with the first, as the order is important.

      But Peck is gone and for those who cannot find one of his students, or if the students are (as I would suspect) not so very good, there is still a way to resolve mental problems:


      Astrology excels in this specific area. You can glance at a natal chart – I was looking at Emperor Nero's the other day – and see in an instant what sort of person they will turn out to be. (Nero: A vicious murderer, but a coward & a bully.) You can see in an instant transient factors that will produce temporary aberrations – and, most importantly, when they will end and "normalcy" return. Or, for that matter, you can easily spot known factors in the charts of politician that make them compulsive liars (Tony Blair) or power-mad idiots (GW Bush). Virtually every politician has something in his chart you'd like to know about. Sarah Palin, anyone? Her chart is vicious.

      In the realm of pure metaphysics, we can deal with hallucinations, voices, possession, demons & a great deal more, but this knowledge, which was common a century ago, is now fading and there are only a few of us left. Of this area, I cannot say strongly enough, AVOID DRUGS, AVOID MEDITATION. Prolonged use of either will "burn up" invisible parts of the body which YOU NEED. In another ten or 15 years, the utter disaster of psychotropic drugs will be plain for all to see. It's already plain to me.

      Shakespeare knew more than most moderns do.

      1. craazyman

        It’s all 100 things at once and only 65 that you can even have a clue about. That leaves 35% continually unknowable.

        good comment, but Shakespeare did write “The faults Dear Brutus are not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

        Of course, look what happened to Caesar after he said that.

        I doubt even Brutus knew. So much for determinism of any variety, except gravity.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Hey, I meditate every day and still manage to be very cranky!

        I have found that it does not reduce the amplitude of Extreme Upset, but I get into Extreme Upset much less frequently and am in it a shorter period of time. And I not longer get the immediate heart in throat response when Bad Shit Happens. I now can assess it and then decide whether or not to freak out.

        And I have a lot more faith in astrology than economics.

        1. wb

          Cool ! :-)
          I think the benefits may be small, un-noticeable, but cumulative, and one day, you think ‘wow ! I’ve changed so much…’ slow motion snowball effect…

    5. Foppe

      Unfortunatlely, it has become malpractice for physicians to offer these other interventions without medications
      Seriously? That’s brilliant. Couldn’t have planned it better if I were the person running Libria (Watch Equilibrium. Fun dystopic action flick).
      Anyway, it would seem that you’ve missed the crux of these two book review articles: the problem isn’t with the drugs, the problem is with the way psychiatrists and MDs are trained and induced (by Pharma, and apparently by law too) to prescribe drugs on every occasion, to every “patient” they can find, while the definition of ‘patient’ is being stretched up every other year or so. The problem is precisely that these drugs are prescribed nilly-willy, without any kind of proof that they work (in fact, proof that they don’t work for most types of patients if you look at meta-reviews from at least the past 5-6 years). Is it any wonder that medical costs are sky-rocketing when the pharmaceutical industry is allowed to market pill use to everyone? Especially when doctors are allowed to use these pills for any disease they want (read: are taught to prescribe it for by the pharmaceutical industry).
      Sure, the biological approach isn’t bad per se, but that was never the question; the question is always with the way they are applied, and with the fact that doctors are apparently happily prescribing multiple drugs (that don’t even have the mostly-worthless FDA seal of approval, and which certainly aren’t approved for use on toddlers) for off-label use to two-year olds, on the basis of ‘diagnoses’ that you officially can’t even apply to children of that age.

      1. Foppe

        Unfortunately, it has become malpractice for physicians to offer these other interventions without medications

        Seriously? That’s brilliant. Couldn’t have planned it better if I were the person running Libria (Watch Equilibrium. Fun dystopic action flick).
        Anyway, it would seem that you’ve missed the crux of these two book review articles: the problem isn’t with the drugs, the problem is with the way psychiatrists and MDs are trained and induced (by Pharma, and apparently by law too) to prescribe drugs on every occasion, to every “patient” they can find, while the definition of ‘patient’ is being stretched up every other year or so. The problem is precisely that these drugs are prescribed nilly-willy, without any kind of proof that they work (in fact, proof that they don’t work for most types of patients if you look at meta-reviews from at least the past 5-6 years). Is it any wonder that medical costs are sky-rocketing when the pharmaceutical industry is allowed to market pill use to everyone? Especially when doctors are allowed to use these pills for any disease they want (read: are taught to prescribe it for by the pharmaceutical industry).
        Sure, the biological approach isn’t bad per se, but that was never the question; the question is always with the way they are applied, and with the fact that doctors are apparently happily prescribing multiple drugs (that don’t even have the mostly-worthless FDA seal of approval, and which certainly aren’t approved for use on toddlers) for off-label use to two-year olds, on the basis of ‘diagnoses’ that you officially can’t even apply to children of that age.

  4. Doly

    My mother continues reporting from Spain:

    There have been demonstrations in all of Spain, more people have attended than ever before. I thought that few people would come because the day before yesterday there were fights. Te indignants blocked the entrance to the local parliament in Barcelona and Valencia (which is illegal). It was big fuss and they want to give them between 3 and 5 years in jail. Some demonstrator threw something to the police and now the telly is comparing the indignant movement to kale-borroka (street fighting by Basque nationalists, often quite violent). In the Madrid local TV they showed images of Greece riots (they had Greek flags and everything) and they said they were from Barcelona. Clearly, somebody up there wants to identify the indignants as a violent movement.

    The other day there were some violent demonstrators and the rest identified them and took them apart from the demonstration. Some said they were plainclothes police that were trying to bust the demonstration and that they were wearing headphones. In the end we won’t know what happened and it will be impossible to prove anything.

    After the media accused the indignants of violence, I thought not many people would come to the demonstration, and there were more than ever. Even your father came at the beginning, because neighbourhood groups walked together to a meeting point. Your father came to the first part, but then he returned home because there were too many people (Note: My father is a disabled old gentleman, as far from your usual demonstration type as you can imagine.) According to the local police we were 4,000 people in Coruña (in an ideal day to go to the beach), 5,000 people in Vigo and 4,000 in Santiago. There were also demonstrations in Orense, Lugo and Pontevedra. (Note: These are all the main cities in the area, with populations around 200,000 residents).

    In Madrid, the organizers say 175,000 and the police 40,000 people. In Barcelona, even more. The organizers say 230,000, the police 98,000. Adding up all of Spain, there must have been at least 250,000 people. There has even been a demonstration in London, but very few people.

    They said on the Internet that everybody who could should carry cameras or mobiles to film if there is any violence and identify the violent people. The result was that there were more people on the street than ever, lots of police (in their uniforms) and no violence.

    I liked that in our demonstration there were more older people than young people. That’s good because it debunks the myth that we are like the kale-borroka. I also noticed that quite a few passers-by joined the demonstration.

    When they took down the camp in Puerta del Sol, an architecture student put up a vault made with pallets, for the information point they are leaving there. To be able to do this, he took the pieces in the vans that came in to take the camp away, because once the square was clean they wouldn’t have let him. They put it up at the same time they took the rest of the camp down, behind some big canvas, because if the police saw them they would have forbidden it:

    1. Fractal

      Can you help us understand what the Spanish people (and/or indignants, if they have different views) think about the IMF? Are they preparing to defy the IMF?

    2. from a distance

      quite a few passers-by joined the demonstration.


      Catalonia’s Spanish are openly folksy people. Dancing in the street with perfect strangers starts up spontaneously when there is music. Such is not DisneyWorld. It is a thing from centuries of culture. It is beautiful inside your heart when you see it materialize.

      Spain can be dreary when you see needy people openly feeding from dumpsters on main thoroughfare. Still, there is lot of hope. There is lot of effort. Spain will regain. Its people will regain greatness.

      U will C

  5. Glen

    Re: The Illusions Of Psychiatry
    Diane’s post above offers a more reasoned view of psychiatry and the difficulties in the field. Yes big pharma is far to influential. Yes there is over dx-ing and rx-ing. Atypical antipsychotics are over used, but a doc is loathe to discontinue them when they proved so effective during the type of crisis’s that initiated there use.
    What we should not do is throw the baby out with the bathwater. The brain is like any other organ. It can suffer from pathologies. Just because they manifest in behaviors does not make them imaginary. To accept otherwise one would have to believe that that a person suffering from an epileptic fit is faking it.
    The field is plagued with bad research*. Not unlike most fields. Though, it probably has a better record than economics, and better prospects for improvement (being removed from politics).

    * Adverse reactions to SSRI’s like rapid switching can be reconciled with the all but ignored work of the late Dr. Tunnicliffe (The GABA(A) receptor complex as a target for fluoxetine action, look at( dose response and half lives))

    The only solution for psychiatry and economics is to have Fred (Rusty) Gage rule the world. You could put Dean Baker in as second in command.
    Long live homeostasis!

    1. Foppe

      More reasoned? How so? All she defends is the assertion that they sometimes work, which was never at issue.
      But that is at best misleading, as it simply misunderstands the point of those book reviews. The point the reviewer makes is precisely that they are overprescribed — something you note but then dismiss as a genuine worry. Now, you might find it “more reasoned” to dismiss any claims that there are systemic issues with the psychiatric profession, but I do not, especially if you look at some of the facts the reviewer mentions: 10% of 10yos on ritalin and similar, 2yos being prescribed multiple drugs which have never been approved for use on toddlers on the basis of a diagnosis that cannot be given to two-year olds, etc. If that doctor wasn’t hung for murder, and stripped of his license afterwards, then that alone pretty much proves that the profession is rotten.

      1. Glen

        Yes there are bad psychiatrist. The prevelance of such is no higher than any other feild, mediacal or other. Dr. Nassir Ghaemi, in his review of Daniel Carlat’s book “Unhinged – The Trouble with Psychiatry – A Doctor’s Revelations about a Profession in Crisis” provides a more balanced view……….

        Do I have a better solution? I’ve written two books on the topic and can’t do justice to the matter in a paragraph, and this review is about the author and not about me, but I’ll try to give the essence of my alternative. Psychiatry has always gone back and for the between dogmatisms, initially biological reductionism and then psychoanalytic orthodoxy. About three decades ago, an eclectic cease-fire occurred, called the biopsychosocial model, in which any or all approaches were deemed acceptable. Consequently, the new medications were increasingly used, and the old psychotherapies maintained. This approach is at its core, conceptually, eclecticism: the view that any method or theory can be right. The eclectic philosophy assumes that more is better, hence the common combination of drugs and psychotherapies. But the problem is that this approach produces professional anarchy: there is no rhyme or reason to what many clinicians do. (This agrees with the diagnosis made in this book, though I provide a cause not discussed in this book). Because no one can really defend what they are doing well, the pharmaceutical and insurance industries push the profession economically in the direction of drugs and brief visits or hospitalizations. The solution: one has to be neither eclectic nor dogmatic. There is not one single method or theory that applies everywhere (dogmatism), nor are any or all methods fine (eclecticism). Some methods are better for some conditions, and not others. One can call this method-based psychiatry. So the biological disease method is appropriate for likely diseases, like schizophrenia or manic-depression, but not for likely social problems, like divorce-related insomnia. The psychoanalytic method is appropriate for trauma, the existential method for problems of living, social methods for public health problems (poverty-related child abuse, neglect-related childhood inattention). Dimensional approaches are appropriate for understanding extremes of personality traits (like neuroticism, rather than the disease-like categories of “personality disorders”). In each of these settings, one method is the best, and the other ones should not be used. Occasionally, if the scientific evidence shows it to be the case, some conditions (like perhaps “neurotic depression”, an appellation missing in DSM-IV, but which has reasonable scientific merit) might be best understood by use of more than one method (e.g., biological and existential approaches), although even there methods might be used sequentially rather than simultaneously, or ad hoc, as is currently the case. This kind of thinking has been fleshed out in the works of Karl Jaspers, originally, and Leston Havens and Paul McHugh, more recently, and I’ve tried to extend and expand it. It is much more complicated than eclectic treatment of symptoms with drugs and/or psychotherapy, but it is both more conceptually clear and scientifically-based.

        So, on the question of when and how to use drugs, my solution would be to reject symptom-based psychiatry and move to a disease-based psychiatry, just as in medicine. That patient’s inattention may be due to depression or mania or anxiety, all of which can happen in bipolar disorder, for instance. If she has that disease, then the treatment is lithium, not amphetamines, which in fact can worsen bipolar disorder in the long run. If the patient does not have bipolar disorder, I’m not certain I would recommend any medication prescription, much less an addictive drug which, in animal studies, causes hippocampal atrophy, and thus may worsen cognition in the long run. In this sense, I think my approach is more conservative pharmacologically, even though it is more biological, than what is recommended here.

        This is only one aspect of the discussion in the book. I will not get into the deserved critique of the excessive marketing of the pharmaceutical industry, although that is the main aspect of the book that seems discussed in some settings, such as the author’s National Public Radio interview. Such public influences are not minor. This is a “trade” book, in the publishing lingo, put out by a major New York publisher for the general public. It is not an academic book published by a university press. As such, it has wider impact in society. The author knows how to write for the larger public, a skill which is to be admired, and which we psychiatrists should all seek to practice. What he says, though, will be interpreted through the assumptions of our larger society. In the general public, whatever the author’s intentions, this book will be seen as another attack on psychiatry, feeding into the stigma against the field and against mental illness that is already a major social prejudice. One gets the sense of this from the press release provided by the publisher: “….the overdiagnosis of mental illness has gotten so out of control that the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children has increased by 8000 percent [italics in original] in just nine years.” What the press release doesn’t say is that the starting point was a diagnosis rate of practically zero (literally 0.01%) which increased 40-fold (yes 8000%) to the whopping figure of 0.4%, which, by the way, is the actual frequency of bipolar disorder in children according to the most accepted scientifically valid NIMH epidemiological study. Put another way, 99.6% of children are not diagnosed with bipolar disorder: a major epidemic.

        This kind of exaggeration is expectable and appears to have happened since the book’s publication; unfortunately such books lend themselves to such misinterpretations. In that sense, I think the book may be both more and less than people might understand. It is not just another critique of the pharmaceutical industry, and as such, it may just add to the cacophony of critiques that does not inherently clarify many of our current problems. It is a larger critique of psychiatry, with a proposal for more psychotherapy and more symptom-based medication treatment extended to non-physicians. In that larger critique, I think the view expressed here is an extension of, not the solution to, the current fatal problem of psychiatry: an “anything goes” eclecticism whereby any and all symptoms are treated with any and all drugs (plus or minus psychotherapies). The authors seems only to want to remove the minus sign in front of the psychotherapies, and to remove pharmaceutical marketing as the reason to use drugs: drugs are still to be used plenty, based on deeper psychotherapeutic understanding of a patient’s symptoms. For those seeking a broadside against the pharmaceutical industry, there is plenty of legitimate material here. For those more profoundly critical of the overuse of drugs in psychiatry, or seeking a new approach to psychiatry beyond our current eclecticism, this is a sheep in wolf’s clothing.

        1. Foppe

          Yes, I am sure you are more worried about keeping the profession alive, but if you want that you will have to figure out some way to wean the doctors off their pill-prescribing habits, or perhaps hang a few who keep prescribing at the rate they do. Talking about Evidence-based medicine is all the rage these days, but the rate at which stuff is actually changing (if it is at all) is pathetically slow, considering that quite a few lives are being ruined every day by the unknown (developmental) effects of long-term drug exposure on minors.
          And I’ll note that you protest the ’40-fold increase’, but forget to discuss the ‘10% of all 10yos are being prescribed anti-ADHD drugs’, when the latter problem is rather more damning than the former. Why is that?

        2. Foppe

          Anyway, while you’ve written rather a lot, I am afraid that very little of it is pertinent to the matter at hand. You seem to understand that the profession needs to move away from what it’s currently doing, but what you seem to be missing entirely (or simply denying) is that treatment (or diagnosis) paradigms aren’t installed through reasoned argument, but through use of power (and habit). And so long as that habit isn’t broken — forcefully — nothing will happen until, at the very earliest, the next generation of psychiatrists. But by then the profession will have quite a lot more blood on its hands.

          1. Glen

            Wrong, Foppe. What I am saying is that it is not so black and white. In dx-ing psychiatric disorders will always be a clinical endeavor. Unless the symptoms are secondary. There are treatment algorithms that are evidence based (ex. )The problem only have of psychiatrist follow them. While that may seem shocking , this level of discordance is common in neurology, cardiology, etc.
            My point is, and was, is that these disorders are real and there are medicines that help. Dismissing the entire field because of bad doctors or influence peddling pharmaceutical companies does not do any good. We don’t dismiss the economic profession, though most ignore Keynes and the Banks have corrupted the field.



    2. ambrit

      Dear Glen;
      “removed from politics” Huh?!!?
      To the extent ‘Medicine’ is intertwined with economics, (pay to play drug placement, for profit production, ‘manufacture of consent’ style ‘professional journals,’ etc.) medicine is right there in the thick of it, politically thinking. The doctors organizations and physicians networks and all are major political ‘donors.’ Pharma is a top of the heap lobbyist ‘sponsor.’ (Ever hear about that famous K-Street firm, “Baksheesh, Kumshaw, and Bribe LLC?”) You can almost predict what drug you will be prescribed for an ailment by scanning the brand names on the ‘freebies’ dotting the doctors office. Don’t even get me started on the subject of “Medical Devices!”
      Hope you all had a Safely Sedated Solstice.

  6. DownSouth

    Re: “Ciudad Juarez is all our futures. This is the inevitable war of capitalism gone mad” Guardian

    Absolutely outstanding!

    A similar message can be found in video format in a link Doug Terpstra provided the other day, Fault Lines – Mexico: Impunity and profits.

    Also, I found Andres M. Lobaczewski’s book on how psychopaths and other psychological cripples take control of national and global politics and economics—-Political Ponerolgy: A Science of the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes—-to offer some interesting insights and perhaps ways to help understand what is going on in Mexico and the world. As Lobaczewski observes: “Any attempt to explain the things that occurred during the first half of our century by means of categories generally accepted in historical thought leaves behind a nagging feeling of inadequacy. Only a ponerological approach can compensate for this deficit in our comprehension, as it does justice to the role of various pathological factors in the genesis of evil at every social level.”

    • On gratuitous infliction of pain and suffering:

    This leads us to an important question: what does the psychopath really get from their victims? It’s easy to see what they are after when they lie and manipulate for money or material goods or power. But in many instances, such as love relationships or faked relationships, it is not so easy to see what the psychopath is after. Without wandering too far afield into spiritual speculation—-a problem Cleckley also faced—–we can only say that it seems to be that the psychopath enjoys making others suffer. Just as normal humans enjoy seeing other people happy, or doing things that make other people smile, the psychopath enjoys the exact opposite.


    They become experts in our weaknesses and sometimes effect heartless experiments… Neither a normal person nor our natural world view can fully conceive nor properly evaluate the existence of this world of different concepts.

    • On the vitiation of an ideology such as Marxism or capitalism, and then the use of this corrupted ideology, which bears little resemblance to the original:

    In the ponerogenic process of the pathocratic phenomenon, characteropathic individuals adopt ideologies created by doctrinaire, often schizoidal people, recast them into an active propaganda form, and disseminate it with their characteristic pathological egotism and paranoid intolerance for any philosophies which may differ from their own.


    It is a common phenomenon for a ponerogenic association or group to contain a particular ideology which always justifies its activities and furnished motivational propaganda. Even a small-time gang of hoodlums has its own melodramatic ideology and pathological romanticism. Human nature demands that vile matters be haloed by an over-compensatory mystique in order to silence one’s conscience and to deceive consciousness and critical facilities, whether one’s own or those of others.

    If such a ponerogenic union could be stripped of its ideology, nothing would remain except psychological and moral pathology, naked and unattractive. Such stripping would of course provoke “moral outrage”, and not only among the members of the union. The fact is, even normal people, who condemn this kind of union along with its ideologies, feel hurt and deprived of something constituting part of their own romanticism, their way of perceiving reality when a widely idealized group is exposed as little more than a gang of criminals… The job of effecting such a “strip-tease” may thus turn out to be much more difficult and dangerous than expected.

    • On why pathocracies never endure, and why pathocrats can’t understand normal people and their agenda, and normal people can’t understand pathocrats and their agenda:

    The achievement of absolute domination by pathocrats in the government of a country cannot be permanent since large sectors of the society become disaffected by such rule and eventually find some way of toppling it. This is part of the historical cycle, easily discerned when history is read from a ponerological point of view…


    It only results in producing a general stifling of intellectual development and deep-rooted protest against affront-mongering “hypocrisy”. The authors and executors of this program are incapable of understanding that the decisive factor making their work difficult is the fundamental nature of normal human beings—-the majority.

    The entire system of force, terror, and forced indoctrination, or, rather, pathologization, thus proves effectively unfeasible, which causes the pathocrats no small measure of surprise. Relaity places a question mark on their conviction that such methods can change people in such fundamental ways so that they can eventually recognize this pathocratic kind of government as a “normal state”.

    During the initial shock, the feeling of social links between normal people fade. After that has been survived, however, the overwhelming majority of people begin to manifest their own phenomenon of psychological immunization. Society simultaneously starts collecting practical knowledge on the subject of this new reality and its psychological properties.

    Normal people slowly learn to perceive the weak spots of such a system and utilize the possibilities of more expedient arrangement of their lives. They begin to give each other advice in these matters, thus slowly regenerating the feelings of social links and reciprocal trust. A new phenomenon occurs: separation between the pathocrats and the society of normal people. The latter have an advantage of talent, professional skills, and healthy common sense. They therefore hold certain very advantageous cards.

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    They call this elephant the soul of elephants. He croons for all elephants and sings songs of pain, suffering and anguish. He’s their voice.

    Sounds ridiculous?

    We make such claims about human singers all the time.

    1. Patricia

      Yah, cuz everyday I see our neighborhood elephants pounding the pavement with ipods glommed to their ears. And you should see them dance! The noise! And our sidewalk repair costs!

  8. anon48

    From IRA’s- The World Held Hostage by Credit Default Swaps

    “The net increase in financial exposures due to the existence of the CDS market in sovereign credit risk has not made the real economy safer, but instead multiplies the dollar amount of the basis risk in all markets, real or imagined. You cannot get rid of systemic risk and “too big to fail” until you limit credit derivative products to holders of actual debt. Instead we have hedge funds and banks gambling on the end of the world. ”

    CDS’s are nothing more than insurance! It’s obvious that they should be regulated as such.

    1. ambrit

      Dear anon48;
      Agreed, and, since the stock market is obviously gambling nowadays, apply the Federal 20% Gaming Tax to every transaction. Just sit back and watch the deficit melt away.

        1. anon48

          BTW- the 20% is not a tax on gambling. It’s only a W/H requirement. (i.e. One reports the gambling winnings on their return-and then takes credit for the 20% federal tax that was W/H by the racetrack, casino, etc). But I got the point- there should be a transactional tax (similar to a sales tax) that gets assessed.

          1. ambrit

            Dear anon48;
            I’m sorry to have muddied the waters there. I didn’t understand the distinction there. Does this mean I’ll be getting a 1099 from the casino? (I also notice that $US1999 is the triggering threshold for the Witholding. That part of the Tax Code too? And, more interestingly, why that figure? Is there a known ‘diminishing returns’ point at work? It has suddenly become interesting, how Tax Rules come about.)
            I agree, ‘Transactions Tax’ was what I was groping for. However, as Mz Smith suggested in a later post, the real thinkers in the economics sphere opine that taxation alone isn’t up to the job, structural ‘reform’ is inescapable.

  9. Pat

    Re: Feds Sue Bankers Over Fall in Bonds

    “Federal regulators accused J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC of duping five large credit unions into buying more than $3 billion in mortgage bonds that were “destined to perform poorly,” and that quickly sank the credit unions.”

    Yves says: “Even though the abuse seems obvious (they lied!) you need to prove the lies actually led to damage (as in the loans went bad due to the lies, as opposed to the economy went into the crapper and employment and housing prices plunged). That is not trivial, so these cases are pretty much always settled for way less than the face value of the claims.”

    I don’t think this “direct causality” link is as important as she says. In this case, the plaintiffs are using a “but for…(their lies)” assertion, a quasi-tort claim.
    Fom the complaint:
    “54. At the time of purchase, the Credit Unions were not aware of the untrue statements or omissions of material facts in the Offering Documents of the RMBS. If the Credit Unions had known about the Originators’ pervasive disregard of underwriting standards— contrary to the representations in the Offering Documents—the Credit Unions would not have purchased the certificates.”

    This seems like a very reasonable argument to me. Of course it’s not as effective as a put-back, but I can imagine the plaintiffs getting 50-70% of their losses back, which would be a lot of money.
    On the other hand, I wonder what the ultimate point of these suits is. The Feds sue the big banks, the banks are TBTF, and so must be bailed out by the Feds.

    1. Cedric Regula

      That’s always the problem. The perps made off with the cash already and the cash has been converted to yachts, Bentleys and Monte Carlo real estate.

  10. Fractal

    Add this link:


    “The vote of confidence in George Papandreou’s reshuffled government is expected to take place at 10pm BST. John Hydeskov, chief analyst at Danske Markets in London, warned there could be disastrous consequences if the Greek parliament does not approve the new package of spending cuts, in the face of widespread public opposition.

    “The alternative of not getting the money is so frightening that we don’t have another choice,” he told CNBC.

    Officials from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union are flying into Athens on Tuesday, a sign of the importance of the vote.

    “Without more austerity Greece may not see further EU funding, which would bring default closer,” said Jane Foley of Rabobank.

    Opponents of a second bailout argue that it would only ratchet up the economic and political cost of the crisis, without providing a solution.

    “A second Greek bailout is almost certain to result in outright losses for taxpayers further down the road because, even with the help of additional money, Greece remains likely to default within the next few years,” said Raoul Ruparel, analyst at the Open Europe think tank.

    “Another bailout will also increase the cost of a Greek default, transferring a far bigger chunk of the burden from private investors to taxpayers,” Ruparel added.

    Open Europe estimates that each household in the eurozone underwrites €535 in Greek debt, through the existing loan guarantees. By 2014, if a second bailout is agreed, this will increase to €1,450 per household, it claimed.”

    Yves would be first to point out that credit raters do not control declaration of credit event, such declarations for credit default swaps (CDS) are controlled under standard ISDA protocols, and the CDS event(s) could have greater impact than what Fitch does or doesn’t do. But I just love the hysterical propaganda which is flatly contradicted by the Guardian’s coverage of the UBS analysis showing that the French, German & UK banks could easily absorb 100% losses on their Greek bonds. I hope the Greek parliament tells the IMF & ECB: “blow me.”

      1. ambrit

        Any relation to Faulkners indian chief, Du Homme?
        Yes indeed, that would let the Turks off the hook a bit too, since the two are traditional ‘rivals.’ (Let Cyprus look after itself for once.)

          1. ambrit

            My Dear doom;
            Spot on old fellow. A much nicer piece of realestate than Malta. We could let all the Irredentists fleeing Libya take over Crete and form a Grand Alliance of Mediterranean Islands.

  11. kevinearick

    Identity Theft & Bankruptcy

    It all begins with self-identity. The education propaganda system, certification, credit reports, and the rest are designed to impose identity upon you. That’s the DC current, and the vast majority simply floats downstream with it, expecting the majority to follow suit, when the latter are holding all trump. If landlords and employers are stupid enough to define you by your credit and education reports then they are stupid enough to get what they get.

    Facebook was popular because it gave people the opportunity to self-identify, but, of course, the vast majority chose to reinforce the identity assigned to them by their social filter, giving control right back to Caesar. How you use the tools is up to you. If you want to blow up the planet, no problem, the universe will get along fine, with or without humans.

    Your identity depends entirely upon your relationship with God, and you are free to define God, until you give that right to the majority, which is pretty damn stupid, and you get what you get. Free will is a grant from God, not the government.

    This last gal is sending an old copy of my trade resume, from two states away, applying for jobs she wants me to have, planning my future as her workhorse. Others have taken my identity on blogs, republishing previous work, “thinking” to use it as a segway for themselves. At the end of the day, however, I don’t have to care how others identify me, because there is only one me, and to the extent they misidentify me they either open the gap, disconnecting their own economy, or close the gap, shorting it out.

    It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday, because you are about to get the opportunity to identify yourself again, and join the community of your choice accordingly. How you employ that tool is up to you. Those who have been practicing for the last three years will be farthest ahead initially. If you want to give control back to Caesar, that’s up to you. I don’t need the defense establishment overhead. All politics are local; the rest is an aggregate outcome.

    If you are dependent on agency for a check, you are f***ed. Get out of that box, even if it means creating your own currency. If you start a business and bring any value of any kind to it, that is an asset on the balance sheet. Your identity, your brand, is your most important asset. You have intrinsic value (Declaration of Independence). Goodwill is your next most important value, which represents the quality of your customers (market). Next is your unique skills and abilities (Constitution). Do you see anything physical, dependent on Caesar, there?

    If Caesar’s minions can write off expenses, to pay 0 taxes until their product is finished and get “special” tax treatment upon completion, so can you. Build your wave randomly and wait until the noose is about to break Caesar’s neck before you insert the last piece to catalyze the cycle. If the current crop of operators doesn’t want to pay you, the next will, with interest and penalties. Income is a derivative. Quality of life is what you care about, which is no way dependent on fiat currency, and is entirely dependent on the community you choose to join.

    Some people are worth charging no rent, requiring no fiat currency, and others are not worth rent, no matter how much fiat currency they have. No law requires you to send money to the state, unless you accept your assigned identity. Taxes are a function of fiat currency. Accept currency accordingly. It’s an addiction, like everything else peddled by Caesar. All things in moderation. A dc regulator filters out. An ac regulator filters in. Affect time in your community accordingly. Effective use of time is more important than efficient use of time, which is why the latter results in slavery to the curve every time.

    They have spent $20 trillion in “wealth” over the last three years and what do they have to show for it? Caesar is a tiny dot in the universe, and always will be, unless you make fiat currency your universe. Accept sunk costs, salvage what you can, and move on. That’s the learning process.

    1. kevinearick

      you already know this, but for those who don’t. replace second majority with minority.

  12. xct

    “Think Greece’s current economic malaise is the worst ever experienced in Europe? Think again.
    Germany, economic historian Albrecht Ritschl argues in a SPIEGEL ONLINE interview, has been the worst debtor nation of the past century. He warns the country should take a more chaste approach in the euro crisis or it could face renewed demands for World War II reparations.”,1518,769703,00.html

  13. K Ackermann

    I just Googled JP Morgan and Fraud. The number and variety of hits returned is astounding.

    Why on earth do we allow such a rotten citizen to operate freely among us? They virtually define the habitual criminal offender.

    If you live near a JP Morgan anything, then you live in a high-crime area.

  14. head scratching

    obviously the market is pricing in a 100% chance of the austerity measures passing.

    I’d say at best 50-50 but I defer to the masses.

  15. Colton

    Ok, just to start off I am still new to this site, but I try to read and understand all that I can. I know that the information that I recive on this blog will not be messed with or changed to make me feel better about what is going on with our economy. Yet I am still young and dont know a whole lot about what is going on and how things work here in out country. I am twenty four years old and feel like the media has such a huge influence on people my age these days not to mention me, until I heard about this blog. Just today in my home town news paper, our secretary of finance and revenue stated, “I think it is safe to say the steady improvement in our economy led to dramatic increases in motor vehicle taxes from a year ago.” Is this someone trying to sugar coat things to make me feel better? maybe feel good enough to buy a brand new car? I am not buying any of it…

    1. Ray Duray

      Hi Colton,

      Thanks for contributing to the conversation here. We welcome you and hope you can continue to enjoy Yves’ remarkable water cooler.

      As far as Oklahoma’s vehicle tax revenue, I would have absolutely no question about the veracity of the Sec’y’s statement. A couple of factors are involved I’m sure. One is that the average fleet age of personal vehicles has been going up due to the recession and a lot of people are getting forced to make “buy-or-repair” decisions, with the purchase of a new vehicle to replace an old nightmare usually the happier solution.

      The second notion I’d have is that anyone in OK who is an oil or gas producer has been having a pretty good run lately.

      In January, 2009 the price of a barrel of crude oil produced in the state of Oklahoma fetched about $40. Today that figure is over $100. That can spur some car sales.

      Same thing has been true on the farm scene where grain prices, cattle prices and land prices are all up significantly since 2009. Thus, a lot of cash becomes available for vehicle purchases.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    How to tell QE1, QE2 and QE3 apart?

    At least, one of them has no early iceberg detection system. Actually maybe all of them.

    There is no need for that. A warmer globe has melted all icebergs.

    This time is different!

    They don’t make icebergs any more.

    We and science/technology are just too smart.

  17. Eagle

    Ciudad Juarez is the future of “capitalism” (what’s described in the article is anarchy) only if some of your commentators get their way and abolish property rights. If drugs were legal and their ownership enforced by the state, there wouldn’t be nearly this level of violence.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Thank you! Here’s the dim-witted limey journo’s feeble attempt at logic:

      ‘Juarez is also a model for the capitalist economy. Recruits for the drug war come from the vast, sprawling maquiladora – … Now, the corporations can do it cheaper in Asia, casually shedding their Mexican workers, and Juarez has become a teeming recruitment pool for the cartels and killers. It is a city that follows religiously the philosophy of a free market.’

      In fact, Mexico’s gangland drug war is entirely an artifact of a 40-year long U.S. government project called the War on Drugs. There used to be alcohol wars too, until another harebrained government project (called Prohibition) was cancelled.

      Great bloody yarblockos to you, Ed Villuiamy. You’re a dilettante and a dipshit.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I know I am supposed to control my prejudices, but I saw Gary Becker speak once, and toads hopped out of his mouth!

  18. Francois T

    Re: Ciudad Juarez
    “”Killing and drug addiction are activities in the economy, and the economy is based on what happens when you treat people like trash.” Very much, then, a war for the 21st century.”

    It’s only a matter of time for us to get there. Our failure as a nation will then be complete.

  19. financial matters

    “”Cool reception for Greek debt plan Financial Times. This is an important read and I had wanted to write about it. Bottom line: only banks will roll the debt. Private investors won’t. So do we have a deal here even if the IMF and the EU and Greek deal, the other side of the trade may not be there. “”

    I agree that this could be a pretty big nail in the coffin. If I was a bondholder and no-one was offering me any big carrots I would cash out rather than roll-over into all this uncertainy.

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