Links 8/21/11

Your awful dates, in 140 characters CrapDate (hat tip Richard Smith)

Five bummer problems that make societies collapse Transition Voice (hat tip reader Bruno)

Lost Incan City of Machu Picchu: 100 Years after Discovery by ‘Indiana Jones’ LoveThesePics (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Chronic fatigue syndrome researchers face death threats from militants Guardian. I’m not at all a supporter of this sort of harassment of researchers, but I’m not unsympathetic with their beef. When the medical profession can’t unravel a problem quickly, they want to make it psychological. I had a buddy who had advanced Lyme disease before doctors would think to test for that, and he saw some of the very best diagnosticians (as in he was in the money is no object league). They kept telling him it was in his head for 18 months until someone figured it out. I also suffer from fatigue (not as bad as CFS and not CFS symptomology) and as soon as I tell doctors I don’t have anemia, I’ve been screened for post viral syndrome, my bloodwork looks normal ex thyroid and I’m already taking meds for that, they immediately want to put me on antidepressants. The two people I know personally who have chronic fatigue syndrome are the antithesis of the sort you would peg with psychological issues: formerly high energy, great jobs, great personal relationships, very positive even with CFS.

Barbara Hannah Grufferman: Will It Ever Be Possible To Live Forever? Huffington Post. Seriously? You want to be stuck on this plane of existence? (in fairness, that isn’t the angle the author takes, but still….)

Little evidence links mob violence to social media CNN. Category of “Duh,” but I suppose it needs to be said.

The High Price of Looking Like a Woman New York Times. Aieee.

Fighting Erupts in Tripoli Wall Street Journal. Note Stratfor is not so chipper.

So, Boris, rioters make you angry. What about your Bullingdon pal? Independent (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Strauss-Kahn Prosecutor Seen Dropping Charges Bloomberg. This is a forecast, not a leak.

Rep. Waters to Frustrated Black Voters: ‘Unleash Us’ on Obama Fox News

Hershey Guest Worker Scandal Result of Lax Govt. Oversight: Immigration Expert Mike Elk (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

UK ‘faces slump’ if banks are ring-fenced Telegraph. Classic lobbying trick: get your cronies to make your case for you.

70 People Arrested in Opening Day of Tar Sands Action Tar Sands Action. That included Jane Hamsher and Scarecrow of FireDogLake.

Community Stands Strong to Block an Eviction New York Times (hat tip Joe Costello)

BART’s Protest Position Does Not Withstand Legal Scrutiny FireDogLake

Rick Perry accused of hypocrisy as he comes under fire for investment in America’s largest pornography distributor Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S)

Where Is Everybody: Does Being Able To Ask That Question Answer It? Karl Smith. You can tell this was written by an economist. He assumes that other (more intelligent) species are as bad at sharing and considering the needs of the collective as humans are. It is more likely that for any species to last long enough to become intelligent enough to conquer space, it has to be better at organizing itself and managing its analogue to id that we are these days.

THE WAR NERD VS. DARRELL ISSA’S GOLDMAN SACHS STAFFER: A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUNGARIAN FASCISM MADE SIMPLE FOR LYING SCUM The Exiled. An argument broke out on the thread where this was posted, with someone declaring this piece to be “vulgar”. I’m 1/4 Hungarian and not offended by it.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. attempter

    Re living forever:

    Before that sounds good to anyone, and before you wonder if it’s possible enough that public money should be used to research it, just remember that it does NOT mean you, the non-rich person who funds it, living forever.

    It means the likes of Dick Fuld, Barack Obama, and Dick Cheney living forever.

    Apply the same principle to other things that may sound good in theory but would require significant public investment to attain. That investment ain’t for you.

    In fact it’s doubly against us, in that it steals from us in taxation right now, and the redistributed wealth (along with whatever’s “innovated” with it) is then used as a weapon against us.

    Here’s a more constructive viewpoint and strategy: Let’s stick with what we have for now, keep all that’s ours, and focus on taking back our economies and polities.

    Then, if abstruse and exotic R&D still looks tenable and worthwhile, it can be done.

    1. Linus Huber

      And do not forget all those very smart guys on wallstreet who know how to enrich themselves at the expense of everybody else, will definitely live until all died that can be robbed.

    2. F. Beard

      I would not fret about the wicked rich living forever; they won’t. They will either repent or they will die forever.

      1. Dan_in_KC

        Oh – but of course the ‘wicked’ rich will die forever, EVERYONE knows that. And the God-fearing, Jesus praising rich will of course will live forever (cuz they’ve got the best lobbyists working THAT angle for them….).

        1. F. Beard

          Actually, the rich are at a disadvantage when it comes to entering the Kingdom of God. This wise man said:

          Keep deception and lies far from me,
          Give me neither poverty nor riches;
          Feed me with the food that is my portion,
          That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the LORD?”
          Or that I not be in want and steal,
          And profane the name of my God.
          Proverbs 30:8-10 New American Standard Bible (NASB) [bold added]

  2. Jim3981

    Thanks for posting the link about Simon Wessley receiving death threats. I know the patients think Simon Wessley has an agenda, and it is not to help further beneficial research. He pushes harmful treatments, and hinders anything productive from happening.

    regarding Lyme disease. There is a movie called “Under Our Skin” that shows how people are literally being cured from MS and other diseases, but you would never find this out by going to your regular doctor.

    The problems of government suppression and distortion are not limited to just Lyme and CFS. There is a non-toxic cure for cancer developed by Dr Burzynski. He has been sued many-many times by the government to prevent this natural treatment from making it in to the public domain. Excellent movie. Burzynski Movie.

    1. Caveat Emptor

      Burzynski was convicted of fraud in Federal court and sentenced to prison. He is one of the infamous purveyors of “apricot seed” based cancer cures. People died, and their families were bankrupted. Be extremely, extremely skeptical of anyone peddling nonscientific cures for anything deadly, chronic, or disabling. They prey on hope and whatever else you might have left.

      1. Dave of Maryland

        So was Wilhelm Reich. Sentenced to jail where he died, his research papers collected and burnt.

        Your point was???

        1. Anonymous Jones

          Wait, what?

          The point was abundantly clear. Be cautious and look at all the facts before you make a decision.

          Just because some people have been unfairly jailed (in your opinion) does not mean we must disregard evidence of incarceration in our decision-making process for all time. Right? Is it me?

          There *are* crackpot quacks out there, just as there *are* legitimate doctors unfortunately wedded to some out-of-date theory.

          It’s complicated. No one knows the future. Make the best decision you can with the evidence available. Yikes.

    2. Khaly Castle

      After years of driving a biological illness into the psychological sector in concerted effort and with dubious motivation, Wessely has been key in creating an atmosphere where people are sectioned (and die), and children are removed from their parents.

      When very sick patients who have lived with this horror for decades stand up to him, he and his cronies frame it as “militant” and “threatening”, pulling the old bait-and-switch, diverting the issue to make the abused look like the abusers.

      We’ve seen this tactic over and over again. Big bad bully cries foul when taken to task for his abuse. This is psychology 101.

  3. Help

    Regarding the story about people with ME.

    I have never met any ME patient that is against the idea of secondary depression or anxiety. What a ridiculous idea they are using to hide the truth. The rates of this within the ME population is what you find with other neurological diseases. The real problem is that these doctors (not scientists) featured in the article are telling a completely different story to their colleagues and have done for decades. They have been attempting to change the disease from being physical to a mental health one, by denying the existence of 4000+ published biomedical research studies on abnormalities found in ME and by co-opting the science media centre to help spread this misinformation.

    Instead of stories about the desperate plight of dying people, we get these stories that have no evidence to them. What has the alleged actions of a few got to do with the whole ME population and legitimate complaints about the behaviour of these doctors? Are we now the new minority to abuse? Does the human race always have to find a new group to beat up and create a bigotry around?

    ME, a disease that has a 55 year history as a entity, was first recognised as neurological (MS is too) by the World Health Organisation in 1964, it was then entered into its next manual in 1969 as neurological. It is regarded as being as severe as MS, HIV/AIDS, and other such diseases that society general views as something we would all like to never experience for the rest of our lives. It affects 3 times as many people as MS and about 4 times as many as HIV/AIDS. But in the UK there has not been 1 penny spent on biomedical, as opposed to psychosocial, research in over 10 years. Do they not want to know the cause of the disease? Do they not want to find actual treatments? An ME patient in New Zealand died only this last week. We have no health care for this disease.

    This removal of funding has driven the only scientists we had interested in the disease out of the research field. It has stopped news ones wanting to join.

    A recent biopsychosocial study called the PACE trial, that claimed to be studying ME patients, but used an entry criteria that would exclude people with neurological signs and symptoms (yes there were no ME patients in the study), was completed this year. It cost 5 million, it used 1 objective outcome measure, and tested 3 “treatments”. It was the only study the DWP has ever funded. Can people not see this is all about saving money?

    One of the treatments was cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), one was Graded exercise therapy (GET), and one was a new invention called APT. The study found none of the treatments to be affective when compared to the control group who received standard medical care (no treatment group in this case). This was then sold to the media, like the story above, as if it were successful, it is also being sold to the NHS as if it were successful. Yet, those 4000+ published studies show it is dangerous to make a person with ME exercise and that it is dangerous to deny to yourself that you are sick. An MP dropped dead in 1988 from being told this, he had ME.

    Read the following from that trial. Replace ME with MS and then tell me this is not abuse on a grand scale.

    “CBT was done on the basis of the fear avoidance theory of chronic fatigue syndrome. This theory regards chronic fatigue syndrome as being reversible and that cognitive responses (fear of engaging in activity) and behavioural responses (avoidance of activity) are linked and interact with physiological processes to perpetuate fatigue. The aim of treatment was to change the behavioural and cognitive factors assumed to be responsible for perpetuation of the participant’s symptoms and disability.”

    “GET was done on the basis of deconditioning and exercise intolerance theories of chronic fatigue syndrome. These theories assume that the syndrome is perpetuated by reversible physiological changes of deconditioning and avoidance of activity. These changes result in the deconditioning being maintained and an increased perception of effort, leading to further inactivity. The aim of treatment was to help the participant gradually return to appropriate physical activities, reverse the deconditioning, and thereby reduce fatigue and disability. ”

    ME patients are actually sick with a neurological disease as the evidence has already shown. How is it right to bury those findings, the 55 year history, to put their lives at risk? We are discriminated against in the UK. Doctors are being taught to abuse.

    Here are some quotes from those doctors on ME. Don’t forget Wessely is the man who said the Camelford water poisoning incident was hysteria. He has a pattern and the health authorities have a pattern of using him.

    “Purchasers and health care providers with hard-pressed budgets are understandably reluctant to spend money on patients who are not going to die and for whom there is controversy about the ‘reality’ of their condition (and who) are undeserving of treatment”. October 1999 Dr Michael Sharpe (a psychiatrist and prominent member of the Wessely School)

    “There lies at the heart of CFS, not a virus or immune disorder, but a distortion of the doctor-patient relationship” (Chronic fatigue syndrome: an update. Anthony J Cleare Simon C Wessely. Update 14th August 1996:61-69).

    ME exists “only because well-meaning doctors have not learnt to deal effectively with suggestible patients” (Wessely, Psychological Medicine 1990:20:35-53).

    As for the research into human gamma retroviruses. The MRC and equivalent in the UK are still studying those viruses frantically. They know there is no scientific evidence of contamination and this disease is probably infectious. ME patients are still banned from donating blood in the UK for the rest of their lives because of the findings. Ask Frank Ruscetti (discoverer of the first human retrovirus HTLV) or Harvey Alter (discoverer of Hep C) they will tell you ME patients and some prostate cancer patients are infected and the numbers of health people, yet to develop disease, dwarf HIV in the UK and US.

    ME patients are waiting for help. Can you?

  4. Richard Kline

    Re: Fighting erupts in Tripoli, Stratfor has no enthusiasm for Muslims winning.

    Regarding the Guardian on CFS, that article is, to be kind, a biased hit piece which solicts no reasoned rebuttal, not even from the researchers whose work was trashed by those interviewed about being threatened. Now, stalkers and harassers are being assinine and highly unproductive, only reinforcing the stereotype they ostensibly reject for themselves; that’s a certainty. CFS is chronic and it’s patient base is substantial. Arguing that the condition is psychological to the point that psychopharm intervention is ‘useful’ is a huge gift of money to the pharmaceutical industry. Any study saying that would predispose the prescriptionof antidepressants and others, if only to get problem patients out the door. The talking head physician behind that study _has_ to know that, whether or not his research is substantive (boy it looked weak when it was written up in the Spring) or his ethics are intact. Further, I’m struck, as always, by the rather vapid epidemiology (to be kind) of those advocating ‘pyschology as a principle component’ for CFS. Few of those seem to have any direct, personal involvement with treatment of the patient base. Why should one take their reviews as particularly grounded or even competent? Chronic, debilitating conditions tend to induce psychological complaints in those who endure them: is the psychological compenent causal? Those with psychological conditions endure chronic stress and cope poorly, and as such are perhaps more at risk in acquiring a non-psychological condition, and defintely more at risk of doing worse with it. Is the condition itself significantly pscyhological? A reasonable review of the history of this conditon generates and answer of ‘No’ to both questions. Is drugging sick, miserable people to ‘be happy’ and cope better treatment strategy, or a maintenance work-around and financial windfall to the drug companies? Well, it isn’t the former . . . .

  5. Anonymous

    Five bummer problems that make societies collapse

    This talk is from 2003. The problems he’s talking about have gotten much worse sense then. Wonder what this talk would sound like today.

    1. Susan the other

      I hope he would recognize the logic of using existing infrastructure to tackle environmental problems with research and solutions. I hope he would refer us all to China where there are 300 research parks waiting for a problem to solve. Hello China!

      Just my own observation: Diamond’s comment about subtle environmental constraints: He cited the fact that Easter Island was removed from the air currents that brought Asian dust nutrients which reinvigorated islands and estuaries… and we have been agonizing about the jet-streamed “pollution” from China’s dust storms reaching all the way to our sacred powder in the Rockies. Funny.

      He looked so 50s New England folk singer, and had that authentic Northeast accent, I kept expecting him to pick up a banjo. We should have a song with lyrics as clear as an anthem that the short term interests of the elites destroy the long term interests of society.

  6. dearieme

    I gather that in his book Mr Diamond suggested that Norse society in Greenland collapsed because, among other reasons, the Norsemen wouldn’t eat fish. The idea that people from the NW European litoral wouldn’t eat fish is so profoundly stupid that I am obliged to wonder whether Mr Diamond is from California.

    1. alex

      I’m not a big fan of Diamond, but that’s a bad summary of his arguments. IIRC it’s not that they wouldn’t eat fish, but that they weren’t more willing to adopt native techniques for catching it (and living in general).

    2. Skippy

      Cough…reading comprehension. Their issue was with Inuit diet ie. walrus, seal, whale and the hunting techniques to harvest them, socially icky.

      BTW Jarred’s book is a summery w/opinion on the research work in the index, for a more granular perspective look at its data, draw your own conclusions from it…

      Skippy…additionally, rubbish tips are an excellent indicator of a society’s well being. Ours are a mess.

      1. ambrit

        Dear skippy;
        I remember when I was a tiddler and built my first bicycle from parts gleaned from the town dump. I couldn’t afford a new or ‘used’ bike, so I improvised. I didn’t care what ‘the neigbhors’ said. Now ‘they’ bung you up in gaol for ‘stealing’ from the dump. “The insurance regs don’t allow it son!” Thus do we demonize any and all want and poverty. And ‘they’ wonder why the youngsters despise ‘authority’ so much nowadays! Hah!

  7. Black Smith

    That looks like our cat Fat-Fat!

    After our favorite cat died we would occasionally visit the pound looking for a replacement companion. There we met Fat-Fat. He was in a cage, bloody, hair matted, with runny eyes. On the door of the cage was a padlock and a scribbled note: CAT KNOWS HOW TO UNLOCK CAGE. My SO demanded we rescue him because “no cat that smart deserves to die.” I was game.

    After a amazingly calm bath we found ourselves with a giant black and white furball of love. He’s very into opening doors and, interestingly enough, stealing necklaces.

    All attempts to monetize his talents have failed, however. ;)

  8. Badger

    Chronic Fatigue is Thyroid!

    Welcome to the merry go round that is cfs-fibromyalgia.

    My salvation was Dr. David Derry (retired) who started his practice well before the TSH test was developed. His claim is that before the TSH test neither of these conditions existed.
    A few threads of his wisdom can be found at:

    Tips – thyroid supplementation can stop the gland’s production. Be careful as depression can skyrocket to suicidal until one raises the dosage – most unpleasant.

  9. jb

    He assumes that other (more intelligent) species are as bad at sharing and considering the needs of the collective as humans are.

    Since he has one data point, and you have exactly zero. your alternative assumption is even more unsupported. But if it makes you feel good to believe that aliens live in your personal idealization of a socialist Eden, more power to you.

    You know a lot about economics, but you know exactly nothing about alien psychology. Don’t pretend otherwise, and if people make grand pronouncements about alien motivations, recognize them for what they are – political pandering that attempts to make the Omniscient, Omnipotent Other fit inside whatever socio-political box we want him to fit into to justify and reinforce our personal biases.

    1. alex

      “you know exactly nothing about alien psychology”

      And you know nothing about Yves – she _is_ an alien. How much more authoritative can you get?

    2. ambrit

      We could consider this whole arguement as the rough beast slouching towards the Event Horizon.

  10. craazyman

    Awful Dates — Puts my collisions in a better light. Glad I wasn’t on the list, funny though how sometimes these are breakthroughs. I once called a date a “fucking pyscho” after downing a bottle of wine. She really was. But we dated for 9 months after that. Now I’m her buddy and confidante.

    CFS — had it and cured myself with diet. Mainstream docs don’t have a clue.

    High Price of Looking Like a Woman — and we think we have problems? Holy Shit.

    Rep. Waters — Maxine Honey, I’m voting for you whether you’re on the ballot or no.

    Live Forever — can you imagine being all alone at the end of eternity, facing nothing but eternity alone. Ouch.

    UK & Ring Fence — it faces collapse if they’re not.

    1. Anonymous Jones

      Your awful date story is, I think, better than all those I read on that other site (which were good too)!

      On CFS, I had some variant as well. Had very low thyroid, multiple other blood analysis anomalies, and fatigue for almost 18 months in my 30s.

      Two consistent alternatives from the doctors: Go on thyroid medication for the rest of my life or take Prozac. I declined both, thank you very much.

      For about 12 months, eliminated caffeine, alcohol and processed sugars, reduced gluten intake, ate mostly fruits and vegetables and very occasionally some pastured meats. Slowly felt better and better. Diet a little more normal now (lots more alcohol, as you can probably tell, but I avoid processed sugars and HFCS like poison). Have never felt the same fatigue as before.

      This is *not* proof or a recommendation, but it is a data point. I might have recovered without any diet change; I am allowed to doubt that, however.

      1. Valentijn

        Very glad to hear you recovered! Diet alone doesn’t do it, however … most long term sufferers are on very restricted diets without it being a cure, though there is often some improvement. One theory is that the underlying cause (whatever that might be!) causes a leaky gut, which in turn causes immune response to certain proteins.

  11. SR6719

    Re: Will it be possible to live forever?

    “It’s been a prevalent notion. Fallen sparks. Fragments of vessels broken at the Creation. And someday, somehow, before the end, a gathering back to home. A messenger from the Kingdom, arriving at the last moment. But I tell you there is no such message, no such home – only the millions of last moments . . . nothing more. Our history is an aggregate of last moments.” Thomas Pynchon “Gravity’s Rainbow”, V148

    “My speech is a warning that at this very moment death is loose in the world, that it has suddenly appeared between me, as I speak, and the being I address: it is there between us as the distance that separates us, but this distance is also what prevents us from being separated, because it contains the condition for all understanding. Death alone allows me to grasp what I want to attain; it exists in words as the only way they can have meaning. Without death, everything would sink into absurdity and nothingness.” (Blanchot, The Work of Fire, 323-24)

    As Pynchon vividly demonstrated in Gravity’s Rainbow, an obsessional desire to avoid death itself becomes the death it seeks to elide.

  12. Jim Haygood

    A professor at the London School of Economics publishes her plan for economic uplift — well, at least for half the population:

    “Why not champion femininity rather than abolish it? Why does no one encourage women to exploit men whenever they can?

    Why not, indeed? You mean they aren’t already? But journo Zoe Williams of the Guardian is having none of it. Her interview with the author begins on an ominous note:

    Catherine Hakim is a sociologist at the London School of Economics, who has written a book called Honey Money. “The world smiles at good-looking people, and they smile back”, is its subtitle, and it goes on to posit this theory: that we have erotic capital, and this divides into six categories: beauty; sexual attractiveness; social skills like grace, charm and discreet flirtation; liveliness, which is a mixture of physical fitness, social energy and good humour; social presentation, including dress, jewellery and other adornments; and finally, sexuality itself, competence, energy, imagination.

    We meet in Covent Garden, over fancy tapas. She arrives and says, “I must go and brush my hair,” which she really needn’t have done, because I don’t buy her theory. I don’t care what someone’s hair looks like, I find hair neither impedes nor accelerates a discussion about ideas. I did not say so, thank God, even in jest, otherwise our encounter could have been even worse than it was.

    Oh, my! This does not sound promising. But matters rapidly descend from bad to worse:

    Anyway, she’s back. Her hair looks great. She sits down. The tables are quite close together, and we start talking about this sex deficit. So I ask her, very mildly I swear, whether or not she thinks that women might, when they talk about their sexuality, still be labouring under a bit of cultural baggage.

    Immediately, she starts barking at me; she tells me I’m using value-laden language, and that I’ve got to get over the idea that people can’t change. “Look at Muslims! They turn against their cultural expectations within one generation of arriving here!” The people on the next table to us get up and move.

    I would argue that it’s a lot easier to get over cultural expectation when you have the warm bath of a different culture, that you live in, ready to step into. But I don’t say any of that because I’m worried that one or both of the people who have just moved might be Muslims, and there’s always a chance she might start barking again.

    Soon the distaff pair are at each other’s throats:

    She fixes me with an angry eye: “Now we finally come down to it. I’m surprised it’s taken so long.” She sounds a little bit like Darth Vader.

    “There are several theorists whom I note and mention who think the only thing that matters is sexual capital, the only thing that matters is sexual attractiveness. They happen to be gay. In the gay community, this is absolutely the case. The gay community is not interested in talk, not interested in getting to know you. It’s interested in sex in a much more straightforward and simple way.”

    Well, of course a homophobic rant is always an unexpected treat on a Monday lunchtime.

    Having dispensed with gays, the unhappy diners move on to a clutch of other ideological land mines:

    We have a number of other skirmishes, about Berlusconi, Jordan, David Beckham, Christine Lagarde, Rebekah Brooks and children. In her book, she lays into a number of feminists, saving her peculiar dismissiveness for “Anglo-Saxon feminism”.

    Finally long-suffering Zoe Williams has had a damned ‘nough. Lay down the law, boomer bitch!

    Yet again, we are not getting anywhere. She disowns her views then restates them with abandon. She gets incredibly cross. I am slightly too old to capitulate just because someone is unpleasant to me. This you might call my unerotic capital.

    Old and bold, mean and lean. Yes, here we have a bristling example of hand-to-hand, grab-the-gonads, knife-fighting chick-lit crit. And I love it!

    1. craazyman

      Two women placed together makes cold weather:
      My Lord Sands, you are one will keep ’em waking;
      Pray, sit between these ladies.

      -Henry 8, Shakespeare, Scene 4

      A good laugh Jim. Thanks for bringing a brief distraction to my tedious energy industry editing work. Nearly everyone is crazy, men and women. But in all sorts of diffrent ways.

    2. attempter

      So, the book’s thesis: All women are prostitutes and should be more conscious and systematic about that.

      The books that get published these days…

      In this week’s NYT book review alone we have the cover story about an education manifesto which takes for granted that schools should be conveyor belts for corporate cogs and then revalues every concept starting with “good teachers” according to that dogma. (It also dismisses parenting as unimportant. I guess from the neoliberal POV parents are too unreliable. They might actually, you know, want something good for their children rather than for the future employer. They used to accuse communists of degrading the family, but the commies were pikers compared to corporatism’s anti-family agenda.)

      Then there was the book claiming that mental illness can make for good Leadership. Now I wonder why they’d publish that one….

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I am old and maybe naive enough to think this is a step backwards. What happens to women who aren’t cute? Or when you get older and your sexual capital is diminished?

        I remember when I got my job at Goldman. The 87 year old grandmother of one of my best friend in college (a Jewish matriarch who ran a retail chain in the South and went regularly to New York to do her buying when a woman traveling alone, much the less operating a business, was a rare event) said when she learned what I was earning: “Isn’t that great. She won’t have to get married.”

        1. ambrit

          (Snark alert!)
          I do agree. It is a step backwards.
          BTW, would a “Sexual Capitalist” be considered an example of the “Intropreneuer Class?”

          1. attempter

            I’m not an expert on the subject, but the Russian movement gave conflicting intepretations, with Lenin in 1905 urging unionization among prostitutes, while in later years they were often called petty bourgeois enablers of capitalism.

        1. ambrit

          Dear MLTPB;
          As Playboy Magazine once opined, our brains aren’t the only things that need to be washed.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The, um, erotic capital (ec for short), is it valued the same way universally?

      I mean, is there any way to arbitrage ec?

      For example, can we take what is excess in, say, Hollywood and trade them for what is too much over at, say, Mars?

    4. JTFaraday

      “Old and bold, mean and lean. Yes, here we have a bristling example of hand-to-hand, grab-the-gonads, knife-fighting chick-lit crit. And I love it!”

      So, does that translate into “erotic capital,” LOL?

      It seems to me there’s been this strain of “sex positive” feminism for quite some time (apparently they had the “sex wars” over it in the 70s), but this sex positive strain also seems to have been reaching for a real (and somewhat absurdist) crescendo in the years since the tech bubble burst, during the “jobless recovery.” (The original one).

      In contrast to the Depression, there’s been very little demonization of working women per se this time out, but I’ve always been suspicious of the apparently coincidental timing for hard selling the sex positive line.

      For the most of this time I was convinced that, outside of straight reporting, I almost never saw a female 20+something in print unless she was pushing her own sexuality. Not much of an exaggeration. (I thought they should should quit that gig and get day jobs).

      Anyway, not to change the subject (or maybe I’m not actually changing the subject), I’ll see your Guardian article and raise you one.

      “Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class,” by Owen Jones – book review

      Guess it’s not recent, not sure how I clicked on it. Gave me my vocabulary word for the day though:

  13. Foppe

    Obama: “[i] expect to be judged in the 2012 election over my governance of the American economy”. Damn this guy is sharp.

    1. ambrit

      Dear Foppe;
      Yes indeedy pardner! In fact, he’s the sharpest one in the box of Tools? What’s really depressing is that I fell for his ‘line’ back in ’08. (Someone should post a link to “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by the Who.)

  14. Victor

    Sorry to get personal here, Yves, but since I have so much respect for you and enjoy your blog so much, I feel obliged to speak out on this matter of “fatigue.” There is no way you are suffering from fatigue, get that out of your head. No one suffering from fatigue could possibly do even a fraction of all the things you do. And do them so well, I might add.

    You are clearly suffering from STRESS, aka overwork, most likely due to all the many things you feel obligated to do, a syndrome that speaks very clearly in all the apologies for not doing even more that we see so regularly on this blog.

    And yes, it is in your head. My own experiences with talk therapy have been extremely positive (though it requires patience) and that’s what I’d recommend for you. (Stay away from the pills.)

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No you are dead wrong on this one. I now need 10 hours of sleep a night. I used to need 6 or 7. I happen to be pretty ruthless about what I do ex the blog, which frankly isn’t much.

      And my fatigue well pre-dates the blog, and started very suddenly, as in it came out of the blue, in a period when I was under no stress (this was summer 2001, I didn’t start the blog until very end of 2006). The fatigue has been constant no matter what is going on in my life, stress, no stress, good shit, bad shit.

      So please don’t engage in armchair diagnosis when you have no idea what you are talking about.

      1. David

        There is research into the underlying cause of CF and other illnesses which is called TH1 disease, after the portion of the immune system that is disrupted by polymicrobial infections of cell wall deficient bacteria and other microbes. A treatment consisting of an off-label use of a blood pressure medication to activate the nuclear vitamin-D receptor in combination with pulsed doses of antibiotics. A summary of the disease and the treatment (Marshall Protocol) can be found at patient testimonies at and general forums documenting everything else at and

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Do only humans suffer from this chronic fatigue syndrome or do say zebras (who are known to get no ulcers according to one book) suffer this as well?

      1. Foppe

        Sapolsky, Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers, 3rd edition:

        The scenario I’ve been outlining is basically a strategy to shunt energy from storage sites like fat to muscle during an emergency. But it doesn’t make adaptive sense to automatically fuel, say, your arm muscles while you’re running away from a predator if you happen to be an upright human. It turns out that the body has solved this problem. Glucocorticoids and the other hormones of the stress-response also act to block energy uptake into muscles and into fat tissue. Somehow the individual muscles that are exercising during the emergency have a means to override this blockade and to grab all the nutrients floating around in the circulation. The net result is that you shunt energy from fat and from non-exercising muscle to the exercising ones.
        And what if you can’t mobilize energy during a crisis? This is what occurs in Addison’s disease, where people cannot secrete adequate amounts of glucocorticoids, or in Shy-Drager syndrome, where it is epinephrine and norepinephrine that are inadequate, having an inability to mobilize the body during energetic demands. Obviously, the lion is more likely to feast. And in a more subtle scenario, if you live in a westernized society and tend to have a somewhat underactive stress-response? Just as obviously, you’ll have trouble mobilizing energy in response to the demands of daily life. And that is precisely what is seen in individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome, which is characterized by, among other things, too low levels of glucocorticoids in the bloodstream.

  15. Patricia Carter

    Re: Chronic fatigue syndrome researchers face death threats from militants. No evidence whatsoever has been produced by any of these researchers who are accusing people suffering with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) of harrassing them. People who suffer from disease are in constant pain and they are often disabled and homebound. It is difficult to imagine these healthy researchers really feeling threatened by patients who are often too sick to leave their homes. In any group, however, there may be a few people who are unbalanced and say unwise things. Should a whole category of medical patients be accused of proposed wrongdoing if and when a tiny number of people who are believed to have their same diagnosis make the mistake of saying words which can be interpreted as threats? If we do this, then any group should be accused the same way. Why should people suffering with a real physical illness be continually denied treatment because some researchers believe the illness to be psychological? That is the real question. Simon Wessely and his friends in the psychology business have been denying effective treatment to people who are suffering brain lesions, continual physical pain, inability to work and other patients are dying from the results of this illness. And this has been going on for years. THIS IS THE REAL PROBLEM. The problem is not a few unkind words being said to these psychologists who are denying treatment for physical illness; the problem is the denial of treatment.

  16. readerOfTeaLeaves

    This seems to be a place to leave (the occasional) links as well as find them.

    There is a 40-minute video at Real News Network that is a speech given by their producer Paul Jay in Nov 2008. His comments at that time about then coming financial crises, of foreign policy patterns late 20th century, and of the importance at this historical moment of changing the economics of news are worth playing in the background for any regular NCers who have the time.


    Per fatigue issues: hope someone is tracking B-12 levels (to help assess how the body metabolizes iron)

  17. wunsacon

    >> Barbara Hannah Grufferman: Will It Ever Be Possible To Live Forever?

    I date the introduction of AI *by* 2030 and, if we don’t destroy ourselves with it, immortality *by* 2050.

    Not sure whether the immortality science — the product of a civilization and not just a few people — will be shared or hoarded by the plutocrats.

    We are approaching an event horizon.

  18. Angela Kennedy

    Regarding the ‘CFS militants’ article – this appears part of a sustained, possibly planned media campaign, that started some months ago, which may have been interrupted by the English riots: or this latest article may have been printed to capitalise on current fears of violence resulting from those riots.

    There are a number of problems around these articles/radio programmes:

    1. The allegations are unsafe. For example, the comment by some unknown that “you will all pay” was publicly deemed a ‘death threat’ (when it indicated possibly more a prediction of eventual public accountability for the mistreatment of ME/CFS sufferers). Ironically, David Cameron has used the phrase “you will pay” towards rioters in recent days, without it being deemed a ‘death threat’!

    2. But particularly unsafe has been the categorisation of legitimate action by ME/CFS sufferers and their supporters such as requests under FOI legislation, official complaints through various public agencies etc. as ‘malicious harassment’, or ‘abuse’ or ‘intimidation. If one reads these articles or listens to the radio programmes one will see how legitimate actions are juxtaposed with alleged acts of criminal harassment to present this idea that legitimate actions are criminal harassment! It is quite shocking how it is done.

    3. After making allegations of violence and harassment etc. These articles then go on to misrepresent any objections to psychogenic dismissal of the illnesses diagnosed as ME or CFS. As objectors have been insinuated as ‘extremist’, no chance is given to objectors to put forward their objections. Even where the ‘ME’ charities have been interviewed, the representatives continue the unsafe allegations and conflation of legitimate behaviour with ‘abuse’, ‘harassment’ etc. It should also be noted that certain charities have been critiqued by many sufferers and supporters for many years for not representing their concerns even adequately.

    I was once falsely accused of ‘personally harassing’ Professor Wessely by a Wikipedia administrator, claiming Wessely had told him this himself. I take an opposing public position to Professor Wessely’s, both on a political and academic level. I have NEVER harassed Professor Wessely. I have never even written to him, though he once wrote an unsolicited (and somewhat discomfiting) email to me, after a critical comment I once made about flaws in psychogenic explanations was once used in a parliamentary debate in 2004. When I wrote to Professor Wessely’s employers to ask him to clarify he had had no part in the libel against me on Wikipedia in 2007, they refused to provide that clarification. A few weeks ago in the BMJ, I found that people who wrote to Professor Wessely’s employers were juxtaposed with alleged ‘death-threat’ makers, as harassers!

    I’m also someone who has publicly and offically complained about a recently published trial of psychological ‘treatments’ in the Lancet (the PACE trial) and some really unsafe (I mean dangerous to patients unsafe) claims made on the back of this trial. This is not harassment, unless any official enquiry, complaint, or testimony counts as such, which it doesn’t of course. I also don’t think reasonable objection or complaint is more dangerous to a public figure, than being a soldier on active service in Afghanistan or Iraq, like those soldiers killed or disabled in those war regions, for example.

    1. attempter

      Ironically, David Cameron has used the phrase “you will pay” towards rioters in recent days, without it being deemed a ‘death threat’!

      That is a death threat.

      As for CFS, whatever it is it’s clearly a pathology of the modern economy. (And a “rich man’s disease”; you never hear of peasants or workers getting it. By definition, it seems, one must have leisure time to fill up with this fatigue in order to develop the syndrome.)

      It must be a pathology of the physical environmental changes corporatism wreaks, but a change which isn’t externalized on the poor. Therefore it must be a very suble change.

      To call something “psychology” is merely a turtles-all-the-way-down way of talking. Psychology is physical. One is still talking about neurotransmissions. So what causes a malfunction? This too must be physical.

      Does it make me one of the “harassers” if I say this guy must be a corporate hack with the dual goal of (1) misdirection from what must have a structural cause (blaming it on the victim instead) and (2) getting to prescribe alot of proprietary drugs along the way?

      1. willow

        no, ME/CFS is not a rich person’s disease. it’s just that rich people have better access to medical care, so those were the first patients who were noticed. anyone could get ME.

        When better estimates were done, it was found that “over 800,000 people in the US had CFS (Jason et al. 1999) and, contrary to prior beliefs, ethnic minorities had higher CFS rates than European-Americans, and CFS rates were not higher among those with high incomes.” (Jason 2011, Small Wins Matter in Advocacy Movements: Giving Voice to Patients.)

        You would find the article and references therein informative:

        You also might want to look up Carruthers et al. “Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: International Consensus Criteria”. The full text is available at the ME Association UK.

    2. Justin Reilly, esq.

      Yves, you are right idea on the issue of ME/’CFS’, except that Wessely and some of his colleagues know the disease is organic, not psychogenic, and they intentionally warp the science, and outright lie, to make it seem psychogenic. These criminals must be stopped.

      I also totally agree with Ms. Kennedy’s summary of the situation. Pls also see Prof. Malcolm Hooper’s excellent works on the subject including “Defiance of Science.”

  19. Susan the other

    I think this comment if for you Yves if it is your comment re the Guardian article and chronic fatigue. I’m a long time hypothyroid sufferer. 20 years now. About 5 years ago, 15 years into my treatment – regular doses of synthroid to bring my levels to “Low Normal'” the going protocol – I began to get extra tired. Finally, due to an accident and difficulty bouncing back, I wound up in a neurologists office. He tested me for all sorts of things and found that I had developed peripheral neuropathy due to my thyroid condition. It turns out that the new recommendations are for seriously higher doses of synthroid to prevent this, and other degenerations from happening. My dose went up by 35% and still fell within the normal range, altho now I am pushing high normal. I feel much better. Its funny how the body compensates and wears itself out doing so. My thyroid blood levels were always acceptable even tho I really needed a higher dose.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Let not so smart animals eat not so smart animals.

      One day the quiet, shy plants and vegetables will take over the world.

  20. SJ

    With respect to those having claimed to have been cured of CFS or ascribing its aetiology to be a thyroid issue, I would point out that, the diagnosis criteria for ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’ currently deployed by Doctors is vague and overlaps with many common fatigue related issues.

    If you have been cured of Chronic Fatigue by treating another ilness, then you did not have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the first place.

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is an associative term for ME – Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ICD 10 G93.3 WHO) that literally translates to Brain Inflammation. How many patients are sent for brain scans such as PETs or SPECTS during the process of diagnosis? None who aren’t extremely rich.

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome should not be confused with ‘Fatigue Syndrome’ (sans Chronic) under F48 of the ICD-10.

    Since ME/CFS is often a diagnosis of exclusion, rather than inclusion, one could be classified as having ME/CFS on the basis of a conversation. (New criteria for diagnosis are currently in review the ME-International Consensus Criteria – altho thus far lacking any substantial and testable inclusionary symptoms – of which there are many fine candidates)

    So ultimately you’re dealing with a diagnosis dustbin, that could be perceived as a way of avoiding costly tests. The other perception is of course that the Science is just lethargic in this case.

  21. ginnienyc

    Yves, thanks for the link about CFS/ME. It is one of my several diagnoses, which include a subsequent TBI. And frankly, ‘though the TBI has altered my life, the effects of CFS are worse and more pervasive.

    For the well-meaning commenters suggesting B12, thyroid disease, diet, etc. – please be advised that most people with CFS/ME have had these checked, and may have these conditions as co-moribidities. However, even after such are treated, the improvement to overall health is peripheral, because the underlying neuroimmune disease has not been addressed.

    The SPECT/PET brain scans are vital for diagnosis, but as has been said, few can afford them. Thank god I had mine done while I was still on COBRA.

  22. kravitz

    Tomorrow’s headline tonight

    Attorney General of N.Y. Is Said to Face Pressure on Bank Foreclosure Deal

    “Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general of New York, has come under increasing pressure from the Obama administration to drop his opposition to a wide-ranging state settlement with banks over dubious foreclosure practices, according to people briefed on discussions about the deal.”

  23. MisterG

    With respect to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the Canadians seem to have developed the most useful Diagnostic Protocol, “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Clinical Working Case Definition, Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols,” which can be found at the link, ( ).

    A brief summary of this protocol can be found here: ( ).

    There has indeed been a major public relations campaign recently by those who deny a physiological basis for CFS, and it seems to be directed specifically at the researchers who have found links to the XMRV virus.

  24. Contrarian MD

    RE: CFS/ME: I write as a board certified internist. In the past three years of consultative practice, I have literally seen hundreds of people who thought they had CFS or fibromyalgia. The symptoms are real: the labels can be misleading. Crucial labs for diagnostic purposes, which are rarely ordered include: 1) Vitamin D (!!!), 2) DHEAS, 3) free T3, 4) homocysteine, and 5) HS CRP. Additionally, the Nutreval, a comprehensive metabolic profile, has been incredibly helpful.

    Shocking how many people with disabling musculoskeletal pain and fatigue recover after simply replenishing their vitamin D stores. The 2011 Endocrine Society guidelines call for a serum level of 40-60 ng/ml.

  25. wisden

    A clear motive, amongst others less clear, for the Guardian/Observer campaign to denigrate ME patients and activists.

    “Unum has unveiled its marketing strategy which will include consumer focused television adverts later this year. The provider coincided the announcement, with research which revealed that workers fear the potential impact of long term sickness and highly value (IP).”

    NB “Unum has already begun its marketing initiative with a supplement and website partnership with the Guardian which will continue.”

  26. Valentijn

    I came down with M.E. (CFS) in February, and it’s been quite a ride so far. First of all, I did this after moving from the US to Europe, so got a bit of a crash course into socialized medicine. It’s pretty much the same as health care in the US, just a helluva lot cheaper.

    I got tentatively diagnosed with M.E. by an internist who believes in the existence of M.E. and that it’s very serious … then got sent back to my GP to coordinate future care. The GP suggested I got to a clinic that offers psychological treatment for “chronic fatigue” with no physical cause. But she was willing to refer to me to a real M.E. clinic instead.

    While waiting for that appointment (3 months or so, similar to the US for seeing a M.E. specialist that accepts insurance), I went to my GP with extreme light-headedness problems … I couldn’t leave the house, for the most part. She said that unless I was iron deficient, they couldn’t help me and I should wait til I could see a M.E. specialist.

    I went back to Seattle to visit family, and my mother took me to a naturopath. He spent over an hour listening to my symptoms and onset, and asking questions, then ordered adrenal and neurotransmitter testing. Not knowing anything about M.E. specifically, he managed to hit the nail on the head on the first try. I’m now getting treated for that aspect of M.E., and while it’s not a cure, I’m a helluva lot more functional now.

    Don’t believe the psychobabble about M.E. Don’t give up until you find a doctor that can help you. There are some smart ones out there that assume you are telling the truth and that you can be helped.

  27. Zac

    Ha ha ha. I like that. They are blaming the patients! They feel attacked. It’s been 25 years with no scientific treatments.

  28. willow

    thank you, Yves, for understanding the patients in this scenario. Hardly anyone in the world has stopped to think about the bigger picture here. Thank you for doing so.

    I also cannot condone what was alleged to have happened, but neither do I believe it representative of the ME community.

    The story here is that there is a very small group of delusional psychiatrists who have a ridiculous amount of influence over health authorities, to the point that there is no honest exchange of ideas and no public funding or practically no public funding (depending which continent and which decade) for biomedical research.

    And about 1 million American patients, about 17 million worldwide, who have a very serious disease, yet who are wholly neglected, and not only that but continually ridiculed and taunted. It is very demoralizing.

    If there is anything anyone here can do to help, even just to continue to speak out on your blogs, please do that. So many people need your help. We cannot march in the streets like the AIDS patients did.

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