Links 12/27/12

After 460 Starts, a War Horse’s Last Stand New York Times

Stolen Dog Returned to Heartbroken Girl ABC (Lambert)

How the Queen of England Beat Everyone to the Internet Wired (Chuck L)

The REAL danger in Instagram’s new Terms of Use: forced arbitration Firedoglake (Lambert)

Hollywood studio IP addresses caught pirating rivals’ films The Raw Story (Chuck L)

Antidepressants to treat grief? Psychiatry panelists with ties to drug industry say yes Washington Post

Link between pot, psychosis goes both ways Reuters

Six weeks of rain expected by New Year as deluge continues Telegraph

Germany ‘exporting’ old and sick to foreign care homes Guardian

Artur Mas approved as premier in Catalan parliament El Pais

The yen lost its status as a “safe haven” currency Sober Look

US lambasts China for breaches of trade rules Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Syria military police chief defects to rebels Aljazeera. Lambert points out that the prime minister apparently defected in August.

Catfood watch:

Fiscal cliff: Barack Obama cuts short Christmas holiday to tackle crisis Guardian

US debt limit looms amid cliff drama Financial Times

Potential GOP “no”-votes on Obama-Boehner fiscal cliff deal Gaius Publius

Ten Reasons Why the Chained CPI Is Terrible Policy Daniel Marans, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Hot Commodities: CFTC Staffers Wall Street Journal

Fox Parent Company Being Sued For Using Mafia Like Business Tactics Addicting Info (Chuck L)

Outcry Over Newspaper’s Map of Handgun Permit Holders New York Times

MBS investors’ trade group moves to counter adverse put-back rulings Alison Frankel, Reuters (Lisa E)

Les Misérables Trailer (COLLEGE PARODY) YouTube via Raw Story (Chuck L). Having just seen Les Miz, they need to make the students LOOK more miserable…..but point taken nevertheless.

Ten highs and ten lows, circa 2012: my intensely biased list Yanis Varoufakis

Tables Turn As Florida Homeowners Foreclose On Banks Addicting Info (Chuck L)

A Conservative Case for the Welfare State Bruce Bartlett, New York Times

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Ignacio

    Abe’s movement in Japan is quite interesting and probably in the rigth direction. Something to follow closely.

    Happy new year!

    1. Cynthia

      Japan is really our teacher. They taught us to blow up a real-estate bubble. Then they taught us how to print our way out of it. Now, similar to them, we are caught in a deflationary endless recession. This stuff probably won’t end till the baby-boomers start dying off. We’ve got a long way to go.

      1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

        It’s the tale of two teachers. When Japan imploded, some here advised them they needed to “restructure their financial/banking system” [which is usually codespeak for nationalization, recap and credit writedowns], then when we did ours some there advised us to do the same.

        Neither took the others advice.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Six weeks is a typo in the lede/headline. it should read “six days” as it does in the body of the linked story.

      1. rjs

        should have included “worth” as the article does:

        “Up to six weeks’ worth of rain is expected before the New Year”

    2. SayWhat?

      Since it’s almost 2013 now it might be time to finally admit that:

      Links like this don’t mean a damn thing to anyone who isn’t a true believer already anyway. Yeah, I’m one, but the point remains.

      Even “true believers” like “us” are unlikely to take the kind of actions that we presume the rest of the first world will take (presumably, upon our warnings) to forestall a crisis which we can now all reasonably conclude is “simply inevitable.”

      Therefore, our remaining options fall somewhere on a continuum between being a modern day Cassandra or Nero.

      Time to belly up to the bar say I, and admit that we who have made our choices already by substituting mere indignant “blog posts” such as this for real change in the real world have admitted defeat in the name of comfort already.

      FINE to blame the ObamaCrats or the Disgusticans for our problems. MUCH harder to look in the mirror and admit that you’re appalled at what you see.

      First world (USA) induced climate change = calamitous and unpredictable environmental changes = human and related life extinction. PERIOD!

  2. rjs

    on anti-depressants for grief…

    seems that if grief & depression didnt serve some useful purpose in terms of survival for our species, evolution would have elimated those emotions from homo sapiens long ago…

    1. cwaltz

      My take: Feelings are meant to be catalysts. They are meant to prompt behaviors in us. Sometimes though there are factors that are out of our control like illness or the death of a loved one.

      That being said, it’s insane to mess with the biochemistry of the brain to deal with situational grief which is EXACTLY what these medications do. Yes, cognitive therapy takes longer but it is a way smarter method of helping people transition through major life changes if they don’t have an imbalance to correct to begin with.

      After the loss of a child they put my husband on antidepressants. The first thing they tried was an MAOI they made him angry and combative. Then they put him on an SSRI which made him feel foggy. Finally, a psychiatrist said the reason he was having these kind of reactions was likely because he didn’t belong on the drug to begin with. D’oh.

      1. citalopram

        This SSRI works for me. Prozac also worked for my mother. Huge difference.

        You don’t know what you’re talking about unless you’ve had depression so bad you want to kill yourself.

        Are there side effects? Sure. Minor ones in my case. But I’ll deal with them just so I can feel normal and not crash into depression every few days.

        Psychotropics are used on a case by case basis. What works for someone may not work for another. Everyone is different.

        1. Dave of Maryland

          I had that depression. I grew up with it. Suicidal from age ten to my mid-20’s. The only reason I did not end it was that I could not agree on a means.

          You fight depression like a man. You fight it with your bare hands. You fight it alone because no one can stand to be near you, but you fight, you fight for your very life.

          Years pass. Eventually you have victories. You win battles. The enemy retreats, but is never vanquished. I am now 60. I know this well.

          And because YOU fought, YOU struggled, YOU KNOW where this monster lives, you know how to discipline your thoughts and emotions so that depression stays under control.

          By comparison, drugs enslave and make you weaker than before.

          I might make an exception for the death of a child, provided there was a fixed date for the end of grieving. One year is too much.

          Pharmaceuticals are worthless and dangerous and expensive and have side effects. Booze is the traditional cure. It’s cheap, widely available, socially shared and if it makes a mess of you, there are many, many help groups.

          1. rjs

            and you’re stronger for it dave…which goes back to my original point…what your strength contributes to the collective consciousness is far more important for our survival than those who’ve just popped a pill…

          2. citalopram

            Great, glad to know that worked for you but each case and each person is different. Just because YOU were able to overcome it doesn’t mean others will, or that others wouldn’t off themselves.

            Give yourself a nice pat on the back.

          3. Neo-Realist

            I know people who arguably have some sort of chemical imbalance and have been very much helped by the pharmaceuticals–Very functional and productive at work and healthy relationships–and would be dead from suicide or making the people around them miserable with their behavior without them. Will power for many of these people may work on a short term basis before they fall into the black hole of fog and suicidal need.

            I don’t knock cognitive therapy for those without the imbalances and in possession of other issues and baggage, but a one size all approach to depression would be disastrous.

          4. Yves Smith Post author

            The dirty secret of most psychoactive meds is your brain chemistry adjusts to compensate for the drugs. My depressive uncle was a classic case. He must have tried everything in the chemical handbook. He’d get a lift for six weeks-2 months and would revert after that, again and again, no matter what they gave him (well take that back, some stuff had such bad side effects he didn’t last a month on it).

          5. different clue

            If you ever get necrotising fasciitis, you should refuse the crutch of antibiotics which only make you weaker. You should practice what you preach and deal with your necrotising fasciitis like a man, in hand to hand combat, without the escapist weakness of drugs. Speaking as one who has had depression, I hope you get that opportunity to show us what a man you can be.

          6. will nadauld

            Hard physical work that requires you to keep moving works pretty well for me. I enjoy my emotions to much to have them blunted chemically.

        2. cwaltz

          Grief is SITUATIONAL depression. It’s not the same thing as a chemical imbalance.

          It’s absolutely nuts to mess with someone’s serotonin levels because they are dealing with a loss. Cognitive therapy to help people adapt to their new reality is what needs to happen, not a pill that is going to alter their brain chemistry.

        3. El Guapo

          Yes some are lucky enough to benefit from the placebo effect when taking the meds. And there is really nothing to these drugs beyond the placebo effect – actually looking at the trial data makes this clear.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            This, mostly. That said, the placebo effect is real and potentially the best therapy for many situations.

          2. craazyman

            it’s too confusing for science.

            two glasses or Spanish wine and 1 mg of Xanax makes the placebo effect a placebo effect for lost minds.

            I’m not saying there’s no such thing, but chemicals have profound impacts on consciousness.

            I did try Lexapro at one point and there was nothing placebo about that shit. It had a consciousness of its own. It was aware of me and I was aware of it. It wrapped itself around my brain like a cold snake and squeezed and squeezed until my mind could hardly breath. It possessed me with an alien intelligence which seemed to co-exist alongside my own, slowly strangling mine with its intense and continually distracting suppression, leaving me in a state of furtive agitation and turning every thought into a desperate search for flight from its suffocation. I was physically unsteady and ripped the side mirror of my car in a parking garage by accident, driving too close to a cement bulkhead. I would never do that normally. The doctor told me to keep taking it, that this was not abnormal. He said he himself had even taken it at one point in his life, since I asked him “Have you ever taken this crap yourself?”. I lasted about a week on it then said F*ck This. The thing I really needed was $1 million dollars, not an anti-depressant. Xanax is all I need because it’s like a loving mother and comfort food, especially with two glasses of wine. It’s no placebo either. That’s for sure.

          3. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

            I don’t know craazy. I checked out drug prices once. My jaw dropped and I couldn’t help blurting out “Holy Zimbabwe Batman! That little pill is expensive!”

            So then I decided that whenever I want the placebo effect, I just take a sugar pill. Jolly Ranchers work good too and they are easier to find at the store than plain old sugar pills. (probably cheaper than laboratory sugar pills too)

            But wine and beer work good too.

        4. spooz

          Have you read up on any on Kirsch’s research regarding the placebo effect with regards to antidepressants? It seems that the for mild or moderate depression the effects of antidepressants are minimal or nonexistent, particularly when “active” placebos are used.

          Not to say you weren’t helped, but it could very well be that you were experiencing a placebo effect, where feeling “something” helped you crawl out of the hopeless place.

        5. smokethebarbecue

          It wasn’t that long ago that most gay people were pleased to be diagnosed with a disease rather than be considered evil.
          Even today many gays consider themselves sick and look for “treatment”.

      2. from Mexico

        cwaltz says:

        Feelings are meant to be catalysts. They are meant to prompt behaviors in us.

        Which may help to explain why the US government’s War for Drugs has taken on such collosal proportions. (The other reason is that the transnational banks are the biggest beneficiaries of the US government’s War for Drugs.)

        It’s probably much easier, after all, to keep the proles pacified if they’re constantly stoned out of their minds, maintained in some drug-induced zombified state.

        1. citalopram

          If one is in a drug induced zombified state as the result of being put on medication, then it’s the patient’s job to tell his or her pdoc. It is also the job of the pdoc to assess the patient and adjust his or meds accordingly.

          It’s not a conspiracy. You obviously don’t know anything about mental illness.

          1. from Mexico

            Well actually I wasn’t even referring to drugs of the ‘legal’ variety, but drugs of the ‘illegal’ variety, which are flooding into the USA in greater quantities, better quality (purity) and at a lower price than ever seen before.

            Apparently the US government’s War on Drugs isn’t working as billed, even though we now have seven times the incarceration rate than when it began. Could it be the War on Drugs is actually working as designed? That’s why I called it the War for Drugs. It’s a veritable drug industral complex, what with the transnational banks and our vast criminal justice complex being two of the biggest winners.

          2. Dave of Maryland

            We would not be addicted to drugs if life in America was worth living.

            One of the reasons that Mao could take over China was that, at the time, a dysfunctional Beijing, combined with British manipulation, had addicted most of the population to opium. The shock and trauma of the war, combined with Mao’s new government, changed that. And a few million lives lost.

            American is an oppressive country. Drugs, not voting, is how we cope.

          3. cwaltz

            I don’t care what the psychiatric community says, GRIEF is not a mental disease. It’s a response to having your life altered irrevocably. People often need time and help to adjust to new situations but that is nowhere near the same thing as having abnormal dopamine or serotonin levels to begin with.

            Those pills alter your brain chemistry. Altering your brain chemistry to help you deal with an adjustment like the death of a spouse or the decline of your health seems like a horrible idea.

          4. Yves Smith Post author

            It IS a conspiracy. Did you read the article? An overwhelming majority of the docs on the board who voted in this ridiculous recommendation have ties to Big Pharma.

            And in general, mental illness is way overdiagnosed in the US. One of many examples: normal rambunctious boys being diagnosed as having ADD and medded into submissiveness.

            Read these:



          5. nobody

            For DSM-IV:

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


          6. will nadauld

            You fight a long protracted battle with society, and their misperceptions about your “mental illness” if you opt to go unmedicated. Once you are branded “mentally ill”, no one,not even family, look at you the same. They trust the message that psychopharmacology has been pushing on society for the last fifty years. It makes my blood boil to think of all the little kids they are destroying with their labels. Let these kids at least establish a baseline before you go permanently altering/destroying fragile brain chemistry. Never in a million years would I allow my childrens brains to be chemically altered. I’m guessing that you would have to look very hard indeed to find a psychiatriast who would allow their own children to be lobotomized.

      1. cwaltz

        I’m sure there isn’t going to be any consequences to just giving people a pill that alters the levels of chemicals in their brains rather than teaching the ones, where sadness is a temporay condition, coping mechanisms/s

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You could not be more wrong. One of the dirty secrets of SSRIs is while they have relatively few side effects (well, if you consider weight gain and suppression of libido to be no big deal) about 10-15% of the people who get on them pretty much can’t get off, they have horrible withdrawal symptoms. There was a very good article by this on a pharmacologist in a UK hospital who experienced this personally and had also seen it in a fair number of patients.

          And SSRIs are low efficacy drugs. This is a very crude generalization but they typically get a 50% response rate when the placebo rate is 30%.

          1. Garrett Pace

            That’s what is so amazing about these chemicals. Withdrawal symptoms get conflated with depressive symptoms and people stay on the stuff their whole lives because as soon as they stop the bottom falls out of their world.

            This account:


            describes a guy whose antidepressants suddenly, for no understandable reason, just stopped working. What DIDN’T stop working, however, was the guy’s dependence on the drugs. And thus the writer was able to say, without irony:

            “the incident had been the worst couple weeks of my life. And it wasn’t even a close contest.”

            Apparently, not even close to how he felt when he originally started taking the drugs.

          1. craazyman

            I think Van Gogh could have benefitted near the end. His great breakthroughs occurred through hard work and sobriety, painstaking craftsmanship, practice and studied invention — not the hallucinations of a lunatic.

            Near the end he was an utterly exhausted basketcase, especially when Theo got married and the financial support he relied on was threatened, but by that point his craft was so refined he could render it in color and shape alone, through all the exhaustion, as in those last yellow cornfields with the black crows and hard blue sky all just broad slashes of paint. And yet it still worked.

            But he was only 37. He could have done more, I think. And he might have been saved by good, conscientious treatment, somehow.

          2. nobody

            Einstein seems fairly canonically autistic. So far, they haven’t devised pharmaceuticals to market to autistics and their prescribing physicians. That’s probably why DSM-V has restricted the diagnostic range, while expanding definitions and categories for other diagnostic categories for which there are approved products.

    2. Butch in Waukegan

      Clawing and scheming for ever-increasing profits is at the core of capitalism. Healthcare companies are no different. The key sentence in the article:

      The change in the handbook, which could have significant financial implications for the $10 billion U.S. antidepressant market, was developed in large part by people affiliated with the pharmaceutical industry, an examination of financial disclosures shows.

      1. smokethebarbecue

        If you think it’s all about capitalism and profits, then how do you explain the abomination which was Soviet psychiatry?

        Maybe the rot goes deeper than you think.

    3. TK421

      “evolution would have elimated those emotions from homo sapiens long ago”

      Useless features can persist for a long, long time. You still have a tailbone, an appendix, and wisdom teeth, after all.

    4. Garrett Pace

      The article says if you have enough depressive symptoms for TWO WEEKS, that is major depression. That’s amazing.

      If we view ourselves purely as producers and consumers of goods, anything that upsets or destabilizes our part in the chain is a bad thing and must be dealt with. So we rewire our brains that we don’t feel things anymore.

      The economic systems we are a part of are so efficient and mechanized, we struggle to keep up. The squishy and fragile organic unit seems to be the weak link in any process, so we try to turn ourselves into computers.

      1. Lambert Strether

        The supply chain is very fragile. If we have a significant portion of the population not consuming for one or two weeks at a time, the entire system could grind to a halt!

        So line up, sign up, and start your compliance program today!

        1. different clue

          If there is a difference between “shit” and “shinola”, is there a difference between the sub-supply sub-chains which supply “shit” as against “shinola”? If so, we should certainly keep patronising the “shinola” supply chains today so we can have shinola tomorrow.

          More interestingly, if enough people decided to stop buying shit, could such people collapse and exterminate the shit supply chains so that no more shit is available to anyone, even people who don’t know the difference between shit and shinola? If all the shit supply chains were exterminated, would that force some growth in the shinola supply chains?

          If Miracle Gro were exterminated, would people who don’t know the difference between Miracle Gro and Kelp Meal be forced to buy Kelp Meal regardless?

      2. will nadauld

        You need to rewire your brain while ignoring your consience to survive western society. You must learn to ignore all feelings that might cause you to evaluate the stupidity of conspicuous consumption as the one true measure of your success. Merciless deluded unconcerned consumers. Some find they are naturally this way, some need a little help becoming mentally healthy so they can consume more.

    5. SayWhat?

      Simple answer: turn ALL the first world pharmaceuticals off TOMORROW and see how it all sorts out. You all DO know that’s how it COULD conceivably turn out, don’t you? Food for thought. Food for thought. Marijuana then, anyone?

    1. Jack Hepler

      >without having an equal discussion about potential risks of decriminalizing.
      You are equating decrim with increased usage. Where have you been? This stuff and much worse drugs are readily available everywhere. There may likely be a small increase in pot usage but lordy, the harm done by related factors such as drug profits for the big boys, turning kids into criminals (as small time pot dealers), prisons loaded with non-violent “crooks” and the hideous violence eg Mexico.
      Maybe you should read an article or two about Portugal’s experience with drug law normalization. Jack

      1. Lambert Strether

        Why do you consider mass incarceration a harm? Try to look at matters through the right end of the telescope, please.

        Colored people in jail, lots of money to be made, privatized correctional establishment — what’s not to like?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Of course, if everyone, and I mean 100% of us, if everyone is in there, then there will be no ‘outside’ to get to.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            THANKS! I like them.

            I made a ceramic piece called ‘No Two Sides’ (i.e. we are all on one side) based on the Moebius Strip which is like the Klein bottle.

            Sadly, mine has 2 boundaries, unlike the Klein bottle.

  3. cwaltz

    The interesting thing with pot is the 2 components of it are at odds with each other. The THC in pot appears to feed the paranoia that sometimes accompanies mental illness while the cannaboids feed a feeling of well being which is why marijuana may be so popular to begin with.

    It’s nice to see a study that doesn’t just tout the pros of MJ without having an equal discussion about potential risks of decriminalizing. It wasn’t even so long ago we started mapping cannaboid receptors. It makes me a little anxious that there is such a rush to just decriminalize versus study the effects on the cannaboid receptors and brain a little more carefully before just putting it out there for recreational use.

    1. Ray Duray

      Heaven help the alcohol industry if they’re ever forced into the research rigmarole you propose for weed. They got some ‘splainin’ to do. :)

      1. cwaltz

        I’m the child of an alcoholic so that would be the completely wrong argument to convince me.

        The fact that one drug(alcohol) has caused so many problems for so many people(dysfunction, death from DUIs etc, etc) seems like a poor excuse to argue we should just rush ahead and rubber stamp any other drug as legal that could have similar consequences to the population as a whole.

        Then again, perhaps I’m just disinclined to believe a race to see which means to disengage from the cold harsh realities of the world is in the best interest of the country.

        1. Ray Duray

          My inclination is to see the War on Drugs as infinitely more demonic and dysfunctional for the masses than the tolerance of a little recreational pot smoking escapism.

          I’m appalled by the prison/police state that America has descended into and I’m perfectly unwilling to say that any moral and socially desirable goal is being achieved by the creation of the misery of our gulag of penitentiaries, the largest in the world by far. Incarcerating millions who are thus made miserable for the sake of a bizarre cult of puritanical profiteers.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Speaking of war and peace, the most pernicious war is the War on Nature.

            Here, we don’t take prisoners.

            We just kill them.

        2. SayWhat?

          Then again, perhaps I’m just disinclined to believe a race to see which means to disengage from the cold harsh realities of the world is in the best interest of the country.

          Then again, maybe we should just all be a little more inclined toward creating a world with a few less cold hard realities? FUCK the interests of mere countries!

      2. ex-PFC Chuck

        Although not a pot user myself, I found a short book entitled Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? very enlightening. Although the authors are legalization activists, it appeared to me that they presented a balanced view that was exhaustively sourced from peer-reviewed research, much of it federal government funded (e.g. NIH, etc.). I haven’t checked any of the many foot-noted source documents but if they have fairly represented them, but one aspect stood out for me. My only brush with the stuff was in a couple of pot-laced brownies nearly 40 years ago, and it was an unpleasant experience that I’ve had no desire to repeat. The authors described how ingested versus inhaled pot differently affects the body. It takes the better part of an hour to get into your system but once it does the less psychoactive cannabinoid molecules (IIRC the chemistry is analogous to that of saturated hydrocarbons such as methane, ethane, propane, . . . octane, etc. which are similar but behave with subtle differences) are converted into the most psychoactive one. Because of the delay, there is a temptation to eat another brownie before the first one has “hit,” and that’s the pitfall I fell for. What the book described matched my experience directly, and I take that as an indicator of the book’s reliability.

        1. Susan the other

          Yes. Alcohol evolved with us. Because it gave us clean drinking water in the form of beer and wine. You can swill lots of beer and wine and still be healthy but if you swill that much distilled alcohol you’ll kill yourself. I’m personally addicted to low levels of alcohol (red wine) and happily so. Radicals have always ingested stronger stuff. So-be-it. Look: when you are confronted with a pat on the head and confiscation of everything you thought you owned and had worked for, you get pissed off. Right? (Can you say Tea Party?) I agree this last sentence makes no debate sense.

          Now, non-alcohol drugs are a newer industry, one not directly connected to our survival from polluted water, but drugs have become, which is allowed to steal from us. Lacking all democracy. Like many other industries (health insurance, etc.) If it (drugs) were legal = no theft because it would be standardized and taxed. Legalize drugs.

        2. SayWhat?

          I’ve smoked pot and used alcohol, both to extreme at one time or another (imagine that!). There’s simply no comparison. This is simply a non-argument among aging hypocritical baby-boomers who have become their parents. GET OVER IT!!!

    2. psychohistorian

      I am offended by this comment that says we should not RUSH to decriminalize pot.

      Where has this person been for the past hundreds of years? Given you don’t have to process things like you have to do for alcohol I suspect it has been used longer than any other “drug”.

      I wonder what would happen to the paranoia if it was decriminalized? Duh!

      The article sounds like more agnotology to me.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You’re probably right that it has been in use for a long, long time…probably not too distant from the time the Neanderthal Man ruled the place.

        They probably used it for the good of the tribe, to cure others, rather than for recreation though.

        And they probably fasted, abstained, was abstinent and purified themselves for a few days prior to touching that powerful stuff.

        One might say, it was a serious drug by serious people for serious purposes.

      2. SayWhat?

        Let’s turn it on it’s ear then! Let’s RUSH to CRIMINALIZE American Capitalism then, and free the many species thus enslaved and consigned to certain extinction.

    3. Strangely Enough

      potential risks of decriminalizing.

      Lower incarceration rates, less money going to criminal enterprises (banks being a possible exception), less wasted resources tilting at windmills so politicians can look tough, fewer innocent people getting killed (by criminals and cops)… I think we can live with those risks.

      We can chew gum and walk at the same. Why can’t we decriminalize and continue studying the chemical effects? If anything, decrim would allow actual studies that aren’t dependant on the federal government.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We don’t need a drug that will just make people feel good when the world is falling apart.

      We need a drug that will make people get up and say no to 0.01%, a drug that will make people say, I want to do something for the good of the tribe.

    5. optimader

      “It makes me a little anxious that there is such a rush to just decriminalize”

      Such a rush?!? LOL!!! You must be high.. errr…. well, maybe you should try some weed to assuage that anxiety?

      In our incredibly toxic environment of codified over prescription, self medication and recreational abuse of pharmaceuticals, booze, tobacco products, engineered food products that don’t occur in nature, estrogenic chemicals, manmade mutagenic and permanently embedded cancer causing radioactive nucleotides, pesticides. Genetically altered organisms that have reproductive capability, heavy metals…. you are a “little anxious” about a weed that has been in our environment since before we lived in trees???

      Pot was originally became illegal to serve Corporate interests in the (licensed) alcohol, textile and paper product (forestry) sectors. It remains illegal to continue serving those Corporate interests now also including the Prison industry (huge) as well massive Municipal, State, Federal Law Enforcement and incarceration Fiefdoms.

      You are “anxiously” picking flyshit from the pepper in the grand scheme of things.

  4. fresno dan

    A Conservative Case for the Welfare State Bruce Bartlett, New York Times

    “Thus, for no more than the United States already spends through government, we could have a national health-insurance system equal to that in Britain. The 7.6 percent of G.D.P. difference between American and British total health spending is about equal to the revenue raised by the Social Security tax. So, in effect, having a single-payer health system like Britain’s could theoretically give Americans 7.6 percent of G.D.P. to spend on something else – equivalent to abolishing the payroll tax”

    The truth is that despite rhetoric, “republicans” LOVE government spending – whether for the pentagon, pharmaceutical companies, bailouts for banks – as long as it absoulutely, positively does not help anyone in the 99% of income distribution. The 7.6 elimination of the payroll tax? The only tax reductions that matter are the tax reductions for the 1%.

    1. Jennifer

      Absolutely! Other very popular public->private transfers include charter schools, even though all evidence available suggests they are not better by standard tests and measures, and any other public job that can be made “private”. That is the government body pays a corporation a lump sum, possibly slightly less then what it paid for as part of government (local, state whatever) and that corporation pays the employees less then what they made working for the government, less if any benefits->PROFIT. Of course when those employees wind up using more government services the government does not really save but nobody seems to pay attention to that part . . .

      1. JohnL

        The huge and forgotten thing in privatization is the loss of true democracy. I serve on the board of our local water system, serving 163 households to whom we are accountable. We have a full public meeting once a year but our board meetings are open to the public too. Our agenda and minutes are published. Many people get their first experience of true transparent accountable democracy through such an organization. If we privatized, all that goes away.

        Same with charter schools. A feature, not a bug. Anothet of Lambert’s self-licking icecream cones.

    2. from Mexico

      You got it!

      The only thing is I hope you include 90% of the so-called “Democrats” under the rubric of “Republicans.”

    3. briansays

      the principal reasons we have no public option
      Blanche Lincoln-defeated 2010
      Max Baucus
      Joe Lieberman retiring
      Ben Nelson retiring

      3 democrats and 1 independent from the home state of cigna and aetna

      1. SayWhat?

        The ONE AND ONLY reason we have no “public option”:

        In our heart of hearts, we all bought into the idea of unfettered capitals markets LONG AGO as being the best option for all. The only problem is that NOW some of us have come to realize all too late that some of the predicted “losers” predicted from the very start just happen to be “US.” FUNNY how that all worked out.

    4. diptherio

      I wonder how long it will be before ol’ Bruce is gets his conservative membership card taken away (if it hasn’t been already)? Writing op-eds in the NYT supporting single-payer health-care is tantamount to high treason for many of his fellow conservatives (or so I’m told).

  5. craazyman

    Have medical researchers mapped the connection between politics and psychosis?

    I’ve met perfectly normal people who become incoherent and/or violently delusional when they start thinking about politics.

    It’s frightening. There should be some sort of warning label, or maybe the pharma companies can develop a drug treatment — “Pacifex” TM.

    “If politics is ruining your life and destroying your relationships with friends and family, a daily 20 mg dose of Pacifex may be indicated. Recover your common sense and the joy of simple and sane living! Eliminate the explosive outbursts of verbal violence and contumelious collisions with colleagues and strangers alike! Pacifex is non-addictive and may be taken with alcohol and marijuana. If politics is making your crazy, talk to your doctor about Pacifex.”

    1. Expat

      Since we are no longer citizens unless we are part of the .1% represented in Washington, your point is well taken. In fact, given the presence of pharmaceuticals in the water supply, I thought the pacification project was already well underway.

    2. leftover

      Psychosis and psychopathy are two different things. (What “Psychopath” Means/Scientific American 2007)

      It’s not uncommon to find writers connecting politicians to psychopathy/sociopathy, Like James Silver at the Atlantic, or David Freeman at HuffPo.

      At n+1, Benjamin Kunkel, in a slightly longer piece, Looks at Politico-psychopathology: Neurotocrats vs. the Grand Old Psychosis:

      Not that politicians and pundits are mentally ill in a clinical sense, but politics in American national life today can only be presented in pathological form. Politics no longer involves the public use of reason; it is instead a matter of psychopathology, and is already treated as such by politicians and the public alike.

      [Y]ou might say that the Republicans have become the Party of Psychosis while the Democrats have become the Party of Neurosis. The Republicans are psychotic because they have lost contact with reality, and orient their behavior not toward realities but toward fantasies. The Democrats are neurotic because they are aim-inhibited, as an old-fashioned shrink might say: their anxieties, hang-ups, and insecurities mean that they can’t attain satisfaction, since in a basic way they won’t even allow themselves to know what they want. 

      Kunkel is a little kinder to The Left, (“more honesty and intelligence”), suggesting a political psychology neither “estranged from reality” nor ” “exiled from desire.” He even manages to stir in a little anthropology. Science!

      To me , sociopathy is a feature, not a bug, (to borrow a phrase), of neoliberal America. The way enmity is a feature of militarism. Mix those two features together, vigorously, and varying degrees of psychosis will inevitably occur.

      1. craazyman

        I know the difference. I’m thinking of friends and family with they get “on politics”, not fearless leaders.

        The psychopathic fearless leaders act like broadcast stations for the psychosis wave.

        It’s like the old commercials. “This is your mind.” (Crack the egg on the frying pan). This is your mind on politics.

        Pacifex at 20 mg will neutralize the psychosis wave impact and the individual patient can resume rational discourse. Pacifex is especially effective around the holidays, where families — who don’t see each other all that much during the year — gather for meals and celebrations of love and compassion and occassionally, to fill the uncomfortable moments of silence, muse about local and national issue of import, along with the weather. hahahah

  6. jjmacjohnson

    Queen beat everyone else to the internet because she was rich and famous and don’t forget the Queen. Let the common people wait. Stupid folks.

    1. j.s.nightingale

      Interesting about the politics of Europe providing the excuse to prevent the National Physical Laboratory from connecting directly to the Arpanet. Network aficionados will know that NPL had the world’s first local area network, operating throughout the Computer building on the campus, creatively entitled the ‘Data Communications Network’ (DCN).

      When I got to NPL in 1979, they were setting up the connection from the DCN via the Post Office Experimental Packet Switching Service to University College – Peter Kirstein’s bolt-hole, then over to UCLA. Oh, we didn’t use Coral 66 – the immediate descendant of Algol, but BCPL – the immediate ancestor of ‘C’.

    2. Mel

      In your computer now there’s a file called “hosts”. It isn’t used for anything much, but it 1976 it would have contained the name and IP address of every computer on the Internet. Twenty years, till 1996 say, to expand the system so that it could include everybody in the world. Actually not unreasonable.

  7. scraping_by

    RE: Germany

    It may be less than ideal, but it beats the Dutch approach:

    The ‘voluntary’ part of this has always been problematic. Given the field of salesmanship, PR, opinion engineering, etc., it’s always a job to separate out the person’s own will. Assuming the elders can speak up for themselves, which many can’t. And assuming their listeners don’t reinterpret any answer they give to ‘yes’.

    And as to the group “…wants to found a new profession to assist those weary of life in ending it.” Wasn’t that a movie with Katherine Hepburn and Nick Nolte?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am just guessing here, but I think Hypothetical Taxpayer’s repsonse to that would be ‘Have you read anything about the Modern Moneky Theory?’

      1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

        Ah, yes. That dangerous looking critter.

        Well, in referencing our handy Modern Monkey Theory Handbook, and reading Chapter 1 – Genesis – Modern Monetary Theory (out loud- if you wish – but out loud is strongly recommended – we are not responsible for lightning strikes) we can recite that “taxes do not fund spending”, and some million or so words later “money has value because you can pay your taxes in it.” and a few million words after that “taxes control inflation because the Treasury will tax people and shred the money”.

        The anecdote is what a rich person looks like when he finds out “the Treasury will tax rich people and shread the money”.

    2. optimader

      Funny, now I was thinking,,,, Man that would be one warm coat…
      I wonder what his (hir?) breath smells like?

  8. Can't Help It

    The Yen is probably going to turn around soon. There are a record number of short positions on the Yen, but most importantly, yours truly is currently shorting it as well. Given how things are going with moi’s attempt to short the Euro, the Yen will probably be at 70 to the dollar in 3 months …….

    1. Mel

      It irks me that I can’t get a comment from anybody who might know anything about the idea that Japan has the prototype of the kind of zero-growth economy that we’ll all be running in ten years or so.

      1. psychohistorian


        Japan will be a nuclear wasteland in less than a decade.

        Brought to you by GE and the short sighted rich.

    2. craazyman

      I know how you feel. I called the UVXY bottom at 17+ a few days ago and now it’s 26, a 50% gain. Of course, I was too chicken to buy it.

      IF I buy it now it will open tomorrow at 23 on it’s way back to 17. If I don’t buy, it will go to $40 next week.

      Here’s my offer. I won’t buy today, so go ahead and get the next 50% and I’ll watch out for the yen collapse. :)

        1. craazyman

          If the end up with that new dude and his MMT, every Japanese citizen will eventually have 5 Toyotas.

          It’ll be like the iPad to the fifth power. The mini for the trip to the local market. The mid-sized for the Sunday drive and some SUV for the occasional camping trip. Maybe a fancy luxury model for the nights out with the wife. Then another one for a backup in case the first 4 all break down at once. They’ll call that risk management.

          There’ll only be room for 3 per household in the driveway and front street, so they’ll have to build thousands of new parking lots across the country.

          I don’t know what this will do to the yen, but it’s likely it will be the opposite of whatever trade I put on.

          1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

            I’m sure things will turn out great for Jap folks, but I’m talking about my trade idea in the US here. I’m not brave enough to buy Toyota stock, cause then I need unit sales volume too. Could be risky if no one has money to buy ’em [really – all the money got printed in Japan and it’s yen, no less]. So I just want to buy a Toyota car price index derivative. Denominated in dollars, so I get a little Forex action too – FX being a slam dunk for making money.

            So figure my idea is one of the better bets for the ‘ol nest egg…and if I win I live, or, well….

            But that’s what makes decision making so important today and investing so exhilarating.

  9. Stephen Gardner

    Re: link between pot and psychosis.

    This is pure drug war propaganda. Look forward to a lot of this crap in the MSM. No surprise that as marijuana legalization moves forward that the unholy alliance of prison for profit and big pharma would respond with a propaganda blitz. I’m a little surprised to see it here though.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Let’s not ignore the economic propaganda used to expand the War On Nautre by using the issue of jobs as a threat.

      Every time wealth inequality is about to be exposed, they say we have to further plunder nature and expand the economy. They promise that will bring more jobs – meaningless jobs, jobs people don’t particualarly enjoy, jobs people are not really passionate about.

      The last thing they want you to talk about is wealth inequality. They distract you with all the seemingly working solutions to make sure you don’t think about wealth tax or anything that will really remedy that inequality, and can do so without having to grow the economy.

      Yes, we don’t have to grow the economy in order for the 99.99% to be better off. You can trim that upside down pyramid into a rectangle – a simple exercise in geometry to the 7th grader via a wealth tax and GDP sharing. Even with a smaller rectangle (area-wise, representing the size of the economy), the bottom 99.99% will have more than they have now in that upsdie down triangle of wealth distribution.

      There is a natural state of economy whose GDP is smaller than what we have today. That economy is based on people consuming what they need, and not based on fulfilling their desires. There will be a lot fewer jobs. But that will not be a wedge issue used to drive sane people to war on Nature, under GDP sharing, under which people work on that they are passionate about and don’t have to take on any jobs they can find just in order to survive. Under GDP sharing, jobs will not be an issue.

      This is the propaganda.

  10. rjs

    what we dug out yesterday is all over:

    Released FBI documents reveal plans to assassinate OWS activists – Jason Leopold, an investigative journalist for Truth-Out, has obtained FBI documents – through the Freedom of Information Act – relating to Occupy Wall Street. Most of the pages in the documents are redacted, and show concerns of cyber threats against the financial sector. However, there are questions of assassination plots against Occupy activists in Houston, Texas. Because the documents have redactions, it is not clear who or what group was planning the assassinations. On page 61, the section reads: “An identified [redacted] of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protesters in Houston, Texas, if deemed necessary. An identified [redacted] had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. [Redacted] planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs, then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles.” The bottom of page 68 and the top of page 69 reads: “On October 13, 2011, writer sent via email an excerpt [redacted] regarding FBI Houston’s [redacted] to all IA’s, SSRA’s and SSA [redacted]. This [redacted] identified the exploitation of the Occupy Movement by [redacted] interested in developing a long-term plan to kill local Occupy leaders via sniper fire.”

    1. psychohistorian

      We live in a country that is by the rich, for the rich and enabled by the fundie’s whose religions would be irrelevant by now it it weren’t for the rich.

      I want my secular Republic back. The one that had the motto: E PLURIBUS UNUM

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        They say the same across the Pacific.

        That’s why they call themselves ‘The Rich People’s Republic of China – RPROC.”

    2. different clue

      Were these free lance plans that FBI was keeping track of?
      Or were these FBI plans to be activated upon orders from the President or Attorney General? Or were these “parallel government” plans for which the FBI would supply the names, whereabouts, targetting information?

  11. Jim Haygood

    A comment on this YouTube video says ‘Habría qué traducirlo para que lo escuchen los yanquis’ (‘oughta be translated so the yankees can listen to it’) … so I did.

    This is for the gun grabbahs at the Journal News:

    THE BULLET by Calle 13

    The hammer strikes the firing pin
    An explosion of gunpowder pushes from within
    With graceful movements of rotation and translation
    The bullet is hurled from the barrel’s termination

    With a direct target
    The bullet goes secure and steady in its journey
    Mortally wounding the wind
    Faster than time, defending any argument

    It don’t care whether its destiny is violent
    The bullet sails tranquilly, ain’t got no feelings
    With a secret you don’t wanna hear
    The bullet is saying everything without speaking

    Raising no suspicions, it assures a slaughter
    That’s why a belly’s full of lead
    To reach its prey it don’t need eyes
    When its path is traced by infrared

    A bullet never gives up
    If it don’t kill today, it at least leaves a wound
    After it leaves it won’t be stopped
    Obey your master for once in your life

    Chorus: (2X)

    Ain’t much money, but they’s plenty a’ bullets
    Ain’t much food, but they’s plenty a’ bullets
    Ain’t many good folks, so they’s plenty a’ bullets
    Look out, here comes one! Bluh! Bluh! Bluh! Bluh!

    You hear a shot, you better hang tough
    The sound pursues it, but can’t catch up
    The bullet bares its fangs of steel
    And without asking leave, enters through the leather

    It chews tissues with rage
    Strips the chest of its arteries to make it bleed
    The blood flies, a strawberry shake
    Salsa bolognesa, raspberry syrup
    A cascade of contemporary art
    Color living red, spurtin’ from he head


    They’d be inaccesible to someone who kills you
    If each bullet cost as much as a yacht
    You’d have to save all your pay
    To be a mercenary you’d have to be a millionaire

    But it ain’t like that, we kill in droves
    Bullets is as cheap as condoms
    Ain’t much education, but they’s plenty a’ cartridges
    When you don’t read much, you shoot a lot

    They’s some who kill and don’t show they face
    Rich guy gives the order, poor guy does the shooting
    You don’t need bullets to prove a point
    That’s logical, you can’t talk to no corpse
    Dialogue destroys any morbid situation
    Before using bullets, I shoot with words
    Bluh! Bluh! Bluh! Bluh!


    1. Lambert Strether

      Well, let’s hope none of the Journal News staff gets shot, George Tiller-style. Maybe the NRA could take up a collection to get the staffers some guns so they could defend themselves.

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