Links 1/14/14

Middle class ‘just working class people with nicer stuff’ Daily Mash

Gilt CEO: no fan of networking Guardian. OMG, it took this long for someone to say it? Virtually every networking event I’ve been too (and I ditched the category over a decade ago) had too many people selling and not enough people buying. Plus too much supposedly charitable activity has become about making connections and not about the cause. And these days, if you golf, you ride around on a cart and get hardly any exercise (not that I like golfing either…).

Supreme Court looks to rein in top patent court with two new cases ars technica

Target Confirms Point-of-Sale Malware Was Used in Attack Security Week

Coalition: still looking to sell us out to the yanks MacroBusiness. Lots of comments on an anti TPP post.

US challenges China over compliance with WTO ruling Financial Times

​Democrats To Evict Bad Spirit After Shooting ThaiVisa (furzy mouse)

Russia expels American journalist Guardian. I see, the forced closure of The eXile doesn’t count (and yes, Virginia, the staffers were plenty worried about their safety and the Americans hightailed it out of Russia).

Bangkok ‘shutdown’: protesters fill streets of Thai capital Channel 4 News. Nails the critical issue, that the protestors are anti-democratic (they represent the urban elite rather than the much larger exurban/rural population). And the reporter is amazingly gutsy.

Egypt holds vote on new constitution BBC

Iran nuclear talks delayed Guardian

Obama Fights a Push in the Senate to Add Iran Sanctions New York Times

Syria peace talks: Opposition ‘risks US-UK support’ BBC

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

EU report reveals massive scope of secret NSA surveillance DW (Deontos)

Former Swedish Prosecutor Urges Termination of Julian Assange Case Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

Google’s reach expands into your home more via $3.2 billion Nest acquisition ZDNet (furzy mouse)

Embedded System Insurance? Patrick Durusau

Obamacare Launch

Obamacare Packing Medical Offices Spurs Deal Surge Bloomberg. Too funny. They haven’t gotten the memo about the ginormous deductibles.

The Spanish Version of is Terrible Jon Walker, Firedoglake

Obamacare Customers Skew Older as Young Wait for Shakeout Bloomberg. This isn’t necessarily fatal, but the Administration is sort of hoist on the petard of its own marketing and messaging (the emphasis on “young invincibles”). Obamacare allows for premiums 3X higher for older people v. young. For women, that’s looks to be the right spread, for men, it might be a bit light (as in that’s the difference between average healthcare spending by age group, based on what little data I could find). So what they need are healthy people enrolling, regardless of age.

Young adults make up one-fourth of Obamacare enrollees Politico

House-Senate Negotiators Seal $1 Trillion Spending Deal Wall Street Journal

Dad’s texting to daughter sparks argument, fatal shooting in movie theater CNN. Only in America….

Bridge scandal: 10 things the public needs to know (furzy mouse)

New Jersey’s Chris Christie faces probe over Sandy relief funds Financial Times

Is the End of Marijuana Prohibition the End of the War On Drugs? Probably Not. Bruce Dixon (Chuck L)

JPMorgan and Madoff Were Facilitating Nesting Dolls-Style Frauds Within Frauds Pam Martens

Basel Rules and More on Basel Rules John Jansen. Haven’t had time to read and digest the nitty gritty yet…

Fallen Foreclosure King David J. Stern Disbarred Mother Jones. Embarrassing that it took this long.

An Investment Manager’s 2014 Update on the Top 1% Who Rules America? (Paul Tioxon)

Wolf of Wall Street: Jordan Belfort’s rights payments may be seized Guardian. Is anyone here up on Hollywood deals? Belfort got a lot more than I surmise was normal for his book. Was Scorsese dumb enough to have someone clearly associated with him cut the deal? One real estate developer (former client, Forbes 400 member) picked an absolutely doofus name for his company because “when Donald Trump bids for a parcel, the price doubles.”

Exclusive: FBI suspects front running of Fannie, Freddie in swaps market Reuters This could be almost as big as the Libor scandal; Fannie and Freddie do a huge volume of interest rate hedging. Bob Swern notes:

Here’s the jaw-dropper, IMHO…

The FBI said it had “medium confidence” in the information, which the bulletin described as coming from “multiple corroborating sources with first-hand access.” However, it said it had “low confidence” that law enforcement could prosecute suspected traders because the trades concerned seem to be completely legitimate.

Um, that’s what getting e-mails and using that tied to phone calls and meetings are about. Rajat Gupta, former McKinsey managing partner and Goldman board member, was nailed on placing a call to conviced hedgie Raj Rajuratnam immediately after a board meeting and Raj executing a trade right after the call.

Credibility Trap: Fatal Web of Lies Jesse

The Political Economy of Predatory Capitalism Truthout. Very good but I have one quibble. The author repeats a bit of corporate PR used to justify deregulation, and it’s not accurate, that corporate profit were declining in the later 1970s. In fact, Fed data shows corps had perfectly decent profits. They had shitty stock market prices due to 1. High and rising inflation (both depressing the worth of future earnings in NPV terms and making investors doubt the accuracy of their reported financial statements) and 2. the (correct) belief that German and Japanese manufacturers were eating the Americans’ lunch. They didn’t want to pay for social welfare. The rest is an excuse.

An Experiment With Basic Income Frances Coppola, Pieria

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


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  1. Skeptic

    Supreme Court looks to rein in top patent court with two new cases ars technica

    Patent definition:

    Spending money to publicly reveal your invention which gives you the right to sue the mammoth, deeper pockets entity that steals it.

    Movie proving the above about the invention of intermittent wipers by a Little Guy:

    Part of the 1% Racket is to steal and exploit the ingenuity and inventiveness of other people. Our economy suffers greatly because the system does nor fairly reward inventiveness.

    Reading about this subject years ago, I found that many companies do not go the patent route but will sign Trade Secret agreements instead. Also, that the first thing the Japanese would do when researching a problem would be to comb all the patent applications in the world to see what work was in existence that they could use/steal. Good luck, Little Guy!

    1. Francois T

      “.Our economy suffers greatly because the system does nor fairly reward inventiveness. ”

      Our people die in greater numbers than they should because of this utterly corrupted system.

      But who cares? Certainly not Congress.

  2. tongorad

    Thanks for the Thailand link. Interesting that the anti-democratic aims of the protesters hasn’t been discussed much if at all in any of the other news coverage that I’ve seen.
    The reporter is indeed brave, although for obvious reasons, he didn’t dare ask about the role that Thailand’s number 1 anti-democratic institution is playing in these protests.

  3. Larry Headlund

    It is surely because I just finished reading Paul Fussel’s “The Great War in Modern Memory” (highly recommended) but the antidote immediately brought to mind Thomas Hardy’s poem “Ah, Are You Digging On My Grave?.”

  4. AbyNormal

    Fuzy Mouse, your Antidote brought me to my knees…Thank You!

    “It contributes greatly towards a man’s moral and intellectual health, to be brought into habits of companionship with individuals unlike himself, who care little for his pursuits, and whose sphere and abilities he must go out of himself to appreciate.”
    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  5. Jerry Denim

    Most morbid antidote ever! I thought these were supposed to cheer you up?

    Poor loyal poochie!

    1. F. Beard

      Loyalty does cheer me up! And thanks for pointing out what maybe the story. My first groggy thought was he/she just wanted a cool spot to lay on.

          1. LucyLulu

            My favorite story, Beard! Even if its a sad story too. Yes, this was a very sad antidote today indeed. Not for those who were traumatized by Old Yeller.

            A little change of tone perhaps?
            Between your spouse and your dog, how do you know who is your real best friend?
            Lock them both in the trunk of the car, and check who’s happy to see you an hour later.

            1. F. Beard

              Not for those who were traumatized by Old Yeller. LucyLulu

              Ya got me back. I had forgotten Old Yellow and unwittingly I watched The Yearling too.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s amazing how much a dog can express without being conversant in any one human language.

          Puzzling as well, when one starts to wonder how a dog thinks without thinking in words.

          Can a human think without words?

          We used to be able to…a long time ago, back when we lived in caves. We ‘thought’ without words…planning a bison hunt, making tools, chewing minerals and painting in caves, etc.

          There is little of that left…except maybe in the Zen emphasis on intuitive knowing.

  6. AbyNormal

    speaking of bridges: Layoffs in store for those who fix New York City’s 8,000 bridges, overpasses
    “Bridge painters say they play an important role in maintaining city infrastructure by blasting rust, rot and corrosive salt off steel bridges and overpasses.
    They also pinpoint potentially dangerous cracks and holes in beams and critical joints, peel off old layers of lead-based paint and apply fresh paint that helps lock out rust and decay.”

    ive worked on a few bridges. here: and here:
    ive seen a span fall due to torrential rains and shoddy DOT paction testing…consistent inspections are imperative. btw, treated girders with rust are exactly what you want to see. but as you can see from the pics in the first link…bolts and angles are left exposed to the elements that will only cause a headache. (headache in construction term means: SOMETHING IS ‘UPSET’ & FALLING)

  7. don

    Now that NC has staked out its position opposing the assertion of a ‘declining rate of profit’, thought I’d provide this to add to the discussion. The author relies on the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis for his data. He shows that profits declined in the later 70’s.

    “My main conclusions were that: 1) there was a secular decline in the US rate of profit from 1946 to 2012; 2) but it was not in a straight line, because from about the early 1980s, the rate of profit recovered up until about 1997. The recovery did not restore the previous high level of the rate of profit seen in the 1960s; 3) from 1997 to now the rate of profit has been flat or fallen slightly, with a rise from the recession of 2001 to a peak in 2006 and then a fall during the Great Recession of 2008-9 and then a recovery to now, with the 2013 rate of profit broadly in line with the 2006 peak or a little lower.”

    1. susan the other

      I think my comment just disappeared. Just wondering if the change from GNP to GDP and the frenzy to off shore labor and factories was an all out effort to maintain corporate profits after the wake up of Vietnam and the bankrupt policies of neo colonialism. And financialization was used in service of the rich. Corporations remained profitable and the stock market remained strong.

    2. LucyLulu

      At least the last couple decades, multinationals have been known to be taking profits in foreign countries and shifting expenses/losses to its domestic side for tax purposes. Is this distortion accounted for in the BEA figures?

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Don’t straw man what I wrote. It was regarding the claim that corporations had lousy profits in the mid-later 1970s. They didn’t. They had lousy stock market valuations due to high and rising inflation. I made a specific claim and now you are falsely saying I said something completely different.

      In fact, when companies pressed the Carter Administration for deregulation, their pleas had nothing to do with profits, it had to do with innovation, that the US was falling behind due to supposedly stifling regulation. In fact, they couldn’t prove they had an innovation problem. Carter’s science advisor (who actually pimped for the corps!) described their issue as a “perceived innovation gap.”

      1. don

        I provided a link to an analysis that says there was a decline in profits during the 70’s. Perhaps you’ll change you view that profits didn’t decline during the late 70’s after reviewing the analysis based on U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data.

        NC did have a link to an article that refuted the declining rate of profit (a debate I don’t lose any sleep over) and you published an article that made the same assertion ( Perhaps you’ll publish or link to an article like the one I provided.

        I think what really unnerved corporations during the 70’s had little to do with lack of innovation but opposition to public expenditures directed to social welfare, which set in motion neoliberalism.

        1. alex morfesis

          goodness…corporate profits in america have been on a growth curve for over 40 years. The problem corporate america has is it has run out of mattresses to stuff and hide the profits in…. Quoting a line of thinking which uses a greek students analysis of american corporate profits…greece…where groucho marx is king…with the largest communist party in europe…the KKE (koo-koo-eh…kanenas klepsi san emas)…where there is no real tax system…literally there is no tax system-It is not codified…and where the refusal of corporations to pay taxes skews the thinking of the average greek…How can one make a claim that profits have been going down without any inclusion of tax code issues and changes over the years ??? Kalogerakos then goes and quotes other greeks…It is probably hard for my cousins to accept…but there are not too many entities who care about the “great greek education system”…and grouchos older cousin did not live in a world with corporate tax evasion, so using anything the waves a red flag is a bit amusing, as in horse manure on the streets and candles for lighting were what grouchos cousin lived with and used to absorb his notions of the facts…in the old days, on the thirteenth week they cooked the books…now they use non disclosed bespoke derivatives to hide the profits…I scream that we are moving into the roaring teens as the corporate carabinieiri have run out of countries to exploit…burma ? what’s next…cuba ? “profits” are an accounting adjustment, cash flow and “free float” are what makes entities survive and thrive, not the mythical “declared profits”…most enterprises report two sets of numbers as profits…one for sec consumption and another for the taxing authorities…the jimmy carter corporate myths were about breaking the backs of unions…what is sad is how moodys and S&P have no problem with japanese and german unions, but american unionized corporations get two black eyes…its hard to compete when your umpire is calling a ball in the dirt a strike…

  8. Bridget

    “So what they need are healthy people enrolling, regardless of age.”

    True dat. I’ve got to think they realized all of this, hence the engineering of the mass cancellations in the individual market. They knew from the get go that they could never pay for the program simply by pooling all of the uninsured. The pool would be too sick and too poor. This year will see the addition of many more millions through the cancellation of more individual plans and small business plans. So, while it’s strictly true that income taxes on the middle class were not raised to pay for Obamanation, many in the middle class will still pay via increased premiums and deductibles. Clearly a feature not a bug .

    1. Bridget

      I would love to know how many of the millions of the “enrolled” have come from the ranks of the formerly insured vs the formerly uninsured. In particular, I’d be most interested in learning how many of those who are paying full freight (unable to qualify for subsidies) are newly insured vs. formerly insured. They really really really need healthy paying customers. Which, of course, is why the private individual market must be destroyed. Emploer market to follow after a decent interval.

    2. LucyLulu

      It’s no secret and never has been that the ACA’s risk pool is hoped to be made up of 40% relatively healthy folks (or more precisely, low claims) of any age. Currently they are running 24% or 25% which is less than they want but they claim they can live with it.

      The ACA is no different than our current large employee plans in that healthier people subsidize sicker people. And if you look under the weeds, universal single-payer plans also incorporate the very same principle when the taxes that pay for the system are assessed independently of health status. Everybody pays the same premium, albeit in the form of a progressive tax perhaps. There’s no way to escape the subsidies without resulting in the exclusion of the sickest in the pool due to unaffordability.

      As far as the mass cancellations: This is all soooo disingenous. Everybody, except the insured apparently, knew these were coming, and that some policies had been temporarily grandfathered in until 2014. The insurance companies certainly knew, they had to receive papal dispensations. Congress should have known, the least they can do is to read the legislation they pass, they do nothing else up there in DC. It was hardly a one line trivial portion of the bill that certain coverages were becoming mandatory, that one could inadvertently overlook. The cancellations scandal and accusations about Obama lying is all just kabuki theatre. If he was lying, so were the whole lot of them.

  9. Jim Haygood

    Smarting from back-to-back defeats in Iran and Afghanistan, KongressKlowns prepare to start the next middle eastern war:

    Sponsors of a bill which would aim to drive Iran’s oil exports down to zero, have secured the backing of 59 senators, putting them within striking distance of a two-thirds majority that could override Mr. Obama’s threatened veto.

    The White House has cast the issue in stark terms, saying that a vote for new sanctions would be, in effect, a “march toward war” and challenging those lawmakers who support the bill to acknowledge publicly that they favor military action against Iran.

    Pro-Israel groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, have lobbied Congress to ratchet up the pressure on Iran.


    Fresh from inserting an Israeli citizen to serve as the vice chair of the Federal Reserve, the Lobby now wants to start the shooting war with Iran that it’s been pushing for a decade.

    Cutting off all Iranian exports is an act of war, designed and intended to provoke a Pearl Harbor-style response from a nation fighting for economic survival.

    Obama deserves praise for standing up for America’s interest, while our malleable KongressKlowns prostitute themselves to a foreign lobby for a fistful of shekels.

    1. F. Beard

      Kinda of depressing since hot heads seem determined to End the World. But why? Who wants to die early? I’m tempted to give up since it seems far more heat is required before many will see the Light.

      Re banking: There’s the story of the monkey with his hand stuck in a cookie jar. All he has to do is let go of the cookie and he can then pull his hand out.. So it is with Progressives and the concept of government-backed credit creation – they won’t let go of the cookie – and so remain slaves to the banks.

      1. Skippy

        Feeling stuck in that Proudhon Skinner’s Box with no way out and everyone is after your stuff [????] – whats a body to do!?!?!?!?!

        There is no such thing as “private property”. The government owns everything. You simply rent it from them.

        But to suggest that owning property is some sort of theft from all of society is not only ridiculous on the surface, but all the way down to its root. It is know generically as a “self-refuting argument”, and specifically as a “Fallacy of the Stolen Concept” (no pun intended).

        “To understand this fallacy, consider an example of it in the realm of politics: Proudhon’s famous declaration that “All property is theft.”

        “Theft” is a concept that logically and genetically depends on the antecedent concept of “rightfully owned property”—and refers to the act of taking that property without the owner’s consent. If no property is rightfully owned, that is, if nothing is property, there can be no such concept as “theft.” Thus, the statement “All property is theft” has an internal contradiction: to use the concept “theft” while denying the validity of the concept of “property,” is to use “theft” as a concept to which one has no logical right—that is, as a stolen concept.

        All of man’s knowledge and all of his concepts have a hierarchical structure. The foundation or ultimate base of this structure is man’s sensory perceptions; these are the starting points of his thinking. From these, man forms his first concepts and (ostensive) definitions—then goes on building the edifice of his knowledge by identifying and integrating new concepts on a wider and wider scale. It is a process of building one identification upon another—of deriving wider abstractions from previously known abstractions, or of breaking down wider abstractions into narrower classifications. Man’s concepts are derived from and depend on earlier, more basic concepts, which serve as their genetic roots. For example, the concept “parent” is presupposed by the concept “orphan”; if one had not grasped the former, one could not arrive at the latter, nor could the latter be meaningful.

        The hierarchical nature of man’s knowledge implies an important principle that must guide man’s reasoning: When one uses concepts, one must recognize their genetic roots, one must recognize that which they logically depend on and presuppose.

        Failure to observe this principle—as in “All property is theft”—constitutes the fallacy of the stolen concept.”

        skippy…… is this what you mean by theft?

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    EU report…massive…NSA surveillance.

    A year ago, it was massive already. And it is still just massive today?

    I would think a new report would say something like, it is massively comprehensively or NSA surveillance makes future archaeologists very happy as they will be able to completely, 100% reconstruct life in the early 21st century, down to the smallest details, of each living thing (not just living human person).

  11. fresno dan

    “But here’s the thing: In addition to being more radical substantively, Warren’s agenda is much more sale-able politically The reason is that it plays directly to the source of today’s anti-government skepticism. While trust in government has been steadily falling since hitting a decades-long peak after 9/11, voters’ particular beef against government changed in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Around that time, a variety of indicators suggested that voters’ suspicions were tied to the relationship between the government and powerful interests, whom voters believed were lavishing benefits on themselves at taxpayer expense. Pew found a sharp bipartisan drop in the number of voters who felt “government is really run for the benefit of all the people” beginning in 2009. Gallup found a spike in the number of people dissatisfied with “size and influence of major corporations.” It turns out that many of the voters who’d lost faith in government weren’t anti-government per se. They’d simply concluded it was working for the powerful and not for them.”

    In my view, people want anti corruption, but neither party wants to cut the gravy train. Getting more table scraps is not the solution….

    1. jrs

      ” It turns out that many of the voters who’d lost faith in government weren’t anti-government per se. They’d simply concluded it was working for the powerful and not for them.”

      Which of course skirts awfully close to being anti-U.S. government/imperium per-se. As of course the government has worked for powerful corporate interests for well at least the vast majority of the 20th century. The crushing of unions (long before Reagan though sure that too), the overthrow of foreign governments in the interest of large corporations, even Clinton’s neo-liberalism in NAFTA predates 2008. Awfully close to being anti-government per-se. But they would prefer if this corporate supporting government would at least throw working people bones again. Well yes of course.

      But there are degrees of corruption? Yes there probably are, and it would be nice to work on quantification more and more, so that the increase in corruption and corporate influence could be plotted (only by money, but they were corrupt before the floodgates were opened), instead of PRETENDING the U.S. government wasn’t working FOR major corporations for much of the 20th century. I mean when you overthrow governments for the sake of United Fruit afterall.

      By the way I know it’s not the complete answer but do those dissatisfied with “size and influence of major corporations.” at least stop patronizing these companies? (to the extent they can).

      1. jrs

        I’m thinking if we’re plotting corporate influence on government money flowing in is one thing that could be plotted it’s not insignificant. But another is wars started for corporate interests! Surely something like that shows corporate influence, if there are lots of wars being started for purely corporate interests its hard to say they don’t have influence, of course that’s hard to prove it’s the reason for war. Why did the Iraq war happen again? What about something like anti-labor legislation, would that show corporate influence? Seems so to me. Also laws passed that give corporations more power (like the TPP), that would be another way to plot corporate influence over government.

    2. LucyLulu

      I watch, or listen to, C-Span a couple days a week. I’ve heard Warren speaking in two or three committees and I’m always impressed. I frankly don’t understand why folks here have a problem with her. As a senator, her influence is limited to what any individual can do. Even the president can only sign off on legislation passed by Congress, outside of his (substantial) war powers and other less significant executive powers.

      She always comes across as the voice of reason, as if she’s stating the obvious. Unlike Bernie, average Joe and Jane aren’t likely to write her off as some loony lefty (and I love Bernie), and she does tap into the sense that working people have that the system is split into ‘them’ and ‘us’, and ‘them’ is gets to live by a different set of rules and is handed all the breaks. She pushes for policies that either protect ‘us’ from the predatory ‘them’ folks or more fairly distributes the benefits of government.

      I don’t know what her positions are on many subjects, and suspect if I did, I’d disagree on several points with her. There are no perfect politicians, and lofty ideals have no use until/unless written into law and passed by Washington. Warren has proven she can beat the odds and get things done. She’s staked out her interest in pushing commercial and personal financial policy. For a rookie senator, she’s been aggressive and stood out by attempting to introduce legislation to increase SS benefits. If ‘radical’ Democrats such as Warren are rejected by progressive Democrats refusing to compromise any portion of their politics (in reference to posts of past times) while moderate candidates are approved by the mainstream left, is it no wonder centrists would dominate the party?

      1. jrs

        I thought “centrists” dominated the party because that’s where the corporate money was. I actually have little problem with anyone voting for anyone (or noone!) if their choices or limited (even Obama or even Romney! – I mean other than 3rd parties there were no good choices, either one could be argued to the be the “lesser of two evils”)

        So Senator Warren is a Senator, but many people suspect she wants the Presidency which is why they give her such a hard time I think. Otherwise she really only reports to the people of her state. A President can’t say the only problem they care about is personal financial policy (actually really neither can a senator not when they’re voting on much broader issues, that can be their focus). And there has been some evidence that Warren favors war with Iran plus she hasn’t taken a position on the TPP.

        I just think most progressives are way past: won’t get fooled again. Won’t get fooled again after Obama. And have moved on to thinking the problems are systematic NOT personal. The problem is not that the latest idol has feet of clay, but that the political system promotes the worst and the Dem party is part of this.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Please go look at the one bit of legislation she tabled, the student loan fix, and her presentation. No mention of the underlying problem of out of control price increases, the usual blather about making money cheap so students can invest in their future. Hello, no matter how cheap you make the interest rate, they still have to repay the principal!

        She wasn’t even remotely willing to address the real issues, the need to change bankruptcy laws and allow the debt to be restructured and that we need to get higher ed costs under control.

        Warren is better than the overwhelming majority of Congresscritters, but she falls in line with the party ex stuff related to banking (TPP is included in the banking terrain because it would gut the ability to regulate banks). She’s been hawkish on Iran and was not early to oppose Obama on Syria. She made sure she was part of the herd. And she’s also followed the party on deficit cutting, a classic neoliberal agenda item.

        You are way too taken by her admittedly impressive debating skills. The same admiration of speaking skills is what brought us Obama. Now Warren is no Obama, but you need to be wary of being dazzled by her speechifying.

  12. rich

    MS patient fights FDA over rejection of Genzyme’s Lemtrada

    A 49-year-old mother from Waterford, Conn., has become an ally of Cambridge, Mass.-based drug giant Genzyme in its efforts to get U.S. regulators to change their minds about the first-ever once-a-year drug to treat multiple sclerosis.

    Melissa Burdick, who was diagnosed with the degenerative disease 13 years ago, has filed a citizen’s petition requesting that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves Lemtrada. The drug was recently been approved in Canada, Australia and Europe, but was denied late last year by the FDA due to a disagreement over the way the drug trials were conducted.
    “I have gone through all the different options,” she said. Lemtrada, on the other hand, is “a brand new way of looking at the disease,” she said. The infused drug essentially eliminates all of the body’s T-cells, and then allows them to replenish themselves, and Burdick said she’s known people who have taken the trug in a trial years ago who have never needed it again.

    Burdick, who works in the business office of a local hospital, attended a meeting last November in which an FDA advisory panel gave contradictory recommendations as to whether the drug should be approved. The disagreement came down to whether the 1,400 patients in the trial should have been told which drug they were taking to avoid bias. The FDA prefers blind trials, but Genzyme argued that there’s no way it could have prevented patients from figuring out whether they were receiving Lemtrada or the drug it was being compared to, EMD Serono’s drug, Rebif.

    “The FDA was just bashing (Genzyme) horribly (at the meeting), because they thought they should have done a blind study,” said Burdick.

  13. susan the other

    Dogs grok. We grok. We really do not think in words either or we’d all be robots. We sleep on it. Nobody knows where thoughts come from. Very delightful state of confusion. In a little monograph (80s or so) called Language and Thought recounting a dialog between thinkers on thought, Chomsky, the great linguist, answers the anxious question, Where does thought come from? by saying, Damned if I know. I’ll just say this about that dog, it really made me think about how much I love dogs.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I believe we do both.

        When we think in words, and think to invent new words so we can further think in those new words, it’s not long before we arrive at nested hologram worlds.

  14. Doug Terpstra

    Re: JPM/Madoff fraud, what does deferred prosecution really mean? Immunity? Impunity?

    Pam Martens writes, “What was happening in Madoff’s account was so over the top that it is virtually impossible to reconcile it with a legitimate compliance department unless some higher up simply shut down the normal bank controls.” Sarbanes-Oxley precedes Madoff’s crimes. Shouldn’t that make Dimon’s prosecution a slam-dunk for Holder?

  15. kevinearick

    The Water Bill

    As a result of the walk-out / lock-out, empire demographics have turned disastrously, for the empire, Government has consumed market share globally, and the absolute size of local government is shrinking precipitously. Detroit and Baltimore are not anomalies, and the big financial centers, like Boston and San Francisco, are tipping over.

    If the empire does not turn, and the latest round of water wars suggests that it will not, the empire will contract 40% peak to trough by 2035. As a laborer, you could have ten kids and not put a dent in the collapse.

    Most empire females can no longer breast feed, the rest are ingesting poison from their food supply, the males cannot put land into production, and they all travel from controlled environment to controlled environment, meaning that they are allergic, to everything. They are like teenagers on birth control run amok, preferring dependence upon a central computer to individual responsibility, operating on the implied assumption that the computer has conquered the planet, and the universe is of no consequence.

    GDP is an artificial inflator, not an economic measure. Adjusted for purchasing power, the empire has been crashing for some time now, notwithstanding the $25T of stupidity coming out of China alone. The rocket scientists are well on their way to printing $50T, handing it out to bankrupt real estate control interests from the top down, their demographic collapse continues to accelerate, and they are facing yet another round of deflation.

    The perennially bankrupt property welfare recipients are the most cohesive consumer group on the planet, and they employ education propaganda to slot their child slave population into event horizons, training them to chase property with money, from shoes to cars to houses, in a pecking order of bullies and followers, beginning with school administrators. The best quarterback is not the best, but only better among the participants slotted on a Bell Curve for the purpose of justifying the political decision.

    With the globalization of enforced urbanization, the focal point of planetary weather is translating, which is why you are looking at local variability. Where I am, the population has fallen 70% since the potheads took over, they can’t seem to find water, their pot is infected with a virus shared across the community, and they are selling their natural resources to Asia for paper promises, to inflate real estate prices, paying higher taxes and complaining about the results of their own stupidity, pointing fingers at each other while keeping their foot on the gas pedal, racing to the ATM machine.

    What they teach you in business school is political “science,” that half of the empire population will gladly kill and enslave the other half, to belong to an exclusive group and divvy up the spoils of war. Scale economies fail every time, by design, when the law of diminishing returns hits the wall and the critters wake up to their own self-destruction, too late to alter their addictive behavior. That’s why they call it a depression.

    Taxing the rain, printing cap and trade dollars and fracking away the water table is not going to end well. Government is not getting increasingly desperate by accident. The empire kills itself, seeking only to preserve itself, with a population virus of ignorant intent. All you have to do is get out of the way, and get on with your own business.

    The only thing new about digital paper recapitalization is global transparency, timing of habit recognition; the critters now get to watch themselves destroy themselves. Survivor Island is not life, except for those who choose it of their own free will. America doesn’t produce anything that anyone will buy without credit coercion, in a closed system that ensures that the consumers cannot escape, built by the consumers themselves.

    Surprise, surprise, the ‘better’ rats are abandoning the tax ship. Follow the pension dollars from the top down if you care to know their location; they cannot think independently. Empire development begins and ends with water. Or…keep up the busy work, and wait to exploit the work of children.

    Now, back to the boob tube Bob…and keep building those 777s; we’ve got inventory to monetize, and more cheap labor to throw into the cartel rat hole.

    Take a look at those property tiles in your community, particularly the ones surrounding it, creating a closed system of economic activity symptoms in a positive feedback loop, and who is profiting from the prison construction. The first order of business is to bypass all those electronic devices the monopoly rats have been installing, as their means of granular extortion.

    Remote control simply accelerates stupid, and the Nazis are just the lowest common, stripped of political correctness, revealing empire best business practice for what it is, slavery – of, by and for slaves, to an artificial life support system. Expert / smart systems are designed, built and installed by morons, for morons. Technology as a crutch doesn’t work.

    Grow your own seed, or expect the virus. Healthcare is toast; there is no positive cash flow in the system and it is hopelessly upside down. An ounce of prevention and a pound of love will see you through anything the ivory tower morons, their programmers, and their certified technicians do next.

    If you can’t see the generator, experiment with a different focus. The Foundations are cracking, under the weight of the imploding pension ponzi.

    What does your water bill look like?

    (moron: dependent upon extortion, complaining about extortion)

    1. kevinearick

      “Mr Hollande’s plan is based on a “responsibility pact” with the employers federation Medef. The group’s chief, Pierre Gattaz, said he is willing to “play ball”, praising Mr Hollande for a genuine shift in strategy after 18 months of half-measures, false-starts and back-sliding. Medef has pledged 1m jobs by 2020 in exchange for a shake-up of labour laws and a €100bn cut in labour costs over five years, split between tax cuts and lower social security contributions.”

      too f-ing funny…keep slicing up a shrinking pie…

  16. susan the other

    Pieria. Frances Cuppola. Basic Income. Can you imagine how ballistic congress would go if the nation demanded a basic income, based on all the obvious reasons which boil down to the fact that “capitalism” has evolved beyond its reason for being. We should all take a vow of poverty – poverty for all – so that Wilber McGoo Ross won’t be forced to say inhuman things like, Let them eat cake, or cut off their unemployment checks and force them into the gulag. Solidarity now.

    1. F. Beard

      Our money system was designed to create and steal wealth but it could have been designed to create and share wealth. It’s all on a balance sheet, shares in Equity vs Liabilities (debt).

      I’m tired. All I have to do is wait and this injustice will be swept away anyway and I have some hope of escaping the smiting. I increasingly wonder why I even bother since I generally hate what our society has become, tattoos and all.

  17. markf

    Re Iran Obama veto of new sanctions.

    This is a month ago, but I don’t know if this was covered here.

    “By Alex Lawler and Peg Mackey

    Dec 4 (Reuters) – Iran on Wednesday named seven Western oil companies it wants back in its vast oil and gas fields if international sanctions are lifted and said it would outline investment terms in April next year.

    Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh named the seven in order: Total of France, Royal Dutch Shell, Italy’s ENI, Norway’s Statoil, Britain’s BP and U.S. companies Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips .”

  18. Jessica

    About “The Political Economy of Predatory Capitalism” in Truthout
    Theory: The shift to neoliberalism came because industrial capitalism was played out and the economy was becoming driven by knowledge rather than capital/equipment+infrastructure. Notice that since the 1970s, little money has been made through production of things (except for goods with scarcity rents, such as petroleum). Money is made through knowledge. Industrial capitalism was not able to run such an economy. This is why stagnation set in. Neoliberalism is the opportunistic infection that set in. It is one of those germs that is always present but is not a problem in a healthy organism.

    1. F. Beard

      So long as labor was needed, a government-backed counterfeiting cartel, the banking system, was not too oppressive or at least workers could have a good life too. But now, with automation and outsourcing, the ugly reality of the usury for stolen purchasing power cartel is much more apparent.

      But it is also apparently a spiritual problem. My witness is this: There is an almost painless way out based on justice and ethics but I suspect a pragmatic muddle through will be attempted and attempted and attempted till we have genuine dystopia and/or hard-core fascism.

      Repent Progressives! Or Bon Appetite!

  19. kareninca

    I’ve returned to reading this blog after a hiatus, and now the antidotes are often very, very depressing. Some of them upset me for days. I have decided to try to figure out how to read the links and articles without seeing the photos.

    This is absolutely not a criticism. But in addition to being an expression of preference (and one reader’s preference doesn’t and shouldn’t matter at all of course), it is an expression of worry.

  20. ohmyheck

    NULLIFICATION !!! The Horror! Terrific video about how the mouthpieces of The Powers That Be are attempting to quash this movement…. Melissa Harris Perry=”racism!”= don’t even think about it. Fortunately Ms. Perry is losing credibility at the speed of light these days.

    I hope everyone gets a chance to view this. It gives me a bit of hope.

  21. AbyNormal

    (Newser) – A federal court has rejected FCC Open Internet regulations to ensure Internet service providers can’t discriminate when it comes to web traffic. In Verizon v. FCC, the Washington, DC, court found that ISPs can legally prioritize or block some traffic, the Washington Post reports. The court did, however, rule that providers have to tell users when they’re doing so, the Verge notes. ISPs, according to the court, aren’t “common carriers” like older telecom firms—so they’re not subject to rules against prioritizing information.

    “Given that the Commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers,” law “expressly prohibits the Commission from nonetheless regulating them as such,” judge David Tatel wrote in the court opinion. The FCC “made a grave mistake when it failed to ground its Open Internet rules on solid legal footing,” says a net neutrality activist. “Internet users will pay dearly for the previous chairman’s lack of political will.” The commission says it will consider an appeal. In the meantime, Ars Technica sees net neutrality as “half-dead.”

    The Internet interprets the US Congress as system damage and routes around it.
    Jeanne DeVoto, take-off on a quote by John Gilmore

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