Links 5/10/15

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Abbott’s Plucky Business Adviser Undoes Hoax Run By All Of Science SBS Comedy. Chuck L: “News flash from the down-under Onion.”

Norway’s ‘We’re Sorry’ Monument to 91 Dead Witches Daily Beast (Dr. Kevin)

Super Typhoon Noul begins to lash northeastern Philippines CNN

Colombia to ban coca herbicide BBC

Utility: Verizon To Exit Wireline Business Within 10 Years DSLReports (Chuck L)

Legislators Introduce Bill Calling For Nationwide Ban On Non-Disparagement Clauses Techdirt (Chuck L)

California Supreme Court Shows How Pharma ‘Pay For Delay’ Can Violate Antitrust Laws Techdirt. Chuck L:

The antibiotic Cipro, which is the drug at the center of one of the cases described, attacks a broad spectrum of bugs but can have wicked side effects. It should be retained in the quiver as a late or last resort for life-threatening infection but is frequently prescribed as a preventative. There are several cases in my extended family of severe carnage when it was prescribed thus. Among its side effects are attacks on connective tissue and chronic fatigue syndrome. My nephew, who is a high school teacher and coach, suffered both. The former was in the form a detached bicep he incurred when spotting a girl doing a handspring, and the fatigue issue cost him an entire summer of his usual work as one of the most sought after fishing guides in the northern Minnesota lake country. (He writes frequently for In Fisherman magazine.) There are other, worse horror stories on his dad’s (my brother-in-law) side of the family including a cousin who has been wheelchair bound for 15 years and counting. Then there’s my son-in-law, who is a serious although not professional keyboard artist. His favorite relaxation after a stressful day at work (he’s an IT project manager) was to put on his earphones and play for a half hour. One dose of the stuff and his wrists went to hell. He’s just now getting back into the music after almost five years. He did considerable research on the issue and sent the results to family and friends far and wide. Unfortunately my copy is somewhere on one of my comatose laptop computers.

Overkill: An avalanche of unnecessary medical care is harming patients physically and financially. What can we do about it? New Yorker. Jeff S:

Two things stick out. It somewhat obliquely infers that an effective method of cost control might simply be to require second opinions for major (often expensive) non-emergent care in order to cut down on over diagnosis….It’s much cheaper to pay a second $150 consulting fee for a second opinion in order to avoid an unnecessary $60k surgery on the spine

The second is an observation that it matters how this is done. See here:

If an insurer had simply decreed Taylor’s back surgery to be unnecessary, and denied coverage, the Taylors would have been outraged. But the worst part is that he would not have got better. It isn’t enough to eliminate unnecessary care. It has to be replaced with necessary care.

And insurance provider denying the coverage and simply requiring a second opinion to prevent over diagnosis both achieve significant cost savings. But the first leads to bucking the system and rage by the patients while the second results in buy-in and gratified and satisfied patients.

The great unraveling of globalization Washington Post (David L)

Rocco Galati challenges role of Bank of Canada in latest case CBCNews (PBF)

Frontex can’t solve the Mediterranean migration crisis on its own – here’s why The Conversation

UK Elections

Whitehall protest: Anti-austerity activists march on Downing Street after Tory election victory Evening Standard

Prime Minister Cameron’s “Southern Strategy” Wins (and Loses) Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives

Britain: A Functioning Democracy It’s Not Ilargi (Chuck L)

Labour must be the party of ambition as well as compassion Tony Blair, Guardian. Lambert: “You can’t make this shit up.”


Syriza and Socialist Strategy- Debate video and transcript International Socialism. From February, very clear and incisive. Lambert: “No doubt interesting to the sort of finance person who reads Lenin ;-)”

Schaeuble Says Greece Playing Chicken With Default Risk Bloomberg

Greek leader faces revolt by party hardliners as debt showdown looms Guardian. The statement re popularity is not quite right. Syriza’s approval ratings are at 36%, still ahead of all other parties but below the 39% at the time of January elections.

Greece: Suspicions that the central bank undermines government unbalanced evolution. The “Bank of Greece” is part of the European System of Central Banks. The governor is a political appointee, but we know how much (as in how little) that means in terms of being independent from banking interests.

It has started or Wise up Macedonians! Vineyard of the Saker. Chuck L: “Next up on the neocon Regime Change train: Macedonia!”


U.N. rep accuses Saudis of violating international law CNN (furzy mouse)

Netanyahu: Even His Friends Detest Him Counterpunch (Carol B)


We pay tribute to all those who fought to the bitter for every street, every house and every frontier of our Motherland YouTube (with subtitles, Sayed). I watched only part but this is well done. And I do think it’s petty and tacky to have excluded Russia from VE Day celebrations given the horrific cost the USSR paid to help secure victory.

Ukrainian citizens from all over the country descended on Donbass to fight the Kiev junta Fort Russ (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Accused of Spying for China, Until She Wasn’t New York Times

Trade Traitors

5 Leading Legal Scholars on TPP: We Write Out of Grave Concern Reader Supported News (RR)

California drought rules frustrate regions that prepared for the worst Guardian

Why Baltimore police want prosecutor Marilyn Mosby off Freddie Gray case Christian Science Monitor

US nuclear plant shuts down after fire Guardian. Indian Point, near NYC.

SEC Examining Blackstone Fee Practices Wall Street Journal. The SEC has asked “informally” for information. Why no Wells notices?

Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down Law to Rein in Public Sector Pensions Wall Street Journal. Chuck L: “Apparently the ISC hasn’t got the neo-liberal memo yet.” Haha, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy than Bruce Rauner.

Class Warfare

Congratulations, Class of 2015. You’re the Most Indebted Ever (For Now) WSJ Economics (EM)

Scientists Find Alarming Deterioration In DNA Of The Urban Poor Huffington Post (Dr. Kevin). Important. A lot of nuanced observations.

How to Stop Mass Incarceration – The New Yorker (furzy mouse)

Mass Incarceration: The Silence of the Judges Jed S. Rakoff, New York Review of Books (EM)

Don’t give in: an angry population is hard to govern; a depressed population is easy New Statesman

Antidote du jour. Dr. Kevin’s Mothers’ Day offering: “While nursing her young cubs, a mother polar bear seems to fall into a meditative state.”

While nursing her young cubs, a mother polar bear seems to fall into a meditative state.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Expat

    RE: TPP
    Lambert raised an interesting point a few days ago: if investors get to go to special courts for “lost profits,” why shouldn’t workers have comparable courts — made up of tribunals set up in the same way investors courts are set up — to recoup lost wages? If you are not paid enough, if you lose your job, if you have pension or health care cost problems, if there are any changes in working conditions that limit your wages — all these would be compensable events. At least they would be if the same standard were used for both investor and worker courts. A worker court provision would not need to be secret and it could be put to a vote via referendum.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is the super typhoon early or are we already – the 10th of May – in typhoon season?

      1. cwaltz

        I lived in the Philippines for a year and a half courtesy of Uncle Sam and May sounds about right for the start of rainy season(and typhoons.)

      2. mark

        Dr. Jeff Masters Weather underground

        “May 10 is exceptionally early to be getting a Category 5 storm in the Northwest Pacific, let alone one landfalling at that strength! At its peak on Sunday morning, the Japan Meteorological Agency put Noul’s central pressure at 915 mb. This makes Noul is the third strongest typhoon on record for so early in the year. The only stronger ones were Super Typhoon Amy of 1971, which deepened to 890 mb on May 2, and Super Typhoon Iris of 1951, which hit 909 mb on May 3.

        Super Typhoon Noul is already the second Category Five storm this year in the Northwest Pacific, and the fourth overall on Earth in 2015. This is an unusually large number of these high-end tropical cyclones for so early in the year; ” also comments on tornado outbreak, and tropical storm in carolinas

        1. cwaltz

          Wiki lists the season from May to September with the worst occurring in August. That sounds about right to me. There are only two seasons in the PI wet and hot.

          I do question whether some of the people making these statements research the data available to them. In 1939 there were several typhoons in May, in 1940 there was one in April. In 1943 there was one in January. In 1944 Typhoon Cobra occurred in December. Typhon Louise in 1945 was in October. In 1946 there was 1 in March.

          I could go on and on since data goes back to at least 1939 but the underlying point is while there is a season for typhoons Mother Nature is notoriously unpredictable.

  2. Monty

    So kinda noob here, but have to ask somethings about the TPP; is it the overriding of national soveriegnty or the lack of any real accoutability, or Obama lying? Or a combination of those things?

      1. optimader

        HAHA good answer. Don’t need to go further than the fact that it’s un-Constitutional.
        This is why we (twice) elected a Constitutional Law Professor *.. err.. mm senior lecturer?.. err.. community organizer?… err….BFIRE (bankngfinanceinsurancerealeastate) cipher, …eeerr… oh forget it..

        The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government. — Article IV, Section 4, US Constitution

        A republican form of government is one in which power resides in elected officials representing the citizens, and government leaders exercise power according to the rule of law. In The Federalist Papers, James Madison defined a republic as “a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people . . . .”

        On April 22, 2015, the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive trade agreement that would override our republican form of government and hand judicial and legislative authority to a foreign three-person panel of corporate lawyers.

        The secretive TPP is an agreement with Mexico, Canada, Japan, Singapore and seven other countries that affects 40% of global markets. Fast-track authority could now go to the full Senate for a vote as early as next week. Fast-track means Congress will be prohibited from amending the trade deal, which will be put to a simple up or down majority vote. Negotiating the TPP in secret and fast-tracking it through Congress is considered necessary to secure its passage, since if the public had time to review its onerous provisions, opposition would mount and defeat it.

        In an article posted by Yves Smith, Joe Firestone poses some interesting hypotheticals:

        Under the TPP, could the US government be sued and be held liable if it decided to stop issuing Treasury debt and financed deficit spending in some other way (perhaps by quantitative easing or by issuing trillion dollar coins)? Why not, since some private companies would lose profits as a result?

        * Sen. Obama, who has taught courses in constitutional law at the University of Chicago, has regularly referred to himself as “a constitutional law professor,” most famously at a March 30, 2007, fundraiser when he said, “I was a constitutional law professor, which means unlike the current president I actually respect the Constitution.” A spokesman for the Republican National Committee immediately took exception to Obama’s remarks, pointing out that Obama’s title at the University of Chicago was “senior lecturer” and not “professor.”

        Recently, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has picked up on this charge. In a March 27 conference call with reporters, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer claimed:

        Singer (March 27): Sen. Obama has often referred to himself as “a constitutional law professor” out on the campaign trail. He never held any such title. And I think anyone, if you ask anyone in academia the distinction between a professor who has tenure and an instructor that does not, you’ll find that there is … you’ll get quite an emotional response.

        The campaign also sent out an e-mail quoting an Aug. 8, 2004, column in the Chicago Sun-Times that criticized Obama for calling himself a professor when, in fact, the University of Chicago faculty page listed him as “a senior lecturer (now on leave).” The Sun-Times said, “In academia, there is a vast difference between the two titles. Details matter.” The Clinton campaign added that the difference between senior lecturers and professors is that “professors have tenure while lecturers do not.”

        We agree that details matter, and also that the formal title of “professor” is not lightly given by academic institutions. However, on this matter the University of Chicago Law School itself is not standing on formality, and is siding with Obama.

        Due to numerous press inquiries on the matter, the school released a carefully worded statement saying that for his 12 years there he was considered to be “a professor.”

        UC Law School statement: The Law School has received many media requests about Barack Obama, especially about his status as “Senior Lecturer.” From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track. The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status. Like Obama, each of the Law School’s Senior Lecturers have high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching. Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined.

        Contrary to what the Clinton campaign claimed, not all professors have tenure. For instance, academics with the title of “assistant professor” typically work for between five and seven years before being reviewed for tenure.

        Furthermore, Obama was not merely an “instructor” as Phil Singer stated. As a “senior lecturer,” Obama was in good company: The six other faculty members with the title include the associate dean of the law school and Judge Richard Posner, who is widely considered to be one of the nation’s top legal theorists.

        -Joe Miller

        1. optimader

          oh well ..tried to post the attribution links, apparently unsuccessfully, search wordstring to find, both fun reads

        2. ewmayer

          Obama: “I was a constitutional law professor, which means unlike the current president I actually respect the Constitution.”

          The quibbling over the first part of the claim is a silly distraction, because on the much more important “respect the Constitution”part our dear Professor has shown himself to be an epic failure. How many articles of the Bill of Rights have been micturated on near-daily under his administration, exactly?

          1. optimader

            Well, the significance is the primitive Fallacy of Authority that he wasn’t called on that his sycopants, the media and the UofC perpetuate..

            Analogously Dr. Mengle, a medical doctor, had more empathy than a lay person due to professional affiliation.

            Of course the sidebar irony is that BHO was no Constitutional Professor (or Constitutional Lawyer) for that matter.. IMO worth the bandwidth to reiterate so it doesn’t go down the memory hole.

            1. Montanamaven

              I agree. This is a meme. “He’s a constitutional scholar, so I don’t understand why the illegal stuff…..” “He’s was a community organizer so why no empathy? He’s a good guy, so….”
              He taught a class. He did no scholarly work. He has come up with not one original idea. Community organizer? He made nice speeches while the women on the South Side did all the work. Good guy? Read paul street about all the exaggerations and fibs in the 2008 campaign.
              Liberals love to lord it over conservatives by saying they are low information voters. But it was the liberals who accepted all the above malarkey without question.
              And it’s starting again with Clinton. “She’s really smart and savvy. “. Really? She puts her foot in her mouth as often as Biden. Talking about she and bill’s money struggles? Comparing the Russian president to Hitler? libya? I’m weary already.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The fairly reliable short cut (not 100% guaranteed, some would argue):

      If the rich are for it, you should be against it.

      1. Carla

        I liked a quote I saw in comments the other day:

        “The rich get richer and the poor get the picture.”

          1. Vatch

            Those are both good ones. Here’s a third:

            The rich get richer and the poor get children.

  3. Demeter

    What little research I’ve done on the subject suggests that strongly Catholic portions of Europe (Poland, Portugal, etc) didn’t go the witch-burning route….the Catholic Church was more focused on heresy.

    Gibbons’ allusion to the Reformation reminds us that the clash between institutional Catholicism and emergent Protestantism contributed to the collapse of a stable world-view, which eventually led to panic and hyper-suspiciousness on the part of Catholic and Protestant authorities alike. Writes Nachman Ben-Yehuda, “This helps us understand why only the most rapidly developing countries, where the Catholic church was weakest, experienced a virulent witch craze (i.e., Germany, France, Switzerland). Where the Catholic church was strong (Spain, Italy, Portugal) hardly any witch craze occurred … the Reformation was definitely the first time that the church had to cope with a large-scale threat to its very existence and legitimacy.” But Ben-Yehuda adds that “Protestants persecuted witches with almost the same zeal as the Catholics … Protestants and Catholics alike felt threatened.” It is notable that the witch-hunts lost most of their momentum with the end of the Thirty Years War (Peace of Westphalia, 1648), which “gave official recognition and legitimacy to religious pluralism.” (Ben-Yehuda, “The European Witch Craze of the 14th to 17th Centuries: A Sociologist’s Perspective,” American Journal of Sociology, 86: 1 [July 1980], pp. 15, 23.)

    1. DJG

      Carlo Ginzburg’s work (available in Italian and English) as well as work by Franco Nardon (Italian only, so far as I know) both back you up. In Italy, heresy was at issue, although the religious practices of the peasantry were so varied that peasants were being dragged in over traditional practices that the Church had tolerated before the Reformation. In the northeast, the benandanti flummoxed the inquisitors–and throughout Italy, there was many rather orthodox “heretics.” But then the inquisitors in parts of Italy were Franciscans—who are notorious softies, eh. There was also much opposition to the inquisition, some subtle and some not so subtle. The Venetians didn’t care for it at all–and the Portuguese didn’t cooperate when it didn’t suit them. So the inquisition was wildly inefficient and unneven in many Catholic countries. But then in all of this unevenness, you still had the trial of Giordano Bruno, horrifying and plain stupid. (And contrariwise, you have Ginzburg claiming that in one village in the Venetian Republic, the locals had somehow gotten their hands on an Italian translation of the Koran.)

    2. LifelongLib

      Witchcraft was a heresy in Scotland and continental Europe, and could be punished by burning. In England and New England it was a felony, punishable by hanging.

  4. Jim Haygood

    It’s telling that in Jed Rakoff’s essay on mass incarceration, he makes no reference to what the constitution might say about the practice. The Sixth Amendment, for instance: ‘In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury.’

    As Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy noted in Missouri v. Frye (2012),

    “Because ours is for the most part a system of pleas, not a system of trials, the negotiation of a plea bargain, rather than the unfolding of a trial, is almost always the critical point for a defendant.”

    Mass incarceration is only possible, in terms of processing capacity, with plea bargaining instead of trials. Defendants are induced to waive trials by the piling on of charges, harsh sentencing guidelines, and a practice of imposing the maximum sentence on any defendant convicted after having the temerity to demand a trial.

    All of these judicial perversions were introduced by the U.S. fedgov, a jackal in sheep’s clothing which unctuously promised to protect the constitution, and then proceeded to dismantle it.

    1. Gerard Pierce

      It should be possible for an organization like the ACLC to attack these perversions directly. (Actually the ACLU should have been part of the battle from the start, but somehow they were co-opted.)

      It starts with selection of impartial juries. I would suspect that currently juries are selected in a way that eliminates anyone who might be sympathetic to a defendant. Whatever the selection rules are, they are undoubtedly perfectly reasonable. But if you eliminate all ex-convicts from the jury pool (forever) you are not going to get impartial juries. Same thing if you set it up so the poor cannot be selected or required to serve.

      If you “un-rig” jury selection, you could wind up with a system where it becomes impossible to convict anyone of anything, so fixing the system has to be more than just wishful thinking.

      1. Carla

        Since plea bargains have almost completely replaced jury trials, issues of jury selection seem like a moot point:

        “Plea bargaining is a significant part of the criminal justice system in the United States; the vast majority (roughly 90%)[15] of criminal cases in the United States are settled by plea bargain rather than by a jury trial.”

        1. just me

          On Aaron Swartz’s birthday, Brewster Kahle of Internet Archive gave a speech on plea bargaining as torture, said Aaron was threatened with 35 years if he didn’t plead guilty, 5 months if he did plea guilty… “So you have basically no chance of having a jury before your peers.”

          Brewster Kahle: Plea Bargaining As Torture
          Aaron Swartz Day 2014

          So in the United States now…97% of all convictions at the fed level are done with plea bargaining. So you have basically no chance of having a jury before your peers. This is basically a threat system…

          So when Aaron Swartz was threatend with 35 years, it’s got to have hit a young idealistic person pretty hard… 35 years for reading too fast in a library? Right? This doesn’t make any sense. Yet that’s a pretty big threat and may have had something to do with it…. So he was faced with 35 years, thanks to Carmen Ortiz, wonderful, and the Justice Department had never intended for this. No more than three, four, or potentially five months range said the top attorney in the United States. And we shouldn’t really judge what the prosecutors were doing based on what they threatened him, just what they were going to do if he pled guilty.

            1. Procopius

              Yes, because there is no way to know what they actually would have done if he had pled guilty. They were offering something, but who can tell whether it was in good faith or not. This is like Niall Ferguson’s counterfactual of what would have happened if the Germans had won the First World War, or Newt Gingrich’s novels of what would have happened if the South had won the Civil War. You can say anything, because who knows?

              1. just me

                As I recall it, Aaron refused to plead guilty. He balked at being labeled “felon.” So he really was facing 35 years in jail. And Kahle is right, the plea bargaing in lieu of trial is like European torture law ca. 1215, an institutionalized threat system to coerce confession when proving guilt is hard. You can listen at link above, I imagine there’s video somewhere, or here is transcript of what he said about that:

                Brewster Kahle: I’m going to talk about a cheery subject, plea bargaining and torture. So, when I was trying to think through some of the approach that was used to bring down Aaron Swartz and to try to make a symbol out of him, I typed in these words into my, you know, favorite search engine and back came actually a paper on the subject, which I’m going to summarize and also elaborate on.

                So, there actually is a wonderful paper by a Yale law professor in 1978 comparing European torture law and current plea bargaining. This may sound a little bit far-fetched, but stick with me for a minute. European torture law, I had no idea, was actually a regulated, implemented part of their court system. It started in 1215 when they stopped going and saying, “You’re guilty because God said so.” They had to come up with something else, so they basically had to have something that was that sure, and they said you had to have two eyewitnesses, or you had to confess. And this was actually an unworkable system. And instead of changing that, they tried to force confessions. And they had a whole system for how to do it. And they had basically how much regulation, how much leg clamping you had, how many minutes of this or that for different crimes, and actually here’s a diagram to, and you can see this guy getting tortured here, but he’s surrounded by court clerks. Right?

                So it’s not the sort of, you know, the Spanish Inquisition, as Monty Python would have it. This was actually a state, smart people state-sponsored system to try to get around a bug in their court system which was too hard to convict people, so they tortured them into confession.

                Sound familiar?

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Agree and expanding a little further on your comment: For anything more serious than a low degree misdemeanor this system is further rigged — in my state, retaining an attorney to negotiate with the prosecution in a felony case runs $25K for a serious felony. If the case goes to trial the retainer is $45K or more. Most cases end up with the public defender’s office. Our public defenders are heavily over burdened with cases as are the prosecutors and from what I’ve observed the two groups are very collegial — sometimes uncomfortably so.

      Because we no longer have a system for dealing with mental health problems, many of the defendants really should have been receiving mental health treatment before they committed any crime. As defendants they can be especially difficult to reason with.

      I watched a very favourable plea bargain come crashing down because of what looked like mental health problem from where I sat. The defendant heard and accepted the plea bargain in court. There was a short recess. When the court resumed the defendant heatedly rejected the plea bargain and demanded a trial while making defamatory statements about the victim who was in court to hear the sentence. I had the impression one of the jailers said something to the defendant during the recess that set him off and queered the plea bargain.

      Bails are set so high for serious felonies that only the wealthy can afford them. The definitions for various crimes have been specified to set a very low bar for the prosecutor’s case and the more complex issues that distinguish Justice from law are dealt with by the prosecutor — not the judge. I don’t know whether it’s the case — I suspect many judges are named directly from the prosecutor’s office — so it may not matter that judges no longer judge crime. In my state 80% of the sentence must be served before a prisoner can receive a parole review.

      Once a person is arrested it’s nearly impossible to contact them. Our County Jail allows visits by video only. There is a super expensive phone service provided by the jail and mail, although a prisoner has to have some account setup to buy stamps. Jail makes a prisoner totally dependent on family and friends. The one phone call provided for must be to a family member — calling a defense attorney at random is more foolish than requesting a public defender. Without connections to someone in the legal profession just try to find an attorney who handles felony crime cases. Most “criminal” defense attorneys in the phone book or attorney registries deal with DWI, misdemeanour shop-lifting, and/or drug possession cases. I have no idea how a prisoner without family or friends to call could arrange for payment for bail or an attorney even if that prisoner had the money necessary.

      The police look no further than what’s necessary to have sufficient evidence to charge somebody with a crime. Given the low bar for proving many crimes, it doesn’t require much detective work. I doubt that many police detectives go to any trouble trying to get to the heart of a crime. There remains a belief that somehow the legal system will sift out the truth. I’m not sure where a defendant is supposed to find the resources to discover exculpating evidence.

      1. Romancing the Loan

        Take a look at the solve rate for serious crimes some time…it’s plummeted dramatically in recent decades, and it’s because of the drug war. We’re rewarding police with overtime and promotions for their number of petty arrests, not whether they’re capable of patiently interviewing everyone in a neighborhood and staking out a street for hours upon boring hours to find the person who’s been breaking into houses.

    3. just me

      I went to the Rakoff article, and though he’s a hero of mine I soon glazed. I’m thinking, isn’t he using nonsense to describe nonsense? Skipped down to the ending paragraph:

      In many respects, the people of the United States can be proud of the progress we have made over the past half-century in promoting racial equality. More haltingly, we have also made some progress in our treatment of the poor and disadvantaged. But the big, glaring exception to both these improvements is how we treat those guilty of crimes. Basically, we treat them like dirt. And while this treatment is mandated by the legislature, it is we judges who mete it out. Unless we judges make more effort to speak out against this inhumanity, how can we call ourselves instruments of justice?

      Progress in promoting racial iquality…those guilty of crimes… is that how you describe the progress Wall Street and the government have made in never being charged with crimes? What color is a corporate person? What race is sovereign immunity, any immunity?

      The part I was glazing over was Rakoff’s study of studies on the link between incarceration and crime stats. Thinking of the recent David Simon Marshall Project interview on how the Baltimore police “juke the stats” to get the desired political and financial result. Pretty damn appalling. I searched Rakoff for Simon or Baltimore and came up blank.

      I searched on “$” and came up with one hit:

      Put another way, the supposition on which our mass incarceration is premised—namely, that it materially reduces crime—is, at best, a hunch. Yet the price we pay for acting on this hunch is enormous. This is true in the literal sense: it costs more than $80 billion a year to run our jails and prisons.

      But I don’t see him writing about that $80 billion as a glaring stat on the incentive to incarcerate.

      1. Lexington

        Put another way, the supposition on which our mass incarceration is premised—namely, that it materially reduces crime—is, at best, a hunch.

        Thing is, the purpose of mass incarceration is only nominally about reducing crime. Its real function is to manage the social tensions inherent in having the greatest gap between wealth and poverty of any First World nation by incarcerating as many poor people as possible.

        Because the alternative, transferring some wealth from haves to have nots to reduce the gap, just isn’t the American Way.

    4. ewmayer

      I sent the Rakoff op-ed link to Yves, along with the following comment:

      While judge Rakoff is always worth listening to, I send this because I was struck by what his op-ed does not address — the profit motive behind the modern prison-industrial complex, something NC has covered frequently.

      So I replied to that effect to the fellow who posted the above link, here (post #21), and then later my fellow forumite Nathan (aka NBtarheel_33) made a really quality post (#23) on the P4P (prison for profit) issue.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Rakoff as a Federal judge has to steer miles away from mention of ANY ideas that plaintiffs might use to argue that he is biased and thus cannot try their case fairly. That is why his article is so cautious.

        1. just me

          Still thinking about Rakoff’s “The Silence of the Judges.”

          Yves, what about this?

          ELIOT SPITZER: And it just strikes me that the next time an assistant United States Attorney is in front of a jury with some poor shlub who’s caught with some low level amount of drugs, the defense lawyer should stand up and utter the letters “H S B C.”

          MATT TAIBBI: Right.

          ELIOT SPITZER: They let them off, and they’re sending this poor guy to jail? Where’s the equity? Where’s the sense of justice in this?

          MATT TAIBBI: Right. Because if the law doesn’t apply equally to everybody, then you don’t really have a system of law, and so you have a built-in defense for everybody in every drug case forever. I mean, if you get caught with a stem of marijuana, how do you not stand up and say, “You’re going to send me to jail for this, where a guy who laundered a billion dollars for a bunch of murderers gets nothing?”

          I’m glad I posted that transcript bit back in 2013 because trying to find that video clip now is next to impossible. Current TV is gone, some of their videos are on YouTube and Vimeo but I can’t tell if that one is, doesn’t look like it. TV News Archive on Internet Archive might have it (video won’t play for me but Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer 12/14/12, slide over to 2:29am is my best guess), but though you can search inside the show via closed captions, I don’t find that part where Eliot Spitzer says

          ELIOT SPITZER: And it just strikes me that the next time an assistant United States Attorney is in front of a jury with some poor shlub who’s caught with some low level amount of drugs, the defense lawyer should stand up and utter the letters “H S B C.”

          Which tells me it’s more than just “The Silence of the Judges,” per Rakoff’s title. I wonder if defense attorneys have stood up and spoken as Spitzer suggested, and I wonder if a judge could allow a jury to hear it, if a defendant got that next-to-impossible jury trial and wasn’t sideswitched to plea bargain, and I wonder why this clip is so damn hard to find anyway? I’m bolding above out of frustration. Taibbi’s appearance on Viewpoint was widely covered in Rolling Stone, 4closurefraud, American Banker and elsewhere, everyone embedded the now-disappeared clip, it was all over the place, and Taibbi’s remark about the law not applying equally to everyone was widely quoted but not Spitzer’s remark about what to do. Judge Rakoff, I wonder what say you?

          1. just me

            On another computer. Aha! It’s in the 2:30am frame, and it’s not in the closed caption transcript, and you have to sign in (to something) (can’t) to make an embeddable too-short clip. So, sigh, but still grateful to Internet Archive for having segment at all. Try this, best guess at link:


            ELIOT SPITZER: And it just strikes me that the next time an assistant United States Attorney is in front of a jury with some poor shlub who’s caught with some low level amount of drugs, the defense lawyer should stand up and utter the letters “H S B C.”

            P.S. Oh, this is nice! Earlier Vimeo of Spitzer and Taibbi from 5/30/12 has a h/t to Judge Rakoff @6:05. And this catches my ear, @8:54:

            Eliot Spitzer: When President Bush, George W. Bush, brought in Harvey Pitt to be the chairman of the SEC, Harvey Pitt, who had been a very good white collar defense lawyer for many years, gave a speech, but he had internalized, as you say, internalized the defenses of the industry, gave a speech as chairman of the SEC, “You will see a kinder, gentler SEC.” I remember reading that and saying, “I just have never seen anything quite as crazy as the chief of an enforcement agency saying ‘I am going to be kind and gentle.'”

            Matt Taibbi: Right. Would you see that from the head of the LAPD? Would you have him come out and say, “We’re going to have a kinder, gentler police force?”

  5. Gentlemutt

    Re: Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down Law to Rein in Public Sector Pensions Wall Street Journal. Chuck L: “Apparently the ISC hasn’t got the neo-liberal memo yet.” Haha, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy than Bruce Rauner.
    Yves, here is a case where the surface appearance belies the reality. The law struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court was enacted during Governor Pat Quinn’s administration, while the Illinois house, senate, and governorship were all in Democratic hands. Hardly some kind of defeat for Rauner. And quite likely Rauner was hoping for this outcome — to help him argue for more substantive — or extreme, if one prefers that reading — measures. The law struck down did nothing to change current pension liabilities; it modestly reduced the growth of pension liabilities for younger employees in state-sponsored pension plans.

    The ISC majority in this ruling was led by Anne Burke. Justice Burke’s husband in Ed Burke, lifetime alderman in Chicago’s Democratic machine, former leading member of the infamous Vrdolyak 29 which thwarted Mayor Harold Washington at every turn during his first term in office, and of late the leading proponent to force Illinois drivers to put more sinfully wasteful ethanol in their gas tanks (E-15).

    The ISC heard this case after a circuit court judge first ruled in November, 2014, that the law signed by Governor Quinn was unconstitutional. The case then went to the ISC because the Democratic attorney general in Illinois, Lisa Madigan, brought it there. Her father, Michael Madigan, is the lifetime Speaker of the Illinois House. Lisa Madigan’s grandfather Michael was a lifetime buddy of the first Mayor Daley, serving as a loyal precinct captain in the Daley machine and rewarded for that with positions in the Streets & Sanitation department.

    The amendment to the Illinois Constitution which the Democratic super-majority under Governor Quinn tried to modify was enacted in 1970, when Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s father Michael was a young delegate to that constitutional convention.

    So, it is not clear to me how the recent ISC ruling, throwing out an attempt by lifetime office-holding Democrats to modify a constitutional amendment they and their predecessors put in place is somehow a loss for (admittedly quite jerky) new Governor Rauner. Rauner now gets to play for bigger stakes, and continue to threaten to declare bankruptcy.

    1. Toni Gilpin

      Precisely. Here is Rauner’s response to the decision:

      “The Supreme Court’s decision confirms that benefits earned cannot be reduced. That’s fair and right, and why the governor long maintained that SB 1 is unconstitutional. What is now clear is that a Constitutional Amendment clarifying the distinction between currently earned benefits and future benefits not yet earned, which would allow the state to move forward on common-sense pension reforms, should be part of any solution.”

      Not to praise Rauner, a truly bad guy, as he suggests that what he wants is a Constitutional amendment that would allow him to do even worse things to state employee pensions. And he was never said during his campaign that he was utterly opposed to SB1. But at any rate this isn’t his defeat, though I would agree it is one for the rising neoliberal cadre in the IL legislature.

  6. ChuckO

    Something that may seem like a quibble, but is important from the standpoint of perspective. During WW2, the Russians did not just help win the war in Europe. In fact, they flat out won it, destroying the German army. The efforts of Britain and the United States were pretty much a sideshow, with the possible but debatable exception of Italy. If D-Day had not occurred, the Russians would have simply rolled on over the Germans and advanced all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think it was team effort.

      Without Lend Lease and the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran, it would have been harder, if not improbable. And without the Chinese bogging down the Imperial Kwangtung Army, Soviet Far East would have been under threat, with no spare divisions to be diverted west to Moscow, Petersburg and Stalingrad.

      1. LifelongLib

        The Soviets defeated the Japanese in the Far East prior to WW 2. After that both needed their armies elsewhere and agreed to a truce. Stalin was so anxious to avoid further conflict that he did not allow Soviet airfields to be used by the Doolittle raiders, and interned American flyers who crashed in Soviet territory after bombing Japan.

      2. bruno marr

        …so why didn’t the “team” show up for the Moscow parade? (And “destabilization of Ukraine” is not a viable answer.)

    2. Jason Boxman

      My favorite book on the subject, Brute Force: Allied Strategy and Tactics in the Second World War, looked at the war from a standpoint of economic output. (Never know what you may find at a used book store!) Based on that, it was simply impossible for Germany to dominate, though more than enough for a legacy of unimaginable carnage.

      1. steviefinn

        My favourite book on the subject, which I discovered thanks to Jesse, is Vasily Grossman’s “Life & Fate “. VG was a war correspondent who took hundreds of interviews on the Eastern front, from all aspects of involvement, from soldiers, civilians, gas chamber operatives etc, from which he built his story. His Mother was a victim of the camps & the book is very critical of aspects of the Soviet regime, which probably explains why it was not published until the 80’s after his death. It is a red raw story that concentrates on how human beings react in extreme circumstances & this quote I think sums up his conclusion on that :

        “I have seen that it is not man who is impotent in the struggle against evil, but the power of evil that is impotent in the struggle against man. The powerlessness of kindness, of senseless kindness, is the secret of its immortality. It can never by conquered. The more stupid, the more senseless, the more helpless it may seem, the vaster it is. Evil is impotent before it. The prophets, religious teachers, reformers, social and political leaders are impotent before it. This dumb, blind love is man’s meaning. Human history is not the battle of good struggling to overcome evil. It is a battle fought by a great evil, struggling to crush a small kernel of human kindness. But if what is human in human beings has not been destroyed even now, then evil will never conquer.”

          1. Carla

            So I looked up Grossman and also found this little gem:

            “Good men and bad men alike are capable of weakness. The difference is simply that a bad man will be proud all his life of one good deed – while an honest man is hardly aware of his good acts, but remembers a single sin for years on end.”
            ― Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate

            1. steviefinn

              He learnt the hard way & I think so did the Russians, which is something that is hard for those who have not suffered such an Armageddon on their home soil to understand, & also explains why the Russians are reacting to aggression in the way they are. Good to see Merkel at the parade, the Germans also suffered very badly as a result of Nazism, although for them it was largely self inflicted.

    3. Lexington

      The “Russians” didn’t win the Second World War, the “Soviets” did, which includes tens of millions of non Russian inhabitants of the former USSR. Stalin himself was of course Georgian. I feel compelled to point this out specifically in light of all the historically illiterate commentary that has appeared on the Ukrainian crisis.

      What “would” have happened if Britain has been defeated in 1940, if the US had never entered the war, if there had been no Lend Lease, no Combined Bomber Offensive and no opening of a western front in either Italy or Northwestern Europe, or even if Hitler had not invaded the Balkans in 1941, setting back the timetable for Barbarossa by two critical months, or if Japan has invaded Siberia (tying down the troops that were rushed at the last minute to defend Moscow), is of course unknowable.

      1. Tom Bradford

        Britain chose to go to war in 1939 – Chamberlain’s “Peace in our Time” was an option as Hitler wished only for a continental empire and had no designs on Britain and her empire. Had Britain stayed out it was likely the US would have done so to.

        Hitler invaded Russia, so Russia’s fight was forced upon it. Had Hitler not done so it’s unlikely Russia would have reacted to any attack by Hitler on France, the Low Countries or even Britain.

        Even tho’ it was the support the US was giving Britain in 1941 plus his pact with Japan that caused Hitler to declare war on the US, it was always an option for the US to take a purely defensive – and unassailable – posture. The decision by the US to take the war the Germany and Japan was an option.

        Hence there is some justification for arguing that the damage and losses suffered by the UK and the US in WW2 were a matter of choice suffered for the greater good while in Russia’s case it was not a matter of choice or voluntary sacrifice at all.

        1. Lexington

          ChuckO seemed to imply that the war would have ended the same way even without the participation of the Western Allies. My point was that there is no way of knowing what “would” have happened, there are too many variables and no viable model for testing different scenarios. History is about what DID happen; everything else is (mostly idle) speculation.

          It’s true the USSR had less “choice” about its participation in the war against Nazi Germany but that’s not directly relevant to point under discussion.

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    DNA deterioration…urban poor.

    I once did a back of envelope calculation to see when the next homo species would arrive to replace us, by looking at the chances of reproduction over time, i.e. (total human population) x (years of existence of each previous humanoid).

    That fact that our current population is much, much, much larger than say, Lucy’s, it should take much, much shorter time.

    We are breeding ourselves to our own extinction…if we don’t kill ourselves with science first (bombs, GMO foods, nuclear accidents, climate change, wars).

      1. lord koos

        I’m sure mine is smaller just because I no longer have to remember any phone numbers.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That explains why we can’t paint like the cavemen anymore.

        And reading yesterday’s comments on sustainability and resilience (very informative and educational, thanks, all you commenters), I have the sense that we are on the second (or whatever iteration of) Atlantis, which our ancestors survived to give us Landing on the Moon in the last century, but it remains to be seen if we, with our smaller brain, can.

      3. OIFVet

        They might even be underestimating the shrinkage, based on my admittedly biased personal observations. Those with UChicago postgrad degrees seem to be particularly affected…

          1. OIFVet

            Ah, don’t sell the law school short. True, it produced people like Justice Stevens. but it has been a veritable factory churning out intellectual and moral cripples since about the early 1970’s or so. It’s a wild guess, but having people such as Barry O and Cass Sunstein on the faculty has something to do with that. And then there is the Booth GSB rounding out the triumvirate of parasite factories …

    1. frosty zoom

      the article never says “round up” just “glyphosphate”. i guess monsanto feathers musn’t be ruffled.

  8. JEHR

    Wow, I am gobsmacked by the “Rocco Galati challenges role of Bank of Canada in latest case” video. I had already bookmarked the COMER information for further reference (See: and ) and was waiting to hear about the court decision. Thank you so much for bringing the video to my attention. I was not aware of the constitutional basis for our Central Bank’s being a public banking institution. I just took it for granted that it was owned by the private banks as in the U.S. It is so refreshing to know that the provinces are entitled to interest-free loans from our CB.

    Rocco Galati is my new hero! He prevented Harper’s appointment of a judge from Quebec who was not properly qualified for that position. One of the reasons that Harper cannot get away entirely with carrying out his neoliberal actions is that the Supreme Court is not under his bidding otherwise our democracy would have been toast a long time ago. The court has stood firm against Harper’s laws by supporting health care services “insite” for safe injections by drug users; by striking down anti-prostitution laws; by not allowing changes to the Senate without provincial approval, etc. Harper has also ignored the Supreme Court when it told him that Omar Khadr should be brought back from Guantanamo.

    Democracy is so fragile and we are so lucky to have lawyers like Galati working for us. Here is a person that has justice as his central belief, not profit or power. How refreshing.

    This NC site is absolutely without precedent and does wonderfully good work. Thanks again.

    1. trinity river

      Yes, I like to be exposed to new ideas for improving our economy. I watched while President Reagan reduced the Fed govt by moving formerly fed. programs to the states and sending money to the states to administer them, knowing that that would eventually bankrupt those programs. Local governments do not have fiat currency and cannot expand. Congress w/o the responsibility of a program can mindlessly reduce the costs knowing that the local govt will be blamed for changes in services. I wish our FED lent money to local governments for infrastructure improvements. God knows we need to repair potholes and increase jobs.

      I also think Yves should have marked “The great unraveling of globalization” as IMPORTANT.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I guess I missed something about the great unraveling of globalization. I thought the article was long and poorly organized. I got lost in all the data reported, the many explanations suggested, and mostly the disconnect between what the article asserted and what was evident from my experience and from other sources. If globalization is failing why is there such strong coordinated pressure to pass TAP and thereby pass TPP?

        If globalization is failing and companies are bringing factories back to the United States — where are they? Where are the jobs? How was globalization a big fail if it succeeded in breaking the back of unions? Where are all these newly Made-In-The-USA products for sale? Everything I see for sale to consumers is made in China, or Viet Nam, or some other country with the cheapest labor of the moment. Is there some market with Made-In-USA products I missed? The article seems to believe companies are disappointed their investments in trying to market in developing nations just haven’t paid off the way they expected. What were they expecting? Did they really believe their own hype? Certainly the political instability in developing markets should come as no surprise. Did they expect General Smedley Butler to protect their “banana” plantations? I thought he made clear he was not their guy.

        The article states: “There is some debate about how much reshoring is actually underway.” I guess so. Where are all the factories, jobs, “Made-In-USA” products and where’s the union label?

        “Though presented as a way to eliminate economic disparities and magically expand multinational revenue streams, globalization is, simply put, still a barely profitable and perplexing strategy for most companies.” Who are these “most” companies? Neither Apple nor Nike seem to be counted among them. Do small and middle sized enterprises comprise most companies? Maybe they are one target of globalization. Other than as take-over targets our big firms have an antipathy to the small and medium-sized businesses that still innovate and make attempts at competition — nothing deep pockets and cheap labor can’t take care of. “Globalization” is risky for smaller firms. The costs and risks of “globalization” make a nice barrier to entry. Besides, the big firms are already there. They may not be making the phenomenal profits on the local domestic market but surely they have sufficient leverage over foreign governments to make life very unpleasant for smaller competitors trying to gain a foothold.

        Is globalization a failure or are the stated goals different from the real goals? I tend to believe globalization has been a tremendous success at achieving other goals — crushing unions, destroying small competitors, and ending the New Deal cooperation between organized labor and corporate capital controlled by corporate executives from the engineering and production side of the house. With the crushingly high interest rates of the Volker years [Volker deserves at least runner-up status for worst ever Fed Chairman after Greenspan.] Finance again achieved control of our productive Corporations. Globalization helped Finance convert the capital and profits of production to the CEO salaries and stock buy-backs of today — helping to dismantle and loot American industry. [I’m still reading “Predator Nation” and will need an intensive review — so I trust other commenters will help correct my errors and omissions.]

        So — “IMPORTANT”? I am not sure I agree with that assessment.

        One comment in the Washington Post made to this article caught my eye — Barney Biggs [4/29/2015 10:27 AM … near the top …] “I am not an American but …”I think what the article does not state is that it is dealing with an Anti American economic trend worldwide.” Hmm … that does seem like a possibility to me.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Thanks for the comment on Cipro.

    My doctor prescribed it a few years ago. In the future, I will try to avoid it. It’s a dangerous world out there.

  10. Jason Boxman

    I was prescribed Cipro for something really minor once, by a dermatologist! I refused to take it after reading the laundry list of potential side effects, including possible damage to the peripheral nervous system. (And who needs that?)

  11. Marianne Jones

    Special request, could you rethink the use of the phrase “trade traitors” in lieu of “TPP”?

    I’m sending new and highly conservative readers to this site for TPP news, and without a clearly labeled TPP section they can miss the links. Or be put off by the section header.

  12. Nomad

    The great unraveling of globalization Washington Post (David L

    My top pet peeve on this subject is Apple, their terrible labor practices in China, etc. and their HUGE cash hoard held offshore avoiding taxes.

    It is a privilege to have access to our market in my mind, and that entails responsibility.

    Apple’s ways will catch up to it in the coming years.

    Well designed products are exploding and so their differentiators are being eroded, same with the strides that linux and ubuntu are making in the GUI department. Then there is the social change trends. Tick-tock.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Don’t give in…a depressed population is easy to govern.

    First step of action: Do some writing (like the writer of the linked article). Don’t just read. Make comments in every blog you read. Quote yourself if necessary. The focus is on you.

    That will give you the boost of energy to go out there to do something (because you have clarify your thoughts through and committed yourself – you know it inside, if others don’t – in writing).

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The “Don’t Give In” post is a good antidote to yesterday’s discussions of the new black. But for me, there was more to “Don’t Give In” than just great content — I really enjoyed the style of the writing.

    2. Santi

      There is another, important, side to it. Before writing, commenting, etc. think if what you are going to say contributes to the advancement of the situation, be it via empowerment of other people, diffusion of important information, framing of problems in ways that enable change, etc. I can’t find often this mindset, but it works greatly when I find it.

  14. Steve in Flyover

    So globalization isn’t the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that our so-called business leaders was looking for? And whocouldanode?

    The stupidity of these guys just makes me want to cry.

    Here’s how it goes (as witnessed by yours truly): a bunch of Chinese guys wearing Mao suits show up at your HQ, and start telling the suits how much they want to be “partners”. And to show the Chinese how good a “partner” you are, you’ve got to hand over reams of intellectual property.

    Which led to (in the days before everything was digitalized) gangs of Chinese guys standing in front of every copier in the Engineering, production, and service departments. Along with the development of “expert systems”, which are basically a “tribal knowledge transfer tool”.

    In the meantime, in the past 25 years, growth of the Chinese market for the companies products has been “disappointing” or “lower than anticipated”. Or, in my non-boss speak description: “practically ZERO”

    Who could have guessed that China, having seen the oligarchs/robber barons GTFOOD numerous times in their long history, would not be jumping to permit sales in China of the ultimate “GTFOOD” transportation devices?

  15. fresno dan

    Abbott’s Plucky Business Adviser Undoes Hoax Run By All Of Science SBS Comedy. Chuck L: “News flash from the down-under Onion.”

    “This is terrific news,” said Hunt. “I’d always suspected climate change wasn’t real, which is why I was doing as little as possible to actually address the issue. This confirms my suspicions that scientists were just making up huge amounts of climate data just as a lark on their lunch break.

    Well, now that that cat is out of the bag, I might as well break the news for the microbiologists.
    There is no such thing as bacteria. Or any microorganisms. Really, the whole notion is absurd with just a moments thought – why, these critters would need wee small hearts, and itsy bitsy teeth – you couldn’t possibly fashion dental instruments small enough to fix their teeth.
    It was just a big scam to fund the antibiotic industry, the disinfectant industry, and keep microbiologists, a raucous, hard drinking lot out of the bars for a couple of hours a day….
    Yes, if your ill it is generally due to bad humors, and the best course of action is consulting a necromancer….

    1. cwaltz

      I must not have a Canadian sense of humor. I guess they must have missed the 2008 to 2011 debacle where climate scientists were indeed being accused of manipulating data after FOIA request denials and a hacker accessed private emails from the Climate Research Unit and took some information contained in them out of context. I daresay the Commerce Dept., The British House of Commons, and others tasked with the investigation as a result of emails suggesting that data be deleted or that a “trick” be employed to account for data that could not be explained(tree rings suggesting that temperature declined instead of increased.) While the conclusion of the investigation did side with climate scientist it is of particular note that climate scientists were chastised for not opening up about their data. Quite frankly, on global warming I have come to the same conclusion as Dr Pielke of the British panel. It has been dominated for a number of years by people at the poles — the most activist scientists emphasizing alarm, versus the most ardent skeptics saying we don’t have to do anything,” Dr. Pielke said. “This recent controversy has opened the eyes of a lot of people to a much richer tapestry of views on climate policy that are out there, which I think is a good thing.”It has been dominated for a number of years by people at the poles — the most activist scientists emphasizing alarm, versus the most ardent skeptics saying we don’t have to do anything,” Dr. Pielke said. “This recent controversy has opened the eyes of a lot of people to a much richer tapestry of views on climate policy that are out there, which I think is a good thing.”

  16. Jess

    Two quick O/T questions:

    a) Is today some kind of holiday I wasn’t aware of?

    b) No Water Cooler today? Related to (a)?

    1. Jess

      Okay, looks like the early on-set dementia has done set in. Somehow I lost a day and thought this was Monday. Guess it has to do with my mother being dead for so long. Or something.

  17. JTFaraday

    re: “Mass Incarceration: The Silence of the Judges.” Jed S. Rakoff, New York Review of Books (EM)

    It looks like a hot mess alright.

  18. JTFaraday

    re: “Don’t give in: an angry population is hard to govern; a depressed population is easy,” New Statesman

    Let’s hope it’s temporary.

  19. Dr. Phil

    Don’t give up, fair enough. But if you’re depressed maybe you should stop doing the hopeless crap that wore you down in the first place: Like trusting the state-vetted ‘left’ decoys making you beg for scraps of rights. Like playing by the bullshit rules. Your exemplars could be parties that don’t fail and fail and fail. Sinn Féin. MAS-IPSP. PSUV. ANC. But that’s like 2% electoral politics and 98% civil society.

      1. OIFVet

        Funny, I had a conversation with a Russian friend yesterday about the rounding up of people who voice unapproved speech. Said friend is a professor of Russian history at an institution of higher miseducation, and has a thoroughly neoliberal worldview (but a swell guy in spite of it). After I expressed my low opinion of Rahmses of Chicago, and the political establishment as a whole, he said I was just too negative, and unlike in our native fatherlands I should be thankful that I have the right to free speech and political freedum. I asked him what part of freedum and democracy dictated the police riots against the Occupy movement, and indeed the wholesale domestic spying and infiltration of dissident groups by the state security organs. Still waiting for an answer from him…

  20. frosty zoom

    for “jess” up yonder

    a) i think it is yum brands day today.

    b) no water on weekends. perhaps the weekends could have a “beer brunch” or something..

  21. Mean Loud Dr. Phil

    Don’t give up, fair enough. But if you’re depressed maybe you should stop doing the hopeless crap that wore you down in the first place: Like trusting the state-vetted ‘left’ decoys making you beg for scraps of rights. Like playing by the bullshit rules. Your exemplars could be parties that don’t fail and fail and fail. Sinn Féin. MAS-IPSP. PSUV. ANC. But that’s like 2% electoral politics and 98% civil society.

  22. Santi

    After an eight-hour cabinet meeting led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras regarding Monday’s crucial Eurogroup, there was no official statement other that the reiteration that the Greek government will not sign an agreement with creditors unless it is within the framework of the people’s mandate,

    , says Greek Reporter. It continues:

    After Tsipras’ opening speech, the government council was briefed by Government Vice President Yiannis Dragasakis, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and Alternate Foreign Minister for Economic International Relations Euclid Tsakalotos.
    On Monday’s meeting of euro zone finance ministers, Greece will be represented by Varoufakis and head of Economic Advisors Council Giorgos Chouliarakis.

  23. frosty zoom

    [to optimader]

    wow, i thought it was gonna a be an f-35.

    you know, i have a fifteen year old car that probably is putting out a lot of gunk into the air.

    but, what creates more pollution ¿driving an old car or creating a brand new one?

  24. C

    President Obama gave a rather impressively tone-deaf interview with Yahoo news. In it he reiterated his claim that Warren and others are “Just plain wrong” on the facts of the deal.

    Perhaps the two most tone-dead things in it though were when he said that “anyone on the internet” would be able to view the deal 60 days before passage. This of course flies in the face of the actual text of the fast track bill which would keep that up to the USTR and his own promises around the ACA when he said “we will have the tv cameras on” and then didn’t.

    He also trumpeted that Nike would create 10,000 jobs in the U.S. IF the deal is signed. 10,000 when we need 100,000 just to make a dent in the rate of losses.

  25. bob

    “If an insurer had simply decreed Taylor’s back surgery to be unnecessary, and denied coverage, the Taylors would have been outraged”

    This is very, very true. If they can’t find a doc to cut first, they will find one.

    It’s related to how disability insurance works in the US. Both the patient, and the employer want the case done with. Cutting seems to offer the most “certain” outcome, while exercises and PT can go on indefinitely, as well as the bills and lost time due to keeping apts. 4 weeks recovery after surgery vs untold years of PT, and most importantly, a change of lifestyle.

    You may not be able to do what you used to do, and should stretch/exercise everyday.

    Surgery may lead to the same outcome, but it’s viewed as *doing something*, where PT is seen by most people and employers as useless. “I don’t have the time! Just make it right!”

  26. Dr. Christy

    Re: Overkill

    This will get worse because of the ACA…. let me explain.

    Many of my MRIS are unneccessary but my patients twist and turn my arm because they refuse to allow the full 8 -12 weeks for physical therapy and conservative therapy to take place. Even with a herniated disc, there are studies that show our body will cannibilze the fragments and disappear over time.

    Patients are very unsatisfied when I don’t treat them with antibiotics for viral infections or order an MRI when they have shooting pain down their left arm for 2 weeks. Studies show those are the two most common
    reasons patients gripe about their doctor.

    Now , Patient satisfaction is an indicator of provider performance and an important dimension of value-based health care under the Affordable Care Act .

    In other words, if I or the hospital don’t kow tow to our patients, we will get penalized. This goes beyond bedside manner. Dr Oz will win more patient satisfaction points due to him coddling patients who want to try potentially dangerous alternative medicine for a condition that does not indicate it ( I have to tell my patients to stop some of his recommendations because it interferes with their blood thinners, or medical condition.) In fact there are studies that show hospitals with greater patient satisfaction have worse outcomes for important disease processes!

    We doctors walk a fine line between being our patient advocate and working with them on equal grounds and then pulling the authority figure for tough decisions. We are like parents, I want to be my daughter’s buddy and best friend, but many times I have to put on my parent mode and make tough decisions that will not endear me to my daughter… if we parents were judged by children satisfaction points, many of us would fail depending on the age of the child.

    by the way, every medical conferences I go to this topic is bought up. Many doctors know unnecessary procedures and diagnostic testing are bankrupting this system, but remember this, unfortunatly we doctors are rarely sued for the diagnostic test we ordered, it is almost always for not ordering the one test that was needed to change the outcome ( I deal with many false negative tests and false postiives and have to decide where to go from there every day).

    By the way, studies show back surgery to relieve pain compared to comprable disease without surgery.. After 2-3 yrs, the person who opted for surgery is no better off..( probably due to post laminectomy syndrome and abnormal anatomical stress above and below the surgical site which causes pain above and below). Back surgery to prevent falls, gait disorders, muscle weakness and bladder incontinance and other functional issues are clearly worthwhile)

      1. Furzy Mouse

        But in this case, it is the “students” (patients) that are demanding the dumbing down of their care….not the docs….

    1. cwaltz

      Personally I don’t think it’s unreasonable, as a patient, to expect a doctor to use the diagnostic tools available instead of guessing at a diagnosis. I don’t think it’s unintelligent to expect a doctor to check on something that’s been causing pain for 2 weeks. As a matter of fact most medical advice doesn’t even suggest you wait that long because if something is wrong than delaying treatment can adversely impact your health. I also completely understand being frustrated by going to a MD , spending money, and not having anymore insight into what’s wrong because HE doesn’t want to spend money on tests.

      As far as expectations as a patient I think doctors are a little impatient to allow someone time to adjust to a “new normal” because while the body does adjust, it frequently doesn’t adjust back to where it once was and while it is adjusting it frequently doesn’t throw just one system out of whack but several of them, particularly as we get older. I also don’t think it’s unreasonable while your body is in transition to want a professional to monitor things because things are going wonky.

      In short, I think doctors seem to forget we’re not going to see them because we’re bored. We’re going to an MD because our body is sending us signals that something is wrong. The whole entire point of the medical profession is dealing with the body when things are wrong.

      1. OIFVet

        That’s the thing though, it is not always necessary to use the full arsenal of diagnostic methods to arrive at the correct diagnosis. Yet Americans seem to think that quantity=quality. Not so. Several times over the course of being a patient at the VA I’ve had the opportunity to experience that, the result being positive outcome of various maladies, from a terrible bad back to high cholesterol to some service-connected issues. Personally I consider myself lucky to have been in the care of physicians not concerned with the bottom line but with doing their jobs properly with the bare minimum of chemical and diagnostic intervention. No cholesterol pills but lifestyle changes, no surgery but physical therapy. No anti-depressants but alternative means (not officially sanctioned but effective nonetheless).

        As to your last paragraph, I generally agree but will provide a caveat: beware of hypochondriacs and the effects of the magic pill syndrome that seems to be the norm in the age of pill commercials on TV. As an undergrad I worked as a research assistant at a research lab, ran by an old, experienced doctor who also made clinical rounds. One day my job was to take a pestle and mortar, make aspirin pills into powder, and pour the powder into capsules. Which concoction was then given to a healthy patient who was absolutely convinced that she had full-blown endocrine disease. Miraculous recovery ensued in a couple of weeks…

        1. cwaltz

          I finished 3 rounds of broad spectrum antibiotics after contracting cellulitis. By the time I finished the 3rd round they were worried I’d contracted C diff. It seems to me that testing to figure out what they were treating might have been helpful instead of just going from broad spectrum antibiotic to broad spectrum antibiotic. Almost 3 month later despite probiotics my gut still isn’t recovered completely.

          In the interim while all this was going on my blood pressure skyrocketed( 180/100) and my blood sugar numbers were wonked out. Apparently my body wasn’t happy with dealing with an unresolved infection. Go figure. It also didn’t help that my struggling body decided the best way to communicate it’s distress was to cause mini panic attacks. I have a new respect for my deceased younger brother who lived a number of years with anxiety and bipolar disorder(in addition to alcoholism). It’s exhausting to force yourself to do nothing when your body is telling you, “do something.”

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        I hate to tell you, as someone who has long-standing orthopedic issues (and mind you, these should be easy to diagnose), I disagree. Americans fetishize tests that are often crap.

        MRIs aren’t all that good, truth be told, unless you have something glaring, and that “something glaring” can often be determined by other, cheaper means. You get a lot of ambiguous readings, which then allow doctors to sell “I’ll just go in and have a look and clean up what I see.” I am not making this up, I’ve been on the receiving end.

        When I was getting acupuncture from one of Mao’s former doctor (as in an orthopedic surgeon back in China), he manipulated my knee (as in tugged at it gently, flexed it, tested rotation). He said “There is nothing wrong with your knee.” And I have since concluded that the “problems” with my knee come from instability in my feet and ankles, and not from anything amiss in my knee per se except being regularly annoyed by bad loading when I walk and stand.

        Another example: I called my orthopedist (I finally found a good one) worried I had broken my toe. Most orthopedists would have had me in for a visit and X-ray. He snorted and said, “Don’t bother coming in. Tape your toe to the next one.”

    2. optimader

      By the way, studies show back surgery to relieve pain compared to comprable disease without surgery.. After 2-3 yrs, the person who opted for surgery is no better off..( probably due to post laminectomy syndrome and abnormal anatomical stress above and below the surgical site which causes pain above and below). Back surgery to prevent falls, gait disorders, muscle weakness and bladder incontinance and other functional issues are clearly worthwhile)

      The Dept Head of the Mayo Clinic Brain & Spine Center quipped to me that the majority of his surgical interventions are on patients that had surgery. This was ~20 years ago. Basically something like 3 weeks to reduce inflammation w/ steroids and PT before permanent nerve damage is an issue. Many people are not patient enough with that more enlightened strategy of conservative care that you and other advocate. Not sure why? People are maybe conditioned to expect technological magic bullets.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I cannot comprehend anyone wanting to have surgery of ANY kind. You can’t undo it (save a very few procedures designed to be reversible).

  27. optimader
    “Harmonious Diversity”

    As Japanese, we eat rice as a staple food, utilize umami and fermentation techniques in our cooking, and enjoy a variety of “foods” such as fish, shellfish, and vegetables. All of them are thanks to our diversified agriculture, forestry, and fisheries that operate in harmony with nature. We have also created a rich food culture that respects the wisdom of nature, while also reflecting our highly skilled traditional craftwork and craftsmanship in our tableware, cooking utensils, and eating spaces. Diverse food initiatives are now underway in our agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. There is a variety of wisdom and skills that can be found in Japanese food and food culture. The “diversity” cultivated in Japan is a great potential for contribution to global issues in relation to the expo’s theme, such as food security.

    Japan will participate in Expo 2015 Milano under the theme of “Harmonious Diversity.”

  28. charles 2

    “The governor is a political appointee, but we know how much (as in how little) that means in terms of being independent from banking interests.”
    Ex-MinFin of a previous government, did you really expect him to collaborate ? If Tsipras has common sense, he sends the whole board of the Central Bank packing the minute after he knows default is out there publicly. Dereliction of duty, high treason, whatever reason… the important is to officially lift the ceiling on ELA after default and keep the printing presses (not the metaphorical ones, the real ones !) humming. The BOG must be at the forefront of the legal fight against “conservatory measures” taken at a Eurozone level (such as cutting off from Target for instance). Varoufakis could actually be good at that job, probably better than at managing a Finance Ministry…

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