Links 2/27/16


Decline of Pollinators Poses Threat to World Food Supply, Report Says New York Times. The jackpot is coming…

The Problem With Evidence-Based Policies Project Syndicate (David L). Important.

When a Brain Surgeon Becomes a Malpractice Lawyer Pacific Standard (Chuck L)

Insulin shortage could affect 50,000 people with diabetes in the UK Diabetes Forum. Furzy’s sister, an MD, flagged this comment on the Archdruid’s latest post:

In other news, the medical malpractice industry may have claimed another victim. My father’s youngest brother was admitted to the hospital Monday night, and died tonight. Word from the family is that he was diabetic but denied insulin for at least 24 hours because the hospital didn’t have any, which could have exacerbated his heart condition. If this is true, as a diabetic, that kind of story leaves me a little nervous about my own future. I mean, I know a day will come when insulin will be an expensive luxury, and later on not available at all, but today any hospital in the USA worth its name should have some Humalog in stock!”

More than 200 patients at NJ hospital possibly exposed to HIV, hepatitis Reuters (EM)

The rising price of insulin RxRights (furzy). “It looks like we have a classic example of pharma executives raising drug prices just for the hell of it!”

World Trade Plunges 13.8% in US Dollar Terms Michael Shedlock


China’s got problems, but it won’t run out of reserves FT Alphaville

At G-20, China Aims to Take Worries off Its Currency Wall Street Journal


What a British divorce from the EU would look like Financial Times (Li). Important.

Beyond cost-benefit analysis: how emotions will play a part in the EU referendum LSE. As Clive pointed out colorfully in comments recently.

Short Cuts Didier Fassin, London Review of Books (guurst). “Those who have said that France is being turned into a police state have had little impact in the public debate, because for most people it is business as usual.”

Refugee Crisis

This racist backlash against refugees is the real crisis in Europe Guardian

World Bank Woos Western Corporations to Profit From Labor of Stranded Syrian Refugees Alternet


How Turkey supports the jihadists Wat: “Russia may have carved Turkey out of NATO.”

Syria truce agreement takes effect BBC

This company hacked an iPhone with Play-Doh MarketWatch

Syria: Another Pipeline War EcoWatch (Glenn F)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The U.S. has Gone F&*%ing Mad Medium (guurst). A must read.

Cartoon: FBI vs Apple and those-pointy-headed-liberal-legal-scholars PBS

Obama Administration Set to Expand Sharing of Data That N.S.A. Intercepts New York Times (allan)

UC Berkeley system with data on students, workers, alumni hacked San Francisco Chronicle (Bill B)

Thinking about Intimate Surveillance Bruce Schneier

Imperial Collapse Watch

U.S. test-fires ICBMs to stress its power to Russia, North Korea Reuters (EM). How is this a show of strength? Everyone knows we have them. Do we really need to prove they work?

The neo-colonial booming industry of private mercenaries failed evolution

FAA Privatization Bill Contains Sweetheart Deal For Airline Lobby Huffington Post

Supreme Court Trench Warfare

Scalia’s Supreme Court Vacancy Could Leave Companies at a Loss Wall Street (guurst)

GOP groups prepare to unload on Obama SCOTUS pick Politico (furzy). Sight unseen!

Hillary’s E-Mail Hairball

Hillary Clinton Pushes Colombia Free Trade Agreement In Latest Email Dump International Business Times

New Batch of Clinton Emails Points to a Key Role Played by a Deputy New York Times. The story bizarrely has very little about the content of the e-mails released on Friday.


Chris Christie endorses Donald Trump for Republican presidential nomination Guardian

Chris Christie Endorses Donald Trump and Calls Marco Rubio ‘Desperate’ New York Times

GOP establishment trashes Christie for endorsing Trump Politco. Furzy: “​Smart enuf move I’d say…..before Giuliani hops on….​” Li pointed out the same thing, that Christie’s endorsement means he believes that he will benefit from being at the front of this parade.

Donald Trump’s Business Record Demands More Scrutiny New Yorker (EmilianoZ). Why is it only now, when Trump in on the verge of being unstoppable, that the media starts digging into his history? Were the elites so convinced that he’d implode that no one bothered doing oppo? Remember the results of a famous study on cognitive biases. Participants were chosen for holding a false belief about the Iraq War (I don’t remember which one, but on the order of there having been WMD in Iraq). They were then shown a short video of prominent people, including President Bush, saying that that view was false. They were surveyed after watching the video. On average, they were more convinced of their incorrect view after seeing the video than they were before. So the Trump true believers are unlikely to be swayed, and the question is how many Republicans are open to hearing new information about him?

IRS shoots down Trump’s tax excuse: Audits don’t prevent him from releasing returns McClatchy

9 Key Points About Trump’s Income Taxes (And Many More Questions) David Cay Johnston, National Memo (Kim Kaufman)

Watch Donald Trump’s ‘cameo’ in ‘Game of Thrones‘ CNN (furzy)

Georgia State students holding pro-BLM signs say they were ejected from Hillary Clinton rally Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Apology Not Accepted Statement from Activist Who Challenged Hillary Clinton on Race

Policy as Mock UN Steve Waldman. Really good.

Oregon publisher buys The New Republic Financial Times

Top GOP Pollster: Young Americans Are Terrifyingly Liberal Intercept (martha r). Maybe you should have thought what the result would be of screwing workers economically when workers can still vote, and young people aren’t yet burdened with families and so don’t have to put up and shut up. They will instead see the remedy as more aggressive purging of “liberal” college faculties.

A 90-Year-Old Iwo Jima Veteran Couldn’t Vote in Scott Walker’s Wisconsin Charles Pierce, Esquire (resilc)

Michigan governor’s aides urged switch away from Flint River Reuters

As heroin epidemic rages, Hep C cases soar Timotheus:

Pharma double winners in four easy steps:

1. Promote expensive oxy overprescription such that it
2. Generates heroin epidemic leading to
3. Explosion of new Hepatitis C infections requiring prescription of
4. Expensive Hep C drugs

California methane leak was biggest ever in U.S., scientists say Reuters. EM: “And as with the PG&E San Bruno pipeline explosion, you can be sure no one is gonna go to jail or even personally pay a fine over this.”

Former BP rig supervisor found not guilty in oil spill case Reuters (EM)

Momentum matters as earnings estimates go from bad to worse Financial Times

Class Warfare

Neoliberalism is being challenged Cathy O’Neil

San Francisco Wants Homeless to Leave Tent Camp, but Some Vow to Fight New York Times

Antidote du jour (Sharon S. via Timotheus). We’ve gotten lots of bird antidotes of late. Is that because you want spring to be here already?

cardinal links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. tony

    “young people aren’t yet burdened with families and so don’t have to put up and shut up. They will instead see the remedy as more aggressive purging of “liberal” college faculties.”

    They are burdened with student loans. There are already cases of people being jailed for failing to pay student loans. Hillary is taking money from prison industry, I’m sure she will be happy to provide them with some some low-upkeep customers.

    1. afisher

      NOPE: the first part of your complaint : people jailed for failing to pay student loan is wrong which then makes the remaining complaint irrelevant. ( it was even clarified on Reddit).

    2. Plenue

      Well, some of us aren’t burdened with loans, simply because we’ve seen where that leads and just given up hope of formal higher education at all.

    3. Jack Parsons

      I don’t have citations at hand, but there are strong correlations between whether you have student debt and whether you buy a new car or a first house. The “affluent young people” sector of the US economy is now limited to designer cocktails and large iPhones.

  2. James Levy

    The piece on France becoming a police state in order to defend the liberty of the West against those crazy Muslims who hate our freedom might be funny if it were fiction. In practice, it’s a nightmare.

    1. Ed

      They attack us because they hate our freedoms. The solution is to give up our freedoms. Then they will stop attacking us.

    2. oho

      “The piece on France becoming a police state in order to defend the liberty of the West against those crazy Muslims who hate our freedom might be funny if it were fiction. ”

      Politically incorrect elephant in the room: allowing legal/illegal migration of people who willfully will not assilimate to their new land.

      just sayin’.

      and to be fair/balanced, native French aren’t free of blame either—French race relations make America look like that 1970’s Coca-Cola commercial.

      1. James Levy

        I would argue 1) they were never given a chance, and 2) that has nothing to do with the fact that the French are always blathering about The Rights of Man and how important it is to “defend” those rights, then trample on them without a murmur from all those tricolor-waving “patriots”. It’s a pathetic showing from people who were there at the beginning of the Enlightenment and ought to know better.

      2. Strangely Enough

        If you really want to get ‘politically incorrect,’ perhaps ‘we’ and our ‘friends’ should stop causing the events that lead to all of this ‘legal/illegal migration,’ instead of blaming people for wanting to get the hell out.

        Or, perhaps that’s ideologically incorrect…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Our elite friends have no incentive to stop.

          They go over to take over their resources, and we the little people get to be kind to the incoming refugees.

          From their perspective, its a win-win situation.

          “See, I told you – the little people can be kind. I am so proud of us humans, from top to bottom.”

          1. TomD

            Is the proxy war in Syria really over resources? I don’t think so, at least not directly. Imperialist plundering of resources would be more defensible than what’s actually going on, since that would at least mean the “elite” are expecting to gain something concrete for the effort.

            Instead the situation seems to be a real life wag the dog situation. Russia needs to distract people from the economic situation so they go to war. I’m not sure what the USA or Europe gets out of it. I suppose in USA it comes down to domestic politics, hawks wanting to paint Obama and dems as weak, and then Obama wanting to deny them that line of attack. Who cares how many people die, they’re just foreigners after all.

            1. Procopius

              I think what the U.S. gets out of it is we get to please our Saudi and Israeli “friends,” who want to destroy Iran. Also, we didn’t achieve the permanent bases in Iraq that PNAC called for, so we have to try again in Syria. I can’t think of any other reason for insisting Assad must go. He’s certainly nowhere near as bad as other dictators we’ve happily supported (Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlevi comes to mind).

      3. Lexington

        Politically incorrect elephant in the room: allowing legal/illegal migration of people who willfully will not assilimate to their new land.

        It’s funny how “assimilation” is suddenly on everyone’s tongue. A pluralistic society is by definition tolerant of differences. A society which demands conformity to the dominant ideology is in fact authoritarian. Why is authoritarianism suddenly so much in vogue – ironically, often by people who claim to be defending what is most laudable in Western civilization – and why do authoritarians feel the need to prettify their agenda by resorting to euphemisms like “assimilation”?

        1. Starveling

          People have an easier time with small amounts of difference than large amounts all at once. Degree of difference also matters. Also, not everyone was on board with the pluralism from the get-go.

          Perhaps people would feel better about the changes if the well to do weren’t allowed to buy their way out of diversity?

          1. Lexington

            People have an easier time with small amounts of difference than large amounts all at once. Degree of difference also matters

            Small and large are circumstantial, though. I once took a walking tour of Greenwich Village in which our guide pointed out the street that had formerly been the demarcation line between the neighborhood’s Irish and Italian communities. His point was this: in the early 20th century you didn’t cross that line without putting yourself in mortal danger. The centrality of ethnic identity and the intense territoriality it engendered was literally a matter of life and death. And this in spite of the fact that relatively speaking there wasn’t that much separating the Irish and Italians – both were Catholic, white, and European. It turns out that the myth of the American “melting pot” notwithstanding, people didn’t instantly shed their previous identities and become “Americans” when they stepped off the ferry from Ellis Island. Generally this process took two or even three generations, as immigrants raised children who were born in the United States and therefore the products of a very different set of circumstances and social influences than the ones that molded their parents and grandparents.

            In the real world people can’t just jettison the sum total of the experiences that have made them the people that they are and through an act of volition choose to be completely different people – but it is my contention that this is effectively what the OP and many others who are beating the assimilation drum are demanding that they do.

            Demanding the impossible and then berating people for failing to achieve it hardly seems like a constructive approach to managing complex problems.

        2. tongorad

          It’s funny how the working class is just supposed to take having their livelihoods undercut by cheap foreign labor on the chin. Is it “authoritarian” to resist/reject scabs?

          1. aet

            “supposed”….by whom?
            ” cheap foreign labor”…located where?
            “scabs”…over the sea?
            “authoritarian”…in quotes?

            I think yours is a most “questionable” comment.
            And it’s not “funny”.

          2. Lexington

            Where did that come from? My point about the nature of assimilation has nothing to do with cheap foreign labour or scabs – unless you’re suggesting that once immigrants become bona fide “Americans” (whatever that means) they will stop undercutting native born Americans in the labour market.

        3. clincial wasteman

          Yes! This (Lexington’s I mean) is the whole, apparently unutterable, point. Prevailing aesthetic preferences (‘culture’) suddenly have more police powers than at any time in the last few decades.
          Note that the cursers of ‘multiculturalism’ share with official multi-cult admin the latter’s crippling mistake: i.e. the presumption that everyone ‘belongs to’ and is defined by a quasi-national ‘culture’. See also the insufferable national ‘We’ beloved of ‘quality’ UK media, along with the default setting whereby non-whites a.) should be spoken for by bought-and-paid-for ‘Community Leaders’ and/or privately educated white columnists, and b.) don’t really experience class, at least not within ‘their cultures’. (One small detail though, which I realize may not necessarily apply in the US: in Europe and the South Pacific, at least, the Authorities in question are kind of embarrassed by the word ‘assimilation’. They prefer ‘integration’, which they have neatly inverted so that it no longer means de-racializing institutions, but rather a duty of cultural/aesthetic conformism owed by mostly dark-skinned ‘aliens’.)

  3. ProNewerDeal


    I recall reading a few days ago in your Daily News links, that (my paraphrase) H Clinton’s Pres candidacy will likely be terminated by her corruption of using the public Sec of State office to enrich the client “donors”, such as the Saudi Royals, of her private “nonprofit” Clinton Foundation.

    My sense/guesstimate is that 1 Yves’ prediction will be proven correct, & 2 the BigMedia NTAC (No Talent A* Clown) “journalists” like Chuck Todd/David Brooks/etc will claim “nobody saw this coming” if H Clinton’s candidacy’s termination occurs.

    Perhaps you may consider writing an article, getting interviewed in the media, even indy media like TheRealNews/etc, on your prediction. Then if the H Clinton candidacy termination occurs, you can “roll tape” demonstrating you did “see it coming”; & perhaps in doing so help yourself, NC, & quality genuine journalism in the process. Just a random brainstorm idea

    1. Sam Adams

      The S.S Klinton is steaming full ahead, the clintonistas are partying above decks like its April 14,1912.

      1. Antifa

        And those little patches of ice on the horizon look harmless enough, but only because 90% of a mountain of ice hides beneath the water.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I wouldn’t be so sure. Most people still labor under the illusion that Americans choose their president, when that has not been the reality for quite some time. Bush was appointed by the SCOTUS, twice, the media plays their “trump” cards, the big party power rigs the playing field, then there’s the districts and the voting machines and the electoral rolls.
          There’s a reason it’s not just a direct straight national majority vote…that would be much harder to control the outcome.
          So the body politic will have to see if it can survive another 4-8 years of neo-con business-as-usual, Permanent War, free pass for Wall St crime with Hilary. My bet is that something’s gonna break.

          1. James Levy

            I’m not so sure this time. I really believe Clinton is in trouble and Trump is NOT on the menu drawn up by the PTB. They are losing their grip but are too conceited and detached from everyday reality to grasp how the peons are no longer coloring within the boundaries drawn by the elite. They may be able to wrest this election from Hamilton’s “mob”, but we all here know the economy is going to tank and the ecological outlook is awful. Control from the top is going to become more and more elusive. They may still have the coercive power to keep people in line for a generation or so, but by then things will be so bad that the resources for such control will no longer be available at a national level.

    2. Pat

      Todd will probably be able to avoid using the ‘no one’ canard because apparently the other day he offhandedly added an ‘unless Clinton is indicted’ in one of his commentaries. I only know because a commenter went off about it on another blog.

      I am not a nice person, I may go back and find the outraged comment so if/when there is an indictment I can remind them that even the useless Todd knew it was a possibility so why didn’t they or more importantly the Democratic Party know.

    3. norm de plume

      Re: ‘Clinton’s Pres candidacy will likely be terminated by her corruption of using the public Sec of State office to enrich the client “donors”

      I wonder if this titbit from failed evolution’s piece on the multimillion dollar private militia boondoggle might be relevant:

      ‘The toppling of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya in 2011 led to a rapid influx of PMSCs into the country, spearheading the arrival of multinationals keen to restore their involvement in Libya’s oil and gas sector’

      Any of those multinationals Clinton donors? Or the parents of the PMSCs? Any smoking gun emails in the trove?

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      You are overstating the case. I never said Clinton would terminate the candidacy. She is not giving up till this is over unless it is a real health issue. I said the e-mails are supposed to have seriously bad stuff in them, which will hand the Republicans even more ammo on the corruption front. Trump (assuming the Republicans don’t get him out of the picture) would pound her on this regardless, but it will be even worse if there is fresh dirt.

  4. Mary

    The Project Syndicate article about evidence based policies focuses on the usefulness of randomized control trials (RCT) in international development and is somewhat critical of their validity. I point out that the disparagement of microcredit in the Atlantic article by Thomas Frank (linked this week) is based entirely on 4 studies using RCTs.

    This critique just might lead one to look more carefully at what is known about what works in providing financial services to poor people. One theory, argued by BRAC in Bangladesh, is that more than money is needed, like access to markets, inputs, knowledge, etc.

    1. sd

      Opoortunity. In order to succeed, one needs the opportunity to succeed. i.e. You won’t succeed at surfing living in the dessert.

      1. Mary

        So, everyone who lives in a poor country has no opportunity?

        BRAC has over 5 million micro credit borrowers, 17 million users of its subsidiary B-Kash, a mobile banking business, thriving businesses in silk, dairy and poultry, a thriving small business bank, etc. It has a substantial net worth, 110,000 employees, and wide international credibility as an ethical non profit institution. Focus on developing opportunity in poor countries is essential. There are billions of people living there.

  5. ambrit

    The Hepatitis C story is important. This problem will snowball at some point, and public health officials will have to admit that the public health system has failed. This goes along with the “faith based” austerity regime.
    This is setting the society up for a severely painful choice. Either heal the afflicted, or destroy them.
    I can see public persons advocating new Leper Colonies for HIV and other dangerous chronic condition sufferers. A county farm for the “Infected,” like what Cuba did for HIV. Then, let the general public carry out ‘terminations’ on The Afflicted when said Afflicted are caught outside the Quarantine Zones. This will be a Police State that will really be a Police Society. Divide and rule.

      1. Synoia

        No. When Chaotic systems fail they fail catastrophically.

        A system does not have to be complex to be chaotic.

        However, any system with human behaviour, governed by fear and greed, will be chaotic.

        1. Mark S.

          You may well be right.

          My point though is that the smaller crises that will co-occur the create catastrophic failure are happening all around us.

          1. diptherio

            If you live in Flint, MI, for instance, “the system” has already catastrophically collapsed on you. The type of collapse that takes the whole system down is the type that really only need worry those at the very top. It’s the ‘minor’ collapses that destroy individual lives but leave the over-arching system in place that most of us should fear.

            1. Eclair

              “It’s the ‘minor’ collapses that destroy individual lives but leave the over-arching system in place that most of us should fear.”

              Had conversation about this with a friend just yesterday, concerning prevalence of disaster-themed TV shows and films. Problem is, they all make disaster, social-breakdown, street fighting, so incredibly sexy that viewers actually start looking forward to this, with adrenaline pumping.

              The horror, as you rightly point out, will be the minor collapses, that happen (are happening) without fanfare and are slow, long-drawn-out, gray and misery-inducing states of being that sap the bodies and souls of those affected. Like being evicted from your home and ending up living in your car, realizing your child has high levels of lead in his tiny body, watching you daughter, or mother, waste away from meth addiction.

              1. local to oakland

                Not all. For example there is a video game based on the siege of Sarajevo where you play as a small group of civilians. It is arty but well done a a strategy game. It’s called This War of Mine.

                But media competes for attention and disaster sells. So does vicarious experience of power. It’s easy to turn violence into compelling addictive entertainment.

        2. ewmayer

          Neither simplifying bromide is reflective of the truth … it all depends on the system! Consider:

          1. Simple systems which are prone to catastrophic failure – think ‘single point of failure’ scenario. In artificial systems, however, simplicity can have the advantage that failure is easily repaired, and/or imminent failure easily spotted.

          2. Complexity and chaos are hallmarks of nature, and in that setting are correlated to systemic robustness, i.e. ability to absorb external shocks. More-diverse ecosystems are inherently more robust than mono-or-few-o-cultures. Healthy human heart rhythms contain a lot of chaos – it was only discovered in the last few decades that excessive regularity can be a valuable warning sign of heart failure. Think “heart so strained that it has no capacity to stray outside a monotonus labored rhythm”.

          3. But, complex/chaotic systems can also contain dramatic tipping points (f*ck you Malcom Gladwell, you didn’t invent the term.) Global climate and recurrent ice ages are examples of those.

          1. Mark S.

            Thanks for thoughtful reply.

            Does that mean that when “complex” man-made systems fail (e.g., hospitals or a city’s water system), it was because an artificial simplicity replaced a healthy redundancy?

            1. ewmayer

              Worth pondering, but my druthers is that cases like this illustrate healthy non-corruption-afflicted systems being replaced by grift-influenced ones. No complexity arguments needed – plain and simple greed given free rein over public common goods.

                1. aet

                  All systems fail, it’s only a matter of time.
                  Nothing to despair about, though.

                  “Real systems are open to, and interact with, their environments, and they can acquire qualitatively new properties through emergence, resulting in continual evolution. Rather than reducing an entity to the properties of its parts or elements, systems theory focuses on the arrangement of and relations between the parts which connect them into a whole. This particular organization determines a system, which is independent of the concrete substance of the elements. Thus, the same concepts and principles of organization underlie the different disciplines (physics, biology, technology, sociology, etc.), providing a basis for their unification. Systems concepts include: system-environment boundary, input, output, process, state, hierarchy, goal-directedness, and information.”


                  It’s so relational, it’s sensational! Get systematic, and your joy is automatic!

      2. optimader

        You’re actually there Mark IMO.. When complex systems fail chaotically, the whip comes down
        (file under: credit derivatives market)

        1. Mark S.

          Point well taken. “System” can be construed locally, nationally, or globally where any number of catastrophic failures are in evidence.

    1. Pat

      Know of someone who lived with hep C for decades until their liver started failing. Spent one year in and out of hospitals and over a year hospitalized waiting for and having a liver transplant. Of course they got out of the hospital for about a month and half before that failed and they passed away. While that will not happen with every hep C case, when you talk about the drain on medical resources and medical costs it is very illustrative of the pennywise, pound foolish policy.

      1. sd

        There are an estimated 3.2 million people with Hep C in the United States. There is a wave carrying baby boomers (Vietnam, heroin use, etc) which is one of the reasons there’s so much interest in treatments. Younger boomers are getting better treatments.

        One Viet Nam vet I know went through interferon and did come out the other end successfully. Yes, he picked it up experimenting with heroin when he was 19 working on helicopter maintenance.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        I have a friend who had Hep C. He finally decided to have the IV treatment. It’s really terrible, like getting chemo. It’s hard to work at a normal level of productivity when you are being treated.

        1. Pat

          I’m so sorry for your friend.

          And I should say that I am beyond glad that there are newer and better treatments all the time for hep C. The long term implications for it can just be so overwhelming. Anything that lessens or delays that is just a huge win.

          But it is still a failure that by refusing to recognize that if we dropped the puritanical crap and adopted a sane drug policy in America so many of these cases are possibly avoidable. And test that the financial interests that help block that are, yes, costing us a lot more in the long run.

      3. zapster

        Pot is a highly effective treatment for Hep C. I’ve seen it in action. It prevents the liver inflammation that leads to cancer and forces the active virus out of the blood. It’s not a cure, but it’s very, very effective as a treatment.

  6. DakotabornKansan

    [denied insulin for at least 24 hours because the hospital didn’t have any]

    This reminds me of a personal observation of what happened at a for-profit hospital chain some years ago.

    Looking to cut costs and increase efficiencies, their MBAs, failing to appreciate the unpredictable, chaotic nature of hospital admissions, forgot about the supplies needed to keep the hospital moving in the event of a sudden upsurge in admissions.

    Their focus was on the expense of a particular respiratory medication in the supply chain. To reduce costs and increase savings, they reduced the supply levels, failing to appreciate how much that medication might be needed given certain unpredictable circumstances.

    Of course, the predictable happened. The supply was quickly depleted and many patients were denied necessary and quality treatment until the overnight express shipment arrived from the drug manufacturer the next day.

    Such health care systems are neither healthy, caring, nor systems.

    1. James Levy

      This complete lack of surge capacity scares the hell out of me. Governments, corporations, and individuals used to stockpile key supplies “just in case.” No more. During the last big “liberal” era the Liberals in Parliament used to harangue government after government about the “waste” in the Royal Dockyards. The idea that if war came all the supplies to mobilize a wooden and sail fleet (or later an iron, coal, and sail fleet up into the 1880s) and then keep the ships repaired from the wear and tear of usage and combat bounced off these Manchester Men’s skulls. They wanted the Dockyards to be run like a business and not have all these “useless” inventories and skilled workers laying about “doing nothing”. The Royal Navy was able to prevent the worst of this nonsense from undermining the ability of the fleet to function. Our systems are not going to be so fortunate, and the notion that we can use the “magic of the market” to improvise out way out of a massive health crisis or natural disaster is tragically ludicrous.

      1. local to oakland

        Just in Time supply management. It shows our influence in the world economy that we can get away with this. I’m afraid of the moment we lose that capacity unexpectedly.

        1. susan the other

          the logical and time honored capitalist solution to this (as opposed to draconian mercantile methods) would be to 3-D print all our pharmaceuticals (pills) on our in-home printers; for injectables probably a local compounding lab run by the city; for supplies, also the city. Pretty sure we can stick a fork in big Pharma.

    2. jgordon

      The degeneration of politics, the wealth gap, the declining quality of medicine, etc, all seem to be tied together in some fashion where they worsen more or less simultaneously. I’d chock this up under the general heading of “imperial collapse”. Yes, moral and intellectual rot are exacerbating things, but a simple lack of resources (financial, physical, human or whatever) can’t be ignored either. I fear that the danger is that people have persuaded themselves that it’s all the fault of the dirty, money-grubbing capitalists that everything is going wrong (which it admittedly is to an extent), while discounting the minor quibbles of resources depletion, ecological collapse, and the limits to growth.

      Yes, harping on the money men for being nasty villains is not a bad plan, but being limited to that without looking at the broader context or considering anything deeper is a dangerous and delusional way to frame these kinds of issues. It’s why I’m expecting that let alone advanced care, hardly any medical care on a widespread, organized basis will be available for anyone in America soon.

      1. James Levy

        Although I think you are correct in the long term and in certain places I think that within the USA today we simply don’t face a lack of capital, trained cadres, or resources. What we have is a disgraceful misallocation of those resources based on a system that insists that when goods and services go to money and avoid want, everything is working to perfection. There is no evidence that any American should go to bed hungry because we don’t have enough food to feed them. There is no evidence that people should not be able to see a doctor because we have too few doctors. There is no reason why we should not be stocked up and prepared at a federal, state, and local level for an outbreak of infectious disease or a natural catastrophe. On a global scale, we are already under great strain. On a national level, we have not yet hit that point.

        1. jgordon

          Our system requires exponential growth to survive (that’s what growth by a certain percentage every year is). It is the nature of people to misunderstand exponential systems. In a system that requires exponential resource consumption to maintain a steady, or even declining as in America today, standard of living an apparent surplus of resource will evaporate on an extremely short time horizon. Look at a chart of resource consumption of just about any resource you care to, and you’ll see the classic hockey stick pattern of an exponential system that is in the process of blowing up. Even if there were enough to go around today for us to maintain our lifestyles in the manner we’ve become accustomed to, which I dispute, simple math dictates that that will not be true tomorrow.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Do you recommend personal surge capacity?

          Canned food, water/water purification tablets, defensive tools, gold coins (in case you need to make it to another country free of, say, a virus, and they don’t take our fiat currency when our government had been wiped by the virus)…

          1. James Levy

            Yes, but that’s a lot harder for many people than having your local, state, and federal agencies do it also. Getting school districts and houses of worship in on the deal would also be a good idea. People can adjust to dire situations if they have the cushion of time and the support of others. We are not set up to buy people time not to panic and turn on one another.

        3. lindaj

          It works for the people at the top. Crumbs of this extremely wealthy country have been enough to us 99%’ers so far. Not for long.

  7. Alice X

    Antidote du jour … … We’ve gotten lots of bird antidotes of late. Is that because you want spring to be here already?

    Given climate change, the birds are looking for earlier springs … In Detroit Metro I saw a large gang of robins in mid January. By me, the earliest by a month.

    1. Terez

      Not just climate change, but El Niño as well. It’s been crazy warm this winter in northern Illinois. My roommate is a native, and she loves it. I am from MS, and I want more snow.

    2. different clue

      Many robins have spent the entire winter in the north for decades. We here in southeast Michigan have had flocks of robins here all winter for years and years and years. They tend to bunch up in sheltered places and travel around in loose flocks.

      I have seen them with starlings often enough that I would suggest a semi-rule of thumb. If you see loose flocks or bunches of starlings in an area, look around to see if there are any robins nearby.

      1. GlobalMisanthrope

        That’s where the robins are. Seriously, I haven’t seen one here in Austin, Texas since the very early 90s.

        1. different clue

          You haven’t? They’re not coming south at all?

          Several to many years ago, when you used to see robins in Austin, did you see them all year round? Did they nest and breed in Austin? Did those same robins spend the winter in Austin? Or was Austin always too far south for robins to live in the spring-summer-fall? And did Austin only ever have robins in the winter anyway?

          I can’t attribute this robins-staying-north to global warming because I remember it happening during the mid-seventies as well, when I was living in Finger Lakes region of New York, which was always a very cold winter place. They weren’t scattered everywhere, to be sure. They would clump up into big roostfulls in sheltered areas, swamps and such. I remember hearing on the Sapsucker Woods (Ithaca Cornell Bird Facility) radio program about some roosts of thousands of robins apiece in suitable swamps in that part of New York state.

    3. HotFlash

      Yup, I saw a flock (yes a *flock* — 20 to maybe 2 dozen or more) of robins here in Toronto last week. My snowdrops are coming up and want to bloom, my apple is showing plump buds. Now I know these planty-guys, and the robins, too, have millenia of successful coping with weird weather, but you know, I still worry.

  8. allan

    Speaking of life in Walkerstan:

    Poverty across Wisconsin reaches highest level in 30 years

    Poverty in Wisconsin hit its highest level in 30 years during the five-year period ending in 2014, even as the nation’s economy was recovering from the Great Recession, according to a trend analysis of U.S. census data just released by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers. …

    Using the five-year measure, poverty went up in both urban and rural parts of Wisconsin. It went up at every level of educational achievement, and across the employment spectrum.

    Perhaps most significant, the poverty gap between blacks and whites grew here as the average gap was flat across the nation. The state’s child poverty rate also went up significantly, fueling concerns about the future for many of the state’s youngest residents.Using the five-year measure, poverty went up in both urban and rural parts of Wisconsin. It went up at every level of educational achievement, and across the employment spectrum.

    Perhaps most significant, the poverty gap between blacks and whites grew here as the average gap was flat across the nation. The state’s child poverty rate also went up significantly, fueling concerns about the future for many of the state’s youngest residents.

    The idea is to make people so poor they have better things to worry about
    than whether their ID allows them to vote.

    1. different clue

      Would there be a way for anti-Walker Wisconsinites to somehow help eachother and especially the poorest of eachother survive the deepening poverty while withholding that knowledge and help from the pro-Walker Wisconsinites who voted for that poverty and deserve every bit of it?

      1. ekstase

        I understand the wish, but then there’s this from the article:
        “There is some good evidence that living in poverty and experiencing issues like food and housing insecurity can cause changes in the brain that can lead to behavioral issues and low performance in school, as well as chronic disease later in life,”

        They are targeting people with this stuff when they are children.

        The other article, on the 90 year old man who wasn’t allowed to vote with a veteran’s id. — I agree that the Democrats should make that into a commercial.

        1. different clue

          Good point and good reminder. How can one harm and punish the Walker voters without harming their innocent children?

        2. neo-realist

          Precisely why Wasserman-Schultz should be kicked to the curb from the DNC and replaced with bold leadership that will enable good (hopefully progressive) candidates and craft effective messaging against their enemies across the aisle to compete in all 50 states a la Howard Dean.

  9. Brooklin Bridge

    I wish there was a way to ask our MSM exactly where on Mars Senator Sanders has taken up residence thanks to their efforts to protect the world at large and the US in particular from him (no doubt, as Matt Taibbi pointed out, from his pathological kindness and decency).

    1. Brindle

      Interesting thing I’ve noticed on the Google News page over the past months—there will be an article listed about Sanders but the photo at the left will often be of Hillary. Wonder if there is a pro-Hillary algorithm in play at Google News to get her face (and not Sanders) on more articles than is actually warranted.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Good point. I’ve seen that as well in HuffPo and the Guardian. One has to wonder if the authors ever question themselves? I suppose they justify it as being for a good cause.

      2. Starveling

        It wouldn’t surprise me. If you google search delegate counts, on the Dem side it shows not the actual won delegates, but the super + elected count to show Hillary with a huge bump.

      3. katiebird

        It is the same with Apple’s iOS News. I ‘follow’ Bernie. But it is ALMOST never about Bernie… Unless someone is insulting him or his supporters. Has to be deliberate!

        1. different clue

          I wonder how many false-flag reports of “BerneiBros” are inspired and filed by undercover Clintonites. I wonder how many “BernieTrollz” are really undercover false-flag Clintonites.

  10. Skippy

    Trump and the Republicans…. wellie they only eat the weak for starters, its the cowardly thingy.

    Then there’s that wee problem of once the box is open Trump is the sort to go to the wall and air everyone’s dirty laundry, just to see who’s is the most stained, a private business man whom makes no apologies for seeking profit by any means or a gaggle of public representatives screwing their voter bases for profit.

    Skippy… proverbial catch 22…

  11. Llewelyn Moss

    Robert Reich: I endorse Bernie Sanders for President of the United States. He’s leading a movement to reclaim America for the many, not the few. And such a political mobilization – a “political revolution,” as he puts it — is the only means by which we can get the nation back from the moneyed interests that now control so much of our economy and democracy. (source: his FB page)

    Not exactly Morgan Freeman (the freakin sell out, I’m burning my Lego Movie DVD), but Reich knows a thing or two about Bernie’s Rigged System.

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        Ok True. But to his credit, he has recently publicly admitted NAFTA was a big mistake and says TPP will be 10X worse.

        1. RabidGandhi

          Not that I follow every word that proceedeth from Reich, but last I heard his stance was (paraphrasing) “NAFTA was going to be good but they didn’t put in enough labour protections”.

          If you have a link to a more wholesome repentance on his part, I’ll stop busting his chops.

          1. Llewelyn Moss

            That sounds about right. Myself, I’ll forgive and accept that he is now on the right side. And I fully respect and understand anyone who won’t forgive.

            1. Carolinian

              Why should we forgive? It’s about his judgment, not his morals.

              Speaking of judgment, back from doing my civic duty. Light turnout.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Slap us on the right cheek with NAFTA.

                  And we offer the left cheek to Trans-Pacific Partnership.

                  As comrade Haywood would say, ‘Keep slapping us until we comply.”

                2. Carolinian

                  Sadly my vote wasn’t enough. NBC exit polls show 86 percent AA support for Hillary. This looks grim for any Sanders comeback given all the other ways HRC is “working the ref.”

          2. GlobalMisanthrope

            Here’s Reich (from his website) on NAFTA in 2008

            Friday, February 29, 2008

            Was Hillary Clinton really against NAFTA in 1993? I was in the administration then, and I remember her position quite precisely. And I’ll get to that in a moment. But before I do, I want to say something: It’s a shame the Democratic candidates for president feel they have to make trade – specifically NAFTA – the enemy of blue-collar workers and the putative cause of their difficulties. NAFTA is not to blame. Consider the numbers. When NAFTA took effect, Ohio had 990,000 manufacturing jobs. Two years later, in 1996, it had 1,300,000 manufacturing jobs. The number stayed above a million for the rest of the 1990s. Today, though, there are about 775,000 manufacturing jobs in Ohio. What happened? The economy expanded briskly through the 1990s. Then it crashed in late 2000, and the manufacturing jobs lost in that last recession never came back. They didn’t come back for two reasons: In some cases, employers automated the jobs out of existence, using robots and computers. In other cases, employers shipped the jobs abroad, mostly to China – not to Mexico.

            NAFTA has become a symbol for the mounting insecurities felt by blue-collar Americans. While the overall benefits from free trade far exceed the costs, and the winners from trade (including all of us consumers who get cheaper goods and services because of it) far exceed the losers, there’s a big problem: The costs fall disproportionately on the losers – mostly blue-collar workers who get dumped because their jobs can be done more cheaply by someone abroad who’ll do it for a fraction of the American wage. The losers usually get new jobs eventually but the new jobs are typically in the local service economy and they pay far less than the ones lost.

            Even though the winners from free trade could theoretically compensate the losers and still come out ahead, they don’t. America doesn’t have a system for helping job losers find new jobs that pay about the same as the ones they’ve lost – regardless of whether the loss was because of trade or automation. There’s no national retraining system. Unemployment insurance reaches fewer than 40 percent of people who lose their jobs – a smaller percentage than when the unemployment system was designed seventy years ago. We have no national health care system to cover job losers and their families. There’s no wage insurance. Nothing. And unless or until America finds a way to help the losers, the backlash against trade is only going to grow.

            Get me? The Dems shouldn’t be redebating NAFTA. They should be debating how to help Americans adapt to a new economy in which no job is safe. Okay, so back to my initial question. The answer is HRC didn’t want the Administration to move forward with NAFTA, but not because she was opposed to NAFTA as a policy. She opposed NAFTA because of its timing. She wanted her health-care plan to be voted on first. She feared that the fight over NAFTA would use up so much of the White House’s political capital that there wouldn’t be enough left when it came to pushing for health care. In retrospect, she was probably right.

            1. diptherio

              Granted, he wrote this eight years ago, so maybe he’s adjusted his opinion some more, but this here is what we call disingenuous twaddle. First he opines about how global trade isn’t really a problem for American workers:

              It’s a shame the Democratic candidates for president feel they have to make trade…the enemy of blue-collar workers and the putative cause of their difficulties.

              And then he goes on to detail how, exactly, trade is the “enemy of blue-collar workers and the putative cause of their difficulties.” Astounding.

              While the overall benefits from free trade far exceed the costs,…there’s a big problem: The costs fall disproportionately on the losers – mostly blue-collar workers who get dumped because their jobs can be done more cheaply by someone abroad who’ll do it for a fraction of the American wage. The losers usually get new jobs eventually but the new jobs are typically in the local service economy and they pay far less than the ones lost.

              Even though the winners from free trade could theoretically compensate the losers and still come out ahead, they don’t.

              Ok, so which is it? Are the blue-collar workers who lose their good jobs to trade justified in their hatred of NAFTA and similar policies? No. You see, they should instead push for better redistribution policies, so that those benefitting from trade give some of that benefit to the losers. That will make everything better. And some job-training – that always works.

              And then, in a case of sheer, utter, abuse of language and logic, Reich serves up this steaming pile:

              The Dems shouldn’t be redebating NAFTA. They should be debating how to help Americans adapt to a new economy in which no job is safe.

              Um…excuse me Mr. Reich, but has it not occurred to you that it is largely these free-trade agreements (NAFTA among them) that has created this “new economy in which no job is safe”? Did you not just get done explaining that?

              Reich is an @$$hat. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. We don’t have to hold a grudge forever, but lets also hold people intellectually accountable. Failure to hold leadership accountable for past failings is a hallmark of Authoritarianism, something which should be beneath us. Just sayin’.

              1. Llewelyn Moss

                March 3, 2015, Robert Reich and Richard Trumka (co-authored) Los Angeles Times:

                We were both involved in the NAFTA debate — one of us as the leader of a major union, the other as secretary of Labor. No one knew how the agreement would turn out or the full ramifications of approving a trade deal without a full debate. We now know that NAFTA has cost the U.S. economy hundreds of thousands of jobs and is one reason why America’s workers haven’t gotten a real raise in decades. It and agreements like it have also contributed to the huge U.S. trade deficits. We now import about $500 billion more in goods and services each year than we export.

                Following NAFTA with the Trans-Pacific Partnership is like turning a bad television show into a terrible movie. It will be on a bigger screen and cost a lot more money. A few might walk away happy and rich, but it won’t be the audience.

                So to me, that sounds like Reich has evolved on NAFTA since 2008.

                1. GlobalMisanthrope

                  Maybe, but this:

                  No one knew how the agreement would turn out or the full ramifications of approving a trade deal without a full debate.

                  is pure revisionist bullsh*t. They really need to try this on with people who weren’t there.

                  Critics at the time were arguing, among other things, that the deplorable conditions in maquiladoras were an indicator of NAFTA’s probable labor and environmental effects. In other words, opponents were worried about creating a race to the bottom. They were right.

                  And where is the agency? Why wasn’t there a “full debate” about NAFTA? Because it was quashed by Dems. The amount of eye-rolling dismissiveness we critics endured as we tried to foment a debate still rankles today.

                  And Trumka? Don’t get me started. Here’s a tidbit from his Wikipedia entry, where, incidentally, NAFTA is never mentioned:

                  During his tenure as Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO, Trumka focused on creating investment programs for the pension and benefit funds of the labor movement [and] capital market strategies

                  I’m glad they’re opposing TPP, I guess. But I agree with others that the fact that these guys have any credibility at this point is not encouraging.

                  1. flora

                    “Critics at the time were arguing, among other things, that the deplorable conditions in maquiladoras were an indicator of NAFTA’s probable labor and environmental effects. In other words, opponents were worried about creating a race to the bottom. They were right.”


                    Ross Perot in the second 1992 pres debate:

                    “We have got to stop sending jobs overseas. It’s pretty simple: If you’re paying $12, $13, $14 an hour for factory workers and you can move your factory South of the border, pay a dollar an hour for labor,…have no health care—that’s the most expensive single element in making a car— have no environmental controls, no pollution controls and no retirement, and you don’t care about anything but making money, there will be a giant sucking sound [of businesses] going south.
                    ” …when [Mexico’s] jobs come up from a dollar an hour to six dollars an hour, and ours go down to six dollars an hour, and then it’s leveled again. But in the meantime, you’ve wrecked the country with these kinds of deals.”

                    1. GlobalMisanthrope

                      Oh, I remember. And I remember the Dems dismissing him as a crank and a hick.

                      We should all remember that it was the Clinton crowd via the DLC that began the Era of Disdain, wherein all critics of their policies, initiatives or ideas were dispatched as politically unsophisticated, pie-in-the-sky ideologues or extremist nut-jobs.

                      And they call the Republicans divisive. Ha!

                    2. NotTimothyGeithner


                      He has certain whacky ideas such as lowering the benefits for social security which no one has ever done, cough Obama, but he would be an improvement over much if the uniparty. If Trump wants the White House, he should go full Perot against Hillary. Perot with the 1993 Congress might have been great.

                2. RabidGandhi

                  Thanks for the quote, I just read the article.

                  Basically, Reich and Trumka are trying to, pardon the expression, polish the turd. Their point is that in the past “free trade agreements” helped raise US living standards because they included pro-labour provisions, but there were no such provisions in NAFTA or TPP:

                  Recent trade agreements have protected [global corporations’] intellectual property abroad — patents, trademarks and copyrights — along with their overseas factories, equipment and financial assets.

                  But those deals haven’t protected the incomes of most Americans, whose jobs have been outsourced abroad and whose wages have gone nowhere.

                  I.e., the agreements were fine, but they should have also had some cookies for the workers too. (Btw, the “past” they mention never existed, but we’ll let that slide for now).

                  The problem with this logic is the turd does not get better if we polish it a bit or accompany it with sprinkles and whooped cream. These are deals that have nothing to do with trade, they are rather all about government give aways to corporations, and no amount of “worker protections” will make them anything short of disastrous. The turd needs to be flushed instead of polished.

                  But Reich is a third-way Democrat who by definition needs to chant “free trade good” to the elation of the Dem’s corporate masters. Thus he is looking for ways to improve NAFTA instead of flushing it, and he can’t apologise for reals because it’s not in his neo-lib DNA to understand why NAFTA was rancid from the outset.

                3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  No one knew how the agreement would turn out or the full ramifications of approving a trade deal without a full debate. We now know that NAFTA has cost the U.S. economy hundreds of thousands of jobs and is one reason why America’s workers haven’t gotten a real raise in decades.

                  No one knew.

                  But we went ahead anyway.

                  Sometimes, its no one (in the room) knew.

                  Sometimes, it’s no one (in the world) knew.

                  The size may vary, but the thinking behind it is the same.

                  The current best explanation/best understanding.

                  “And let’s go. Let’s hurry up!!!!”

                  In this sense, he’s a typical Homo Modernus Sapiens.

              2. fresno dan

                February 27, 2016 at 10:22 am

                good job of pointing out the inconsistencies and abuse of logic…

                “They should be DEBATING how to help Americans adapt to a new economy in which NO job is safe.”

                Good grief – no more DEBATING – ACTION is what is needed – that is effective!!!

                Adn OH!!!! “…in which NO job is safe”
                REALLY!?! Financiers and bankers are in danger of losing their jobs?
                the 1% could be tossed onto the street at a moment’s notice????

                It seems to me that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of Goldman Sachs and sundry squillionaires.

    1. diptherio

      Reich’s endorsement will surely help Bernie’s cause, but calling the Sanders campaign a “political revolution” (even if he’s only repeating something he heard) is just embarrassing. Mr. Reich, I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

        1. polecat

          “go ahead…… it”…….

          “Well….heads,…. I guess”

          “No!….don’t put it in your pocket!………it’s your lucky quarter…….

    2. Vatch

      Tactically, this endorsement could be useful. Reich has been a friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton since their student days in the 1960s. His willingness to endorse Sanders can be used to nudge some of the so-called super delegates who have endorse Clinton to change their position.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Especially with super delegates who don’t want a Trump Presidency.

        I just assumed Trump was in the race for fun, but when everyone started to pile on, I sensed he changed. He was an obvious clown, but compared to the limes of Graham and Jeb, he was a titan. Trump wants to make everyone who laughed at him pay.

  12. Pharmaserf

    I’d be interested to hear how, specifically, this Pharma “get-em-hooked and tapping their veins” conspiracy would go down.

    How large a group of co-conspirators are involved? Are loose-lipped Pharma marketers be taken to a private airstrip in Arkansas for a short flight to oblivion? Neither Merck, Gilead, nor Abbvie (makers of the best Hep C treatments) develop or sell opiate painkillers. Is there cross-company collusion here? Widespread needle exchange would shatter this plan in short order. Is Pharma in control of the single use syringe market, too?

    Bottom line, Hep C and i.v. drug use have been around a long time, but the main market for Hep C cures is actually in countries like Egypt, where it is estimated that 20% of the population of 82 million people is infected.

    I come to this site for economics insights, but it’s difficult to stay focused in the face of the shrill anti-Pharma paranoia that pops up all too regularly.

    P.S., Hillary didn’t have Vince Foster killed, either.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      My, my, touchy, aren’t we? This is awfully reminiscent of private equity and bank execs getting huffy at any sign of criticism.

      1. Your comment is a straw man. Timotheus describes how things have worked out and it was meant as black humor. You choose to depict it as if he was charging that this was all PowerPointed out at the exec level

      2. Your argument about Egypt is irrelevant and diversionary. The fact that there is Hep C in Egypt has nothing to do with the sharp rise in Hep C cases in the US. And pray tell, how many of those people who have Hep C in Egypt pay the prices that people in the US pay for the drugs?

      3. More generally, you fail to recognize that you are shooting the messengers. The antipathy to Big Pharma is well deserved and is the result of the industry’s conduct. The industry benefits from huge government R&D subsidies, yet over 88% of the new drug applications are not for what the man on the street would consider to be new drugs, but mere minor reformulations to extend patent life. Pharma prices have increased for years far more than inflation. This is rent extraction often at the expense of people’s lives (yes, this is not an exaggeration, I know of multiple older couples who have not been able to afford all their meds and had to decide which one of them would not get meds and therefore die. And see the comment earlier in Links about the insulin shortage death).

      And don’t poor mouth about Big Pharma not being able to “afford” more R&D. That meme has been debunked elsewhere. The level of dividends, stock buybacks, and marketing spending belie that.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Just to close the loop for you, it’s *subsidized* rent extraction, I don’t think most people really object when a capitalist gets in between and finds a cash flow to attach himself to, but there’s a big difference when the society as a whole unwillingly and unknowingly subsidizes that rent extraction to their own personal detriment.

      2. Pharmaserf

        The differences between a market of about 30,000 and one of about 12 Million are significant and germane when arguing that Pharma is drumming up money from the heroin epidemic. As for the supposed metaphorical nature of the “Pharma mass murder” themes you repeatedly amplify, if it makes you feel better to think of this in comedic terms, more power to you.

        Given the amount of mass suffering your colleagues and profession have induced these past 30 years, I’m sure you can understand what it’s like to be the butt of jokes and derision, some even justifiable. I doubt, however that you know what it’s like to suffer “jokes” and “satire” and “social commentary” that accuse you of torturing animals and your fellow humans for profit. Here’s a hint, it’s dehumanizing.

          1. Steve H.

            The antipathy to (the financial industry) is well deserved and is the result of the industry’s conduct. The industry benefits from huge government (fiat) subsidies

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Not only do you argue dishonestly, but you lie with statistics too, so it’s now clear it is all of a piece with you.

          First, you again try to pin Timotheus with making a serious accusation. This is YOUR hypersensitivity about criticism, buddy, but you are trying to turn that around with a Big Lie approach. If you are pained by hearing well-warranted criticism of the extractive industry in which you work, you should think about changing careers rather than shooting the messengers.

          Second, you misrepresented the stats on Egypt, big time. Pub Med shows 6 million as being infected in a 2006 article. That’s not 20% of a population of 82 million. And you completely understated the comparable incidence in the US. Per the CDC, 15-20% of infections wind up going away. So the number that would need treatment would be 4.8-5.1 million in 2006. Efforts to control population growth in Egypt weakened under Mubarak, so assume .5% population growth 2006-2012 and 1.5% a year through 2013, grossing up that roughly 5 million. That gets you to 5.3 million.

          By contrast, the CDC article you linked to estimates 30,000 acute cases, and an estimated 3.5 million acute infections. By citing 30,000, you chose to give readers the impression that US Hep C cases were a full two orders of magnitude lower than they actually are. Even reader sd above off the top of his head knew better and cited 3.2 million, while you deliberately misrepresented both the PubMed and the CDC references. And you expect us to trust your industry with conduct like that, and irrelevant personal attacks to boot?

          And that 3.5 million does not include the recent heroin-related surge.

          Third, you refused to address my issue: what is the cost of a course of treatment in the US v. Egypt? And while we are at it, what % of people are treated in the US v. Egypt? The relevant market is not the number of people who are sick; it’s the number who are sick and can afford to pay for the treatment.

          Lastly, I spent all of four years of now a 35 year career in banking, two at Goldman, two at Sumitomo Bank, so it is hardly “my industry”. And in my day, in the 1980s, Wall Street was criminal only at the margin.

          Take your wounded sense of self-importance and your agnotology elsewhere.

    2. Holly

      Another market benefit from addition is the drug Suboxone. DEA limits how many patients a doctor can treat – think the limit is 150 patients, which is heavily enforced. (Interesting that they’ll enforce this regulation but let so many other pharmaceutical problems slide.) So for ever 150 patients, you have to have a Suboxone licensed MD. What a cash cow!

    3. Vatch

      Hillary didn’t have Vince Foster killed, either.

      No, but she has a long history of accepting bribes. An early example was her miraculous success as a commodities trader:

      Various publications sought to analyze the likelihood of Rodham’s successful results. The editor of the Journal of Futures Markets said in April 1994, “This is like buying ice skates one day and entering the Olympics a day later. She took some extraordinary risks.”[12] USA Today concluded in April 1994 after a four-week study that “Hillary Rodham Clinton had some special treatment while winning a small fortune in commodities.”[7] According to The Washington Post’s May 1994 analysis, “while Clinton’s account was wildly successful to an outsider, it was small compared to what others were making in the cattle futures market in the 1978–79 period.” However, the Post’s comparison was of absolute profits, not necessarily percentage rate of return.[13] In a Fall 1994 paper for the Journal of Economics and Finance, economists from the University of North Florida and Auburn University investigated the odds of gaining a hundred-fold return in the cattle futures market during the period in question. Using a model that was stated to give the hypothetical investor the benefit of the doubt, they concluded that the odds of such a return happening were at best 1 in 31 trillion.

      More recently, she (and Bill) have received many millions of dollars in speaking fees, as well as many more millions in donations to their shady family foundation. She’s a crook, and I don’t want her to be the Democratic nominee for President.

    4. VietnamVet

      The American medical system today is built for wealth extraction. Thus, the increasing death rate for poor white females. American Public Health system is collapsing. The poor cannot afford to pay for medical treatment. Due to pride and despair, Americans are dying at an increasingly younger age.

  13. Sam Adams

    @RabidGandhi The hardest thing for any man to do is repudiate his major achievement and declare failure. Give him his due, most of the usual suspects just regularly double-down.

    1. diptherio

      Can we agree with his current talking points without fawning all over the man? I mean, why do we need Reich to tell us that TPP is bad? We all know that. There’s no need to make this “argument from authority.” I think that’s why this new-found progressive love for Reich is disturbing to some of us – it treats Reich like some kind of authority when his past shows that he should not be treated as such, and anyway we don’t need authorities to sign-off on our analysis.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        I doubt you’ll hear much fawning over Reich here, I haven’t.

        An endorsement is almost always a nice thing, from the endorsee’s perspective. Celebrity exists, even if we scrunch up our noses at it, and it can affect people’s mindsets and it carries (some quantity of, case by case) cultural weight. I’d argue that often: Culture > Politics > Economics.

        Bernie could surely benefit from more endorsements from figures who are to some degree famous, respected, admired, feared, or even I suppose just mainstreamish. Those endorsements should be looked at as pennants in the shifting breeze of culture, it hardly matters the color or what cloth they are made of.

      2. Vatch

        Like it or not, many people respond positively to the argument from authority — examples include nearly every religious believer on the planet. The Bible, the Quran, the Rg Veda, the Lotus Sutra, the Nikaya Pitaka, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tanakh, are all authorities for billions of people.

        Many supporters of the TPP use the argument from authority, and it’s nice to have some authorities on the other side of the argument.

    2. RabidGandhi

      Whatever. I appreciate him doing the right thing and showing how Sanders is better than HRC. But given his neoliberal apologia quoted above by GlobalMisanthrope– basically hoisting the lame-o arguments of “but cheaper goods and services for everyone” and “the problem is we don’t have a system for protecting workers against my ‘trade’ deals”– I don’t want him anywhere near public power.

      He actually reminds me of the ex-officials from the Washington Consensus Menem regime here in Argentina who, now that the shyte has hit the fan and their policies have been proven to be a croc, realise that the tide has turned and try to show everyone how they now “get it”. No I don’t think Reich gets it, and his inability to see what his “major achievement” actually was is Exhibit A.

      And just watch, if HRC gets the nomination, he’ll be first in line helping her by doing oppo against the Repub candidate.

      1. cwaltz

        When it comes to their pet theories economists appear to be short sighted.

        Supposedly all the companies that dropped their health care coverage during the ACA debate were going to raise their wages too, since they no longer needed to provide coverage for their workers. Has anyone heard of anything like that actually happening?

  14. GlobalMisanthrope


    Interestingly, un malheur is a painful difficulty. It’s weirdly translated by google as a misfortune. That’s not how it’s used by French French speakers. Nothing to do with luck. Maybe Canadians…?

    1. fresno dan

      I’m thinking they could use the theme song from “Wagon Train” except, of course, they will have to voice over “doggies” with “kitties” I can see Rowdy Yates now…

      1. susan the other

        interesting about the word happy. it means lucky. something just ‘happens’ – stg. good. In german it is ‘glucklich’ – lucky, serendipity; in english it’s ‘happy’ – happenstnce, happen, happening, as opposed to hapless; in french now it’s ‘heureux’ meaning happy-time/happy. And happy is closely connected with the concept of passing time because something pleasing just happens to punctuate the relentless passage. Consider the german word for The Present Time – das Gegenwart (the thing against which we wait) and the english, the Present, almost indicates that the present is so fleeting that it is impossible to sense it. language.

  15. pbwe

    Show Me the Note – California Supreme Court Update – Yvanova v. New Century Mortgage

    “A lot of the earlier litigation challenged every part of the foreclosure scheme, using state and local laws, with cases filed in state and federal courts, including the concept of “show me the note.” Many legal theories were tested, and rejected by the courts. One case, Glaski, a seeming outlier, actually helped a borrower against the banks, and validated the concept of “show me the note.” However, Glaski was roundly criticized and many courts rejected the reasoning of Glaski. Basically, the banks won and the little guys were getting screwed every which way.

    Both the local judges, and the appellate courts at the state level, were rejecting “show me the note.” The concept in the judges’ minds was that no one should get a free house. I heard it myself at gatherings, as the judges just could not grasp the concept that the entire system was corrupt, and that on balance, if the foreclosing bank could not prove the right to foreclose, then legally, the borrower could challenge the process and stop the foreclosure. Whether that ended up giving the borrower a “free” house was besides the point. The whole point was that it was illegal for someone or some entity to take someone’s house without having paper proof enabling them to do so. Simple concepts, but the clash of the equities of “free home” versus the rule of law resulted in favor of the big banks.”

    1. perpetualWAR


      I live in Washington State where “trustees” handle non-judicial foreclosures. Most of the purported and alleged self identified beneficiary’s are not “lenders”. The only thing Washington State requires before some entity is allowed to foreclose is a self-servicing beneficary declaration. This declaration is not proof of anything, but a hearsay, self servicing document, that is signed by a low level employee (think robo-signer), who is probably looking at a computer screen and not an actual live original promissory note.

      The original notes were either digitized and converted to e-notes, and then destroyed, and/or they were pledged to the federal reserve or other banks. In any event most of the original notes cannot be produced because of these circumstances.

      The proof lies in the digital records, and this proof should be readily accessible and available. In fact, this discovery should be the easiest thing to produce. But the banking industry won’t. Why?The banking and foreclosure industry do NOT want to go there. The reason is this is exactly the information that will uncover the crimes of rehypothecation of the collateral.

      Most of these servicers are considered debt collectors as defined in the Federal Debt Collection Practices (FDCPA) act. They are not creditors per the FDCPA either.

      It is time to call these servicers what they really are, debt collectors! and they should be validating debts and providing a complete accounting from inception from the true and real economic party of interest, if they do indeed exist.

      It all seems to be smoke and mirrors with the banking and foreclosure industry.

      To the legislators that own a loan (home). Who is the owner of your loan? Do you know? Aren’t you curious? For that matter, Yves, who owns your loan? Aren’t you curious?

      1. alex morfesis

        Show me the note has not been “the law” for quite a number of years….the american college of mortgage attorneys and the “private” editorial board of the ucc have taken care of that long ago.

        max and neal are nice enough but only neal knows a bit about the securitization side of it (although he is more of a mad scientist type)…

        There are no missing notes and all assignments were handled as required by the trust indenture act…the reasoning behind all the phony “missing note” claims by LPS and ISGN/Lendstar was among other things to deal with not having to provide any required discovery…

        “Hey…we dont even have the note…you think we got records…right here with your records request”

        For those in states where lenders have colluded to only offer trust deed financing for home loans, any borrower can and should look up the named trustee before any financial problems occur…ask the trustee for proof of agency with whom they claim is/are the current beneficiaries via a qwr and also a separate certified registered letter reminding the trustee they have a dual fiduciary responsibility and that the maker of the note(meaning you the homeowner/borrower) do not approve of any substitution acceptance nor release of the trustee unless the maker (you the homeowner) approves of the replacement paperwork…

        Reformation…when you the maker went looking for a home loan you made a bilateral agreement that you would get certain rights and signed off on via respa rules providing you(the maker of the financial instrument) with certain binding federal consumer protections…

        By conducting a securitization process after you were tendered funds in return for the note you made( that is how you are the maker)…funds which were used to either purchase the property or pay off debts you owed…the funding source has Unilaterally “reformed” the instrument by removing, with scienter, certain federally mandated and bilaterally agreed to consumer rights…That is the end game…reformation arguments are better than statute of limitation arguments as my good friend atty mike wasylik learned when the courts reinvented and created new case law in claiming a note is not really one note but 360 notes with an option to prepay…(this does open up other defenses though)

        And no one will end up with a “free and clear” home just because the purported final claimant has some difficulty in explaining how they have the capacity to bring suit to extinguish and convert the rights of the homeowner…the mortgage does not just go away…all these dilatory lawsuits trying to “quiet title” are some childish dream…most states have mountains of case law prescribing how and when a mortgage can be removed to allow a homeowner to have a free and clear home they can sell without dealing with the outstanding funding they did not pay back…usually 20 to 30 years…and most folks borrow to make required maintenance repairs on their homes…so most as in the vast majority would need to renegotiate terms long before the magic free home date arrives…

        The mortgage is the security /promise for the obligation made by the maker in return for the funding or other valuable consideration…the debt is still owed…it is just not judicially enforceable…

        And for those in financial difficulty…send in your regular monthly payment due…not the payments you missed….the payments due…the people handling the payment will probably send you back the check(send a check…you remember what those are hopefully…and have at least that monthly payment amount in your account when you send it…)
        UCC argument of refusal to accept the payment has case law which will extinguish their right to collect payments you tendered and they refused…no case law shows you have to escrow the increasing amount…just enough for the one payment…

        Oh wait what was that crash and thud sound in seattle…? That bankster lawyer expert in the old wamu bldg thought I was doing a dirty harry and had no bullets left in the chamber….

        well do ya punk…

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        I don’t have a loan. And for the two apartments I did own, both were co-ops and hence the loans were not securitizable.

        The notes were not “rehypothecated”. They were sold into securitization trusts, but the underlying transfers were often not completely properly. The issue was failure to comply with the stipulated procedures. From what we can tell (and this is anti-foreclosure activists) very few notes were sold multiple times. I forget which one but it’s only been one originator, IIRC Option One, who seems to have done that, not one of the real biggies and then not in the majority of cases.

        1. perpetualWAR

          Yves, I beg to differ. We have proof that notes were rehypothecated. And many of the purported “trusts” were never even formed In either Delaware or NY.

          So, there are many issues of illegality still on the table that people are not willing to look at.

          1. alex morfesis

            There is plenty of illegality…but dont confuse a custodian of the instruments renting out the collateral for derivative counterparty positions through a prime brokerage operation with “rehypothication”…

            Most people who “think” they found some “aha” magic pixie dust in the details and minutea of the trust indenture act do not know the difference between the “indenture” trustee and the “corpus holding” trustee and a custodian…you do know there are two trustees to every remic mtge pool ? One who handles the cash payments and the other which handles the corpus as the ownership holder…hint….db has never held an actual mortgage note…they are simply the cashier at the greek diner…the “indenture” trustee

        2. DeadlyClear

          IT’S 3:00 p.m., DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR COLLATERAL IS? An enlightening paper every homeowner should read. Written by Christian A. Johnson, Assistant Professor of Law, Loyola University Chicago School of Law. B.A.; MPrA, Utah; J.D., Columbia, 1990

          This explains rehypothecation – along with another white paper called The Distorting Priciples of Nemo Dat

        3. DeadlyClear

          Let’s clarify the process the “collateral” (mortgage loan data fields) took to get into a trust. The pretender lenders (for example, New Century) had pre-existing underlying agreements with their credit lines from investment banks to procure collateral (homeowner debtor and property) in order to populate securitization trusts.

          Until about 2008, the software was designed to upload the information directly to lenders and received an approval or denial almost immediately. The collateral is then pledged or assigned to a specific trust, or two, or three, or six in some cases…

          We know from New Century files for example, that the closing package was scanned into the computer system and barcode stickers were attached to each original document and rescanned into the system for export. The “sale” for example to Lehman Brothers Bank should ultimately have been transferred to Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. (LBHI) and then LBHI transfers it into the trust(s). However, it appears from some knowledgeable law professors that LBHI, for example, used the collateral until there was a default, although it was pledged to the trust.

          There was no “sale” to the trust exactly, because the investor (pension) funds were already in the investment bank prior to the procurement of the homeowner collateral. The investors invested in a REMIC (parked their money) that was made up of several thousand collateral packages. The investor monies were allotted accordingly.

          The true “sale” was from the pretender lender to the intermediary before it was “transferred” to the investment banks and the trust. Allegedly for bankruptcy remote purposes.

    2. Brian

      Yvanova is not about having the “note” so to speak, but the sale and transfer of that note between alleged purchasers. The court ruled that a homeowner can challenge the alleged sale to a securitization trust. Before this point, the courts would say something very like: “you owe the money to someone, why not this person?” Or, you owe the money and this person says it is to them and you don’t have anything to say that we are interested in”.
      There are several experts that have challenged the “trusts” to provide evidence that a loan was sold to them. They successfully avoided that for the last 30 years. The experts also claim that few if any of the notes/mortgages ever existed as a contract due to irregularity in the creation, and that few to none ever made it into the non existing trusts that required very specific instructions on how the notes are indorsed, to whom, when, etc..
      There is no evidence a trust purchased any loan. Yvanova puts them in the hot seat where proof will be required, proof they will have to create now, because history does not support their claims of purchase. I would bet a farthing that foreclosure in California will subside mightily prior to ceasing. Thanks to the California SC, for the veil is less opaque. Many thousands of people can now get their homes back due to fraud perpetrated upon them.
      Because this is going to affect the banks very badly as a result of crime as a business model being perpetrated on the citizens of California and every other state, watch what your government does next.

      1. perpetualWAR

        Many people also do not realize that many of these purported “trusts” have not even been formed in the state of formation! In addition, they have not reported to the IRS that they claim REMIC status, which is tax-exempt. What this means: trillions of unpaid federal taxes by non-existent trusts owed to the USA.

        1. alex morfesis

          IRS publication 938…pretty much every securitized trust i have ever seen is listed in the proper year…not sure why you think the remics are not properly formed and reported…

          Delaware has a form filed and can be viewed…new york state common law trusts have no reporting or filing requirement that i am aware of and as a pass thru entity via a remic designation is a disregarded entity for tax purposes and the taxable event…if any…falls upon the purported taxable beneficial interests…

          The great myth pushed by john paulson and his media machine was that the psa is binding on the trust instead of the trustee…the trust indenture act was designed to remove liability from trustees who were pocketing the mortgage payments during the depression and telling the beneficiaries there was no payout due…it got so ugly and obvious the pitchforks were out and so they were forced to make payments and protected from liability by the psa portion of the trust indenture act…the trustee is required to follow the psa to the “t” if they want to absolve themselves of liability…the ignoring of specific psa language simply opens up the trustees to legal liability…

          Oh wait…the trustees are not disclosing that in their public filings…gosh darn it…oops i did it again…

          1. perpetualWAR

            Oh Alex, how wrong you are. I have evidence that many private “trusts” were never even formed in the state of formation. \

            So, just wondering what criminal financial institution you work for?

            1. alex morfesis

              I am sure the legal dept at the new york fed would luv for me to have chosen that path in my life..

              But we can play this game…

              name three…include the property address and the purported non trust formation or named plaintiff…

              By the way…have you ever read through a 938 annual report posted by the irs ??

              1. perpetualWAR

                Don’t know if the comment I just posted will make it through “moderation.”

                So, again:
                Yes, I have read through all the Publication 938 from 2004 through 2015.

                In addition, please Google the blog “Deadly Clear” and “Securitized Distrust.” I assisted with the research into these WaMu “trusts” and we found multiple loans listed in duplicate WaMu loan lists within their private “trust” database.

                So, just so you want more info, Alex.

  16. Brooklin Bridge

    Hillary Clinton Pushes Colombia Free Trade Agreement In Latest Email Dump -International Business Times

    Bad enough, let’s read on to see what other horrors did Hillary commit that might jeopardize the souls of young girs by tempting them with going to Hell for not helping out another woman? And lest we forget, such help would be in the deepest, the truest Christian sense where one knows absolutely that Hillary would never EVER return the favor.? A true test not merely of self sacrifice, but of downright self loathing…

    […] read, read, read…
    under the terms of a court order earlier this month, the department is required to publish the last of the 35,000 emails Monday, just one day before the Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses.

    Sweet. Many souls saved!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      You think they will have their California office do the releasing, at 5PM PST?

      It will take a few hours to go through those and get them out to the public.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        It’s like going down in an airplane (like when a wing falls off); you can laugh or cry or shout or all three and then some.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Change of plan….move from the California office to the Hawaii office.

          Put the stuff on that plane.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            :-) Too bad there is no function for recording one’s laughter. This will have to do, ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha…!

          2. different clue

            Or decree the existence of a virtual office of some kind even further west ( and further back in time) like American Samoa or even Guam. Yes . . . release the emails from a Guam office at 5:00 p m Guam time.

            1. aet

              That wouldn’t be a Republican-appointed Judge making that Order for production, would it? We all know that Republicans only appoint moderate non-partisan people to the Federal Courts, right? And that they never stonewalled all of Clinton’s and Obama’s Federal judicial appointments, so that Justice Alito now can publicly opine that he’d like a sitting Federal Judge to be elevated to replace Scalia, as if that suggestion comes from the lips of sweet reason herself…. and just how often have sitting Supreme Court Judges opined upon an upcoming appointment to the Supreme Court before it has even been made? Is that usual? Or is it another of the many unprecedented pieces of Republican politicking we’ve been seeing of late?

  17. Pat

    Every once in a while people have to point out the obvious, part of the reason that all that information about the truth about Trump’s record is only now coming out is that it wasn’t going to be necessary to burn those advertising and source bridges, he was going to be a flash in the pan, out easy, fall on his own. They not only don’t have to use any resources on him, but they don’t have to alienate someone who between his own businesses and his relationships buys advertising and is a ready comment and probably source. Why should a magazine or a newspaper actually examine him, it isn’t like he would want to work hard enough to become president or wouldn’t trip over his own mouth. And in probably any other election year, that would probably have been true.

    I’d say this is a sign that they finally realize he is going to be the nominee and are now really late to doing their job. And yes it is long after they should have stepped up. More interesting to me is that his opponents were too scared or too stupid or both to do their real opposition research and use it.

    1. ewmayer

      Last August 21 I sent a Reuters link to Yves, article title was “Bergdahl lawyer slams candidate Trump over ‘traitor’ comments” (I would add link but want to stay out of mod-limbo) — Going back to 8/22/2015 Links the story is indeed linked, but not my accompanying comment, which was about the free-PR aspect of Trump’s persona and campaign, to wit:

      More free PR for da Trumpsta! The really interesting thing, especially if the lowball estimates of his true wealth are accurate, is that he can run his campaign much more cheaply than any other non-hopeless-case candidate because all the free PR his well-calculated eyebrow-raising utterances generates means he’ll need far fewer ad buys to ‘stay visible’. I’m reminded of another genius at self-promotion, Muhammad Ali, who based a lot of his public antics on those he had seen from a flamboyant pro wrestler of his youth named Gorgeous George. As Ali later admitted, it was all calculated to ‘put butts in the seats,’ and succeeded brilliantly. Analogously, Trump’s opponents and detractors really do need to watch more pro wrasslin to see how it’s done, and not keep falling for the bait.

  18. Pespi

    Speaking of mercenaries, the Latin Americans of the “UAE Army” aka Blackwater, took huge casualties in Yemen. Several Colombians, one Mexican, one Australian officer, have been killed. But there are plenty more to feed to the Houthi/Pro Saleh meat grinder. Saudi is losing men daily. Although casualties have been pretty light, saudi has just destroyed every single piece of infrastructure it can. I don’t understand the purpose.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Does war ever serve a purpose?

      -the royal family is split. Much like exporting angry young men as terrorists, the royal insiders need to keep the army away in case it’s used against them. They still need to export their radicals. Syria, Iraq, and Libya were being closed by the reaction to ISIS. The U.S. and western powers had too many people on the ground to look the other way while the Saudis flooded the place with jihadists and supplies.
      -Saudi policy is to eliminate any government among Muslims which might give their slaves ideas. Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Egypt. Israel is immune because they aren’t Muslims and not seen as a potential model.
      -the rulers want to get “bloodied” much like Tony Blair or use their toys much like Albright’s famous complaint
      -it’s a warning to Shiitte subjects who sit over the oil. Saudi Arabia will do this to you.
      -of course, there is just the old fashioned look at all our foreign enemies instead of the leadership for the masses.

      Saudi Arabia is a mafia plantation, not a country by any stretch of the imagination.

      1. different clue

        Yes, sometimes war serves a purpose. For example, when the R + 6 fight their side of the war in Syria against the enemies of civilization, their purpose is to restore legal authority to every part of Syria and save civilization in Syria ( such as it is) from the jihadi rebellion.

        Careful and systematic physical extermination-in-detail of every jihadi in Syria also serves a purpose. It serves the purpose of lowering the number of jihadis who will live to fight another day. For example , if every single Chechen jihadi in Syria could be caught and exterminated, that is just that much fewer jihadis with that much less combat experience to go back to Chechnya and cause further trouble there. So yes, some wars serve a purpose.

        1. Lexington

          For example, when the R + 6 fight their side of the war in Syria against the enemies of civilization, their purpose is to restore legal authority to every part of Syria and save civilization in Syria ( such as it is) from the jihadi rebellion.

          Yeah, because Vladimir Putin, a former career KGB officer, head of its successor the FSB, and chief architect of modern Russian autocracy is a freakin’ bleeding heart liberal who wants to save “civilization”.

          Get your head out of the sand.

          What Putin wants to do is save a minority Alawite dictatorship that is a useful Russian ally and a supporter of Russian interests in the region. His opposition to ISIS isn’t founded in the first instance on any principled objection to Islamist ideology but rather on the far more practical grounds that ISIS is a threat to the dictatorship he is trying to prop up. In fact as the US has repeatedly pointed out Russia is happy to bomb anyone who is threat to Assad, whether they are Islamists or not.

          It’s funny how American military adventurism in Syria is universally condemned but Russian military adventurism is lauded as a selfless defence of civilization, when it is obviously a crass exercise in Realpolitik by one of the premiere contemporary practitioners.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          The R+6 is only responding to a war declared by the West and Saudi Arabia. Without acts of war conducted by Western governments, there would no Russian campaign.

  19. DakotabornKansan

    Bernie Sanders recently visited the Woody Guthrie museum in Tulsa and commented on how much Guthrie’s folk songs speak to the reality of working-class people today.

    Woody Guthrie also spoke to the Trump legacy.

    “My legacy has its roots in my father’s legacy.” – Donald Trump

    Woody Guthrie didn’t care much for The Donald’s “Old Man Trump” and his “Bitch Havens.”

    “I suppose Old Man Trump knows
    Just how much Racial Hate
    he stirred up In the bloodpot of human hearts
    When he drawed That color line
    Here at his Eighteen hundred family project …
    Beach Haven looks like heaven
    Where no black ones come to roam!
    No, no, no! Old Man Trump!
    Old Beach Haven ain’t my home!”

    One can easily imagine what Woody would be singing today about “Old Man Trump’s” son.

    1. ekstase

      This is a great bit of irony. I often wonder, when I see historic plaques on old buildings proclaiming that an artist once lived there, (often for a short span of time), just exactly what the artist thought of the building’s owner. Sometimes the artist gets the last laugh, however. I was reminded of Louis Armstrong’s refusal to be buried back in New Orleans, because of racism.

  20. craazyman

    Good morning Honkeytown!

    All you white folks are at it again, I see. Let’s invade the South one more time and put an end to Nascar, pig roasts and Jack Daniels. If you want scotch, please imbibe the proper Scottish variety, and put that Budweiser down. It’s only 11 am! Smoke some reefer instead, OK? hahahah

    OK, sorry, just ribbin ya’all. I agree with the “general disposition” of the sentiments expressed here, I will admit fully to that. I’m for Bernie in 2016. He’s the only one of all of them that has authenticity. — Authenticity of principle and philosophy, not authenticity of ambition. They all have that. No doubt.

    just walking around under the sun and sky and trees, it makes me think in wild streaming thoughts that fly through my mind like a movie of ideas, almost like equations but without the precision, to be sure, but almost with the same ideational energy.

    Today it was along wander around the psychosis of free market fundamentalism. I believe i saw it all, the entire phenomenon, with the mind light of illlumanitory analysis revealing the fault lines and structures of the whole assembly. It was like a ditch dug in a ground filled with corpses and strange plants growing up out of the ground, fed by the corpses decomposition, but jarring in their ugliness and hideous aspects, “le fleur du mal”, but unredeemed by any sort of romantic visiion from a Baudelaire. That was it. That doesn’t seem very logical, I know, but it certainly is an energetic metaphor that powers a far more logical analytical structure.

    People see this in their unconscious minds and they know. Even the worst of the acolytes who serve at its altar, they know. And that”s what makes them so mean. They do know and they fight the knowing with a repression that lashes out at everything that would assist the knowing. It is quite strange how that works.

    I gave $100 to Bernie last weekend and I may give more. Dont worry about economists and models and faux-math. It’s a mental disorder that cannot separate Quantity and Form. The mind light changes the Forms, and the Quantities follow the way birds follow the seasons. Then they make their nests where the sun is and where life is. It’s no different. Why don’t they see that? I don’t know. Because it’s right in front of everybody everyday.

  21. fresno dan

    GOP establishment trashes Christie for endorsing Trump Politco. Furzy: “​Smart enuf move I’d say…..before Giuliani hops on….​” Li pointed out the same thing, that Christie’s endorsement means he believes that he will benefit from being at the front of this parade.

    Godfather Part 1


    Yeah — I can arrange security. On my territory. Alright?





    TOM (after Michael sits besides him again)

    Do you know how they’re gonna come at’cha?


    They’re arranging a meeting in Brooklyn. Tessio’s ground, where I’ll be “safe”


    I always thought it would’ve been Clemenza, not Tessio…


    It’s a SMART move — Tessio was always smarter. But I’m gonna wait — after the baptism. I’ve

    decided to be Godfather to Connie’s baby. And then I’ll meet with Don Barzini — and

    Tattaglia — all of the heads of the Five Families…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The struggle is easier if the other side is not smart, but moronic.

      But life is not always easy.

      Murphy’s Law – the other side is too often too smart.

  22. alex morfesis

    Dear valerie jarrett (re:scotus 9), yes it’s been a while…figured you were busy using your farsi to get those deals done…yes i am still alive…don’t blame the poor painters…i am sure they are competent…how would they know to adjust…how would they know my dad hired somebody from a three letter agency to teach me survival skills when basciano(richard not vinnie) threatened to have me kidnapped and turned to sausage if we didn’t “volunteer” to give up our parking lots in time square back when i was 17…anyway…
    The republicans are handing you a monster gift with this ex-constitutional attempt to turn the usa into a parliamentarian system of governance…it will be like taking candy from a bambino…

    In the following order…

    First you offer up jay rockefeller…
    Then sheila bair…
    then the Honorable Tani Cantil-Sakauye
    Then barney frank
    Then Robert Kennedy Jr
    Then finally
    The Honorable Penny J White (tenn)

    This notion that the supreme court needed to be handled via hearings should be blamed on greta van susterans dad who was joe mccarthys nazi/bund loving hatchet man…historically the presidents choice was accepted and voted on within days…there was no goofy vetting…yes abe fortas and all that…but j edgar Hoover’s cousin was a supreme court justice and no one has ever cried much about that…

    Announce your entire sequential list…
    1st choice…second choice…etc…

    Let them know you will send choices and will recess appoint if they refuse to vote…it would help to (temporarily) reassign govt contracts out of certain states of refusenik republican senator$…you know…for maintenance and safety purposes…those facilities and the asbestos in the flooring that poor janitor inadvertantly released by using the wrong floor waxing equipment…happens all the time…can’t have those poor republicans exposed to such danger will robinson…

    anyway…enjoy the parting gift the republican $enator$ have handed you

  23. aumua

    The media blackout around Bernie Sanders and the South Carolina primary (which is today, by the way) is in full force recently, as even here on NC the 2016 section contains not a SINGLE mention of either Sanders or the Primary.

    Let’s see, what do we have up there.. Trump, Trump.. Trump, another Trump story, Trump, aaaaand Trump. Oh, and Trump. Then we get two stories about, yep, Clinton.

    Way to go guys. I mean I expect this when I go to Reuters, but here?

    Also: where the hell is Elizabeth Warren, now that it really matters. Where the hell is Black Lives Matter, where it really matters? Hardly to be seen.

    1. craazyman

      I gave him $100 last weekend.

      Where is Senator Warren? That’s a good point. She oughta be out there with a BERNIE sign, like a cheerleader. Gimme a B! B! Gimme an E! E! Gimmie an R! R! . . . Gimme an E! E!, Whata ya got? BERE! What? Beer?

      There’s always a risk when you pursue abstractions. In this case, the series was not interpolateable with ease given the elision.

      in other words, connecting the disperate dots doesn’t always make for an accurate picture. There’s a wellspring of something new and it’s coming no matter what, and senators, congressmen, please heed the call, don’t stand in the doorway don’t block up the hall, for he who gets hurt (i.e. voted out of office) will be he who has stalled, the battle outside ragin (in the noousphere), will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls, for the times they are a changin . . .

      1. aumua

        We only need the first 2 terms of that series anyway, the rest goes to zero. BE! Be the Bern, not the beer. I don’t know, this ain’t the sixties man, it’s the teensies and something is coming that feels inevitable but there’s no guarantee of passing or not passing it. Interesting times.

      2. Lord Koos

        Where is Warren? Good question. I’m thinking more than a few democrats in congress are afraid of publicly coming out against Hillary… should she win there could be retribution. I see hardly any dem politicians coming out strongly for Bernie.

    2. Massinissa

      Uh. You realize most of us are going to vote for Bernie anyway?

      What about Bernie is there in the news that we dont already know?

      To be fair I do agree that no mention of the SC primary is a bit jarring.

      1. cwaltz

        I haven’t seen a whole lot of information out of SC for the primary since the last poll that showed Hillary handily taking it even though she lost a good portion of numbers from a previous poll. I’m kind of interested to see if the BLM incident at her $500 a head campaign event and the twitter hashtag #WhichHillary have harmed her enough to get him within 11. That being said, you cant report information that isn’t there. From what I understand both Sanders and Clinton aren’t in SC right now. They’re focusing on Super Tuesday and shoring up their strategies. I’m not sure how Yves reports something if there isn’t information to go on. I guess at 7 pm we’ll all get to see.

      2. hunkerdown

        I saw CNN in passing at breakfast today, and the chyron read “Clinton Poised for Decisive Win in SC”. Muscular, she is!

        1. cwaltz

          I’m waiting for “Sanders supporters are stoopid” Oh wait, they won’t say that because they are still operating under the delusion that we might vote for her in the GE. My vote will go towards getting the Greens on the ballot in my state if Bernie loses. Better to vote FOR something, than against.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Bernie had stopped campaigning in SC. The headlines on SC have been predicting WIDER margins for Hillary than before. There are no good polls on SC or any of the Super Tuesday states. So I didn’t see any news worth reporting, since it’s all uninformed speculation from the MSM that looks to have a pro-Hillary bias (which most of it does but the earlier stories do have some factual basis).

      1. James Levy

        I have seen literally scores of Bernie bumper stickers, Bernie lawn signs, and even a Bernie button on a lady at the local church breakfast this morning here in rural Massachusetts. I have seen a grand total of one, that’s 1, Hillary bumper sticker. I don’t know where in the Commonwealth (outside of Harvard) all this support for Hillary is supposedly coming from.

        1. sd

          Fwiw, over here on the west coast, I’ve seen mostly Bernie stickers/signs and a handful of Jebs. I haven’t seen any at all for Clinton.

        2. cwaltz

          My state is home of Terry McAuliffe. Sadly(but pragmatically), I think Bernie has kind of written us off for the primary.

          Still planning to head on down to the polls on Tuesday with Hubby, spouse, and hopefully 2 of the kiddos to support Bernie.

      2. Darthbobber

        Yes. There’s a shortage of data and not much but horserace coverage. After Tuesday, even in the best-case scenario we’ll be in the danger zone where all available media space will be devoted to restoring the narrative of inevitability and hoping to depress Sanders support in succeeding states. This has been the point of all those front-loaded southern primaries from the 80s on.

        The question is how well this predictable effort to create an avalanche effect succeeds.

  24. allan

    Clueless: Buffett: US economy better than presidential hopefuls say

    In his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, Buffett didn’t name specific candidates or issues, but noted that the negative drumbeat about the economy, health care reform and income inequality may get voters down about the future.

    “It’s an election year, and candidates can’t stop speaking about our country’s problems (which, of course, only they can solve),” he said, adding later, “that view is dead wrong: The babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history.”

    Shorter Sage of Omaha: I talk with Bill and Melinda all the time and their kids are doing great!

    1. inode_buddha

      Yeah I saw that earlier and I was just logging in to report that one. Glad somebody else picked up on it.

      The guy is so far out of touch I dunno why anybody listens to him. Its the *main street* economy that is hurting, but obviously he doesn’t live there.

    2. ewmayer

      Rather telling that the TurdBuffer of Omaha sees the children being born today as a “crop”, wouldn’t you say?

    3. cwaltz

      Buffet, as an investor, measures the economy on the stock market. Of course, he doesn’t see a problem with it. It’s being propped.

    4. hidflect

      Didn’t he lose, like, $11Billion last year? You’d think a guy who’s father was a 4 term Senator and successful stockbroker and who bought his first 40 acre farm at the age of 14 would understand the markets of the common man better…

  25. Gio Bruno

    Re: Antidote.

    The image of the Cardinal depicts, to my eye, a bird on a bush with Fall fruit (early Winter snowfall?). Spring would be a long, long way away. (Easy for me to say, it’s been 80 degrees on the SoCal coast this week.)

    1. Jess

      I’m on the So Cal coast as well and it’s been brutal, hasn’t it? Last weekend I hadda get away to Daytona, FL where it was only the low 70’s.

    1. cwaltz

      I’ll sum it up…..

      Dear Sanders supporters,

      See we told you. Give up. Hillary Clinton ownz your votes. After all, a vote for someone other than Hillary Clinton is a vote for a Republican.

      Sincerely yours,

      P.S. Give us your monies.

      1. Gio Bruno

        Well…let’s just wait till Oregon, Washington State, and California vote. That’s gazillions of voters and possibly a big push for Bernie. (That’s some 50 million people; ~16% of the nation.)

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Bernie as a Jew and this would apply to Catholics and anyone who isn’t a less ray rah protestant denomination, ex. Lutherans, Anglicans, certain kinds of Presbyterians, won’t use the language of deeply religious Christians. MLK, who would admit there is nothing new under the sun, didn’t say anything new, but he cloaked his message in Christian imagery. South Carolina has virtually no Catholic church presence, and the Jewish population is limited to Charleston these days.

          Bernie can say great things, but he can’t say, “they worship an awesome god in red state, and we worship an awesome god blue states.”

          43 could use this language, and his brother as a catholic convert couldn’t. Trump is polling well with non-evangelical Republicans not evangelicals because he can’t use their language. I’m fairly confident Falwell Jr. has been stewing over how few Republicans came to Falwell Sr’s funeral.

          Despite the younger Hispanic voting population, this is probably the real reason Bernie can make inroads. Hillary can’t say, “Sancta Maria” or “Hail Mary.” New Hampshire is very Catholic state. I wonder if religion has shown up in the Democratic primary, now that I’m on the subject. Primary Kerry lost to Edwards, 45-30 in 2004 in South Carolina with Sharpton receiving 10 points. 55% of the total went to candidates who wouldn’t win, but could speak the language. Edwards was fueled by African Americans, and primary Kerry wasn’t the disaster than general election Kerry was.

          1. aet

            About time for the Evangelicals to form their own party, eh wot?
            If they’re that popular, why don’t they?

      1. cwaltz

        I doubt many will be laughing. He’s already promising to continue with wars in ME. He’ll continue the policy of stagnant wages. He’ll do his best to marginalize minorities like gays to appeal to fundies.

        All in all it’s going to be a loooooong 4 years.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Perhaps it turns out like with Nixon in his second term, Trump’s VP candidate will be a crucial person in the next 4 years.

          Maybe not or maybe yes. I am not saying it will or it wont be.

          In any case, like I have been saying – team work/it takes a village.

          1. Lambert Strether

            I don’t think Trump has policy positions at all. Trump has riffs, some of which might be imputed to be verbal expressions of policy preferences.

            Of course, given what passes for policy, given the state of the Overton Window in the Beltway, that’s not necessarily such a bad thing.

      2. DeadlyClear

        Entertaining to say the least. Gold lame decor in the White House maybe? I think what intrigues me most is that if he doesn’t get the support in legislation he’ll probably hold a press conference and make a mockery of the process…then SNL will pick it up and do some great satire. It’ll be one way to get rid of some of the bad Congressional leaders after the first 2 years.

  26. kevinearick

    Artificial Intelligence & False Assumptions

    Be afraid, be very afraid … not.

    The field of artificial intelligence is about expanding perception effectively. Only empire seeks to contract the definition of humanity in order to slot humans into predefined event horizons and confirm the computation. Regardless of dc architecture, all the empire has to sell is consumer toys, because it is at the end of another exploitation cycle and has no exit.

    Relative to the human brain, the latest and greatest supercomputer may as well be Pong. All the technology industry produces is replication and miniaturization in an arbitrary positive feedback loop, increasing efficiency to nowhere, bubble gum for the mind. Is that really where you want to go, chasing digital money expanded and contracted in a circle, to dumb down humans so they will chase dumber machines, programmed to feed the apes bananas?

    A cursory look at FANG tells you it’s bubble gum, a diversion from human investment to robotic consumption, to eke out just a few more days for the petrodollar fiasco. Whether Americas, Russia or some strawman intermediary controls petrodollar financialization is irrelevant. Oil as anything other than commodity is dead, and the money changers in charge of 1 and 0 accounting have to explain the upcoming contraction in all derivatives to their angry ponzi mobs, frightened that they may not have equity in the future.

    Your brain is an ac I/O motorgenerator. If all it could do is process a dc perception stream, extinction would be the only possible outcome. Whether you want to think of humanity as God’s gift to the planet or a bacteria biodome distribution system is irrelevant net, but not to your individual outcome. There is opportunity everywhere, if you look.

    This planet has never failed humanity, nor has humanity ever threatened the planet; humanity fails itself, on a regular basis. You’ll have that, in a chaotic oscillation of evolution and devolution. This planet is constantly recycling, tinkering on the edge, to produce quantum advancement, and the worst case scenario for it is far more structures upon which to breed photosynthesis.

    Reinventing the wheel with derivative technology is a waste of time; you aren’t going to beat nature on a fool’s errand. We have triggered mutational meltdown with demographic deceleration, which has biological consequences far, far beyond our control. Those who are single, married with few to no children, and raising other people’s children will not determine the change of course, regardless of extortion regime, bipolar drug treatment in a dc world, or popular vote.

    Other critters don’t depend upon oil and an I-phone to tell them what to do, where to go, or how to do it, and neither should you. I don’t care what book you open – physics, chemistry, personnel management, or black belt programming – they all begin with false assumptions, theories that must be discarded on a regular basis, and none can tell you how to raise a child, because each is different, by design. Best hospital practice, depending upon dc machines as a point of inference, certainly is not the answer.

    No one can tell you what you need to do to adapt, because no one else is you. An honest physicist will tell you that what we know about physics is akin to a grain of sand on a beach, there is no relationship between property or money and work, and technology is a derivative of the derivatives. What we hoard is a reflection of our insecurity, not our strength.

    If anyone knew anything about parenting other people’s kids, we wouldn’t be in this mess. You learn by doing, not by reacting to the failures of others. The biggest lie out there is expert opinion backed by consensus, which is no better in an ivory tower than it is on the street corner.

  27. dk

    I’m trying to figure out why the article “The Problem With Evidence-Based Policies” was posted. It’s certainly valuable to recognize that randomized control trials have narrow application and limited scope and range. They can test specific propositions within a well-defined context; give poorly conceived propositions or ill-defined contexts, their results are rarely useful.

    However, it does not follow that ““crawling” the design space” is more optimal or appropriate to a given problem. In the given example of the use of tablets by teachers and children, tablet monitoring might not capture all, or even any, of the significant elements of a successful teaching strategy, even when the tablet is a component in the strategy. And frankly, teaching methods that are not founded on a basic understanding of neural path development and training have little better than random chance of reproducible success (if that).

    The idea that all processes have a common set of qualities that can me managed in the same way is managerialism; arguably a variety of fraud. And the idea that managers (or similar authorities) can optimize process whose specific and needs they do not actually comprehend in their functional context is insane.

    Management, as a separate discipline, can be successful when it takes on the tasks of supporting already effective processes. But managers are often challenged when the process they are overseeing fails; this may be due to completely external factors, or to problems inherent to the specific task instance. And problem/solution determination is not equivalent to solution delivery (e.g., NP vs P), so new solution development goes well beyond the scope of process supervision.

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