Friday, August 31, 2018

Large Increase In Poison Control Calls for Children Taking ADHD Drugs

Peter Simons
August 28, 2018

New data shows that calls to US poison control centers have increased significantly for children taking stimulant ADHD drugs.

New research published in the journal Pediatrics has found that calls to US poison control centers have increased significantly due to children taking ADHD stimulant medications, such as amphetamine (Adderall) and methylphenidate (Ritalin). The research was led by Gary Smith at the Center for Injury Research and Policy, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio.

    According to Smith, “In 2015, US poison control centers received >25800 calls involving exposures to amphetamine and methylphenidate, which are 2 medications used in the treatment of ADHD […] Stimulant medication overdoses can result in a variety of symptoms, including mydriasis, tremor, agitation, tachycardia, hyperreflexia, confusion, hallucinations, hyperthermia, and status epilepticus.”

The number of reported children inadvertently exposed to stimulant medications rose 71.2% between 2000 and 2011, before dropping slightly by 6.2% between 2011 and 2014. The researchers found that almost half (41.6%) of the exposures were due to unintentional therapeutic error, while another 39.6% were rated as accidental general exposure.

Most of the exposures for children younger than 5 were due to unintentional general exposure (for instance, they may have taken a sibling’s medication while playing), while most of the exposures for older children were due to therapeutic error (took a larger dose or more doses than prescribed, for instance). Intentional exposures were responsible for more than half (50.2%) of the calls for adolescents aged 13 to 19 years old (e.g., medication abuse and suicide attempts).

Twenty-eight percent of the calls involved documented clinical effects (such as drowsiness, irritability, tachycardia, and vomiting). In most cases, these effects were not serious, although 9.4% of the calls involved severe medical problems. The three reported deaths were all due to intentional exposures.

It is worth noting that this is an underestimate of the dangerous exposures to stimulant medications since not all exposures are reported to poison control centers.
“Unintentional and intentional pediatric exposures to ADHD medications are an increasing problem in the United States, affecting children of all ages,” the researchers write. “Exposures associated with suspected suicide or medication abuse and misuse among adolescents are of particular concern.”

King, S. A., Casavant, M. J., Spiller, H. A., Hodges, N. L., Chounthirath, T., & Smith, G. A. (2018). Pediatric ADHD medication exposures reported to US poison control centers. Pediatrics, 141(6), e20173872. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-3872 (Link)

Thank You Mr Simons and MIA.

Prominent Video Game-Violence Researcher Loses Another Paper To Retraction,


If you read this space, you probably know the name Brad Bushman. He studies the effects of violent video games on the people who play them. He also has just retracted his third paper, and significantly corrected another. 

Although Bushman remains a prominent voice in a highly contentious field — prompting numerous media to consult him after school shootings or other violent acts — he’s retracted two papers, one following an investigation at his institution, the Ohio State University (OSU), which prompted OSU to strip his co-author of her PhD. (There’s a lot more to tell about that story, including the backlash outside critics faced for taking their concerns about the paper public. To read more, check out our in-depth piece in Motherboard.)

Bushman’s third retraction came this month; he nearly had a fourth as well, but attorneys for the publisher decided that a massive correction (to a paper which previously had been flagged with an expression of concern) would be more appropriate.
The retraction notice from Current Opinion in Psychology states the paper showed too much similarity to a 2016 paper in the same journal by Bushman and Arlin James Benjamin, based at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. It notes that although Bushman was the guest editor of the issue of the journal:

continue reading
Thank You Retraction Watch. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Suicides Are Increasing - And So Are Antidepressant Prescriptions

Suicide rates decreased steadily from the mid-eighties until the new millennium in the USA and, on average, in Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.1 In Europe, suicide rates decreased until around 2007 in most countries.2 Parallel to this drop of suicides, prescriptions of SSRI’s, the new generations of “antidepressants,” gradually increased. This led to numerous publications arguing that the negative correlations between antidepressant prescription rates and suicide rates was evidence that antidepressants are likely helpful in reducing suicide because they can alleviate symptoms of depression, one of the major risk factor for suicide.
Authors of these papers often had financial or other ties to the pharmaceutical industry (e.g., Ulrich Hegerl, Göran Isacsson, John Mann, Zoltan Rihmer).
In 2004, a kind of shock wave hit mainstream psychiatry when the FDA released the black box warning about prescribing antidepressants to children and youth. Not long after, Robert Gibbons and others published a now widely cited paper, based on data from 2003 to 2005, reporting that the black-box warning led to a reduction in the prescribing of antidepressants which was associated with an increase of suicides among young people.3 However, although the article was published in the high-ranked, peer-reviewed American Journal of Psychiatry, the statistical analysis and the related conclusions by Gibbons were quickly shown to be in error; there simply was no increase of suicides associated with the decrease of antidepressant prescriptions (see Jureidini, 20074 and Stone, 20145; see also Robert Whitaker’s report).
From 2000 onwards, suicide rates in the USA started to rise again (among youth around 2007). In most countries in Europe, suicide rates stopped declining or even increased again starting around 2007. However, antidepressant prescription rates steadily increased from the mid-eighties until today. As a result, the association between increased antidepressant rates and reduced suicide rates has faded with each passing year. Even worse for mainstream psychiatry, if you look at the past 10 years, antidepressant rates are associated with increased suicide rates.
Yet, as this has occurred, there has been, in our opinion, a strange silence. There has been a lack of research updates on the trend of increases in suicide rates as prescriptions of antidepressants have risen. And what about research reports on the long-term outcomes of the FDA black box warnings? Two papers pointed out that suicide rates did not increase as a result of the black box warnings in the United States and in Canada (Rhodes, Skinner, McFaull, & Katz, 20136 and Stone, 2014), but these papers were also “silenced” in psychiatry, since they were much less cited (9 and 36 times, respectively) than the Gibbons et al. paper that was cited 569 times (citation-frequency assessed via Google Scholar on August 12, 2018).
Other attempts to show that the FDA warnings led to increased suicides (Lu et al., 2014,7 cited 115 times) have also been debunked (see comments to the Lu article and Philip Hickey’s blog “Suicidal Behavior After FDA Warnings” here on MIA).
This silence about increasing suicide and antidepressant rates, and the silencing of studies that disproved harmful effects of the FDA warnings, was interrupted by at least two noteworthy incidents that demonstrate some deep-seated form of “evidence-resistance.” First, Robert Gibbons simply kept on claiming that the black box warning led to an increase of suicides (LA Times, Feb. 06/2012). Second, a research group around Zoltan Rihmer published a paper in 2015 about suicide trends and antidepressant prescription rates in Hungary, but only used data up until 2006, excluding the time span afterwards when suicide rates increased again (Otuyelu et al., 20158). This way, they of course could prove that increased antidepressant prescriptions came along with reduced suicide rates. No word about the restricted time frame or the increase of suicides in recent years in the limitation section of the paper. They even claimed that their results were an indirect proof of the harms of the FDA warnings (of course citing the debunked 2007 Gibbons et al. paper). They said that, since there was no related warning in Hungary, antidepressant prescriptions kept on rising in young people whereas suicides kept on falling. Otuyelu also cited another paper that “proved” the harms of the black box warning (Katz et al., 20089), despite opposing evidence available at that time (Rhodes et al., 2013).
All of this is the background to our recent research on this topic. Recently, when we became aware of a newly published paper in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry that analyzed trends of suicidality and mental health utilization of young people in the US, we wondered why the authors did not also include the results for prescriptions rates, despite that data being available.10 However, since the data was in the public domain, we were able to investigate the association of the suicide attempt rate with drug prescriptions for mood disorders (most likely antidepressants) among adolescents for the years 2004 to 2016.
Our analysis was rejected for publication by the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and by JAMA Psychiatry. We were finally able to publish the paper in Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences (Plöderl & Hengartner, 201811).
Unfortunately, variables for years prior to 2004 could not be compared to later years, but with the available data we could still explore changes in the rate of prescriptions and suicide attempt rates following the FDA warning. The data is based on the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a nationally representative survey among the US population. Past year major depression was assessed with a structured interview, and participants were asked if they had taken prescribed medication for their mood problems in the past year. We used this as a proxy for use of antidepressant medication. Prior suicide attempts were also assessed. This suicide attempt variable seemed to be a valid indicator of past year suicide risk, since it correlated high with the yearly suicide rates of the same age group (r = 0.75, p < .05).
Our analysis revealed that the rates of prescriptions, suicide attempts, and suicides decreased in the years following the FDA warning in 2004 but started to rise again in recent years. This is also confirmed by large and statistically significant correlation coefficients. Obviously, this contrasts with the assumption that the FDA warning led to an increase of suicidal behavior. On the contrary, it seems that reduced prescriptions lead to a reduction in suicidal behavior. It also indicates that the FDA warning had no enduring effect, since prescriptions to youth are on the rise again.
The usual interpretation by mainstream psychiatry is that our findings are an artefact: young people attempting suicide are more likely to receive mental health treatment, and this produces the found association. This explanation, however, does not fit with the fact that our findings apply both to adolescents with and without a major depression diagnosis. Persons without major depression are rarely suicidal; therefore, in these youths, the strong correlation between suicide attempts and antidepressant prescriptions is hardly explained by diagnosis alone. Also, antidepressant prescription rates increased before the suicide attempt rates did, as indicated via a statistical technique called changepoint-analysis.

Given the limitations of our study, it is important to look for replications. Indeed, our findings are similar to that of a study by Gupta, Gersing, Erkanli, & Burt (2016).12 By using patient data from psychiatric settings, Gupta et al. found that antidepressant prescriptions decreased from 79 to 60% from the period before the black box warning (2000-2003) relative to the period afterwards (2004-2009). The relative risk for suicidality decreased substantially by around 60-70% as well.
Of note, the relative risk for homicidality and other violent events was also reduced around 60-70%. These findings are exactly what would be predicted by the outcomes of randomized controlled clinical trials. In these trials, young people using antidepressants had higher rates of both suicidality and aggression, compared to those taking placebo.
With our study results, as with all such correlational data, it must be mentioned that causality cannot be inferred, and there are other strong arguments regarding why such data must be interpreted with caution. However, as stated above, our findings are in line with those from randomized controlled trials, where young people taking antidepressants indeed had higher rates of suicide attempts and other forms of suicidality (Healy, Le Noury, & Jureidini, 2018;13 Sharma et al., 2016;14 Stone et al., 200915). Put together, these data strongly suggest that antidepressants can cause suicides and aggressive behavior.
Disturbingly, our study and others reveal that the black box warning is now ignored in many countries, since antidepressant prescription rates for children and youth are on the rise again (Bachmann et al., 2016;16 Otuyelu et al., 2015). This increase is happening despite increasing certainty that antidepressants are rather ineffective and most likely cause suicidal behavior in young people.
It seems that the current strategy in mainstream psychiatry to deal with the problematic evidence base is to recommend fluoxetine, because it was reported as being the most effective drug with no increase of suicidality (Brent, Gibbons, Wilkinson, & Dubicka, 2018;17 Cipriani et al., 201618). Again, problems with these studies and the excess of suicidal events under fluoxetine in the trials continue to be ignored. As with other reports critical of antidepressant prescriptions, these inconvenient findings are not properly acknowledged. As a result, mainstream psychiatry will continue to claim that antidepressants effectively reduce suicide risk, despite compelling evidence to the contrary.
Show 18 footnotes

Friday, August 24, 2018

Cartoon: Putin Gives His Saboteurs Hell

International Tax Competition Is Benefitting American Workers

It's not rocket science. Never was. One more sterling reason to cut taxes further by taking 'Mental Health' OFF the tax serfs backs. They're less likely to become depressed when it's easier for them to provide for their own needs and desires.

Romina Boccia | August 24, 2018 | 9:19 AM EDT

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is continuing to produce tangible benefits for Americans, growing the U.S. economy and making it more competitive for business investment and job creation.

Wages are rising, unemployment rates are declining, and there is more money in taxpayers’ pockets.

The larger economy materializes as significantly higher take-home pay for the typical American. According to a recent Heritage Foundation report, the average American will be $26,000 richer over the next 10 years, thanks to tax cuts and a larger economy.

There is even more good news: Tax reform has not only encouraged investment domestically, but has fostered a more attractive investment climate on an international scale.

The corporate tax rate cut (from 35 percent to 21 percent) significantly improves America’s position in global financial markets. Businesses are more inclined to conduct and expand their operations within U.S. borders and employ American workers.

Yet some have condemned the tax cuts on this very basis, arguing that they contribute to “unhealthy” international tax competition. These critics fear countries will attempt to undercut each other with lower and lower tax rates.

A New York Times op-ed called international tax competition a “collective action problem,” suggesting that countries would benefit more from higher corporate tax rates, and that they fail to cooperate in imposing higher rates because of incentives to compete for businesses and high-skilled labor.

The article claimed that the U.S. business tax cuts contribute to this problem by reducing tax revenue, thereby harming America.

That argument is flawed both in economic theory and in practice.

A recent paper authored by Assaf Razin and Efraim Sadka, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, examines the implications of financial globalization, where mobile capital can easily respond to tax and regulatory conditions by moving across borders.

The paper uses a simple model to demonstrate that there are benefits from tax competition, and it shows that countries are better off when their corporate taxes are lower.

The model assumes that as financial globalization increases, businesses can relocate to more competitive economic environments at a lower cost.

When tax rates in one country are consistently elevated, mobile capital moves to other jurisdictions. New investments in factories and research are made in countries with lower taxes.

Because the capital can move to other countries, workers are left with the tab through lower wages and fewer jobs. The “corporate tax burden” is shifted to labor or consumption in places with high capital taxes.

The high capital tax rate results in a less productive economy and smaller tax base. This combination causes revenue to decrease as there is overall less economic wealth generated and, therefore, less to be taxed.

In contrast, a lower corporate tax burden attracts businesses, creating an environment of greater innovation and prosperity, with benefits for all residents.

The model finds that workers at all skill and income levels are better off with lower business taxes. A bigger economy provides opportunities for greater financial security and income mobility, decreasing the need for government-provided assistance.

A new job or a higher wage help people in need more than a welfare check ever could. Less government intervention and a lower corporate tax rate helps residents, providing them with valuable earnings opportunity to become wealthier and more financially independent.

Tax burden is one of the 12 factors in The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom affecting the level of economic freedom that citizens can enjoy. Without accounting for the new tax law, the U.S. had a tax burden score of 65.1 in the index. The U.S. was nearly 12 points below the world average score of 76.6, and ranked as 153rd out of the 180 countries whose economic freedom the index assesses.

While the U.S. previously had the highest corporate tax rate, at 35 percent, among the 36 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, the new 21 percent rate is below that of 19 OECD countries.

The U.S.’ index score is likely to improve with the next iteration and demonstrates that the U.S. was in need of tax reform to be more globally competitive.

In addition to the corporate tax rate, the base of what’s taxed matters as well.

The tax law’s changes to expensing rules have important economic effects. Full expensing allows businesses to deduct all investment expenses from taxable income at the time the investments are made. This change encourages more investment in productive capital.

These expensing provisions, which begin to phase out after 2022, should be extended permanently for even greater economic growth.

According to sound economic theory, the tax cuts are benefiting our economy through encouraging investment by domestic and international businesses, and there is ample evidence this theory holds true in practice.

There has been rapid growth in capital spending, with many examples of both small and large businesses investing in expanded operations. This is increasing worker productivity and wages.

Everyday Americans are enjoying greater wealth and freedom, thanks to the tax cuts. It’s time to make them permanent. 

Romina Boccia focuses on federal spending and the national debt as the deputy director of Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies and the Grover M. Hermann fellow in federal budgetary affairs at The Heritage Foundation.

Julia Howe is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by The Daily Signal.

Thank You Ms Boccia and CNS.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Junk Science and Leftist Folklore Have Set California Ablaze

Bruce Thornton Aug 17, 2018

The Left Coast is burning. Oregon is fighting 13 wildfires encompassing 185,000 acres. California is battling 19 fires, including tornados of fire called "fire whirls," which have gobbled up 577,000 acres and left eight dead. A good progressive who never lets a crisis go to waste, Governor Jerry Brown told Californians, “With climate change, some scientists are saying that Southern California is literally burning up.” He warned that man-made global warming created a “new normal,” and that “more serious predictions of warming and fires to occur later in the century, 2040 or 2050, [are] now occurring in real time.”

A few days later Brown had a tweet-duel with President Trump, who in contrast claimed, “California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws,” like those against thinning and clearing forests: “Tree clear to stop fire spreading!” Seems like on this issue, the allegedly doltish Trump has the better argument than the Berkeley and Yale-trained Brown.

Indeed, doctor of environmental science and forester Bob Zybach for years has been the Cassandra warning about misguided policies on forest management. According to Zybach, wildfires began to increase in the late 70’s, at the same time policies moved away from active management of forests to a more hands-off “natural” approach. In the past, “Mostly fuels were removed through logging, active management — which they [the Feds] stopped– and grazing,” Zybach said in an interview. “You take away logging, grazing, and maintenance, and you get firebombs.”

In other words, leaving the forests to “nature,” and protecting the endangered Spotted Owl created denser forests––300-400 trees per acre rather than 50-80–– with more fuel from the 129 million diseased and dead trees that create more intense and destructive fires. Yet California spends more than ten times as much money on electric vehicle subsidies ($335 million) than on reducing fuel in a mere 60,000 of 33 million acres of forests ($30 million).

Once again, global warming “science” is a camouflage for political ideology and gratifying myths about nature and human interactions with it. On the one hand, progressives seek “crises” that justify more government regulation and intrusion that limit citizen autonomy and increase government power. On the other, well-nourished moderns protected by technology from nature’s cruel indifference to all life can afford to indulge myths that give them psychic gratification at little cost to their daily lives.

As usual, bad cultural ideas lie behind these policies and attitudes. Most important is the modern fantasy that before civilization human beings lived in harmony and balance with nature. The rise of cities and agriculture began the rupture with the environment, “disenchanting” nature and reducing it to mere resources to be exploited for profit. In the early 19thcentury, the growth of science that led to the industrial revolution inspired the Romantic movement to contrast industrialism’s “Satanic mills” and the “shades of the prison-house,” with a superior natural world and its “beauteous forms.” In an increasingly secular age, nature now became the Garden of Eden, and technology and science the signs of the fall that has banished us from the paradise enjoyed by humanity before civilization.

Such attitudes soon pervaded Western culture, expressed in pseudo-scientific form by Sigmund Freud, who wrote that “what we call our civilization is largely responsible for our misery, and that we should be happier if we gave it up and returned to primitive conditions.” More recently, Al Gore, the great champion of global warming “science,” remains the high priest of this green cult, recycling old Romantic clichés. He whines in Earth in the Balance about our “technological hubris” and “technological alchemy,” which have driven an “increasingly aggressive encroachment into the natural world” and created the “froth and frenzy of industrial civilization.” Such bromides were stale by 1856, when Gustave Flaubert satirized them in Madame Bovary.

These old ideas lie behind much of what passes itself off as “environmental science.” Salvation from our ancient sin of creating science and technology will come from restoring that ruptured bond with a benevolent nature. Keeping the environment pristine and “natural” by closing it off to development or recreation becomes government policy, one ruthlessly enforced by the aptly named Environmental Protection Agency, rather than the more practical environmental management agency. Bounties of resources like oil and natural gas are left undeveloped to “protect the environment,” and forests are banned from logging or even thinning. Carbon-based energy is proscribed, and billions in pork is distributed to “clean energy” alternatives. Starting in kindergarten, school curricula are crammed with the environmental gospel and its rituals like recycling, and its holy days like Earth Day. And “natural,” “organic,” and “green” have become potent marketing lures for attracting consumers.

Even worse, all this propaganda is passed off as “environmental science.” But at its heart lies the old nature myths founded on an erroneous assumption: that humans are natural creatures whose most fulfilling happiness comes from restoring that lost bond with the simpler, more authentic natural world. In fact, humans are not natural creatures. Our bodies come from nature, but our humanity comes from our minds and free will. Everything in nature is determined by the laws of physics, and has no intrinsic value or worth, no beauty or meaning other than what humans give it. As French philosopher, Luc Ferry writes, man:

Is indetermination par excellence: he is so oblivious to nature that it can cost him his life. Man is free enough to die of freedom . . . His humanity resides in his freedom, in the fact that he is undefined, that his nature is to have no nature but to possess the capacity to distance himself from any code within which one may seek to imprison him.

Human freedom and consciousness make man literally unnatural, his choices and actions often spontaneous and uniquely capable of being creative and destructive.

The untouched nature glorified by romantic environmentalism, then, is not our home. Ever since the cave men, humans have altered nature to make it more conducive to human survival and flourishing. After the retreat of the ice sheets changed the environment and animal species on which people had depended for food, humans in at least four different regions of the world independently invented agriculture to better manage the food supply. Nor did the American Indians, for example, live “lightly on the land” in a pristine “forest primeval.” They used fire to shape their environment for their own benefit. They burned forests to clear land for cultivation, to create pathways to control the migration of bison and other game, and to promote the growth of trees more useful for them.

And today we continue to improve cultivation techniques and foods to make them more reliable, abundant, and nutritious, not to mention more various and safe. We have been so successful at managing our food supply that today one person out of ten provides food that used to require nine out of ten, obesity has become the plague of poverty, and famines result from political dysfunction rather than nature.

That’s why untouched nature, the wild forests filled with predators, has not been our home. The cultivated nature improved by our creative minds has. True environmentalism is not nature love, but nature management: applying skill and technique to make nature more useful for humans, at the same time conserving resources so that those who come after us will be able to survive. Managing resources and exploiting them for our benefit without destroying them is how we should approach the natural world. We should not squander resources or degrade them, not because of nature, but because when we do so, we are endangering the well-being of ourselves and future generations.

The great irony is that our current indulgence in worn-out myths is made possible by the technologies that protect us from nature’s cruel indifference to our existence. Freed from the drudgery of agricultural work, where nature’s famines and droughts were a constant reminder of its inhumanity, we can demonize the very science and technology that have created the material paradise in which we in the West live. Only the well-fed and comfortable have the luxury of seeking psychic solace from the dream of an untouched mother nature and the supposedly simple, more authentic life she once provided our ancestors.

Using nature for therapeutic solace by visiting national parks or watching Disney movies like Bambi or Pocahontas is not a problem. But turning a taste in recreation or entertainment into public policy, and then claiming the policy is based on science and so is unquestionable, endangers the well-being of other human beings less affluent than us. Demonizing genetically modified foods or carbon-based energy on dodgy science worsens the lives of billions of people across the globe. Such behavior bespeaks the selfish rich, who enjoy the comforts of coal-fired electric plants and abundant, nutritious food. It also reveals something else uniquely human: moral idiocy.

As the current wildfires incinerating the West Coast show, indulgence in myth sometimes endangers us too. Rather than idealizing nature to soothe the anxieties that attend the benefits of our high-tech urban civilization, we need to go back to what humans have been doing since the Stone Age: managing and conserving nature’s resources so that they provide benefits for humans now and in the future. After all, nature’s value doesn’t even exist without the human beings who give it that value, whether as resources to develop, or beauty to admire.

Thank You Mr Thornton and FPM.

WOMP! WOMP! DNC's Tom Perez Prepares Democrats For Losses

Daily Wire
Ryan Saavedra
August 17, 2018

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez spoke to a small group of Democrats in Tennessee this week and seemed to lower their expectations for how the upcoming midterms elections would pan out, telling them not to give up if it "doesn't work this time."

"And you know what folks, I'd ask you one more thing; you know if it doesn't work this time, I hope you'll keep doing it," Perez told the small gathering.

"I met a lot of folks who are now in the Virginia House of Delegates, one of whom lost by 52 votes the first time around, she immediately declared the next year and her opponent retired, he didn't want to have a rematch," Perez said. "So I hope you'll be persistent because I hope you'll all win now but I hope you're all thinking about this as a long-term investment."

Perez's remarks come as two Tennessee Republicans — Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn and businessman Bill Lee — are leading their Democratic counterparts in their races for U.S. Senate and the state's governorship, respectively.

Thank You Mr Saavedra and the Daily Wire. 

"And you know what folks, I'd ask you one more thing; you know if it doesn't work this time, I hope you'll keep doing it," Perez told the small gathering. 

So do we Tom. Keep backing your losing horse. 

Keep running your Losing play.

How Venezuela's Crisis Developed And Worsened

Democratic Socialist Ocasio-Cortez Bans Media From Town Hall Events

Natalia Mittelstadt | August 17, 2018 | 5:02 PM EDT

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old Democrat congressional candidate for New York’s 14th district, banned the media from her “listening tour” events at Corona on Sunday and the Bronx last Wednesday, according to Queens Chronicle.

The press ban came after a Bronx community meeting Ocasio-Cortez had last Tuesday with healthcare activist Ady Barkan. Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign manager, Virginia Ramos Rios, said that they were “mobbed” by reporters, “even though we said no Q&A and no one-on-one [interviews].”

“We wanted to help create a space where community members felt comfortable and open to express themselves without the distraction of cameras and press. These were the first set of events where the press has been excluded,” said Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign spokesman, Corbin Trent. “This is an outlier and will not be the norm. We’re still adjusting our logistics to fit Alexandria’s national profile.”

According to Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter, the “listening tour” events are “intended for lively, compassionate discourse with a diversity of viewpoints.” 


She tweeted that, at the Corona event, she and the attendees “talked about race, immigration, healthcare, disability rights and housing.”

Ocasio-Cortez, who says she is a Democratic Socialist, supports, among other things, Medicare for All, a Federal Jobs Guarantee, Abolish ICE, Support LGBTQIA+, Gun Control, a Peace Economy, End Private Prisons, and Mobilizing Against Climate Change.

Thank You Ms Middlestadt and CNS. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Management Researcher With 16 Retractions Has New Professorship

Retraction Watch

Ulrich Lichtenthaler, a management professor who has had to retract 16 papers for data irregularities, has a new position in academia.

According to a news release from the International School of Management (ISM), a business school based in Germany, Lichtenthaler has been appointed Professor of Business Management and Entrepreneurship at the Cologne campus. Lichtenthaler is also taking over as one of the directors of the Entrepreneurship Institute at ISM, which conducts research in the field.

Lichtenthaler’s name may be familiar to readers: After journals retracted more than a dozen of his articles, he resigned from a previous post at the University of Mannheim in 2015.
We emailed Lichtenthaler to ask if he had disclosed his history to his new employers; he forwarded the email to ISM’s head of marketing and sales, who told us:

Dr. Ulrich Lichtenthaler has been appointed Professor at International School of Management (ISM), effective as of March 1st, 2018. The appointment is based on a due appointment process. This process is by standard subject to examination by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. Prior discrepancies and retracted publications of Dr. Ulrich Lichtenthaler were known in advance to the appointment process.
In 2013, the WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management, where he earned his PhD, withdrew Lichtenthaler’s teaching qualifications; we asked the ISM spokesperson if that affects his current position. She told us:
[ISM] is an application-focused University of Applied Sciences, putting emphasis on practice-oriented teaching. In this regard, Dr. Ulrich Lichtenthaler has specific expertise in business practice and high qualities in teaching.
She added:
ISM is a ’Fachhochschule’ (University of Applied Sciences), which is within the German educational system distinct from a ‘Universität’ (Research University). Appointment criteria for a ‘Fachhochschule’ as compared to a ‘Universität’ are primarily a PhD degree, experience in business practice and experience in teaching. A ‘Habilitation’ (Venia Legendi or Teaching License, as you referred to) is not required at a ‘Fachhochschule’.
His new appointment has caused some reactions; one commenter on a site about jobs in economics wrote:
holy s**t… wtf… fake or real?
When Joel West, a professor at the Keck Graduate Institute in Claremont, Calif., announced the appointment on Twitter, one reader said he was “gobsmacked.”

West told us that, since he learned about Lichtenthaler’s appointment, he’s heard a “range of reactions” from people in the field:
It’s just really frustrating. Even when you have a well document case of serial academic fraud, that it’s not disqualifying for another position in academia.
Lichtenthaler’s past caused some collateral damage: In 2015, one of his frequent co-authors and head of a department at WHU — Otto Beisheim School of Management was charged with “severe scientific misconduct” for not spotting many of the issues with Lichtenthaler’s work.

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Thank You Ms McCook and Retraction Watch.

New Study Investigates The Negative Side Effects of Therapy

Rebecca Troeger August 15, 2018

A study led by Dr. Schermuly-Haupt of the Psychosomatic Rehabilitation Research Group at Charité University Medicine Berlin examines the prevalence of side effects for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The researchers, whose results were published in Cognitive Therapy and Research, found that 43% of CBT patients in their sample experienced side effects, which they define as “negative reactions to an appropriately delivered treatment.”

“Knowledge about the side effect profile [of psychotherapy] can improve early recognition of side effects, safeguard patients, and enhance therapy outcome,” the researchers write.

Researchers have long recognized that psychotherapy has positive as well as negative consequences. Estimates of side effect (SE) rates for psychotherapy vary from 5% to 20% of cases. One such side effect — deterioration of symptoms due to therapy — has been found to occur in 3 to 10% of patients. Psychological distress and marital/family conflict are two common side effects of treatment; others include the appearance of new symptoms, suicidality, stigmatization, and tension or changes in a patient’s social relationships.

Despite historical recognition of psychotherapy’s side effects, there is currently little data on their features and rate of occurrence. Dr. Schermuly-Haupt and colleagues sought to address this gap. They interviewed one hundred CBT therapists, asking them to describe “unwanted events” (UEs) experienced by a recent patient who had undergone 10 or more sessions of CBT.

Therapists were prompted to distinguish between unwanted events (i.e., any unwanted event that occurs during therapy, which may or may not be related to the therapy), adverse treatment reactions (i.e., an unwanted event related to treatment), and side effects (i.e. an unwanted event related to treatment that met “professional standards”) through the use of an Unwanted Events-Adverse Treatment Reactions Checklist, which differentiates between these treatment reaction categories.

The researchers found a curious discrepancy between the percentages of side effects identified by psychotherapists who were first asked for a “spontaneous report,” versus the percentage later identified during interviews when the various categories of unwanted events were “systematically evoke[d]” through use of the checklist. Initially, 74% of therapists stated that they didn’t know of any UEs or SEs that had occurred during treatment.

After the structured interview, however, therapists reported that 43% of patients experienced one or more SE (Average .57, SD = .81). This difference in reported side effects may point to a blind spot on the part of psychotherapists, which perhaps owes to difficulty recognizing one’s ability to harm, as well as a lack of training and awareness about psychotherapy’s adverse side effects.

The most commonly reported side effects included “negative well-being/distress,” “deterioration of symptoms,” and “strains in family relations.” According to qualitative data, examples of “negative well-being/distress” included crying uncontrollably in session, discomfort, and fear when engaging in interventions in session (e.g., exposure activities, role plays), difficulty discussing specific topics, and strong feelings experienced in response to the therapist (e.g. anger, tension, stress, and anxiety).

Examples of family strain that emerged as a result of treatment included a spouse who was distressed after his wife became less attentive and took more time for herself after being in therapy and a client who felt guilt and sadness after choosing to distance herself from a parent.

The authors note that there is some debate regarding whether “ordinary reactions” to CBT, such as the distress reactions and changes in patients’ social relationships described above, should be characterized as side effects, particularly since they may be essential to successful treatment outcomes. They argue that even though these responses “may be unavoidable, justified, or even needed or intended,” they should nevertheless be categorized as side effects. These side effects, although “unavoidable” and even “intended,” should be studied and should serve as motivation to develop treatments that “are better tolerated,” they write.

The authors also note that although the majority of the side effects identified in their study were rated as mild to moderate (59.6%) and not lasting (89.6%), over 40% of side effects were classified as severe or very severe, and 8.8% were persistent. Reflecting on these findings, they conclude, “Psychotherapy is not harmless.”

The study has several limitations. As psychotherapists reported side effects, reports may have been influenced by therapist bias; the authors suggest that future studies use a blend of stories from patients, therapists, and outside interviewers. The study’s sample was composed of patients with various diagnoses, and as such, results would likely be different in a more homogenous sample, or with a different form of therapy. Additionally, as approximately half of the patients whose cases were reported on in the study were taking psychotropic drugs, and it is thus impossible to rule out the effect of medication on the observed side effects.

The authors hope that the results of their study will increase psychotherapists’ awareness of treatment side effects and that this will contribute to improved care. In alignment with the recent call for an enhanced psychotherapy informed consent process, the authors also state that their data can be used to strengthen informed consent in psychotherapy, as well as to support “risk monitoring” throughout treatment.


Schermuly-Haupt, M. L., Linden, M., & Rush, A. J. (2018). Unwanted Events and Side Effects in Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 42(3), 219-229. (Link)

Thank You Ms Troeger and MIA, BUT, . . . .

With all due respect we Do realize people are trying to 'fix' this broken system.

It Can't be fixed.

Defund it, completely. Shut it down with a 6 week grace period for its practioners to Close up shop and quit the biz.

On Day One of week 7, write out the arrest warrants and indictments and round up everyone still engaged in it.

Trump Isn't Done With Tax Cuts

Julio Gonzalez
Posted: Aug 17, 2018 12:01 AM

Thanks to President Trump, Christmas will come twice for Floridians this year— if “Tax Cuts 2.0” can make it through Congress by December.

Floridians are already enjoying the benefits of President Trump’s first tax plan enacted at the beginning of this year, but Congressional Republicans are currently drafting new legislation to make those changes to our tax code permanent, along with some additional improvements.

Florida is perhaps the number one showcase of how President Trump’s tax plan is benefiting Americans. Dozens of businesses in our state have either increased salaries, raised hourly wages, or awarded employees one-time bonuses of $1,000 or more.

For cities in Florida like Jacksonville, the tax plan has resulted in an unemployment rate of a near all-time low of 3.1 percent. Despite the destruction of Hurricane Irma, Florida added nearly 200,000 jobs in 2017 alone, and our state’s overall unemployment rate is at the lowest level in over a decade.

Nearly four million American jobs have been created nationwide since November 2016, with one million created since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law earlier this year. In addition to unemployment being at the lowest point in decades, job openings are at a record high. More than 213,000 new jobs were added in June, adding to the 6.5 million job openings for the month — marking the first time that there have been more job openings than job seekers since 2000.

And thanks to a doubling of the standard deduction and lower tax rates, 90 percent of Americans saw bigger paychecks this year.

But President Trump believes the progress shouldn’t stop there.

That’s why Republicans in Washington are pushing for “Tax Cuts 2.0” this fall. While the first tax package reduced the individual tax rates, some of those provisions are set to expire in the coming years. The new tax package could make some of those cuts permanent.

To provide the economy another boost, President Trump recently said, “One of the things I'm thinking about is bringing the 21% [corporate tax rate] down to 20%,” adding it would provide a “great stimulus.”

Finally, the 2.0 legislation would encourage Americans to save more. A new reportfound that 65 percent of Americans save little to nothing at all, causing problems in their retirement.

However, none of this will happen if obstructionist politicians like Senator Bill Nelson stay in office. He will undoubtedly resist any efforts to put more money in the pockets of Floridians.

Nelson voted against the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, saying, "It's going to give a few nuggets to the middle class…” Yet, we just learned that our economy grew at a pace of 4.1 percent for the first time in years, on track for an annual growth rate of over 3 percent. In the wake of tremendous economic news, tax cuts opponents like Senator Nelson will have a tough time arguing they were right about the historic Trump tax plan that is producing epic results.

But wait, it gets worse. During his tenure in the Senate, Nelson proposed a job killing energy tax hike, voted against the Bush tax cuts, and voted over 300 times in favor of raising taxes and fees.

At nearly every turn, Senator Bill Nelson betrays Floridians by voting to increase their taxes — stifling business growth and job creation in the process. But what can you expect from someone who voted with President Obama 98 percent of the time?

Tax cuts are one of the best ways government can get out of the way of job producers and job seekers. They’re predicated on the simple notion that you spend your money better than Washington does.

This will undoubtedly help reverse the poverty and inequities that have plagued our country over the past decade and allow everyone to participate in the American dream.

Let’s do tax cuts and secure new leadership for Florida to lock in this extraordinary progress for good. 

Thank You Mr Gonzolez and Townhall 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Trump Refuses To Hand Over $2B Pledge To UN Climate Change Fruitcakes

Climate Home News
Published on

The future of the UN’s major climate fund hangs in the balance, with a looming cash shortfall and a boardroom locked in conflict.

That is the assessment of international green leader Frank Rijsberman, in the most candid high-profile interview on the Green Climate Fund (GCF) since its board meeting collapsed last month.

Rijsberman is head of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), which elected former UN chief Ban Ki-moon as its president this year. The GGGI has worked closely with the GCF to help developing countries bypass development banks and gain “direct access” to climate finance. He told Climate Home News he wanted the fund to succeed but it faced “massive challenges”.

Its most pressing issue was the need to convince governments to put in more cash, when the projects approved for grants or loans so far have barely started work.

“They need a replenishment faster than they will be able to show results, meaning they will have to be replenished based on goodwill and intent, which is difficult,” said Rijsberman.

Tensions between rich and poor country board members came to a head in July as they tried – and failed – to agree a process for raising fresh funds.
The GCF in numbers
Governments promised $10.3 billion in start-up capital, but Donald Trump is refusing to deliver $2bn of the US pledge. The pot has lost another $1bn in value due to currency fluctuations.
The board has committed $3.5bn to 74 projects worldwide. That leaves $2.8bn to play with. At the recent rate of approvals, that could be used up within a year. Drumming up a new round of pledges is expected to take at least that long.
Last year just $144.7m was disbursed. The target for 2018 was $900m, but the fund has stopped reporting this metric on its portfolio dashboard. Instead, it publishes the more flattering value of projects “under implementation”, which stands at $1.4bn.
But the fund’s problems run deeper than the immediate cash crunch, says Rijsberman, due to its unique governance structure. A core principle of the GCF is to give developed and developing countries an equal say in board meetings, unlike donor-driven funds. Their divergent interests in how best to invest makes conflict all but inevitable.
“A normal board comes together to run the organisation and the only interest they have is the good of the organisation and the mission of the organisation,” said Rijsberman.

National board representatives are typically drawn from the ranks of climate negotiators. “Here a lot of the political discussions [from UN climate talks] spill over into the board, which makes the board extremely difficult to work with,” he said.

Decisions are made by consensus, which gives every board member veto power. “If the consensus is not coming forward for some reason, you actually block the entire fund,” explained Liane Schalatek, a regular observer from the Heinrich Boell Foundation.
This has proved unwieldy, with many policy decisions deferred due to lack of consensus. Proposed alternative ways of decision-making have likewise been blocked.

Where there are policy gaps, staff from the fund secretariat improvise, an official from a development bank told CHN. “They are making stuff up as they go along, due to lack of clear guidance from the board,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“A full root-and-branch assessment is now needed” before governments put in any more money, the source added. “Contributors can’t sign blank cheques. Everyone knows that.”
Analysis: 8 takeaways from the Green Climate Fund meltdown
Through this turbulent time, the fund secretariat is rudderless. Executive director Howard Bamsey quit with immediate effect at the board meeting, citing ‘personal reasons’.

The board has started to look for a successor to Bamsey, a fund spokesperson said, but has not yet advertised the job. Deputy chief Javier Manzanares is running the show until a permanent replacement is found.

In the past, the fund has struggled with recruitment to its headquarters in Songdo, South Korea. Bamsey’s replacement will have the sensitive tasks of fundraising, fixing governance and administrative problems while navigating boardroom politics.

Bamsey once held Rijsberman’s position at the GGGI, but the Dutchman ruled himself out. “‘Why would you think I would be interested?… I think it’s extremely difficult to get anything done,” he said. “I don’t know of any other similar mechanism where the board have so much overbearing influence on everything. So the freedom, the flexibility, the authority of the secretariat is extremely limited.”
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The fund’s troubles come in a critical year for UN climate talks, with ministers due to finalise the rulebook for the Paris Agreement in December and discuss how to ramp up action.

UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa told the Thomson Reuters Foundation “it will impact on the general atmosphere” if the GCF cannot resolve some of its issues by then. She offered no specific suggestions for reform, but urged finance ministries to get involved in the discussion.
That echoed a plea for political intervention from Laurence Tubiana, a key architect of the Paris Agreement, in an article for the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The French diplomat, who now leads the European Climate Foundation, stressed the GCF’s unique role in helping the world’s poor tackle climate change.

“The GCF was born for a reason. Poor countries lack faith in the multilateral development banks. This was the fund to solve that. And while projects aren’t being funded fast enough, those that have been funded have been innovative and impactful,” she wrote.

She called for investment in the fund’s board and the appointment of a strong director to make it “effective and decisive”.

Rijsberman said that, despite the fund’s importance, there are high-level conversations being held contemplating the failure of the fund to fulfil its mandate.

Personally, he said, he wants to remain optimistic. “I don’t want to contemplate that it will fail because it is such a critical part of what the world needs right now.”

 Thank You