If you passed your boards with a D+, and can sign your name, you possess all the credentials required for this job

If you passed your boards with a D+, and can sign your name, you possess all the credentials required for this job


From a recently posted Craigslist ad…


We are a collection agency/debt buyer. What we are looking for is a part time attorney to work for us as our corporate counsel, on our payroll, about 5 to 6 hours a week. This is a short term employment arrangement, no longer than 90 to 120 days.

Your job will be to sign pleadings, praecipe for entry of appearances, praecipe for writ of execution, and garnishment orders. Our paralegal will prepare all paperwork for your signature. This is very standard stuff for us.

If you are an attorney looking for challenging legal work, this is not for you. WE DO NOT NEED F LEE BAILEY- we are fee shopping. If you passed your boards with a D+, and you can sign your name, you possess all the credentials required for this job. If this opportunity interests you, please feel free to reply to this email with a brief description of who you are, when you got your law license, and what you will be needing from us in the way of compensation.


I wonder if this is a division of LPS?

No wonder why everything is so FUBAR’ed


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It’s Impossible For Governments To Grow Their Way Back To Solvency

While it might seem like somewhat stating the obvious, it is nonetheless worth driving home to the politicians and public policy wonks who see rates at record lows and perceive a Keynesian borrow-and-spend-fest as once again the solution to borrowing-and-spending too much. As Morgan Stanley puts it, fiscal policy is sailing between the Scylla of chase-your-tail austerity and the Charybdis of sovereign insolvency. In short, it is impossible for developed market (DM) governments to grow their way back to solvency. Doing nothing would sail governments towards the whirlpool of national insolvency – at some stage. But avoiding insolvency would risk being monstered by recession. If ‘expansionary austerity’ worked, then Europe would now be booming. The outlook for fiscal policy and public sector finances is a major uncertainty for investors and, critically, is part of the reason why risky assets are being de-rated and ‘safe’ assets are at unprecedented valuations.


Morgan Stanley:The Strait of Mess

Fiscal policy is sailing between the Scylla of chase-your-tail austerity and the Charybdis of sovereign insolvency. It may be possible – with perfect foresight, untrammeled authority, tolerant markets, accommodating central banks and a disregard for political pressure – to navigate between these two threats. History suggests otherwise. Either way, this adds what is likely to be a long-running element of political and financial risk to the investment outlook. Markets are reacting by increasing the rating on ‘safe’ assets, and de-rating riskier assets, including equities.

Most DM governments are essentially broke. Of course, governments are not businesses, so the usual rules do not apply. But it seems that the net present value of governments’ liabilities – including the commitments embodied in current social security policies – exceed the net present value of their assets (including yet-to-be collected tax receipts). Exhibit 1 shows estimates of the (negative) net worth of some G-10 governments, relative to current-day GDP.

Three factors have contributed to this structural problem.

First, the great recession and its aftermath reduced governments’ expected receipts. As is typical after major crises, GDP does not return to its pre-crisis trajectory and trend growth is lower. Exhibit 2, from my colleague Arnaud Mares, shows a stylized version of this pattern, overlaid with the actual OECD GDP through the current cycle, with Morgan Stanley forecasts. The gap between the pre- and post-crisis trend for GDP accounts for a permanent loss of public sector income.


Second, the great recession led to great swap of debt from the private to the public sector. For example, the IMF estimates that government support to financial institutions has been over US$1.7tr, increasing public sector debt by almost 7% of GDP for the countries offering support. As an aside, because debt has been swapped, rather than reduced, aggregate debt in many economies is now higher (relative to GDP) than in 2008.

The third factor is largely unconnected to the current cycle: the escalating cost of ageing and health care. This crystallizes the contingent liabilities embodied in current welfare policies.


In short, it is impossible for governments to grow their way back to solvency. Doing nothing would sail governments towards the whirlpool of national insolvency – at some stage. That may be some time away, although for Europe, the near-term risks are greater, because of its peculiar institutional structure. Exhibit 3 shows the IMF’s estimate of the fiscal tightening required by 2020 to stabilize debt. The figures are changes in public sector primary budget balances (the budget excluding interest charges) as a percent of GDP, with and without the cost of ageing and health care.


But avoiding insolvency would risk being monstered by recession. If ‘expansionary austerity’ worked, then Europe would now be booming. Instead, austerity reduces growth, weakens the private sector (including banks), and ultimately damages the fiscal position it was intended to correct. Taken to extreme, this chase-your-tail tightening leads not to recession, but depression. When there is spare capacity – like now – fiscal changes pack a powerful punch. The IMF estimates that spending changes have multiplier of around 1¼ (Exhibit 4).

A few points:

First, this is largely a developed-economy problem. IMF estimates suggest only modest tightening is required by major emerging economies to stabilize public debt to GDP.


Second, as Arnaud Mares puts it, there is no question that negative-net-worth governments will impose a cost on the private sector. The only questions are when and how. The options are asset confiscation, explicit default, surreptitious default (financial oppression), or conventional fiscal tightening.


Third, how that cost is allocated has significant investment implications, but is inherently a political decision. Investors may hope for an outcome that minimizes financial pain, but history suggests that decision-makers minimize political pain.


Fourth, Europe is struggling to balance medium-term solvency and short-term cycle strength; the looming fiscal cliff in the US will test whether US policy-makers are more adept.


Finally, the outlook for fiscal policy and public sector finances is a major uncertainty for investors. It is part of the reason why risky assets are being de-rated and ‘safe’ assets are at unprecedented valuations. Exhibit 5 shows an index of policy uncertainty and the average US Treasury and German bund 10-year yield (inverted in the chart, so the line goes up as the yield falls). Yields have fallen as uncertainty has risen. To the extent that uncertainty about fiscal persists – and this seems set to be a structural risk – it reinforces our view that in future the valuation on risk assets will be structurally lower than the average of the past 20-30 years.



Source: Morgan Stanley

Guest Post: Fukushima – Local Children Unwitting (And Unwilling) Radioactive Guinea Pigs

Submitted by John C.K. Daly of OilPrice.com,


Seventeen months after the earthquake and tsunami that destroyed the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s six–reactor complex at its Fukushima Daiichi, discussions continue about the possible effects of the radiation “dusting” the prefecture’s inhabitants received, and their consequences.
Far outside most media coverage, 2012 is shaping up to be the media battleground between the massed proponents of the ongoing ‘safety’ of nuclear power, as opposed to a motley coalition of environmentalists, renegade nuclear scientists and anti-nuclear opponents, largely bereft of media contact.

The 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami double punch that effectively destroyed Tokyo Electric Power Company’s power plant complex has effectively become the newest “ground zero” in the debate over nuclear power. Advocates pro and con debate the implications of everything from the amount of damage to the release of radionuclides to the long term health effects on the Japanese population.
The stakes are high – quite aside from Japan’s multi-billion dollar investment in civilian nuclear energy, dating back to the 1960s, there remains the issues of Fukushima’s radioactive debris polluting neighbours.
All sides in the debate are playing for massive stakes, with the Japanese government and the nuclear industry broadly indicating the issue is under control. Accordingly, every issue from the amount of radiation released to the long term health consequences of the Fukushima disaster are subject to acrimonious debate.
That said, there is an involuntary irradiated “test” Fukushima group monitored since March 2011 displaying disturbing health abnormalities that may ultimately decide the debate, should the global media report it, forcing governments to debate its consequences.
The children of Fukushima.
The issue of nuclear radiation on human health cites besides Fukushima the August 1945 U.S nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the April 1986 explosion of the Chernobyl reactor complex in Ukraine, but in reality, there are no comparisons to evaluate Fukushima.
The 1945 U.S. Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings were weapon “air bursts,” raising no nuclear debris from the ground. Furthermore, the Japanese medical establishment had no experience with the problem and when U.S. military forces arrived over a month later, information about the human cost of the bombings was censored for decades. Showing pictures of destroyed buildings, okay – showing victims with kimono patterns seared into their skin, no.
As for Chernobyl, the 26 April 1986 catastrophe represented a major black eye for Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev’s “glasnost” policy. Thanks to the heroic efforts of Soviet emergency workers, the Chernobyl smoking nuclear roman candle burned for nine days before being extinguished.
In contrast, Fukushima Daiichi has been like a suppurating wound, leaching radionuclides into the environment since March 2011, and since then furious arguments have swirled about not only how much radiation Fukushima released, but the potential long term health consequences.
But both disputes ultimately devolve into pure speculation.
Only two months ago TEPCO stated that the Fukushima debacle may have released twice as much radioactivity than Japan’s government initially estimated.
Accordingly, how can anyone estimate long term health effects when actual exposure rates are unknown?
That said, scientists do have a well defined test group – the population of Fukushima Prefecture surrounding the stricken NPP.
And the sixth report of the Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey, which was released in April, revealed after the survey examined 38,114 local children that 36 percent of Fukushima children have abnormal thyroid growths.

The Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey revealed that 13,460 children, or 35.3 percent, had thyroid cysts or nodules up to 0.197 inches long growing on their thyroids and 0.5 percent of the children had growths larger than 0.197 inches.

So, why might this be significant? According to the American Thyroid Association (ATA), thyroid problems from nuclear events occur when radioactive iodine is leaked into the atmosphere and thyroid cells that absorb too much of this radioactive iodine may become cancerous, with children being particularly susceptible.

Furthermore, the ATA reports noted that thyroid cancer “seems to be the only cancer whose incidence rises after a radioactive iodine release” and that that babies and children are at highest risk. The estimated lifetime radiation doses among the children are still low, but they do exist, the Japan’s National Institute of Radiological Sciences stated at a10 July international symposium in Chiba Prefecture.
Who cares about such an arcane issue? Well, the National Institute of Radiological Sciences conclusions refute the government’s assertion that Japanese children in effect received zero thyroid radiation doses from Fukushima.
Re Fukushima children’s health, the news just gets better. Two months ago Tokyo Shinbum reported that 60 percent of Fukushima children under 12 have tested positive for diabetes, according to Dr. Miura, the director of Iwase’s general hospital.
Why, possibly?
Because the Strontium-90 radioactive isotope quickly decays to become Yttrium-90, which can concentrate in the pancreas, causing pancreatic cancer or diabetes. That said, while noting the abnormality, Dr. Miura declined to link it to Fukushima radiation exposure.
So, where does the Japanese government go from here?

It might do worse than to follow the advice of Australian pediatrician Dr. Helen Caldicott, who after observing that “It is extremely rare to find cysts and thyroid nodules in children,” added that “you would not expect abnormalities to appear so early – within the first year or so – therefore one can assume that they must have received a high dose of (radiation)” before concluding, “it is impossible to know, from what (Japanese officials) are saying, what these lesions are.”

Calidcott also noted that Japanese officials are not sharing the ultrasound results with foremost experts of thyroid nodules in children before noting, “The data should be made available. And they should be consulting with international experts ASAP. And the lesions on the ultrasounds should all be biopsied and they’re not being biopsied. And if they’re not being biopsied then that’s ultimate medical irresponsibility. Because if some of these children have cancer and they’re not treated they’re going to die.”

Nothing to see here, move along – unless your child is part of that 35.3 percentile.

Still, something for Westerners to think about the next time their government promotes building a nuclear power plant nearby – or if you live close to an existing one.

Spot The Naval Hot Zone

‘Things’ appear to be hotting up in a couple of places around the world. While the Middle East’s incessant instability only grows worse; the following clip from Stratfor sheds light on the ‘discussion’ that is occurring in the middle of the Pacific with the Chinese and the Phillipines over potential energy rights. Nothing to see here, move along.



And on the Chinese maritime ‘excursion’…


And Iran and Syria…

Source: Stratfor

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