Healthcare

Israel – myths and realities

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You’ll never understand Israel until you visit it. Almost everything you read in the media is a falsehood. Nadav Tamir, former advisor to the late Prime Minister Shimon Peres, sarcastically quipped this week, “if Moses had possessed GPS there is no way he would have picked Israel as it is the only place in the Middle East without oil.” It might explain why this nation has had to work so hard to be innovative in order to survive. It has no natural resources. It had to invent drip irrigation so it could turn the arid chalky soil into fertile green pastures. Much of the technology inside your smart phone was designed in Israel. Household names Intel, Microsoft and Apple have all established their core R&D centers in the tiny nation state. Israelis are pragmatic and know too well that necessity is the mother of invention. Perhaps the great grandmother might be more apt.

It is perhaps one of the best kept secrets in the world. Sadly also one of the most misreported countries on the planet. Make that the most. Israel wants peace with its neighbors. Yet the mainstream media will not report the fact that Israeli hospitals are treating wounded Syrian troops of Assad as CM writes, The media won’t report that the local Druze population is livid that their fellow Israelis are doing this. Where are the media reporting the fact that hospitals not far from the Gaza Strip are caring for children who can’t get proper access to medical attention because Hamas is only concerned with spending on more rockets and building tunnels using the supplies given to it by the people supposedly oppressing it? Unfortunately the press seem to be stuck in the “if it bleeds, it leads” narrative.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has launched a program of soft force. PM Benjamin Netanyahu launched a website in Farsi with full details of how to overcome drought gripping Iran through drip irrigation for free. While Iran shouts “Death to Israel”, Israelis shout, “we want to give life to the Iranian people.” Who is the aggressor? The Foreign Ministry is also gaining huge traction with Iraqis with an Arabic Facebook page discussing Iraqi-Jewish history. It launched in May 2018 and has 34,000 followers. Israel believes that the ‘digital embassy’ is an impactful way to get around the hatred often espoused by the regimes.

Then people miss out on news of amazing people like Tanya Oziel,  CEO of the Trans Tasman Business Circle who led a delegation from Australia & NZ to investigate tech fusion in Israel. Tanya, a Sydney based Jew of Iraqi origin, is someone of such passion and foresight that she arranged for AFL legends like Ron Barrassi to come to Israel to train local and Palestinian kids to play a game with a ball they’d never seen in mixed teams. All of a sudden the noise of the two peoples supposedly at each other’s throats was replaced by a sense of common purpose. While some of the Palestinian kids have been pilloried by some quarters in their community they still remain actively engaged with Tanya. They look beyond the hateful rhetoric so often fueled by the media. She has every right to be proud. The idea that this is some sort of jackbooted police state is engaged in apartheid and genocide is patently untrue.

Apartheid is a strange word to be used in an Israeli context. In a tiny country of just under 8 million citizens, the country’s 1.5 million Arabs, whatever challenges they may face enjoy full freedoms, voting rights and serve in the Knesset and the Supreme Court. Ask yourself how many Jews serve in any capacity (much less live) in Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Iraq, Algeria or many other countries? Egypt had 75,000 Jews once upon a time. Algeria 140,000, Iraq 135,000 Jews. Syria 30,000 Jews. Next to none now. Where is the apatheid? Where are their Jews?

Palestine is often a point of deep criticism. At the time of the State of Israel in 1948, 90% of Palestinian Arabs lived in Transjordan. A movement to create a Palestinian state never existed at the time. In fact it wasn’t until 1964 that the PLO was first established at a time the West Bank belonged to Jordan.

What is conveniently forgotten is that of the c.4mn refugees scattered across 60-odd refugee camps, the Palestinians have automatic rights to Jordanian citizenship yet they only covet Israel. Even though 21 Arab nations share a common language, they won’t offer asylum to Palestinian refugees which seems rather calculated. It provides a convenient excuse to maintain hostilities to Israel using the suffering of Palestinians as the bait.

Jordan doesn’t actively push Palestinians to take up citizenship which is their right to do so. While Israel remains an open, democratic and multi-ethnic society the PA has proven itself to be an intolerant, corrupt and self-serving dictatorship which has little interest in serving its constituents as the comptroller of its first ever audit revealed. International aid money lined the pockets of the leaders of the PLO. The French money laundering authorities discovered that Arafat’s wife’s bank account had amassed $3bn over 20 years. It is ironic that most of the original founders of the PLO didn’t live in the Palestinian Mandate when Israel was created. Arafat was born in Egypt. 

How is it that the army of Jordan’s King Hussein murdered thousands of PLO militants in 1970 yet the PLO has never called for the overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy? How is that even with the Oslo peace process coming into effect in 1993 that the PLO carried out 4,000 attacks till 1999. The Israelis so desperate (under Ehud Barak of all people) for peace gave the PLO 95% of their territorial demands yet they still kept up the attacks killing more than 1,000 Israelis, a total exceeding the previous 25 years combined. 

Arafat was presented with an outcome he did not want – peace with the State of Israel. Despite this serious peace offering Arafat accelerated the intifada. These are sad truths.

We need only look at the siege of Masada, the tale of the final revolt of the Jews against the Romans in 73CE. It truly points to the stoic nature we see today. Despite burning the citadel atop Masada and the killing of their families to evade capture, the Jews left the grain and food stores untouched as a way to tell the invaders that they were never at risk of starving but preferred death to being bonded in slavery. It typifies their pride and refusal to submit to persecution.

Jerusalem, the nation’s capitol, holds deep significance as it has been for millennia. CM’s grandfather stood by the Western Wall in 1940. The Jewish people who saw his picture felt a sense of deep gratitude that he helped defend her. The walls were built around the summit of Mount Moriah, where biblically, Abraham offered his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. In 1948, the Jordanians took control of the wall and it was only in 1967 that Jews were able to pray at the foot of the Temple Mount again. To witness prayers on the Sabbath is something powerful. There is not one whiff of hatred. The chants, songs and prayers resonate throughout the walls. There is nothing but love in what they do. There is no extrapolation of the ancient texts to take extreme measures to murder in the name of their religion.

To witness Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the one city, one can honestly sense and feel similarities than differences. Think of the prophets. Abraham to the Jews was known as Ibrahim to the Muslims. Same for David/Daoud, Mary/Miriam and so on. Indeed if the Jews were as intolerant, racist and deranged as made out surely they would use the pretext to flatten the Al Aqsa mosque built over the Temple Mount ruins and restore it to its former glory.

Modern day history has been tough for Jews. The horrors of the Holocaust are documented at Yad Vashem. Trans Tasman Business Circle leader Johnny Weiss told the tale of how one of the guides showed a series of pictures of supposedly murdered Jews. One of them was his mother who is still alive at the ripe age of 94. What is more amazing is that she cut the guide off to say that “You are wrong. I know that girl is still alive. She is me!” After revealing her tattoo the entire tour group were floored by the revelation. Powerful beyond words. Living history as it were.

So when people wonder why the Jewish state take such measures against those that threaten to “drive them all into the sea” forgive them for doing their best to protect themselves. The last time they did not push back, 6 million died. It has taken 70 years to replenish those stocks. 70 years!

CM could go through the depths of innovation that was the key tenet of this tour. The sheer intelligence of those kids who learn advanced computer coding from age 7. We could discuss a 35 year old university doctor who has over 20 patents to his name but there is so much more to Israel. Its history has forced it to be the most advanced nation on earth. The start up nation is exactly that. When PM Benjamin Netanyahu says “we want your business” at a cyber conference speaking of the $50bn sunk cost in critical cyber infrastructure in the Negev Desert, he means it!

To sum up two weeks in Israel with this simplistic blog doesn’t do it justice. Israel is a proud country. Often brutally direct. Israelis will argue that if you think you’re the smartest in the room then it is time to change rooms. They are confident in their future because they back themselves explicitly. Failure is a good thing. Failing big is even better. Israelis think that experience is a hard teacher: they get the test first and the lesson afterwards. They believe that hard work, persistence and thinking outside the box is what counts. The education ecosystem breeds brilliance. There is no other word for it. This is deeply cultural and exceptionally hard to master.

Perhaps the highlight (there were too many to count) from the trip came on the final day. A photographer at a Tel Aviv flea market showed a picture (above) he took which chronicled a security checkpoint in 1990. The Israeli soldier and Palestinian female look tired of the situation. Things are not like that today. It feels no different to Japan. Not for one second has there been a nervous feeling about personal safety and security. Everyone who visits Israel for the first time will leave with the opposite preconceptions that they came with. It is by no means perfect but name a country that is.

It is with deep regret CM must board a flight tomorrow and leave a country that surprised on pretty much every level. It really is that amazing. Forget what you read in the papers. It is seriously fake news. See it with your own eyes and be prepared to blow your mind. Do it,

We want your business!

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Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ran through the nation’s commitment to cyber noting the country has 200x the next country in per capita revenue in the area. They are 20% of global cyber revenue. Very scary outlook for the capabilities that cyber can do if in the wrong hands. In closing though the Prime Minister said four words:

We want your business!

It would be nice to see the Aussie PM shout as loudly for investment at home.

US Healthcare bankruptcies surge 270% in 2018 vs 2017

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6 months ago we wrote of the growing crisis of hospitals declaring bankruptcy in America. While The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is often lauded by some as noble legislation, according to bankruptcy lawyers, Polsinelli, the changes made to reimbursements that used to help cover hospitals who treated uninsured patients that were pulled under ACA have sent many hospitals to the bankruptcy A&E ward. Polsinelli wrote this month,

The Health Care Services Distress Research Index was 455.00 for the first quarter of 2018. This is an increase over 173 points from last quarter’s record high, approximately 62 percent. The index has experienced record or near-record highs in seven of the last eight quarters. Compared with the same period one year ago, the index has increased over 333 points, approximately 270 percent, and compared with the benchmark period of fourth quarter of 2010, it is up approximately 355 percent.”

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Polsinelli also wrote in 1Q 2017 that,

“Unlike the public markets, the Polsinelli/TrBK Distress Indices include both public and private companies, creating a broader economic view and one which may show developing trends on Main Street before they appear on Wall Street….Health care distress is high and it seems to be getting worse…

…The business of health care is unlike other industries, such as manufacturing, real estate, or retail. Health care faces all the traditional business challenges, such as competition, the impact of technology on services, and increasing wages. But more, the health care industry is needing to adapt to increasing regulations, changes in reimbursement rates from government or private payors, and a shift from traditional fee-for-service to value-based models that impact profitability…There is unprecedented pressure of major systemic changes to the existing health care system, particularly the implementation of the Affordable Care Act over the last several years and the current status of the program, which is alternately being repealed, repealed and replaced, phased out, or simply defunded…The (Obama) administration’s recent decision to terminate cost sharing reduction payments will also directly impact the health care market. Insurance companies may continue to provide insurance at a higher premium or decide to exit the markets. Eliminating these payments and the resulting premium increases may increase the cost to the government through premium subsidies.”

In short many Americans saw a doubling of premiums (an average increase of 113%) under Obamacare inside of 4 years causing many to forgo the insurance. The reimbursements under the old system (which helped compensate hospitals administering emergency treatment for the uninsured) that were stopped on the proviso people would take up ACA plans backfired. Not enough people signed up and more hospitals running on a days cashflow have been forced to close because the reimbursements designed to protect them against uninsured patients disappeared. When Jonathan Gruber, the architect of Obamacare, testified to Congress he candidly said,

The Affordable Healthcare bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the (Congressional Budget Office) did not score the mandate as taxes…If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies, OK? Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage … call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever … that was really, really critical to get the thing to pass … I wish … we could make it transparent, but I’d rather have the law than not.”

Makes one wonder what the status of the medical equipment suppliers who lease equipment to these hospitals does with the machines they repossess.

Unseen WW2 battlefield letters from North Africa

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This is an excerpt from a letter written by my grandfather S/Sgt Norman Peterson on 11th Jan 1941.

Dear Auntie Marie, (he always wrote to her the truth and sent happy versions to his wife)

“…I travelled by truck to a place called Ikingi Maryut where I caught a train at 2 in the morning to Marsa Matruh…but I couldn’t get a seat for drunks and others asleep on the floor all coming back from Cairo from leave. So I thought “bugger this” I’m not going to sleep in the cold on an observation platform so I walked the length of the train & eventually gate crashed the postal van, occupied by a real lime house cockney who told me, “Ee laad, ye carnt room in ‘ere.” I said “Like _______ I can’t!” So I unrolled my swag, took off my boots and slept on the mail bags…I soon made good friends with the Tommies who were a good crowd but were mystified by the way I rolled my own cigarettes. Apparently only the poorest classes roll their own!…

…Matruh is a very pretty place with wide tree lined avenues….but I wouldn’t give 2 bob for it now as it has been bashed and bombed into an unrecognizable rubble…while I was here I saw a gallant piece of action by two Tommies. A train was at the station full of stores and ammunition when two Italian bombers came over and commenced to lay their eggs around the place. The Tommies jumped into the cab and it was a thrill to see puffs of smoke from the engine as it slowly drew away from the station out of danger…

…I was here for two days when the word came through that our forces were pushing westward and I was sent to a post between Sidi Barrani and Matruh and did the wounded roll in. I worked on the wounded prisoners and saw some ghastly sights, One Libyan had a shrapnel wound under the left shoulder blade that had ricocheted on the bone and come out near the collarbone. The whole wound was crawling with maggots (which really isn’t so bad as they eat the putrified tissues)…

…We were here for 3 days…I was sent to the 3/3rd English 7th Ambulance. I went through the battlefield of Sidi Barrani and the quantity of material would truly astound you. Tanks, motorcycles, lorries and cars just for the taking. I had a motorbike and when she ran out of juice dropped it and picked up another….I picked up my first souvenir – an Iti tin hat – once owned by a field ambulance man. These lids are very rare…

…anyway to cut my own story short…I saw a grisly sight, a Savoia 79, a tri motored bomber had been shot down and the pilot had tried to pancake down but when he hit the petrol tank exploded thus incinerating the occupants. The pilot was a charred skeleton, both legs snapped like dry twigs, The foregunner was in two pieces, sheared in halves from the waist, the top part in an attitude of prayer though both hands were missing. The heat must have been terrific as the motors were fused together in a solid mass. The rear gunner was sprawled in his compartment, not so badly charred, his fingers stiffened in rigor mortis on the keys of the bomb rack and bullet holes in his Adam’s apple and temple. I took the builder’s nameplate as a souvenir…If I only had my camera I’d make a fortune but of course it is stowed away in Alex….

…Along the roads were truckload after truckload of prisoners who didn’t seem very dejected…however some who were told to dig slit trenches broke down and cried…the position was rather embarrassing until an interpreter told them they weren’t digging their own graves…they broke out in huge smiles and dug like hell…

…I was in a quandary as to where my own unit was…I attached myself to a section of Royal Tank Corps who had told me they saw an Australian Field Ambulance near Sollium. I spent three days with this crowd and spent a night at an Air Force refueling dump with beers and cheers and told them some bullshit about Australia…I at last found my unit to be greeted with the news A company was in Libya. Incidentally up to this time I had had neither a wash or shave and looked a fright from 9 Dec to 22nd Dec…”

 

Child sexual grooming in Rotheram – Details of The Inquiry

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The details of the Rotherham grooming gang scandal was tabulated in an independent inquiry looking at the problem between 1997-2013 showing the extent of the cover up. The table above shows the actions taken after 157 complaints about child grooming in Rotherham were made to the South Yorkshire Police since 2013. The Inquiry tabulates a case of a father being arrested for trying to get his daughter out of a rape den. A 12yo girl was raped in a park then doused in gasoline and threatened with being lit if she said anything about what has happened. The sad thing is that these gangs are wide spread – Rotherham, Rochdale, Newcastle, Bristol, Aylesbury, Oxford, Peterborough, Keighley, Newham, Leeds, Bradford, Telford, Sheffield and London. The report discusses how the gangs transfer the children within the ‘safe houses; in the network to keep the industry clandestine.

The Inquiry was given a list of 988 children known to children’s social care, or the Police. 51 were current cases and 937 historic. It read 66 case files in total. It took a randomised sample of 19 current and 19 historic cases. In 95% of the files sampled, there was clear evidence that the child had been a victim of sexual exploitation. Only two children (5%) were at risk of being exploited rather than victims. From the random samples, we concluded that it was very probable that a high proportion of the 988 children were victims.

Taking all these sources together, the Inquiry concluded that at least 1,400 children were sexually exploited between 1997 and 2013. This is likely to be a conservative estimate of the true scale of the problem. It was unable to assess the numbers of other children who may have been at risk of exploitation, or those who were exploited but not known to any agency. This includes some who were forced to witness other children being assaulted and abused.

The responses by the authorities were absolutely insane. Take some of the following examples from the report:

We read cases where a child was doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, children who were threatened with guns, children who witnessed brutally violent rapes and were threatened that they would be the next victim if they told anyone. Girls as young as 11 were raped by large numbers of male perpetrators, one after the other. One said,What’s the point… I might as well be dead.

In two of the cases we read, fathers tracked down their daughters and tried to remove them from houses where they were being abused, only to be arrested themselves when police were called to the scene. In a small number of cases (which have already received media attention) the victims were arrested for offences such as breach of the peace or being drunk and disorderly, with no action taken against the perpetrators of rape and sexual assault against children.

One child who was being prepared to give evidence received a text saying the perpetrator had her younger sister and the choice of what happened next was up to her. She withdrew her statements. At least two other families were terrorised by groups of perpetrators, sitting in cars outside the family home, smashing windows, making abusive and threatening phone calls. On some occasions child victims went back to perpetrators in the belief that this was the only way their parents and other children in the family would be safe. In the most extreme cases, no one in the family believed that the authorities could protect them.

The Inquiry listed what had happened to these girls, aged as young as 11, after being discovered. It is shocking beyond belief:

Child A (2000) was 12 when the risk of sexual exploitation became known. She was associating with a group of older Asian men and possibly taking drugs. She disclosed having had intercourse with 5 adults. Two of the adults received police cautions after admitting to the Police that they had intercourse with Child A. Child A continued to go missing and was at high risk of sexual exploitation. A child protection case conference was held. It was agreed by all at the conference that Child A should be registered. However, the CID representative argued against the category of sexual abuse being used because he thought that Child A had been ‘100% consensual in every incident’. This was overruled, with all others at the case conference demonstrating a clear understanding that this was a crime and a young child was not capable of consenting to the abuse she had suffered. She was supported appropriately once she was placed on the child protection register.

Child F (2006) was a victim of serious sexual abuse when she was a young child. She was groomed for sexual exploitation by a 27-year-old male when she was 13. She was subjected to repeated rapes and sexual assaults by different perpetrators, none of whom were brought to justice. She repeatedly threatened to kill herself and numerous instances of serious self-harm were recorded in the case file, including serious overdoses and trying to throw herself in front of cars. Social workers worked to protect Child F after she was referred by the Police. There was good cooperation between children’s social care services, the Police, Risky Business and acute hospital services, where doctors were seriously concerned about her because of the number and seriousness of hospital admissions over such a short time, many associated with serious drug misuse and self-harm. There was evidence in the file of social workers, frontline managers and Risky Business workers doing everything possible to help Child F. She was eventually placed in secure care, where she stayed for several months. During this time she was kept safe and a process of therapeutic intervention began.

Child H (2008) was 11 years old when she came to the attention of the Police. She disclosed that she and another child had been sexually assaulted by adult males. When she was 12, she was found drunk in the back of a car with a suspected CSE (child sexual exploitation) perpetrator, who had indecent photos of her on his phone. Risky Business became involved and the Locality Team did an initial assessment and closed the case. Her father provided Risky Business with all the information he had been able to obtain about the details of how and where his daughter had been exploited and abused, and who the perpetrators were. This information was passed on to the authorities. Around this time, there were further concerns about her being a victim of sexual exploitation. She was identified as one of a group of nine children associating with a suspected CSE perpetrator. Her case had not been allocated by children’s social care. The Chair of the Strategy meeting expressed concern about her and considered she needed a child protection case conference. This does not appear to have been held. Three months later, the social care manager recorded on the file that Child H had been assessed as at no risk of sexual exploitation, and the case was closed. Less than a month later, she was found in a derelict house with another child, and a number of adult males. She was arrested for being drunk and disorderly (her conviction was later set aside) and none of the males were arrested. Child H was at this point identified as being at high risk of CSE. Risky Business, social care workers and the Police worked to support Child H and her father and she was looked after for a period. She suffered a miscarriage while with foster carers. Her family moved out of the area and Child H returned home. Some of the perpetrators were subsequently convicted.

Last week CM wrote about crime in London and how it has ballooned in recent years. A day after that it was revealed that London had a higher number of murders than New York. A 78-yo London pensioner was arrested after a person broke into his house and in the act of self defence the burglar was wounded and later died. So the criminal has more rights than the person exercising self defence. A father trying to save a daughter from being groomed gets arrested.

Yet political correctness and decades of turning a blind eye by the police allowed well documented cases of sexual grooming of children continue. A comedian that taught his girlfriend’s dog to do a Nazi salute faces a 12 month jail term tomorrow under the accusation of ‘hate speech’. Despite the tasteless nature of the joke do we think a comedian or a child rapist should be prioritized for prosecution? For all of the authorities meeting with senior social media heads to clamp down on ‘free speech’ when they could equally use those technologies and laws to capture texts and pornographic pictures of those people under suspicion of sexually exploiting children?

This is what the Inquiry had to say about the Police:

We deal with the response of South Yorkshire Police at some length throughout this report. While there was close liaison between the Police, Risky Business and children’s social care from the early days of the Risky Business project, there were very many historic cases where the operational response of the Police fell far short of what could be expected. The reasons for this are not entirely clear. The Police had excellent procedures from 1998, but in practice these appear to have been widely disregarded….We were contacted by someone who worked at the Rotherham interchange in the early 2000s. He described how the Police refused to intervene when young girls who were thought to be victims of CSE were being beaten up and abused by perpetrators. According to him, the attitude of the Police at that time seemed to be that they were all ‘undesirables’ and the young women were not worthy of police protection.

The Council was no better:

In 2004-2005, a series of presentations on CSE were first made to councillors and then other relevant groups and agencies, led by the external manager of Risky Business, from Youth Services. The presentations were unambiguous about the nature and extent of the problem…In 2006, a Conservative councillor requested a meeting with the Council Leader at which he expressed his concerns about CSE. This had come to his attention via constituents. He told the Inquiry that the Council Leader advised him the matters were being dealt with by the Police and requested that he did not raise them publicly…

Interviews with senior members revealed that none could recall the issue ever being discussed in the Labour (Party) Group until 2012. Given the seriousness of the subject, the evidence available, and the reputational damage to the Council, it is extraordinary that the Labour Group, which dominated the Council, failed to discuss CSE until then. Some senior members acknowledged that that was a mistake. Asked if they should have done things differently, they thought that as an administration they should have tackled the issues ‘head on’, including any concerns about ethnic issues.”

We could go on and on about the evidence discovered about the ‘Asian’ background of a majority of the perpetrators and how political correctness has allowed 1,000s of young girls’ lives have been destroyed because of the silence of the authorities. This is just one town. Without a doubt the ‘grooming industry’ operates in similar ways across the UK. The Inquiry found that taxi companies operated as part of the grooming gangs. It shouldn’t matter who commits the crimes or what their background is – it should matter how justice is served as a community that holds common decency as values. Even more importantly that law enforcement and the judiciary prosecute in a manner that sets an example such that it will never be tolerated.

All the above looks like appeasment, cowardice and a coordinated effort to hush up one of the most shameful periods in UK history.  This is only the beginning. As the famous saying goes, “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Blood seems thicker than water

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18 months ago CM wrote on Theranos (which was set to rule the blood analysis world) saying its biggest problem was gaining trust – not of the company itself but the switching costs for medical professionals to use it. It turns out it was really about a lack of trust, not with doctors but investors. Theranos swindled $700m over three years from investors yet the punishment will be that its founder Elizabeth Holmes pays a $500,000 fine, return 18.9m shares and face a ban from public companies for 10 years after the SEC charged her with “massive” securities fraud. Why no jail? Allen Stanford received 110 years for his $7bn Ponzi scheme. Fraud is fraud. Shouldn’t 1/10th the fraud lead to 1/10th the jail time?  Enron’s former CEO Jeff Skilling was fined $45mn with the $11bn failure of the company. Seems like not all fraud was created equal in the eyes of the law.

A link between crime & IQ?

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While updating all of the data for crime in Japan, CM was intrigued by the IQ test data compiled by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) for all 20,000 new inmates in 2016. The average IQ recorded was 81.4. All said and told, 57.4% of new inmates scored an IQ of more than 80. The MoJ also recorded that the level of education attained by criminals showed 62.5% had attained a maximum of middle school (years 7-9) or dropped out of high school (years 10-12).

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Japan has a high school matriculation rate of around 95% which places it in the top 4 countries around the world. The US has around a 76% completion rate (rank 13) for high school according to the OECD.

To study IQ for inmates on a more global basis, a 2003 study by Ellis & Walsh revealed that of all the Texas inmates who entered the prison system in 2002 approx. 23% of the inmates scored below 80, almost 69% scored between 80 and 109, and only 9.6% scored above 110. The average was 85. The Prison Reform Trust in the UK said 1/3 of prisoners had an IQ less than 80 and one-third of that was less than 70. A Levine study in 2011 showed that those who had been to jail had a mean IQ of 89.61 while those who had not who had a mean IQ of 100.6.

Although a deeper look at serial killers showed extremely high IQs. The Dating Game serial killer Rodney Alcala had a reported IQ of 170. Uni-bomber Ted Kaczynski 167 and Jeffrey Dahmer 144. Hideo Murai, chief scientist of the Aum Shinrikyo (responsible for the Tokyo subway sarin attacks), was also reported t have an IQ of 160. On the other and, Australia’s worst mass murderer, Martin Bryant, reportedly has an IQ of only 68.

We shouldn’t forget that months after winning a national title, Harvard’s debate team lost to a group of New York prison inmates. A three-judge panel concluded that the jailbirds had raised arguments the Harvard team had failed to consider or was it a slight bias that the judges feared repercussions were they ever released?

Many prevailing theories of intelligence suggest people with lower IQs are most likely to break the law, since impulsivity, struggles at school and a lack of social bonding are all linked to criminality.  Although James Oleson, a criminologist based at the University of Auckland in NZ, suggests real-life geniuses have a penchant for breaking the law. He noted there may be an IQ threshold after which a high it becomes more of a risk factor for committing crimes. Intelligent offenders were more likely to get away with their crimes.

The flip-side to claiming mental disability is also that of avoiding execution. In the US, there are some states debating whether an inmate with an IQ below 70 cam be executed on the grounds he or she may not have sufficient mental faculty. Abandoning the 70-point IQ cutoff could double the number of death row inmates who claim they are mentally disabled.

According to the 2005 Annual Report on Government Measures for Persons with Disabilities published by the Japan Cabinet Office, of the total estimated 3,600,000 people with a mental disability, 459,000 people possessed the Certificate of Mental Retardation – 12% of all mentally disabled people in Japan possess it vs. 6.3% of mentally disabled inmates. The Yokohama National University suggested this clearly indicates a tendency that people who are bound to be in prisons are less likely to have possessed the certificate, therefore likely to have missed some form of assistance from social welfare programs.

Morie and Matsushi wrote, “5.9% of all population on average is categorized as intellectually disabled. However, the percentage of children who are classified as mentally disabled and receiving special education as well as social welfare is stagnant at 1%. Because the Certificate of Mental Retardation is only issued upon request, many of the parents/guardians are reluctant to apply due to the fear of being stigmatized. This is especially true for a mild case of mental retardation. Lack of appropriate education and opportunity to receive social welfare can lead the children with mental disability to anti-social behavior, ultimately connecting them to crimes. Therefore, guardians should be strongly recommended to apply for the certificate without hesitation…”

Although it is worth noting that despite prison capacity in Japan expanding 50% over the last decade, the number of inmates is 31% lower at around 56,000 or 62% capacity, down from 105% at the peak. Compared to the 2.2mn prisoners in the US, Japan is still at the very low end of the crime spectrum. That is to say the US has 13.1x the number of prisoners relative to the population than Japan. The US ranks 1st while Japan ranks 35th.