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Links 3/27/12

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Father of the email attachment Guardian

Strauss-Kahn investigated in vice case Financial Times

US petrol prices close in on $4 a gallon Financial Times

Video: Gas Prices Explained Ed Harrison

Planned Pipelines to Rival Keystone XL Wall Street Journal

China’s Stability Gambit Stephen Roach, Project Syndicate

Bo Xilai’s China Crime Crackdown Adds to Scandal New York Times. The problem is at this remove, who knows what layer of kabuki we are looking at.

Briton in China Advised Intelligence Firm Wall Street Journal

Censorship and deletion practices in Chinese social media First Monday

‘Mission impossible’ for Spain’s PM – another €40bn in cuts Guardian

Murdoch cops blast over pay TV pirates Australian Financial Review. The headline is terrible, but the allegations are serious.

Success Stories Paul Krugman. You cannot make stuff like this up.

WANKER OF THE DECADE Atrios (hat tip Lambert). Ooh, this is gonna be hard!

Obamacare is Unconstitutional? Now They Tell Us Michael Kinsley Bloomberg

The Supreme Court and the ACA: Is Health Care Unique and Does it Matter? Jon Walker, Firedoglake

Health Care Jujitsu Robert Reich. This is clever, and I guarantee Obama would never do it.

Bernanke muted on US economic health Financial Times

The White House should stop coddling Buffett Financial Times

Private Jets, Buffett and Taxes New York Times

Fatal attraction? Access to early retirement and mortality VoxEU

Goldman eyes electronic bond trading Financial Times

MF Global’s Counsel Resisted Giving Assurances on Transfers Bloomberg

Calling DeMarco’s Bluff? Use the GSEs’ Market Power to Force 2d Lien Write Downs Adam Levitin, Credit Slips. I’m not certain DeMarco can go as far as Levitin suggests, in terms of prescribing the GSE’s actions.

NPR/Pro Publica Story on Fannie/Freddie Principal Mod Analysis Falls Apart Dave Dayen, Firedoglake

Subprime and the crisis rdan, Angry Bear

Concerns over Ally’s mortgage unit plan Financial Times

The Polite Conference Rooms Where Liberties Are Saved and Lost Chris Hedges Truthdig

Antidote du jour:

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57 comments

  1. Sundog

    David Graeber, interviewed by Rachael Jones
    http://bookforum.com/index.php?pn=interview&id=9154

    If you want to say something that people don’t already know, you have to take risks. Actually, I’ll go further: You have to have the courage to be at least partially wrong. Any broad theoretical statement is necessarily a simplification of reality, it’s necessarily leaving a lot out. It’s only by having the courage to be wrong—in that particular way—that you’re going to learn anything you didn’t know already.

    NC reruns having abated lately, I’m tossing that bit in the hopper to encourage a shift to minor keys when they return.

    Graeber again:

    Some of my favorite moments intellectually have come from batting ideas around with friends late at night, when we suddenly realize that we’ve made some breakthrough together. It wasn’t something any one person came up with, but the dynamic between us….

    It’s very unusual to be fully conscious for more than a tiny window of time. That is, unless you’re having a conversation with someone else, in which case you can often do it for long periods of time, especially if the conversation is with someone you find particularly interesting.

    NC as music? I think that has something to do with why I keep coming back.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Hey, I love that. That’s the way I conceive of blogs and comment sections like this.

  2. gs_runsthiscountry

    RE: Video: Gas Prices Explained Ed Harrison

    Yep, ZIRP + reformulated gas + the refiners’ ever popular “scheduled maintenance.” Those that live within the Chicago/Milwaukee corridor are getting hammered (paid 4.26 today). People are defiantly a buzz about gas prices, no doubt about it.

    http://www.gasbuddy.com/gb_gastemperaturemap.aspx

    1. armchair

      It seems like the price of gas is based on the cheapest price available in the country. Gas being over $4 a gallon is very old news.

      1. gs_runsthiscountry

        While you are rather dismissive about the current gas prices, there is much more behind a 4.25 or 4.50 a gallon gas price that is not being talked about in the MSM. It may be old news and well documented, however, the behavioral implications go far beyond just consolidating trips and cutting back.

        There are those that do not have a choice because of commute distance to work. Moreover, talk to those that are unemployed, the newly graduated college student, or any other job seeker. Some are more mobile than others in their job hunt; however their search and travel distance is becoming in infinitely smaller. And, jobs for many people are not necessarily where, reasonably priced, or affordable housing is located in many areas of the country. The economic impacts to those as you go down the wage tiers are real.

        Where the nominal price of gas is in the future is anyone’s guess, but the days of planning to travel an hour or 1-1/2 hours to work are over. This is certainly true for those chasing jobs well below the national median income.

    2. Accrued Disinterest

      A total layman here, but his theory that the rise in gas prices is due to the drop in the value of the dollar raises some questions (for this layman, at least). If you look at this chart: http://www.fxstreet.com/rates-charts/usdollar-index/ you find the dollar has risen and fallen during the 11/01/11-3/01/12 time frame of the chart. If you claim gas prices rise when the value of the dollar falls, then gas prices should drop when the value of the dollar rises (or is economics immune from the law of physics?). That relationship has not occurred. He seems to be a bit of an apologist for speculators. Maybe I’m naive, but wasn’t the intent of the commodities exchange to help stabilize prices over the long term, and not a casino for gambling addicts.

    3. aletheia33

      gas price map is very cool.
      why do so many of the color zones follow the state boundaries?
      these are political boundaries.
      are contracts negotiated by state, or something?
      do state actors with varying clout negotiate their states’ prices with the oil companies?
      forgive my ignorance.

  3. G3

    Reg early retirement and mortality, am I the only one feeling that we are being “nudged” into accepting later and later retirements or “work till you drop (dead)”?

    Dean Baker has a different perspective :
    http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/beat-the-press/david-brooks-is-worried-that-we-will-run-out-of-people

    Sideshow (a golden oldie):
    Someone finally does some real hard work for few seconds (dodging pie) while bloviating constantly about nation building by cutting SS/Medicare for hard working proles :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sv6nvMUq10U&feature=BFa&list=PL87C4D26E8999ED3E&lf=results_video

    1. Vernon

      In my mind, this is the key statement in the article: “Our empirical results suggest that retirement following an involuntary job loss is likely to cause excess mortality among blue-collar males, while retirement after a voluntary quit does not.”

      So, if you get laid off, you are more likely to die early. If you retire early voluntarily, there is no such effect. The rest of the article is drivel. A better title would have been “if you are laid off and can’t find another job, you are more likely to die early” which has nothing to do with early retirement as most people understand it.

  4. Brick

    The Fatal Attraction article in relation to retirement and mortality is likely to lead some to the wrong conclusios in my opinion. The main thrust of the argument seems to be that for blue collar workers retiring early reduces your longevity of life. While it does tackle an important factor its not the only factor and more importantly for me the population sample may have an important bias in the result, which would mean you could not extrapolate the conclusions to a wider set of people.

    First I would like to point out some potentially relevant information. Austria has traditionally had a low unemployment rate.Austria introduced a extended benefits for those over 50 in certain regions of Austria. Dispersion of unemployment is not even in Austria with those areas which had the traditional steel industries having difficulty with employment. The extended benefits and earlier retirement schemes tend to over lap with those areas with employment problems (See RAFAEL LALIVE – Social Protection). Those who retire early may well have experienced increased employment stress which makes question the argued correlation. (Marcus Eliason and Donald Storrie – Does Job Loss Shorten Life).

    Second acturial reports from big companies quite often show something different (Boeing, Lockheed Martin) in respect to enginerring jobs. Typically these reports show a mild decline in longevity for those retiring up to around 60 compared to those retiring earlier, but a marked decline beyond 60. Since in the 1990′s the average age at retirement entry was as low as 58 for the whole Austrian population this sample may not have picked up affects of retiring beyond 60 in the same way as other surveys might. I suppose part of the difference may be down to differences in white collar and blue collar workers.Using a broader sepctrum of data in Austria others have come up with a different conclusion.
    http://www.wu.ac.at/europainstitut/noeg/boeheim_mahringer_s4.1-5

    While I can be critical of the data sample and to be fair the paper does mention Coe and Lindeboom (2008) and Charles(2002) and indicates the conclusions apply to blue collar workers only, I think there is a danger that policy makers will not see the wider picture. Perhaps what we should take away from the article is that there are competing factors including: The reduction of physical and mental exercise for some workers. The reduction of stress for some workers. The reduction in aggravation of existing health problems. Perhaps retirement ages should be pro cyclical, being lower in the bad times and higher during the goods times.

  5. Lambert Strether

    Via alert reader bob this yesterday:

    The trees at Beak & Skiff are four weeks ahead of their maturing process due to the exceptionally warm weather in Central New York the last few weeks. Vegetable and fruit farmers said last week they were scared temperatures would turn cold again and damage already budding crops.

  6. dSquib

    There is a concerted effort by Democrats to dismiss individual mandate opposition by picking the worst Republican arguments they can find, in order to downplay the controversy around the mandate broadly. Kinsley and Linda Greenhouse are the most recent offenders. So Republicans weren’t concerned about the constitutionality of the mandate until very recently? Surprise! So what? They weren’t concerned because they saw it as a right-wing guard against single-payer or nationalised medicine. And it IS explicitly right-wing, as it implicitly lays the blame for the health care ills of America on poor people who don’t buy health insurance. They are not “sharing the responsibility” and so on. So they must be forced, in modern American political tradition. We do not have the will, imagination, courage to bring a solution that would mean people might WANT to buy insurance, and we certainly won’t be doing away with private insurance entirely, so the fools must be coerced. Problem solved.

    Oh, and of course it’s vital to pretend the individual mandate was the only “solution” possibly available, now or indeed ever!

    1. tom allen

      In fact, I recall a Democratic presidential candidate who ran in 2008 opposing the individual mandate for health insurance. Whatever happened to him?

      Oh, right. He won.

      1. dSquib

        It is at least amusing to watch these processes unfold, as a particular policy changes hands between the two major parties entirely, as with cap-and-trade as well, and the respective party elites, backers, policy flaks gradually step into line, and pretend their new position is a result of profound ideological conviction.

    2. briansays

      the mandate is the result of obama letting several democratic senators have their way

      the bill that passed to house had a public option
      it was striped out

      its typical of him to settle for something to be able to spin

      the reason why we are here are these senators who sold out to the private insurance cabal
      former senator blanche lincoln
      senators baucus, nelson (who previously worked in the insurance industry) and lieberman (the senator from cigna and aetna, 2 in state companies)

      1. Hugh

        It is important to understand the nature of kabuki. Kabuki is acting as if you intend to do something when, in fact, you have no intention of doing anything of the kind.

        The initial outline for a public option was based on the work of Hacker and would have covered 130 million Americans or something like 40% of the country. It was supposed to be tied to Medicare to keeps costs low. There were other features that got bruited about, but tellingly little or nothing of the public option was ever formalized. During the healthcare debate, you had politicians declaring their undying support for not just a public option but a “robust” public option, but as the public option remained undefined, this was a lot like multiplying zero times two. While no one knew what the public option was, as the process dragged on, it became increasingly clear what the public option wasn’t. It was whittled and pruned until by the end its costs were high and would be available to only 6-7 million. That is the public option which you remember so fondly.

        The truth is that the public option was never anything more than a ploy to get unions and liberals on board and keep them quiet during the debate (and perhaps most importantly to keep ideas like Medicare for All off the table). At the end when the deal was done and the public option was no longer needed for this purpose it was jettisoned. The tells were that (1) the public option was never formally defined, until the very end by which point it had been reduced to almost nothing anyway and (2) Obama never fought for it. In short, the public option was kabuki. It was always kabuki, from the very first.

        1. Doug Terpstra

          “The truth is that the public option was never anything more than a ploy …(… perhaps most importantly to keep ideas like Medicare for All off the table).”

          Well said. Medicare was the shining light that had to be hidden. It was the clear moral imperative and a vein of gold for even the most mediocre speech writer, let alone a gifted orator with a commanding bully pulpit. This was especially obvious as many silver Tea Partiers naively shouted, “keep your gubmint hands off my Medicare.” I recall thiniking at that time, “Yes, surely Obama will seize on that; it’s the low-hanging fruit.”

          No, it was essential to avoid Medicare for all because it was too inevitable and salable, or for that matter any meaningful public option. It was critical as the only way force an an entire population into the hands of the true death panels — the insurance protection racketeers. Obama was a key agent in that process.

          So, when clever Reich says O never tried for the public option, he is deliberately misinforming in order to maintain the “lesser evil” argument. As someone who followed the faux debate closely, he knows better; he’s lying. Glen Ford at The Black Agenda Report makes a detailed and compelling argument on “Why Barack Obama is the More Effective Evil”, going into some depth on his pre-election vetting by Wall Street, who made out like bandits for their support of BHO over McCain.

          “No matter how much evil Barack Obama actually accomplishes during his presidency, people that call themselves leftists insist on dubbing him the Lesser Evil. Not only is Obama not given proper credit for out-evil-ing George Bush, domestically and internationally, but the First Black President is awarded positive grades for his intentions versus the presumed intentions of Republicans. As the author says, this ‘is psycho-babble, not analysis. No real Left would engage in it.’”

          “He has put both Wall Street and U.S. imperial power on new and more aggressive tracks – just as he hired himself out to do.”

          Recall the 2010 midterms: “Obama put Social Security and Medicaid and all Entitlements on the table, in mid-January. The Republicans had suffered resounding defeat. Nobody was pressuring Obama from the Right.”

          “When the Right was on its ass, Obama stood up and spoke in their stead. There was no Evil Devil forcing him to put Entitlements on the chopping block. It was HIM. He was the Evil One – and it was not a Lesser Evil. It was a very Effective Evil, because the current Age of Austerity began on that day, in January, 2009.”

          http://blackagendareport.com/content/why-barack-obama-more-effective-evil

          [...]
          “If you are going to fight for anything, you’ve got to fight for the right to fight. That means fighting for the rule of law. So, if you don’t plan to go underground or into exile anytime soon, you must fight the president who claims the right to imprison or kill any person, of any nationality, any place on Earth, for reasons known only to him. The man who excelled George Bush by shepherding preventive detention through Congress – Barack Obama, the More Effective Evil.

          “Fight him this election year. Fight him every year that he’s here.

          “Power to the People!”

          1. Procopius

            I remember hearing that the Catholic Church teaches that Despair is a sin. I’m not clear if the Buddha said anything about it, I think it’s just part of suffering. I’m quite ready to agree that “Obama is The Most Effective Evil,” but I’m afraid I still think he’s the Lesser Evil, too. I don’t know. He certainly turned out to be far more evil that I could have anticipated, but I look at the lunatics the Republicans are choosing among and cannot believe any one of them will not do worse to us. Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. We’re doomed.

      2. tom allen

        As former Senate Leader Tom Daschle (D-Big Pharma) detailed in his book “Getting it Done”, the public option — or any other public insurance plan such as Medicare for All — was off the table from the start.

        http://thinkprogress.org/health/2010/10/05/171689/daschle-interview/

        Primo quote: “Asked about the future of health reform, Daschle said he was “reasonably confident” that the government would prevail in the state legal challenges to the individual mandate, although admitted that “given the unpredictability of the Supreme Court as well as other appeals courts, it’s not as much of a closed case as I think as it should be.” He also expressed concern that newly elected Republican governors would refuse to implement the law, but said he had “two sources of general confidence building” about the GOP promise to defund the law, should they regain control of the House.”

        In a separate quote, Daschle assured Charlie Brown that Lucy would definitely hold the football for him this time. Your Democratic Party in action, ladies and gentlemen. Not bought and paid for at all.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          And if you were aware of all this in real time, and posting comments to this effect on Democratic websites, like Daily Kos or Hullaballoo for instance, you were attacked relentlessly for “hating” Obama.

          Now the main battleground has moved to places like reddit.com/politics or related subreddits.

          The Democrats have so much money and control over the media and politics that the truth is no match for the unrelenting propaganda the Democrats (and the elite, really) put out.

    3. Glen

      I’m a Dem and I hate the individual mandate. Just another bailout out of a FAILING industry. I hope the SCOTUS strikes it.

      I’d rather have Medicare for All with income prorated cost to cover all the basics and a everybody can go get plans on top of that for premium coverage.

  7. Dan B

    Re Robert Reich on the jujitsu opportunity in the health care debate. That’s the first thing my colleagues and I noticed in the legislation two years ago. If health care is important enough to mandate citizens must buy it, why does’nt the government provide it? Right, Obama will not make this case, but as the economy continues to contract this overlooked opportunity may come to the fore as health care becomes a perquisite of wealth and the public health further deteriorates, placing the nation’s health at high risk. It’s a great pathway to organizing for a new economy opportunity as well.

    1. curlydan

      Unfortunately, we have a long way to go before most Americans and more importantly, legislators, have the momentum and leverage to move to Medicare for all.

      As linked here a few months ago, Peter Orzag (I know…cringe) pointed out that first we’re likely to see workers forced to fund their own medical premiums through 401k like accounts in an effort to move health care off of employers’ balance sheets. And this trend will come after the current trend toward high deductible policies.

      Yes, the system will crash as any system growing well over twice the rate of inflation will, but not as fast as hoped.

  8. rjs

    tying a few links together, buffett aint gonna be happy about the keystone alternates, because it’s his railroads that profit the most from having to ship that oil by rail…

    (in case anyone still wondered why keystone was blocked)

  9. Carl

    Why doesn’t another country just tell the bankers to go
    to hell the way that Iceland did?

    It’s up to you Spain.

    1. Anonymous Jones

      Iceland is *small* and it’s much harder to control the agents in charge of the government when all the agents live in such close proximity with the citizens.

      In Spain, it’s easy. The agents don’t socialize with the normal citizens. The banks are able to just sequentially target and turn each agent as he or she comes in the government door. They wait for each new politician or bureaucrat to come through the turnstile, they turn on the money hose, and they maintain control.

      It’s never up to *them*. It’s up to *us* to see this for what it is, and to work constantly and vigilantly to make sure that these agents are working on behalf of the citizens and not the bankers.

      This never stops, it never gets fixed, it never goes away.

      It is something that has to be fought for every single day of our existence because there are greedy f*cks who will ruin it for us all. We have to hold the agents accountable. We are the principals.

  10. Carl

    Re “piracy”…in the U.S. it’s perfectly legal to surf on your neighbors wifi if they chose to leave it open.

    Friends do that and have saved thousands of dollars over the years. No, they do not watch TV.

    1. wunsacon

      >> dont-tax-rich-smash-their-privilege.html

      Lawdy, look at that. Sounds like the rich will make any argument in favor of anything but “don’t tax us”. If that message (or any of dozens of others) convinces a few readers, that’s fewer malcontents the rich have to deal with via other means.

        1. wunsacon

          Yes, I read it.

          Working off memory now, I didn’t buy it. It’s not enough to dream of “ending privilege” without undoing massive concentration of wealth.

          The wealthy prefer arguments like that, though, and probably don’t mind it being spread. Anything to convince a few people not to tax obscene wealth.

      1. Klassy!

        I’m not convinced that taxes on the rich should not be raised. Of course they should be increased, but Buffet’s “rule” provides useful cover for someone that enriches himself at the public trough.
        Sorry, nothing particularly admirable about Buffet in my opinion.

  11. Don Levit

    dsquib wrote:
    We do not have the will, imagination, courage to bring a solution that would mean people might WANT to buy insurance.
    Excellent point.
    Remember when insurance, including health insurance, used to be those policies we hoped never to collect on?
    There were relatively affordable, and gave fantastic returns for the few paid for by the low and claimless participants of the many.
    It was like going to a casino, going to the spinning wheel, and having only the 40 to 1 option, instead of 2 to 1, 5 to 1, etc.
    Now, with all these metal plans, ranging from 60% actuarial value to 90% actuarial value, many more people are going to collect, say, 60 cents 0n the dollar, which will result in what – well, higher premiums, of course!
    Don Levit

  12. grt

    Hedges needs a wise and venerable jurist to take him aside and explain how we do things in this country. He needs a guy like the judge who said, “Who takes Soviet laws seriously? You are living in an unreal world.”

  13. kevinearick

    Metaphors

    The wider the audience, the greater the need to abstract.

    For every explicit empire procedure, there is an implicit open source procedure, but not limited accordingly. A procedure is like a to-do list for the day. If you completed your list, your procedure brings back the value 1; if not, it brings back the value 0, on the empire side. On the open side these procedures are functions that may bring back any value.

    My metaphors/functions may bring back any value, serving as a counter, timer, threshold, etc., and they may or may not affect the empire procedure. They can’t hire people to process the cloud, and there are many levels of programming beneath what you see on your computer. So, if I type Trojan Horse and “Skynet” reads it…Trojan Horse has a value.

    1. Hugh

      The Atlantic is a neoliberal rag. It comes to a problem years late that H. Ross Perot predicted with its cause back in the 1990s.

  14. Aquifer

    Poor Reich! His cognitive dissonance must be reaching fever pitch – describing the Admin as having “hardly even tried” to promote Single Payer – when in fact O took it off the table before he was elected, and blaming the “opposition” for torpedoing the public option when the accepted analysis seems to be that he never backed it in the first place but employed it as a bargaining chip to be easily tossed …

    Then of course there’s the problem that Obama is gutting the payroll tax – the thing that funds SS and Medicare, and would be the backing for single payer …

    Reich is living in a fantasy, continually “suggesting” how Obama could fix things, as if he actually wanted to. As Obama goes on, Reich becomes more and more irrelevant – too bad. He is a genetic Dem – and though his heart may be in the right place, his politics ain’t. The problem is he perpetuates the myth of the “good” Dem, the one whose presence argues for the possibility of something decent coming out of that plague ridden party …

    It is folks like him that kept me hanging on to Dems for far too long – I have “moved on” (as opposed to Move On) and i suggest he, and most others, do too …

    If you want single payer, you have to vote for it – neither Dem nor Rep will go there. I am backing someone who will, as well as promoting a bunch of other neat stuff – Jill Stein.

    Sorry, Mr. Reich, but it’s time for the glue factory for that horse you rode in on …

    Reich – a Trojan horse beating a dead one ….

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Yep. I’m moving Reich over to the suspected perp list.

      He’s a long-time Dem stooge. I remember seeing him speak at a law school in support of a Democratic candidate and his enthusiasm for the party was notable. Really short guy too so he definitely stands out.

  15. Aquifer

    Hedges writes “It is in conference rooms like this one, where attorneys speak in the arcane and formal language of legal statutes, that we lose or save our civil liberties.”

    Actually, Mr. Hedges, it begins before that – it begins in the halls of legislatures and on Gov./Pres. desks when the laws stripping you of those rights are enacted. For all those who are found to have “standing” to challenge them, there are many others, equally, if not more, aggrieved who are found not to …

    The courts are a last and, too often, not very reliable resort, even for those who gain access – the key is to make sure such laws don’t get enacted in the first place and a very important place to do that is in the voting booth …

    1. Ms G

      Thank you Aquifer. That statement by Hedges is borderline senile. Maybe it’s because he only tunes in to the events where he gets a press pass (e.g., the hearings at US Supreme Court) as opposed to the main (and complex) events that lead to that point. What is this guy smoking?!

    2. Walter Wit Man

      Yeah, wtf is he writing about?

      We are losing our liberty because a plaintiff in a lawsuit has to undergo a deposition? WTF? He chose to bring this case and he got to choose the venue*. It actually promotes liberty and justice to have the parties to a lawsuit be able to conduct discovery (i.e. get the facts). Regardless of what side you’re on it’s an important principle that courts have all the relevant information.

      I’m sure discovery will be limited against the government on privilege grounds, like state secrets. Now that’s an aspect of discovery Hedges can complain about. But giving his deposition so he can support his claims? Give me a break.

      *This is what really bothers me. I think Hedges is part of the controlled opposition (and probably including the other co-plaintiffs as well) and that he chose this venue because he they knew they would get a favorable ruling (i.e. against Hedges). This means Hedges is working for the elite that run the government.

    3. curlydan

      How Hedges will convince a court that he has standing in a case about NDAA is beyond me? If Al-waki’s dad can’t do it, I’m not sure how he’s going to pull it off.

      1. Lambert Strether

        People who are battling fracking, mountaintop removal, landfilling and GMO know that standing is the first line of defense against transparency and accountability for the 1%.

        It seems perfectly reasonable to me that Hedges would take this tack; anybody who expands standing is doing a good thing.

        A little bit of shooting the messenger, here, I’m thinking…

  16. barrisj

    Once again, it looks as though SCOTUS Justice Kennedy will be the critical vote, as second-day arguments see the BAD FOUR ready to sink the mandate. Per Robert Reich, if universal health care is to be salvaged, there is absolutely no place for private insurers, which is why there is the mandate in the first place. A dog’s-breakfast of a law that should be radically reorientated toward govt. supervision, per Medicare.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Good. I don’t think I should be forced to enter a market. Because where does it stop? (And automobile insurance me no automobile insurance; driving is optional in a way that treatment for illness or injury is not.)

      And good because making failure to purchase junk insurance subject to IRS penalties is insane. I mean, I’d rather just be not covered than pay thousands of dollars and then not be covered.

      Anything to subsidize the rentiers (in this case, the health insurance companies, who add no value whatever) and anything to avoid having government do what it can do, one of which is single payer.

  17. Jessica

    Is there any possibility that Reich mentioning the way that Obama could jujitsu is aimed at the Supremes? As a threat, “if you overturn the mandate, we’ll go for Medicare for All”.
    I have to admit I doubt it though. Too empty a bluff, since no one on the inside could really think Obama capable of the move Reich mentions.

    1. Lambert Strether

      No. The 11-dimensional chess idea went out with button shoes.

      What you see with Obama is what you get: neo-liberal “solutions” that double down on #FAIL by putting the care and feeding of the rentiers at the center of policy.

    2. Glen

      Ha, I agree. I see it as far more likely resulting in SS and Medicare being gutted.

      And the topper to it all, we gave more money to bail out Wall St in one year that America has spent on EVERYTHING ELSE in it’s existence COMBINED (and adjusted for inflation):

      http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/06/bailout-costs-vs-big-historical-events/

      So we keep getting told we’ve gotta cut SS and Medicare because we cannot afford it. Well, when do we get to cut out Wall St because that’s the biggest welfare program EVER!

  18. propertius

    Email attachments date from the uuencode/uudecode format introduced with BSD 4.0 Unix in November, 1980 – over a decade before the “father of the email attachment” developed MIME. What’s next? An account of how Bill Gates invented the PC?

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