Links 10/8/14

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Did Marco Polo “Discover” America? Smithsonian (furzy mouse)

Canberra ranked ‘best place to live’ BBC. I’d still take Sydney, even though it apparently become very pricey since I lived there.

Tech group to open New York base for Jeopardy-beating Watson Financial Times (David L)

DNA linked to how much coffee you drink Associated Press (David L). This has to be junk science. Yours truly has gone through years at a time when I’ve consumed enormous amounts of caffeine and years when I’ve been off it completely and some periods of years when I’ve had low doses.


Europe probes Spanish Ebola transmission DW

Ebola lawsuits would face high hurdles in Texas Reuters (EM)

Some Ebola experts worry virus may spread more easily than assumed Los Angeles Times (furzy mouse)

CDC Forced to Admit that Ebola Might Be Spread through Coughing and Sneezing George Washington

Hong Kong

The Adults Show Up in Hong Kong CounterPunch

Why Hong Kong remains vital to China’s economy Economist

IMF 2014-2015 Outlook: Weaker Growth as Europe Drags its Feet Learn Signal. We were skeptical of the old forecasts as being too optimistic.

The IMF Explains Why It Keeps Overestimating Growth Business Week

Germany’s Bad Numbers Are Great News For All Of Us Ilargi. Again, this was widely forecasted among those who weren’t selling austerity Kool-Aid, that the contraction being forced on the periphery would infect the core.

Revealed – the Troika threats to bankrupt Ireland Independent (Marshall). Important.

An example of provocative operations in the 70s Italy unbalanced evolution

Low Oil Prices Raise The Risk Of Recession In Russia OilPrice

How to Become a Russian Spy Johnson’s Russia List (Chuck L)

Israel’s Arbitrary Arrests of Palestinian Minors Der Spiegel (furzy mouse)


Is Kiev Wildly Understating Combat Deaths? Vineyard of the Saker (Chuck L)

Pro-Russia separatists target key assets in eastern Ukraine Los Angeles Times


ISIS on the Verge of Victory at Kobani Patrick Cockburn, CounterPunch

Turkish Inaction on ISIS Advance Dismays the U.S. New York Times

Washington’s Secret Back-Channel Talks With Syria’s Kurdish ‘Terrorists’

IS/Coalition War Game – Move 1, The Situation as of 7 October 2014 Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

A Good Reason to Encrypt Your iPhone: To Prevent DEA from Creating a Fake Facebook Account Marcy Wheeler (Chuck L). Lordie.

Adobe is Spying on Users, Collecting Data on Their eBook Libraries The Digital Reader (Olivier L)

Mcrosoft’s Windows 10 has permission to spy on you TechWorm (Chuck L)

Feds ‘Hacked’ Silk Road Without a Warrant? Perfectly Legal, Prosecutors Argue Wired (Robert M)

ISIS in Washington, America’s Sountrack of Hysteria Tom Engelhardt


Walmart and the End of Employer-Based Health Care Atlantic. David P: “Sounds good to me, cut costs and increase sales – what’s not to like?”

You Can Now Buy Health Insurance at Walmart. Should You? Time. On general principles, hell no!

In This Election, Obama’s Party Benches Him New York Times

A heartbreaking act of staggering cowardice

More cowardice. Dave Dayen on Schneiderman, via Twitter: Such an appalling dodge: “blame Cuomo for no prosecutions after I promised them for 4 years”

San Francisco Hedge Fund Proposal Raises Conflict of Interest Questions David Sirota, Financial Times

Geithner defends US action in AIG bailout Financial Times

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Bankster Scorned…. Matt Stoller

The Impact of Whistleblowers on Financial Misrepresentation Enforcement Actions. SSRN (Francine McKenna). They make a BIG difference!

Workplace Personality Test for the NY Fed Cathy O’Neil. But in this case, not…

Is Your Dentist Ripping You Off? Mother Jones. More crapification.

US inflation measure is headache for Fed Financial Times

Mr. Market Has a Sad

Asia Shares Buckle Beneath Global Growth Woes Business Insider

We are trapped in a cycle of credit booms Martin Wolf, Financial Times (Swedish Lex)

Wall Street Declares All Clear for Junk Bonds as Yields Entice Bloomberg. Notice the “everyone back into the pool” story ran the day before a big attack of the wobbles. And junk bonds are story paper and equity-like risk.

Thoughts on the Biosocial Roots of Oligarchy Tom Crowl

Antidote du jour (David L):

nesting goat links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. dearieme

    “Did Marco Polo “Discover” America?” The likelihood is that it’s as genuine as the Hitler Diaries or the Vinland map.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      “Alaska” similar to what was sometimes referred to as “Terra Jedso” on 17th c. European maps, with the Bering Strait, or its contemporary cartographic analog, generally referred to as “fretum Anian”.

  2. frosty zoom

    ebola? lawsuit?

    Have you been injured in a cough and sneeze? We’ll protect YOUR rights! Call 1-800-EFF-DUUP to speak to an attorney.

    (i promised myself no ebola jokes; this is a lawsuit joke. lordy.)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We need to have better medical care, even if just temporary, like military field hospitals, in those countries, including access to experimental drugs, for the people there.

      If fact, we should have the best medical care in the world over there now.

      Otherwise, we will just keep bringing the infected back to Europe and elsewhere, and the default assumption will be, among the people there, that they need to sneak into Europe to get any decent treatment at all.

      “I know a coyote who will take you to Spain, in a few days, and then, at least you have a fighting chance. Don’t worry, you can pay me back by selling Chinese made counterfeit smartphones over there for me.”

      1. ambrit

        We do indeed have a system like military field hospitals. They practice Triage when overwhelmed. Our fabulous healthcare lottery is reintroducing the same.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The battle should be at the source, if possible.

          Not sure why this ‘lets’ bring the battle back home’ strategy.

          1. ambrit

            I’m not too sure myself. I used to think that the Overclass, (wonderful expression that,) would view the continued good health of the productive sector of the economy as essential to their own wellbeing. My mistake was to ascribe rational viewpoints to said Overclass. Evidence continues to mount that the Overclass has retreated wholly into “Magical Thinking.” Such delusion can be sustained as long as there is a cushion of social goods to support it. When all the resources are depleted; then it’ll be ‘War To the Knife.’

  3. frosty zoom

    The casus belli being offered up seem even more specious and shifting than usual. The vicious civil war we have fomented in Syria has spawned an extremist militia that is using the weapons we poured into Syria to attack the corrupt sectarian regime we installed in Iraq with our illegal invasion there earlier, which gave rise to a vicious civil war that has continued to this day, with both sides using our weapons.


    Hey, it’s what we do. It’s what we are. As our latest temporary manager, Obama, said the other day, it’s how we roll. We exist solely to assert our dominance by violent force anywhere and anyhow we see fit. It is in blood and domination that we live and move and have our being. It doesn’t matter in the end who we are fighting against, or with, or if we change partners in the middle of the battle. It doesn’t matter if we fight an enemy here and arm him over there, or if our allies share the same extremism we are ostensibly trying to quell. It doesn’t matter what we say to justify the killing and profiteering we want to do, or that we change these justifications from day to day, even from hour to hour.

    1. Jagger

      Interesting article but I disagree with his belief that American actions are just the random actions of a blundering evil force of nature. That these wars are simply happenstance because it is what we do as America. I believe there is a definite strategy behind what has happened since 9/11. I guess it could be pure coincidence that our actions follow so closely the strategy outlined in the 1996 Strategy Paper, “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” but I doubt it. Note who created and signed off on the paper and note their positions of power in the US government. And then look at our actions over the last 14 years or so. Read the paper and then tell me we are just blundering fools without a plan.

      Here are the links:

      The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, which followed World War II, called the waging of aggressive war “essentially an evil thing…to initiate a war of aggression…is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”…………….

      1. Jagger

        and then tell me we are just blundering fools without a plan.

        We just look like blundering fools because our actions make no sense from the perspective of American national interest.

        1. Antifa

          Our Federal government has very little interest in our national interest. Let the bridges fall down, let the environment and climate go to hell in a handbasket.

          Our Federal government is, instead, intent on growing the American empire, which is all about the pursuit of global hegemony. We will spare no expense, and will brook no rivals.

    1. John Zelnicker

      Jim – Have you tried this: When you hit Post Comment and the page resets to the top, wait about 5-10 seconds and refresh the page (F5). Don’t hit the back button or resubmit. 95% of the time my posts seem to disappear, but the refresh brings it up just where it is supposed to be. Good luck.

      1. diptherio

        The only totally disappearing comment I’ve had since the upgrade happened when I forgot to put my email address in and got an error message when I tried to post. I backed up, put my address in and re-posted, but nothing.

        Immediate refresh is still necessary for me to see my comment 90% of the time. That’s just how it is…

    2. Carolinian

      Perhaps if you use options/privacy/show cookies (in Firefox) and deleted the NC cookies it might help. I just looked at mine and have three dozen NC cookies, most of them expired. When you reload the page the new pagestyle cookies will be reinstalled.

      Or maybe that won’t help. For me posting to the new page is much the same as the old.

      Good luck with the fix. We need our daily dose of JH sarc.

  4. wbgonne

    “From Miami to Washington DC, towns and cities on America’s east coast could see triple the number of tidal floods by 2030 as sea levels rise, say researchers”

    The reports are here:

    On the bright side, with 400 tidal floods per year by 2045, it looks like DC might get washed away. Keep hope alive!

    1. ambrit

      “…400 tidal floods per year by 2045…” That’s over half the high tides in a year! Time to get the Corps of Engineers on the case! Let’s hope they build the levees around DC as good as the ones they built around N’awlins.

    1. Yonatan

      The goat is thinking “You lookin’ at me? You lookin’ at me? You lookin’ at me? Then who the hell else are you lookin’ at ? You lookin’ at me? Well I’m the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you’re lookin’ at?”

  5. Ignim Brites

    “Turkish Inaction on ISIS Advance Dismays the U.S.” New York Times
    If ISIS can be goaded into attacking Turkey, then the NATO mutual security clause can be invoked and the US can re-enter Iraq and Syria with massive ground troops. The only way to stop this is for progressives to join with the Buchananites and call for US withdrawal from NATO.

    1. Jagger

      Turkey wants ISIS to take out the Kurds and the Syrian Government. So why should they fight ISIS when it makes more sense to support them as they are advancing Turkish objectives. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Turks are heavily involved in supporting ISIS.

      1. Eureka Springs

        US, Saudi, Qatar, Jordan, Israel and Turkey wants al-Qaeda-Nusra, those heart eating moderates FSA-Qaeda, and ISIS-Qaeda to take out the Syrian Kurds and the Syrian Government. So why would they fight ISIS when it makes more sense to support them since regime change from Syria through Iraq and ultimately Iran are among the highest objectives.

      2. lulu

        At Google News yesterday, I was surprised to see the Kurds referred to as “Kurdish rebels” in the NY Times snippet posted by Google:
        “[President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of] Turkey warned that the Syrian border town of Kobani might fall to Islamist militants as fighting intensified between Kurdish rebels and Islamic State fighters.” (video caption in today’s linked article)
        I suppose that to the Turks, the Kurds within their borders are classified as “rebels,” and are thus justified in not involving themselves, but this seemed to be painting with rather a broad brush by the Grey Lady… perhaps in preparation for further abandonment of the Kurds by western powers?

        1. Oregoncharles

          The Kurds defending Kobani are closely associated with the Kurdish rebels in Turkey, some of whom recently crossed the border to help. So the above is correct, and so was the Times quote: ISIS is serving Turkish interests. Once the PKK Kurds in Kobani are wiped out, Turkey might intervene to get ISIS off their doorstep. But remember, the ruling party in Turkey is historically Islamist.

  6. Steve H.

    re: DNA linked to how much coffee you drink

    Between epigenetic manifestation, on the one hand, and the influence of gut bacteria on the enteric nervous system on the other, it’s likely that many DNA-behavioral studies will need to be revisited in the future. No surprise if these are also relevant for variable responses to psych meds as well. (I’m simply ignoring that you can also get different results by what assay is being used.)

    Fearful memories haunt mouse descendants: Genetic imprint from traumatic experiences carries through at least two generations. []

    Think Twice: How the Gut’s “Second Brain” Influences Mood and Well-Being []

    Reduced anxiety-like behavior and central neurochemical change in germ-free mice []

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It happened to humans as well, passing through a couple of generations, in the Swedish village of Overkalix and a famine over 100 years ago.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You’re welcome.

          Saw it in a PBS document ‘Ghost in Your Genes.’

          Lifestyle choices can have consequences on one’s descendants.

          That adds a new consideration into ‘It’s my body and I can do anything I want with it’…only if you don’t plan on having kids, I suppose – a special case.

          But that, acts impacting future generations, is not widely accepted yet.

          So, still time to have some fun.

  7. TarheelDem

    Dear Martin Wolf. We are not trapped in cycles of credit booms, but manipulated credit bubbles. The financial sector has decoupled itself from the real economy of people, things, plant, equipment, and social interaction. The fantasy investment games these folks are playing create bubbles and burst bubbles and have effects on the real world when they force their fantasies through their balance sheets into real economy. After which we have real layoffs, deflation, and losses to individual investors in pension accounts. Those hippies who ignored finance must be partying in the executive suites of the major FIRE firms, grooving out on constructing houses of cards and future financial risks to be brought back as a scourge on the rest of humanity.

  8. rjs

    re: Low Oil Prices Raise The Risk Of Recession In Russia (OilPrice)

    the price of oil is going down in dollars, but it’s going up in rubles…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am happy to see crude down to about $87, and maybe gas will be cheaper.

      But I wonder if this is just temporary, being a part of their great game with Russia, and we will have to pay the piper later. That’s my conspiracy du jour.

  9. Paul Niemi

    I think the most significant economic fact reported in the last week is that S&P 500 companies are using 95% of profits for stock buybacks and dividends. So there is no private investment going on right now. This is a problem, and we should be asking why. No private investment means no employment growth. The best I can surmise is that it’s a tax problem as much as a focus on the short term boost of stock prices. Tax policy should be encouraging private investment, not borrowing to buy back stocks, and if it is not doing that it’s a failure. I think many executives measure their success by the steps they have taken to minimize their firms’ tax burdens, but this is now coming with a cost for society, as the physical plant deteriorates.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      1. Minimizing tax burdens is avoiding money destruction and that should be good according to some (but I am doubtful).

      2. Profits going to buying back shares, and not investing that money – Tax policy to change that (I agree with you there), and we won’t need more ‘government spending (where the 1% most surely direct toward their pockets, like corporate welfare and military spending, before some might trickle down).’

      1. Paul Niemi

        I’m doubtful about the money destruction idea too. The federal government has a balance sheet and observes stocks and flows. While the individual “keystroke” that is a dollar goes poof when it is paid for tax, the scoreboard says that another can be spent into existence in its place. Now, on another point, money spent for capital investment can lower a tax burden as a deduction. Now there appear to be so many other neat ways to avoid tax that that deduction isn’t needed.

    2. ambrit

      It can also be seen as a way to boost CEO compensation by lifting the average share price for all those ‘stock options’ that warm the cockles of every crooked Executives heart.
      “I’m alright Jack!”

      1. Paul Niemi

        Well, I’m not going to drive the getaway car for 500 CEOs, who are bleeding their companies to feather their nests. Deductibility of executive pay and stock options giveaways have been problems too long avoided. This is the environment Congress has created, however, and it’s so easy to find reasons to throw the bums out. I would note that 33 states have adopted a gross receipts tax in lieu of the corporate income tax, an idea originated by the original progressives in the Depression era. If big companies continue finding ways to pay no federal taxes while paying off their executives like royalty, then that might be the way to go at the federal level.

    1. jrs

      Didn’t find that counterpunch article a particularly well written piece but yes it’s not news that Bill Mather and I guess Harris as well are racists (anti-muslim there should be a phrase as heavy as antisemitism to use to describe that type of BS that uniquely blames the Muslim religion).

      And I did find it endlessly amusing David Brooks is now quoting Lewis Mumford. Of course Mumford wrote on more than cities and architecture, he covered a broad range of subjects. I often find myself thinking of the term “mega-machine” when thinking about the economic system and it’s mass coordination toward ultimate destructiveness as well.

  10. Brindle

    Gaius Publius has a piece up at Down With Tyranny. The obvious answer is yes, the corporate Dems would rather lose the WH than have a candidate that reps the 99%.

    —Which suggests an interesting thought. If a truly hard-core progressive — an Elizabeth Warren or Zephyr Teachout, say — were the party’s strongest presidential candidate, would corporate Democrats choose a lesser candidate anyway, one with a greater chance of losing, just to keep the White House in the hands of someone’s One-Percent candidate? Again, your call, but we may see that tested fairly soon.—

    1. cwaltz

      I believe they already do this. We got to see first hand when democratic activists chose Ned Lamont and Democratic establishment chose to back Joe Lieberman what the democratic oligarchy really thinks of its base and how willing they are to work around them. It’s one of the reasons I really don’t get why anyone would argue that the primaries are an effective way to get more and better democrats when the democratic party leadership itself is willing to support third party candidates to further their own agenda. It’s also why I don’t get the argument that a third party candidate would never win rationale. Obviously they can and do win when they get the support they need. It’s just a matter of finding the right candidate and throwing the support behind them.

      1. proximity1

        “It’s also why I don’t get the argument that a third party candidate would never win rationale. Obviously they can and do win when they get the support they need. It’s just a matter of finding the right candidate and throwing the support behind them.”

        But money-based electoral politics does this, doesn’t it? : i.e. it determines who is or who are “the right candidates” by throwing their support behind them and, conversely, determines who are “the wrong candidates” by withholding that same money from them. That’s just the problem with the third-party candidates, isn’t it? Having already bought both of the major parties’ operations, there’s usually little or no need to put up and fund still another just to be sure that one gets the outcome one wants.

    2. Jess

      Elizabeth Warren a hard-core progressive. Surely you jest. Warren is the Dennis Kucinich of the Senate. Her job is to sound good when she knows nothing she advocates will pass, and nothing she opposes will be stopped. She’s a former “moderate” Republican, which hardly makes her a progressive, much less a hard-core one, under any traditional and valid definition. She’s a pro-AIPAC, pro-GWOT, multi-millionaire hiding under the appearance of a kindly old grandmother. Ben Franklin famously said that, “Anyone who lives on hope will die of starvation” and anyone who places their hope or faith in Warren faces a similar slow and agonizing death.

    3. Propertius

      You seem to be operating under the assumption that the purpose of the legacy parties is to win elections and perhaps even implement policy. That just isn’t the case. The parties are run by professional political consultants. Their purpose is to raise money. That’s why, for instance, Roe v. Wade will never be overturned, no matter how big the conservative majority on SCOTUS becomes. It’s too useful a fundraising tool for both legacy parties. It’s also why there will never be meaningful financial reform. The Democrats can point their fingers at the .01% and whip up their base, while both parties can continue to extract huge donations from the plutocracy. It is the ultimate self-licking ice cream cone (pace Lambert).

      1. proximity1

        RE: “You seem to be operating under the assumption that the purpose of the legacy parties is to win elections and perhaps even implement policy. That just isn’t the case. The parties are run by professional political consultants”…

        We could accept that as a starting point without having to draw from it the conclusions which you seem to draw–namely, that “Their purpose is to raise money.” True, they do raise money–since that’s ( merely coincidentally and secondarily ?) a necessary factor in expensive mass-media-based campaigning as that is done in a country as large and polarized as the U.S.

        But I think you’re confusing causes with effects and taking some generally true premises and drawing invalid conclusions (taking what is a coincidental feature to be an inherent and inevitable one) from them. It’s completely conceivable that the present system of private political donations could be replaced by an entirely public-funded electoral process without that single factor ensuring, by itself, any important difference in the workings and the outcomes of electoral politics (never mind, if it were to be imagined as a goal of such a reform, anything from a partial to a full and effective elimination of the now-standard corruption of electoral and administrative politics). After all, under the Soviet Union’s system, elections were entirely funded by state funds–there was no private donor sector in the process. However, the system’s electoral operations and outcomes were no less corrupt and fully predictable for this fact.

        You could even remove electoral politics itself as a factor and still have a thoroughly closed and predictable political order in which money has–depending on how social arrangements are preferred–either an enormous role or little or no role at all. For example: through some non-electorally-based oligarachic arrangements, the heads of a handful of “leading families” (typically the wealthiest, of course) could determine among themselves how who holds official positions of power and how these people are installed, removed and succeeded. That process could be through a competitive process in which money has an important role or very little– through a system of consensus bargaining in which power positions are either fixed or traded, and selections are similarly resolved through inter-family consultations and formal or informal agreements.

        And, even granting your premise and conclusion, why, by the way, should the abortion issue be any more of a “useful tool” for political fund-raisers’ appeals since Roe v. Wade than it was prior to Roe v. Wade? And, supposing this or some later Court overturned it, why wouldn’t the result prove just as lucrative a tool to political fund-raisers as the status quo? I can and do readily accept that all sorts of factors–good, bad and ugly–can and do enter into Supreme Court Justices’ reasonings and rationales but the suggestion that political fund-raising would be facilitated in some significantly different way as a consequence of (and, therefore, a rationale for) finding in favor of “Roe” and against Wade strains my imagination. Justices in favor of finding for Wade could have and should have answered such a claim by asserting that political fund-raising is and has been doing just fine as things now stand on the highly polarized controversy over a woman’s right to abortion. How would the pro-“Roe” members have answered that?

    4. proximity1

      “If a truly hard-core progressive — an Elizabeth Warren or Zephyr Teachout, say — were the party’s strongest presidential candidate, would corporate Democrats choose a lesser candidate anyway, one with a greater chance of losing, just to keep the White House in the hands of someone’s One-Percent candidate?”

      For reasons already alluded to in the comments criticizing E. Warren, this question simply doesn’t –and needn’t–arise in the first place. That’s what primaries are for: to settle the hash of any such fluke in the field of candidates before we get to the general election. No such truly hard-core progressive should ever get through the primary process to stand in the general election. In fact, such is the lock which money has long had on electoral politics, no such hard-core progressive could ever even find a slot in the primary running, let alone win it and go on to the general election. Barack Obama is only the latest proof of this.

      But, as a thought experiment, I think our experiences already make it clear that in any such case, any soft-core progressive voters who weren’t satisfied with whatever candidate constituted a hard-core progressive would, yes, cast a vote for his or her opponent–or simply sit out the ballot ( which is what I did rather than vote for Obama–but not because he was too” hard-core” as a progressive but rather, I considered him to be the contrary), which is a passive form of “voting for” the opponent.

      1. jonboinAR

        In a few days we’re going to find out if the possible Dallas ebola outbreak was successfully contained or not.

  11. Carolinian

    Re Walmart and health insurance check out this Salon article.

    Moreover, a shift away from employer-provided coverage could help achieve a single-payer insurance model, a goal long sought by many progressives. At the very least, as more individuals move onto Obamacare’s health care exchanges, it’s not inconceivable that health care consumers will demand greater competition and lower costs – which could then revive the push for a public option. Wal-Mart may not have had that in mind when the company made its announcement yesterday, but it may have helped nudge the country a little closer in that direction.

    While Walmart is the traditional liberal goat, it seems to me that the real villains here are both the health care industry itself–their costs are absurdly out of line–and the American tradition of employer supplied insurance. The well off and middle class like this system just fine since they have jobs where insurance is provided. However for everyone else it has always been a scramble and increasingly so. Of course “everyone else” are the segment with the least political power and thus the system we have.

    1. Eureka Springs

      “long sought by many progressives.” This assertion has long been proven to be BS.
      Equating public option with single payer continues to be a tool of the BSers.
      Labeling the populace consumers… another BS tool.
      Suggesting consumers have power to negotiate when law after law makes negotiation by Government itself impossible… more BS tools.

      Not a dimes worth of difference between Salon and Politico here. Nor a dimes worth of difference between progressives and third waywards.

      1. Carolinian

        The offered excerpt doesn’t equate single payer and public option unless “at the very least” means “the same as.” And while one could have a meaningless debate on the term “progressives,” I don’t think it’s a lie to say that “many on the left” favor single payer. And as someone who has in fact negotiated with health care providers

        Suggesting consumers have power to negotiate when law after law makes negotiation by Government itself impossible… more BS tools.

        is itself “BS.” You might want to cut down on the hipshooting.

        That said, I do think that middle class professional liberals and creative class types are less than urgent about single payer since “they have theirs.” In fact that was the point of my comment.

        1. Eureka Springs

          Hipshooting? Look at everyone of those tired examples I shot and see what it got us. It was plain to see far in advance.

          You, like Salon, make excuses, negotiate in error, always lowring the bar on your best days to “at the very least” away from SP with and for people/entities who have no interest in universal health care via single payer. Never truly did, except for use as bait and switch – PO vs SP which was all along going to be compulsory purchase of a private exchange ponzi. A caste based system, low bene, high deductible profiteering binge. Congress explicitly made it impossible for medicare/caid (but tri-care V.A. can negotiate, iirc) to negotiate drug prices. Single payer has a long world wide history of cutting health care costs dramatically when initiated. That was never on the table here…. quite the opposite.

          The problem is you and the prog demos win every time by refusing to see it between fundraisers and howling about Republicans. Perfect example… use of the word ‘many’ support it. Substitute many for ‘folks’ or ‘more than a handful’, all are foolish set-ups for false arguments by the PO vs SP kettlers. Mentioning P.O. is the first evasive maneuver from SP/universal care running for ‘the very least’ from the get-go. See how easy it works on you even when pointed out again after years of abuse? However many SP proponents there were they were not allowed a seat at the table…and no sitting congressional Progs or far less than a handful of Prog bloggers suggested a vote against the beast we have now. The time of reckoning long passed… it was in Spring, Summer Fall ’09… The vast majority who claimed to support it clearly did not…. and still don’t.

          Every single prog voted against P.O. or Single Payer… because they ultimately voted for this looting scheme, further enriching each and every problematic beast. Hell, they didn’t even abstain from voting for it. Not one.

          Kucinich on a plane! Private, no option, 40 plus million without, highest prices, highest deductibles in the world still soaring it is. Dental and optical aren’t even bling options.

          This is why the so-called left is the biggest problem.

          1. Lambert Strether

            P.O as kettling. Indeed. Anyone who takes the so-called public option — and its advocates — seriously should read “How the Public Option Was Sold,” and its sequel. I was in the thick of that fight, and it was just as loathesome as playing whack-a-mole with Bush WMDs, except this time it was “progressives” playing that game.

            Adding, and just like Iraq, everybody who was right is still marginalized, and everybody who was wrong is still at the table. Yay!

            1. Carolinian

              Does any of the above (both of you) have anything to do with what I wrote? Therefore “hipshooting” suits very well. I don’t believe I mentioned support for the public option here or anywhere else. In point of fact I’m for NHS–pre-privatization–all the way. My point is simply that liberals moan and groan about bete noire Walmart (and btw Target and many others) not offering health insurance when employer supplied health insurance has a lot to do with the two tier or multi-tier train wreck that currently exists. If Eureka wants to rant about the fecklessness of liberals or progressives have at it. Just don’t use the reply button or suggest it has anything to do with my comment or my beliefs.

              1. Lambert Strether

                Of course. Many people are not aware of the history of the public option, and hence think of it as a respectable policy alternative. So when you quote this:

                Moreover, a shift away from employer-provided coverage could help achieve a single-payer insurance model, a goal long sought by many progressives. At the very least, as more individuals move onto Obamacare’s health care exchanges, it’s not inconceivable that health care consumers will demand greater competition and lower costs – which could then revive the push for a public option.

                It’s important for readers to understand that this:

                revive the push for a public option

                translates to “the same old crowd pulling a bait and switch operation out of the playbook for a second time.”

      2. cwaltz

        I disagree largely because I believe a public option would have been the best way to adjust to a single payer system if that worked out that the government was the most financially feasible and best option for Americans. Then again, I tend to believe that some of the people who stomped for single payer didn’t seem to want to talk about things like the economics of Medicare, preferring to believe that the only problem with the system was it was elderly(hint: the military medical system has a fairly young population and every year in September I’d get to hand out IOUs instead of medication because the NMC San Diego pharmacy ran out of money.) Quite frankly, I was disappointed that the single payer people were excluded from the conversation because I wanted a REAL conversation that laid out the pros and cons of all our options so the American people could go into any system with eyes wide open.

        1. wbgonne

          “I believe a public option would have been the best way to adjust to a single payer system if that worked out that the government was the most financially feasible and best option for Americans.”

          I agree and I naively believed that was exactly what would happen. As others have suggested, however, the neoliberals would never have permitted a viable government alternative to corporate health care BECAUSE the public option would have succeeded. In retrospect, those naysayers are almost certainly correct. As Lily Tomlin said: No matter how cynical I get I just can’t keep up.

          1. cwaltz

            Any system adopted was going to have pros and cons . My biggest complaint is that none of that really got discussed because all the real wheeling and dealing went on behind closed doors. Public policy should not be argued behind closed doors in a healthy democracy.

            Playing devil’s advocate if the system is corrupt what in the world makes you think the single payer system wouldn’t fail as fabulously as a public option? It could just as easily be set up to fail as any other type of health care system.

      3. jrs

        Yea true if one wants to defend (even though ever so indirectly) huge sleezy businesses there are plenty of places to write for. And it’s so clever to take the devils advocate position and say “guess what peeps, Walmart is really pushing a progressive agenda!”

        from the article:
        “Moreover the shift from employer-provided coverage could help achieve a single-payer insurance model, a goal long sought by many progressives.”

        Or it could just lead to much of the population having almost non-existent health coverage.

        “At the very least, as more individuals move onto Obamacare’s health care exchanges, it’s not inconceivable that health care consumers will demand greater competition and lower costs – which could then revive the push for a public option.”

        Or they could be basically powerless over this, caught in a system that stinks increasingly more all the time, with no real way to influence it.

        “Wal-Mart may not have had that in mind when the company made its announcement yesterday, but it may have helped nudge the country a little closer in that direction.”

        Or toward just making everyone serfs with no benefits whatsoever, that could also be the direction … But we’re ever so sure these broken eggs are making omlets! The worse the better.

    2. jrs

      1) walmart eliminates health benefits for low wage workers
      2) magical total progressive takeover of u.s. government and all money out of politics, or proletarian revolution
      3) national health care for all

      Yes but #1 is very real, people are losing their healthcare and will be forced on the ACA *IF* they are lucky enough to even live in a state that expanded it! Otherwise they will pay fines etc..
      #2 may be desirable and the money out of politics may be the weakest link, but it seems miles away from actually being a reality (regardless of what the peeps at Salon are smoking)

      So how can anyone deny the harm from #1 and see only polyannish futures?

    3. Propertius

      The “public option” is the Magic Sparkle Pony trotted out by the Dems to silence Single-Payer advocates.

    4. curlydan

      A lot of those Walmart/Target/Trader Joe’s workers are going to end up on Medicaid (see income chart below) depending on how many are in the household and how many have jobs. While that’s probably OK for those workers in the short run, it further degrades the fantasy revenue projections of the program to begin with. It makes Walmart more dependent on the government for the weak treatment of its workers (now they’re on Medicaid and food stamps). The 30 hr limit also becomes a hurdle that Walmart probably will not want to exceed.

      Most of these Walmart workers probably are making $15K or less a year (30 hrs max * $10/hr * 50 weeks/yr)

      ACA and Medicaid income ranges by household size:

      1. jrs

        What if their state didn’t expand Medicaid? Medicaid without expansion very seldom applies to people without kids.

        1. curlydan

          unfortunately, they’re back to the George W. Bush Memorial “they can use the emergency room” form of healthcare in the greatest system of healthcare in the world. And the Waltons can continue to collect $3B in dividend payments each year.

  12. nony mouse

    On the end of employer-provided healthcare:

    You may recall that during the 2012 election, Republican politicians warned darkly that Obamacare was a “job killer” that would create a “part-time economy,” in which companies started dropping their workers’ hours down below that figure in order to escape the mandate and impoverishing more Americans as a result. That didn’t happen.

    not necessarily true. I am currently working for a large department store chain (which shall remain nameless, but you would recognize it in an instant) whose policy is to give no worker who is not already a full-time employee (management level, essentially) no more than 28 hours per week to avoid providing health care.

    the Tootsie Roll owl says “how many part-time minimum wage jobs does it take to pay rent and eat in a metro area?” he also wonders how one can hold more than one of these jobs when the employer wants to schedule you with hours that range all over the clock and all over the calendar, and also wants to be able to call you in at a moment’s notice. good luck biting through that one!

    1. cwaltz

      I feel for employees, however some of them are their own worst enemies. If you know that you can’t get enough money from working a job why in the world would you commit to open availability? Why wouldn’t you stipulate that you can only work specific hours(do your research and find out whether they need help in AM or PM) so that you can potentially pick up another job? One of the pros of a low wage job is that they are fairly disposable and yet that isn’t how the labor force appears to be treating them. As I told my kids when they entered the workforce, if you tell an employer that you are willing to work anytime expect them to call you on it. They aren’t there to look out for you, they are there to make a profit. You need to look out for you(and yes my kids did have 1-2 employers that wanted only open availability or that ignored what their availability said but they knew to pass on them as employers.)

      1. Ulysses

        “If you know that you can’t get enough money from working a job why in the world would you commit to open availability? ” Yeah, whydontcha just take one of the many thousands of high-paying, predictable schedule jobs that are just going begging now for lack of qualified applicants? Jeez, these poor shmucks working low-wage jobs are their own worst enemies! Why don’t they just call on their network of fraternity/sorority brothers/sisters from Yale and get a cushy desk job paying six figures? Poor people just don’t want to help themselves, I guess.

        You give the impression (perhaps unintended) that your “feeling” for employees is from the considerably distant vantage point of a pretty comfortable position, without feeling the pressures that face millions today in the U.S.

        1. cwaltz

          I’ve never been to Yale. I went to a community college using my GI Bill. I actually worked at a Walmart, a Taco Bell, and a Kroger at some point and time( and yes as we are nearing our 50s we are comfortable largely because of our CHOICES, we have no college debt, we own our house which is a small mobile home not a McMansion, and we own our vehicles.) My daughter details cars for minimum wage FULL TIME (she got offered full time because of her awesome work ethic) and she works a part time job as a cashier. So YES I am familiar with what it is like to work in a low wage sector. Very familiar. My son, before getting the job he has now, worked full time for Panera for $8 an hour(thanks to his customer service skills and work ethic he was able to find something at a customer service center for $11.50 an hour) so yeah everyone in my house has had some kind of low wage job(more often than not 2 at the same time)

          I’ve dealt with putting the bills in the hat when the tires on the car needed to be replaced or a kid(we had 4) got sick. For years we had one car that didn’t even fit the whole family because we needed to save for gas. It wasn’t easy to pay our house or our car off. It meant that any extra money we could make, we did. It meant I’d be online clicking for pennies to cover Christmas and vacation was a trip to the local fair saved by throwing all the change I’d find when doing laundry.. My older kids walked to work until they could afford a car( the two oldest saved enough to cover the costs after a year and a half). Mommy and Daddy aren’t paying for their college and they aren’t going into debt in hopes that it might magically lead to better jobs. So no, not everyone who thinks it is ridiculous to offer an employer the moon for minimum wage is some out of touch person who can’t understand how it feels to struggle. Some of us are all too familiar with struggle, and as individuals we know from experience that the only person who is going to look after you, is you. Expecting an employer to look after you out of the kindness of their hearts or out of some sense of owing you because you kindly offered them the moon is a recipe for disappointment and disaster.

          Hope that clears up my perspective.

      2. nony mouse

        perhaps because it was the only job offer that was seriously made to me. I have been through sending my resume’ out to get no response, being interviewed when it was clear that the person had made up their mind within 3 seconds of meeting me and was merely going through the motions, and people who claimed that they were ‘really interested’ and yet never contacted me back (even though I sent thank-you messages and maintained contact). after a few diseheartening months like that, I’d like to start paying my rent and my student loans.

        some of us do not have ANY family to fall back on. I’m glad that your children probably did not have to claim the same, nor make those kinds of “to eat, or not to eat…” calculations.

        1. cwaltz

          Most minimum wage jobs don’t require resumes.(We are still talking about minimum wage retail correct?) You generally turn in an application. They either need you or they don’t. You can usually find out beforehand by asking around when exactly they need the help. Perhaps some of what may be occurring is that you are treating these type of jobs as more than entry level?(sending thank you messages and maintaining contact)

          While my children never have had to make a “to eat or not to eat” calculation, my husband and I did. I’ve even donated my plasma to pay for gas money and milk thankyouverymuch. That being said, we were strategically able to move forward by looking for opportunities and being completely honest with employers about what we would and would not do(when I worked at Taco Bell I went into employment specifically for evening hours and told the employer I would not be available during the day because my husband would not be available to watch my children and paying for childcare would defeat the purpose of my earning an income from them. Surprise! He was able to accommodate me. When I worked at Walmart I had a second job working as a pharmacy technician. They specifically knew that I would work nights only. So yes, low wage employers can and do accommodate people. However, they aren’t going to do so unless you tell them to.

          1. pretzelattack

            these days employers are far less accommodating, and don’t forget how very much cheaper college was back in the 70s and 80s. different times.

    2. curlydan

      yuck. Your employer and many others want to give you crap hours, crap pay, and move you to the exchanges or Medicaid while you rely on food stamps. But at least you’re letting Walmart and Home Depot/Lowes cut the price on some needed item by $0.10, reducing inflation (go ZIRP!), let payrolls expand (let’s ignore this criterion, Janet), and median income fall. You’re in the quicksand of neo-liberalism.

      1. ambrit

        Being a former Lowes “employee/slave” I will also point your attention to the compensation system in place for senior executives. It perfectly encourages anti labour behaviour by Management. I remember when another employee showed me where the CEO of Lowes had sold $75 million or so of stock options into the market, in one year. This was while the employee ‘Spifs’, commissions on big ticket sales, were being discontinued. The best part of the ‘Spifs’ was that the manufacturers were paying these commissions, not the store! So, the manufacturers were still paying those sales incentives, but no longer were the actual sales staff getting them. I wonder where that money eventually ended up.
        I got out of there before I went totally crazy. I will not shop there. Home Depot might not be any better, but at least they haven’t s—d me yet.

        1. cwaltz

          I mentioned on another site I frequent that it is almost getting to the point where we have labor vs. capital. They were puzzled that so many of the low wage don’t admire and wish to emulate the wealthy. I pointed out that why would labor admire a group that consistently belittles their contributions and insists that they should make less and less so the shareholders can earn more and more? It makes no sense to admire someone who essentially insists that their value to the market is greater than yours and applauds every single time that you are faced with diminishing benefits for your contributions.

      2. nony mouse

        and this is my fault, how again? am I an “enabler” because I would rather not be homeless? do I agree with all of these practices, or are they thrust upon me because I don’t seem to have any better job prospects at the moment?

        the responses to this message have been enlightening, and not in a good way.

        1. cwaltz

          He mentioned quicksand of neoliberalism because he understands that you are somewhat stuck.

          I realize that you were duped into debt by people promising you better opportunities if you just studied hard. However, at some point, you have to realize you were lied to and the system is not your friend. In some ways by not treating it as the adversarial system it is, it’s making things harder on you.

          I’m sorry if you think I was picking on you. I wasn’t. I was speaking from experience and am giving you the EXACT SAME ADVICE I gave my kids(who by the way aren’t getting a free ride at home, one of the requirements of no rent payment is they are required to bank savings.) You aren’t powerless in the labor and management diametric unless you cede your power. Start from the viewpoint that your labor has value and recognize that business is always going to do what business does and maximize profit. It’s your job to ensure they don’t do it by screwing you(by making you their beck and call person and forcing you to pay the opportunity cost of being that beck and call person.)

          I genuinely wish you better opportunities going forward.

          1. proximity1

            Sorry for this reductio ad absurdum but I just can’t resist:

            IOW: See Steve Martin’s ” humor skit, “You Can Be a Mill-ion-aire!

            Pressing one’s labor-value is a challenge when the “human resources” people have 5000+ applications for the post over which one is pressing one’s (present or future) labor-value and when a good portion of those 5000 would take significantly less than one’s own asserted labor-value.

  13. Kim Kaufman

    “Mcrosoft’s Windows 10 has permission to spy on you TechWorm (Chuck L)”

    I read the article… and the comments. Apparently these kinds of “permissions” are standard for beta users, which is what this is about. I was interested because I want to buy something new and not sure whether to wait for 10 or to buy what’s still around with 7. And definitely don’t want 8.

  14. pgrommit

    So “Windows 10 has permission to spy on you”. What about Windows 8, which I have? Back in June MSFT sent me an email updating their policies, stating:

    “As part of our ongoing commitment to respecting your privacy, we won’t use your documents, photos or other personal files or what you say in email, chat, video calls or voice mail to target advertising to you.”

    I read that as saying “we monitor your every keystroke, but rest assured we won’t sell it to advertisers”. That sure is comforting.

    1. optimader

      Legal syntax.
      They can give it away to any entity, including independent third party associates who can sell it any and all of it.

      1. optimader

        hit return… well they can sell to any third party that agrees not to use it for “advertising” . Define “advertising” in the agreement to be whatever they want it to be..

  15. PNW_WarriorWoman

    Re: “Is Your Dentist Ripping You Off?” What a nice surprise. My two children have been seeing local dentist, Jeffrey Camm, (quoted in the article) since birth. It’s great to see him raising awareness and talking frankly about his profession.

  16. PQS

    Dental care: Surprised this has just come up now. I recall seeing an article on a nightly new show at least 20 years ago about how different dentists charged vastly different rates for the same procedures. Not surprised at all that they are in the sales biz now.

    I once had a dentist tell me I needed a ton of work based on some gizmo he put on my teeth, and when he told his nurse to schedule me for a bunch of fillings, I told him to hold his horses and that I wanted another opinion. His response was to dump me as a patient via a “Dear Jane” letter in which he regretted that our “relationship” wasn’t based on enough mutual trust. I felt like I dodged an expensive bullet after that. My current dentist likes to tell me he prefers NOT to practice dentistry on people unless it’s necessary, and he also did work other dentists said they wouldn’t do (like filling a wisdom tooth instead of pulling it out or sending me to an oral surgeon.)

    To Yves, Lambert, and the whole NC Crew: Thanks so much for all that you do!

    I’m late donating, but have chipped in. I have loved this site for many years and read it almost daily, don’t always comment. (Have a very hard time commenting via my handheld, as I am a very low grade texter.)

  17. Oregoncharles

    “In This Election, Obama’s Party Benches Him New York Times”
    At this point, it’s Obama’s job to insure that a Republican wins the presidency in 2016, because the wings of the 2-Party have a little deal to trade it back and forth, two full terms at a time, as they have done since Clinton was re-elected. Which explains some very strange elections. like 2000.

  18. optimader

    Re: CDC Forced to Admit that Ebola Might Be Spread through Coughing and Sneezing
    Leader framed in kind-of a implied conspiratorial language?.
    The language of science often doesn’t translate well into MSM (File under: Climate Change / GW)

    FWIW, readers interested in the subject of ebola and transmissibility might find these three pieces of interest.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    From the link (the best place to live???):

    “Canberra: Why wait for death?” was Bill Bryson’s blistering judgement in his 2000 travelogue Down Under. “Pyongyang without the dystopia,” was the verdict of the Economist in 2009.

    If Sydney is brash and bold, and Melbourne is cool and classy, then Canberra, at least in the Australian public imagination, is dull and devoid of soul.

    “Canberra: it’s not that bad” is the caption on a well-known car licence plate in the capital city. Talk about damning with faint praise.

    1. optimader

      BB is great..
      In a Sunburned Country. Paraphrasing: “Only country in the world where it’s elected leader could walk out into the surf one bright and beautiful morning never to be seen again..”

    2. Glenn Condell

      The joke used to go that the only book thinner than The Wit of Malcolm Fraser was What’s On in Canberra.

      It’s beautiful and it’s clean and unlike Washington there are no slums to speak of. The lack of edge might bother the youngsters but after a certain point the relative quiet attracts a lot of people.

      I have to be careful, significant others hail from there…

  20. ChrisPacific

    Re: the Facebook story, I think this is why everyone should be on Facebook even if you never do anything there.

    I asked friends and family some questions about what they would do if they got a request from someone claiming to be me on Facebook – whether they would check if it was really me, and if so how they would do it. Based on the answers I got, I concluded that there was a me-shaped hole in the world according to Facebook waiting to be claimed, and if I didn’t do it then it was only a matter of time before somebody else did.

  21. hollister

    A retired hostage just who paid precious time through your ex boyfriend on captivity stated to that Israeli websites Yedioth Aharonoth: “He would once wish privately closer to Jerusalem. Yet find out that guidance [the Muslim kidnappers] was praying and be able to correct that slope. ” Mr Sotloff preserved an important vigilant calculate in may be time he’d become performed as a result she or he could very well exercise routine that meeting and even witness Judaism alfredia celebrati

  22. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the linked articles under the heading “Mr. Market Has A Sad”. Today’s market action was reflective of the type of market behavior we have seen over the past 5-plus years. Every time a key market index drops and nears breaking the primary uptrend, an “Invisible Hand” comes in and pushes prices back upward.

    I would like to see a Congressional inquiry into the possible use of public money to elevate stock and bond prices.

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