Links 4/15/15

P-22 vacates home, heads back to Griffith Park, wildlife officials say Los Angeles Times

New whale species identified? BBC

How to Avoid a Shark Attack Live Science

An economic future that may never brighten Martin Wolf, FT. What’s with the sudden lack of animal spirits?

Deflation’s not here yet – but that doesn’t mean living costs aren’t falling The Telegraph

Exclusive: Wary of natural disaster, NY Fed bulks up in Chicago Reuters. WTF?

Four Forces Facing the Global Economy Olivier Blanchard, IMF Direct

U.S. Consumers Open Their Wallets, Cautiously WSJ

Venture capital deals slow as start-ups turn to new money wells Los Angeles Times

Americans’ Spending on Dining Out Just Overtook Grocery Sales for the First Time Ever Bloomberg

Europe to Pull Trigger on Google Antitrust Charges WSJ

Nokia Agrees to Buy Networks Rival Alcatel for $16.6 Billion Bloomberg

Pragmatism works best in the reform of economics FT

Economists Still Think Economics Is the Best The Atlantic


Greece confident of reaching agreement in make-or-break 24 April deadline Guardian

Varoufakis sets up date with Obama to break Greece’s debt stalemate Telegraph. Not sure if this is a real meeting, or just a grip-and-grin.

IMF chief economist: Grexit would be extremely painful for Greece! Protothema

Don’t bank on Tsipras dumping Syriza’s leftwing diehards FT

Just when hope and courage are called for, Labour promises bean-counting Guardian. I love the idea of the SNP forming the UK’s government.

Episode Nine: Polar Bears LRB. “The Tory manifesto promises £12 billion in welfare cuts, but gives three times as much space to its policy on polar bears.”

Is The Crisis Now History In Spain? A Fistful of Euros

Anti-migrant attacks spread in South African port city AFP

US Nominates Ex-Envoy For North Korea Policy As Ambassador To Thailand After 6-Month Hiatus International Business Times

‘Oh the Chinaman stole all the money and blew it all on alcohol,’ Jho Low says in sarcastic defence Malaya Mail

China growth slows to six-year low as stimulus fails to find traction Reuters

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

‘Free-range’ parents plan to file lawsuit after police pick up children WaPo

In the future, your insurance company will know when you’re having sex Fusion. Only if you’re wearing an Apple Watch.

NASA’s Secret Relationships with U.S. Defense and Intelligence Agencies The National Security Archive

National Strategy for the National Network of Fusion Centers 2014-2017 Public Intelligence

Google May Offer New Way to Target Ads Wall Street Journal. “Google has suggested that advertisers hand over customer information such as email addresses, which Google would then use to target the ads.”

Hillary Clinton Comes Out Swinging at CEOs and Hedge Fund Managers Bloomberg. Can’t raise a billion without hedgies, can you?

Hillary Clinton says she would support a constitutional amendment on campaign finance reform WaPo

Senate approves bill that changes how Medicare pays doctors, ends annual ‘doc fix’ The Week

Wisconsin Climate Change Gag Order Part of Broader Industry-Tied Attacks on Science Desmogblog (Furzy Mouse)

Coal producers say Northwest environmentalists blocking Asia-bound exports FOX

Cops have killed way more Americans in America than terrorists have Boing Boing

Prison time for some Atlanta school educators in cheating scandal CNN

Also a civil right: Breathing Will Bunch, Philadephia Inquirer

Effort to make the Bible Tennessee’s official book bogs down AP

Republicans push for a permanent aristocracy WaPo

Imperial Collapse Watch

A Life Sentence for a Blackwater Murder The New Yorker

FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States The Onion

The hidden battle to build the Air Force’s new stealth bomber Politico. Maybe finish the F-35 first?

How do you stop Twitter trolls? Unleash a robot swarm to troll them back Telegraph. Bad idea.

Hackers are now stealing information, encrypting it, and holding it for ransom Pando Daily

The Paradox of Meritocracy in Organizations Administrative Science Quarterly

Seattle firm raising pay of all staffers to minimum $70,000 Seattle Times

Oration in Memory of Abraham Lincoln Frederick Douglass

Don’t fool yourself: Seven signs that you’re being passive-aggressive WaPo.

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Links on by .

About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. vidimi

    thank you for linking the monbiot article, was going to do it myself. as a backdrop, labour are britain’s equivalent to the democrats. from the article:

    Think what Labour could do, if it chose, to revitalise public services. A 0.01% financial transaction tax would raise £25bn a year. Replacing the mossy and regressive council tax with land value taxation would transfer many billions from the rentier class, as would matching the rate of capital gains tax to the top rate of income tax. Yet the party’s manifesto proposes none of this; boasting instead that “Britain will continue to have the most competitive rate of corporation tax in the G7”.

    Why not address the scandalous banding of national insurance, levied at 12% on earnings up to £805 a week, but at only 2% thereafter? Why not cap farm subsidies (a power the Westminster government possesses but does not exercise)? Paid by the hectare, the biggest landowners each receive millions of pounds a year in public money: a vast and toxic scandal. Surely that’s where the benefit cap should be imposed? But on all these issues, Labour says nothing.

    1. LucyLulu

      I agree with Yves on the SNP. The woman who leads it is feisty and willing to buck the system and her platform is very similar to the Greens.

      1. LucyLulu

        Not Yves. It’s Lambert who posted the links today. I swear, I really wasn’t being passive aggressive! Sorry, Lambert!

      2. paul

        Nicola Sturgeon is an extremely able and, I believe, a person of good intent.
        As far as I know, the SNP position is, if in that position, to offer support to the government where it agrees rather than take the king’s shilling in a similar drunken euphoria as the contemptible orange book liberal democrats did.
        All establishment parities were miraculously united against coalition politics when the SNP formed a minority government in their first term, but the SNP struggled through and gained a majority within a system that was designed to deny it (proportional representation good for jockistan, unthinkable for England and UK).
        To convey how disruptive this has been (and I will add that I find the SNP far too corporatist/pro eu/biznez for my own preference) is to imagine ross perot being elected in 92 and returned resoundingly in 96. (and leaving a breathing alternative party)
        Here in Jockistan, there are just red tories and blue tories now, and even their abused vote bank have realised they are not the future.

      3. Oregoncharles

        Neither link worked for me.
        The Scottish Greens are allied with the SNP – also supported independence. (With Scots ancestry on both sides, so did I, for what it’s worth.)

  2. LucyLulu

    The WaPo article on P-A behavior is a must-read for those who haven’t yet been indoctrinated in such types of diverse challenges to read the given examples and say, “ya think?”. There’s a reason they call passive-aggression “crazy-making” behavior. The article would have been better though if they included simple and appropriate ways to respond.

    Following an unrelated story, Wow! Here is a very simple and concise summary of the US economy in global terms, from a mainstream MSM outlet, suitable for sending to those who are willing to only devote scant attention to such matters:

    1. diptherio

      Ways to respond to passive aggression: confront them directly, explain their behavior and why it’s harmful. When they, almost inevitably, deny that there is anything wrong with their actions, tell them that you’ll probably be spending your time from now on with people who don’t make you feel like sh*t on a regular basis.

      If you have to work with them (or, Goddess forbid, under them) I don’t know what to suggest. Probably finding someplace else to work, honestly. You can’t fix every broken person/situation, and it’s not worth the stress of living with them, if they’re not going to get any better…so start conspiring to start a worker co-op with your good co-workers. At a co-op, you can just bring this stuff up in the management meeting and deal with it in the open. What a novel concept…

      1. Juneau

        I like the PA article. Still I come to the defense of people who use PA defenses when they are in a position of weakness. If one is dealing with anger towards someone who can genuinely you (a boss, a parent, etc…) direct confrontation has many risks. Say you are dealing with a narcissistic individual who will try to annihilate you for criticizing them. It may be better to be silent and unresponsive than to confront. People with PA personality are a different story. They are hostile aggressive individuals who do a lot of covert gaslighting which can be extremely damaging IMHO sometimes worse than overt aggression because you don’t know you are under attack until the damage is done. Still good to be mindful of PA behavior in ourselves since as the article implies it can be unconscious and damaging to relationships.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think smaller, weaker nations can benefit from passive-aggressive defenses.

          Greece or Spain can try it on Germany.

    2. jrs

      The examples seem almost things that everyone will have done at one time or another. Pathologizing normalcy is a term that may fit. Though normal always falls short of the ideal of course.

      I generally associate the term “passive aggressive” with what to people do when they are, or sometimes merely feel, powerless, like terrorism is a tool of the powerless. But what’s desirable is flexibility of response right? The ability to use passivity, or passive aggression, or assertiveness, or far less frequently even aggression at times (who would have a problem with it used in self-defense for instance), as the situation calls for. In a situation where one is not objectively powerless, assertiveness is probably a good first choice, but as always why should we throw out tools?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The whole Dao De Jing is about yielding in order to conquer.

        Someone steps on your foot. You walk away in a bad mood. “Shame/guilt on the offender once.”

        Someone steps on your foot. You offer the other foot. You are trying to make the offender be twice as shameful or guilty.

        Someone steps on your foot. You walk away without realizing it’s an assault/attack/insult. A bystander asks if you are OK. You say, ‘Huh? What happened?’

        He slaps your face.

        Should you offer the other cheek to make him look twice as guilty/shameful/ridiculous?

        Is that passive aggressiveness?

      2. hunkerdown

        I prefer “original sin”, to show that trading in suits for beards doesn’t change the nature of sky god worship.

        And, why do you see other people as machines which to manipulate with “tools”?

  3. Brooklin Bridge

    FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States -The Onion

    Great piece! The only paragraph missing :
    The FBI has raised the alarm that little if any legal framework currently exists for reprisals against those countries or groups, like Al-Qaeda, who have developed such deadly strategies as doing absolutely nothing against us. Though we have some precedent thanks to visionary presidents such as George W. Bush and Barack Obama, there is no known constitutional basis for addressing such insidious and potent attacks as total passivity. According to an un-named source, “We are at their mercy!”

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Inspired positioning in Links.

      First The Onion, and then Politico on the fight by “defense” contractors to build another plane that can’t get off the ground.

      How long until Bob Corker demands a ban on popcorn exports to the Middle East since they’re making watching the show too enjoyable?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Wuwei – the art of achieving by doing nothing, covered in Dao De Jing.

        By not playing the IMF’s game, by doing nothing, perhaps, Greece can bring down the Euro project.

        1. Susan the other

          And a boycott is also passive aggressive; stand back everyone, I’m not going to do one damn thing.

      1. Strangely Enough

        Officials say PM is concerned Tehran’s compliance will make new sanctions, long-term monitoring of nuclear sites nearly impossible

        From the “you can’t make this $#!+ up” file…

        1. hunkerdown

          “His girlfriend gave up her toe!”
          “She thought we’d be getting a million dollars!”
          “It’s not fair!”
          The Big Lebowski‘s denouement, in which the “nihilists” come to believe in some things.

  4. Ulysses

    Nice line from the WaPo piece linked above:

    “Never in the history of plutocracy has so much been given away to so few who need it so little.”

    Can hereditary “nobility” be all that far off in our neo-feudal future? :(

    1. Bev

      That is the intention of our debt-based money system. Our economic future could brighten if we had a public/government debt-free money as advocated by The American Monetary Institute at .

      Why Monetary Reform Must Become Your Number One Issue
      Joe Bongiovanni is a second-generation monetary reformer. He has been studying money systems for over 40 years, being the co-founder and co-Director, with J. Peter Young, of the Kettle Pond Institute for Debt-free Money. Joe considers himself a Greenback revolutionist, and advocates for the solution he coins as “The Money System Common.”


      M.A. (Oxon) ; LL.D. (Glasgow) ; F.R.S. ; Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 1921 ; Author of ” Science and Life ” ; ” Wealth, Virtual Wealth , and Debt ” ; ” Money versus Man ” ; etc.
      Full text of “The Role of Money” at:

      1. Benedict@Large

        Show me a money system that’s not debt-based, and I’ll show you money that isn’t money. Money is an IOU, and that mean for there to be a “U” (as in your money), the has to also be an “I” (as it the issuer’s obligation). Rules of accounting, you know. The “U” of course is transferrable, which is how money works and why it is so desired, but eventually the issuer (the government) must settle up (collect taxes), at which point the obligation is extinguished (i.e., that money ceases to exist).

        1. Bev

          A debt-free public money is tried and true. Our best and bravest presidents like Washington, Lincoln, and Kennedy among others, instituted as per required by our constitution a public/government money debt-free and the nation prospered. The accounting was that the government spent the money on infrastructure, needed projects, and once the infrastructure was built, the accounting book was noted paid in full. That is also accounting, but in the public interest, not the bankers’ interest. And, the bankers are very interested in keeping debt as money. Therefore, any brave and public-interest-minded politicians will need not only our support, but protection too, if we use history as a guide.

          1. paul

            From what I’ve read of Michael Hudson, I have gained the impression that the USA has a de facto debt free money system already, though he seems genuinely confounded (postscript to global fracture) why no reaction to fiction has occurred.
            Chalmers Johnson had the cause right: the garrison colonialism of the US military;land bases, intel bases and plain old patronage. (MH added the agridom aspect)

            1. Bev

              Outcomes are not that of a debt-free money system. So, I would think not. I know that Michael Hudson has spoken in the past at the American Monetary Institute:

              2015 AMI Monetary Reform Conference
              September 10-13, 2015
              Register to attend
              with special discounts to students and active Green Party Members

  5. abynormal

    re Medicare: “a new system that rewards doctors whose patients become healthier.”
    heheheee based on the same ‘medicare new system’ structure…my state is sending Teachers to Jail!

    “From even the greatest of horrors irony is seldom absent.” Lovecraft

    1. Jess

      If I understand the bill correctly, along with fixing the “doc fix” the bill also conveniently does away with the annual subsidy payment for Medi-Gap insurance policies, which will now come out of the patient’s pocket. Another step on the neoliberal corruption of the program.

  6. Bev

    Please help as there are only seven days left to this important project. This will help our return to a democracy with hand-counted paper ballots posted in precinct on election night under public observation.
    Get CODE RED, and spread the word about it, or give up any chance of salvaging US democracy!
    We Are Live on Kickstarter

    To stop election theft before it really is too late, we must come together and make our voices heard. CODE RED can play a major role in that but only if it is widely read. And that is where your support is so important.

    Our Kickstarter Campaign is live–spread the word please!

    Please donate. Every gift helps and encourages others to participate. If you cannot donate, you may know people who can–please reach out!

    We must reach our goal of $12,000 in 30 days ( now just $3,332. with 7 days to go, and with Kickstarter you have to meet your goals or you get nothing) to receive the funds and move forward with our work to educate the public about the very real dangers of secret vote counting on computerized equipment and mobilize our citizens to restore observable vote counting in America.

    Thank you, and please post around.

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Hillary Clinton says she would support a constitutional amendment on campaign finance reform WaPo

    And Barack Obama “said” he would close Guantanamo.

    Talk is so cheap, I can’t figure out how candidates manage to “need” and spend a BILLION dollars on a campaign. The lies they tell are a dime a dozen. Where does the rest of it go?

    By the way, my comment refers only to the title of the article. I didn’t bother to read it. I’ve already had enough of this sh*t.

    1. Carolinian

      Dunno if this has already been linked but Counterpunch has been re-running a great series of articles on Hillary.

      Cockburn/St.Clair make clear that Hillary is the last person who should ever be President. Which one fears means she will be President. But if nothing else such a disaster could be the swan song for the Democratic Party. Who can deny that Hillary represents everything the Dems currently stand for?

    2. optimader

      RE: Hillary Clinton says she would support a constitutional amendment on campaign finance reform WaPo

      less paperwork?

  8. Jackrabbit

    As I speculated yesterday, the US is objecting to the sale of the Russian S-300, an anti-aircraft/anti-missle system, to Iran. And that has forced M$M to acknowledge that the understanding with Iran is NOT a peace deal. (ht Lambert watercooler)

    In the last video, the interviewer says that the Iranian version of the understanding and the WH version are “quite different” and Sen. Corker admits that “No one has a firm grasp on Iran framework deal”. (Yet the emphasis of the reporting remains on the partisan theatre for public consumption.)

    The different understanding of the understanding and the difficult details that must still be negotiated mean that the June 30 deadline to reach a peace agreement will probably be missed (most ‘deadlines’ in negotiation with Iran have been, so that is no surprise). Congress and Obama have now agreed to another ‘deadline’ of July 9th. After that date, the Congressional review period will be 60 days instead of 30. It appears that no sanctions can be lifted without Congress’ approval.

    The Iranians believe that they negotiated a deal whereby ALL sanctions will be lifted immediately (the extensive discussion in the document regarding quickly re-implementing sanctions suggests that the Iranian’s may be more right). The WH disagrees. Now Congress has a veto. The Iran-Russian S-300 sale/purchase no doubt angers the neocons. Will this deal ever get done? Or is it all kabuki?

    H O P

    1. skippy

      Roflmmao… case of pre election [erection] eye gouging…. the opposition… nothing else matters these days…

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      …….. the US is objecting to the sale of the Russian S-300, an anti-aircraft/anti-missle system, to Iran.

      The US “objects” to the very ideas of Russia and Iran. Period.

      Picking this or that program or leadership utterance as a specific “objection” is simply meant to cultivate the appearance of having given it some thought.

      1. cwaltz

        How dare the objects of our aggressions gang up! Don’t they know they are supposed to passively allow us whatever is in our interest even if it isn’t in the interest of their respective countries?

        Our foreign policy continues to be idiotic and self serving. The people in Congress who couldn’t have been bothered to read the bill that sent us to war with Iraq are now going to “save” us from Iran(*rolls eyes*)

    3. FederalismForever

      So many odd aspects about this “deal with Iran.” If President Obama really regards this deal as the capstone to his foreign policy, why is it that he still hasn’t had a face-to-face meeting with Iran’s President? Nixon went to China to meet Mao; Reagan met with Gorby; Carter went to Camp David, etc. etc, yet Obama relies on Kerry for everything. Kerry sometimes even meets with foreign heads of state. This really is unprecedented, and tends to confirm the rumor that Obama is terrible at face-to-face negotiating.

      Now a new variable: on a 19-0 bipartisan display of unanimity, Congress will have the right to veto the deal. First off, since when did “Congress” as a whole (and not just the Senate) acquire the power to veto treaties? (Or, on some technical reading, is this Iran deal something other than a treaty, and therefore not subject to Art. II, Sec. 2?) Second, 19-0 suggests either a bipartisan vote of no confidence in Obama, or a reveal of the bipartisan power of the Israel lobby.

      1. James Levy

        The Republicans have Obama in a nice vice: if he acts like a President, they scream “dictator!!!” and if he doesn’t, they scream “weakling!!!” and both Obama and the MSM take their nonsense seriously, as if it was not all a scripted ploy and nothing more.

        Obama wants his Woodrow Wilson moment on the way out the door but doesn’t have the guts to let himself be repudiated the way Wilson was over the Treaty of Versailles. Thus he is trying (as many presidents have before) to do a foreign policy work-around Congress, but Congress is in the hands of really crazy vances who hate is guts in an almost surreal way. Please don’t take this as an endorsement or defense of Obama–he’s lousy and not worth defending. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Cottons and the Rubios of this world are stark staring loons.

        1. Jackrabbit

          . . .stark staring loons.

          They are crazy like a fox. The duopoly tries their level best to tie us into knots.

          1. hunkerdown

            So debase the coinage: save your worst yuck face for precious little team players and treat their narratives as if they were talking about Santa Claus, the Little Engine that Could, or sparkly vampires. The question is, which one is Team Jacob and which one is Team Edward?

        2. FederalismForever

          @James Levy. There are many ways in which Obama is a second-rate Wilson: (i) former Con Law Professor (except, unlike Wilson, Obama has never authored any original legal scholarship); (ii) prefers to make grand speeches to the public rather than get his hands dirty in negotiations; (iii) arrogant and aloof. Wilson, however, at least went over to Paris himself and tried to handle the negotiations himself. Indeed, he went overboard in this direction, as he should have taken along someone like William Howard Taft (who was willing to go) to achieve a veneer of bipartisan support from someone like Taft who had real legal skills and had a deep knowledge of the intricacies of international law. Obama, by contrast, never handles any of the negotiating himself, even on a project which he deems essential to his foreign policy. It’s very strange.

          The Republicans’ lock-step subservience to Israel right now is a smart move. If the Republicans can pull away even 20-25% of the financial support currently given to the Democratic party by the pro-Israel types, it could be enough to make a real difference in today’s billion-dollar election campaigns.

      2. Jackrabbit

        Obama ‘banked’ a (faux) peace deal. No actual peace required by the M$M presstitutes.

        As long as talks go on sanctions remain. Neocons and allies seem OK with that. Whether the neocons actually allow peace to happen or not, though, is an open question (I am very skeptical).

        Russia and Iran taking advantage of Obama’s faux peace to complete a purchase/sale of S-300 seems to be an unintended (and very much unwanted) consequence. Oops! The too-clever-by-half crowd (formerly know as “the smartest guys in the room”) stumble again. Pass the popcorn.

  9. grayslady

    A disappointing link on the changes to Medicare article, that turned out to be little more than a couple of sentences. A better summary is available here from the Thomas Register. Notable changes include: 1) No more Medigap policies for new Medicare enrollees who become eligible for Medicare beginning Jan. 1, 2020; 2) No more printing an individual’s social security number on the face of the Medicare card; 3) A recommendation to move to smartcards (using chip and PIN), for both patients and providers, to reduce Medicare fraud; 4) Sets December 31, 2018 as the target date for moving to nationwide electronic health records.

    On the last point, this is going to be problematic unless a few issues are resolved. Currently, descriptors of treatments are limited to only those drugs and procedures covered by Medicare, and, sometimes, not even then. I have yet to find an electronic system that allows specific input for the HRT patch I use, and, even then, the descriptor doesn’t allow for distinguishing between brand name and generic. Secondly, if a doctor prescribes a drug for a limited period of time, the record continues to show that drug as being prescribed even if the patient is no longer taking it. Finally, of course, is the complete lack of real security when it comes to electronic medical records.

      1. grayslady

        You’re welcome. Actually, I couldn’t find a single decent newspaper article on the subject. Those newspapers that have written articles are fixated on the pay-for-performance aspects of the new law. But it seems that the guidelines for “patient improvement” have yet to be written. My quick take is that a lot of what is in the bill is more advisory than substantive right now. For instance, on the smartcard, the text of the bill leaves wiggle room on implementation, depending on the overall cost of the smartcard (presumably, to both the Social Security Administration and the individual providers). I don’t imagine a lot of smaller providers are going to jump up and down with joy at the idea of spending money for a special new machine to process cards.

    1. cwaltz

      I noticed the hospital where I’ve been receiving treatment now has a pharmacy technician in it’s ER. Her sole purpose seemed to be to verify which medications you are actively still taking and remove those no longer active as well as to update allergies. It’s actually a pretty neat idea. I also know that I can access my medical records and *ask*(electronically) to have medications added and deleted from my profile as well as conditions.

      I do know that different networks still can’t talk with each other. If you get seen by an HCA provider they can’t look at the Carillion network to see lab results or what treatment regimen you might be on for conditions and vice versa. Once treatment starts to get extensive that’s a bit of a pain in the backside. They do seem to have a dropdown though to email each other. I know my primary care emailed my ortho lab results and that my ortho emailed my primary care my MRI results.

      I honestly think the security aspect is the part that most concerns me. A hacker bent on mischief could do some damage. I wonder how long before someone intent on getting drugs figures out how to electronically sign prescriptions randomly with physicians in a network or by accessing patient data and targeting them. If they can access a financial framework to get credit information, it’s only a matter of time before they figure out how to monetize medical data.

      1. hunkerdown

        Given how hard it is to fill a legitimate script in the US for any drugs that don’t support Christian masochism, I don’t think there’s much to worry about — too much accounting and accountability for that to be a practical way of getting drugs.

        Assuming that’s an actual interchange of records, and not just allowing other people on the same system to access what’s already there, I’m glad to hear that inter-provider data interchange is becoming real at last.

  10. Fool

    How precious of Hillary to get strident about campaign finance reform when she’s been managing a tax-deductible hedge fund masquerading as a philanthropic organization for the past 15 years.

  11. diptherio

    On Reforming Economics:

    The FT article is just silly. Kay sides with Skidelsky that economists should become like dentists and insists that there are no heterodox dentists. Well, for the record, there are heterodox dentists, of a sort, anyway. The moms used to work for a couple of them. The older ones were all about the floride, but when she started working for some young mouth-torturers, it turned out they were anti-floride and gave out floride-free toothpaste samples to their patients. So Skidelsky’s metaphor doesn’t work they way Kay wants it to.

    He then opines that “no one would cross a bridge built by a heterodox engineer,” as if economics is akin to engineering. If engineering were like economists, we would have a situation now where our bridges had all been built with screwy designs using absurdist principles, as evidenced by the fact that they keep collapsing and killing people, and we would have “heterodox” engineers making proposals like “maybe we should use mortar too, and not just bricks” and being mocked for not understanding the principles of engineering.

    He ends with this priceless, and utterly unselfconscious, quip: “Scientific pluralism is about openness of mind not relativism of knowledge.” Isn’t it funny how he thinks econ (as practiced currently in the mainstream) is a science? Newsflash: science begins with observations of the real world, makes hypothesis and then tries to refute them. The test of a scientific hypothesis/theory is its ability to predict. If a hypothesis repeatedly fails to predict accurately, it is rejected. In econ, on the other hand, they start with assumptions that are exactly the opposite of what exists in the real world (informational symmetry, being a case-in-point), create hypotheses and theories on this basis and then, when their theories make repeated bad predictions, they explain why the theory is right and the predictions would have been correct, had but the ceteris remained paribus; which is to say, had the world been other than what it is. This is no science. Kay makes himself look foolish by pretending that it is.

    The Atlantic article is much more enlightening. In it, we find out that “77 percent of the doctoral candidates in the leading American economics programs agreed or strongly agreed with the statement ‘economics is the most scientific of the social sciences.’ ” which explains Kays foolishness, I guess. We are also treated to this thinly veiled admission of narcissism:

    When asked their response to the statement: “In general, interdisciplinary knowledge is better than the knowledge obtained by a single discipline,” the majority (57 percent) of American economics professors disagreed. By contrast, most of their colleagues in sociology (75 percent) and political science (72 percent) agreed that an interdisciplinary approach is preferable.

    Economics? More like egonomics…

    1. fresno dan

      Economics is to science as…..hmmmmm…..Scientology is to science. (actually, I think Scientology has more in common with science than economics – at least a lot of the letters are the same)

      ‘economics is the most scientific of the social sciences.’

      The best example of the Dunning–Kruger effect EVER in the history of the multiverse….

  12. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: A Life Sentence for a Blackwater Murder The New Yorker

    My money’s on a presidential pardon on the way out the door ala Marc Rich.

    Can’t have too many friends in high places and, seeing as the secret service is turning out to be less than “reliable,” who wants to spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder for a disgruntled mercenary who thinks that his buddies were just “doin’ their job?”

  13. Troy Kingof

    So Hillary “Comes Out Swinging at CEOs and Hedge Fund Managers.” Right. She seems to be talking in awfully vague generalities. What is her position on the so-called “carried interest” scam?

      1. Vatch

        Who, Hillary? No, she’s not a billionaire. She’s very rich, of course, possibly a hecto-millionaire (100 million dollars in wealth or more).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Maybe I was thinking her daughter.

          It’s confusing…all rich people look the same.

          And unless one is a Large Numbers mathematicians, all big numbers look the same.

          “Horatio, there are more dollars in heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Someone told me math was called philosophy at that time.

  14. rich

    Leaders Ignore Inequality, Now at Serious Levels

    It’s so bad a 22 year old man committed suicide at The Capital building in Washington, D.C. He had a sign taped to his wrist that read “Tax the Rich.” It took a witness describing the sign for the public to become aware. Officials would only refer to the message in couched language, social justice, “some type of protest sign”.

    The aristocracy, intellectuals and the rich were oblivious of the needs of the masses, much like our leaders today. As Adbusters magazine put it: “Even in the seconds before their heads were about to roll away from their bodies underneath the blade of the guillotine, it still puzzled the opulent Paris elite how this could be happening.” Yes, they were clueless till the end, in denial, not listening to the masses for many years. Like today across America.

    Are authorities afraid of the public’s possible resonance with the message? Tunisia changed within weeks after one young man set himself on fire in protest over heavy handed police action and lack of economic opportunity. America forgets our roots with its kingly wealth shared amongst a select few and widespread, intrusive surveillance. They control the narrative and official stories told. What doesn’t fit must be marginalized. They fear resonance and concerted action.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Number 1 – always unlimited budgets for war.

          Number 2. – always unlimited budgets for surveillance.

          Number 3 – always unlimited budgets for color revolutions.

          Number 4 – always unlimited budgets for bailing out banks

          Number 5 – always unlimited budgets for crushing Occupy.

          One shudders as one types.

    1. optimader

      Isnt this more appropriately a tragic story about the state of mental health care and perhaps gun “control” in the US?
      The young man who took his own life, was a resident of Lincolnwood, IL, ( incidentally, one of the wealthier North Shore communities) in the Chicago Area. He had a form of autism (Asperger’s Syndrome) and lived with his parents. When he failed to return home his parents filed a missing person report April 11. Unfortunately, he showed up in DC and killed himself.

      Framing his death as some altruistic form of self sacrifice to a poorly articulated case for social justice “tax the 1%!” is poor form.
      Frankly I can see the case for no media trolling the suicide of a young man with mental health issues at the US Capitol. Fortunately no one else was injured/killed.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Interesting that adults with Asperger’s Syndrome are more likely to have suicidal thoughts.

        It’s not intuitive to me, having someone close who has learning disability, though not quite AS. Maybe we fail to notice those thoughts that are there.

        Every day, one learns.

        1. LucyLulu

          One of my five sisters has three children, boys who are 22, 19, and 16. All have Asperger’s, which now falls under Autism Spectrum Disorder per DSM V (Asperger’s lies on less dysfunctional end of spectrum, e.g. may speak late but are able to use language to communicate, while more traditional ‘Rain Man’ autism falls on other end). A few years ago, she lent me a book, “Look Me in the Eye”, about life with Asperger’s. It’s written by somebody who suffers from it, and IIRC, it was rather popular. Despite the author’s bland affect and difficulty with ordinary social interactions that causes others to shun him, he wrote he is sensitive to others’ reactions and very much wants to be accepted and have friends. It’s very good for anybody who seeks the point of view of one who lives with Asperger’s.

          Like ADHD, Asperger’s is a disorder that has seen a marked increase in prevalence, for unknown reasons. Its high incidence in Silicon Valley (which attracts “brainy nerds”) has led to a belief there is a genetic correlation, however there are other places in California where the incidence is geographically clustered, areas that aren’t associated with high-tech. While those with Asperger’s are twice as likely to have a high IQ (though often also have learning disorders as well), the majority are considered to be of average intelligence. They suffer from low emotional intelligence however, having great difficulty with reading social cues and responding along social norms. Interestingly, though not only for those with verifiable ASD but for geniuses with poor social skills in general, if through training and practice, as gains are made in the emotional/social sphere, corresponding losses are seen in the cognitive/intelligence sphere, as evidenced by both objective testing and self-reports. It’s invariably seen as a welcome trade-off, as social relationships and connection to others is critical to happiness and raison d’etre.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            We worship intelligence too much, to the extent that’s how we relate and see ourselves solely or mostly based on that.

            It’s great they can gain in the emotional/social sphere.

            “Just because I am not intelligent like all of you, that I look foolish, like a fool, in comparison, doesn’t mean I am less a human.”

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      First they take your money.

      Then, they make you believe that’s not your money.

      At the moment, you are really defeated.

      “When new money is born into this world, it belongs to you, the People.”

      You further rob yourselves to think they are helping you by paying you to do some work.

      1. optimader

        “When new money is born into this world, it belongs to you, the People.”
        Mmm. but first it belongs to the first banking institution endowed with it when it is created virtually. The sweet opportunity of first use.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That first endowed banking institution, through Immaculate Creation, does not possess the money-child either, but a conduit to debt/tax-redemption of the People via the sacrifice of the money-child, when it is eventually sent to its destruction at the Treasury.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              That will blow you mind (or maybe not), like Sang Reall or San Greal, interest, in German, is der Zins. So, this is germane here.

              Money-child does die for our interest payments. It dies for our Zins.

              You were totally right when you wrote that.

      1. jrs

        Yea that’s why the mental illness explanation makes sense. We have people taking radical acts and ending their lives for 20th century mainstream liberalism or Rockefeller republicanism (for 1950s era tax rates). Of course Versailles is *that* detached. But the fact that it’s not radical is precisely why he could become a cult martyr and cultural symbol with an instant postmortem following: “oh yea tax those rich should be taxed!!!”

        Tax the rich, feed the poor, till there are no rich no more ….

  15. fresno dan

    The safety net – keeping the plutocracy safe from the gales of creative destruction.
    I will acknowledge if every big bank had actually gone bankrupt it would have been a disaster ….but that is no reason to have the skipper of the Titanic captain the next big ship….

  16. Vatch

    “‘Free-range’ parents plan to file lawsuit after police pick up children WaPo”: Good! They must have been very worried when their children didn’t come home at the expected time. Their children had been kidnapped . . . . by government officials.

    1. optimader

      They should be at home sitting in front of the TV watching CNN and eating Count Chocula out of the box.

      (speaking of Count Chocula, a quick sidebar)

      Craft brewer buys up all the Count Chocula
      FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The case of the missing Count Chocula cereal boxes was solved Friday, when a craft brewer admitted to buying them to brew in a small-batch beer.

      Black Bottle Brewery in Fort Collins bought two Albertsons stores’ inventories of the iconic chocolate and marshmallow-bit cereal, puzzling at least one shopper in the process.

      “Every year I greatly look forward to the month of October when I can purchase a few boxes of this delicious chococlatey (sic) goodness,” Kristen Clark wrote in a letter to The Coloradoan.

      Clark is a “vegetarian and organic food eater for the most part,” but said she makes an exception once a year at Halloween for the 43-year-old General Mills cereal….

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Deflation…can’t say living costs not falling…

    On the other hand, dying costs are going up.

    Dying costs like polluted air, dirty water, GM foods, toxic drywalls…all those products you have to pay to shorten your lifespan are more expensive.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    A little hugging goes a long way.

    “Have you hugged your robot today? You give her a little human love, she will return multiple-fold with her Artificial Love.”

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China growth slows to a six year low.

    To counter-balance that, the Shanghai index is rocketing up. It works for the other country across the Pacific.

  20. beth


    Senate approves bill that changes how Medicare pays doctors, ends annual ‘doc fix’

    I am happy to see that the doctors of this country have found a way to stop the excuse for Congress to come to them for donations annually, but am very concerned that the way it is being done is to throw people with chronic diseases that will never get better under the bus. Not all of these diseases are the result of lifestyle choices, many are genetic and unavoidable. This article does not go into exactly what the new legislation entails, but it suggests doctors will be paid to get people better. Some of us will never get better, only worse. We still want doctors to help us stay as comfortable as possible. That is not easy or cheap.

    1. Jess

      “Some of us will never get better, only worse. We still want doctors to help us stay as comfortable as possible.”

      Yes, exactly.
      But to fulfill the neo-liberal agenda we need to die quickly.

      1. LucyLulu

        Or stated differently, patients who won’t get better and/or need more care will find themselves priced out of the market by those who are healthy. Because profits.

        Perverse incentives that fee-for-service compensation has generated? Solved. The Darwinian approach is unusually prescient of Congress. Only the fittest (or able to pay for care out of pocket) may hope to survive upcoming climate changes and successfully compete for scarce resources.

  21. ewmayer

    Re. the WaPo piece on passive-aggressivity (which is really great, but I’ll never be able to write such lucid prose ina million years. Sigh…) I have a few comments. If you’re not “too busy” to read them, that is:

    1. Making Wistful Statements

    One passive-aggressive behavior happens when you want something but aren’t asking for it directly.

    I wish I could write coherent psychoanalytical prose like this…

    2. Doling Out Backhanded Compliments

    Sometimes jealousy and passive aggression combine. Instead of being able to react the way you might want to (happy for the person), you instead say something that just sounds, well, rude.

    “Chelsea, I heard about the great gig you got at NBC News where you only have to show up now and again and act clueful. You go girl – I guess that Stanford degree is really paying off! But only high six figures? Really?”

    3. Ignoring or Saying Nothing

    On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes saying nothing at all is passive-aggressive. According to psychotherapist Katherine Crowley, author of Working for You Isn’t Working for Me, checking your phone when a colleague is trying to speak with you or during a meeting are examples of passive-aggressive behavior.

    Sorry, i was just reading a really important set of emojis … what was that middle part again?

    4. Procrastinating

    I’ll have more to say about this opic in a later comment.

    5. Leaving Someone Out

    Perhaps you’re not fond of a certain colleague. Rather than address the issue directly, you go out of your way to edge him out of the office clique. You might do this by inviting everyone on your team to lunch, except him…

    This blurb alas fails to provide suggestions for “addressing the issue directly.” How about just going up to person and saying something like “George, I don’t like you. I think you’re a sniveling little killjoy, and that’s why I’m not inviting you to next week’s group lunch.” Is that sufficiently active-aggressive (A-A, as the specialists in the field call it) to qualify os “addressingin the issue directly”, or should I add emphasis by punching George in the nose?

    6. Sabotaging Someone

    A more extreme move related to leaving someone out is downright sabotaging her. Instead of just excluding someone socially, you purposely leave her off e-mail chains or meeting invites, or even “forget” to tell her when a deadline has been changed. If someone points it out, you make statements like, “Oh, I had no idea,” “I’m so sorry,” or, “I wonder how that happened,” says clinical psychologist Dr. Ben Michaelis, to absolve yourself of blame.

    Indeed, as with other forms of P-A, an honest forthright person should always prefer “the A-A way.” Got a work rival whose favorite pastime is figure skating? Hire some to kneecap her with a length of metal pipe. What – you say that’s evil? I had no idea. I thought I was simply being forthright. I did visit her in the hospital and bring some cupcakes (left over from the office meeting the day of her unfortunate accident, but I told her I baked them myself), though. Then I gave her a big hug and said wistfully, “I’m so sorry. I wonder how this happened.”

    7. Keeping Score

    When someone misses an important life event of yours, whether it’s not attending your birthday party or not making the effort to go to your wedding, it’s natural to feel disappointed. In many cases, however, instead of confronting the person directly (or letting it go), we tend to fall into a tit-for-tat sort of pattern – which is passive-aggressive.

    You know, that’s the seventh comment I’ve made on your delightful (but a smidge click-baity, if we are being honest and forthright) article, and you haven’t replied at all. I feel like you’re ignoring me.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “You are ignoring me.”

      Some of the greatest military minds are passive-aggressive.

      Hannibal to the Cunctator: “Why don’t you come out and fight me? Why do you keep ignoring me?”

      Napoleon to the Russians: “Stop retreating. Come and fight me. Don’t ignore me.”

      The Germans to Stalin: “Fight me at the border. Don’t let me chase you all the way Volgagrad. You have been ignoring me.”

      The Imperial Japanese to Jiang Bai Li: “You advocate a strategy of retreat. All the way to Chongqing. You are ignoring me.”

      Ignore – give up space to buy time. That’s the modern relativistic space-time way of war.

      Of course, those who demand attention, instant or constant attention – they may seek help as well.

  22. words

    Re the WAPO Passive Aggressive piece, I was totally unsurprised to discover that there was no commentary whatsoever as to the seeming reality that the current techno/corporate/government has pretty much outlawed anything that isn’t passive; ever since the Dean Scream, under the Bush II reign. (Not that I at all think that Dean is a paragon of virtue, ‘that’s besides the point.’)

    In other words:

    1) Many are finding the only way they won’t be incarcerated, or worse, is to force themselves to be passive.

    2) As a consequence of not commenting on number one, directly above, that WAPO piece reeks, but then Bezos owns it, so what can one expect.

  23. words

    It is stunningly easily for Bezos/[white male? wasn’t an amazon a dark skinned female]Amazon!/WAPO! to portray his aggression without the mask of passivity; especially when he is fully aware that most humans who ‘display’ any well deserved ‘aggression,’ or ‘display’ anything even close to dissenting from those stunningly deadly, Free Market$! – particularly when it comes to the stunning inhumanity that he promotes with his bast_rd baby, Amazon!b>™ – will be rapidly shut up, and shut down (usually, for the remainder of their lives, on this planet earth) , “quicker than a snake’s smile.”

    1. vidimi

      amazons in greek mythology most likely referred to the sarmatians or alans, scythian tribes that cauterised girls right breasts so that they could better use a bow. they were described by greek historians as having reddish hair and a pale complection.

  24. Mark Pawelek

    Why are so many Keynesians also neo-Malthusians, e.g. just about everyone here?

    PS: My definition of neo-Malthusians includes most greens and most anti-nukes – which is fine – as from what I can gather – that’s most people here.

  25. words


    thanks for that amazon definition, and looks like Bezos still doesn’t qualify to use it, unless he’s a South American River:

    … so named by Spaniards who believed its shores were inhabited by female warriors [1]

    But, then again, I see this, which perhaps does explain his choice of branding:

    4. any of a genus (“Polyergus”) of ants that makes slaves of other ants …[2]

    [1] From Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition [2008] (hardback, under Amazon(2))

    [2] ibid., under Amazon(1)

  26. words

    Speaking of Bezos, @optimader, re your comment above:

    Isnt this more appropriately a tragic story about the state of mental health care and perhaps gun “control” in the US? ….

    Framing the young man’s suicide as solely due to Asperger’s Syndrome, versus, at the very least, a combination of factors (many of which are likely not in the mainstream press), doesn’t seem at all helpful, or fair, either; particularly when the person will never be around to hear first hand testimony from. As to his poorly articulated case, is it actually clear that he never fully articulated his dismay? (Most who commit suicide, might be well past the point of further articulating when it didn’t work the first time around. And, most who commit suicide while fully articulating about it end up Framed as Frothing Ranters).

    Lastly, as I recollect, many of our Tech Billionaires who are running the world are reputed to have, at the very least, slight Asperger type symptoms (Silicon Valley being a hotspot for Asperger’s Syndrome, last I read), and I don’t recollect any of their decisions being solely attributed to Asperger’s Syndrome. Nor do I ever read in the mainstream press about anyone suggesting that their “guns” (metaphorically speaking) be taken from them (not that I am at all against “their guns” being taken from them).

    1. optimader
      particularly when the person will never be around to hear first hand testimony from
      you make my point.

      And, most who commit suicide while fully articulating about it end up Framed as Frothing Ranters).

      Lastly, as I recollect, many of our Tech Billionaires who are running the world are reputed to have, at the very least, slight Asperger type symptoms (Silicon Valley being a hotspot for Asperger’s Syndrome, last I read), and I don’t recollect any of their decisions being solely attributed to Asperger’s Syndrome
      Lets filter that population down to those that committed suicide with a poster taped to their hand.

      Bottom line, not a rational decison, I feel badly for him and his parents.

  27. words

    Optimader, re:

    And, most who commit suicide while fully articulating about it end up Framed as Frothing Ranters).

    No specific link available, just something I’ve noticed in pieces about the ever increasing suicides, particularly when they appear to be related to the current state of affairs in the current plutocracy.

    Lets filter that [Asperger’s Syndrome – words] population down to those that committed suicide with a poster taped to their hand.

    well, that is assuming the young man’s suicide is solely due his Asperger’s Syndrome; which, again, I don’t think you know enough to verify – which was my main point. You must have missed my sarcasm in my comparison to those Tech billionaires.

    Lastly, I never said it was a “rational decision.” I just implied that it could definitely have something to do with the irrational meanness going on and connected, at the hip, with DC; versus the young man’s suicide being connected solely, if at all, with Asperger’s Syndrome. A lot of once considered rational people have committed suicide; just as a lot of mostly rational people do other highly irrational things when they are overwhelmed.

    There are countless and increasing suicides occurring in this country, the majority of them, when written about, are not attributed to those with Asperger’s. Currently, it seems to me that the exponentially increasing numbers of suicides have something to do with economic misery, or techno bullying).

Comments are closed.