2:00PM Water Cooler 8/12/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.



Readers: I’m filing the Clinton email saga under criminality (a) because its demonstrably corrupt, and (b) because if an official privatizing their public communications isn’t criminal, we should find a way to make it so.

Setting up a “homebrew” email server: “‘You need to know what you’re doing and there is some programming involved,’ [Robert Siciliano, an online safety expert to Intel Security] said. ‘It’s not for the faint at heart'” [ABC]. So why do it? Doesn’t the government have any techies who can do the job?

“Earlier on Tuesday, the inspector general for the intelligence community told members of Congress that Mrs. Clinton had “top secret” information — the highest classification of government intelligence — in two emails among the 40 from the private account that the State Department has allowed him to review” [New York Times]. Gawd. I mean, it’s like over-classification never happens. This garbage appeals to the national security class; after all, secrecy is part of their self-licking ice cream cone, ka-ching. What’s crucial is the fact that Clinton privatized the server in the first place!

“A judge upheld a warrant allowing federal agents to search the email account of an indicted Republican operative who has worked for Rand Paul, Ron Paul and Mitch McConnell, according to court documents unsealed Tuesday” [Talking Points Memo]. “Benton’s attorney said that the account contains nearly 500,000 emails, including communications related to the presidential campaign of Kentucky senator Rand Paul, the 2014 re-election of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and the 2012 presidential campaign of Ron Paul.” Hmm.


“New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican presidential candidate, slammed the “corporate welfare and subsidies” of the Washington, D.C.-based Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank in an interview with the Daily Signal, the news [sic] website of the conservative Heritage Foundation” [David Sirota, International Business Times]. “At the same time, his home state administration plans on proposing Tuesday $100 million in new tax subsidies “to encourage [corporations] to make a capital investment and locate in … New Jersey,” according to the state’s public agenda.” Ka-ching.

The Voters

“The overflow crowds showing up to hear Bernie Sanders these days are a testament not only to his current popularity and the campaign’s social-media savvy but also to the promotional abilities of an alchemy of like-minded interests: progressive activists, labor unions and even Sarah Silverman” [WaPo]. Silverman has 6.7 million Twitter followers. Impressive.

Obama writes a letter to the New York Times on the Voting Rights Act [New York Times, “President Obama’s Letter to the Editor”]. Sanctimonious garbage. Where have the Democrats been on this issue for the last two decades? Or, more to the point, since Jebbie’s voter suppression in Florida 2000?

The Trail

Sanders asked to explain Trump. Sanders: “I’ll let Donald Trump’s mother explain Donald Trump” [@EvanMcSan]. Bern!

“Sanders has eclipsed Clinton by a 44 to 37 percent margin, according to a new Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald poll that was first reported by the Boston newspaper Tuesday evening” [The Hill]. More than a year ’til the election, so early days. But maybe Clinton will be the first woman front-runner for President to fail, twice.

“How I Helped Todd Akin Win — So I Could Beat Him Later” [Politico]. By Claire McAskill, trade traitor. Hmm….

“Donald Trump never skips a chance to remind audiences of his wealth, but he is proving reluctant to spend his own money on campaign essentials typical of a major presidential candidate” [Wall Street Journal, “Donald Trump Is Frugal With His Cash in Republican Presidential Race”]. Hmm….

Trump: “When you’re dealing, and that’s what I am, I’m a dealer, you don’t go in with plans. You go in with a certain flexibility. And you sort of wheel and deal” [New York Times].

Our Nation’s Capital

“Head of Group Opposing Iran Accord Quits Post, Saying He Backs Deal” [New York Times]. Always nice to see an apparatchik do the right thing. It does happen!

Stats Watch

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of August 7, 2015: “Purchase applications fell 4.0 percent in the August 7 week but remain sharply higher than a year ago, up 20 percent” [Bloomberg].

Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations, August 2015: Down, along with costs [Bloomberg]. “With commodity prices falling once again, led by oil, and with wage growth soft, inflation increasingly looks like it’s not moving to the Fed’s 2 percent goal in what will be a key issue at the September FOMC.”

JOLTS, June 2015:  “Job openings contracted in June to 5.249 million from 5.357 million in May,” below expecations [Bloomberg]. “Job growth has been no better than moderate this year and this report, which is mixed, doesn’t point to acceleration.” 

“The [Yuan] devaluation was interpreted in the markets as a sign of capitulation by China to forego a stable currency policy in a last-ditch effort to revitalize sluggish export growth” [Bloomberg].

“In a weakening global economy from a lack of demand (sales) and ‘western educated, monetarist, export-led growth’ kids now in charge globally, the path of least resistance is a global race to the bottom to be ‘competitive'” [Mosler Economics]. “I expect the Euro to now move ever higher until its trade surplus goes away, as global fears of an inflationary currency collapse are reversed and Euro buying resumes as part of global export strategies to export to the Euro zone.”

“While monetary policy contributes to full employment, New York Federal Reserve Bank President Bill Dudley said Wednesday, it cannot by itself fix a growing mismatch of the workforce and employer needs.” [Market News]. Skills mismatch… Sigh… 

“U.S. stocks opened lower for a second day in a row on Wednesday as China weakened its currency further, increasing worries about a global economic slowdown.” [Reuters]. Weird. Stocks are supposed to go up.

“[Teach For America] saw a decline in its number of accepted corps members after previously seeing a drop in applications for the second year in a row” [HuffPo]. At least the labor market is strong enough that desperate would-be teachers don’t have to be scabs… 

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Boston Black Lives Matter activists telegraph punch to Clinton campaign by announcing their intent in the New Republic [Politico]. 

“Hillary Clinton met with five Black Lives Matter activists behind closed doors following her campaign event here on Tuesday evening, after the group tried to disrupt the forum but arrived too late to get past [Secret Service] security” [Politico]. That’s odd, since everything I’ve seen about #BlackLivesMatter protests is that they’re disciplined, focused, creative, and strategic. And the activists in Seattle and Netroots Nation certainly arrived on time.

“Members of the media were never in the room with Clinton and the protesters” [CNN]. Reporting seems unclear on whether that was at the protesters’ request or not. However: “The #BlackLivesMatter members filmed their meeting with Clinton, however, and plan to put the video out.”

Julius Jones, the head of #BlackLivesMatter Worcester, said after the meeting with Clinton that he felt both parties got something out of it.

“She got something out of the meeting. That much is certain,” he said. “I feel like what we got out of the meeting was to actually press her in a very real way — probably in a way that she hasn’t been pressed in a long time about not only her role as a presidential candidate, but her role as first lady, senator and secretary of state.”

Well, I dunno. I know the Massachusetts groups are not the same as the Seattle group. That said, I would say that taking over the mic in Seattle “pressed” the Sanders campaign “in a very real way.” I don’t see how a private — and cordial — meeting “presses” the Clinton campaign in the same “very real” way, and I would like very much to know how the video will be edited, and whether anybody asked whether the meeting could be livesteamed. And Clinton, via the TNR announcement, was given plenty of time to script what she wanted to say. Not so with Sanders. 

Health Care

Wow, who knew? The ObamaCare website is still a clusterf*ck [Healthcare Finance].

Internal controls are lacking when it come to setting an individual’s eligibility for tax credits and cost sharing reductions for health plans bought through Healthcare.gov, according to a new report by the Office of the Inspector General. [T]he Office of the Inspector General found that of 45 samples audited, 20 had inconsistencies in eligibility data.

Certain controls were effective, such as verifying whether an applicant served a prison sentence [!!], according to the OIG.

Deficiencies included improper verification of Social Security numbers, citizenship, annual household income and family size. Inconsistencies related to annual household income were often resolved using an applicant’s response to income discrepancy questions, the OIG found.

As we pointed out repeatedly at the time: The adminsitration never fixed ObamaCare’s backend. They never fixed the backend! They never fixed the back end! The SSN number (from Social Security) and income (IRS) are backend functions, where the ObamaCare website needs to connect to other systems, and that’s messed up, ergo the backend is broken.

So all that public-relations crapola about the genius hero programmers who made the ObamaCare website work? True, their efforts made the ObamaCare website work on the front end; the site didn’t fall over when too many people logged in. Yay, but modified rapture, since there’s no way of knowing whether the data people entered on the front end was validated on the backend. And the administration didn’t have the genius programmers fix that!  THEY NEVER FIXED THE BACK END!!!

So, will there be refunds? How about clawbacks?


Readers, some of these links are a tad stale; I had other, more pressing matters to cover. And that’s an indication of the problem, isn’t it?

“Building A Successful Farm To School Movement: One Person, One Plot, One Policy At A Time” [Health Affairs Blog]. Encouraging!

“Japan has restarted its first nuclear reactor to generate power since 2013” [Ecowatch]. What could go wrong?

“Final regulation calls for 32% cut in emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels” [Wall Street Journal, “Obama Announces Rule to Cut Carbon Emissions From Power Plants”].

“Get ready for another ideological death struggle, this time over climate” [WaPo]. 

“States, industry groups and congressional Republicans are vowing an all-out resistance campaign aimed at weakening, delaying or altogether blocking the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new carbon limits” [The Hill]. Court challenges, legislative challenges, a (more) Republican President.

“Another coal giant files for bankruptcy” [Business Insider].

Natural gas “topples” coal in Ohio — but the power is used for fracking! [Akron Beacon-Journal].  Seems self-cancelling somehow….

“[S]ome of the largest American Catholic organizations have millions of dollars invested in energy companies, from hydraulic fracturing firms to oil sands producers, according to their own disclosures, through many portfolios intended to fund church operations and pay clergy salaries”  [Reuters]. “The pope’s encyclical [on fossil fuels], a letter sent to all Catholic bishops, has sharpened a debate well underway in Catholic organizations and other churches about divestment. But many major American dioceses have resisted the push.” Of course, it’s not just the Catholic church…

“Methane Leaks May Greatly Exceed Estimates, Report Says” [New York Times]. Oopsie… 

“Climate risks don’t begin at 2C, [Professor Camille Parmesan, an expert in biodiversity at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom] said; it’s more like where they go from high to intolerably high” [Reuters].

“The Environmental Protection Agency and its contractors may have to pay millions of dollars in damages after mistakingly releasing toxic sludge that tainted a Colorado river, preventing its use by ranchers and residents” [Bloomberg]. Mustard-colored water… So far as I know, the miners who created the toxic sludge in the first place don’t owe a nickel. I’ll Be Gone, You’ll Be Gone….

Class Warfare

“Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin legislature have joined forces to gut statutory guarantees of tenure and shared governance – the twin pillars protecting academic freedom and the integrity of scientific research – in the University of Wisconsin system” [Guardian]. Filing this under class warfare because turning state universities into trade schools imposes agnotology on the 99% who attend them.

News of the Wired

“A Visual Introduction to Machine Learning” [R2D3]. Gorgeous visualization. Sort of what Bloomberg could have been with its redesign — somebody sane seems to have dialed it back — if the redesign hadn’t been such a mess.

“Mapping London’s great plague of 1665” [Guardian].

“Oracle security chief to customers: Stop checking our code for vulnerabilities [Updated]” [Ars Technica]. “Program testing can be used to show the presence of bugs, but never to show their absence!” –Edsger Dijkstra

“World-renowned Harvard linguist Steven Pinker loves emoji, and you should too” [Tech Insider]. EATSSHOOTSANDLEAVES EATS SHOOTS AND LEAVES Eats shoots and leaves Eats, shoots, and leaves. Punctuation is important! And now, about commas….

… “Section 7.75 in the Spotlight” [CMOS Shop Talk]. And now, about the Oxford Comma…

“Beyond Revisionism: reassessing the Great Irish Famine” [History Ireland].

“8 Powerful Ways To Mold Your Children Into Leaders” [Forbes]. Sick. Poor kids.

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant:


A poppy from my wildflower bed…

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. I need to keep my server up! And cover the travel home, as opposed to the first leg of the trip….


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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

    re: gaia

    the intercept has an excellent long form investigation into the morass that is du pont and how they poisoned just about every human being on earth (and likely almost every vertebrate) with a chemical called C8. they covered it up for decades and even doubled down when the executives decided that all past liability was already so severe that any future liability would have no material impact on their futures.


    1. jrs

      Weak, weak, weak argument in that link, some of the worst I’ve seen. It’s true there is no smoking gun linking those who disrupted Sanders to Hillary. There is also none for the conjectures being made in that blog. Such as: they are Republicans. Oh where is the evidence for that? Because someone makes a comment saying they said so (but no link). Oh and Palin in high school which says nothing about their current beliefs.

      “Vox wants you to believe that Hillary is a horrible, awful racist who screens Birth of a Nation twice a month and who privately refers to Stepin Fetchit as “one of the good ones.””

      Honestly would she be any worse if she did? She’s a neo-liberal who will work for her big corporation donors (and she’s probably a neo-con as well), which already makes her a horrible beyond contemplation.

  2. dcblogger

    Apaches Refuse to Relinquish Sacred Land

    When San Carlos Apache Tribal Council member Wendsler Nosie found out late last year that Arizona Sen. John McCain had tucked a rider into the National Defense Authorization Act that transfers 2,500 acres of Apache land to a foreign copper company, anger and resolve bubbled up inside in him, he said.

    McCain’s action, he said, represents the latest chapter of generations of theft, disrespect and contempt by the federal government toward Native Americans.

    1. different clue

      I hope that the San Carlos Apache concern for their sacred land will not be derided by leftists as “ethnic identity politics” merely because it is a matter of importance to an tribally defined ethnic group with a genuine cultural identity which has political implications.

  3. timbers

    Great program on youtube (“Where does all this bailout money go?”) starting with a German who seeks a list of the creditors who receive the EU bailouts. All he gets are circular answers from officials and NO ONE will disclose who gets the bailout funds even though it’s a public action. He uses the Irish bailout and others, explaining in easily understood terms where all the bailout money is going. One Irishmen says every single Irishman is paying a 300 euro tax each year to the EU and he does not want his children to pay that for the rest of their lives. Another old Irish woman is asked what she thinks of the EU bailout of Ireland and replies (correctly): “Ireland bailed out the EU, the EU didn’t bailout Ireland! We got nothing! What’s our reward for bailing out the EU?”

    Very entertaining and to the point.


    1. Steve H.

      “…“periods and commas precede closing quotation marks, whether double or single.””.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I’m waiting for Blair’s Jeremy Corbyn mobile bioweapons lab exposition, complete with grainy satellite photos, charts and helpful captions.

      1. Steven D.

        Blair was Bush’s poodle. Now he’s the billionaires’ poodle. Like Obama, he assiduously kisses the asses of those whose approval he is seeking, but has total scorn for upstarts or those who just aren’t the “right sort.” Like Obama with TPP opponents.

    2. El Guapo

      The mass murdering piece of scum Tony Blair belongs in prison. Or in front of a firing squad. The fact that he walks free is an obscenity.

  4. JCC

    Regarding the News of the Wired and Oracle:


    Regarding Gaia, optimader posted this link a few days ago that I found interesting:


    Even more interesting is a small book that the owner put out (for free) that discusses CO2. Some may not agree on his take on CO2 regarding AGW and temps (I don’t), but his arguments are very compelling on basic plant facts, starting points, and on what has been done (absolutely nothing) and what could be achievable.


    I think the book is worth reading and that he makes far more sense than most. If I’m missing something here, feel free to point it out :)

  5. PeonInChief

    When Mrs. Thatcher went after tenure in the British university system, the US was the beneficiary of the brain drain. Will we see an exodus from Wisconsin to Minnesota?

    1. ProNewerDeal

      What is the impact of Walker’s U WI Prof tenure/union busting?

      1. All ex-Tenured Profs become Adjunct Profs, with no job security, and lower pay?

      2. Many fields, especially social studies fields like economics, become (further) crapified, and Koch Brothas-approved propagandized. Perhaps STEM fields will be exempt, but maybe not: for instance, computer science Prof specialist on databases blatantly fellates Oracle in his “research” paper, etc.

      Am I guesstimating correctly here? This Walker criminal is a disaster. I guess 1 optimistic point, is that Walker seems Bush43/Sarah Palin/Rick Perry level of low IQ, so perhaps Walker will make a campaign-killing gaffe that not even the Koch money can save Walker from. #optimism

    2. Mike

      Already happening according to eldest son who lives and works in Minneapolis. A native Nebraskan, he is now pure Gopher (four years in the Pride of Minnesota Golden Gopher Marching Band and a job before graduation will do that to a fellow) and wouldn’t mind an eastern Border Patrol to keep the Badgers inside Wississippi.

      Seriously – Minneapolis is the major employment hub for the upper Midwest and as long as Walker’s disastrous policies drive people out, there will be cheeseheads on the move. The latest debacles with U of Wisconsin and the Bucks areas demonstrate how bad it’s gotten. Why stay and suffer?

    3. different clue

      Only if all the relevant groups and people in Minnesota organize themselves to facilitate such a brain drain as fast and as hard as possible. If Wisconsin wishes to vote for Kansas-type policies, Wisconsin deserves to be plunged into an irreversible Kansas-style outcome so fast as to be a visible lesson to any other stateloads of voters contemplating voting for Brownbackian Walkeroids.

      But that approach can only work if Minnesotans order their affairs in such a way as to use a facilitated brain gain from Wisconsin into visible rises in general wealth and well-being for Minnesotans. Plus organizing the beneficiaries of any such improvements into political “strike forces” able to “crush” and “exterminate” any attempt to Brownbackify or Walkerize Minnesota with swift efficiency. Politics should be viewed as a form of zero sum social warfare. Conservatives already view it that way. If liberals remain too weak and sentimental to view it the same way and out-warfight their conservative enemies, then liberals will deserve the fate which Darwin predicted for the kind of unfit-to-survive beautiful losers which liberals have so far chosen to be..

  6. craazyboy

    Natural gas “topples” coal in Ohio — but the power is used for fracking! [Akron Beacon-Journal]. Seems self-cancelling somehow

    Looking conventional power plants (coal, gas, nuke), and zeroing in on the plant itself and ignoring the impact of fuel production, gas is by far the best option. They are half the construction cost of coal. Modern high efficiency designed plants can be 60% efficient. Modern coal may get to 50% (old-existing plants are only low 30s). CO2 from gas plants is half of coal plants.

    Looks like the construction cost of modern “semi-safe” nukes has gone off the scale (they have to restart the whole supply chain for equipment). Then there are still all the other problems – which probably are insurmountable.

    But nothing is perfect of course. OTOH – pure evil is a LNG plant making liquefied natural gas for export so we can help try and balance our trade deficit.

    1. Vatch

      Hah! I was thinking the same thing. Now we need to find out whether there’s a Millard Fillmore Institute of Technology.

      1. OIFVet

        The George W. Bush Center of English As a Native Language. I would donate just for the hilarity of it all. “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?” You are darn tootin George.

  7. DJG

    The serial comma. Since when are people trying to brand it? Oxford indeed. It’s only in the last two years that I’ve heard it called “Oxford,” and I’ve been an editor and writer for longer than two years.

    1. ambrit

      One could consider it to be “Oxford Mississippi,” where the University of Mississippi, “Ole Miss,” is headquartered, and William Faulkner spent most of his life, and while considering Faulkner’s literary style, this ‘branding’ makes sense, although it is somewhat obscure, and prone to flights of surreality. Well, he was thinking about commas but the content overwhelmed his febrile communications skills and then the kettle started whistling, reminding him of his hungers, not all physical, not all defensible.
      “Oxford” my a–e. They should call this “Esthetique.”

  8. curlydan

    Obamacare: Oh, there were lots of clawbacks–more so than additional refunds:
    “Almost two-thirds of tax filers who received insurance via the state or federal insurance Marketplaces had to pay back an average of $729 of the Advance Premium Tax Credit (APTC), cutting their potential refund by almost one-third, according to analysis of filing data by H&R Block …. Conversely, one in four was due additional premium tax credit and therefore had an increase of an average of $425 in their refund.”

    1. Vatch

      So, will there be refunds? How about clawbacks?

      Interesting. When I read what Lambert wrote, I thought he was referring to clawbacks and refunds from the software companies that failed to correct the problems in the Obamacare backend systems. I probably misunderstood, or maybe there’s room for multiple interpretations.

      1. Vatch

        Upon further reflection, I realize that you might have interpreted Lambert’s sentences the same way as I did, but you were telling us that a different kind of clawbacks was occurring. The wrong people were being penalized.

    2. tegnost

      Thanks, I’ve been curious what that number would turn out to be…it would be interesting to see how it breaks down by the various income, age and coverages. For instance, is the only way for this to happen people underestimating their wages, or could they have chosen policies that cost more, doing sort of a contango where they’re financing from their anticipated return? Also wonder who’s first in line, ACA payment or student loan refund confiscation? Could be an incentive for defaulters to underestimate knowing their return would be taken anyway….

    3. Cynthia

      Must be nice to be an insurance company these days, where people are forced to buy your product before even paying for basic necessities of life like food, shelter, and taking care of your kids. Heck, if you’re an insurance company, you don’t even have to work on improving your product or caring for your customers since you’re guaranteed customers no matter how bad a job you do.

  9. Cynthia

    Here’s some more disturbing healthcare news:

    “Independent doctors feel pushed out by Vermont’s hospital-focused health system”


    Medicare deserves most of the blame for this, IMO. That’s because Medicare reimburse for care at hospital-based clinics at a much higher rate than it does for care at independent clinics. Then private insurers follow suite as Medicare sets the pace for how all insurers reimburse healthcare providers.

    Medicare claims that hospital-based clinics deserve to be reimbursed at a much higher rate because they provide better quality of care than independent practices do. However, there is no empirical evidence whatsoever to support this claim by Medicare. Medicare also claims that hospital-based clinics deserve to be reimbursed at a much higher rate because they have much higher overhead costs than independent practices do. Medicare is right about that, but why does Medicare think there is nothing wrong, much less wasteful, about excessive overhead costs? Does Medicare know or even care that the more money is spent on overhead costs, the less money there is to provide care for patients!

    The real reason why Medicare reimburses hospital-based clinics at a much rate is because the corrupt hospital cartels have strong armed Medicare into giving hospital-based clinics unfair advantage over independent clinics. And the sad fact is that hospital-based clinics don’t use all this extra reimbursement money from Medicare and other insurers to provide better care for patients, they instead use this extra money to create more paper pushers in the back office and give obscene pay raises to their top administrators. No doubt that overhead costs like having too many bureaucrats in the back office and too many overpaid executives in the corporate suite is contributing to the skyrocketing cost of healthcare.

    There’s no doubt that healthcare costs are skyrocketing not because more money is being spent on hiring more nurses and physicians on the front lines to provide care of patients. It’s because more and more money is being spent on hiring more people who have little to nothing to do with patient care, and many of them are way overpaid.

    And if there is anyone who’s armed with adequate evidence to prove that skyrocketing healthcare costs are largely due to excessive overhead costs, and if there is anything who has the necessary leverage to rein in excessive overhead costs and thus reverse the hollowing out of our healthcare system, it is Medicare. But Medicare can’t do anything about reining in these costs and thus reverse the hollowing out of our healthcare system until it first decouples itself from the corrupt hospital cartels.

  10. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    How to explain Trump? It’s very simple, he’s a perfect reflection of American culture at the moment: he’s just one enormous Selfie. “Hey Look At Me!”, no need to be anything, or accomplish anything, or contribute anything, or inspire anything, just turn the camera around on yourself and start mugging up. Facebook, reality TV, popular media, participation trophies, the culture has turned into a singularity of self-licking narcissism, there’s even a “selfie stick” so you don’t have to hand the camera to some passing “not-you” any more to get yet another image of yourself-self-self.
    The other explanation for Trump is this fine quote: “A demagogue tries to sound as stupid as his audience so the audience can think they are as smart as he is”.

      1. Tom Allen

        Trump favors not cutting Social Security and supports universal health care? Wow. Maybe The Donald can pull Hillary to the left.

      2. vidimi

        i wouldn’t count on him keeping his word on any of the good ones if he were to win. the only thing he’s interested in is being president, sort of like obama. campaign policies are just the promises you make to get there. besides, you heard the man, he’s a dealer. all those policies are on the table.

    1. Jay M

      I saw a Taiwan animation of the debate, not sure if it was on NC, that called him “Teflon Don” and used the graphic from the Godfather book. I thought that was pretty funny. Mob rule (not populist, mind you) bring it on!

  11. hunkerdown

    Lambert, a lot of those effective habits for young leadership seem to be the sorts of “free-range” running that poor parents get paperwork for letting happen. The others are kinda gross.

    1. abynormal

      Bradberry a rudderless thief. http://eqi.org/bradberry.htm
      he gets the Pratchett Award…
      “I’m not the world’s greatest expert, but I would have thought that the wizards, witches, trolls, unicorns, … broomsticks and spells would have given her a clue?’
      – when J.K. Rowling insisted she wasn’t writing fantasy.”

  12. Disturbed Voter

    in a networked world, no two computers are more than 6 links away. So when we say Obamacare backend … we are talking about the entire Internet. So when will the entire Internet be fixed? Our civilization will be consumed by spaghetti code from Hell ;-(

    Oracle is legacy-ware, as in dinosaur-ware. Perfect for destroying your Jurassic Park. They have every reason to worry … eventually there will be too many bandaids, and the entire thing will fall apart. Entropy can be delayed, but not defeated!

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