Links 4/13/16

Radioactive Reindeer Roam Norway 30 Years After Chernobyl Wired. “You could even say it glows…”

Destination Venus Nature

Bezos lays out vision of space boom FT. Space tourism.

Bezos’ Stake in Uber Goes Under the Radar at Washington Post FAIR

Brazil’s Rousseff decries conspiracy as impeachment advances Reuters

Crisis in Brazil Perry Anderson, LRB. Must read.

Oil price optimism grows as Brent climbs to 2016 high FT

Peabody Energy Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Bloomberg

Can Markets Solve Climate Change? This Democratic Socialist Thinks So. The Nation (JB).

Complexity, not size, is the real danger in banking FT

Regulators Set to Reject Some Big Banks’ ‘Living Wills’ WSJ. Yves: “This is due to Warren harassing Yellen.”

D.C. Circuit Poised to Disrupt Consumer Protection Bureau Power Structure National Law Journal

Italy Concocts €5 Billion “Atlas” Rescue Fund to Cure €360 Billion in Non-Performing Loans; At Gunpoint MishTalk (EW). EW: “If you can’t make it big, name it big!”

The Brexit Alarm Project Syndicate


Panama raids offices of Mossack Fonseca law firm Reuters

Panama Papers reveal spies used Mossack Fonseca AFP

How Personal Attacks Let David Cameron Off the Hook Over Tax Loopholes Vice (RS).

The Guardian view on tax avoidance: half-hearted politicians are the weakest link Guardian

1MDB net widens as Swiss probe flags up Abu Dhabi link FT


China’s New Security Challenge: Angry Mom-and-Pop Investors WSJ

Is China’s ‘Assertiveness’ in the South China Sea All About Nationalism? The Diplomat

Beauty Obsession Drives China Selfie App’s $3 Billion Valuation Bloomberg


A Saudi U.S. Split Over Syria? Moon of Alabama

U.S. Readies ‘Plan B’ to Arm Syria Rebels  WSJ


U.S. presidential rivals Clinton, Sanders tied in support among Democrats: poll Reuters


Clinton blames de Blasio for racially charged joke Politico. So that’s two supporters Clinton’s thrown under the bus in one week: Shumlin on Vermont guns, and now de Blasio on “Colored People’s Time.”

De Blasio defends racial joke with Clinton The Hill. If you’re explaining, you’re losing.

HRC’s Final Paid Speech – $260K from the ACA? Daily Kos. Good detail.

Colorado Democrats admit mistake that cost Bernie Sanders key delegate Denver Post (chinabeach). “[The] Democratic Party told Hillary Clinton’s campaign about caucus counting mistake, but kept public and Bernie Sanders camp in the dark.” Wasserman Schultz must have handled the communications….

Anger Boils at Jews-for-Bernie Event Haaretz

A Contested Democratic Convention Is Now a Near Statistical Certainty HuffPo (MR).

Panel Could Rewrite the Rules for GOP Convention Roll Call

Ryan’s presidential denials won’t dim GOP establishment hopes Salt Lake City Tribune

Donald Trump Has a Coherent, Realist Foreign Policy Foreign Policy

New York City to pursue sweeping homelessness reforms: mayor Reuters. Changing the subject?

Problems identified with Texas jail where Sandra Bland died AP

Flint water still not safe to drink, says Virginia Tech professor Virginia Tech (MR).

Class Warfare

Graduates from poorer backgrounds earn less than wealthier peers on same course, major international study finds Independent (AG).

Wall Street Campaign Cash Has Flooded Into States That May Try To Close Wall Street’s Big Tax Loophole David Sirota, International Business Times

How Corporate Lobbyists Conquered American Democracy The Atlantic

Does a CEO Have a Duty to Lobby? Pro-Market (Sherry).

Neoliberalism’s World of Corruption The Bullet (SS)

The Mental Disease of Late-Stage Capitalism Medium. I have never understood why hoarding newspapers or Kleenex boxes is considered an illness, but hoarding great wealth is considered a virtue.

LA unions call for exemption from $15 minimum wage they fought for Guardian

Verizon won’t fix copper lines when customers refuse switch to fiber Ars Technica. Copper lines work better in power outages. When crappy Third World infrastructures collide!

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. Sam Adams

    Re: Spys use Panama shell corporations.
    In other news water is wet and no “well known contra” players were named. American exceptionalism?

  2. Foppe

    Bill Black:

    In this second column I provide context essential to understanding Krugman’s race to the right on finance.

    “Liberal” economists were the critical supporters of the Clinton administration’s destruction of effective financial regulation. Part of this effort was deregulation, but desupervision was its even more destructive handmaiden. I have taken key excerpts from one of these economists to illustrate how far right wing they were.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Couldn’t help but think of Bill Black’s having recently joined the Sanders campaign as an adviser.

      Much continues to be made of Bernie’s NYDN interview and clinton’s charge that he had not done his “homework” on his “signature issue.” Not that she meant that he was “unqualified” or anything like that.

      Well, I can’t think of anyone more “qualified” than Bill Black to change that implication of lack of “preparedness.” And there’s a debate in new york tomorrow.

  3. allan

    De Blasio and The Joke: has there ever been anyone who spent time in the Clintons’ orbit
    who didn’t emerge tainted in some way?

    Antidote: “You are NOT going to the prom in that outfit!”

  4. EndOfTheWorld

    “Clinton blames De Blasio for racially charged joke.” Clinton throws people under the bus. She’s not accountable for anything. Everything she’s done in her life is, in her demented mind, a success, so anything that fails is somebody else’s fault. She’ll probably be the next president, but she’ll have a hard time doing the job simply because she inspires so much hatred.

    1. abynormal

      “Once conform, once do what other people do because they do it, and a lethargy steals over all the finer nerves and faculties of the soul. [Clinton] becomes all outer show and inward emptiness; dull, callous, and indifferent.”
      ― Virginia Woolf

    2. abynormal
      The UNICEF report notes that – due to the actions of the U.S. and Saudis – Yemen is experiencing mass starvation on a scale last seen in Ethiopa:

      Over 320,000 [children] are at risk of severe acute malnutrition ….

      But the real numbers may be much worse. For example, Oxfam wrote last year:

      Since the start of the conflict, nearly 25,000 additional people are going hungry each day in Yemen as the blockade and fighting restrict food, fuel and other vital supplies, Oxfam warned today.

      One in two people – nearly 13 million people – are now struggling to find enough to eat, and half of them are on the brink of starvation. This is an increase of 2.3 million people since the escalation in fighting and beginning of the blockade imposed by the Saudi-led coalition in March 2015. In a country that has historically faced food shortages, this is the highest ever recorded number of people living in hunger.

      “That bowl of soup—it was dearer than freedom, dearer than life itself, past, present, and future.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

  5. diptherio

    LA unions call for exemption from $15 minimum wage they fought for Guardian

    This is why people don’t put much stock in unions anymore. The AFL-CIO has been involved in more than it’s share to disgraceful sell-outs, but this one has got to take the cake. Demanding that union workers be allowed to make less than minimum wage in hopes of getting better benefits is assinine. Hey Hicks, you’re supposed to be getting your members increased wages AND benefits, not one or the other, you dope.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Beyond Onionesque.

      They all fought and defeated any chance of single payer. They all align with the worst elements of an entirely self-defeating neoliberalcon D party.

      And now this! When 15.00 is way too low even out here in lower cost of living flyover country. At least 7.00 an hour lower than the min wage value in 1970’s dollars.

      They should all just become one union named SSIF* (Shoot Self In Foot).
      *With a Chinese made Wal-Mart sold bullet.

      1. MtnLife

        As much as I was trying to see that picturesque scene of irony in your last line mentally fulfilled, it is unfortunately defeated by the opposing irony that the ammo section of Walmart is the only portion of the store with zero Chinese products.

        1. Lord Koos

          Are you sure? I read a year or two ago that due to ammo shortages, American police departments were buying Chinese-made bullets. I apologize but I cannot find the link to that.

    2. Brindle

      Guardian article was kind of a “he said–she said” without any context that $15/hour is not really a living wage in cities like L.A.—and waiting till the 2020’s till full implementation is a joke.

    3. Clive

      This is so depressing isn’t it. Even though the Guardian piece is short on detail, in the face of the huge disparity in the balance of power between workers and corporations, workers are always going to be tempted to sell themselves out in a horrid combination of Stockholm Syndrome and abused spouse psychology.

      It would take someone far more optimistic than I am to think this won’t happen on a large scale even if workers get higher wages. Here the so-called “Living Wage” (and £7.20 an hour isn’t a living wage and I’m an hour away from central London where it would go even less as far) is causing similar effects at my once favourite local coffee shop. I’m rapidly running out of places to boycott. Wage hikes aren’t enough. The gulf between capital and labour needs to be drastically reduced.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        It’s not the workers who “sell themselves out,” it’s the “leadership” that does it for them, in an attempt to ingratiate themselves with “management,” and maintain their cushy positions as far from the time clock as it is possible for them to get.

        Unmentioned, of course, is the fact that horsetrading better “benefits” for higher wages would be unnecessary should this nation decide to give up its banana republic tendencies and provide those “benefits” universally as it should.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          The unfortunate conclusion is that *every* institution in our Republic is hopelessly corrupt, maybe the ASPCA or the March of Dimes is OK but everything upwards needs to be taken out and shot. I expect that process to be very bloody indeed, probably won’t happen until after 4 more years of Clinton business-as-usual billionaire corporo-fascist Permanent War.There is a breaking point.

      2. ScottW

        At my local Cambridge, MA, coffee shop, a sign was posted at the cash register that higher prices were caused by an increase in wages. When I complained to the cashier that such a sign blames higher wages for higher prices (without specifying how much on either side), she shrugged her shoulders and said they were treated well. I couldn’t even get the laborers to admit how degrading the sign was and pointed out when rent goes up a similar sign is not posted blaming the landlord.

        I only want to spend my money at shops paying employees a living wage with benefits, but there seem to be few to none that exist. Too bad there isn’t some kind of labor grading system, similar to the “A” rating for health inspections, that can be given to alert us which workers are being treated fairly. In America, telling customers you treat workers well creates criticism from customers who are getting screwed by their employers. Misery loves company. It also is seen as contributing more to higher prices than is actually the case. A guy helping me move some furniture lamented that if McDonald’s raises wages, his Big Mac will double in price.

        The disinformation game is alive and well creating greater profits!

        1. perpetualWAR

          I certainly hope you explained to the garbage-eating furniture mover that you were happy to provide him with some food, rather than encourage him to fill his belly full of McDonald’s poison regardless of price.

    4. Brooklin Bridge

      The union model (and the sequence not always as clear cut as a list implies):
      1) corrupt the union heads by buying them off (make them identify with upper crust),
      2) inspire unions to reduce effectiveness over decades,
      3) float rumors about Unions being corrupt (hahahaha, the irony),
      4) launch concerted campaign to weaken or finish them off by state legislation.

      By this time, now, ahora mismo, there are enough legitimate negatives regarding union corruption that the final coffin nails go in smoothly.

      1. Christ on a bike

        This thread is rife with peasant thinking. So one local does something stupid, and it’s “Unions!” And if the guy in front of you litters, what’s that? “Blacks!” “Whites!” “Muslims!”?

        Of course unions are fallible – they’re run by humans. So reform them as needed, the way we would any other body. What I’ve never heard from any of the anti-union people is how things are going to get better without them (unions).

    5. Jess

      “Hey Hicks, you’re supposed to be getting your members increased wages AND benefits, not one or the other, you dope.”


    6. Left in Wisconsin

      While there are plenty of corrupt and awful unions, this provision is entirely sensible and in earlier times would never have prompted the outrage it seems to now. (I am on a list-serve of “progressive” economists and they are likewise going ape-sh1t over this.)

      1. Unions are about power. If this provision makes it easier for unions to organize, that is a good thing, not a bad thing.
      2. For workplaces where unions are already in place, the only thing that could be nefarious about this is if the union leadership and management are able to implement a (substandard) contract without membership ratification. That is the old Teamsters’ model and it leads, inevitably, to corruption. But I don’t believe that circumstance exists much, if at all, these days. (Please feel free to correct if I have this wrong.)
      3. If union members want to ratify a contract paying a sub-minimum wage but offering other perceived benefits, that should be their right. And, given that minimum wage laws invariably say little or nothing about benefits, it is easy to imagine this situation. If they want to reject the contract and/or decertify the union, that should also be their right. No one is “Demanding that union workers be allowed to make less than minimum wage in hopes of getting better benefits”.
      4. These comments exhibit a lack of trust in working people to understand their own immediate workplace and economic interests. I do not find that to be the case.

    7. mitzimuffin

      Diptherio, I totally agree. Yet, I wonder how they learned that this would be acceptable. You know…those incremental steps that keep us from having nice things. Workers give up stuff while the union and management stealthily remove citizens/workers hard earned money from our back pockets.
      It’s like the dems vs the repubs…the bosses vs the unions…Oh the farmers and the cowboys can be friends…NOT!

  6. rich

    Oxfam, IFC & Carlyle’s Two Subsidiaries in Mauritius

    I searched the Oxfam report for company names. None were listed. I’d hoped to see if any IFC investments went to private equity affiliates.

    The Carlyle Group has a sub-Saharan African fund, which received a $50 million investment from the African Development Bank in 2012. Carlyle has two subsidiaries in Mauritius, the African tax haven cited in Oxfam’s report.

    The OxFam report had this to say about Mauritius:

    Mauritius is the most preferred offshore destination for IFC clients

    In 2015, 40 percent of total projects included companies with a subsidiary or headquarters in Mauritius. This is either clients themselves or indirectly through sponsors, technical partners or others involved in the project and thereby indirectly benefitting from the investment. But this small island is widely recognized for facilitating ‘round-tripping’ investment, which allows companies and individuals to take their money offshore, shroud it in financial secrecy, and then bring it back into the country disguised as FDI. This allows them to reap the reward of tax benefits only available to foreign investment; the money is subject to tax breaks rather than capital gains and income tax that should rightly be charged on domestic investment. As an example, 34 percent of total investment to India from 2000 to 2015 has come from the small island of Mauritius, most of it from the same building in Port Louis, the capital.

    It’s the PEU way, facilitated by the greed/leverage boys and their political sponsors.

    Note: IFC invested in Carlyle Mexico in 2007 and hosted a private equity meeting focused on emerging markets in 2006 where Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein gave the opening address.

    1. DorothyT

      And surely they will honor this obligation:

      The bankruptcy leaves uncertainty around Peabody’s $1.47 billion in environmental liabilities. Under a federal law enacted in 1977, mining companies must post surety bonds or other collateral that cover future mine cleanup costs unless their balance sheets are strong enough to qualify for an exemption known as “self-bonding.”

      Self-bonding “will probably be one of the bigger fights in bankruptcy,” said Sussman, the Clarksons Platou analyst. “Too early to tell the outcome.”

      1. Paul Tioxon

        John Prine is just a national treasury, a singing, living library of Congress of the lives of an America that almost never make it to the Hollywood big screen. With some notable exceptions, such as the TV show Justified, which takes place in Harlan County KY. Of course, coal is ever present there, but not in the present, but the remainder of what it meant to dig coal together, how that experience was the only tie that binds the people of Appalachian coal seam from Eastern Kentucky through West Virginia, nearly every inch of it up through the Mon Valley of Western PA and on across the state NE to Scranton and Wilkes Barre. A version of this song ended the series. A much beloved song, covered by every country singer worth a damn.

        You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive, Patty Loveless version

        And on a happier note, King Coal on his death bed, still dying. Keep up the good work, it won’t be much longer.

    1. Take the Fork

      Is the plan for the EU to absorb Africa’s redundant population? In that case, I’m afraid Soros has lowballed it.

  7. hreik

    But while serving as Clinton’s special envoy, reaching out to global corporations for those investments, he was also working for two of them as a private consultant — earning about $2.4 million from Dow Chemical, a longtime client of his and one of the firms that participated in Clinton’s Ireland initiative.

    It was also during this time period that Kelly and Doug Band, a close aide to former President Bill Clinton, were preparing to launch a global consulting business that would soon become a well-known and controversial success story. Their new venture, Teneo Holdings, would go on to employ numerous Clinton associates including her closest confidante Huma Abedin and, for a time, Bill Clinton as “honorary chairman,” giving clients rare access to the couple and their network of world leaders.

    While HRC was SoS. It never ends w them. Hope she names a sane VP b/c she should be indicted for all kinds of sh*t.
    put usual http:// and www b/f that.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      The tentacles of the Clinton Crime Family just keep growing. The Repubs are gonna feed Hellery thru the shredder if she is the nominee. Go Bernie!

      BTW, I was told that the http has nothing to do with comments that are sent to moderation. So by chopping it off the link, it does nothing but annoy people who want to view the link.

        1. Llewelyn Moss

          Hey, I’m just passing along what was told to me (in a very stern way). I’m not trying to annoy anyone. I love everyone (except Hellery). Peace-out my friends. :-)

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Welcome to the clinton presidency 2.0. The dynamic duo has not let the last 16 years go to waste.

      It makes renting out the Lincoln Bedroom look not only amateurish, but positively “indicative of future performance.”

        1. abynormal

          “She might have been born this way, without an empathy gene and other essentials. In that case, she would interpret any kindness as weakness. Among predatory beasts, any display of weakness is an invitation to attack.”

        2. Pavel

          More like “super parasites”… they have made crony capitalism an art form.

          Can you imagine all the oppo research the Repubs have on Bill and Hillary already?

      1. Clive

        They said that when Nixon left the White House they counted the spoons. That was supposed to be the low water mark in presidential pilfering. If only the Clintons could limit themselves to just spoons.

    3. HotFlash

      Hope she names a sane VP b/c she should be indicted for all kinds of sh*t.

      I know, Chelsea!

  8. abynormal
    The UNICEF report notes that – due to the actions of the U.S. and Saudis – Yemen is experiencing mass starvation on a scale last seen in Ethiopa:

    Over 320,000 [children] are at risk of severe acute malnutrition ….

    But the real numbers may be much worse. For example, Oxfam wrote last year:

    Since the start of the conflict, nearly 25,000 additional people are going hungry each day in Yemen as the blockade and fighting restrict food, fuel and other vital supplies, Oxfam warned today.

    One in two people – nearly 13 million people – are now struggling to find enough to eat, and half of them are on the brink of starvation. This is an increase of 2.3 million people since the escalation in fighting and beginning of the blockade imposed by the Saudi-led coalition in March 2015. In a country that has historically faced food shortages, this is the highest ever recorded number of people living in hunger.

    “That bowl of soup—it was dearer than freedom, dearer than life itself, past, present, and future.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

  9. abynormal
    The United Nations Children’s Fund has stated that approximately 11 million children in eastern and southern Africa face hunger, disease and water shortage due to this year’s unusually extreme El Niño season [1]. In November, the United Nations warned that the nations in the Horn of Africa, which includes Djitbouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia, are at a heightened risk for food insecurity, due to the extreme droughts that have occurred over recent months [2].

    Despite concerns from the United Nations, the Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki stated that “the country will not face any crisis in spite of reduced agricultural output” and further, “Isaias praised the government’s judicious policy and approaches of bolstering its strategic food reserves” [2].

    Interestingly, Eritrea has long been known to reject UN food aid and prefers a policy of self-reliance, with Isaias stating that he was not worried. Consequently, the UN has limited access to the country and many foreign aid agencies are not allowed to operate there [2]. While Eritrea may claim that it will not face food insecurity this year, the surrounding region faces crop reduction by 50-90%. In neighboring Ethiopia, there is upwards of 10 million people in need of food aid, a number that is expected to rise to 18 million by the end of 2016 [2].

    “Hunger of the body is altogether different from the shallow, daily hunger of the belly. Those who have known this kind of hunger cannot entirely love, ever again, those who have not.” Barbara Kingsolver

  10. Brindle

    re: Anger Boils at Jews For Bernie Event

    So, AIPAC conference is as important as Vatican visit? The quotes in the article show that being brutal towards Palestinians is an accepted normal.

    “Sanders has been tone deaf on Gaza. And the interview with the Daily News was appalling,” she said. “He doesn’t go to the AIPAC conference, but he’s going to the Vatican? I mean, come on!”

  11. Synoia

    Beauty Obsession Drives China Selfie App’s $3 Billion Valuation

    The use of this App seems to violate any “Truth in Advertising” standard.

    Thinking on meeting: “Oh, you don’t look like that picture of you….”

  12. Synoia

    Panel Could Rewrite the Rules for GOP Convention

    Ah, a committee deciding how to “fix” the convention…Lawsuits at noon I’d expect.

  13. Synoia

    Ryan’s presidential denials won’t dim GOP establishment hop

    e deliberatly omitted. The Brer Rabbit Nomination Strategy.

  14. Jim Haygood

    Yesterday the Craazyman Fund reached a new equity high. It’s up 4.29% since inception at Mar. 2nd closing prices, versus a 2.36% gain in its SPY/AGG benchmark.

    Star of the show has been the emerging markets ETF, up 7.89%. Junk bonds returned 3.85%, while the old yellow dog (gold bullion) brought up the rear with a 1.34% gain.

    On a side note, the HUI Gold BUGS index (yes, that’s its real name) has doubled since mid-January. This extreme volatility is why an ETF that tracks it wasn’t included in the Craazyman Fund. But gold miners’ rocket launch perhaps supports the thesis underlying Craazyman Fund: namely, that the five-year commodity depression is over.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Tempting, isn’t it?

        But the Z site has been publishing articles every day by analysts at investment banks, claiming that the next surge in junk bond defaults has begun, recoveries are going to be a dismal 20 cents on the dollar … and that investors in these certificates of guaranteed confiscation are going to be ruined, ruined I tell you!

        Who could resist fading the doomster chorus?

    1. craazyboy

      “namely, that the five-year commodity depression is over.”

      So…China is gonna try going 3rd world to 1st world again???

      Sure there are still empty “green fields” in Mongolia for ghost cities and steel & aluminum mills, but do we still have a 1st world to buy all the exports???

      1. Jim Haygood

        Don’t ask me to solve that riddle.

        David Stockman (who included a selfie with the night skyline of Pudong behind him) posted an apocalyptic screed claiming that the “Red Ponzi” used more concrete in three years than the pokey old USA consumed in the whole 20th century.

        Horrifying. But it don’t preclude a “crack-up boom.”

  15. allan

    I love the smell of HillBots in the morning … it smells like, like … desperation.

    The Strange Silence about Sanders’s Tax Proposals
    [Even the Liberal American Prospect]

    Sanders and his supporters reject analyses that emphasize the tax side of his proposals alone on the grounds that the funded government programs will relieve Americans of other costs, notably private health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket health expenses. The force of that argument depends, however, on the true cost of Sanders’s single-payer health plan. According to his campaign, the plan would require raising $1.38 trillion annually in additional federal revenue, nearly as much as the federal income and estate taxes raise today. But other analysts calculate that even that amount would be insufficient. Kenneth Thorpe, an economist at Emory University, puts the cost (over current federal spending) at $2.43 trillion annually (“Why Sanders’s Single-Payer Plan Would Cost More Than His Campaign Says”). Once the added taxes needed to pay for the plan are factored in, it would no longer produce the net savings Sanders is promising to the majority of the currently insured.

    The most reliable, independent analysis of the candidates’ tax proposals comes from the Tax Policy Center (TPC), a joint effort by economists at the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution who are widely respected for their professionalism. … For journalistic analysis of the tax issues in the Democratic campaign, the best source has been Vox. …

    This is almost as much fun as Cheney citing Judy Miller citing Curveball.

    1. Adam Eran

      Where do people get the dollars with which they pay taxes if the monopoly provider of dollars (i.e. government) doesn’t spend them out into the economy first?

      I know Bernie has hired Stephanie Kelton, but he still apparently believes the money creator is funded by tax revenues…or believes saying anything else would be disbelieved.

      (“Only puny secrets need protection. Big secrets are protected by public incredulity.” –Marshall McCluhan)

      1. sleepy

        I think the political realities are such that regardless of any influence Kelton may have on Sanders tax and budgetary policies, basing those policies on MMT during a campaign would not go over well at all. The msm barely takes him seriously as is, and it would open him up to charges of pie-in-the-sky, reckless spender, radical redistributionist, etc.

        1. jrs

          Most countries in the world that have better safety nets do pay higher taxes for their safety nets AND they think it’s worth it. Yes I know we’re an empire now and we make our own rules …

  16. petal

    A report about the Sanders rally in Rochester, NY yesterday. Crowd pegged at around 6400. Not bad for a Tuesday morning. What looks like a small group got together to rally for HC.

    Article about children not getting medical care because of Idaho’s religious shield law.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      As we speak, “Sanders joins verizon employee picket line,”

      About 36,000 communications workers went on “strike” Wednesday.

      “Strike.” Google it.

      1. abynormal

        also, “While presidential candidates might not often join picket lines, it’s nothing new for Sanders. Right before he announced his presidential bid last year he joined a picket line with workers at FairPoint Communications, with 1,700 employees being on strike in New England.”

    2. Bas

      From what I have heard, Hillary purposely has small venues and crowds for more control. Easier to avoid awkward questions…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        More private.

        The queen, sorry, the candidate can actually hear individual requests.

        “Yes, you need a high tech research center for cit of Buffalo?”

    3. Llewelyn Moss

      The Rochester Bernie rally was filled to capacity with a huge crowd outside that could not get in. When they pick a venue that has a capacity under 10K seats, it typically fills up.

      This is my favorite of Bernie’s signature lines that the crowd loves to hear.
      “I have been criticized for saying this in the past… So Let Me Say It Again…”

      Go Bernie!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I hear that from many candidates of all parties.

        It shows you’re feisty. You won’t back down. A good quality…if not an unusually rare one.

    1. Vatch

      Good for him! The Oregon primary is May 17.

      Memo to Senator Elizabeth Warren: this is what you should have done prior to the Massachusetts primary.

  17. abynormal

    uh……….For Immediate Release April 13, 2016
    Agencies Announce Determinations and Provide Feedback on Resolution Plans of Eight Systemically Important, Domestic Banking Institutions

    “Pick a leader who will not only bail out banks and airlines, but also families from losing their homes — or jobs due to their companies moving to other countries. Pick a leader who will fund schools, not limit spending on education and allow libraries to close. Pick a leader who chooses diplomacy over war. An honest broker in foreign relations. A leader with integrity, one who says what they mean, keeps their word and does not lie to their people. Pick a leader who is strong and confident, yet humble. Intelligent, but not sly. A leader who encourages diversity, not racism. One who understands the needs of the farmer, the teacher, the doctor, and the environmentalist — not only the banker, the oil tycoon, the weapons developer, or the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyist.”
    Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun

  18. Bas

    Tom Hayden just came out for Hillary. Yikes
    From October 2015

    This is the classic dilemma of the Left dating back one hundred years — class analysis against a race and gender analysis. Echoes already are showing up in Vermont where Bernie sympathies with white gun owners while Hillary, massacre victims and black people are seething against the NRA.

    I intend to vote for Hillary Clinton in the California primary for one fundamental reason. It has to do with race….When I understood that the overwhelming consensus from those communities was for Hillary—for instance the Congressional Black Caucus and Sacramento’s Latino caucus—that was the decisive factor for me.

    Did Hayden not get that the CBC did not consult their constituency about Hillary? And that Dolores Huerta started a big stink in NV about nothing to hurt Bernie with Latinos?
    Is Hillary trotting him out today to sway the Independents? From the comments at Alternet, I’d say that is failing badly.

    1. James Levy

      I will put my head on the chopping block here, but when Hayden et al. out of guilt started to defer (genuflect) to people like H. Rap Brown and Stokely Carmichael, the whole New Left went to hell in a hand basket. I am more sympathetic than most around here to the feelings of blacks as blacks and women as women to be listened to and taken seriously. Plenty of history to back their claim of having been silenced and ignored in the past. But this can get really stupid. If blacks liked Clarence Thomas, or women Sara Palin, would Hayden fall in behind that? Because by his own logic, he would have to, and he knows that would be stupid. This is a weird form of pandering, as insulting and in it own way patronizing as Republicans patting women and blacks on the head and telling them they don’t know shit and should just shut up. It is a pathetic, irresponsible abdication of thought and judgment.

      1. Bas

        It’s a nod to the Black Misleadership Class, the Clintons’ favorite kind of Black people, the elites.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s true some African Americans like Clarence Thomas, and some women like Sara Palin, but they are unlikely to be Hayden’s or Hillary’s supporters.

        Now, if Hayden’s supporters liked Clarence Thomas, he would have to do some serious re-thinking.

      3. Bas

        It also is interesting that Jeff Forbes, an NRA registered lobbyist was a co-host at a Hillary fundraiser on March 21 this year.

      4. Chris Geary

        Stokely Carmichael? Seriously? That’s when things went downhill? Am I missing something? Then you move on to mention Clarence Thomas? Am I missing something here?

      5. neo-realist

        I believe that Hayden has gotten out of touch in his advancing age (and privilege I also suspect) with what is really happening politically and economically. As a result he is willing to accept at face value, support from compromised bought and paid for black establishment organizations that support neo-liberal democratic candidates like Hillary.

        1. Lord Koos

          Hayden is certainly not the lone ranger in that respect. I interact with older people like this everyday. Many older folks, especially if they are financially comfortable, are pretty out of touch, and too many of them get their news from the corporations.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The struggle for racial and gender equality is ever more urgent.

      The same with class.

      If it’s failing badly at Alternet, are we just hearing from some, and at all groups?

      Change, like love, comes in all shapes, sizes and forms, some gradual, some quickly. For Hillary, it’s a life long pursuit (of service to the country, I think, and like most not-saintly mortals, pursuit of power, fame and wealth).

      Do thy best, but sometimes, it takes a while…a long time…to change the minds of people, or in this case, some of Hillary’s supporters.

      1. Bas

        My thought was that this was coming out because of the recent “concern” that Hillary, though anointed, would not get the Independents in the General. It is recognized by Indys for what it is, disingenuous pandering, so he debased himself for nothing, IMO.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Then, he’s not a good politician – to debase himself for nothing…most debase themselves for something.

      1. pretzelattack

        iraqis and libyans don’t count. or chileans or salvadorans or guatemalans etc. etc.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Once again, the comments are positively brutal.

      If hayden has any sort of a “following,” they sure don’t comment at the nation.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Loads of great comments, but this one is particularly good. I wish I would have written it.

          Norman Norton says:
          April 12, 2016 at 3:34 pm
          Tom: In the 60’s I attended a lecture by Saul Alinski on the UW campus, where he warned students against “…believing our own shit”. Tom, you are doing just that 50 years later! You are embracing the most egregious collection of establishment dysfunction with your support of the very things you argue against! Hill and Bill have become obscenely wealthy by tapping into the money stream that has bled the wealth from the world’s middle class. Together, their take has been over $100 million. Bernie has accumulated wealth of less than $1 million after 35 yrs in government. The Clinton’s have fracked our aquifers, free traded our jobs, deregulated Wall Street, militarily destabilized countries, embraced horrific policies like the Saudi’s brutality and Kissinger’s ‘Total Control’, legislated minorities into jail and generally have become wealthy by their actions. Bernie opposes the establishment policies you claim to disdain yet you support Hillary. You tremble in the face of “…an overwhelming wall of opposition from the Republican Congress…”, which, at this time is, at the very most, a fractured party of religious extremists and Teabaggers, in power only because Obama lost the progressive vote when he sold out to establishment power. Those progressives will return in waves behind a real progressive candidate and Congress will change accordingly.  You shudder at an “…all-out Republican-financed media assault…” but fail to recognize that establishment backed efforts by the media to twist our democracy, and the DNC’s ‘super delegate’ dysfunction, are also fully recognized as blatant disregard of our democratic process by responsible voters, and serve to further marshall their resolve and accelerate support for Bernie. You “…intend to vote for Hillary Clinton in the California primary for one fundamental reason. It has to do with race. ” failing to mention that it was Bernie, not Hillary who marched beside MLK in the Freedom Marches, and Bernie who was jailed trying to integrate Chicago housing in the 60’s. Where was Hillary in these dangerous times? Not in the front lines where she should have been as a true supporter of racial equality. You go on to mention “…my sense is that California is winnable for Bernie.” I’m at a loss to explain your reasoning. You rightly point out that “..Bernie is more dovish and Hillary still harbors an inner hawk.” You go on to say “… (Bernie) correctly faults Hillary for her hawkish impulse towards regime change.” Yet you back Hillary. Do you feel we need more of the failed wars and policies that have produced millions of destroyed families, and ISIS? Other comments in your article that resonate: “When she seems to tack back towards her roots, it is usually in response to Bernie and new social movements….. “. “I cannot imagine scoffing at the chance to vote for a woman .” Yes, but surely not this woman! Your article is lame. Your reasoning is unsound. How is it that we read this, from the leader and author of radical social change in the 60’s? I expected far more.

    4. Alex morfesis

      Was tom hayden standing next to his old friend aryeh neier when he announced his kolotoumbo…?

      Spoke to some folks in newark (when I ilved there) whose lives were turned upside down by the riots that hayden was around 4 in 67…almost all insisted there were outside agitators throwing things off of roofs at people…anything you might to share mister famous radical with the people whose life you helped disrupt in newark. ?

      Ask young bernerz who tom hayden i$/wa$ and you will get a blank stare….

      1. jrs

        so their historical illiteracy is now a virtue? Granted the school systems suck and that’s not their fault but still …

        1. Alex morfesis

          It is a virtue that someone who is way past his 15 minutes of “legend” is not taking up valuable mind space…
          hayden i$/wa$ a character out of a french b movie…forgive me for not bowing at the alter of the false radikalz

    5. allan

      It was not the Congressional Black Caucus that endorsed Clinton.
      It was the Congressional Black Caucus PAC that endorsed her.
      The CBC PAC is run by lobbyists and doesn’t necessarily represent the views of the CBC members.
      In addition to endorsing Clinton, it has refused to endorse Donna Edwards for the Senate seat from MD.

      Either Hayden knows the difference between the CBC and the CBC PAC or he doesn’t.
      Either way, it reflects badly on him.

    6. Ivy

      So when is the long-sought Jane Fonda endorsement coming?
      Has anyone asked John Froines or his fellow travelers for their opinions?
      There is an air of irrelevance and futility in the Hayden announcement.

    7. nycTerrierist

      He mentioned in the piece he’d had a stroke.
      Could explain this incoherent crock.

  19. James Levy

    The Perry Anderson article on Brazil was depressing. It sounds hokey but a prerequisite for democracy is a broad, if not necessarily deep, commitment to civic virtue. Brazil seems to have almost none. The article does, however, demonstrate the absolute need for growth in most Left/Liberal thinking. The only way to do more for the lower 2/3rds of society is to syphon off some of the benefits of growth (above population growth, of course–an unnamable but essential factor in the calculation) to help out the lower orders. Any thought of true redistribution is simply beyond the thought processes of a PT or a Syriza (or even a Sanders, I think). Even in a country like Brazil, with a small middle class and a tiny ultra-wealthy elite, you seem to be able to mobilize a credible percentage of the population to defend the established order, no matter how corrupt, unfair, or unjust. Everywhere you find large numbers of people who identify with the elite to their own (and 90+% of the population’s) detriment. It’s just so depressing.

    1. pdehaan

      That’s the power of mainstream media. In Brazil, as in most of South America, concentrated ownership of mass media is a real problem. Combine that with a non-politicized and undereducated population at large, and kings can be made. The first thing I noticed when I moved to Brazil was the sophisticated use of imagery on the main channel Globo. Its owner at the time, Roberto Marinho, still is referred to as the kingmaker, with Globo being the main protagonist of Lula’s electoral defeat against Fernando Color in 89. Globo is in particular watched by the masses for its telenovelas (soap operas). In these shows the elite and rich are often glamorized with their own, very real tragedies and larger-than-life issues, instilling the sense that the very rich have just as complicated a life as the other 90-something% of society and deserve sympathy.
      Also, the current battle for power is largely a middle-class affair, as are the demonstration for/against the government. The poorer segments of society don’t see it as their fight. They don’t trust any politicians and have always been marginalized. It’s hard to get them out on the streets in order to defend the current government against the currently unfolding right-wing soft coup.

  20. B1whois

    I found the “must read” article “Crisis in Brazil” to be a long, difficult read with hard-to-follow language, but here is the concluding paragraph:
    “In South America, a cycle is coming to an end. For a decade and a half, relieved of attention by the US, buoyed by the commodities boom, and drawing on deep reserves of popular tradition, the continent was the only part of the world where rebellious social movements coexisted with heterodox governments. In the wake of 2008, there are now plenty of the former elsewhere. But none so far of the latter. A global exception is closing, with no relay yet in sight.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Are there still any uncommitted Democratic senators?

      It’s hard to know the process behind the decision for endorsing a particular candidate, some endorsing early, some now, some at the last minute, perhaps for some, never.

      1. cwaltz

        Personally, I wish they would do what they are supposed to and wait until after the rest of us vote. Their vote is already weighted. It shouldn’t put undo influence on voters in addition to being weighted.

  21. Ed

    The LRB article by Perry Anderson on Brazil is long but a must read.

    The article does not address, or not even mention, geopolitics. Brazil under Lula and Dilma was one of the BRICS, the emerging alliance of the second tier regional powers against US hyper-power, so that there is a reasonable suspicion that what we are really seeing is a color revolution, similar to the anti-Russian ones that get more coverage. The article is written on the assumption that all the political actors in Brazil are operating within a purely Brazilian context, without any outside interference, which is normally a safe assumption but probably not in 2016.

    Since the article is long, the takeaway is that the constitution of the Fourth Republic (the post 1985 one) is constructed in such away that it is impossible for the federal government to operate without massive bribery. Like in the US, administration is centered around a President, at least directly elected this time, but the legislature is both ridiculously mal-apportioned and elected by proportional representation. The latter is a good warning about using proportional representation, in this case it allows grifters to set up essentially fake parties whose purpose is to take bribes from the federal executive to get things done. The presidential system encouraged the PT to use a strategy of capturing the presidency without building a legislative majority, which the way the system was constructed was probably impossible in any case, and though they got things done, there are obvious natural limits to the effectiveness of this strategy.

    1. jawbone

      Color revolutions are a bit more obvious, so maybe we need a new term, such as “Color Coup?”

    2. Ed

      I also agree with James Levy and B1whois that the article is depressing. Latin America was the only place in the world in the 21st century where the good guys were winning some victories. That window is now closing.

  22. Jim Haygood

    Cristina goes to court in Buenos Aires:

    After presenting a brief to judge Claudio Bonadio, who is investigating a case regarding the sale of dollar futures, former President Cristina Kirchner spoke in front of the courts of Comodoro Py.

    “Thank you for this gift of your welcome,” were the first words of the former head of state before the crowd of activists who gathered near the court.

    “I can say it twenty times. They can put me in prison, but they cannot stop me from saying what I think,” challenged Cristina, in the same discursive tone she used when she was head of state.

    Cristina took to the stage erected by the militancy — headed by La Cámpora — shortly after 11 am, together with former Court Judge Eugenio Zafaroni.

    “It is impossible that there could be so many abuses without the complicity of the judiciary,” she said about her charge in a money laundering case. “If they could ban the letter K from the vocabulary, they would,” she asserted, as militants chanted against President Mauricio Macri.

    She interrupted her speech several times to drink water and even to show a shirt given to her — so she said — by employees of the judiciary. “If I hung around awhile afterward, it was because I took pictures with so many of them in the hallway,” she said loudly.

    She took a shot at Macri and aimed against the media: “Those who wanted to bring us to the attention of the world have succeeded. We’re on the covers of all the international media, except those in Argentina. Here, again, the communications media also hide the excesses and try to cover the sun with their hands.”

    Cristina questioned layoffs in public administration, price increases in public services, reduction of free medicines in the public health scheme, and didn’t refrain from addressing the Panama Papers scandal, where it was learned that Macri had an offshore company: “Those who were looking for the K Money Trail found the M Money Trail.”

    “It is important to unite. As for me, don’t worry. You know that I voluntarily and explicitly renounced my privileges. They got tired of writing that I would ask for a job or a position. I don’t need them; I have the privileges of the people,” she harangued during her one hour discourse.

    I showed up to face money laundering charges … and all I got was this lousy T-shirt! :-)

    1. optimader

      “It is impossible that there could be so many abuses without the complicity of the judiciary,”
      I like that.. a page out of cold war MAD doctrine!

      “Those who were looking for the K Money Trail found the M Money Trail.”
      As she takes a stroll down the N for Non sequitur trail

    2. RabidGandhi

      Clarification: she’s not being subpoenaed for alleged money laundering but rather for an accusation of selling dollar futures at below market price. The ostensible reason for the alleged crime is that the outgoing regime wanted to prevent the incoming regime from a rapid devaluation of the dollar (which they eventually did anyway), so the BCA under Mme de Kirchner tried to use dollar futures to tie the government down to a lower price using the lower official exchange rate instead of the quasi-legal blue rate. The charter of the BCA prohibits it from trading in futures below the exchange rate.

      There have been accusations of money laundering in the media (which in Argentina is very right wing and very anti-Kirchner) for at least the last 5 years or so, but no summons have been issued for CFK as of yet.

      BTW Jim, those are nice translations of La Nación you’ve been posting, are they yours?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Thanks for the clarification about the separate dollar futures case and money laundering allegations.

        The legal aspects are a little hard to follow, since judges in Argentina perform some investigatory and prosecutorial functions that they don’t in the US.

        I wing the translations with a little help from when needed. Did not attempt the La Cámpora chant, “Llegó la jefa, la puta que los parió”, which sounds something like “The boss has arrived, yo mama!” — but the spanish is much more colorful. ;-)

        1. RabidGandhi

          There’s no phrase more typical of Buenos Aires than that one. I won’t translate it here because it’s a family blog :).

          The harder part to translate about the legal system are the various levels of legal processing. Basically Ms Kirchner has been “imputada” which means a case has been filed with accusations against her. The magistrate judge is investigating the case to see if charges should be filed and has summonsed her to testify. (I think summons or subpoena is the closest equivalent term in the US– maybe someone more knowledgeable here can correct me). If the judge deems there is sufficient evidence for charges, Kirchner would then be “acusada” at which point she would be called on to defend herself against the charges. Lastly, if she is convicted she would be “juzgada”, at which point appeals processes may be lodged.

          So in short in both the case of Kirchner and of Macri, they are both in very preliminary stages of the judicial system– anybody can file complaints and get a trigger-happy magistrate to start an investigation– but neither of them have thus far been convicted of any crimes.

    3. ChrisPacific

      Definitely a feeling of deja vu to all this (I note you even mentioned the E word in your last dispatch). I wonder if there is something in Argentine culture and society that produces this kind of ‘charismatic female as champion of the proletariat against elite interests’ figure, or whether she consciously modeled herself on a pattern that had been successful in the past. She appears to have a bit of a martyr complex – not sure whether or not that’s justified by circumstances.

      Agreed that your translations are several steps above the Google version, which seems to have an issue with pronouns for starters (does Spanish not have gender-specific pronouns or something?)

      1. RabidGandhi

        No offence, but at the risk of generalising your statement I think people outside Argentina place a lot more emphasis on Eva Perón than those inside Argentina do. It’s hard to make a case for Argentines consistently seeking a female champion when there are really only two that stand out in the proletariat-defending mode you mention. And even Ms Kirchner would I think associate herself more with Juan Perón (who is more revered here by far) than she would with Eva. Her policies of export substitution, protection of national industry with high tariffs and prioritisation of employment over inflation were classic peronist policies.

        And yes you’re on the right trail with the pronouns: in Spanish verbs need not always be accompanied by a noun, so in translations it is sometimes not clear if he, she or it did something.

        1. ChrisPacific

          Ok, noted and thanks. I will freely admit that was speculation and not especially informed.

  23. jawbone

    RE: Verizon refusing to repair copper lines, etc.

    For years I would get promotional flyers from Verizon extolling the wonders of fiber optic lines which would be coming SOON and to please call a special number to find out if your area has fiber NOW.

    Well, the special number was just to the sales reps, the answer was always that fiber was not in my area yet. Then, I read a NJ newspaper article which stated that Verizon had an unannounced policy that fiber would only be installed in higher income areas and never in lower middle to low income areas. Eventually, checking for fiber was automated, with Verizon offering a bundle with a satellite TV provider.

    Also, eventually even the reps would tell a caller such as myself that areas such as mine would never get fiber service.

    The new alternative for the non-affluent areas is to provide cellular service, even if it’s crappy. This applies to difficult to wire wealthier areas as well. So, now there are 3 levels of service — make that 4: 1) Dependable copper, with the ability to make calls during power outages–until it fails 2) Slowly failing copper, 3) cell, perhaps with good coverage and sound, sometimes without (is that 5 levels of service?, and 4) fiber.

    A friend got Verizon fiber when her apt building was wired for it, but for some reason the speed is not as good promised and not as good as the cable she had previously.

    The way things are going, the US is never going to have really good broadband and possibly never have really good phone service.

    And, of course, there are still the taxes which are supposed to go toward ensuring broadband coverage for the entire nation. Verizon collects them but does not, apparently, put them toward universal broadband coverage.

    Crikey. Too bad the FCC didn’t make the Baby Bells get that broadband wiring in place before the NeoLibs and their Corporatist Dem lackeys took over governing.

    Too bad Obama was just another Corporatist. Remember that TIME cover showing Obama as the second coming of FDR? The New New Deal? Jokes on the 99 Percent, eh?

    1. Jess

      Verizon is getting out of the land line business wherever possible. Here in CA, starting this month all their old land line business is now property of Frontier Communications. Can’t say I’m sorry to be rid of Verizon but also wonder what dreadful policies I’ll be subjected to by Frontier.

      1. Hobbs

        The Frontier handover has already become a nightmare at our house. Our internet has been out off and on for a week. We’ve spent hours talking to the Verizon/Frontier reps (Mumbai), with no relief in sight. One agent admitted a visit to our home had been scheduled next week for six p.m. . . . but they only work until five.

      2. Optimader

        This may be a very valuable asset when the sat network is taken out by neferious neans or a kickass solar flare

  24. Pavel

    Lambert, reading this reminded me of your excellent Obamacare Clusterfuck series.

    From the NYT today, an excerpt. News About Obamacare Has Been Bad Lately. How Bad?

    Margot: It’s such an interesting question. Every time I write a story about the health law, I get comments and emails from people just above the income cutoff for subsidies. These are the people who have been most hurt by the health law. Plans on the exchanges are just really expensive for them, and often come with big deductibles, too. And if premiums keep rising, they’ll keep getting squeezed. Analysts from the Urban Institute have done the math and found that some of them are paying more than 25 percent of their income on health care now. Still, it is awfully hard to imagine Congress approving massive new spending to make Obamacare more generous. Hillary Clinton has some proposals about affordability, but they don’t include expanding subsidies.

    Reed: One of the strengths of the law, and its main weakness, is its emphasis on keeping the status quo. While President Obama may have overpromised when he said you can keep your plan if you like it, the insurance isn’t radically different. The only way companies can seem to bring down prices is by narrowing networks of hospitals and doctors or hiking deductibles. While Bernie Sanders seems to be offering the most dramatic change by proposing that everyone switch to a government plan like Medicare, I’m still looking for a market response — some real change in how care is delivered that is much less expensive or at least more effective.

    Margot: This is the thing I say whenever anyone asks me what I think about the health law. It basically baked in all of the complexity and dysfunction of the pre-existing American health care system.

    Read that last line again: Obamacare basically baked in all of the complexity and dysfunction of the pre-existing American health care system.

    Where have I heard that sentiment before, Lambert?

    1. jrs

      Can we just please deemphasize equality of opportunity already (although clearly some of it is needed in education and child welfare etc. – although it should NOT be seen in those terms) and start emphasizing equality of results already?

      That is less inequality, lower Gini coefficient etc.. Instead of the phantom of trying to supply equal opportunities to everyone (in a system that requires losers regardless) let’s just make sure everyone has a decent standard of living period.

      1. Bas

        It would be best to get rid of the “loser’ concept altogether. Every time someone “wins” it “raises the bar” and begins the rat race to death. Individual happiness is not comparative or competitive. That’s not to say it’s not good to have high standards for oneself.

  25. Bas

    re illness of greed

    Proverbs 23:6-8

    Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, Or desire his delicacies; For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten, And waste your compliments.

  26. JoeK

    The article on China and the Spratleys has a gaping hole in its argument: the islands lie between VN and the PI, closer by orders of magnitude to either country than to China. And China has no historical claim either. Not that matters of geography stopped the European nations or the USA in their time(s), but the two wrongs make a right argument is no longer convincing. The ignorance of this glaring fact on the part of the article’s author can must, in this google-maps day and age, be of the willful variety.

    1. Vatch

      From the blurb on the website about the author of that article:

      Jin Kai is lecturer at the Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS), Yonsei University in South Korea.
      Jin Kai received his Ph.D. in International Relations from the Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS), Yonsei University, South Korea and is presently a lecturer at GSIS, Yonsei. He previously served with the People’s Liberation Army of China as a professional officer and was an international communications and public relations officer for the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Center of Education for International Understanding.

      1. JoeK

        Right, should’ve read the “small print,” would’ve obviated the need for my comment. Rather obvious from the content alone I guess….I have high regard for this blog so tend to implicitly trust the quality of the articles linked to so I had my guard down.

        IME there are two types of people who have a reflexive distrust of anything coming from a mainland Chinese writer or speaker: those with no knowledge or experience there, and those with more than a little, or even more so who speak the language and have more than a bit of time “in country.” Not something I say easily or happily.

    2. Alex morfesis

      The chinese red army must be losing it…indonesia, vietnam and the Philippines are a 450 million sized force to deal with…no way they can logistically hold supply lines in a simple skirmish let alone any extended fighting…china is surrounded by russia, india, indonesia, vietnam, philippines and japan…not an enviable space to live…india would love to watch china waste its resources trying to make claims on oil and gas….

  27. direction

    i just googled “bernie sanders” and the top hit was a news article about trump. so i hit the arrow to show “more news for bernie sanders” and the top hit was an article whose title started with the words “Hillary Clinton does a better job than Bernie Sanders…” inspite of this being the day that sanders got his first senate endorsement and lots of press for his new win in the colorado delegate adjustment. tptb are doing an amazing job keeping his victories and these recounts off the mainstream’s front page.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I googled ‘Bernard Sanders,’ and I got NY Times’ ‘Why I am supporting Bernie Sanders.”

      1. direction

        wow, they’ve got you targetted, don’t they. i googled “Bernard Sanders” and got pictures of large dogs on the beach.

        1. Massinissa

          I got that NY times article. I typed in Barnard Sanders too in case you had a typo and got Bernies official website instead. I looked up those two things in Images too and got Bernie pictures.

    2. Vatch

      sanders got his first senate endorsement

      Sorry, but I can’t resist: This is the second Senator to endorse Bernie Sanders for President. Sen. Sanders from Vermont already supports Bernie Sanders for President. Sorry, I probably should be ashamed of myself. . . .

  28. hunkerdown

    Hot off the press: A small but acclaimed Australian fashion label tries opening a US division and factory, pulls back (Black Milk), citing weak AUD, strong USD, and, of special note:

    Something very important happened on March 11th 2016. The US government raised the minimum for customs taxes on products going into the US from US$200 to a very respectable US$800.

    This change in customs treatment is news to me, perhaps even welcome news. Buuuut, with John Engler, former Michigan governor and Council of Corporations Business Roundtable top dog, proudly stating that the implementing legislation for TPP is heading for Congress next month or so, those of you statesiders who buy grey merchandise from abroad (knock-offs, unauthorized imports, dual-use engineering/”black hat” tools, etc.) might want to mind that window and shop while the shoppin’s good.

  29. tony

    “A Coherent, Realist Foreign Policy”

    Four years without some random countries being destroyed just to create demand for cruise missiles sounds like a nice change in pace.

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