Links 8/27/2016

Take note, Tony Blair: why jewellery looks so bad on men Spectator

The Mammoth Pirates Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (guurst)

A New Step in Re-Creating First Life on Earth Quanta (David L)

University of Chicago Warns Incoming Students That They Will Not Be Shielded From Opposing Views Or Given “Safe Spaces” (Chuck L)

British utility allows businesses to buy “local” renewable energy Treehugger

New Study Finds a Virus That Breaks The Rules of Viral Infection NPR (David L)

Americans Are Just Staying Home More Bloomberg (furzy)

EV Revolution Set To Cripple More Than Just The Oil Industry (resilc)

Curt Schilling Is the Next Donald Trump Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

The Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policy Toolkit: Past, Present, and Future The Federal Reserve

Painted as EpiPen Villain, Mylan’s Chief Says She’s No Such Thing NYT. The latest face to join pharma’s wall of shame.

Self-driving taxi trial kicks off in Singapore BBC

Sexual harassment of students by university staff hidden by non-disclosure agreements Guardian

Where No Miner Has Gone Before New Republic

A Cheaper Airbag, and Takata’s Road to a Deadly Crisis NYT

The Sinister Side of Cash WSJ

World Risk Index: The Human Factor in Natural Disasters Der Spiegel

How the super-rich are making their homes ‘invisible’ FT

UBS whistleblower exposes ‘political prostitution’ all the way up to President Obama International Business Times

Why Americans love drones Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Muckraking SF journalist Warren Hinckle dies at 77 San Francisco Chronicle

France’s burkini ban could not come at a worse time New Statesman

Le Conseil d’Etat suspend l’arrêté « anti-burkini » de Villeneuve-Loubet Le Monde

Temer to Push Privatisation, Cut Social Spending in Brazil, Warns ITUC Telesur

The Bogus ‘Humanitarian’ War on Serbia (RR)


The top 10 reasons Brexit isn’t working, according to Brexiteers New Statesman

Germany’s eurosceptic courts Prospect

Politicians fuelled rise in hate crimes after Brexit vote, says UN body Guardian

Class Warfare

How to Stay Rich in Europe: Inherit Money for 700 Years Bloomberg (furzy)

Guillotine Watch

Burning Man Turns 30: The Joys, Pitfalls (and Drugs) of Hollywood’s “Vacation for the Soul” Hollywood Reporter

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Broken Chessboard: Brzezinski Gives Up on Empire Counterpunch


Lunch with the FT: Roger Stone FT

Judge orders search of new Clinton emails for release by September 13 Reuters

Democrats Are Taking Full Advantage of Our ‘Broken Campaign-Finance System’ New York Magazine (resilc)

Hillary Clinton attacks ‘extremist’ Nigel Farage over ‘rising tide of right-wing nationalism’ Independent

“Our Revolution”? Bernie Sanders Launches New Organization, But Key Staffers Quit in Protest Democracy Now (Bill B)

Democrats’ Weak Bench Undermines Hope of Taking Back Senate NYT (resilc)

Bernie Sanders endorses Indian-American Congressional candidate Times of India


Fuel Subsidy Regime Falls Like Dominoes Across the Middle East (resilc)

Iraq’s hangmen are back and this time they’re becoming more efficient Independent

Violently Ousting Assad Won’t Solve Anything in Syria Defense One (resilc)

How Many Guns Did the U.S. Lose Track of in Iraq and Afghanistan? Hundreds of Thousands. NYT (resilc)

Jeddah meeting bears no fruit on Yemen conflict Middle East Online (resilc)

Drenched in Yemeni Blood Foreign Policy in Focus (resilc)

Hit the ATM: The Ankara-Tehran-Moscow Coalition-RT Op-Edge RT (resilc)

Antidote du jour:

bird_animal_plumage copy

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. allan

    The Ken Rogoff piece (The Sinister Side of Cash) shows an ignorance of how the world works, and what its real problems are, that is shocking, even for an economist. Anyone who knows how gift cards and debit cards for public benefits actually work knows about the fees and gotchas that quickly eat away at or entirely destroy the value.

    And even ignoring what the little people know, someone in Rogoff’s position should be aware of the literature of his peers before mouthing off. As one of the WSJ commenters links to, behavioral experiments indicate that people are more likely to cheat when using a cashless system. Rogoff not acknowledging that must have just been an Excel error.

      1. Emma

        Well, let’s flip a coin (groan, groan!) and look at the other side of the argument written by someone who not only knows what he’s talking about, but also raises a variety of valid concerns with regards to an increasingly cashless society dependent on a cashless system…..which is entirely dependent on both bank and state control:

        1. flora

          Good article. Thanks for the link. My own PR pushback is to use cash in the grocery store and most places. In the grocery story, when I finally get to the head of the checkout line, after my items rung up (are scanned) the payment transaction with cashier takes about 15 seconds. If the person in front of me used a card, typed in pin, typed in pin again after typo, waits for approval, signs ticket, the time difference and ease of transaction between cash and card makes the point to all the people waiting in line behind me. I like paying in cash. Done and done. And I don’t have to worry about identity theft from a hacked store computer.

        2. fresno dan

          August 27, 2016 at 8:49 am
          Great article!!!

          Other tactics include pointing out that criminals use cash, that it fuels the shadow economy, that it’s unsafe, and that it facilitates tax evasion.

          Astroturfing campaigns like No Cash Day are backed by American Express, highlighting such anti-cash themes as the environmental impact of banknotes. Other tactics include pointing out that criminals use cash, that it fuels the shadow economy, that it’s unsafe, and that it facilitates tax evasion.

          These arguments have notable shortcomings. Criminals use many things that we keep – like cars – and fighting crime doesn’t take priority over maintaining other social goods like civil liberties. The ‘shadow economy’ is a derogatory term used by elites to describe the economic activities of people they neither understand nor care about. As for safety, having your wallet cash stolen pales in comparison to having your savings obliterated in a digital account hack. And if you care about tax justice, start with the mass corporate tax avoidance facilitated by the formal banking sector.

          As Michael Kingsley said, the problem lies not in what is illegal, but what is legal (mass corporate tax avoidance). It is ridiculous, and obviously some kind of 3 card monty scam, to distract 99% from the tax depredations of the 1% to even bring up the penny ante tax evasions of the people at the very bottom.

          But the whole article is well worth a read. In a nutshell, it is just another way to harvest your assets and turn them into their assets.

          And the scam it most reminds me of is :health insurance reform – which as we now know has nothing to do with lower prices, better health care, or universal coverage and is really just to make sure the profitable get more profitable…

          1. Dave

            Saw this somewhere:

            “Ten percent cash discount”.
            “If you can’t write it off, why write it up?”

        3. Harry Cording

          From the linked article:

          During recessions central banks could then use the banking system to deliberately corrode people’s deposits via negative charges, ‘inspiring’ them to spend rather than hoard.

          How convenient!

      2. Salamander

        My favorite was the illegal immigration angle… as though our government had any desire to do anything but maintain its steady supply of cheap, exploitable labor.

        Is everybody aware that anybody can get a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), just like an SSN, just with no requirement to prove citizenship? This is very convenient for employing illegal aliens. “I had no idea. He gave me an SSN…” The employee can even file a tax return, and get his refund!

        The IRS won’t share the personal information linke to the TIN with the INS. “Enforcing immigration law is not our business.”

        So here we have one executive branch enabling what another is supposed to combat… both reporting to a president who is presumably enforcing the law of the land.

        Nope – we can’t build a national ID program and simply hold employers accountable for hiring illegal immigrants – only a fascist would be so extreme! Solutions such as building a wall on a 3000 mile border, or eliminating cash are the answer…

        We truly are sheep….

    1. Timmy

      Yet another rationalization as to why all our personal transactions need to go into the files of the surveillance state.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Is anyone surprised that Ken Rogoff hails from Hahhhhhvid, incubator of our ruling elite?

          1. AnEducatedFool

            Harvard and U of Chicago have produced many horrible people. Yves is excluded..I do not know if Lambert is a Harvard man but he is a class traitor.

            Yves is an exception now but I do not know what she did in her career. How many people were harmed while she pushed buttons. She is a good person and an excellent critic of the current system but lets not kid ourselves and think that Goldman Sachs and other firms went rogue during Clinton’s reign. The US has a long history of supporting Corporations overseas with all the suppression and death that goes along with the neo-liberal agenda.

            1. Skippy

              War as a Racket sure… seems Jim just likes pigeonholing and supporting the Machine ™ when it suits his needs… cough investments…

    2. nothing but the truth

      the only interesting thing in economics articles is not what is said, but why is the author saying it.

  2. Emma

    For anyone wishing to delve deeper into the use of drones, I suggest a complementary piece to the ‘Why Americans Love Drones’ article. It’s a very interesting report written by Captain Cindy Kua from the Australian Army Journal on Autonomous Weapon Systems which looks more closely at the international law and human control of AWS:,d.cGc

    1. Steve H.

      – On the other hand, Australia may need to balance this consideration against moving too far in the opposite direction, which could see malfunctioning robot armies equipped with the potential to autonomously decide to destroy cities.

      “On the other hand…”

      1. Emma

        When it comes to ‘war’, there is rarely any “fair dinkum” consideration. Besides, a swarm of these ( ) run amok is way more efficient than a handful of IEDs for example, surely?! Combined with a deficient way of looking at the world, they’re also far more lucrative in their discriminatory ripple effect than the prevention of conflict at the outset.

  3. abynormal

    re: New Virus Studies Break Rules of Infection…”We finally have the tools to find them”.
    “Now a new study published Thursday is making researchers rethink how some viruses could infect animals.”

    yanking arm out of socket raising hand!……….what about all those billions of nano mosquitoes recently launched in SA etc. they didn’t have all the 411 and now what?

  4. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The Broken Chessboard: Brzezinski Gives Up on Empire Counterpunch

    Brzezinski presents a rational but self-serving plan to climb-down, minimize future conflicts, avoid a nuclear conflagration and preserve the global order. (aka–The “dollar system”) But will bloodthirsty Hillary follow his advice?

    Not a chance.

    It’s certainly a shame that there are no other candidates for president who advocate for the “climb-down” that brzezinski, after so much damage has been done, now recognizes as the rational direction for american foreign policy.

    It’s also a shame that he doesn’t feel the need to shout as loudly now as he did then, bearing, as he does, so much responsibility for the relentless, warmongering juggernaut the united states has become. Or to counter the phony red-baiting that is attempting to prevent serious consideration of his current position during this election.

    And he should start by putting a muzzle on that idiot daughter of his.

    1. Eureka Springs

      There is no good reason to listen to nor believe him and his bloody ilk… even from inside a jail cell which he so richly deserves.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I wonder if Brzeznki was a fraud who was fine with roughing up little countries but is worried the foreign policy establishment actually believes the insane crap he pushed for years. He’s a loon, but he isn’t a dope. I wonder if he heard the rantings of his daughter and went “ruh-roh. “

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Remember those are not “countries”, with actual people and aspirations and cultures of their own, those are “vassals”.

        1. Linda Gentsch

          Putin has said America doesn’t want partners, it wants vassals. Of course he is a very “evil” man. But if Brezeznki owns up to it, guess it may be true. I hate American empire.

    3. JTMcPhee

      Re: Brzezinski: Maybe he’s “pulling a McNamara,” trying for Heaven with a double shot of cheap grace by tangentially and conditionally acknowledging, after orchestrating and justifying an enormous body count, that maybe his grand fokking “Game of Risk (TM)” blastifications and justifications and cheerleading for more war, more looting, might have had a down side?

      And of course what he’s nattering about is just some notions for navigating that chimerical personification, “the United States,” meaning “the elites and their racket,” to a nice soft landing on a distant private airport… Private jets and red carpets and offshore wealth all around.

      Interesting that so few of the ordinary people who are impoverished and terrorized and oppressed by the Great Hegemon and those who in smaller ways would emulate it or hope to supplant it, have been willing to do to these people what has been and is being and will be done to them — the Rulers have no problem killing “some folks,” do they, Mr. Legacy, in reaching for ever greater titllations of their pleasure centers? No consequences. One might look at the sociology and anthropology and political economics of it all and come to the conclusion that to use an uncommon word, these outcomes are “ineluctable.” Which does not bode well for us as a species, on account of the relative few that walk a true altruistic and eleemosynary path, compared to those who get off on taking more for themselves, and of course that pleasure and excitement so many of us humans get out of looting and killing, by bullet, bomb and algorithm…

      And of course he’s an old man now, will die (not soon enough, ‘cuz he can still do a lot of damage as a “senior statesman” — like the Dulleses were apotheosized to be), and unless Lennon was wrong and there is a Heaven and Hell), comforted and cared for and “full of years, and will escape all consequences for the misery and the spinning up of the species’ “circle the drain” feedback loops…

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        “……pulling a McNamara…….”

        I can only hope that “life” pulls a “McNamara” on brzez…… From the nyt, July 6. 2009 obituary of McNamara:

        In 1995, he took a stand against his own conduct of the war, confessing in a memoir that it was “wrong, terribly wrong.” In return, he faced a firestorm of scorn.

        “Mr. McNamara must not escape the lasting moral condemnation of his countrymen,” The New York Times said in a widely discussed editorial, written by the page’s editor at the time, Howell Raines. “Surely he must in every quiet and prosperous moment hear the ceaseless whispers of those poor boys in the infantry, dying in the tall grass, platoon by platoon, for no purpose. What he took from them cannot be repaid by prime-time apology and stale tears, three decades late.”

        By then he wore the expression of a haunted man. He could be seen in the streets of Washington — stooped, his shirttail flapping in the wind — walking to and from his office a few blocks from the White House, wearing frayed running shoes and a thousand-yard stare.

        1. drb48

          One presumes that if McNamara was haunted if was because at long last he – unlike Bush, Cheney and those that followed – discovered a conscience. BTW, even after McNamara’s mea culpa, there has been no official acknowledgement – nor general public acceptance – that the war was a mistake. And THAT failure led directly into Iraq.

          1. Stormcrow

            I keep saying this, but perhaps it bears repeating. The Vietnam war, like the Iraq wars in its train, was a crime, not a “mistake.” But this seems to be an unthinkable thought.

          2. habenicht

            Tom Engelhardt (of Tom Dispatch) kindly provided me a copy of “The End of Victory Culture” This book connects some of the dots between Vietnam and Iraq from an American mindset perspective.

            Although it reads a little like a history book, I recommend it if you are interested in tracking America’s Zeitgeist before Vietnam, during Vietnam and then transitioning to Iraq.

        2. RabidGandhi

          Hah. McNamara bears the weight of sending US boys to war. Akin to Himmler being responsible for sending German boys to their deaths.

          Of course McNamara should have been jailed for his crimes against thousands of US soldiers, but those crimes dwarf in comparison to his crimes against literally millions of Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians and Japanese.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Himmler was a part of it. Also, like McNam, into “efficiency,” as I recall. Brz and McNam are part of the same category, fosterers and proponents of the Fokking Empire.

        3. fresno dan

          One of the best documentaries I ever saw was “The Fog of War” about McNamara

          They ran a listing of Japanese cities firebombed and, if I recall correctly, the number of CASUALTIES in those Japanese cities against the equivalent population of US cities – it was eye opening. McNamara commented that undoubtedly the Americans would have been tried as war criminals had the Japanese won.

          1. RMO

            He was responsible for some truly evil things but I at least have to give McNamara credit for eventually recognizing he did wrong. Do you think any of the current crop of our bloodthirsty elite will EVER do that? They could be in a deep mineshaft waiting out nuclear winter on a planet with 90% of today’s population reduced to radioactive dust and still not be willing to entertain the possibility that they may have screwed up. Can you imagine anyone in the last two administrations, or on the list for a Hillary administration, not enthusiastically going ahead if presented with something equivalent to Operation Northwoods for example?

            It makes me depressed beyond words to think that even the minuscule leavening of the evil I point out above seems to be something that we have little chance of seeing in our overlords today.

            1. ekstase

              What I got from “Fog of War,” was that he recognized it, but then didn’t. Maybe there comes a point where the wrongdoing was so huge, that they simply never can face it. Which leaves the burden on others, which does not seem fair. At least art, and films, can reflect that back to us and to future people. Maybe that’s where it gets fixed, by people in the future really grappling with what happened in WWII, in Vietnam, with the whole 20th century. I wonder if the 20th is going to look particularly benighted, like the Dark Ages of Early Technology. I suppose it depends on what comes next.

            2. RabidGandhi

              Fog of War closes with McNamara getting into a car and driving about town with everyone else. There is the kicker: this man is a war criminal plain and simple, a mass murderer. We would not feel safe on the streets with Jeffery Dahmer or the Son of Sam on the streets, but it’s normal to have MacNamara in a taxi next to you who killed far, far more people.

              This is my issue with the people who are offended by Trump but think HRC is somehow acceptably bad. No, she should be imprisoned in the Hague. It is all of our faults for normalising these psychopaths’ behaviour and allowing them to walk amongst us.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Once the last people who remember “the rule of law” fade away and die off we can get down to the serious business of oligo-monarchical tyranny.
                In Fiji they still greet each other with the smiling greeting “Bula!”, full of pantomime happiness, it’s left over from the era when the king wandered around the villages looking for someone to eat for lunch…and he tended not to pick you if you were cheerful enough.

        4. andyb

          McNamara was the architect of the “Strategic Hamlet” concept in Vietnam which borrowed from the Nazi playbook and the British Operations in Malaysia, but certainly without the efficacy shown by either the Germans and/or the Brits. Led to 1000s of needless deaths. Insidious plan. Could we call him the prototype neocon?

        5. Plenue

          “Surely he must in every quiet and prosperous moment hear the ceaseless whispers of those poor boys in the infantry, dying in the tall grass, platoon by platoon, for no purpose. What he took from them cannot be repaid by prime-time apology and stale tears, three decades late.”

          How typically American. McNamara should have felt remorse for all the US soldiers he caused the death of, but the literally order of magnitude created number of dead Southeast Asians get nary a mention.

      2. Ivy

        McNamara was known in part for his Whiz Kids.
        How many other potential Whiz Kids, meaning young people with untapped skills, were killed due to the theoretical excesses and proclivities of McNamara, and then Brzezinski?

        They are living, or dead, proof of the following saying: In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is. Their arm-chair politicking and militarizing ruined lives.

        1. Plenue

          This deserve further elaboration:

          The Whiz Kids were a group of RAND Corporation ‘experts’ who believed they’d found a magical new way of conducting war. Through management gimmicks and mathematical modeling they ‘proved’ that a victor in a conflict could be determined beforehand, and what’s more, since everyone in the equation is a ‘rational actor’, the opponent would see that they couldn’t win and would quickly surrender. So they input lots of numbers, like industrial capacity and weapon inventories, and determined that there was no way a ragtag bunch of rice farmers could ever defeat the United States military. And so we went into Vietnam with total confidence of victory. But for some strange reason the Vietnamese didn’t agree with our logic and kept fighting. Vietnam was a war conducted with neoliberal ideas, before neoliberalism was even called that, and mountains of corpses was the result.

          1. JTMcPhee

            One of the Empire’s more successful generals, Paul van Riper, observed that there’s no way to predict the outcome of conflict. Can’t find the link right now, I posted it a couple of days ago. Van Riper also, as leader of the EvilRed Team, kicked the asses of all the other generals who Battlespace-managed the True Blue Team in a $250 million war game titled “Millenium Challenge 2002.” Sunk the Fifth Fleet, fended off the “air assets,” defeated the boots on the ground. And no , I don’t cheer for the thing we stupidly call “the Taleban,” to singularize and demonize an ancient complexity, but I note that in Notagain!istan, more US troops and our Janissaries and Sepoys keep losing terrain and cities to those “hajjis” and “camel jockies…” And about Iraq, what can one say? The effing giant FUBAR-with-very-profitable-sidelines that just keeps on giving. (I do pity the Troops sent to engage in idiotic Imperial missions on other peoples terrain– know how that feels, sent out to draw fire in service to racketeers and in complete futility…)

            So let’s shrug while our rulers, hiding behind their smug idiotic impunity, go provoke another world conflagration. And tell ourselves that we are collectively responsible and guilty for not killing off the parasites that are taking us down.

            “War” and Empire “is nothing but a racket. “

      3. fresno dan

        August 27, 2016 at 9:58 am


        plus, I learned a word…..eleemosynary

      4. Chauncey Gardiner

        Final paragraph of Brzezinski’s article to which Michael Whitney linked included a salient observation: …”During the rest of this century, humanity will also have to be increasingly preoccupied with survival as such on account of a confluence of environmental challenges. Those challenges can only be addressed responsibly and effectively in a setting of increased international accommodation. And that accommodation has to be based on a strategic vision that recognizes the urgent need for a new geopolitical framework.”

        I appreciated Brzezinski’s recognition of the need for a profound shift in US geopolitical strategy. His assessment is much overdue after the manifold failures, lost lives, and damage from neocon policies, as well as in response to emerging global realities. Represents a marked divergence from the neocons’ fantasies and values. Like Whitney, I hope Brezezinski’s arguments expressed in his April article are of sufficient force to effectively counter the war interests going forward.

    4. timbers

      Interesting Brzezinski sees the reality of the game in the Middle East even if Hillary&Co do not. With Iran moving into Russia’s corner one must be dense not to appreciate conflict escalation with Russia is potentially massively destructive with increasingly unpredictable outcomes of “victory.” Agree with you Clinton probably does not see this. Obama’s double crossing Iran on sanctions behind the scenes by in affect keeping sanctions in full force while publicly pretending he’s done the opposite (The Noble Peace President needs to be able to point something, right?) is pissing off Iran and driving them closer to Russia.

      One possibility is Clinton plunges forward with standard U.S. hegemony agenda in Middle East/Ukraine and escalates in a way forcing a Russian response, getting into something more than she calculated or perceived at the outset. IMO only a clear setback or out right military defeat will get Clinton to pause. Will she use a pause to check her premises? No, only to recalculate how to escalate.

      Paul Craig Roberts says Putin’s offer to work the the U.S. is interpreted as weakness by Washington and IMO it appears Putin made a mistake pausing few months back the effort to re-take Aleppo and work with the U.S. The West used this pause as time to rebuild and now matters are worse for Syria. Obama/Kerry were completely dishonest in their dealings with Putin, bidding time to rearm. Hope Putin learned a lesson in this.

      I work with a 31 yr/old Russian originally from Belarus. He says Putin wants to work with the West but they won’t let him. He says American don’t have enough time to know or care what their government is doing, saying Americans get only 2 weeks vacation while everyone else get 4 or 5 weeks. He’s apolitical and mostly into sports. He’s also noted how the job market in the U.S. has changed, commenting he’s making less now than his first job out of college.

      He likes that I seem to appreciate Russia’s point of view and do not regard it as evil.

      1. bwilli123

        I’m thinking Brzz recognises his moment in the sun has passed.

        “… major changes to US foreign policy will take place no matter what. It is hard to tell exactly how, but Trump, if elected, will make a major move away from the dominant foreign policy paradigm in the United States over the past 70 years. US would be more hostile toward China, tougher and more pragmatic toward Europe, more pragmatic and neutral toward Russia, and more indifferent toward the Middle East. Most likely, there will be an attempt to once again reset US-Russia relations, this time on a new realistic basis of an informal “exchange of interests.” US foreign policy will become even more one-sided, and the traditional bilateral US-Russian nuclear arms control inherited form the Cold War will eventually become a thing of the past. This is not good or bad. From the point of view of Russia’s interests, there are both positive and negative aspects. In any case, it will not be the traditional policy of maintaining US “global leadership” or strengthening the US-led “liberal international order.”

        If Clinton wins, she will enjoy the support of the elite and the establishment of both parties on foreign policy issues for some time. The new administration will build on this to do what the Obama administration has not done or done poorly.

        However, this period will not last long. The deep schism between the elite and society and the rejection of the traditional foreign policy consensus by a large portion of the electorate will only grow deeper. Therefore, Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy will be criticized by society in the form of new populist leaders, and already in the 2020 elections she will be faced with new “trumps.” Popular protest against the status quo will make itself felt with a vengeance. In 2024, the candidate of the “anti-elite” may well win.

        Thus, US foreign policy is entering an era of change – the most significant one since the days of Harry Truman’s administration. The cause of such changes lies in the discrepancy between the US foreign policy consensus reached back then and forged in the 1990s and the current (and, most likely, future) global trends. Maintaining “global leadership” in a multipolar world is impossible, and the “US-led liberal international order” in the traditional American understanding has not taken root.

        It is just a matter of time. If Trump wins, the departure from the current consensus will begin in 2017. If Clinton wins, it will begin a little later. But it is inevitable.

        1. fresno dan

          August 27, 2016 at 10:23 am

          found the link very enlightening

          (Clinton) “When it comes to foreign policy, she has strong ideas about what’s right and what’s wrong, which direction the world should go in and what role the United States should play in it. Given the almost unanimous support of her approach to foreign policy by the foreign policy establishment in both parties, there is no reason to believe that, if elected president, she will suddenly abandon or significantly adjust them. In this context, her tendency to ignore norms and principles when it is politically expedient may result in not only foreign policy pragmatism, but also in a willingness to break international law if it is in the tactical interests of the United States. It’s no accident that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to persuade Barack Obama to use military force in Syria, and to thereby commit an act of aggression.”

        2. VietnamVet

          This is interesting that a Russian observer has stated the obvious. But, this is hidden from Americans by corporate media. Also, The Spectator in the UK pointed out that Donald Trump is funny. Hillary Clinton isn’t. She’ll be laughed off the stage if the debates are ever held.

          Globalization is dead if America is still a democracy. Only the top 10% have benefited from neoliberalism. The elite have no intention of sharing anything with the little people. The one guarantee of all of the neo-conservative’s wars is blowback. Americans will seek safety in their tribal roots. This will not necessarily be a racial divide as pushed by “alt.right” but instead will be cultural; urban-secular, rural-fundamentalist, Hispanic, and rich verses the poor. Unless a Grand Compromise can found to return government to the people, end the wars and spend the money at home, the Partition of the USA will be bloody.

      2. Ignim Brites

        “One possibility is Clinton plunges forward with standard U.S. hegemony agenda in Middle East/Ukraine…”. Highly unlikely. Obama defeated the hegemony agenda in 2008 defeating McCain and then refusing to keep US forces in Iraq. His actions in Libya, Syria, Afghanistan are delaying tactics designed only to limit the domestic political fallout from the expanding influence of Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Ukrainian fiasco has all the appearances of a rogue State Dept operation. Obama moved quickly to acquiesce to Putin’s primacy in the region. Whatever Sec. Clinton’s personal policy preferences, and it is doubtful that she actually has any, political calculation will move her quickly to an America First foreign policy. This will mean pulling out of the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan altogether. Much of the military and foreign policy elite will bray against her but she will have both the Republican Party (quietly) and Democratic Party leadership (vociferously) and rank and file on her side. She will be even compelled to cut defense spending since she will not have a core constituency to support any increase (unlike Trump).

        1. timbers

          Thanks for the reply. Some interesting thoughts you say though I personally think opposite of most everything you say especially the part of Clinton being forced to demilitarize and Obama defeating hegemony agenda. IMO Hillary will gladly repay her pro war base & military weapons donors & we’ll get a bigger & faster push from Hillary towards regime change & wars even faster than we had under Obama even including a war with Russia. Expect her contribution to domestic policy will be to throw ever more money at rich gigantic insurance corporations via Omamacare & stiffen penalties for non enrollment.

          1. Pat

            One of the places where I’m sure that Clinton will not get any help from Congress is on raising the fine for non-compliance, regardless of the wishes of the insurance companies. Oh, I’m sure that is the ACA supporters’ most desired ‘incremental’ change, it is just that the mandate is the biggest no-no about ACA according to the Republicans. It is unacceptable in any form to their base. They are seriously hamstrung where this is concerned. This is one where any vote to expand or raise that mandate higher is a killer for Republicans.

            And yes, I also think while Brzezinski may have seen the light regarding our exceptional adventure at world dominance, he is kidding himself about his former compatriots in this alternate reality, especially Clinton. She is an warmongering jerk who doesn’t give a damn about either reality or consequences because these misadventures she has supported have all worked out for her regardless of the destruction they have caused. She has surrounded herself with people who think the same way. Russia and China will not be allowed to get in her way, delusional as that position may be.

          2. Ignim Brites

            Don’t see. The domestic correlation of forces won’t support any continuation of the hegemony agenda. The fact that important neocons have “moved on” from the Republican party means the the Republican party will move on from the neocon hegemony agenda. And the necons are hardly likely to have an important role in the Democratic party. Neoliberals and Progressives will simply not allow V Nuland to be even nominated as Sec of State. But if she is my analysis is wrong, I will acknowledge that much.

            1. timbers

              “Neoliberals and Progressives will simply not allow V Nuland to be even nominated as Sec of State.” Huh? Neoliberals and progressives are leading the charge for wars & regime changes & demonizing Russia to lay groundwork for war w/Russia. Obama kept Nuland for 8 years. By choice. And Obama has bombed more nations than anyone in human history even more than Adolph Hitler and Clinton is drasticly to the right of Obama in terms of using military force wars and invasions for all occasions. Nuland is not well known and certainly not what the War Party (Democrats) would even blink at if nominated.

              1. Ignim Brites

                Well if NC is any indication, progressives will not support V Nuland. Neoliberals will generally not support interventions unless it appears there is an important humanitarian interest at stake, of which democracy is not one. Therefore, I regard it as highly unlikely that V Nuland will even be nominated for State.

        2. HBE

          Um, ok. Keep fantasizing. Hillary was the prime mover in pushing for the destruction of Libya, as gates said without her impetus it was unlikely obama would have destroyed the country, hillary also pushed strongly for increased us intervention in Syria, which thankfully (according to hersh) was stopped by the Pentagon. Her likely SOS pick Victoria nuland was and is a prime mover in pushing for a direct confrontation with Russia over Ukraine.

          “Highly unlikely. Obama defeated the hegemony agenda in 2008 defeating McCain and then refusing to keep US forces in Iraq.”
          No, he drew down US army forces and replaced them with thousands of private contractors.

          “She will be even compelled to cut defense spending since she will not have a core constituency to support any increase (unlike Trump).”

          By what or whom? I don’t think (further) full blown economic collapse domestically for the 90% will stop her from “nation building”. Her core constituency is the top 10%, neoconservatives, and dem tribalists who are only against war when Republicans do it, so her constituency sure isn’t going to be “constraining” her.

          I actually thought this comment was Sarc on first reading but it clearly is not.

        3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          LOL “defeated the hegemony agenda in 2008” LOL
          Yes I’ve been keen to watch how rapidly Obama has moved to dismantle our 900 military bases in 128 countries. Good thing he hasn’t done any saber-rattling in the Spratlys….or put any new missiles in Poland. Then there’s the cool new trillion dollars for a cool new set of nuclear bombs, I’m so glad that is his urgent spending priority, those tactical nukes will be very useful in Massachusetts when the Canadians try to take Boston.

        4. frosty zoom

          One possibility is Clinton plunges forward with standard U.S. hegemony agenda in Middle East/Ukraine…”.

          •• that would be great! only thousands instead of millions will die..

          Highly unlikely.

          •• yep, she’s got a new, clear agenda.

          Obama defeated the hegemony agenda in 2008

          •• hahahaha!

          defeating McCain and then refusing to keep US forces in Iraq.

          •• uh, they were kicked out.

          His actions in Libya,

          •• death


          •• death


          •• death

          are delaying tactics

          •• karma waits for no one.

          designed only to limit the domestic political fallout from the expanding influence of Iran and Saudi Arabia.

          •• americans could care less about these things.

          The Ukrainian fiasco has all the appearances of a rogue State Dept operation.

          •• rogue?!? ol’ frosty saw it coming for months, if not years.

          Obama moved quickly to acquiesce to Putin’s primacy in the region.

          •• speechless, you’ve left me.

          Whatever Sec. Clinton’s personal policy preferences, and it is doubtful that she actually has any, political calculation will move her quickly to an America First foreign policy.

          •• what?!? you can smell the napalm on her breath.

          This will mean pulling out of the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan altogether.

          •• i’m sorry, but this is nonsense.

          Much of the military and foreign policy elite will bray against her

          •• are you kidding?!? she’s their hero.

          but she will have both the Republican Party (quietly) and Democratic Party leadership (vociferously) and rank and file on her side.

          •• this should be two very different sentences.

          She will be even compelled to cut defense spending

          •• hahaha!

          since she will not have a core constituency to support any increase

          •• but lockheed is her core consituency

          (unlike Trump).

          •• please don’t vote.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Lockheed ” We never forget who we’re working for” Martin. That is their actual effing corporate slogan.

        5. ggm

          ” The Ukrainian fiasco has all the appearances of a rogue State Dept operation.”

          I don’t disagree, but it was engineered by Clinton appointees and political allies at State. Clinton’s personal policy preferences repeatedly lean toward intervention and flexing of military muscle.

        6. optimader

          Obama defeated the hegemony agenda in 2008 defeating McCain and then refusing to keep US forces in Iraq.

          I’m sorry, am I the only one that read this?

          It’s your privilege to have your own opinion, just don’t state them as facts when they are utterly vacuous.

          1. Ignim Brites

            Obama does not want the embarrassment of “losing” the middle east but everything he does is tactically oriented to a domestic political objective. And the objective is to maintain the appearance that the US is still in the hegemony business. Why? Because the neocons were the dominant force in foreign policy in the Republican party and consequently were well positioned to exploit failures by Obama to maintain hegemony. But the neocons have lost their status in the Republican party. Look at Trump’s criticism of the Libya and Syria operations. He doesn’t say that the Obama failed to achieve American objectives. He says Obama (and Clinton) were crazy for getting involved. And that will be the thrust of Republican criticism of any Clinton foreign interventions. And since there is almost no intervention that could conceivably be in the vital security interests of the US, it will always be in Clinton’s domestic political interest to avoid all foreign interventions and to withdraw from existing ones. The only intervention which still seems to have domestic political support is the war against ISIS. But since this too is without any foundation in US national interest, it will be in Republicans domestic interests to undermine any effort by President Clinton to continue this war.

            1. marym

              Obama/Clinton policy has resulted slaughter, destruction, and chaos, whether you call this “defeating the hegemonic agenda,” pretending to be a hegemon to avoid domestic political embarrassment (!), or “humanitarian” neoliberal intervention. However, if Republicans, minus the neocons now endorsing Clinton, are now opposing this agenda (unlike Democrats who have supported and made excuses for it for 8 years), you’ve made a case for voting for Republicans.

              1. Ignim Brites

                Well Republicans are not yet completely opposing the hegemony agenda. Trump continues to believe it is important to defeat ISIS and no Republicans are yet calling for for diplomatic recognition of the caliphate. (It may be, btw, that a caliphate is the normal form of Islamic political organization, so that all opposition to the caliphate is anti-Islamic and Islamophobic.) The point is that insofar as no conceivable US intervention is required for domestic security, all interventions will be footballs subject to the play of partisan calculation. There will always be a large market for partisan opposition to any intervention, existing (Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq) or proposed (Ukraine, Estonia, Iran, etc). It will take something far more devastating than 9/11 to provide opportunity to rally the US to any overt intervention. If Trump wins, Democrats will oppose any continuation of the war against ISIS. If Clinton wins, Republicans will do the same.

  5. Jim Haygood

    The lead article from the Spectator is so unfair to the Right Rev Tony Blair, ridiculing his “giant gold cross, gleaming like a gilded anchor submerged in greying seaweed.”

    Doubtless it is required by his religious order, signifying his position as monsignor of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (which thankfully does not have a weekly television show, as yet).

    However, the author’s parting jibe that “Tony Blair is just another tragedy in trinketdom” does exhibit a flash of literary flair.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Gotta admit, ” a gilded anchor submerged in greying seaweed” is some pretty potent imagery. Lesser men could be expected to be embarrassed.

          1. ilporcupine

            Once, in my younger days, and in a bout of vanity, i dyed my beard for about a month or two. The available products did not work very well on my light reddish-blond coloring.
            Coarse hair takes the coloring unevenly, and gray “roots” show up in just a couple days, even with my slow growing beard. I rapidly tired of making time for this silly ritual. I cant imagine the expense and sheer futility of trying to do your whole chest!

            I made my peace with MY aging. Maybe people like the writer need to do same.

            1. meeps

              < I cant imagine the expense and sheer futility of trying to do your whole chest!

              Lol! To say nothing of enlisting help for a back pelt!

      1. JTMcPhee

        …of course Blair is laughing all the way to the bank, and the golf course, and the private island retreats… Any of us mopes think he gives a sh!t what we think or say? Too bad the vast majority of us mopes tend to be fearful decent people, who forget the import of the first phrase of that playground taunt, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me…”

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Tony’s bank is going to go belly up once it becomes impossible to extend and pretend any longer. And although we just had Hillbillary quash the peaceful Sanders uprising, now with no FDR for the 21st century on the horizon to save the neoliberals from themselves, we are starting to see evidence that some are remembering what sticks and stones are for. How these clowns with their Harvard educations can look at history and yet think that this time it will be different for them is beyond me. Clearly they were in the Ivy League for the credentials and the actual education never took.

  6. allan

    Dec. 30 is the new Nov. 31:

    Hillary Clinton calendars as Secretary of State won’t be released until after election

    Seven months after a federal judge ordered the State Department to begin releasing monthly batches of the detailed daily schedules showing meetings by Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, the government told The Associated Press it won’t finish the job before Election Day.

    The department has so far released about half of the schedules. Its lawyers said in a phone conference with the AP’s lawyers that the department now expects to release the last of the detailed schedules around Dec. 30, weeks before the next president is inaugurated. …

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Attention clinton surrogates: Commence furious spinning immediately. This is an order.

      1. fresno dan

        Katniss Everdeen
        August 27, 2016 at 9:47 am

        So I watch the political show on Bloomberg, “With All Due Respect” and it really is AMAZING…or disgusting, ….or amazingly disgusting, that the pundits are saying that Hillary defenders are correct that the AP article on Clintoon meetings, derived from the state department calendars is “sloppy” because the AP article was missing a substantial portion of the meetings. NOTE: the AP article is based on meetings RECORDED in Hillary’s STATE DEPARTMENT calendar – AP did not “omit” material – it NEVER had the material, that Clintoon continues to try and NOT RELEASE to the public, even though it is a public record that she really has no right to withhold, and is an outrage that the state department is not forthwith releasing.

        Now, I don’t think that was a purposeful omission and misstatement by the pundits to benefit Hillary.
        But if your going to comment on a controversy, what does it say that pundits – – now remember, ALL they do is yammer about Clintoon and Trump – – not be aware that the entire calendar contents the AP story was based upon have not been released before saying that the Clintoon defenders have a point????

        Michael Crichton:
        Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.
        In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”

        1. ilporcupine

          Of course, those who know a subject well, often have it completely wrong(according to the other “expert”).
          Cause and effect, constantly debated (see MMT vs. the world).

        2. JerryDenim

          Gell-Mann amnesia. New term for me. Wow. So true. Happens every time there’s a news story related to my profession. The so-called “experts” trotted out to opine and fill airtime make the most outlandish and laughable statements, but yet I continue reading.

    2. Anne

      It just means they will be Exhibit A in the impeachment proceedings that will get underway as soon as the new Congress is in session and Clinton inaugurated.

      Sometimes I get the feeling that the real impetus for a more Democratic Congress is to ensure Clinton isn’t convicted.

      But just in case, how does everyone feel about President Kaine?

        1. Pat

          You know it is hard to think of two people who make me even less happy at the prospects for this country than Clinton and Trump, but Kaine and Pence manage it. Both are really good choices for the major parties Team Destruction tickets. Sadly I think that no matter who wins the election their hideous VP choices will be President before the first term is out.

          1. Vatch

            Pence and Kaine both support the sovereignty destroying TPP and TTIP. Kaine voted for fast track trade promotion authority in the Senate.

      1. ilporcupine

        I’ll bet there will not be any. Just like the Obama impeachment. Lotsa talk.
        R or D, all pro MIC. They are gonna love Hillbillary.

    3. optimader

      well jeez, Its like the AP wants to treat it as public records!?! WTF
      Actually, i’ll give whomever at AP points for trying

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    Professional basketball player Dwayne Wade’s first cousin was killed Friday afternoon while ” pushing a baby in a stroller in the Parkway Gardens neighborhood after leaving the Dulles School of Excellence at around 3:30 p.m. when two men opened fire at another man, according to ABC-owned station WLS.”

    So far, no comment from Donald Trump, Condescender-in-Chief.

    Should clinton ever make herself available long enough to be asked to comment, she will no doubt point to the existence of something called the “Dulles School of Excellence” during a typical word salad ramble concluding with the credentialed assessment that “shit happens.”

    What say ye, Eugene Robinson?

    1. The Trumpening

      Trump must have read your comment because he just tweeted this:

      Dwyane Wade’s cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!

      For the next two months, basically anything that goes wrong in black communities will be fodder for Trump to use as confirmation of his statements on the sad state of Black America under Democratic Party rule.

      And on the other hand, word on the street is that the Clinton campaign is sending busloads of black actors to Petaluma California to start pre-production on her upcoming “Morning in Black America” ad campaign!

      1. uncle tungsten

        I guess the opening line of the advertising will be

        “Gooooood morning black america, we are here to save you. The police are here to protect you from those nasty VC killers”

        etc etc etc. That will get the vote out. (with apologies to Robin, Mitch, Barry etc)

    2. optimader

      It’s the tragedy of a mother being shot by some asshole that should be significant, not that she was cousin of some basketball player. This is a case study example for the superficiality of MSM.

      It will invariably be a gangbanger who was arrested and released on other weapons related charges shooting at another gangbanger. They are are notoriously bad marksmanship in Chicago because they like to hold their guns sideways…like in the movies.

      In the end, the whos and whys she was shot is unimportant, what is important is that her cousin plays basketball /s

  8. Jim Haygood

    Here’s an article listing 31 residential projects completed, under construction or soon to launch on the west side of the Hudson River, in towns such as Hoboken, Jersey City, Fort Lee, and even dowdy old Bayonne and North Bergen:

    Among the projects are numerous residential towers in the 50 to 80 story range, including a 79-story tower in Jersey City that will be the tallest building in New Jersey.

    Anyone who’s watched real estate cycles will recognize the flavor: late-stage economic expansion; late-stage bull market in stocks; easy money; massive property development in the pipeline predicated on extrapolating the present indefinitely into the future.

    Some of these projects have second and third stage towers extending all the way into the 2020s. One can confidently forecast that some of them will never be built.

    Once I lived in a north Jersey planned residential development launched in — you guessed it — 1929. As the Depression unrolled, the developer tried fruitlessly to move upscale, to the 10-percenters who still had money. The largest, best-appointed houses were built in the summer of 1932. Then it was all over.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Ha ha, yeah. I remember that anecdote about a lady with an ordinary middle-class job, who ended up owning nineteen (19) rental properties in Vegas.

        Nevada, like Cali, is a “single action” state: the creditor can foreclose on the mortgage (the usual choice), or sue on the note, but not both. Not so in the east, where you can’t just “mail in the keys.” They still come after you, in a byzantine judicial process which can last years.

        Don’t know what kind of buyer traffic these north Jersey developments are attracting. But it’s the sheer volume of supply which will swamp the market when demand falters … much as the massive World Trade Center towers opening during the depression recession of 1973-1974 left downtown NYC overbuilt for a decade.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Didn’t the WTC have ongoing problems with occupancy rates? ISTR reading that it was never fully leased.

        2. optimader

          “mail in the keys.”
          “Jingle Mail” as we referred to it during the heady days at Calculated Risk

        3. Synoia

          Non Recourse Once the house is taken, all junior liens are extinguished, and the entity foreclosing is fully satisfied by taking the property.

    1. Uahsenaa

      The more things change…

      And in the 20s it was Florida swamp land. How many housing bubble and crashes do we have to suffer, before anyone puts on their big boy/big girl thinking cap and says, “hey, I think there’s a pattern here!”

      It’s sad how you can read Galbraith’s The Great Crash and just go down the checklist every time this happens.

        1. optimader

          well,its the nature of a real estate developer to, well.. develop real estate. A prudent one uses OPM (File under:Trump)

      1. Jim Haygood

        It’s unlikely ever to change. Crowd psychology consistently swings from excessive optimism to overdone gloom, and back again.

        Nothing compels us as individuals to get caught up in the hive mind, other than social pressure from people who will question our sanity for resisting a bubble or buying a bust.

        Since there’s no convenient way to sell short a property bubble, probably the best stance is to “just say no.”

      2. HBE

        Check out the Great American land Bubble (1932) great book on the American traditions of land and development grift, it formed the foundations of our country.

      3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        This time is different because we’re through the looking glass with central bank policy, the central bank of Japan for example is nationalizing their stock market and already owns most of the REITs. In Europe the ECB will own 100% of all sovereign debt issuance within the next 8 years. So the “Central Bank as Highly-Leveraged Hedge Fund That Materializes Collateral from Thin Air and Can Never Get a Margin Call Era” is just getting going.

  9. ex-PFC Chuck

    re The Guardian piece on educational institutions coercing non-disclosure agreements out of sexual harassment victims, a useful service could be provided by publications put out annual guides that periodically survey and rate these institutions. They must have a standard questionnaire of some sort that they circulate to the institutions’ PR departments to which they could add the following queries:
    1. During the past year, how many non-disclosure agreements were executed between the institution, and/or any entity acting at its direction or on its behalf, and persons who alleged being victims of sexual harassment and/or sexual assault perpetrated by a person or persons affiliated with the university, including but not limited to full-time and part-time employees and full-time or part-time students?
    2. How many non-disclosure agreements as described in #1, above, were executed over the last five years?

    A refusal by an institution to answer these questions is also an answer. If almost none of the institutions provide the data that is itself an answer to an implicitly asked question.

  10. Jim Haygood

    From an article about Apple’s AI “upgrades”:

    If you’re an iPhone user, you’ve come across Apple’s AI, and not just in Siri’s improved acumen in figuring out what you ask of her.

    You see it when the phone identifies a caller who isn’t in your contact list (but did email you recently). Or when you swipe on your screen to get a shortlist of the apps that you are most likely to open next. Or when you get a reminder of an appointment that you never got around to putting into your calendar. Or when a map location pops up for the hotel you’ve reserved, before you type it in. Or when the phone points you to where you parked your car, even though you never asked it to.

    These are all techniques either made possible or greatly enhanced by Apple’s adoption of deep learning and neural nets.

    These behaviors are precisely what I find creepy. They create a tightly-coupled system, whereas I want fully independent nodes, where one action doesn’t lead to or trigger another. It’s the horror of predictive typing, amplified to take over your whole damned life.

    Think like a criminal: this is a spook’s dream technology for monitoring and controlling the human lab rats. And best of all — they pay for it! Ah ha ha ha … we rule!

  11. Steve H.

    – Moscow, on the other hand, warning Erdogan about serious, concrete facts on the ground in the nick of time. And for Erdogan, that was highly personal; the putschists reportedly sent a commando to kill him when he was still in Marmaris. [Violently Ousting Assad Won’t Solve Anything in Syria Defense One (resilc)]

    If there are any serious, concrete facts that disprove NATO complicity in the coup attempt, I have yet to see them. And my priors say it’s just the thing some CIA cowboys would shrug and say, “so it’s only got a 27% chance of working, but what’s his next best alternative – Tehran? *snort*”

    The latest count was 2.7 million Syrian refugees on Turkish soil. Will they be sent east or west? Stay tuned.

  12. crittermom

    RE: EpiPen Villian
    I am so sick of people ‘passing the buck’ when blame takes aim at them.
    Regarding Heather Bresch:

    “…she also sought to shift blame away from Mylan, saying that patients are feeling the pain in part because insurers have increased the amount that customers must pay in recent years.”
    Oh, yeah. Blame it on the insurance companies, when your compensation has increased by ginormous amounts, from $2.5M to almost $19M, right along with the price of the product. (Such salaries are absolutely insane IMO)

    “…she said that the $600 list price was necessary for the company to recoup its investment in the EpiPen, which includes raising awareness for severe allergic reaction and making improvements to the way the product works.” (my emphasis)
    Uhhh…..I’m pretty sure those with allergic reactions who need those pens to survive are already quite aware, so her attempt at saying they’re doing it ‘for the people’ fails, but ‘sounds good’.

    When someone from a TBTJ bank calls you out on it, you know you’re villainous:
    “It’s a real challenge to understand how a management team sits around a board table and makes a decision to raise the price of a lifesaving medication over and over and over, and when the P.R. storm hits, decides to blame someone else for that price increase,” said David Maris, an analyst for Wells Fargo.”

    Something new to me that came to light in this article was the fact she never even earned her business degree, instead receiving it a decade after leaving school:
    “A report by the university later concluded that officials wrongly awarded her the degree because she was the daughter of the then-governor Joe Manchin,…”

    Okay. Stop the world. I wanna throw some people off.

    1. diptherio

      Blame it on the insurance companies, when your compensation has increased by ginormous amounts, from $2.5M to almost $19M, right along with the price of the product. (Such salaries are absolutely insane IMO)

      I never tire of pointing out that the lifetime earnings for your average Chemical Engineer is around…wait for it…$2.5M. In. A. Lifetime. So yeah, insane is putting it mildly. It’s also highly insulting and almost awe-inspiringly narcissistic.

      1. JTMcPhee

        …of course we folks can shake our heads ruefully and add the episode to the immense list of depredations — too bad none of us ordinary people are of a mind to actually DO anything about the many such situations and events and conditions… Maybe voting Green would do it? Letters to the editor? Sternly worded open correspondence to the offender or the general powers that be? How about a nice petition through MoveOn or that thingie? That will get the ball rolling…

        1. inode_buddha

          Can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not. Imho these types will not change since they consider themselves successful. That is why the thing to DO about it is 7.62×51

              1. ilporcupine

                I m really embarrassed, now. I found Inode’s comment cryptic as well.
                And I worked on a header machine for several months MAKING 9mm ammo, including NATO rounds (hundred thousand plus, per shift!).
                Brain just did not make the connection!

            1. Propertius

              As the punchline to the old lawyer joke says, “a good start”.

              I still prefer lampposts, though, pour encourager les autres.

            1. clinical wasteman

              Or for a history of same that also counts as wildly exciting literature: Jules Michelet’s ‘History of the French Revolution’. There are four volumes of it, but for la lanterne you could always skip over most of 1790 and ’91 without missing too much.
              Despite Michelet’s dizzying erudition, this is the kind of writing that doesn’t even pass as history any more in academic departments dominated by that sort of micro-specialist listmakers that Gore Vidal called “scholar squirrels”. The political take is hardly the last word (though still far better than the ‘revisionist’ squirrels): JM was a sort of Romantic pre-socialist who worshipped Danton and Desmoulins in particular. He was terrified by the Commune that best incarnated his beloved Peuple, but unlike so many of his peers he did NOT endorse the murderous Versailles clique. His history of 1789-94 (started in 1871!) can even be read as an extended attack on the ‘standard’ history, written by none other than Versailles killer-in-chief Theirs.
              Anyway, there’s no better writing (and none more readable for non-specialists) than Michelet’s on the lamp post and the Guillotine and all that cried (and still cries) out for them .

              1. clinical wasteman

                Sorry, the bizarre name was a typo. Should have said: “…Versailles killer-in-chief (Adolphe) Thiers“.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Lifetime earnings for minwage assume 31 hrs/wk x 52 wks a year x 50 yrs = $644,000 x 2 jobs = about $1.2 million. Nice work if you can get it and if the assumptions hold…

        1. Vatch

          if the assumptions hold…

          No kidding. There will be many times when the person can’t find a second job. There may also be times when the person doesn’t have the first job, either. And even while fully employed, who’s paying for the person’s health insurance?

    2. Propertius

      Such salaries are absolutely insane IMO

      If she had personally developed the EpiPen, and thereby saved countless lives, I’d be perfectly happy to give her $19million/year for life. I’d say she deserved it.

      But, of course, she didn’t and she doesn’t. Sheldon Kaplan did back in the mid-1970s. I’m sure he never made $19 million in his entire career, but he was obviously too stupid to pick a Senator for a father. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was laid off during one of the series of corporate acquisitions which eventually led to his technology being owned by Mylan. He died in relative obscurity in St. Petersburg, FL in 2009 at the age of 70:

      I hope he at least had a defined-benefit pension plan.

      Hersch, on the other hand, is a B-school dropout who only got a job as a lobbyist because her politician father called in a favor. She’s spent her entire career doing everything in her power to make access to lifesaving medicines more difficult and expensive for people to get.

    3. cnchal

      . . . “It’s a real challenge to understand how a management team sits around a board table and makes a decision to raise the price of a lifesaving medication over and over and over, and when the P.R. storm hits, decides to blame someone else for that price increase,” said David Maris, an analyst for Wells Fargo.”

      The real challenge is to explain why, in the face of these staggering profit margins, no other competitor emerged to supply epinephrine autoinjectors.

      One dollar worth of medication costs $600 when delivered by an EpiPen. Clearly a ‘market’ failure and these prices have nothing to do with production costs.

      The useless eaters remain silent, when the vaunted ‘free market’ goes haywire with an outcome like this. They just can’t use the words ‘criminally corrupt’ and expect to eat the next day.

  13. Philnc

    One thing almost never mentioned in stories about sexual harrassment is that it is not an exclusively civil matter between private parties. It can be a crime. The thing about criminal offenses is that technically they can’t be settled by private parties because they are offenses against the state. What is really needed are a cohort of special prosecutors to go in and toss the administrative offices at a few major institutions and then frog march the official enablers to trial as accessories or co-conspirators. That should result in the necessary attitude adjustment required, assuming juries remember that the victims in each case could have been their kids.

  14. McWatt

    That statement is the only good thing to come out of the University of Chicago in the past 40 years.

    1. DJG

      McWatt / nycTerrierist:

      As a Maroon, I’m skeptical. And I have been posting the question: Does this mean that the UofChicago [™] will now shut down the Becker Friedman Institute (in the former seminary), which is just one more place / department on campus that has been a “safe space” for free-market fundamentialism?

      Also, any school so thoroughly infested with Law & Economics isn’t exactly open to a broad range of views.

      I note that the message is directed to incoming first-year students. Most students at UofChicago[™] are grad students. Any message going out to them?

      1. ilporcupine

        I am not disputing you, I am genuinely curious. Is it really the case that UChigago has more grad than undergrad students? I know little to nothing about academic institutions, I had assumed that all universities operated counter to this. Is this special case?

        1. Vatch

          Some web searching suggests that the U of C has about 5500 undergraduates, and about 9500 graduate students.

    2. Uahsenaa

      U of C is not exactly known among academics as a bastion of free-thinking and diverse views. And it’s worth noting that part of this is backlash against student protestors calling out some genuinely shady dealings the University has been involved in over the years, for the stance the administration has taken here is not just about the excesses of “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces,” which, I have to admit, can be problematic because poorly understood by students and faculty alike, but also about shutting down student protests against the administration and creating an atmosphere wherein the corporate-friendly ethos that rules there doesn’t have to ever feel threatened by the plebs.

      It’s easy to paper over this latter fact when videos of hysterical young people incapable of listening respectfully without throwing a temper tantrum the moment their feelings are hurt go viral, but moves like this stifle real, thoughtful dissent and simply perpetuate the old way of doing things in which the professor is master of his/her domain, the classroom. As someone who teaches rhetoric and composition, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt, that students develop far better critical thinking skills when they are allowed to indulge what many might see as histrionic and meet the resistance of someone else’s views. This includes professors: we are better and have to be more thoughtful when the way we always do things gets challenged.

      If I had to choose between what UofC has done and the hysteria, I would choose the hysteria, and that’s speaking as someone whose job it is to teach students to communicate in precisely the manner the U claims to espouse.

  15. Watt4Bob


    Eurasia is the globe’s largest continent and is geopolitically axial. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions.


    Harnessing Asia’s growth and dynamism is central to American economic and strategic interests and a key priority for President Obama.


    One could be forgiven for asking whether the majority of the world’s populations care to be harnessed, and dominated?

    Or why the American people, who bristle at ‘government control’ and whose favorite complaint is having policy ‘rammed down our throats’, don’t understand that the rest of the world is tired of being ‘harnessed‘ and ‘dominated’?

    While it’s encouraging that Zbigniew Brzezinski has recovered his senses, the irony is, that the full-court-press he set in motion has so much momentum, and the constant chanting of ‘USA, USA, USA’ has grown so loud, that it is doubtful that there is much chance that the rest of the country will follow his advice.

    I’m not so sure the people of Eurasia are celebrating ZB’s epiphany, seeing as how they’re currently living inside his psychotic nightmare, and watching his idiot proteges arguing over who can promise the most hateful cruelty in the future.

  16. diptherio

    The cross-posted Burkini-ban article in the New Statesman leaves out an important paragraph from the original article. Here’s how the original kicks off:

    Images of armed police confronting a woman in Nice, apparently forcing her to remove some of her clothing, have added fuel to the already combustible debate over the prohibition against women wearing burkinis on many beaches around France.

    Is it just me, or is the French gov’t (at all levels) just dead set on proving to French Muslims that they are hated and unwanted? Who needs the far right, eh? The mainstream seems to be pretty good at bigotry all on it’s own…

    I wonder is a wet-suit with a bathing cap would be allowed on a French beach, or if that would be upsetting to their frail sense of themselves as well?

    1. makedoanmend

      A frog suit (“wet-suit”)…?

      OK, I’ll get my coat and go…

      but, yeah, the new French fashion police make the old stasi seem quite quaint these days…

      1. diptherio

        A lot of people wear what-we-call wet-suits around here in the Mountain West, when engaging in water sports. Those lakes are cold, but water skiing is fun, so you cover up. Wouldn’t fly in France, though, I take it.

    2. DJG

      diptherio: Someone posted this in FB, which I then cross-posted. From a man named John Seed:

      “The burkini controversies in France brought back a funny memory for me. When I lived and taught in Paris one summer I got a membership at a local pool. When I showed up in my California-style board shorts the lifeguard hauled me right out of the pool and gave me a lecture. So, the next day I came back to the pool in my ridiculous tiny bathing suit from Monoprix and the guy congratulated me and let me swim. I guess my point is that the French take their bathing suits very seriously.”

      We are deep into French ideas of body image and of etiquette. I’m not sure where, exactly, but then I am reminded that there are French married couples who use the formal “vous” with one another. Not many, but they exist.

        1. ekstase

          This is a nice video covering the beach incident pretty well:

          Nice but infuriating. The police stand on the beach with pepper spray, waiting for women to come out of the sea.

          In the video that ran on tv of the woman who was forced to remove her burkini, somehow it seemed so shaming that she was sitting there on the beach with her arms exposed. Some things are just wrong and you can feel they’re wrong. They’re not my values but they’re somebody else’s values. Why are some people so threatened by that?

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I remember staying at a high-end French-owned resort in Turkey, at the poolside were topless female French tourists lounging immediately alongside Saudi tourist women in full black burkinis.
            A pic worthy of the cover of a Sam Huntington book.

          2. Plenue

            I have no idea what the French think they’re doing, but every day this stupid thing continues they do that much more damage to their public image.

            I will say though that the ones who want the burkini are operating under flawed logic. If the goal is to preserve a woman’s modesty and make her less alluring, as a straight male I can assure you that it’s not working. The only way to make a reasonably fit female form not attractive is to put it in a bag (which is what the most extreme version of a burha basically is). A burkini isn’t going to stop men from looking, and in fact there are plenty of people out there who will look more because they have a fetish for form fitting body-glove type outfits.

            1. ekstase

              I think there is another level to modesty. It’s not possible to control others’ behavior, and these women know that. What it is, I think, is a sense of how you are relating to God. In other words, it isn’t just about what men think of you. It’s about what you think of you. And that’s the part they’re trying to strip away from these women, and that’s the part that is wrong.

              1. Plenue

                Are you sure it’s not just ‘your body is shameful and only your husband should be able to see it’ type of thinking?

                1. optimader

                  Why would god (take your choice) create a body that should be considered shameful? The notion seems prima facie odd doesn’t it?

                  Personally I think it’s all about human manipulation and subjugation.

    3. coboarts

      I think that relaxing on the beach with long sleeves and long pants is perfectly normal. However, why should Europe be expected to host or even tolerate another culture. Remember Nassim Taleb’s recently linked article about how the most intolerant ultimately set the norm for all. Unlike the United States, European countries have identities with long cultural histories and modern traditions evolving from those histories. Sputtering on about how the west owes the world for the bad deeds that we’ve done and do ignores the fact that bad deeds are done by every people and every culture when in their historic moment. The more forcefully and the longer that western cultures dominate in their home lands, the better for those that share those historic roots. Don’t be surprised when you find out that the guys over the ridge don’t have the same concern for the ways and rights of others that you like to profess from the comforts of your current political, economic and military position of privilege.

      1. optimader

        I wonder how a thong bikini would be tolerated in S Arabia?
        Im a big advocate for enjoying your ethnicity but embracing and melding into the culture/society one lives in. So what’s the point to living in a place that has deep cultural /social practices that are an affront to ones religious sensibilities?

        I know that on the flipside I would be miserable living in a theocratic state, no less one so backward that it takes issue with me drinking whatever adult beverage I choose!

        Don’t like the way the french choose to imperfectly run france? then move to (or visit) a place that better accommodates your lifestyle and organizing principles!

  17. Felix_47

    Fleming chose not to patent his discovery of penicillin, stating, “I did not invent penicillin. Nature did that. I only discovered it by accident.” Fleming’s goal was to develop a cheap and effective drug that would be available to all the world.

    The only solution is to put all doctors on salary and nationalize the drug companies. The government already funds the Lions share of research. And did the readers check out those pumps Mrs. Breach was sporting in the NYT picture? I wonder who made them?

      1. Bob

        “to put all doctors on salary ”

        This will have several immediate consequences:
        A bunch of older physicians will retire;
        Remaining physicians will begin to see only the minimally required number of patients per day;
        They will reduce hours to 40 hrs/week;
        No more night calls or weekends.

        Overall the physician shortage will be worsened and access to care decreased.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Two obvious questions:

          1. Are there any other countries that have all doctors on salary?

          2. How do these countries compare to the US in terms of costs and outcomes?

          From a reform standpoint, the beauty of the US system is there is almost nothing you could do that would make it worse in objective terms compared to other systems.

          1. optimader

            A friend in the UK takes his knee joint replacement seriously enough to have it done here in the States.
            Frankly, I would enjoy seeing the % of the cost of “healthcare” that accrues to the caregivers –MDs, RNs and various other professionals. I’m just guessing here, but I would be surprised if that is where the flagrant parasitic load exists that differentiates the extraordinary cost of US healthcare

        2. JTMcPhee

          Got news for you, bob, but a whole lot of doctors in the US are already “on Salary.” Wage slaves to various corporate masters. Many are leaving the practice. Because they are expected to see a patient every 8 minutes or so, and load up on procedures and tests. And make sure to bill, bill, bill, and prescribe, and put down any old thing,too often, in your very own personal flogging EMR.

          Oh, and VA doctors are on salary, but not under the commercial libertarian neoliberal pressure so they tend to stay on the job.

          So, do you know Jack, bob?

      2. Kurt Sperry

        Even if costs weren’t a consideration, having all drug development exclusively done by public institutions and having no–yes I said *no*–IP rights attached to therapeutic drugs would be the only morally correct way to proceed. Anything else is a massive hairball of perverse incentives guaranteed to result in hostage taking and blackmail.

    1. Light a Candle

      Absolutely nationalize the drug companies and start immediately with the Epi-Pen company. I’m sure you could get a competent administrator for $125,000.

      $19 million annual compensation to Mrs. Breach? $600 for Epi-Pens that may cost $5?

      Mrs. Breach is a sociopath. And the company’s actions should be criminal with life sentences for the management team.

  18. annie

    nyt: “more than one-third of Italy’s richest families inherited their wealth compared to just 29% in the U.S.”

    1. ilporcupine

      Staggering, the difference, eh?
      I am sure that we can erase the “dynasty gap” with one more generation!
      Maybe we will see the Forbes Trillionaire list, soon!

  19. fresno dan

    The DNDi is an unlikely success story in the expensive, challenging field of drug development. In just over a decade, the group has earned approval for six treatments, tackling sleeping sickness, malaria, Chagas’ disease and a form of leishmaniasis called kala-azar. And it has put another 26 drugs into development. It has done this with US$290 million — about one-quarter of what a typical pharmaceutical company would spend to develop just one drug. The model for its success is the product development partnership (PDP), a style of non-profit organization that became popular in the early 2000s. PDPs keep costs down through collaboration — with universities, governments and the pharmaceutical industry. And because the diseases they target typically affect the world’s poorest people, and so are neglected by for-profit companies, the DNDi and groups like it face little competitive pressure. They also have lower hurdles to prove that their drugs vastly improve lives.

    Now, policymakers are beginning to wonder whether their methods might work more broadly. “For a long time, people thought about R&D as so complicated that it could only be done by the biggest for-profit firms in the world,” says Suerie Moon, a global-health researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who studied PDPs and joined the DNDi’s board of directors in 2011. “I think we are at a point today where we can begin to take lessons from their experience and begin to apply to them non-neglected disease,” she says.


    “The model for its success is the product development partnership (PDP), a style of non-profit organization that became popular in the early 2000s. PDPs keep costs down through collaboration — with universities, governments and the pharmaceutical industry.”
    And when you don’t have to keep everything you do top secret, and can build on what others have done….. AND the idea that dare not speak its name – maybe patents hinder drug development instead of nurturing it….but than you can’t fit the square peg of profit into the round hole of need…

    1. Jen

      I worked with two researchers who patiently shepherded an MS treatment from discovering an antibody with potential, to developing the drug with a smaller drug company, through phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials. They were funded to do a phase 3 trial, which took longer to start than it should have due to hideous negotiations with a federally funded entity that was paying for part of the study. NINDS funded the other half. Finally got clearance to start the trial after almost a year. One month in, someone in another trial, involving a completely unrelated use of the same antibody has an adverse event. The trial stops for months while the other study is reviewed. During that time a larger drug company buys out the smaller one, and wouldn’t you know, they had recently brought a new MS treatment to market. They refused to honor the contract that the smaller company signed with NINDS, agreeing to supply the drug. And NINDS refused to enforce the contract. So the trial ended, before it ever really got off the ground. Just one stellar example of how patents “spur” innovation.

  20. Jake Mudrosti

    “Far from conspiring with the convicted Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, Milosevic actually “condemned ethnic cleansing,” opposed Karadzic and tried to stop the war that dismembered Yugoslavia.”…”Milosevic was the victim of war propaganda”

    The linked article represents the third NC link, in a small number of days, which strives to rehabilitate Milosevic’s name through history denial.

    As said in some of my earlier comments:
    1) Great harm occurs when cherished narratives operate as a substitute for actual regional knowledge,

    2) People who have been seeking to rehabilitate Milosevic’s name for the past two decades operate exactly like science deniers: their own views are subjected to exactly zero scrutiny, while they sit as self-appointed judges of contrary evidence and declare it all to be deficient.

    An example of point 2 can be seen a short number of days ago in NC comments, when a callous commenter huffed to “inform” me that the city of Vukovar is in Croatia, despite the actual amount of time I spent discussing issues of Vukovar’s internally displaced people — in central Zagreb’s Klub Vukovaraca, in the summer of ’94. We have a perfect self-contained example of the denial dynamic in action, right here in NC comments.

    When I said that the commenter was discussing the geography of my friends’ and family’s death and destruction, there was only a callous reply huffing and puffing about my lack of proof. As mentioned in my earlier comments, it should be very disconcerting to see huffy, callous history deniers finding “support” in the NC links.

    In addition to points 1 and 2, I repeatedly made point 3: NC has many useful links on many topics, and is a useful resource. But that doesn’t offset the terrible links to history-denying articles regarding Milosevic. (To fend off unproductive replies from commenters, consider those who huff at critics of the Clinton Global Initiative by citing “all the good that it does.”)

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Did your previous replies to the posted link refute the facts related to what you characterize as efforts to rehabilitate Milosevic’s name? I confess I didn’t read your previous comments although I did read the link. I rather doubt many at Naked Capitalism care one way or the other about rehabilitating Milosevic’s name. I am curious if you differ from the linked post — more because it might affect my assessment of john Pilger. Whether Milosevic was a devil or a saint seems important but of much less concern than the assertion in “Bogus Humanitarian War” that a pattern of lies drove U.S. involvement in a series of pointless, costly and destructive wars and that the U.S. press and “experts” aided and abetted in promoting the lies.

      Also as I read your comment and re-scan the Pilger piece I see a problem with your upset about Milosevic: A series of allegations were made against Milosevic as impetus for the U.S. entering the war in the former Yugoslavia and later formed a basis for prosecution brought against Milosevic in the international tribunal. As I read the link no evidence could be found to support the specific allegations and charges made against Milosevic at the Hague. I read the “exoneration” of Milosevic more specifically as the exoneration of Milosevic with respect to those specific allegations and charges made against Milosevic at the Hague. Milosevic is not exonerated of all the evil he may have done — only the specific evil he was charged with. Do you have evidence or testimony which bears upon the specific charges brought and if so why were you unable to make it known to the prosecutor at the Hague? Are you aware of charges which should have been made against Milosevic in addition to those made at the Hague and do you have evidence?

      The reason I didn’t read your other comments before is that Milosevic is dead. I strongly doubt he was a saint. I know little specific about him but can believe many of the charges brought against him at the Hague were either false and/or unsupported. I can also believe he might be quite guilty of other possibly worse crimes which weren’t brought to light at the Hague. I’ll repeat that I strongly doubt many readers of Naked Capitalism feel strongly about Milosevic’s good or bad name and I believe they do feel strongly about U.S. involvement in stupid wars and also feel the importance of any concerns about John Pilger’s credibility.

      1. Jake Mudrosti

        My comments were mainly directed at Yves, Lambert, or any NC caretakers.

        Although you personally doubt that many readers care about rehabilitating Milosevic’s name, that doesn’t well explain why three Milosevic-rehabilitating links were posted at NC within a span of days. Hence my comments calling attention to this pattern.

        I already mentioned a multi-award-winning documentary (“Freedom From Despair”) that does a good job of highlighting roles played by the Milosevic-leaning duo of James Baker and Lawrence Eagleburger, in what amounted to a green-lighting of the Yugoslav conflict. The Bush I policy from 1991 onward amounted to pressure for a Serbian (Milosevic) victory — complete with an enforced arms embargo on the regions subjected to Serbian shelling and sieges — and in fact up until the American pilot Scott O’Grady’s downing in June 1995, many military experts were still publishing articles describing Serbs as historical American allies. Many of your observations about the region and its recent history are, quite starkly, as mythical as the poem of Paul Revere.

        But more to the point, as Chomsky has often said, there’s no way to address issues with concision when the problem is rooted in a flawed narrative. That relates to your comment about pointless, costly, destructive wars. In this lies the most insidious harm: as I mentioned in earlier NC comments, the linked articles mention a pattern of destructive US policy, but then encourage readers to apply these principles in a perverse way and historically incorrect way that amounts to the rehabilitation of a war criminal’s name. This is something I’d call a key problem — a five alarm problem — although you don’t see it that way.

  21. Ivy

    O/T, but timely given the back-to-school annual migrations underway now.
    Read about your school financing, hat-tip Priceonomics.

    If CalPERS and CalSTRS are in the cross-hairs of public opinion (many thanks to NC!), it won’t be long before school and other municipal finance schemes around the country get a turn. One particularly egregious aspect of the system is the so-called Capital Appreciation Bonds. Read about Poway, California’s experience, soon coming to a district near you.

  22. fresno dan

    White House press secretary Josh Earnest was asked Wednesday whether Obama had any “regret” over signing the bill. And while he dismissed any notion of remorse, as well as the suggestion of a correlation between the Manchin family and the bill’s passage, Earnest acknowledged concern over the EpiPen’s price explosion.

    “I’m NOT GOING TO SECOND-GUESS THE SPECIFIC PRICING DECISIONS OF COMPANIES. They’ll obviously have to make those kinds of decisions on their own,” he said.
    The “specific” (funny – what is the point of the word specific in that sentence???) pricing decisions – that is the PROBLEM you mush mouthed weasel. There is nothing involved with regard to the price of the active ingredient or the design that justifies continually raising the price, other than the fact that the company CAN. The market doesn’t work in this SPECIFIC instance (as well as in many others) – so what, other than letting poor people die or go into penury to avoid dying , is the administration SPECIFICALLY going to do?????

    Harvard Medical School researchers Arnold Kesselheim, Jerry Avorn, and Arneet Sarpatwarni say that prescription drugs are priced in the U.S. “primarily on the basis of what the market will bear.” Writing in a Journal of the American Medical Association Special Communication (subscription required), the three say that the much higher cost for drugs in the U.S. compared to other countries relates primarily to grants of market exclusivity built into the regulatory system.
    The study examined peer-reviewed medical health and policy literature from 1/2005 to 7/2016 for articles addressing the sources of drug prices in the U.S., the justifications and consequences of high prices, and possible solutions. The researchers found that per capita prescription drug spending in the U.S. exceeds that in all other countries. In 2013, per capita spending on prescription drugs in the U.S. was $858, compared with an average of $400 for 19 other industrialized nations. They say that prescription drug prices have increased in recent years at rates far exceeding the consumer price index.
    “The most important factor that allows manufacturers to set high drug prices is market exclusivity,” the report says, “protected by monopoly rights awarded upon FDA approval and by patents. The availability of generic drugs after the exclusivity period is the main means of reducing prices in the U.S., but access to them may be delayed by numerous business and legal strategies. The primary counterweight against excessive pricing during market exclusivity is the negotiating power of the payer, which is currently constrained by several factors, including the requirement that most government drug payment plans cover nearly all products. Another key contributor to drug spending is physician prescribing choices when comparable alternatives are available at different costs.”
    The researchers shoot down the widely-held notion that there is a correlation between high drug prices and research and development costs for new drugs, saying there is “no evidence of an association between research and development costs and prices.” They cite several reasons for their conclusion, including the fact that much research is conducted in government and academic settings and that the biopharmaceutical industry has been financially strong in the U.S. for many years.
    In the article’s conclusion, the authors say that high drug prices are the result of the increasing cost and complexity of drug development but also arise in large part from the approach the U.S. has taken to the granting of government protected monopolies to drug manufacturers, combined with restriction of price negotiation at a level not observed in other industrialized nations.
    “Opportunities to address these problems,” they say, “include paying greater attention to potentially unjustified granting and extension of patent exclusivity, enhancing competition by ensuring timely generic availability, providing greater opportunities for price negotiation by government payers, generating more evidence about comparative cost-effectiveness of therapeutic alternatives, and actively educating physicians and patients about such choices to promote more value-based decision making. There is little evidence that such policies would hamper innovation, and they could even drive the development of more valuable new therapies rather than rewarding the persistence of older ones. Medications are the most common health care intervention and can have a major benefit on the health of individuals, as well as of populations, but unnecessarily high prices limit the ability of patients and healthcare systems to benefit fully from these vital products.”

  23. DJG

    Men, jewellery, and Tony Blair as fashion forward. Funny article. Here in Chicago, the issue isn’t men wearing too much jewelry. Most men wear a ring, a bracelet, a watch. Maybe.

    The issue is how men in the U.S., or maybe just the Midwest, dress to accommodate how overweight they are. The low-riding belt, with the belly hanging over it. I see that across all ages. (And I’m tempted to ask, “When is the baby due?”)

    Then you have the mismatched clothes, with wrinkles accompanied by bed-head hair (worse than a manbun)—the whole culture of looking un-bathed.

    And those flat-front pants with the zippers that pop forward, the new codpieces for the new baroque.

    No wonder photos from the forties and fifties of Gary Cooper are so eye popping. And he pulled it off with la disinvoltura. Ironically, it isn’t clear that men tried so hard back then when they chose their clothes. Now, most men look rather pitiable, even if they don’t deserve the pity.

    1. ilporcupine

      “The low-riding belt, with the belly hanging over it. I see that across all ages. ”
      As opposed to what? Fred Murtz?
      Flat front pants?
      I had a teacher in high school, wore his pleated pants pulled up under his man-boobs, he was a product of the forties and fifties, also.
      Gary Cooper was provided clothing, and tailoring free of charge, by the companies who made it, as product placement. Also probably in his contract to maintain his weight, seems to have been common practice in the kingdom of make-believe. You can bet it was a very carefully crafted image.
      My Dad wore pleated front pants. Thought it hid his paunch. He was wrong, it just looked like his pants had added on a room…

  24. abynormal

    When I was about to die

    my body lit up
    like when I leave my house
    without my wallet.

    What am I missing? I ask
    patting my chest

    and I am missing everything living
    that won’t come with me
    into this sunny afternoon
    —my body lights up for life

    like all the wishes being granted in a fountain
    at the same instant—
    all the coins burning the fountain dry—
    and I give my breath
    to a small bird-shaped pipe.

    In the distance, behind several voices
    haggling, I hear a sound like heads
    clicking together. Like a game of pool,
    played with people by machines.

    “Fiercely talented poet Max Ritvo has died at the age of 25 from the cancer he chronicled in his work and was first diagnosed with when he was 16. Ritvo, who had Ewing’s sarcoma, a deadly form of bone cancer, went to Yale during the years he was in remission but it returned in his senior year, the New York Daily News reports. He still managed to finish his degree in 2013 and last year, he earned a master’s from Columbia University. Ritvo married Victoria Jackson-Hanen, an English woman he first met during a summer program at Cambridge University in 2005, last year. His debut collection of poetry, Four Reincarnations, will be published later this year.

    In a podcast interview earlier this month, Ritvo—who counseled other families affected by Ewing’s sarcoma—told Dr. Drew Pinsky he was moving “away from sort of ebullient death poetry and fighting poetry and poetry of, sort of, the bloods and the squirmies and the guts, and more toward trying to figure out what death is, and what my place in the world is.” “He said the day he stopped writing, that would be the end of it,” his wife tells the New York Times.”He was writing three days before he died.” His mother says that at his wedding last year, the couple banned words like “inspirational.” “He was about love and compassion, human and animal rights, and about writing and sharing himself with the world,” she tells the AP. “He didn’t want people to see him as an invalid.””

  25. Harry

    An epi pen costs 45 gbp in the uk.

    I guess one of the privileges of being American..

    Can we cut out the euphemisms and file this under theft?

  26. Redwall Abbey

    My thin active husband has Type 2 diabetes. He is a not an out of shape couch potato and is proactive about his health but genes will out as both parents and both sets of grandparents developed diabetes at a relatively young age( late forties)
    There are numerous health conditions that are life threatening and expensive that need vital medications and or equipment that are not making news like this latest epipen ransom and two of those are Type 1 and 2 diabetes.
    The price of my spouse’s daily test strips has gone up in price a hair over 6 fold in the last 4 years from raised prices by the manufacturers and that is with our excellent insurance through his employer. Luckily we can pay it with little worry. How many can’t and thus will not test eventually leading to the horrific effects of uncontrolled diabetes?
    Setting aside the personal and familial cost imagine what that is going to add to our health care systems.
    I agree with the poster above – doctors on salary, and totally nationalized pharma. Let’s fund the NIH research labs more completely as well.
    I would add well trained PAs and actual old fashioned nurses to help with the care as well…

  27. Pat

    Interesting quote from the Megyn Kelly Assange interview. First off the big thing in the news aggregates is that he doesn’t have any planned revelations for Donald Trump. Funnily enough he essentially says in the interview that if they got something it would be released that their goal is for the public to know the truth about the candidates, but that so far Trump is his own worst enemy.
    Anyway this is from The Week’s report on the interview including his statement on Clinton, the DNC and the media pounding the Russian State hackers hacked our system:

    If that sounds like WikiLeaks is trying to help Trump, remember, Assange says he isn’t taking sides. And he doesn’t want you to blame Russian hackers for the Democratic National Committee leaks or other Democratic Party cyber-infiltration, as the U.S. intelligence community does. “The allegations by the Clinton campaign that everyone is a Russian agent are really disturbing,” Assange said. “Why is that? Well, bizarrely, Hillary Clinton, the Democrat, has become, has positioned herself now, as being the security candidate. She’s palled up with the neocons responsible for the Iraq War and she’s grabbed on to this sort of neo-McCarthyist hysteria about Russia, and is using that to demonize the Trump campaign.”

    I do think he misses the point of her also lining up public support for confrontations with Russia, including military ones, but still good it is said.

  28. Pat

    I have been avoiding the comment section of the NY Times since the Brock crew took over. But I highly recommend the reader selected comments on the Bresch ‘apologize, why should I have to apologize or go to prison’ article. And not just for the continued theme that healthcare should be a right not a vehicle for obscene profits that run through so many of them.

  29. John Wright


    There is a quote from a 2010 HRC speech that indicates she may be more aware of unfavorable, for the USA, changes in the world than I believed.

    Some may suggest she was simply reading words written by someone else, but here is what she said:

    “Open markets in Asia provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment, trade, and access to cutting-edge technology.”

    While one can frequently hear concern about Asia getting “cutting age technology” from the USA,, Clinton is stating that the USA wants to do the reverse.

    Yet another problem with outsourcing manufacturing and the supply chain to Asia, the USA is finding Asia is developing technology the USA needs to have access to.

    Maybe this helps explain why Obama will attempt to pass the TPP, perhaps to lock in economic rents for USA corporations as the future USA develops less cutting-edge technology it can monetize.

    But the rent receiving corporations may not be USA favoring in their spending of the funds received, furthering the decline of the USA economic base.

    One can almost hear future President HRC complaining to former Pres Bill Clinton that he enjoyed a better time to be president as she flails about implementing her world vision.

  30. Ulysses

    Important questions raised in Maine by an ACLU representative:

    “According to the governor, Maine police are nine times more likely to arrest people of color for selling drugs than white people, even though we know white people are just as likely to commit drug offenses,” Alison Beyea, the group’s executive director, said in a statement. “This alarming disparity in arrests raises significant concerns that Maine law enforcement is participating in unconstitutional racial profiling. … We look forward to examining the governor’s records so we can get to the bottom of this and hold our elected officials accountable to the Constitution and the rule of law.”

    Zachary L. Heiden, legal director of the ACLU for Maine and the person who filed the request, said Friday he had not heard back yet from LePage’s office, which had five days to acknowledge receiving it.”

  31. Ray Phenicie

    Interesting article: How the super-rich are making their homes ‘invisible’ especially after looking the house up on Zillow (you may need to log in to see all the finanicals) which shows the property to be trending towards the proverbial White Elephant status. The pictures confirm that in my opinion with faux grottoes and a pool that sprawls across the property. But in 2004 the tax evaluation was at $1,849,391 and in 2015 $3,770,000. Hmmm.

    Value of property more than doubles in eleven years?

    I don’t think anyone wants the property at the current price, as it has been on the market since 01/08/10 when it was listed for sale @ $3,299,000. This listing has been removed two times since then and the price is going downward.
    At the current listing of $6,895,000 (since early June 2016), and that’s after a 5% cut, it seems to be stagnant property. I’m guessing a buyer could snap it up for around $6.2 Million or even less.

    Going once, Going twice

  32. Oregoncharles

    Uh-oh: Larry Cohen, from Democracy Now interview about Our Revolution:
    ” Well, you know, I’m not going to get into a legal wrangle with Claire. I think the key is that all of us on this board believe that we will mobilize millions…” the question was why make the org. a 501-c4, and he DODGED it, then devolved into boilerplate. This is the guy who’s going to be heading the board – and because it’s a c4, Bernie himself won’t be involved.

  33. Emma

    Some “huuuuuge” news yesterday showing the wonders of positive collaboration and cooperation. In this case, it was between two “grands fromages”!
    President Obama just increased the size of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine Park, designated a National Monument by President George W Bush (with the help of “le froggy coaching” of Monsieur Cousteau!):
    Now all we need is to elect Jill Stein of the US Green Party the next POTUS and the White House will be the Green House in next to no time!!

  34. petal

    Sanders to campaign for HRC in Manchester, NH Sept 5th. It’s funny because Hassan never supported him and went straight into HRC’s camp.

    “Along with praising Clinton, he is expected to endorse Governor Maggie Hassan in her run for US Senate against incumbent New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte.”

    1. Archie

      WTF? Nothing is funny about what is going on in Democrat world ca. 2016. The Dems seemingly are making Bernie eat a lot of triple decker shit sandwiches, so one can only wonder why he is so willing to ask for second helpings. The incongruity between what he said for nearly a year about the Democrat party, and his now apparent exuberance in support of them is mind boggling, to say the least. Does integrity mean anything to anyone who holds any political office?

      1. Lambert Strether

        “Apparent exuberance.” Dear Lord. Last I checked, he not only hasn’t hit the campaign trail, he launched an organization that’s funding candidates the Democrat establishment hasn’t support.

        Honestly, the Bernie hate gets just a little old.

        1. Archie

          Not hating on Bernie, just calling it as I see it. The link above is about “campaigning for HRC” and also endorsing a candidate for governor that did not support his primary challenge. To me there is a significant element of exuberance in that, especially when you consider everything that was said by Bernie throughout the primary and by his team leading up to the DNC. And then there were the days of the convention and Bernie’s discordant message therein.

          I got another “Our Revolution” email today asking me to sign another petition about TPP and after a few more paragraphs, I was once again asked to contribute to, wait for it, ACT BLUE!!!!! I have been on Bernie’s mailing list for years. I know what ACT Blue is. I have never, not one time, seen him refer to ACT Blue previously. What’s the new attraction?

          Lambert, you and I should just agree to disagree about what his “organization” is about and whether or not it can make the difference that most of us desire. Neither one of us knows whether our personal assessments are more valid than the other. I don’t comment here all that often and I’m really not a “James Levy” type who wants to debate everything. Moreover, I live in ET time zone and I am not someone who stays up all night (although tonight is going way beyond my norms). I agree with a lot of your insights and disagree, or least trivialize, others that you hold. In any case, I still come back to read more and throw out my 2 cents worth now and then. If you would rather I didn’t, just say so.

          1. aab

            I think “exuberant” is going too far. He barely mentioned her in the OR speech, apparently. You can agree or disagree about whether or not he’s under duress, and whether or not it would be better to abandon having power in the Senate and instead run a guaranteed to lose third party campaign (guaranteed to lose because of the election theft problem) to keep Clinton out of power.

            But there is no evidence of exuberance. He looked ill during that NH endorsement, and grim during much of the convention.

            I’m also suspicious about OR at this point, but that’s more because of the tax status blocking candidate support, and Weaver running it while actively working with Clinton (and he seems to be doing a better job of at least faking (?) exuberance.) I’m not going to personally slur Bernie when it’s clear he’s been shackled.

  35. ewmayer

    o Re. French Burkini ban: So if this passes, we should expect bans on similar religious “marks of separation” like orthodox-Jewish dress and hairstyling and Catholic nun’s habits in the near future, yes? After all, even though the French have ditched religious liberté – at least for certain “suspect” religions – they still hew to the principle of “égalité”, right?

    o And a non-paywalled version of the “invisible rich in Google maps” story, courtesy of the Daily Mail:
    Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s gated community ‘invisible’ on Google Street View | Daily Mail Online

    o And a weekend-antidote “awwww” link: Shop vac used to rescue kitten in drain pipe – Story | KTVU

    KTVU had an update last night … both kitties doing great, going to foster care for 4-6 weeks, then will be adopted out. 8 lives each left!

  36. OIFVet

    Navy Gets $2.7B Attack Submarine Sponsored by Michelle Obama:

    An attack submarine that is sponsored by first lady Michelle Obama and will be named for her home state has been delivered to the U.S. Navy….

    Obama, who has made it a priority to support military families, broke a bottle of champagne across the submarine’s hull to christen it last year. She has been invited to give the order to “bring the ship to life” at the commissioning ceremony in October.

    Inside the submarine, there’s a metal plate inscribed with the first lady’s initials, which each sailor will see several times a day. It’s mounted where the crew eats.

    Barf… What’s next, Captain Black’s Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade before chow is served?

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