Links 7/2/2017

Paddington Bear: the story of the refugee and a message of kindness The Conversation

Boy, 11, shoots charging bear to save fishing party in Alaska Guardian

Just not crickets TLS

Baby-food subscriptions take culture of convenience too far Treehugger

12 greyhounds test positive for cocaine at Bestbet race track First Coast News

Las Vegas adds a new lure to its repertoire as Nevada legalizes pot. Here come the tourists LA Times

Canada 150: Huge crowds celebrate nation’s anniversary BBC

Police State Watch

Number of fatal shootings by police is nearly identical to last year WaPo


HK’s role for next 20 years? Silk Road ‘super-connector’  Asia Times

10 key political events in Hong Kong since the 1997 Handover Asia Times

The worst airlines for avoiding compensation payments revealed Independent


Corbyn’s Brexit strategy may have paid off after all in 2017 election The Conversation

Theresa May could storm out of Brexit talks over the “divorce bill” Sunday Telegraph

Is Jeremy Corbyn playing a long game to secure a soft Brexit? New Statesman

Poll finds that 60% of Britons want to keep their EU citizenship Guardian

Grenfell Tower Inferno Aftermath

Grenfell Tower survivors threaten to boycott inquiry unless scope broadened Guardian

Refugee Watch

Europe migrant crisis: Italy threatens to close ports as ministers meet BBC

New Cold War

“Another Day, Another Russia Retraction — This Time From Maggie Haberman At NYT” dailywire Sic Semper Tyrannis

Under the Radar Politico. Good example of why “recusal” isn’t a remedy.

Class Warfare

Cleaning Toilets for Jesus Jacobin

Fremont, You Have A Problem, And It Starts With An M Daily Kanban (Hugh Briss)

Fannie Mae making it easier to spend half your income on debt San Francisco Chronicle

America’s Pension Bomb: Illinois Is Just the Start Bloomberg

What’ll It Be for the New York Diner? Grub Street

Maine and New Jersey state governments shut down by budget failures MarketWatch

Manhattan DA Has a Plan to Curtail Criminal Prosecution of Turnstile Jumpers New York magazine

Collapsing ceilings and no working toilets: Sears workers describe decay in failing stores Business Insider

How SeaWorld Disregards Its Shareholders NYT. Gretchen Morgenson’s latest.

Health Care

What Would Happen If Republicans Repeal Obamacare But Don’t Replace It? International Business Times


The unexpected political power of dentists WaPo


The fall of Mosul is a defeat for Isis, but it remains a deadly force Independent

Qatar Ready for Consequences of Blockade Showdown, Minister Says Bloomberg

The Palace Intrigue at the Heart of the Qatar Crisis Foreign Policy

Syria – These Maps Show A Year Of Progress Moon of Alabama

The destruction of the al-Nuri mosque in Mosul is another example of the ‘culturecide’ we’ve become so used to Independent

“I Saw Pieces of Bodies”: Afghan Civilians Describe Terrorization by US Drones Truthout

After Sy Hersh’s Bombshell Investigation, Why Won’t Media Tell the Real Story of Trump’s Military Strike in Syria? AlterNet

At least 1,500 people killed by cholera in Yemen: WHO Al Jazeera


As lakes run dry in Chennai, residents are desperate for a few buckets of water

Did Demonetisation Bring About a Digital Transaction Revolution? The Wire. Substantial piece, much data. Important for those following the war on cash.

Trump Transition

Merkel Concerned G-20 Summit Could End in Fiasco Der Spiegel

Mike Pence will now oversee US space policy The Verge

‘Dumb as a rock Mika’: Donald Trump back on attack against Morning Joe hosts Guardian

Trump: My Use of Social Media is ‘Modern Day Presidential’ Daily Beast

How Gotham Gave Us Trump Politico

Experts warn voter fraud panel data request could lead to hacks: report The Hill. Not if the US moved to a system of hand marked paper ballots hand counted in public.

Conservative media outlets gain seats in White House briefing room The Hill

Why Republicans Might Be Forced To Oppose Tax Cuts FiveThirthyEight

Christie adds government shutdown to his legacy Politico. And he’s still reportedly angling for a high-level Trump administration position– failing upward?

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. blue streak


    Gephardt said: “greatest health care system in the world, bar none.”

    Sure, for Gephardt and all the other “superdelegates.”

    1. Mike

      As George Galloway is fond of saying – “As the harlot Mandy Rice Davies said, ‘he would say that, wouldn’t he?'”. So much for Democrats telling the truth, even to their biggest pocket expanders. The executives fully well know how toxic their system is right now, and they know full well its effects are to kill off poor people, not save them. Between drug policy and lead water, the goal is clear.

      So all this posturing by Gephardt is just so much hot air to grab some of that payoff money that awaited him at the exit (or was it already paid so this speech could be broadcast?).

      1. No Way Out

        When does it become deliberate enough to call it premeditated? How flagrant do they get to be before we get to call it murder? Why are we still uncomfortable to call it that? What is there in the legal definition of (conspiracy to commit) murder that is not present in the actions of these people?

        1. Antifa

          Because structural violence is not a crime in our legal statutes.

          Just as it was no crime to sell smallpox-infected blankets to the Plains Indians. Their word for such stuff was “bad medicine.” We still sell bad medicine to deplorables.

    2. mpalomar

      Extract from Wikipedia entry on Gephardt.

      “Gephardt’s views on economic policy also changed over the years. He voted for Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts in 1981; in the 2000s, however, he became a staunch opponent of similar tax cuts by President George W. Bush, saying that the enormous surplus created during the administration of Bill Clinton should have been spent on health care instead. Gephardt is widely viewed as an economic populist. He supports universal health coverage, fair trade, and progressive taxation. Although he once chaired the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, Gephardt in his later years in Congress distanced himself from the organization, finding his pro-labor views at odds with the DLC’s pro-business positions.

      On October 10, 2002, Gephardt was among the 81 House Democrats who voted in favor of authorizing the invasion of Iraq. He was an early supporter of the war, and cosponsor of the authorization resolution. However, three years later Gephardt said of his support for the war that “It was a mistake … I was wrong.”

      Gephardt has also been significantly involved with the pharmaceutical industry. In addition to a large lobbying contract with the Medicines Company, Gephardt serves as chair of the Council for American Medical Innovation (CAMI), formed by and affiliated with PhRMA. In this capacity he hired his own firm to lobby for the organization, to push to extend patents and block generic drugs from the market.”

      1. ewmayer

        LOL, “enormous surplus” – I defy you to find even a single FY surplus during the Clinton era at the Treasury’s debt-to-the-penny website (…histo5 has numbers for 2000-2015). Granted, the deficit was slashed and we got close to balanced budget for a year or so, but that all evaporated along with the DotCom bubble, of which Bill was a huge beneficiary, as these now-legendary tales of yuuge surpluses as far as the eye can see attest to. Dubya inherited the ensuing bust, but of course insisted on making things much worse with tax-cuts for the rich and a major ramping-up of the warmongering, i.e. exactly the wrong kind of deficit spending needed during a recession. The GFC toward end of Dubya’s term can also be traced in large part to Clinton’s neolib rampage (e.g repeal of Glass-Steagall and the perfidious “Commodities Futures Modernization Act”, both initiatives that have the Gramm family name prominently attached – “spirit of bipartisanship” and all that).

        1. mpalomar

          Is that table not the US debt rather than fiscal year deficit/surplus? and it does appear that from 97 to 98 there was a reduction of 170 billion. Clinton and his champions love to recall his balanced budgets, which incidentally led to the bumpy landings of the 2000s

          My post however is not about fy surplus/deficits but the long strange trip Eagle Scout Dicky Gephardt has trudged. My my, all that way from St. Loooie and the show me state and the incremental adjustments made along the way to moral compass that directed him finally to the show me the money state.

          I recall when he was considered a Democratic labor pol and apparently voiced support for universal access to health care though the wording sometimes suggests it was access to insurance he was on about. And his clients now? Just how does that happen? Is there a moldering portrait in a closet somewhere? Where and when does the moral arc bend to the breaking point? Somewhere along the way he lost his merit badges. More from wikipedia:

          “He became a prolific financial supporter of Democrats around the country in the early 1990s when he assembled a team of top fundraising staff who helped him support hundreds of candidates for local and federal office. Although Gephardt worked hard for many of President Bill Clinton’s programs, he and his union supporters strongly opposed NAFTA and other “free trade” programs…Gephardt announced his second run for president on January 5, 2003. His successor as Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, endorsed his bid for president.

          …an outspoken advocate for gay rights since the campaign, though still opposes same-sex marriage….Originally, Gephardt was strongly anti-abortion and was viewed as a social conservative…initially extremely critical of the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling… He wrote on the subject in 1984: ‘ I have always been supportive of pro-life legislation. I intend to remain steadfast on this issue…. I believe that the life of the unborn should be protected at all costs.’ In 1987, when Gephardt decided to run for president, he announced that he would no longer support legislation to restrict abortion rights…

          In his role as a Washington lobbyist, Gephardt, on behalf of the Republic of Turkey, has been actively lobbying against the House resolution condemning the Armenian genocide of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire. While supportive of the resolution while in Congress, he now contends that facts need to be better known before any position is taken over this historical controversy…Since 2005, Gephardt has been a consultant to Goldman Sachs…Gephardt has presided over an aggressive anti-union campaign that has bewildered many of his traditional political allies.”

          1. ewmayer

            Yes, those are totals – including ‘intragovernmental holdings’ (e.g. borrowings against the SS and other trust funds) – but the numbers go up every passing year, even during the alleged ‘Clinton surplus’ years. From 97-98 we went from 5.413T to 5.526T, i.e. a very modest increase of $113Bln, but an increase nonetheless. Where did you get the “$170Bln reduction” number? Note I’m not saying balanced budgets are a worthy goal, just pointing out that “Clinton surplus” hagiography is wrong – sure we got close to a BB for a few years as a result of a raging historic asset-price bubble, but said budgets were utterly unsustainable for the same reason. Clinton was just very lucky in terms of the bubble’s timing, and the fact that his successor went out of his way to exacerbate the effects of the resulting bust.

            1. mpalomar

              “Where did you get the “$170Bln reduction” number? ”
              -Advanced mathematics.

    3. sid_finster

      MBAs and MBA types have long said that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

      Well, by any objective measure, the US health care system delivers suboptimal results at exorbitant cost.

      Unless, of course, your measure is “HMO management bonuses” or “salaries for MDs” or “health insurance premiums paid”.

      Then the US system is doing just dandy.

    4. anonymous in Southfield

      As one wag put it, the “not in my lifetime” gives us universal healthcare fairly soon as Gephardt is 76

      1. DanB

        “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you….” The Dems are on schedule. Also I just wrote my senator, Liz Warren, asking why in the many, many emails she has sent to me (merely as one of her constituents on her email list) it’s always the same message, as in: “We’re FIGHTING for you against the Republicans; please send $.” I noted to her that in six years of these emails she has not once used them to ask her constituents for their advice or opinions on any issues. I also reminded her that when I met her in August 2011 as she was contemplating her run for the senate I asked her, “Why do you want to book passage on a sinking ship?”

      2. Vatch

        Amusing! However, we’ve seen articles recently telling us that rich and near rich people live a lot longer than other people. We can be quite certain that Gephardt is doing okay for himself financially. Here’s a longevity calculator thingie (which does not take into account a person’s finances):

        The average American man can expect to live 10.3 years once he has survived to age 76. A prosperous man like Gephardt could easily reach 90.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Qatar

    Qatar Ready for Consequences of Blockade Showdown, Minister Says Bloomberg

    The Palace Intrigue at the Heart of the Qatar Crisis Foreign Policy

    The indications seem to be that Qatar is confident enough not to give in to any of the SA/UAE demands. It seemed remarkably stupid of the Saudi’s to make the specifics of their demands so public, this gives them no scope for compromise or climb-down, without inflicting a huge injury on their status and reputation. And Trump seems to have likewise talked himself (or Kushner has done it for him) into giving SA a blank cheque to do what they want.

    Its very hard to see any compromise possible in this. SA has given the Qatari’s no face saving climb down option apart from surrender, and it seems they feel strong enough (with the Turks and Iranians behind them) to defy SA. What I find surprising is just how sanguine markets, especially oil markets are about this – this seems to have potential for a catastrophic conflict right in the heart of the worlds major energy suppliers. There seems to be somehow an assumption that there will be a quiet resolution, but I don’t see where the common ground is for a deal.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        That pipeline was arguably one reason why Qatar spent so much funding Assads opposition – Assad was against the pipeline. Russia sees it as competition for their own pipelines to Europe. Realistically, there is no chance of it going ahead as Russia and Assad now have control over the route. The only alternatives are through Iran, and then Kurdistan, so that won’t happen either, not least because Iran would want such a route for its own share of the South Pars/North Dome gas field.

        1. Alex Morfesis

          Russia is in Syria to get its’ cut of the qatari gas pipeline revenues…

          if you think raz-putin is some angel looking after the chosen alevi, fearless leader assad…

          have some air rights to sell you above blacky’s clam shack by route 72 on the road to long beach island…

          1. sid_finster

            Syria has been a Russian client state since long before anyone talked of a pipeline.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              This. Honoring their alliance is more important than any gas deal. Trust is the greatest social asset. Every country eager to deal with Russia will balk if Russia can get bought off or intimidated every five seconds.

              The U.S. as the declining hyper power is dominated by a foreign policy establishment that has no genuine experience at even how to behave on the international stage.

              1. Alex Morfesis

                Ouch…tovarich you make big funyeah and me fallz off bar stool…raz-putin (or any politicians and trust)…

                allow us to respectfully disagree on how this little blue marble really o.p.e.r.a.t.e.s.(other peoples energy resources assets time enterprise stripping)

                  1. Alex Morfesis

                    All politicians are criminals…once you accept that unfortunate reality everything makes sense…

              2. PlutoniumKun

                Yup – many a small client with a big US military base will be wondering whats the point if the US allows the Saudi’s to push Qatar around. Client states may not have much of a choice in getting pushed around, but they do usually have a choice in who pick as their big boss. The Russians and Chinese understand this, I’m not sure Trump does.

                1. m

                  Didn’t the Russians and Chinese sign a military pact and aren’t these crazy terrorists (US/CIA) in the way of the new silk road?
                  Two Chinese teachers were just kidnapped & beheaded in Pakistan.

                  Funny how new leader in the Philippines openly criticizes USA, starts getting friendly with China & Russia, then every other article ISIS attacks in Philippines.
                  ISIS our roving proxy army.

                  1. Andrew Watts

                    The Philippines has had an ongoing insurgency waged by Muslims since the US annexed them. The locals just decided to re-brand as a franchise of Islamic State when their stock was running high,

                    Don’t let that stop you from indulging in baseless speculation. If nothing else it annoys the hell out of American intelligence.


      2. Oregoncharles

        Why would it have to go through Syria? It could go through Iraq, where there are already pipelines.

        It would have to get through the Kurds, but I imagine they’d be happy to pocket the fees – and ship some of their own oil out that way. The Kurds IN Turkey might be the biggest problem: pipelines are easy to sabotage. But Turkey could buy them off quite quickly if they cared to. Withdrawing the Turkish army and paying the locals to guard the pipeline would do it nicely, though that would be a big climbdown for the Sultan.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Remember the “coalition” working the “surge” BS game by paying the tribalists in Iraq not to fight? Or the “coalition” paying “insurgents” double– the bribe not to attack and burn the endless 18-wheel pipeline that delivers petroleum fuels to wherever the a$$hole Brass decide is this week’s “linchpin of the whole war” (Wardak, Helmand, Kandahardeharhar…)? And also pay “insurgents” to drive the effing trucks and “ride shotgun” like Andy Devine did in all them Westerns?

          The Fokkers who are playing us have no problem throwing money at “insurgents,” (and supplying Viagra to boy-loving warlords) to get them to stop shooting up the Troops for a brief period so the Brass can play out yet another losing idiotic Operation Steaming Terd. Deplorables with AKs and RPGs and tactical sense get the money. Mopes who create the Wasted Wealth and pay the piper for all the corruption (and one bumper opium poppy crop after another, with all that leads to at the end of that supply chain) get bupkis.

          What we get for our transferred wealth: the explosions start at 1:10. Closing comment, from one of our Troops, at 2:58: “Don’t f–k with the US. PS: “Taliban outpost” = “village…”

    1. Procopius

      It seemed remarkably stupid of the Saudi’s to make the specifics of their demands so public, this gives them no scope for compromise or climb-down, without inflicting a huge injury on their status and reputation.

      The article said that SA and UAE were angry that Qatar made their demands public. I think Mohammed bin Salman is at least as unhinged and dangerous as Trump. I know very little about the leaders in the UAE. Guess it’s time to start learning.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    Corbyn’s Brexit strategy may have paid off after all in 2017 election The Conversation

    Theresa May could storm out of Brexit talks over the “divorce bill” Sunday Telegraph

    Is Jeremy Corbyn playing a long game to secure a soft Brexit? New Statesman

    Poll finds that 60% of Britons want to keep their EU citizenship Guardian

    I was very critical of Corbyn’s approach to Brexit a few months back. I felt his soft pedalling meant that Labour had failed to make the Conservatives ‘own’ Brexit and all that involved. But it does seem the strategy was to soft pedal Brexit to ensure the election narrative focused on austerity and jobs, and that was successful.

    Its pretty clear that Corbyn is, and always was anti-EU, and the core Labour strategy is now to pursue a softer, more sensible Brexit than the Tories. This is basically waving goodbye to a progressive alliance for the next election – there is no way the SNP, Greens, LibDems, etc., would sign up to this. I think Corbyn is also taking a huge chance with his youth support, which is overwhelmingly pro-EU. As the Guardian article (which is quite slanted of course, but is broadly consistent with other polls) shows, under 35’s are very keen on free movement and travel within the EU and don’t want to lose it. He may well be opening up an opportunity for other left of centre parties to attack him in his base support, which seems quite reckless. They may not win many seats, but they could prevent Labour from winning what they need.

    1. Mike

      The most damaging thing about the EU is its German-centered focus. That, and the right-wing manner in which it was founded, with the goal of bringing austerity and racialism to its citizens, all the more to increase central power and authoritarian drift. All the original socialist-like policies of health and welfare benefits are being pulled down or are threatened, so the dream of united Europe as a socialized paradise is at risk from this very source of “paradise”. While keeping Europe “peaceful”, it has also enabled Europe to involve itself in US wars, thus making the rest of world less peaceful.

      At one time during the 1920s, Leon Trotsky had made some speeches and attempted to sway the International about a United States of Europe, centered on socialist states, of course. Much of the working class hope in the EU came from the semi-Trotskyist blather from EU proponents, who used that dream to hide their real intent. As seekers of economic and political truth, we must disassemble this mythology and rebuild the EU on a basis of citizens, not craven capitulation to neo-liberalism trending toward fascist capitalism.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        While keeping Europe “peaceful”, it has also enabled Europe to involve itself in US wars, thus making the rest of world less peaceful.

        This simply is not true. European countries have used the NATO banner primarily when pursuing US war aims. It is precisely the presence of militarily neutral countries in the EU which has been a block on the EU militarising, despite the aspirations of some of the major countries (most notably the French and UK) to use the EU as a cover for foreign interventions. The EU has been a powerful counterweight to NATO structures, which is precisely why the neocons have found its existence so frustrating – cf Victoria Nulands ‘Fuck the EU’ comments. If the EU did not exist, European countries would be led around by the NATO leash.

        1. Mike

          Instead, they are lead around by the American leash, or cower under the neocon umbrella that hides the US lead.. I don’t think you appreciate the amalgamation of NATO and EU interests, especially around the Russiagate and Ukrainian issues.

          Some nations of the EU are reticent to arm and to intervene. Could this be that it saves them from our deficits and social unrest, and says to the US “hey, you rebuilt us and promised us protection from big bad USSR, so keep it up and don’t bother us”. Some Brits, Japanese, and Germans are screaming about the expense of rearming because Trump, but were fine when Obama was pulling them into conflicts. The question is, what is the current trajectory?

          And, as to neutral countries, the presence of Switzerland and Sweden did not prevent WW2, so the weight and the policy trajectory of such neutrals is more important than their existence. The EU has expanded enough to be manipulated by ethnic and cultural differences just like the US.

          Nuland was impatient, wasn’t she? Seems US policy is to be supported without any delay, and the EU has not fought NATO on the embargoes/sanctions until, again, Trump. All of them like their imperialism with a soft touch and great amounts of verbiage.

          We still have the “split” between the speed freaks and the go-it-slowers (R.vs. D), but the goal and the final result will not be much different, if allowed to fester. The EU needs to be independent from all US influence, and is not under current conditions.

      2. anonymous in Southfield

        The most damaging thing about the EU is its German-centered focus. That, and the right-wing manner in which it was founded, with the goal of bringing austerity and racialism to its citizens, all the more to increase central power and authoritarian drift.

        I’m with you most of the way here but I would add:
        the really critical failure of the EU is a basic structural flaw in that the Euro is not a genuine currency in the manner of the U. S. dollar, the Brazilian Real or the Japanese Yen. The Euro has to be supported by taxes paid into the European Central Bank; those contributions are determined on the basis of a country’s wealth as determined by structural analysis set up by the EU Council. In other words the Euro is backed by subsidies from member nations. Ergo, the angst caused by the Greeks constantly failing to repay loans. As students of Modern Money Theory know, a money system without a real currency is a sham of a money system.

        1. anonymous in Southfield

          Should have said ‘a money system without a sovereign currency is a sham of a money system.’

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Countries peg their currencies to the dollars, willingly.

            They are no longer sovereigns of their money either.

            China is one of them, from time to time.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Should be ‘the dollar.’

              (Lucky for me that I can stomach reading my own comments).

            2. Synoia

              Let’s be more specific: Countries which commit to Dollar denominated loans are no longer sovereign.

              The Creditors become the Sovereign.

              Pegged currencies can be un-pegged. US Dollar denominated loans cannot be unhooked from the US Dollar.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Pegging seems to be an addiction.

                Take China, for example, she pegs and un-pegs, never quite permanently off it (or on it).

                Then, there is this realization – only one exceptional country can be truly sovereign, even with dollar-denominated loans. All others are potential subjects.

              2. JTMcPhee

                Loans, or whatever simplification one calls them, can also be defaulted on and repudiated. Like bonds and other “investments.” Wonder when and where that might start…? Can’t de repaid, then won’t be repaid…

        2. Mike

          Agreed, although I was emphasizing politics, but would add that the economic and financial arrangements leading to the Euro were purposefully set to ease all the nations into the current morass, thus to have them beg for political rescue by the EU parliament and ECB via the IMF.

          The problem was their lack of planning for a multi-state meltdown caused by their banking systems loans to “non-performing” nations within the system. Others will know more of the details than I, but it seems this was the exploitational aspect of EU formation that, while planned, was badly planned. I’m sure we could write a whole library here.

    2. David

      I dunno. Most under 35s can’t afford to travel very much anyway, and only a tiny percentage can seriously benefit from current freedoms of movement, study, residence etc. (The practical impact of Brexit on travel would be small to non-existent for most people of all age groups.) But they would like jobs, and I think that’s much more of an issue for the Labour base than the greater difficulty of getting, say, a place at a University in Italy or a position as a banker in Frankfurt.
      In any case, under 35s were at school when the Political and Economic Union Treaties were signed, and they’ve never known anything but “Europe” in its current stifling institutional form. It’s a well-known rule in politics that it’s much easier to get people to stick with something than to change it, hence support for “Europe” is effectively support for the status quo, and fear of change, as much as anything else.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        On an anecdotal basis, I’d disagree with you on that. I can’t say I have a firm pulse on the options on the yoof of today, but I think easy travel around Europe is extremely highly valued by the under 35’s, and not just better off ones. Its not posh middle class British youth you see on the beaches of Spain or Greece, and most will have been outside Europe so are aware of security and visa hassles. Every person of that generation is well aware of the issue of roaming costs, to take one example of an EU success. Just because most won’t work in Europe doesn’t mean the aspiration to do it isn’t widespread and common. That Guardian study, flawed as it is, matches up with conversations I’ve had with younger Brits.

        1. BillC

          I do not doubt your take on UK under-35s’ preferences; it is consistent with my take on everyone regardless of age in northern Italy. The problem is, that attitude does not reflect the economic reality that freedom of movement (if of people, then perforce of capital and goods) also obligates observation of the (in-)Stability and (non-)Growth Pact — and that ain’t gonna change as long as Germany is in the EU.

          Freedom of movement is simple to understand and easily enjoyed by the many people who chose to do so; the costs of the obligations that come along with it are considerably less simple, but IMHO economically toxic (e.g., Greece; who’s next?). Until a majority of voters in at least one or two major EU nations agree, or some event out of left field ends the EU’s amazingly successful run of extend and pretend, the 0.1% will continue to be the victors in the West’s long-running class war.

          I hope Jeremy Corbin is able to awake his younger supporters to this unpleasant reality.

      2. optimader

        I dunno. Most under 35s can’t afford to travel very much anyway

        Your preamble does not engender too much confidence in your claim,

        1. Anonymous2

          Latest opinion polls I have seen now suggest a re-run of the referendum would go 54% Remain 46% Leave.

          Leavers however seem to be passionately opposed to a second referendum. Surprising?

          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            The polls got Brexit wrong in the first place, probably to around the same degree & judging by the attitude of the Remainers in terms of their vilification of those who voted Brexit – I would imagine that they would also be just as stubborn even if proved incorrect.

            One anecdote sticks in my noggin, when it was inferred that all those who googled: What is the European Union ? were all Brexiteers, despite the fact there was no way of knowing. Still they see themselves as being superior over the lumpen proletariat when it comes to knowledge about the EU – something that in my experience of these know all’s is only for the most part true in a small sense.

            The headless chicken approach to the sky will immediately fall never came to pass & their mealy mouthed expressions of: ” The EU is not perfect but can be reformed from within ” are only in my experience now matched by their now looking the other way when any criticism is raised.

            It is as much their fault as the Brexiteers for not minding their own garden, or at least those parts where they never venture, where people are in genuine dire straits.

            Perhaps if they had not been in such a hurry to throw insults, their opposition might by now be more amenable to reason.

            1. Terry Flynn

              Yes polls get it right largely by chance. I had a nice chat to people below the line on two Guardian articles a couple of days ago when I managed to get the first comment to each. Few trolls and nice compliments about how I explained that opinion polls don’t test a crucial statistical assumption (known since 1985) which, when it is tested, invariably fails. But of course the above-the-line people at the Guardian don’t like their world-view challenged by pesky data. I guess reading nakedcapitalism all these years should have taught me a lesson about the MSM, but sometimes we need to learn from our own mistakes. Mine was to flog a dead horse as to things like ‘real data’: “what the young actually want”, “what aspects of BREXIT were valued last year, and what now” and, crucially, “what would be the result in referenda of REMAIN vs a soft BREXIT and REMAIN vs a HARD BREXIT” now.

              Of course I’d already shown that Corbyn did indeed make a calculated gamble in his general election strategy, which I bet on paying off (and won, thank you Ladbrokes). But I spent too much time flogging the dead horse as an ‘outsider’. Time to go back to using the methods to help companies identify consumer segments better so they can sell them more stuff. So I (maybe) make money, rather than have to close an ISA to fund a study that just gave me frustration. Lesson learnt.

              1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

                I imagine that your research is complicated by the fact that we are apparently within a period of constant change. As to Brexit, I did not vote, as I did not perceive much in the way of merit on either side. I cannot believe anyone can say with any real conviction what is the best course of action in the long term, which because of my Grandchildren, is my prime concern.

                I think it is a pity that the vote ever happened, as Mark Blythe pointed out – the UK in some ways had the best of both worlds & due to the polarisation of opinion which came from that, the country is now more divided.

                I do not know the UK is heading but I think it is fairly apparent where the EU/EZ is going, unless there is a large change of direction – the EU which I have heard being touted as a progressive state, is I think increasingly a thing of the past – Maalmstrom’s attitude towards TTIP, Juncker’s screeching at the French that ” El Khomri “, was the minimum level of labour reform needed & of course the disgusting way the Greeks have been treated are just three examples from what I imagine is a very long list.

                A tired old analogy I know, but the EU reminds me of a huge ship of state that is or should be aware that it is heading for an iceberg, but despite this it is unlikely to change course & even if it did it is too large to be able to manoeuvre quickly enough to avoid it. The UK is the leaky lifeboat with not enough oars, potentially too few rations & a squabbling bloody minded crew.

                I do not know which is the best option, but at least we have control of our little engine ( BOE ), which I was told by one staunch Remainer should be abandoned as an offering as part of a grovelling exercise in crawling back to beg forgiveness.

                Good luck with the Day job, but don’t stop playing.

                1. Terry Flynn

                  I imagine that your research is complicated by the fact that we are apparently within a period of constant change

                  Indeed. Referenda are a truly *awful* way of making decisions – particularly when (even using the BBC BREXIT guide as I did in my choice model) there are 5 different principles people had to balance out when making a single LEAVE/REMAIN vote.

                  Just about the ONLY good thing I can say, and with confidence, is that people’s views are MUCH better explained by their attitudes towards these 5 now compared to when the referendum was held….i.e. people are becoming more informed. But all of that process should, of course, have happened *before*, not *after* the referendum. The interesting thing is that the importance of the 5 factors varies by region….Corbyn *may* be playing a very clever game if he has the same insights I do…..but having seen Momentum’s rapid internalisation of ‘modern marketing’ – “we respond to every query on Facebook”, which they do, but that doesn’t mean they DO anything about advice, I am reverting to pessimism.

                  1. optimader

                    Indeed. Referenda are a truly *awful* way of making decisions
                    I wonder how the Emancipation Proclamation would have faired as a referendum?

                2. JTMcPhee

                  Some research argues that the reason “Titanic” sank was that the bridge crew DID change course at the last bit, leading to that long gash well below the waterline that flooded the unsurvivable number of compartments because the bulkheads did not go clear to the upper weather deck and thus did not actually “bulkhead off” enough volume to keep the ship afloat.

                  If the ship had just rammed the ice head-on, it appears, it would have stayed afloat…. only a few crew and lower class passengers would have died, and the POSH would hardly have spilled a drop of Champagne…

                  1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

                    As in the case of the sister ship Britannic which sank during WW1 as a hospital ship off a Greek island after hitting a mine, it seems that hubris & just general human nature are big factors in disasters in general. Titanic’s sister was refitted to be even more unsinkable than the one that sank, but as the watertight doors were left open by the stokers etc on the lower decks who after hearing a large bang decided to get the hell out, coupled with the matron in charge insisting on opening all the portholes to the wards, ensured that rather than staying afloat it headed slowly to the bottom of the Aegean.

                    Luckily it was not full of wounded soldiers from Gallipoli & the casualties were mainly limited to the aforementioned below deck types who hurriedly jumped into a lifeboat which was then chopped up by one of the propellers.

                    The Captain stayed to the very end & basically stepped off the last bit to sink into the sea & swam to shore in his pyjamas. One of the crew who lived to tell the tale had previously survived Titanic, but was later lost at sea on another ship.

                    A hard Brexit might well sink our little rowing boat, but as far as hubris is concerned we are only a small part within a larger pandemic.

              2. PlutoniumKun

                I’d be really interested in a more detailed explanation of your take on the polls. Maybe *hint hint* our hosts here at NC would be willing to publish your take in an article?

                1. Terry Flynn

                  thanks for the vote of confidence but I’ve already felt a bit guilty about touting my survey.

                  my blog on my company website has my “ultimate” explanation as to why polling in the 21st century cannot possibly give unbiased answers except by chance – NOT an opinion but a statistical result proven in 1985. Ironically I have had *enormous* interest from senior people in private companies via touting it on LinkedIn. But people who are rapidly evaluated on their bottom line do tend to pay attention to a method that demonstrably works, it’s an economics nobel winning method that is actually rooted in real life and has companies who are sitting pretty because of it.

        2. ambrit

          Cum’mon opti, such a preamble sets the tone of the remark, in this case, to imbue the following points with a sense of “plain old ‘jes folks'” populism. It is the “seriously benefit from” phrase that is the basic point of the comment. Such a construction implies a heirarchy of “values” regarding travel. Travel to become an “educated elite,” or travel to pursue “higher” economic rents, or travel to “broaden ones social horizons,” are generally upper elite perquisites. As PlutoniumKun remarks, aspirations are individual affairs, not group consciousness effects.
          At the “end of days,” the EU experiment is a version of Confederacy. America showed that consolidation of disparate elements into a Federalism is more “efficient.” The real disputes are over who wields the Federal power.
          So, to return full circle, the opening “mood setting” linguistic construct attempts to mislead through setting a false tone for the reader to struggle with and under. The less fortunate among us have always had various impediments to free movement, be they financial, regulatory, or cultural. Now the previously “free wheeling” upper classes are about to encounter the same. It couldn’t happen to a “nicer” bunch.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s mostly cultural in France, for Americans travelling there, I think, when they say ‘Yankees go home.’

            It could be financial as well, in the UK, when they say ‘It’s that they are over here, overpaid, and oversexed.”

            I think greater impediments to free movement are called for here, at least when it comes to trans-Atlantic youths.

            1. ambrit

              I think that we would agree on the need for the “real” freedom of movement to be in the mental and psychic sphere. Meditation, at which I fail miserably, should be taught in the earliest childhood development schemes. The “development of character,” as the Jacobin piece shows, depends “fundamentally” on the values being promoted.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Of all the freedoms, the most profitable is the freedom to love.

                One is free to love power.

                To love money.

                To love one another.

                Don’t let a captured, all-monitoring government take that freedom away.

          2. optimader

            Cum’mon opti, such a preamble sets the tone of the remark, in this case, to imbue the following points with a sense of “plain old ‘jes folks’” populism.
            Wouldn’t it be more clear to just say “in my opinion”?

            In my opinion, I don’t think the claim is accurate. I say link please

            1. ambrit

              Mea culpa to the “in my opinion” charge.
              As to the link, well, first, which claim, and second, I’ll have to do some searching because I’m insufficiently credentialed.
              My admittedly “downscale” experience was that the middle class and better kids got to go backpacking off to Europe, from America of course, while the “deplorables” such as myself had to stay home and work during the summer to store up some “discretionary income” for the next school year. Often, that “discretionary” income was to support the illusion of “belonging” to the upper middle class society that filled the role of “leader” in the school defined “community.”
              Expectations are corrosive and degenerative in social settings.

  4. chewitup

    Re: The unexpected political power of dentists WaPo

    As one of the few dentists who read NC daily, I’ll briefly weigh in. Accepting Medicaid patients costs money. Reimbursement is not even close to break even. I am fine with the dental therapy programs. But if patients have any needs beyond cleanings, X-rays and palliative care, a dentist is needed.

    I am not sure why it never gets traction, but new graduates with huge loans to pay off are ideal to remedy this problem. Or maybe dentists almost ready to retire and no longer having overhead to deal with could step in. But asking a dental office to accept a fee that doesn’t even cover the cost of paying staff and keeping the lights on will never work.

    Dentists that do accept Medicaid typically have to bill nickel and time things and add procedures and bill for things they don’t even do to make it work. What kind of nonsense is that? The same thing will happen with a single payer system. It begs corruption. Unless we adopt Warren Mosler’s system of giving everyone $xxxx per year to spend on health care, and let the patient pay the fees directly to the provider, we just invite gaming the system.

    1. Texan

      Gaming the system already happening – at least in Texas dentists are notorious for making phantom billings for both private insurance AND Medicaid. It is so widespread that although consequences are severe, so few get caught that the incentives are still there to do it. (At least according to one of my close childhood friends who became a dentist and was disgusted with the problems he observed first hand. As an economist I’ve seen corruption in US academia first hand on such a massive scale that I’m inclined to believe my friend.) The better way to go is follow the Danish model – have medical personnel and dentists be government employees. Everyone gets nice, healthy teeth and a longer life expectancy; Danish dentists and doctors still get to spend 6 weeks a year on luxury international travel. Win-win! Danish Doctors and Dentists come out ahead because medical school is free and begins at 18, so you cut out the undergrad middleman and you cut out the loan sharks: no loan payments to make early in your career, and you get to start your career earlier and retire earlier.

      1. Texan

        I lived in Denmark for two years and was suitably impressed. I had the experience of many Americans who travel and live abroad since the 1990’s, namely: why is everything in developed Northern Europe and East Asia fantastic, light years beyond the US, and yet nothing is ever reported or discussed in media. Americans who haven’t been to N. Europe or East Asia probably think the US is still a “developed” country. Every time I think of folks boosting tourism as a solution to American ills, I feel embarrassed for my country: the broken down infrastructure and poverty everywhere – it doesn’t help our global image to have South Koreans of Swedes see what New York or Chicago actually look like, let alone the ten thousand really destroyed places (Camden, New Jersey and so forth).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Perhaps, I think, the media assumes our own ‘small but light years ahead countries’ – like San Francisco, Santa Monica and the Silicon Valley – can be just as developed, albeit along a different model, as those small but light years ahead Northern European and East Asian countries.

          But they have their ‘economic war zones,’ just as we do. The stories are similar.
          Greeks feel they are as European as those in the north, in the same way, Deplorables are as American as many along the beautiful California coast.

          But that’s too negative to dwell on for our media. For them, it’s ‘a better world through technology, by tunneling in Los Angeles, and colonizing Mars.’

        2. Oregoncharles

          One explanation of the difference, at least as of a couple decades ago, is WWII – and, ironically, the enormous destruction wrought thereby. That meant that Europe and E. Asia had to build their whole infrastructure practically from scratch; by the 80’s, they had new factories, etc., and the US had decaying ones. That was a big factor in outsourcing, even beyond cheaper labor. If you needed to build a whole new factory, you might as well build it where the labor force was enthusiastic and much cheaper (Japan and Germany haven’t had this advantage for quite a long time now.)

          At this point, that transition effect has largely worn through, but the psychological and political factors that accompanied it have not. Of course, we can blame a lot on the conservative revolution in htis country that started with Reagan; but why here?

          1. ambrit

            Don’t forget “Iron Pants” Maggie Thatcher in England. The “conservative revolution” in America is actually a reversion to mean for America. The “liberal statists” were the revolutionaries, having wrested control of a sort from the conservative gatekeepers of a, by design, conservative political system. Todays’ “Reagan Revolutionaries” are really Reactionaries in truth. Here’s hoping that the “pendulum of politics” swings back Left PDQ.

      2. JTFaraday

        “Gaming the system already happening – at least in Texas dentists are notorious for making phantom billings for both private insurance AND Medicaid”

        And some of them are butchers, as well:

        “An investigation by FRONTLINE and the Center for Public Integrity reveals the shocking consequences of a broken safety net. Poor children, entitled by law to dental care, often cannot find a dentist willing to see them. Others kids receive excessive care billed to Medicaid, or major surgery for preventable tooth infections. For adults with dental disease, the situation can be as dire — and bankrupting. While millions of Americans use emergency rooms for dental care, at a cost of more than half a billion dollars, corporate dental chains are filling the gaps in care, in some cases allegedly overcharging patients or loading them with high priced credit card debt. ”

    2. PlutoniumKun

      When the NHS was established in the UK doctors and dentists were essentially bribed to accept fixed fees for patients (much of the medical profession fought the NHS with everything it had). A now deceased in-law, who was a family practitioner in a rural area in the 1940’s said it was a goldmine for him – GP payments were benchmarked on successful urban middle class practices, where most patients paid up. The reality of being a doctor in a rural area was that maybe only half of his patients could afford to pay. People frequently gave eggs and bacon to the local doctor in gratitude. Doctors also informally ‘taxed’ the local wealthy farmers and professional classes by charging a little more. But when the NHS came in, they ‘charged’ for everyone equally, leading to a big increase in most doctors incomes.

      My dentist in Dublin told me that there was a short period in the 1950’s when there was hardly a dentist in Ireland, because the NHS paid dentists on a per-operation basis. The invention of diamond tipped drills meant that fillings turned from a major operation into a very easy one – doctors started doing multiple fillings per patient, charging the NHS for each one, and Irish dentists hopped over the Irish Sea to join in the bounty. He said it took nearly 2 years for the civil servants to work out why it was costing so much. But the benefit was that thousands of people had their teeth finally done properly. When there was a clampdown, the Irish dentists retreated, investing their money in rental apartments (my dentist was explaining why so many landlords in his upmarket area were his older colleagues).

      Anyway, the point is that if a single payer system gives a fair price, doctors and dentists will come on board. There will of course be gaming, but the potential for gaming is far less than in a multi-insurance company based system.

      1. Anonymous2

        Thank you PK.

        My father was a senior civil servant closely involved in all that so it is fascinating to get that little bit of relevant social history. As I recall Nye Bevan said something about stuffing the doctors’ mouths with gold.

      2. WeakenedSquire

        the potential for gaming is far less than in a multi-insurance company based system

        What in a single-payer system makes it less susceptible to gaming than a multi-payer system? In fact, doctors are likely to have to play all kinds of games because the prices set by the health bureaucrats are likely to bear little relationship to the cost of providing the service.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Its much harder to game a system when you have just one actor to be ‘gamed’, namely the single buyer. When you have multiple buyers, there are far more options for gaming. And the single buyer (i.e. centralised insurer) has far more information to hand, and a monopoly buyer advantage.

          The proof is in the practice. Single payer systems have very significantly lower costs than the alternatives. A simple comparison of the US to the Canadian system should suffice to prove this.

          1. Left in Wisconsin

            the prices set by the health bureaucrats are likely to bear little relationship to the cost of providing the service.

            Well, you can have competent public servants/employees/bureaucrats and incompetent or corrupt ones. I have experienced all three. Perhaps people that have never lived in places with competent public employees or good public services don’t believe it is possible. But it absolutely can be done. And if you truly think it can’t, then the neoliberals have won.

            Meant to be comment to WS.

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        But what is a “fair price” and how will that price be determined in our present Democracy of money?

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Its hardly rocket science to work out a scale of costs and times for standard medical procedures and then benchmark it against other similar work. This is done all the time in countries with socialised medicine of one form or another. It obviously depends on the particulars of the relationship between the single buyer and the professional – in some countries the doctor/dentist will be a salaried public employee, in others there will be payment on set scales, in others (such as Ireland) its a complex mix.

          The core point is that almost every other developed country than the US has a single central buyer, and in every single one costs are far lower than the US, and almost always better outcomes.

      1. johnnygl

        Asymmetry of info is toxic to a lot of markets. And those markets that don’t have easily exploitable asymmetries…well, industry players usually create them as soon as possible!!!

      2. TarheelDem

        There’s a more fundamental problem why markets won’t work for health care delivery on a universal basis. Markets ration scarce goods on the basis of ability to pay. If goods are scarce, those without the ability to pay will be shut out and those who think of health care as a luxury good will jump to the head of the queue. You can sort out who is who in the comments of Canadians about the Canadian system. US media only interviews the Canadian top 10% who are seeking to jump the queue for convenience.

        And perversely, health care is not a uniform commodity. Preventive and even a lot of primary care procedures and monitoring can reduce critical care costs overall. (Failure to grasp this is one of the reasons that US health care costs twice the best-of-class national systems.)

        Finally as to Arrow’s findings, the asymmetry of information that medical training provides encourages the perceptions of too many doctors is that their degree grants them the license to print money. A market system encourages that illusion until the patients rebel politically. That’s what has brought us to where we are. (Not to mention the shift from an agricultural to an techno-industrial-information-service economy in which large medical systems don’t accept eggs, vegetables, and bottles of milk in payment.)

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Eggs, vegetables and amphorae or jars (I need to research further) of sheep’s milk for…bartering is the word, I guess…

          We’ve come a long way since Socrates, baby.

          Those wise men (and women) of enlightenment, of education, bartered…first.

          Then came cash money, or money.

          After cash…well, not quite. W’re only at the War-on-Cash stage. We have not surrendered…yet.

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          There’s a more fundamental problem why markets won’t work for health care delivery — the relationship between a physician and a sick patient is NOT and should NEVER BE a Market relationship.

    3. Arizona Slim

      I, for one, am very tired of being treated as a sales prospect whenever I go to the dentist. That’s another thing that the dental profession needs to work on.

      1. chewitup

        Unfortunately, that’s true of any profession now. Invasion of the marketing consultants. I hear from them weekly. Thank God I haven’t had to succumb to them yet. But I’ve been at it 36 years.

      2. Knifecatcher

        The worst dental experience I ever had was when I was already numbed up in the chair, waiting to have a broken crown replaced. The dentist decided that I needed to put a crown on the adjacent tooth, which had a large filling that was fairly old but stable.

        Ever tried to say no to a very insistent bordering on angry woman in her third trimester standing over you with a mask and sharp instruments? I caved, she did the additional crown, and it failed within 3 years.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Curiosity bit me! Your moniker — does it derive from the Henrich Boll short story “Der Mann mit den Messern”?

        2. Kurt Sperry

          One cannot give uncoerced consent to a contract for services when the stakes are one’s health or life. When someone gives you a choice of “pay me or you become sicker and very possibly die”, agreeing to whatever is asked to prevent that is analogous to a rapist with a gun getting “consent” from the victim to avoid being shot. “Go into life changing debt or die” is no more an ethical a demand for a doctor or hospital to make than a kidnapper demanding a ransom to return their victim alive.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      Dentists that do accept Medicaid typically have to bill nickel and time things and add procedures and bill for things they don’t even do to make it work. What kind of nonsense is that?

      Why, I think, that would be illegal “nonsense.” Also, too, unethical and fraudulent “nonsense.” And you failed to mention that those same financially beleaguered providers recruit Medicaid kids off street corners and fill their mouths with stainless steel crowns on their baby teeth. Because they couldn’t “make it” as a Medicaid provider any other way.

      It goes without saying that the exploitative Medicaid system that you describe is the same one that is being so vigorously defended as absolutely essential to the “health” of poor families, and I have no doubt that the same level of professional “ethics” exists in the medical realm as well.

      As for your predictions about single-payer, no “healthcare” system can function well as long as practitioners come to it thinking the world owes them a cushy living because they spent four years in medical or dental school and everybody else didn’t. We’re already seeing ample evidence of that.

      It’s insane to think that americans have to suffer under a defective “healthcare” system that’s designed around the fact that doctors and dentists are entitled, unethical, unrepentant cheaters. As a dentist yourself, you should remember that a few bad apples do spoil the whole bunch.

      I say all this as a dentist who retired early because I was unable to stomach the perverted turn this tainted profession has decided to take.

      1. Carolinian

        Thanks for the comment and the insight. For this bystander it seems that medical and dental schools are a big part of the problem. If we are going to do the same as other countries and treat health care as a human right then perhaps we should cease treating medical students as though they were at business schools with their tuition serving as large down payments on future income. The only real solution is to take capitalism out of medicine altogether–a tall order.

        1. TarheelDem

          Exactly. Fifty years ago, pre-meds were entering the field because it was a license to print money. And at that time there were ways of getting a degree subsidized.

          Also popular 50 years ago was the idea that to “be efficient” you had to create artificial scarcity. Under some of the federal hospital funding acts, high-tech equipment was allocated among hospitals so that the effect over time was to cause many county hospitals to shut down because they couldn’t get the hi-tech equipment. The residents of those area then had to drive to the nearest city with a hospital that had that equipment.

          What sort of “efficiency” did the loons who were driving that policy have in mind?

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            I’d have to disagree with you a bit here concerning medical professionals 50 years ago. While doctors and dentists were definitely “upper middle class,” the disparity between them and the rest of the community was nowhere near as great as it is today.

            My father was a machinist and my mother a high school math teacher, and we lived in the same small community of houses as plenty of doctors and dentists. Their kids went to the same public school and were my friends, even though they were far more likely to have their own car, better clothes, and spend their summers at the country club pool than I was.

            When I graduated dental school, 35 years ago this year, one of the most ubiquitous post-graduate critiques of the scope of our education was total lack of financial / business information.

            I will agree that that circumstance has changed massively in medical and dental schools today. I tend to think that emphasizing and encouraging the expectation of high earnings is defensive, and intended to keep these newly minted professionals fully invested in an increasingly discriminatory and unsustainable system from which they benefit tremendously, and the destruction of which would severely impact the futures they envision.

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              I have to disagree with you a bit here concerning medical professionals 50 years ago. First I don’t see a contradiction between your assertion that while doctors and dentists were definitely “upper middle class” the disparity between them and the rest of the community was nowhere near as great as it is today” and TarheelDem’s assertion that fifty years ago, pre-meds were entering the field because it was a license to print money. The greater disparity of today — results from the greater ability for the doctors and dentists of today to print money coupled with the overall decline in the fortunes of the rest of us.

              I remember well the kind of students the pre-med program at my college selected. I attended a school which in the years just prior to my entry had placed a larger than usual proportion of its pre-med students into medical schools. I was not pre-med but had a roommate who was and I saw first hand some of rat race the school ran to select for the “best” candidates for medical school [my roommate was not among them]. I don’t recall ever hearing any of the pre-meds I knew or overheard speak of a calling to medicine or a calling to heal. Getting one of the two or three A’s in the next in a long line of washout classes was their total focus.

              The stories I heard from my roommate about the Genetics Lab particularly colored my view of the pre-meds at our school. The Genetics Lab was one of the long gauntlet of “wash-out” courses designed to end the aspirations of those lacking the “right-stuff” to be selected for medical school. At the start of the lab students were given a pair of fruit flies. They had to go in every night put their flies to sleep and carefully characterize the visible genetic traits of each of the flies in the progenies deriving from the initial pair of flies. At the end of the class — after noting and counting the traits of numerous generations of progeny they were supposed to describe the genetic traits of each of the two parent flies. My roommate told me of several “tricks” students played on each other. One “trick” was to either kill all of a competitors flies, or just let them go. One clever person introduced a couple wild flies into a competitor’s fly population.

              We select our medical doctors from students who show promise in Physical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Genetics, as well as a lack of morals and a dedicated dishonesty focused on attaining a goal — as I believe the Genetics Lab story typifies. These are not the traits I might select for my ideal physician. Just to place things in a context — I was told that only the best candidates for medical school were considered for veterinary school. It seems we select only the best of the best to treat our cats and dogs.

            2. VietnamVet

              The increasing disparity is the bottom is falling out of the middle class. I blame the financialization and offshoring of the economy . I remember when there were no credit cards. You paid with cash or check. This asserted downward pressure on prices even for people with good jobs. Now the medical-dental bill is added to the family’s personnel debt, if it can be; otherwise, the problem is ignored. If you have a gig job, you are already way over your head. No wonder, Deplorables start using anything that makes them feel better and forget; until they can’t anymore.

            3. Livius Drusus

              This sounds like the neighborhood my father grew up in during the 1950s and 1960s. My grandfather was a carpenter and my grandmother worked at a candy factory but their neighbor was a doctor. The doctor’s family had better clothes, a more expensive car and took fancier vacations but his children went to the same school as my father and overall there was not a huge chasm between the two families.Today most doctors and dentists seem to live in exclusive neighborhoods with other affluent professionals.

              This is just my own experience but the doctors and dentists I know often speak contemptuously about their working-class patients They are disgusted by their bad health habits and even their appearance. I was shocked when I heard the way they talk about their patients considering they are in caring professions.

              One of the dirty secrets of the United States is how government policy has protected professionals while exposing ordinary working people to competition from low-wage workers abroad and at home. NAFTA, for example, was designed to lower wages for production workers. It is selective protectionism and the upper middle-class has benefited through a major income/relative status boost plus cheaper prices for goods and services. Dean Baker talks a lot about this on his Beat the Press blog.

      2. justanotherprogressive

        Thank you Katniss!
        SPOT ON! Especially the thinking the world owes them a cushy living because they spent four years in medical or dental school and everybody else didn’t……..the arrogance in the medical/dental profession is overpowering…..kind of reminds me of CEO’s saying”because I’m worth it (and you are not)”……….

      3. solace

        People are being unfair to large groups of doctors. Those in family medicine or pediatrics are paid by salary and earn substantially less than other doctors, while providing the most frequent and important care to most people. There is in fact a shortage of such doctors, particularly in rural areas. On top of misplaced anger from the public, these doctors are being attacked by administrators who introduce mandates like a maximum of 15 minute visits on average for patients.

        Doctors focused on procedures, like surgeons or dermatologists, are paid substantially more because their pay is based on how many procedures they perform. These perverse incentives lead to more supply of doctors in fields where there is not a societal need, as well as cost bloat and patient harm due to subjecting patients to unneeded procedures. For instance, some musculoskeletal surgeries could be replaced by physical therapy sessions with equal efficacy.

        From a policy standpoint, attacking doctors is the wrong approach because their salaries are not the main cause of out-of-control costs. Administrators and insurance company executives are redirecting anger from themselves towards doctors, and single payer healthcare would solve many of the problems of escalating costs without affecting doctor compensation. The fix to the bad incentives with compensation for procedure-focused doctor specialties would be to bring more doctors under a salary, rather than a per-procedure compensation. However, these doctors have begun to face such pressure from hospitals and insurance companies.

        More broadly, it is interesting to imagine what type of single payer system the US could implement. In the US, we have three single payer systems of the VA health system, Medicare, and Medicaid. The VA system is closer to the British system in that not only is there a single payer, but the doctors are directly employed by the government. Medicare has a single payer, but the doctors are not employed by the government. Employing doctors by the government better controls costs, but the question is whether this would be politically feasible.

        1. Jen

          I would add to this that doctors also incur substantial student loan debt. I work for a medical school where the average student graduates with 140K of student loan debt, on top of whatever they already owe for their undergraduate degrees and perhaps a masters picked up in between.

          1. Romancing The Loan

            A friend of mine is midway into her residency with a debt load of a half million.

            With her it really was a lifelong dream of being a doctor to save lives. She doesn’t expect to be solvent for a long time even with the outsize salaries.

            Any kind of program where the government promised to hire young doctors directly in exchange for wiping out their student loans might find some takers.

      4. Oregoncharles

        I spent a whole evening at my 50th college reunion listening to this story, but with MDs. One was still working (at 71), out of dedication and perhaps also because the Great Financial Collapse had set back his plans.

        The other, a woman, had retired after only 20 years (it wasn’t clear what she’s living on) as an emergency room doctor, in order to raise her son – who was there, also an alum. She sounded glad she wasn’t practicing.

        Two very different approaches to the field. I didn’t know either of them well enough to understand the personal reasons, but the sheer range was illuminating.

      5. ginnie nyc

        Brava, Katniss. I say that as a chronic patient who is in combat Medicaid on a regular basis. It is truly a second-class system.

      6. David Barrera

        Your comment is very interesting. In some countries and/or at other times ,where and when the neoliberal market culture was not so pervasive and dominant, medical professionals were medical professionals; tautology which means that they were aiming at the relative hierarchical superiority of the virtue of being a doctor above monetary market considerations. Everyone must understand the importance of the term relative, that is to say, they expected and pursued a remuneration which evidently was fairly above that of the (i.e) less skilled worker or professional, but that remuneration was subordinated to the “social virtuosity and function” of the doctor as a doctor. This is far from being the case anymore. Extreme overbookings by general medicine doctors- a way to ensure that cancellations will not leave the doctor idle for a single second at the expense of patients waiting to be seen 30, 45min and even 1 hour after the scheduled appointment time. Sometimes irrational over time supply prescription control over the patient-a way to guarantee more visits than are strictly necessary-. Propensity by specialists to rush to sway the patient to surgeries that in some cases are not necessary and not the best alternative to the patient’s problem- a way to direct the patient to the most expensive and highest yielding procedure. Here we have a few examples of the “market weaponry” utilized by many doctors across the USA which attest to the fact that there has been a relative hierarchical inversion of values: the unscrupulous businessman has taken over the socially virtuoso doctor!

      7. Sue

        My friend, a retired OB/GYN physician, told me she was coerced to induce labors to hit the organization
        monthly and quarterly bonus goals

    5. kurtismayfield

      Thank you for your post. I do have one question to ask.. I started going to a new dentist the past two years as my old one retired. There are three dentists at the location, and they have eight people in the front doing admin work. The family dentist that I went to for almost all my life had one person in the front just for him. Has the administrative bloat gotten this bad over the years that you need 2.3 administrators per dentist? Or is this a problem caused by all the little billing “quirks” that have been placed into the system? Oh and I asked them, they don’t take the state medicaid insurance so it isn’t the state government creating this bloat.

      1. Jen

        Sample size of one, but my dentist has one person doing the front office work with a practice of 1.5 dentists and 2 hygienists.

        1. craazyman

          if you add 0.5 dentists and 2 hygenists does that equal 1 dentist?

          If so the office might have 2 virtual dentists

          I was having problems imagining a person with one arm and one leg and one eye and one-half a you know what — OK I’ll say it, one half a butt.

          — Did you know there are 3 types of mathematicians — Those who can count and those who can’t. Hahahahahahahahaha

          1. craazyboy

            In Mexico, the Dentists (Dr. Hurtado! Aaaahahaaha. hahahahaha) are all licensed and also all clean your teeth! They work for their money! They generally also have a girl assistant – whom does the diddly things and may also be the more proficient English speaker.

            They know what they are doing and have nice offices and all the latest equipment.

            The bill is the good part – $35 USD on your CC. Plenty of money left over for dinner, bars and sightseeing!

        2. kurtismayfield

          So family dental practices still exist.. I have the feeling that my sampling of one is not a good snapshot. This is the fun thing about taking recommendations from friends.

        3. neo-realist

          In the office I go to, I’ve got two dentists—one dentist recently added as a partner to the one that has been the sole practice owner for over 25 plus years. Two people doing the front office work and approximately 6 hygienists–The practice has two floors–on the the bottom floor, I believe a couple of hygienists assist in the cavity and dental surgery procedures while on the top floor, the remaining hygienists do the x-rays and the plaque cleaning/gum maintenance work. The dentists will move between floors doing the cavities and the surgeries then go upstairs and check in the mouths of the patients after they’ve had their teeth scraped and their gums irrigated.

          Seems rather state of the art?

  5. Barmitt O'Bamney

    Mike Pence will now oversee US space policy

    Put your head between your legs and kiss your heliocentric cosmology goodbye, Copernicus! You’re next, Chuck Darwin.

    1. kurtismayfield

      Remember if you are a Evangelist the “good” theory’s are:

      Big bang

      The “bad” theory’s are:
      Global warming

      Despite evidence to the contrary.

      1. Vatch

        When I grumble about creationist superstition, I try to remember to refer to “young earth creationism”, because the big bang theory is basically a form of non-superstitious creationism.

        It’s quite surreal that Pence would be in charge of anything scientific.

    1. johnnygl

      Over the years i’ve come to really value dave dayen’s work, but that article really rubbed me the wrong way and seemed unnecessarily critical of the nurses union.

      Was the bill really that unsalvageable? It seemed clear that speaker rendon wanted to bury it, and avoid a real fight over this.

      I’m of the view that the dems NEED to be pushed in uncomfortable directions on issues like this. Clearly, letting them have it their way has failed cailfornia and the nation.

      Make them take action!

      1. Jess

        I have two views on that article:

        1. Dave’s right to criticize the Dems for not moving for a ballot measure to exempt single payer from the Prop 98 school formula.

        2. Maybe the education unions are at odds with the health care lobby for Dem allegiances? Maybe teachers’ and classified workers unions don’t want to risk not having half of the new tax money go to shore up their pensions?

  6. gonzomarx

    Heathcote Williams: radical poet, playwright and actor, dies aged 75

    one of his works that seems worth a read
    Boris Johnson: The Blond Beast of Brexit – A Study in Depravity

    UK to ‘take back control’ of waters after exiting fishing convention
    seems like I have been taken in by another lie. I thought EU fishing was a big harm to UK fishing but the 2015 figures suggest not!

  7. Carolinian

    There probably isn’t much point in dissecting the thin premise of How Gotham Gave Us Trump which isn’t very interesting. While Trump undoubtedly did talk about inner city decay its quite likely he and his audience had cities like Detroit in mind–former midwest industrial powerhouses that are now very much like NYC circa 1975. And in fact this seesaw–Detroit v NY–is what is interesting. How did NYC transform itself from bankruptcy to prosperity? Could it have had anything to do with the financialization of the US economy beginning in the 1980s?

    Financial services account for more than 35 percent of the city’s employment income. […] The 344,700 workers in the finance industry collect more than half of all the wages paid in Manhattan, although they hold fewer than one of every six jobs in the borough. The pay gap between them and the 1.5 million other workers in Manhattan continues to widen, causing some economists to worry about the city’s growing dependence on their extraordinary incomes. Those high salaries contribute to job growth, but most of this job growth occurs in lower-paying service jobs in restaurants, retail and home health care and not many jobs in highly paid areas.

    If one accepts Michael Hudson’s premise in Killing the Host, then NYC arguably saved itself by sucking much of the life out of the industrial sections of the country, by Wall Street’s enthusiasm for offshoring, by the “shareholder value” theory and by neoliberal policies that exacerbate the divide between the poor and the super rich, so many of whom live in or around NYC. Indeed one wonders just how well the city would be doing right now if the Fed hadn’t spent trillions bailing out those TBTF banks. in 2008.

    The premise of this latest dubious effort from Politico seems to be that ignorance and provincialism of suburbanites is what gave us Trump but that gets the story 180 degrees wrong. Trump won because people were justifiably fed up with the elites in our national capitals and they were even willing to turn to a dubious tv star for a change. It’s the ignorance of those elites that is the real problem. Trump isn’t the only one who lives splendidly isolated in high city towers.

    1. WeakenedSquire

      I think that’s mostly right, but neither Trump nor his suburban audience are particularly interested in the distinctions between the NYCs and the Detroits of the world. Moreover, most of these places, even Detroit, are very much a tale of two cities. (The gilded suburbs of Mitt Romney’s youth have done quite well.) The elites in all US mega-metros have managed to occupy some proportion of the finance economy to maintain their relative positions, which are increasingly isolated from the struggling middle class.

      Take Chicago. While that city is indeed losing population overall, it is not losing the affluent white residents who supposedly ought to be repelled by corrupt and inefficient governance and high taxes. Those people are sitting pretty on the Gold Coast, as they have for decades, and in more recently gentrified inland neighborhoods once derisively referred to as Chicago’s “dirty backyard” when they were still the domain of the working class.

      Instead, the city is losing poor and middle-class black residents who can’t find jobs or safety and are ill-served by the public sector. A sharper and more competent populist candidate may well have won their votes and swept to victory with an ironclad majority and a clear mandate to govern.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        Excellent comments both from Carolinian and Weakened Squire. There was a reason I stopped reading that article after the first third or so, and you two both put it very well.

        The metropolitan aristocrats still don’t realize why the proles and the provinces are revolting. Definite whiff of the late 1780s here.

  8. Mike

    RE: Experts warn voter fraud panel data request could lead to hacks: report The Hill. Not if the US moved to a system of hand marked paper ballots hand counted in public.

    The movement toward paper ballots is not as strong as we would like. Part of the reason for this is the propaganda coming from private and governmental bodies that are, quite frankly, making hay out of this vote-killing scheme. Hacks are just the surface of it, and are meant to happen if you PLAN a system that is so easily violated. Over 20 years ago, the plans for electronic vote counting were criticized by many, including programmers who knew the security of this budding industry was worse than the security on computer systems and networks at that time. Both Republicans and Democrats went into this scheme with eyes wide open, and we need to examine the growth of this cancer, not just call for a change. Any system of voting can be corrupted if unexamined – ask Joe Stalin, Adolf Hitler, or the Italians under the Strategy of Tension. There are many ways to skin a cat, or a citizenry.

  9. craazyboy

    Yesterday’s News:

    July 1, 2017 at 7:18 am
    US denies visas to Afghanistan’s all-girl robotics team The Verge
    This is soooo fake , it demands a Fake Response Song!
    I’m on it.

    Like the MOAB is the fat robot girl on the Afgan High Board Diving Team. She does a mean cannonball. Hahahahahahah! Sure.

    As Promised – Here is the Song!

    I Am A Model Of A Modern Afrikaner King!

    Gilbert and Sullivan – I Am A Model Of A Modern General!

    I Am A Model Of A Modern Afrikaner King.
    I am a Tall One and a Proud One
    Whom knows everyone and everything
    My Tribal Subjects Honor Me
    Catering to my every Whim most Handily!

    They Fondle Me whilst Adoring Me
    And Seek my every Whim
    The Busty Girls, my Favourite
    They always get First Turn!

    Royale Foode is my Predicament
    The English don’t like Wyrme.

    In Africa we’ve got scenery
    The English we thought touristy.
    To Angel Falls Tour Guides take them all
    One chance you get and then you fall
    To the bottom with the rocks and all.

    To Middle East we Row and Row
    Our Boats most Large And Storage full.
    Of monkeys and they Palaces fill
    The Sheiks and Princesses get their fill.

    Our Boats return, oil overflowing
    To Zebras we feed
    To keep them going.
    Their stripes all a neatly flowing.

    [Shift to Queen Medley]

    Gone, Gone, Gone
    Africana Horses Are All Gone!!

    Another One Gone
    Another One Gone
    Our Horses Are All Gone!

    The Poachers come
    The Horses Gone
    Our Horses Are All Gone!

    There’s not much left
    The Hooves and Tail
    And the Tale of the African Queen

    She’s beautiful, beyound compare
    Sets English girls to shame.

    The Zebra Head,
    A head so Grand,
    Held Higher than A God.
    Gilded Zebra Heels make Her Big Feet look so Grand!
    Earings made of Rounded Tail
    The Fashion of the Land!

    One Day The Queen
    Upset With Man
    Orders Her People
    Make Them Go Away!

    The English Women
    Run for the Docks
    Fainting ‘long the Way!

    One wouldn’t think so
    But Englishmen, fainting the same way!
    Despoiled in all their Finery,
    The Ship takes off that Day!

    Soon Slavery is Renounced
    Around the Word They Say
    The Afrikaner is Freedom
    They Follow Their Own Way!

    But Words are Cheap
    The Trade They Keep
    Money Holds Its Sway.
    The Raping And The Slavery
    Continues to this Day!

    Gone, Gone, Gone
    The Slaves Are Not All gone!!

    They’re Not All Gone
    They’re Not All Gone
    Our Slaves Are Not All Gone!

    1. craazyman

      Wait a minute, what do Afrikaners have to do with Afghanistan all girl robotics team? That’s confusing.

      If they want to get the girl robots in the country, why not import them as parts and then reassemble them in a computer store someplace? They might get a Visa for the parts on their own.

      I wrote a fake song a few years ago using Modern Major General lyrics but now I can’t even remember what it was about. I just remember doing it. That’s like most things actually, you do them and then after a while you can’t even remember what the point was.

      1. ambrit

        My Mother says that a lot now.
        (She still wishes that children came with Warranties, well, at least, this child.)

      2. craazyboy

        It is confusing, which is why they get away with it.

        Actually, the World is changing fast, and Jack Ma is entering the Robotic Sex Slave Robot market, and fast! The Afgans make underage High School Swim Team Robots, and they are underage, so it’s all legal anywhere in the World, except in the Middle East. Ex-Israel of course. The Afrikaans King is behind it all, and funded by CIA Fiat MMT Money, but everyone looks the other way.

        Like you say, it’s confusing.

        Modern Major General is a great tune. It would work for any fake lyrics. Reason it works is you can use multi-syllable words and longer sentences. It’s like a Universal Container for Fake Lyrics.

        I think the theory behind is it’s The Chromatic Scale which defines the melodies that sound good to us homo sapiens. The Pentatonic Scale is a subset, but always used for illegal stuff, and it seems to vibrate the little psycho and sociopath bits found in their Lizard Brains.

        The Afgan King wants to license Afgan High School Swim Team Girls under the Chromatic Scale User License.

    1. ambrit

      Sorry, and I beg your forgiveness, but the ‘Ur’ sub-genre in science fiction is best exemplified by Jules Vernes’ “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,” or Frank Herberts’ “The Dragon in the Sea.” Hal Clements’ “Mission of Gravity” can be considered as an “offworld” version of the sub-genre.
      Hot jets!

      1. Patricia

        Yeah and also labels anyway.

        A friend had asked, having read Robinson, and there are titles in there I’ve not read….

        Can never get too much bad news, right? Much of later stuff is very dark. Needs be careful.

        1. ambrit

          A lot of the old “Atomic War” survival sci-fi has a similar ethos.
          Dean Ing did some oldies but goodies. Pat Franks’ “Alas Babylon” is the, to me, flagship “End of the World” (as bought about by humans) story. Aliens as the source of “all evil,” really don’t count. The definitive “End of Ecology” book would be Philip Wylies’ “The End of the Dream.”
          Two trends emerge from the scrum, first, observing the ultimate end of everything, and, second, working through the “end times” to a “new beginning.” “Lucifers’ Hammer” by Niven and Pournelle encapsulates an essential “preppers’ dream” of the latter. I mean, even John Varley did a “survival” story set in Southern California, “Slow Apocalypse.”
          There’s a lot of this stuff out there, but, as you say, care must be taken lest one slips into a dependency upon “disaster porn” or “depression enabling” literature.
          Happy reading!

          1. Patricia

            Because I am not a thorough person, I’ve reading gaps. “Alas Babylon” is in gap and I’ll get it. Thanks.

            But dang I love the stuff. Happy reading back at you, ambrit (if there’re any good stories you haven’t yet tried).

            1. ambrit

              There are always more good reads out “there” than we can ever get to. “Alas Babylon” is a Fifties’, maybe even a Forties feeling story. I’ve learned to check out reviews or synopses before buying. Time is finite, desire is infinite.
              One thing that I learned the hard way is to give up on an obviously bad piece of writing. Putting down a story just because it hasn’t yet “clicked” is difficult. I keep hoping against hope that the gaping plot holes or cardboard cutout characterizations will, like Dorothy entering Oz in the film, suddenly transmorgrify into the purest gold.
              Secret passions in reading are holy. If you like something, even if it is dismissed by some elite or other, enjoy it for what it is. I once had an English teacher who started making fun of me for declaring that I liked Edgar Rice Burroughs fiction. After he asked me if I secretly wanted to be Tarzan, I had an epiphany and asked him; “Do you have a town in California named after you?” He was not amused.

              1. craazyboy

                My rule is 100 pages and quit. But that only happened 2-3 times.

                The key is thorough research first!

                1. ambrit

                  I also try to steer clear of “Franchise Universes” where different authors try their hand at someone elses’ created cosmos.

          2. craazyboy

            Larry Niven and Matthew Joseph Harrington came out with a new novel, “The Goliath Stone”. It’s in the genre of Giant Comets. (scarier than Giant Asteroids. Lots!)

            Very scientificy too, I think Matthew is a strong science type, like Pournelle.

            Makes for a truer tone than other Niven novels – where he does space aliens best.

            Just started, but high expectations!

    2. ChrisPacific

      Not quite in the genre, but related: Eleanor Catton (The Luminaries) is writing a new novel called ‘Birnam Wood’ which she describes as pre-apocalyptic. It will be set in New Zealand and feature clashes between locals and billionaires in their bolt-hole retreats. Possibly of interest to NC readers.

  10. leftover

    RE: Cleaning Toilets for Jesus
    The forced work proposals of Mulvaney and other politicos preaching the blind faith of “religious neoliberalism” oddly echo Stalinist policies enshrined in the 1936 Soviet Constitution: “[W]ork is a duty and a matter of honor for every able-bodied citizen, in accordance with the principle: ‘He who does not work, neither shall he eat.'” (Chapter 1 article 12)

    A faux Christian theoconservatism that “remains dedicated to disciplining the poor and working class” transmutes this policy into who does not submit shall not eat. Which is almost exactly what Leon Trotsky observed in Stalin’s oppression of dissent in the late 30s. (Trotsky, “Whither the Soviet Union”, §2, The Revolution Betrayed, 1936. Replace “submit” with “obey.”)

    Which raises the question: Is this “bipartisan project of stitching a sentimental veil atop an increasingly soul-sucking labor market” religious neoliberalism? Or religious neofascism? (Combining racist, nationalist, and culturalist myths with reactionary economic and political proposals that pander to ressentiment among lower-middle class and formerly privileged wage workers who find their living conditions imperiled by a stagnating economic order. Paraphrasing John Bellamy Foster.)

    1. DJG

      leftover: I tend to think of Cleaning Toilets for Jesus as part of the continuing crisis of monotheism (all three Abrahamic religions, which brook no dissent). Further, in the U S of A, you have evangelical and fundamentalist Protestantism as part of along history of religious insanity (see Tocqueville). Throw in the gods of the free market, the gun fetishization of the Second Amendment, the idea that blacks are a racial other not worthy of attention (except maybe to force to come to Jesus), and a horror of women, and what could go wrong?

      I note that the epistle of Saint James is not invoked:
      James 2:14 ff / King James Version (KJV)

      14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

      15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

      16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

      17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

      [After all, charity without strings just isn’t manly and Christian, now is it? And yet there is a move afoot to impeach Trump and make Pence the president.]

      1. ambrit

        The real “strength” of the Protestant theology is that it is “equal opportunity.” Plenty of “persons of colour” have bought fully into the Protestant social ideology. Homophobia is very strong amongst the black Baptists I have had the chance to argue with. Religion is really social engineering at its’ most basic.
        Personally, I make a distinction between the Christians I meet based on whether they promote Old Testament or New Testament values. That’s my bias. YMMV (Your Monotheism May Vary)

        1. Vatch

          YMMV (Your Monotheism May Vary)

          I like that! It almost looks like the tetragrammaton (YHWH).

          1. ambrit

            I had not made the association with the “Secret Name.”
            This blog is a hotbed of hermeneutism and heresy! I love it!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      With Bonaparte, it was “France needs an emperor.”

      Now, she only needs a king.

      1. Montanamaven

        I am starting to think that I have “Democrat” friends who also may want a monarch. Their world is rarified. I went to a fundraiser recently. Several people I talked to all spoke of how this was the most community oriented place they had every lived. (Small town in upstate NY) as opposed to the City. That people here have dinners and invite each other to these dinners. When I talked about how I had discovered one of Ray Oldenburg ‘s “Great Good Places” in the town where I have sat and talked to electricians, county workers, TV directors, bakers, builders all sorts, they didn’t really totally grasp what I was talking about. They prefer to be in private dinners which is almost akin to the private club.

        In rereading Christopher Lasch’s book “The Revolt of the Elites and The Betrayal of Democracy”, I was struck by his critique of Richard Rorty in the Chapter “Conversation and the Civic Arts.” Kind of surprising that there is actually a school of thought that believed that the elites should not mingle with their neighbors who were pettty and gossipy ad prejudiced. Better to have class distinctions and stay within those classes. Rorty defends the Club over the neighborhood gathering place that Lasch and Oldenburg see as vital to civic virtue. Rorty saw a new world order which “resembles a bazaar surrounded by lots and lots of exclusive clubs.” After a long day of haggling, people can retreat to their clubs where they converse amongst their own kind with the same opinions. So gone is the place where you can say to the guy next to you, “Well, I just see it a different way.” “Urban amenities, conviviality, conversation, politics” are all missing in the suburbs, For Lasch those are the things that make life worth living. So when I read that Macron may wistfully want a monarchy instead of the mess of democracy, it seems he’s not alone in that sentiment. I mean look at all the people flocking to the musical “Hamilton”? Obama was all onboard “the Hamilton Project”. (Hamilton called democracy “a disease”.) If you asked them on this 4th of July if they were really royalists, would they look bewildered by the question. Or would they say,”Yes”?
        Guess I’ll try it and see what happens.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Voltaire also said that philosophy should only be discussed upstairs, leaving the servants unburdened below – I remember reading that somewhere (and have tried to google it without success, so far).

          1. Vatch

            I have no doubt that Voltaire said something like that. But in the second half of his his life, his attitude towards common people mellowed. From page 227 of Peter Gay’s Voltaire’s Politics: The Poet as Realist:

            As artisans and apprentices proved to Voltaire that they too had rationality, his doctrinaire distrust receded. Perhaps the canaille was not doomed to remain canaille forever.

            Voltaire did not reach this moderate position easily or early. He had to undergo a lengthy political education before he could accept the masses as educable and as potential participants in the political order. In this education, the artisans of Geneva had played a prominent part.

            He lived in Geneva from around 1755 to 1758, when he was 61 to 64 years old.

        2. neo-realist

          In rereading Christopher Lasch’s book “The Revolt of the Elites and The Betrayal of Democracy”, I was struck by his critique of Richard Rorty in the Chapter “Conversation and the Civic Arts.” Kind of surprising that there is actually a school of thought that believed that the elites should not mingle with their neighbors who were pettty and gossipy ad prejudiced. Better to have class distinctions and stay within those classes. Rorty defends the Club over the neighborhood gathering place that Lasch and Oldenburg see as vital to civic virtue. Rorty saw a new world order which “resembles a bazaar surrounded by lots and lots of exclusive clubs.” After a long day of haggling, people can retreat to their clubs where they converse amongst their own kind with the same opinions.

          From my experience going to dinner parties, backyard summer crab eating, and wedding parties in suburban neighborhoods, the suburb is a club unto itself very much: Strong commonalities in the sense of being overwhelmingly white, single family homeowners living in zoning with few or no apartment complexes, belief in low taxation and small government, couples w/ kids as opposed to being childless, kids who don’t appear to be into anything rebellious or radical, musically, politically or artistically and enjoy singing pop music at the karaoke machine for hours……… Whatever pettiness and prejudices they possessed, they tended to keep it under their hat, at least while I was around, even with the liquor flowing:).

          1. Andrew Watts

            kids who don’t appear to be into anything rebellious or radical, musically, politically or artistically and enjoy singing pop music at the karaoke machine for hours…

            Oh, I think suburban America produces a lot of soi-disant radicals. Generally speaking, they are hobbled by their lack of imagination and exploration. The biggest challenge that these kids face in the ‘burbs is boredom.

            1. neo-realist

              I don’t doubt that some radicals are produced by suburbia. I suspect that I’ve had some rotten luck:/ in that I’ve encountered families that not only appear to be very normal, but kids that appear to be content and well adjusted. As a result, the kids don’t have any dysfunction or oppression to push back against and have no issues with going along with the program.

        3. Andrew Watts

          It doesn’t surprise me that Macron might be a closet monarchist. His religious background endows a certain kind of individual with a false sense of divine right to rule. His educational background is only bound to reinforce this sense given that France’s ruling class is drawn from a network of elite schools. Moreover a monarchy is a symbol of unity in a time of political crises and domestic chaos.

          Suburban life attracts a certain kind of individual who is more interested in social mobility rather than any egalitarian ideal. It’s been some time since I read anything by Lasch. I believe he originally pointed out that class mobility is a poor substitute for the democratic ideals of equality, civic virtue, and/or public morality. The governing ideologies of the day like neoliberalism, meritocracy, and/or consumerism are a betrayal of those ideals.

          The popularity of Hamilton can easily be explained away as the ruling class and the subservient class of aspirational social climbers staying true to their roots. If they think they can secede from society they will be gravely mistaken.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Fannie Mae making it easier to spend half your income on debt San Francisco Chronicle

    Banks get nearly-zero cost money from the Fed to enslave over-half-income debtors.

    Doesn’t that make the Fed the Ur-Enslaver of the world?

    1. perpetualWAR

      Fannie Mae committed to sustainable housing.


      TPTB are allowing Housing Crash 2 to be set up and they know it. I’m so ashamed of the populace for falling for this BS a SECOND time. Didn’t anyone learn????

  12. Mo's Bike Shop

    Dope as a Vegas Attraction.

    It’ll be half the price within three blocks from wherever you are right now. I’m beginning to suspect this Market! lacks transparency.

    Of course the same is true of the gambling and b**bs.

    1. ambrit

      Oh no! Tell me it ain’t so! A b–bs bubble??!! (Las Vegas as the other Silicone Valley.)

  13. Rambo

    “It’s Not Just Mike Pence. Americans Are Wary of Being Alone With the Opposite Sex.”

    I’m surprised this didn’t make it into links today. The age and religious breakdowns of the study are interesting but the comments are fascinating. We’re creating a workplace where people are literally afraid of being alone with members of the opposite sex for fear of reprisal. I honestly had no idea things were this bad.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Adult Americans are also wary of silence.

      Notice when one of them is driving down the expressway, the radio or CD player is always on, likely very loudly.

      And when another one is found to be with Nature, say, jogging along the beach at sunset, with her beautiful hair flowing behind her, she or he is likely to have her or his earphones on.

      Again, the dread of no (familiar) sound, or perhaps noise is the better word.

      Sedatephobia is strong among us.

      That, and the fear of solitude of two persons (in the bedroom as well?) – in that case, Making Love Silently in the Bedroom can be a very good horror movie title. (No sound!?!?!!?!?!?)

      “Your house or your room is so quiet. What is the matter? Are you OK?” asks the concerned friend.

      1. EGrise

        “Your house or your room is so quiet. What is the matter? Are you OK?”

        …asks Alexa/Siri/The NSA.

        The older I get, the more I prize both silence and privacy; increasingly both are rare, expensive commodities prized only by those who understand their value.

    1. jawbone

      Can you give a link for Ritter’s reply? Maybe I was skimming too fast but I didn’t see anything in the comments of the link you gave. Thnx.

  14. perpetualWAR

    I am so so upset by the drugging of animals that cannot talk back to object! Those greyhound owners should be in jail.

    So angry.

    1. Patricia

      Yeah, I live with a rescued greyhound (daughter’s), and she is a dear and magnificent creature. Cocaine must wreak havoc on such thin tightly-tuned bodies.

      I found it interesting how very angry it made me this morning, considering all our desperate humans on heroin. Something about it being done to animals brought it home in a different way.

      A couple weeks ago, a homeless couple walked by and we talked for a while. The tiny woman was obviously drug-addled and after they left, I went in the house and wept. More grief than rage.

      Less complex with animals, I guess.

  15. Jess

    Note that in the Bloomberg story about the coming public pension bomb, five states are not ranked because there is “no data available” about funding levels. One of those, the most prominent, is…you guessed it…California.

    CalPers, oh CalPers, where art thee? Perhaps holding back info because the truth is frightening? (It would be irresponsible not to speculate.)

    Go get ’em, Yves.

  16. Ned

    “Craftsman Tools, satisfaction guaranteed replacement or your money back.”

    That’s the sign over every Sears tool counter for decades. Medium priced high quality tools with an ironclad guarantee.

    Then about twenty years ago, the quality slipped, then they started demanding a receipt for a store branded tool that failed, then the quality got worse, they they introduced a line of Chinese crap called “companion”, then the stores hired immigrants who couldn’t converse with customers in English…at that point we never went back.
    Screw them and the horse they came in. Lampert should be hung from the nearest lamp post. People like him are economic terrorists, and are this country’s enemy, not ISIS.

    1. optimader

      Actually Ned, you need to wind the history tape back a few decades to appreciate the assaults on Sears Robuck & Co. that precipitated it’s journey into the weeds. To decend into vernacular, the present CEO is fking a corpse.

      This is the guy that poisoned the company, down hill ever since.

      My mother worked evenings in the flagship store in Oakbrook (also the home of McDonalds) at the customer service desk, a dept staffed mostly with women by the way

      Had Brennan exercised some common sense he would have been talking to them about the eroding strategic position of the retail brand, but it was treated as merely a cash cow.

      The center of gravity for Sears was selling “whiteware”(appliances) and later the Craftsman tool brand which became more important as they allowed appliance competition to erode their position.

      Back then, they had commissioned salesmen that were earning a good middleclass wage with no education. It was a sink or swim proposition so the sales people hustled. Now good luck even finding one.

      I note from the obit.. Adolph Funeral Home, I went to grade school with the present proprietor, John Adolph! Very smart guy actually, Brennan should have hired him sooner?

      1. John Wright

        To add a bit more to the picture, Sears’ CEO Edward Brennan’s brother, Bernard, was CEO of long time competitor Montgomery-Wards.


        “He has less to say about the company that made him famous in Chicago, Wards. Mr. Brennan engineered a spectacular turnaround at the firm, closing its catalog operation and reorganizing stores before leading a leveraged buyout in 1988. Crain’s named him Executive of the Year at the time.”

        “In 1996, the company in trouble, he quit as CEO. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection the following year.”

        There must have been something magic about the Brennan brothers that caused competitors Sears and Montgomery-Wards to trust their guidance.

        1. Enquiring Mind

          Monkey Wards got bit by the financial bug and sold out to Mobil, also a bitee. There was a silly name, Mobil Marcor, which made me think of marks, shills and other boardwalk and carnival barkery types. That didn’t end well.

  17. FluffytheObeseCat

    The Atlantic, July 2nd, 2017:

    “How the Left Lost Its Mind
    Polemicists, conspiracists, and outright fabulists are feeding an alternative media landscape—where the implausibility of a claim is no bar to its acceptance.”

    Byline is McKay Coppins. Article came out this morning and has already been amended to excluded the ‘podcast left’ from the general tarring. Sanders voters are belittled in the dreary middle of the piece, by 100% association with some HuffPo flack named Seth Abramson. I’ve never heard of him, but I’m not enough of a media wonk for that to be considered significant.

    The tone is not as bad as I’d expected, but the sourcing is problematic and the timing of publication is……… distinctive. If the haute doyens of our sedate, sensible liberal elite didn’t want to see the “left” descend into a fever swamp that only a hipster Alex Jones could love, they should not have abandoned the electorate to penury.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      It’s still a hit piece. Abramson, whose crime seems to have been predicting Sanders victory as opposed to fake news, is introduced mid-paragraph after a (different) unnamed other HuffPo contributor is assailed for calling for Trump’s execution. Clearly Coppins is encouraging to reader to assume Abramson is that contributor. (And he’s an academic!)

      But the worst thing is that all his legit complaints are against Brock and other Hillary supporters. As if this is the left.

      1. UserFriendly

        Abramson has gone off the deep end. He is totally into #Russiagate. I’ve gotten in a dozen fights with his moron followers on twitter.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I have found Russiagate to be an inspiration to learn more about Russia and its people. Which includes learning how to speak Russian.

    2. UserFriendly

      The piece should have replaced left with liberals but besides that it’s spot on.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Yes. Which is why it so angering. And so repulsive. The antics of a sinecured poseur like Abramson have nothing to do with the interests of regular working people but, he hopped on the Sanders bandwagon for a few months last year! Ergo, all leftism is arty bullshit. Just by proximity. And association. Because, isn’t that enough?

        If you smoothly mention “chemtrails”, followed by “the Daily Show”, followed by “Sanders”, followed by “Medicare” often enough, quickly enough, they all become the same thing! Like magick!

  18. Andrew Watts

    RE: ‘Dumb as a rock Mika’: Donald Trump back on attack against Morning Joe hosts

    I’m starting to think that hearing about Trump’s antics via reading headlines is starting to bother me on a personal level. To maintain my sanity I have an obvious coping mechanism and that is writing responses that sound like they could come from Trump’s twitter.

    “The feud between Donald Trump and various TV personalities is going to bring back the prominence of the white race. #MAGA”

    “The so-called leader of the Free World governs through Twitter. Sad!”


      1. optimader

        At smart as a rock?
        In any case to be fair, maybe not the families intellectual corner post. Very privileged life experience / education opportunities and she was able to muster what, a Bachelors degree in her mother tongue (English) Really?

        Then as a freshly minted English major she was swept right past a barista job and into a ABC World News assignment.

        Privilege has it’s privileges!

  19. Oregoncharles

    The bird is a heron, but not the same color as the Great Blue’s we have here. Anyone know what it is? Might be Old World.

  20. ChrisPacific

    I have a running thread active on Facebook regarding the Hersh story. I just appended the AlterNet article, which does a nice job of articulating my main concerns on the reporting and reactions.

    This is a useful example – even though the total US media blackout is probably no surprise to regular NC readers, it is an opportunity to see it playing out in the open. It’s quite clearly an important story from a high quality source that merits serious coverage, and the fact that nothing of the sort is occurring (at least in the US) must strike even the most credulous voters as odd.

  21. kareninca

    RE: Cleaning Toilets for Jesus

    I admire anyone who is willing to go to prisons and to work with ex-cons. If they are doing it due to their religious faith, that causes me to admire their religious faith. I lasted for exactly one day volunteering at the SF county jail (through a non-religious program). I was fine working with the women prisoners, but they required that I also work with the male prisoners, and that was really too horrible; some of them were normal humans but some were beyond vile. Before you critique these church guys who are doing this, ask yourself if you would be willing to go in and do your own liberal version of it. If not, then maybe cut them a break. As it happens, I don’t know a single person who volunteers in prisons on a non-religious basis; the only ones I know (indirectly) do it through a religious program. There do not seem to be a whole lot of agnostics who want to have anything to do with convicts.

    1. ambrit

      Probably Jeremy Bentham, he of the “panopticon” fame, would be the patron of atheist prison reformers. An atheist himself, he developed “utilitarianism” to deal with the human animal, its’ society and their discontents.

  22. witters

    An atheist, I worked in the Remand Prison, Long Bay Gaol, Sydney, for a year or so, doing classes on Social Justice! The prisoners were great. The classes got so popular the trouble came from the warders. They would punish inmates by refusing to let them attend until the class finished – and I had to be out. They would strip search me each time I went in, and so on. Then a new governor decided that things like my course had to go, across the board. Not sure if the loss of opportunities to harass and insult and torture went down all that well with the warders.

    1. kareninca

      That sounds like a a wonderful program, and I am willing to believe that the prisoners you worked with were great – towards you anyway, and maybe generally. But they were a self-selected group, the members of which wanted to take a particular sort of class. I think that if you spent a day in the SF county jail in the general population, you would not think they were all so great. Also I am guessing you are male; how prisoners act towards men and how they act towards women can be entirely different things.

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