Links 7/3/2017

How to Get an Asteroid Named After You Atlantic Monthly

A Brief, Cheesy Interlude The Baffler

Study paints a confused picture of how insecticides are affecting bees Ars Technica

I spent three days as a hunter-gatherer to see if it would improve my gut health The Conversation

Peter Thiel Is Funding the Effort to Bring Woolly Mammoths Back to Life MIT Technology Review

Laptop ban lifted for Abu Dhabi airline CNN Money

The biological clock ticks for men too, researchers find, with odds of parenthood falling with age SCMP

Help Me

Obama plays behind-the-scenes role in rebuilding Democratic Party The Hill


May’s Brexit plan could hit rights of Britons abroad, campaigners tell EU Guardian

City delegation to press Brussels for free-trade deal FT

British officials drop ‘cake and eat it’ approach to Brexit negotiations Guardian

Brexit: Nearly 60% of Leave voters would now pay to retain EU citizenship Independent

Jeremy Corbyn on Brexit, Yemen and the Gulf crisis Al Jazeera. Wide-ranging interview, covering more than merely Brexit.

Guillotine Watch

PHOTOS: Christie, family soak up sun on N.J. beach he closed to public


Trump calls Xi as tensions escalate over Taiwan, North Korea SCMP

South China Sea: China calls USS Stethem warship ‘a provocation’ BBC

Finland could serve as China’s Arctic gateway for Obor Asia Times

Sikkim border dispute: China resolute in protecting sovereignty in Doka La as Beijing media predicts ‘chance of war’ FirstPost

Health Care

Republican Senators Face Pushback From Governors on the Health Bill WSJ

Sanders Has His Priorities Backwards; We Can’t Delay Medicare for All Counterpunch (ChiGal)

Big pharma turns to AI to speed drug discovery, GSK signs deal Reuters

Trump could be hurting the Obamacare repeal effort more than he’s helping Business Insider

New Mexico health reporter: ‘I’ve yet to find a story that didn’t have its roots in poverty’ CJR

How the Koch-Backed Effort to Privatize the Veterans Health Administration Jeopardizes Everyone’s Health Care Future Truthout


Get Carters: Beyoncé and Jay-Z file trademark on twin names Rumi and Sir Guardian

This popular painkiller also kills kindness WaPo (Chuck L). From last year but important. And as most readers probably know, you can OD on Tylenol. It fries your liver, and then you die.

Class Warfare

Nina Turner on Her New Role As President of Our Revolution Real News Network. UserFriendly: “No transcript but worth watching.” Moi: Wish a transcript had been made, so I could have crossposted this today.

Like the Shoes You Order From Amazon, Opioids Are Made in China and Arrive Directly at Your Doorstep AlterNet

US bank CEOs earn up to three times more than rivals FT

My (short) life as an airport security guard Guardian

Uber to EU regulators: Let’s be friends Politico. Fat chance!

It’s the end of an era: Channel 18 cancels international format that served generations of L.A. immigrants LA Times

Madigan’s House approves major income tax hike as Republicans break with Rauner Chicago Tribune

How Low Can Taxes Go? Outside Washington, Republicans Find Limits NYT

Grenfell Tower Inferno Watch

London Grenfell Inferno: Who’s to Blame? New Economic Perspectives (Martha R)

Our Famously Free Press

Why the Media Really Hates ‘War Machine’ American Conservative

Police State Watch

How to covertly toss an apartment, Stasi style Boing Boing


NYT, WaPo Send Top Reporters To Stenograph Five O’Clock Follies Moon of Alabama

“Having America Care About You Is Not Necessarily a Good Thing” Jacobin

Saudi-Led Bloc Extends Qatar Deadline on Demands for 2 Days Bloomberg

Imperial Collapse Watch

U.S. Military Spending: The Cost of Wars Center for Strategic and International Studies

How America’s Aircraft Carriers Could Become Obsolete Bloomberg


Health Community Writes to US Lawmakers Lobbying to Get Modi to Relax Protection on Drug Patents The Wire

Trump Transition

Donald Trump may make ‘sneak’ visit to UK within fortnight Guardian

The US government is removing scientific data from the Internet Ars Technica

Justice Department’s Corporate Crime Watchdog Resigns, Saying Trump Makes It Impossible To Do Job International Business Times

Trump slams CNN, which says he should start doing his job MarketWatch

Cabinet secretaries’ tough task: Lack of funding, support for agency missions WaPo

1,800 tons of radioactive waste has an ocean view and nowhere to go LA Times

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Carla

    From Counterpunch: “[Sanders has] said many times over the last six months that we need to move toward a Medicare-for-all system, but in the short-term we should improve the ACA with a public option and by lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 55.”

    This is the line being used by the Democrats to take the single payer movement off track. It’s the same line that worked so effectively in 2009-10. [We] wrote about that in 2013 in “Obamacare: The Biggest Insurance Scam in History.”

    We have to be smarter than that this time.


    Really. How about not being DEMOCRATS this time?

    What is it about “You can’t have the ‘Democratic’ Party” that you don’t understand?

    What is it about “We work for our owners, not you little people” that you still don’t get?

    1. katiebird

      I am so depressed that Sanders is going the Medicare age 55 route. I guess its a tiny bit better than nothing (for over 55s) but why do they all (Congress, both houses) think we should all pay double digit percentages of our take home pay to health insurance companies.

      Part B is up to $134 now, Supplemental is totally confusing and gets more expensive with age. Say $200 for The F option, Then $20 for part D (prescriptions).

      This is for each person — not family so double it for a senior couple and it’s a pretty hefty premium.

      How does Sanders rationalize this? Sure those options mean no copay or deductable but, OMG. It’s relentless.

      Then lots of over 55s still have kids at home so they still have to get a family policy.

      I almost admire Gephardt compared to this. At least he’s open in his contempt.

      1. Carla

        @katiebird — I urge you, and encourage you, not to go “tiny bit” in your thinking.

        Bit by tiny bit is exactly how we came to this pass. It’s essential to recognize who is being used to co-opt us, and how.

        1. katiebird

          I’m not. But Sanders is. My question is, Why? Does he actually think that pre-compromising gets us anywhere?

          1. Carla

            No. But he thinks it gets him somewhere. And it’s worked for him for 25 years in Congress. #1, katiebird. Remember, everybody with even a shred of money or power is looking out for #1. “We” don’t count. Until we do.

            1. beth

              We” don’t count. Until we do.

              Years ago I didn’t think we could get change anything because . . . .

              I now know that it is helpful just to watch for the an opportunity to just do “a tiny bit.” It’s not over ’til it is over.

              1. Carl

                Well sorry, but I’m 56 years old and can’t wait any more for it to be over. I, and everyone else in my age group, need to answer the question of where my health care (not “health insurance”) pretty much right now. Alternatives to the crapified system currently in place include:
                –medical tourism
                –cash only treatment, e.g., Oklahoma Surgery Center
                None of these are universally available, of course.

                1. beth

                  I understand. My primary care doctor who makes a healthy income by adding cosmetic procedures to her offerings. Yet she just dropped her Medicare patients as of 6/30/17, She really did not have all that many anyway.

                  In the 10 years I have been seeing her or her PA, I have only noticed about 2-3 patients of Medicare age. Now who do I go to? I was seeing her PA. Changing doctors at my age is frightening.

        2. katiebird

          I am so angry about the tiny bit issue that I can’t even blame the Republicans for their stupid “plan”. ….

          If the Dems had done right in 2009 when they had more actual power than we can imagine (since they only used it to pretend they were helpless) then we would have had true Single Payer and be well past the implementation years.

          Instead we got nothing.

          Ooo will “Bernie” run in 2020. Who cares?

          1. Procopius

            I do wish I could find some way to remind people of what 2009 was like. You remember, don’t you, that for the first six months there were only 99 senators? Minnesota refused to certify Al Franken until June? You remember Ted Kennedy was dying from brain cancer? You remember a Republican got elected in his place? You do remember, don’t you, that the Democrats never had 60 senators? At maximum they had 58 and depended on two “independents who caucus with the Democrats,” one of whom was Lyin’ Joe Lieberman who hates the Democrats because they didn’t elect him in the primary? Every time I see one of these remarks about how the Democrats had a “veto-proof majority” (actually requiring 66 senators) I feel like I might be developing appendicitis. Do you even remember that the Republicans filibustered more in 2009 than any party ever had in history? It didn’t used to be routine that you needed 60 votes to pass a bill in the Senate. That had never happened before and all reasonable people were shocked by it. They didn’t know how to respond. It was a revolution, and not by the people.

      2. Eureka Springs

        I don’t know what’s worse, Sanders doing this, or supporters who ignored his history of operating in precisely this manner.

        This is annother are you an o bot moment or aren’t you for many sanders peeps. I know where I would place my bet.

        1. philnc

          Maybe the answer is to push back hard, and loud, the way so many did at the DNC last year when Bernie endorsed. By now it should be clear that many of us aren’t bots of any kind. Another opportunity to remind everyone of that.

          1. Arizona Slim

            I think that it is high time to take Bernie off the pedestal. His campaign has been over for a year and it isn’t coming back.

            If We The People want Medicare for All, let’s do it. Bernie can be an ally down the road.

            1. justanotherprogressive


              It is time to STOP looking for someone to lead us and do the leading ourselves!

              1. Carla


                justanotherprogressive, is there any way for us to get in touch directly without my putting my email address on this site?

              2. Tooearly

                Funny isn’t it , that I seem to recall a certain someone saying that. Funny too how many seem eager to get their knives out for the one Senator who is actually talking sense about so many issues and knows a thing or two about how things get done.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  It’s not about certain someone or many who seem eager being funny.

                  That fact is that there are always two schools of thought.

                  1. Complete break, new start…now
                  2. Slow reform, getting things done incrementally, with knowledge of the status quo system.

                  Is it gradualism or punctuated equilibrium?

                  Is it working with King George and the British, or the British-are-coming?

              3. Elizabeth Burton

                It is time to STOP looking for someone to lead us and do the leading ourselves!

                Which is precisely what Bernie has been saying over and over for the last two years, but too many people still insist on trying to make him do all the work while they cheer. He knows that doesn’t work. And, as the defeat of single-payer over and over because the Big Money Boys swoop in and buy important politicians indicates, it may be that doing the Medicare buy-in literally is the best we can hope for under the current situation.

                Yes, as a solution to the overall problem it sucks. But given it would provide a lifeboat for those who are in particular going to get hammered by any GOP-written plan, condemning those who are trying to keep the flood out by sticking their fingers in as many holes as they can reach seems rather short-sighted.

                1. HopeLB

                  I was thinking along these lines. If we could only elect US in the U.S. collectively., but we require one rep. Who fits the bill, Noam Chomsky? Jill Stein? Barbara Lee? Bernie was always bad on foreign policy anyway but he got the right domestic policy discussions going. He got the questioning of neoliberalism going which will have, if fully understood/examined, foreign policy ramifications.

            2. Carla

              Yeah. And puh-leeze ignore Nina Turner and “Our Revolution.” What a bad joke that is.

          2. ChiGal in Carolina

            The article suggests:

            Flood his office with phone calls: 202 224 5141.

            Just thinking out loud here: could he be positioning himself to be at a new center, between repeal and single payer? I think expanding Medicare down to 55 could be a viable next step.

            But we NIMA supporters do need to make a lot of noise to make that seem like a compromise to Rs and corporate Ds

            1. Carla

              Look, it’s either completely immoral for us to allow anyone to lack healthcare, or it’s not.

              There is no “happy middle.”

              Pick your side — then stick with it. And if you’re on the side of the damned, I can’t help you.

              If you’re in the U.S. Senate, and you say you support single payer, not good enough. We’re gonna watch what you do. So Elizabeth “the next step is single-payer” Warren, where’s your companion legislation to HR-676?

              1. ChiGal in Carolina

                Ah Carla, don’t write me off so quick just because things aren’t black and white for me. I am not a politician and there is a lot about how things get done that I don’t know.

                If since the rollout of the Senate’s bill even NNU is focusing on saving ACA first rather than NIMA, there is a reason for that. Not saying I know they’re right, but neither do I know they are wrong.

                See a ways down the link from the New Republic I posted. Are you willing to sacrifice all those who will die without ACA bad as it is to get to single payer sooner?

                1. witters

                  If you want to count unnecessary deaths, go ahead, if you want to stop them, you need a good national health sevice.

                2. Carla

                  Chigal, I’m not writing you or anyone else off. Not only am I not sacrificing anyone, I’m not in any position to do so. But our elected officials are, and they have brought things to this pass because we have allowed it. Now efforts to turn things around are being co-opted by the dark forces that we have permitted to control everything and everyone in Washington D.C.

                  I propose we stop doing that.

                  Chigal, just read the discussion directly below re: Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Medigap Supplemental Plan F. A science fiction writer of great gifts could not come up with a more byzantine and surreal discussion. For people who live in civilized countries we might as well be speaking Martian.

                  Insurance is a criminal industry, and OUR elected officials are working for that industry. Elsewhere on this Links comment thread and in others I have linked Mandos’ blog post at Please read it.

              2. davidgmills

                We can’t even get Vermont or California to pass single payer. There are lots of immoral people in this world who don’t care one iota for their fellow man. And that is why I think we are stuck with incrementalism whether we like it or not or whether we think it is immoral or not.

                Canada got their single payer by getting one province to adopt it and then the rest followed. Sadly, I am afraid that will be our plight. Unfortunately we can’t get our most liberal states to do it. We can get some states to pass medical marijuana (because it does not require taxation) but we can’t get a single state as of yet to do single payer.

                1. Carla

                  “We can get some states to pass medical marijuana (because it does not require taxation)”

                  I don’t think that’s the reason. I think it’s because some major corporations (Monsanto?) want to corner the marijuana market early, before recreational use is legalized.

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        Part B is up to $134 now, Supplemental is totally confusing and gets more expensive with age. Say $200 for The F option, Then $20 for part D (prescriptions).

        Think about that for a minute.

        Medicare eligible recipients pay $134 per month to the government to cover 80% of their Part B care, charged at Medicare prices, and around $200 per month to an insurance company to cover the other 20%.

        That’s 50% more to the insurance company to cover one-fifth of the cost. It’s no wonder inclusion of private insurance in the Medicare program was called “gratuitous.” Judging from the three dozen or so calls I get every week from agents peddling the F plan, this arrangement must be pretty lucrative for the insurance companies. How could it not be?

        The sense of urgency is heightened by the fact that the F plan goes away in 2019, but if you take it now, you will be “grandfathered” in and allowed to keep it “forever,” or so they say, with “only” a 5 or 6% “projected” premium increase every 6 months or year or whatever. By that time I’ve stopped listening.

        Such a deal! Now on to drugs and donut holes.

        1. katiebird

          I do think about it, all the time. It is extortion.

          But what can we do? Is it worth the gamble to NOT pay up?

          1. Katniss Everdeen


            I am of the firm opinion that the more money you have to spend, the more you will be led to believe you need to spend.

            Having made it this far with minimal medical intervention, I’ve no intention of becoming some sort of iatrogenic basket case revenue enhancer because I can “afford” it.

            I’ve pretty much decided to “gamble” on Medicare Advantage–the obligatory $134 and done–and spend my Plan F “savings” on homemade chicken soup, kale smoothies and plenty of Pinot Grigio, and let the chips fall where they may.

            1. ChiGal in Carolina

              Medicare Advantage was the first step toward privatizing Medicare, giving insurance companies an in to the whole pie.

              My 87 yo mother, like you, is skeptical of fancy medications and procedures. She has not been in hospital except to give birth.

              Of course now, having foregone surgeries (shoulder, back) and not expecting to live so long, she lives in constant pain.

              She has been very happy with traditional Medicare and supplemental.

              Oh, and she pays for her own meds cuz she thought part D was immoral when Dubya pushed it through: siphoning taxpayer dollars away from children’s health to pay for old folks and line the pockets of Big Pharma.

              Medicare Advantage is a neoliberal ploy and a betrayal of the principles of the original Medicare.

              1. Katniss Everdeen

                What, pray tell, are the “principles of the original Medicare” beyond preservation of the medical insurance industry by removing any responsibility it might be expected to take for a population it could not profitably exploit, transferring it to the taxpayers and, later, providing a direct conduit for cash from the taxpayer to big pharma?

                The same “principles” by the way, that could be used to explain the current, “compassionate” Medicaid expansion.

                A supplement is every bit as much the insurance industry worming its neoliberal way into Medicare as Medicare Advantage, just more expensive.

                These increasingly inadequate “public” programs, and I’d include the VA here, are nothing more than attempts to placate large population cohorts and keep them from screaming bloody murder for single-payer.

                There are your principles.

                1. katiebird

                  Katniss — and really anyone with knowledge of how the Medicare Advantage plans work, Do you have a link for a person wanting to look into Medicare Advantage plans? I’ve spent about a half hour on it (starting at which was amazingly vague) and skipped to poking around various insurance co. sites.

                  I’m starting to remember why we went for the part F plan…. we know what it covers and that won’t change ( although the price does) from year to year.

                  From what they say at he Medicare site, that isn’t true for the advantage plans???? They can cost pretty much anything and cover what they like.

                  Or am I totally wrong? I actually love doing research but would appreciate your guidence and experience.

                  1. ChiGal in Carolina

                    You are right, Medicare Advantage is better only for those who don’t have a choice because they can’t afford to pay out of pocket for some of the little perks the Advantage plans sucker people in with.

                    As a hospice social worker I have seen many older folks screwed by their plans because they didn’t really understand what they were signing up for.

                    1. katiebird

                      {{{Shudder}}} So far, I’m not impressed with the Advantage plans. All my experience with my folks is that the security of the Plan F is important to me.

                      But what I hate about it is that it isn’t the default plan. The whole “skin in the game” thing makes me sick. Do they really think SICK people don’t have “skin in the game”? They’re sick for heaven’s sake,

                      But oh, we don’t pay enough with our extorted premiums every month. They have to replace plan F with plan N to drain more money from our pocket.

                  2. Jess

                    What you need to look at is not Medicare Advantage plans but MediGap Plans. And to do that — at least with the United Healthcare AARP plan that I have — you must go to:
                    Why in the world they named it this, I have no idea. But the important thing about Medigap is that there are no deductibles and co-pays. If Medicare Part A covers 80%, your MediGap plan covers the other 20%. I have Plan F, partly because I can afford it, and partly because it offers things like coverage overseas that can be valuable traveling. Based on previous experience with my Medicare Advantage Blue Crucifix PPO plan vs MediGap, if I’d had Gap coverage when I had my back surgery and my tri-annual colonoscopy I’d have saved about $23K over several years.

                    1. katiebird

                      My husband does have plan F now. I was just interested in how the Advantage plans work and whether it would make sense for our family to switch.

                    2. Jess

                      Katie — Do you have MediGap Plan F? Just checking because I found that UH/AARP also has Advantage Plans with the same letter designations, including F. And my experience is, no way an Advantage plan is as cheap as a Gap plan unless — perhaps — you go for the very lowest plan, and then you’re likely to have shitty coverage, very narrow network, etc.

                    3. Carla

                      @Lambert. In a sense, Medicare was crapified from the git-go, because it only covered 80% of medical expenses (and not even all of those). However, although when the ACA was conspired to and launched, seniors were told repeatedly that it wouldn’t affect Medicare. That was a lie. ACA put the insurance industry in charge, and they have accelerated the crapification of Medicare steadily since the inception of Obamacare.

                  3. marym

                    No particular expertise, but a word of caution that there are also variations by state.

                    According to the Medicare handbook (2017), Medigap policies are identified “in most states” by letters (a-d, f-g, k-n) and are “standardized” except Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are “standardized in a different way” (whatever that means).

                    For Medicare Advantage, the plans pay whatever is covered by regular Medicare parts A and B, and may or may not include Part D coverage. Beyond that there are differences in additional coverage, cost, and type of plan (HMO, PPO). Looking at the list of plans for IL, there are lots of them, and they also vary by region within the state.

            2. Michael

              Right there with you. Live a healthy life starting as early as you can and persevere!
              BTW, Part B premiums can be paid from your HSA, but not MAdv.

              1. beth

                I am on Medicare + Supplement (Plan F) + Part D. So when Medicare says a medical service is covered and your doctor accepts Medicare as payment in full, then your supplement MUST pay the 20%.

                A year after going on Medicare, I received a diagnosis of a rare genetic disorder. Currently the only medicine for this disease is a very expensive treatments every two weeks for as long as they can get the medicine into my veins.

                What insurance you choose is a matter of what risk you wish to take. Having worked in health care insurance for several years I was cautious , In the early days of HMOs I remember the company highly touting that choice. People who chose an HMO to save money were taking on the additional risk. Doctors had/have an incentive to deny services (the reverse of an indemnity plan).

                The same works for Medicare Advantage plans. Yes, the trick is to show you a few things that are covered in the Advantage plan that are not in the Medicare plans(the candy), but know that that is to cover up the areas that they are not covering.

                To give you another example, one of my sisters was diagnosed with a rare cancer when she was 64 1/2. She appeared to be the healthiest among five sisters. She died 8 months later.

                We will all die in the end. Some of us will take the easy ways out, but most of us will not. Baby Boomers have been led to believe that it we eat healthy and exercise, we will get the easy path. But in my family of 6 children, that is not the case. Give it up, we can guarantee that we go early by smoking & sky diving, but that has little to do with the genes we have and the plethora of pollutants we get by breathing and eating, as well as the way the two interact.

                I buy less expensive food and fewer clothes and go to less expensive entertainment. It’s all in what level of risk you will be happy with in the long run.

            3. Elizabeth Burton

              I’ve pretty much decided to “gamble” on Medicare Advantage–the obligatory $134 and done–and spend my Plan F “savings” on homemade chicken soup, kale smoothies and plenty of Pinot Grigio, and let the chips fall where they may.

              Likewise. If I do anything else, all of my pitiful monthly payment will go into the pockets of insurance company shareholders and CEOs. And keep in mind the cut-off for gross income for not having to pay the minimum Part B premium is $29K a year.

        2. Spring Texan

          But remember, most of Medicare is paid by our Medicare taxes. It’s not as though the $134/month covered the 80% expense of Part B care. It doesn’t.

          1. Spring Texan

            Also remember that Medicare should always have covered 100% but one way they got it passed was to throw a bone to the insurance companies, who then got this opportunity to get money while the government assumed the major risk of insuring older folk (which the insurance companies didn’t want to do, they are bad risks).

          2. katiebird

            I know. I watched many hours of Sen. Baucus’s healthcare hearings. And he asked the “cost” of opening Medicare to over 55s …. Whoever answered said it was $7,200/yr. And the subject was dropped that fast.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          He has stated (along with other groups, such as the National Nurses United Union) that the catastrophic impact on 20 million or more people if Obamacare goes makes killing Trumpcare the no. 1 priority, even if it gets in the way of single payer.

          From the Atlantic:

          On the ground, there is near-perfect unity over the view that the first priority of the entire left-of-center firmament should be to defeat the Senate GOP health care bill. At a Capitol Hill health care rally last week, Senator Bernie Sanders described the “job” of “finally pass[ing] a Medicare-for-all, single-payer program” as one that comes “after we defeat this disastrous [Trumpcare bill], and after we improve the Affordable Care Act.”

          The National Nurses United union, one of the most dedicated single-payer advocacy organizations in the country, has likewise reached the conclusion that the human toll of four or eight or more years of Trumpcare would be unacceptable, notwithstanding the possibility that a GOP health care law would make creating government-guaranteed health insurance the incumbent position of everyone left of center.

          Not for the first time, Sanders has proven himself both more humane, and more strategically aware, than many of his followers. And if the National Nurses United, who have been stalwart supporters of single payer and of Bernie have decided that protecting those who are under Obamacare right now is more important than virtue signalling, then its hard to blame him for backing them. It is unfortunate, however, that in the medium term this damages the fight for healthcare for all. But the demented lunacy of the Republicans means true progressives are faced with a Hobsons Choice here. Thats not Sanders’ fault.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            So agree about Sanders. But I think the quote is from the New Republic – earlier I linked to and excerpted the very same paragraph from an article of theirs (it’s further down).

            1. PlutoniumKun

              Yes, you are right about the quote, I always get those two magazines mixed up. And sorry, I hadn’t noticed you’d already linked to it.

          2. FluffytheObeseCat

            “Not for the first time, Sanders has proven himself both more humane, and more strategically aware, than many of his followers”

            Very much so. As was made screamingly obvious in more than one comments thread here today. Speaking as a 55 year old with a minor dependent, it’s really beyond repellent to read diatribes – from people who are quite clearly already on Medicare – about Sanders “selling out” by advocating for a 55+ pay in option.

            It will cost me ~$20,000 per annum next year to maintain mid-range private individual health coverage. If I become expensively ill, there is an extremely good likelihood it could be retroactively rescinded if I forgot to include any minute piece of personal history in the application. The statistical likelihood of such an event increases steadily with each year of age beyond ~50.

            An age-limited Medicare buy in might pass if the House were to flip in 2018; single payer will take much more of a sea change than that. At present, it’s a pretty, pretty pipe dream.

            1. Carla

              So Fluffy, whatever would be good for you is “more humane” ?

              OK, I get it. That’s the ethical framework we live in, for sure.

              The health insurance industry killed my husband and his pre-existing condition 20 years ago, so since then, I’ve worked for EINO. Everybody In, Nobody Out.

              That would include you, Fluffy, along with millions of other people I don’t know. And it would also include all of the people I love who need — and deserve — a decent healthcare system every bit as much as you do.

              If that’s repellent to you, maybe you could give it another think.

              1. FluffytheObeseCat

                I could make a reasonable argument that medicine – as practiced in the U.S. in 2004 – was in part responsible for my husband’s death that year, of sequelae from his brain aneurysm. However, using my status as a widow is not something I do unless it truly pertains to an argument I’m making. It is not germane to the issue of maximizing care and coverage for those alive now.

                Like I mentioned above, I have a child still to care for. A full buy in option for Medicare at age 55 would have secured her well-being beyond anything now out there in the private, individual coverage market. Medicare will not be casually rescinded the way private policies are, when the insured makes the vulgar error of becoming expensively ill.

                The truism, “the perfect is the enemy of the good” matters a great deal to me at this juncture. I have no reason to be patient with anyone who idolizes the perfect, when those who do so actively imperil myself and my dependent. Total loss of insurance coverage (and complete impoverishment because of it) is a very real threat to me. It will remain a threat for 10 more years, absent significant changes in U.S. health care policy.

                I am very far from unique. A Medicare buy in for the late middle-aged would save many families from penury, and years of ensuing humiliation.

      4. Dead Dog

        Older Americans – The ongoing insurance you are paying is a scam. You’ve already paid, through a lifetime of taxes and civic/patriotic duty.

        They are just mixing around with the bad features of the current bad system – that insurance sector, pharma – corruption in plain sight. When my country gives me those options, time to move…

    2. Mike

      I don’t think there is more evidence for Mr. Sanders selling the final peg up than this one. While he had been courageous in his run during the primary, the “cave” at the convention (especially while evidence of voting fraud piled up) and his previous “I’m sick and tired of hearing about the damned emails” gave all of us a window on what would happen when the pressure to “bolt or buy in” became critical.

      Senator Sanders is a Roosevelt Democrat, with all that position’s flaws and strengths. Unlike many on the Left, I did not hold out hope he would get through a Presidential run unscathed. Much of his popularity within DP ranks was because he was running against Hillary. Her inept attacks upon him, while brutal, were obviously corrupt and did not bring out the guns the Repugs would use, mainly because she knew it was in the bag.

      The Left is truly at a crossroads. We are left with an uphill fight against the Party of Money (D’s and R’s) and the Party of Rope-a-Dope (the citizenry). Years of attempted unity between the various factions of the “left” assure me it is infiltrated, if not led, by agents of the Party of Money and the Security bureaus, so that is also another “front” in the battle. Not giving up hope, just facing reality.

      1. oh

        All Sanders cares about is his committee chairmanship. He’s another one of those who talks a big talk but doesn’t walk his talk. I wish people would stop counting on him. Like others have written above, it’s time for all of us to push hard for what we want. Forget about these phonies. Another story says that Lord O is working behind the scenes (Obama plays behind-the-scenes role in rebuilding Democratic Party The Hill). How much more money does he want? I wish he’d go away and take Sanders with him.

    3. Tooearly

      A tweet from Sanders this morning
      We do not need to throw 22 million off health insurance. We need Medicare-for-all, and I will introduce that as soon as this debate is over.

    4. Mike

      Democrats – used to be called the “graveyard of movements”. Now, just graveyard will do.

  2. BobW

    MoA Syraqistan – read stenograph as steganograph, too early, not enough coffee. And Free Press Am. Conserv. – excellent article, mark as must read.

    1. timbers

      Yes. Read it.

      And do you think Iraq is noticing the dramatic progress made by Russia the past 18 months – despite the West’s best efforts to derail them – in restoring the Syrian nation and asking themselves how long have the Americans been in Iraq and it’s still a mess?

      Maybe not the paid for corrupt Iraqi leaders are asking this, but surely the Iraqi people.

      1. JamesG

        ” … how long have the Americans been in Iraq and it’s still a mess?”

        Didn’t Obama remove our troops?

        1. oh

          We were trying to stand down but the Iraqis were not standing up. We need to have more contractors there with more “training’.

      2. different clue

        The DC FedRegime and allied Coalition of the Willing forces destroyed the government of Iraq. They then found it hard to turn the scattered rubble ( which they scattered to begin with) into a self-governing society again.

        Whereas in Syria, the core government of the Syrian Arab Republic survived, despite the best efforts of the Global Axis of Jihad’s efforts to destroy that government. So the Russians have a legitimate government in place to work with. Since the government already exists, the Russians and others have the simpler ( though not easy) task of working with the legitimate Syrian government to exterminate the rebellion all over those parts of Syria currently in Cannibal Liver-Eating Jihadi hands. Once the Jihadi rebellion has been crushed and exterminated, the Syrian government is already still-in-existence, and can begin rolling out a program of finding and exterminating every trace of Jihadi sympathy within the borders of Syria. It can also rigidly exclude the re-entry into Syria of any refugee suspect of supporting the Global Axis of Jihad and the Cannibal Liver Eating Jihadis. They can be kept excluded by the dead-certain knowledge that they will be shot dead on sight at the border if they dare attempt to return.

    2. HBE

      I find it ironic that the American Conservative often expresses more left leaning sentiment than any liberal publication (think the Atlantic, Huffpo, etc.)

      And I place the quality of many of the articles near the Jacobin/Baffler level.

      Strange times indeed.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Count me as another admirer of American Conservative. Never thought I would say that.

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          Me neither– but when I find myself compiling Links, I almost always find at least one or more must-read pieces there. Strange times indeed.

      2. justanotherprogressive

        The Overton Window has shifted so far to the right that traditional conservatism now seems “left”. The American Conservative espouses the same things traditional (not the crazies we have now who claim to be conservatives but are really right wing reactionaries) conservatives have always espoused – they really aren’t something new or more “liberal”……it just seems that way when you see what has happened to the Democratic Party……

        1. Carla

          I must quote Mandos here, because it’s just too good not to share:
          “That is a deep and fundamental difference with the United States of America and its health care debate. Admitting to a belief that someone should suffer medically for lack of funds does not put you beyond the pale of politics. I lived in the USA over the Obamacare debate and had many acquaintances who expressed envy of the Canadian system under which I had lived my life previously; but I also had acquaintances who were willing at least to entertain the right-libertarian argument that property is an essential characteristic of being, and that to dilute my property for someone else‘s life — is a theft of my life. And they could make that argument in polite company and not be shunned.”

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            And should you doubt the legitimacy of Mandos’ contention, try reading the somewhat confusingly titled link:

            Health Community Writes to US Lawmakers Lobbying to Get Modi to Relax Protection on Drug Patents The Wire

            It details an effort by four u.s. lawmakers, one of whom is ron wyden to pressure India’s prime minister, Modi, to show more respect for big pharma american drug and device patents and stop making the low cost generics responsible for healthcare gains in developing countries, such as they are. In the interest of “free trade” of course.

            Some fun bits:

            By the end of Modi’s three-country tour, which was played at high volume in the Indian media, several individuals and organisations globally, have now written a response-letter, saying they find the efforts by these four lawmakers to pressure India to change its stand on drug patents, to be “appalling.”

            “According to some US producers, India’s arbitrary system has forced them to sell certain products at a loss in order to retain access to the Indian market,” said their letter. Abbott and Boston Scientific Corporation are two American stent-makers who have been trying to withdraw their stents from India, following India’s decision to bring stents under price control.

            Jessica Burry, Pharmacist for MSF’s [Doctors Without Borders] Access Campaign said, “People all over the world rely on affordable medicines from India, and we will not stand idly by if the US continues to try to shut down the pharmacy of the developing world.”

            Apparently advocating the belief that “someone should suffer medically” in service of an american patent, an american company’s right to sell at a profit globally or free trade is also not a reason for shunning in “polite” company.

            Appalling indeed.

      3. jsn

        T Am Conservative is actually Conservative which has more in common with the left (you can’t have a king without peasants) than Liberals do: people with out money are “useless eaters” to Liberals.

      4. Phil in Kansas City

        Indeed, some ACon essayists are in agreement at the end of the day with many liberals, although they got there via different arguments. In particular, I recall reading one article in favor of single-payer health insurance, which was one of the most cogent and intelligent articles on the subject I’d read in a long time.

        ACon readers tend to be pretty sharp, and they don’t put up with much nonsense, such as unquestioning loyalty to the Republican party and its current titular leader. This is the sort of site where conservatives actually think and express ideas about conserving things, instead of radical ideas like abolishing the 16th and 17th amendments, or advocating for the corporatcracy.

      5. Elizabeth Burton

        I find it ironic that the American Conservative often expresses more left leaning sentiment than any liberal publication (think the Atlantic, Huffpo, etc.)

        Chalk it up to the fact that those who are labeled “conservative” these days are, in fact, rabid libertarians who have co-opted the term. Just like the so-called “liberals” who are running the Democratic Party. Indeed, both have been used as pejoratives for so long they are essentially meaningless.

  3. RenoDino

    Sanders Has His Priorities Backwards; We Can’t Delay Medicare for All Counterpunch (ChiGal)

    “You may say, well Bernie doesn’t take corporate money, so why would he go along with this charade? It may be because he has greater allegiance to the Democratic Party than he has to the supporters of Medicare for All, his base. He may fear losing positions on committees or his new position of leadership within the party.”

    Finally, someone is saying what I’ve saying here all along. Bernie puts formality over principle. While it doesn’t make him a typical corrupt politician, he does make him the Patron Saint of Lost Causes because he compromises with corrupt politicians. In the process, he sacrifices the main goal and calls it a a win.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Another possible explanation from TNR

      Excerpt from the article, which posits that the quickest way to single payer is repeal of the ACA. Noting that in addition to Bernie:

      The National Nurses United union, one of the most dedicated single-payer advocacy organizations in the country, has likewise reached the conclusion that the human toll of four or eight or more years of Trumpcare would be unacceptable, notwithstanding the possibility that a GOP health care law would make creating government-guaranteed health insurance the incumbent position of everyone left of center.

      The conservative willingness to use human suffering as leverage to advance policy objectives is almost undetectable in the progressive bloodstream.

  4. Benedict@Large

    Sanders is guilty to a fault for wanting to work within the system, and thus tends to back away from his ultimate goals to whatever compromise he feels is possible. The problem here is that he is offering such a compromise before anyone from the other side has even offered to sit down at the table and negotiate. He’s given up his negotiating room before negotiations have even been agreed upon, and thus he’s lost before he’s even begun.

    1. katiebird

      Did he even bother to write up that Medicare for all bill he’s been promising?

      1. Cocomaan

        This is the most important question! Where’s the text of the bill he thinks is inevitable?

        It should be about two pages long. A nice PDF for his website.

        1. Eureka Springs

          It s called H R 676 with quite few existing sponsors. Why aren’t Sanders (and the rest of them) chanting it, handing out copies/flyers with every breath?

          Nobody likes what’s on offer from d vs r. such a missed opportunity to force 676 into the zeitgeist.

          I don t think for one moment this deafness is accidental.

          1. Vatch

            People should contact their Representatives and ask them to co-sponsor HR676. But don’t expect any action from the current Congress — this bill doesn’t have a chance before 2019. Not a single Republican has co-sponsored it, not even the idiosyncratic Walter Jones, who is a co-sponsor of some very progressive legislation (HR790, HJR48). Here’s the contact information for Representatives:


            Rather than criticize Sen. Sanders, it would be far more productive to criticize Republicans such as Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Orrin Hatch, Tom Cotton, and Mo Brooks. They’re the real obstacles to progress, fairness, and justice.

            1. different clue

              Perhaps every Democratic officeholder could be primaried in its next election by a challenger promising support-if-elected for H R 676. (Unless the Democratic officeholder in question were already a supporter of H R 676). But for those who aren’t , if they were not replaced on ticket by the primary challenger who were for H R 676, then all the Democratic voters could vote Republican to assure the loss and defeat of the anti-H R 676 Democratic officeseeker. Applying that approach coldly and single-mindedly in every single Congressional district would eventually pare the Democratic Delegation down to a unanimously pro H R 676 band of Red Gingriches ready to either get 676 passed or Burn Down The House ( and the Senate too) to make sure no one could achieve one single thing about one single thing until the Single Payer community got Single Payer.

    2. HBE

      Sanders I believe is at heart a dedicated reformist, and at this point that is more harm than good.

    3. Carla

      Just like everyone else in Congress, he loves his job and wants to keep it. It’s a great gig, with terrific benefits, including — Ta-da!
      Health care! Such a deal.

      1. Arizona Slim

        In 2009, I attended a Bernie town hall in Peacham, VT. Here is how he described his health insurance:

        “I have the same plan as my secretary. It ain’t that great.”

          1. Anon

            Medicaid is for the poor; Senators are not poor. Since ~75% of their medical premiums are paid by the government, the Gold Plan for Senators is likely a sweet deal. Probably lower premium than Medicare + gap insurance.

    4. Spring Texan

      Honestly, even the 55 part would be a great and significant victory (and will be fought like the devil). I think you are all too critical of Sanders.

      1. Carla

        You mean the way a piece of crap legislation like the Affordable Care Act (neither affordable nor care) has been fought?

        If we’re gonna fight, we might as well have something worth fighting for, Spring Texan.

        It’s been posted on NC before, but if anyone missed it, what Mandos had to say about U.S. healthcare over at Ian Welsh’s blog is critically important:

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The politics don’t make sense either, maybe in a better economy, but I’m not sure of the political pragmatism of telling millennial to support helping get Clinton primary voters get better Healthcare.

          It doesn’t make sense. It seems easy because it seems like asking for half a loaf, and I understand that seduction. When your strength is people under the age of 40, it would make sense to pursue policy that would keep them engaged and motivated. For the people who aren’t as committed to the cause, they will leave if they don’t receive material benefits. It’s why the Democrats are a minority party up against the likes of Trump. Team Blue ultimately failed to improve the lives of the 90%. Plenty of people will lie to themselves or live under the delusion ACA just needs one more Friedman Unit to work, but it will never be enough to win an election that matters or wasn’t so safe a corpse could win.

          Politics isn’t rocket science. It’s actually really easy, but one has to accept one has to chew gum and walk at the same effect time.

          Not only do we need to do Healthcare, we need to focus on private debt, housing, education, infrastructure, foreign policy, etc…

          Shockingly enough, Barack HUSSEIN OSAMA became President promising a host of reforms that would make improvements in people’s lives. His “pragmatic” approach once in office led to Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader McConnell, and President Trump.

          1. dontknowitall

            NotTimothyGeithner –

            “[Obama’s] “pragmatic” approach once in office led to Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader McConnell, and President Trump”.

            That is a great concise summary of the Obama misPresidency.

          2. Anon

            The politics don’t make sense either, maybe in a better economy, but I’m not sure of the political pragmatism of telling millennial to support helping get Clinton primary voters get better Healthcare.

            This is an excellent observation that needs a re-statement:

            Telling young (-40) folks (who will likely never recover from our current economics) to get excited about a plan to bring Medicare (supported by ALL workers) to those of 55+ is simply a sharp poke in the eye.

            Millennial’s aren’t stupid (many have gone to college; and are in debt). They want the current medical insurance scam that is Obamacare transformed into single-payer. Now!!

            1. Swamp Yankee


              When people $100,000 in debt for their schooling (which they were told to get at all costs!) are told to be happy with $12/hr jobs; a blank denial by the rulers of the necessary means (health, shelter, water, food, rainment, etc) to pursue life, liberty, and happiness; and permanent debt peonage — well, many of them have now read Lenin and Clausewitz and Tom Paine in the course of those educations, and out of such materials revolutions are made (indeed, there’s a lively scholarly discussion of the role of disappointed classes in the making of revolutions — the French bourgeoisie in the late 18th c. being the classic example).

            2. Vatch

              They want the current medical insurance scam that is Obamacare transformed into single-payer. Now!!

              As I pointed out at 12:45 PM today, the Republicans control the Congress and the Presidency, so millennials won’t get single payer now, period. It’s unfair, but that’s the reality. If they want single payer, they need to actively support insurgents in the 2018 Democratic primaries, and then they need to support Democratic candidates against the Republicans in the general election.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Another option is to run as an Independent and then switch to the D party once in the Senate.

                Or just get a bunch of progressive D senators and form a new party. The same challenge is the same here as before, getting nominated and elected.

                And the same question as the former Soviet Communist party – which will come first, reform or demise?

                At the end, change came from outside and it was the end of the party.

              2. UserFriendly

                Millennials aren’t stupid. No one thinks the GOP is going to suddenly come to their senses and pass it. But we also seriously doubt that any democrats want to either.

                1. Vatch

                  But we also seriously doubt that any democrats want to either.

                  That’s why you have to pay close attention to the Democratic primaries in 2018, and support the correct candidates. Be sure that the Representatives who have co-sponsored HR676 know that you expect results from them in 2019.

                  1. UserFriendly

                    Yeah, I’m aware. I’ve also seen both Obama and Clinton evolve on the issue. I don’t trust anyone or anything in this shithole country to do anything but try and kill me sooner or make money off me I’ve yet to be proven wrong.

            3. a different chris

              Well maybe we should really f with everybody and propose exactly the opposite: free healtcare until you turn, say 35.

              (stop thowing things at your computer! — you can’t hit me from there :))

              Think about it: It’s the vastly cheaper end of the spectrum. Takes care of everybody’s kids, we Americuns love kids, right? It simply does lots of people for little money. And – those people aren’t going to be too happy about losing it at age 36. Right smack when they get more serious about voting. Now you have an seriously aroused constituency…a mirror image of the one on the Medicare side.

      2. Eureka Springs

        ST, imo it’s essential we kill insurance co s with fire. So much of all these incremental options fail to do exactly that. All while they chip further into privitization of the rest.

        Ive got a raging debilitating gall bladder, mystery cysts or dog forbid tumors…and ten years since i last saw a health care professional who charged hundreds while never looking at or touch me while fondling their i pad and telling me ti get insurance I could neither afford and would not help if i did.

        So convince yourself of that while i literally vomit. And countless people i know suffer so much worse i hardly dare mention my woes in their company.

          1. HotFlash

            MLTPB, I have to agree in theory, but I live in Canada. Somehow, *somehow!!!*, we manage to provide healthcare for *everyone*. And hello, we don’t pay premiums. No. Nothing.

            Could it be that we are a sovereign currency issuer? Could be!!!. But most of us Canucks are not into MMT, so a *breath* of ‘can’t afford that’ might go far. OTOH, taxes are collected from humans and corps, it is hard to know that corps are not paying anywhere near the $$$ they used to pay. Seems like no-one wants to bring that up?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              No premiums, no deductibles, no co-pays?

              Down here, we are only just working on not-quite-affordable supplemental to Medicare-for-all, for under $200 plus $134 per month.

              But we already starting to see free-college for all (who are smart enough to be admitted – can’t waste 4-year colleges’ resources on those not qualified, e.g. without a high school diploma) in some places.

              I just hope that health care delayed is not health care denied. Some care can wait – like a chronic bad back; some care can’t wait – like appendicitis.

              I hope you don’t have to wait long in Canada to see a doctor.

        1. clarky90

          Dear ES

          When I went down the Rabbit Hole (red pill), one of the friendliest, most helpful mystical critters I encountered was, Dr Joseph Mercola. I am a healthy 67 yo in NZ. We have almost free Government Healthcare here- I avoid it like the plague, except for trauma (broken shoulder blade, torn retina- even our babies were born at home, with a midwife as primary care giver)

          Not only is the “healthcare” in the USA extraordinarily expensive, it is vapid! They treat symptoms, not causes (except for trauma care, emergency room stuff, which can be a miracle).

          “Exposing corporate, government, and mass media hype that diverts you away from what is truly best for your health and often to a path that leads straight into an early grave.

          … I fund this site, and therefore, am not handcuffed to any advertisers, silent partners, or corporate parents….”

          The best part is that Dr Mercola has one hour+ interviews with hundreds of other natural health experts. Endlessly entrancing!

      3. Vatch

        Honestly, even the 55 part would be a great and significant victory (and will be fought like the devil). I think you are all too critical of Sanders.

        Spring Texan, you are absolutely correct. The Republicans in the House passed a bill that removes health insurance coverage from millions, and lowers taxes on the rich. The Senate couldn’t quite pass such a bill, but they came close, and they may yet do so. If we’re lucky, the Senate won’t be able to pass their bill, and then there will be a slim chance for an incremental single payer health bill. It will still be absolutely impossible to pass single payer for all, because the Republicans control both houses of Congress, as well as the Presidency!

        Anyone who sincerely hopes for a single payer health law must look ahead to 2018, and support the correct people in the Democratic primaries. No third party will magically rise up to seize control of the House of Representatives in 2018, it is mathematically impossible for a third party to seize control of the Senate before 2020, and the Republicans are overt sycophants of the ultra-rich. The only hope in the near future lies with Democratic insurgents. People like these:

        Stephen Jaffe versus Pelosi:

        David Hildebrand versus Feinstein:

        Candidates in other districts:

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          Thank you for being a voice of consistent and constructive reason. Also, see my link above to the New Republic article. Sanders is not willing to throw anyone to the dogs, and nor is the NNU, in order to get to single payer faster.

          But doesn’t this also resemble his focus on not-Trump after the primary, and look how that turned out. Perhaps more of us should have listened to him. I sure didn’t, I was a none-of-the-above voter.

        2. toolate

          Best As I can tell from reading any other than conjecture, Sanders believes in MEdicare For all.
          Fact remains, it isnt going anywhere till new progressives are in office.
          Anyone see anyone besides Our Revolution actually doing some constructive work in that regard>?

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That has been the marketing for decades – “It’s only possible through the D party. Mathematically impossible with a third party.”

          1. Lambert Strether

            I keep saying this, but I’ll say it again: When the voters were faced with a choice between Clinton and Trump, the GP couldn’t make it’s 5% threshold. So, I’d say “mathematically impossible,” sure.

          2. Vatch

            When I said:

            it is mathematically impossible for a third party to seize control of the Senate before 2020

            I was telling the truth. I’m not sure whether there will be 33 or 34 Senate seats up for reelection in 2018, but since 51 Senators are required to control the Senate, and the Republicans and Democrats currently have 98 Senators, it really is mathematically impossible to seize control of the Senate before 2020. Actually, the Senators elected in 2020 won’t take office until 2021.

            Aside from the mathematical impossibility of a third party rapidly seizing control of the Senate, there’s also the practical impossibility. In addition to what Lambert said about the Greens missing the all important 5% threshhold: both the Greens and the Libertarians together only got 4.35% of the popular vote.

    5. sid_finster

      To be fair to Sanders, Team D has doubtless let him know and in no uncertain terms, that he is being held responsible for the failure to consummate the Coronation, that he is on thin ice and that any future deviation from the acceptable range of Team D policy will be noted and used accordingly.

      No need to threaten his family or anything so crude.

      Now, what Sanders needs to do is say “screw it and primary me, take away committee assignments, whatever!” and fight back!

      It was like during the convention. Yes, Sanders promised to support the Team D candidate. But Team D dealt with him in bad faith from day one.

      So stand up with the protestors, man! Wreck the mini-coronation! You’re going to be despised and abused anyway, so at least make Team D fear and respect you.

      At some point, standing by a promise to someone who defrauds you is a sign of weakness and not integrity.

      1. polecat

        ‘Thin ice’ you say … ??

        Sanders needs to take a really cold swim in the waters of dispare .. as have many of us who are in dire straights, healthwise …. and man-up, or STFU !!
        Is he going to share some of HIS precious ‘senate health care’ so I, or someone not so lucky, oops, I mean entitled, can stave off the ferryman a bit longer ?? …. what’s that ? … oh, right …. Crickets …. LOUDLY SO !!
        ….. but hey B & J ‘ve got their’s …. right ?

      2. UserFriendly

        IMO as soon as Sanders saw single payer being used to whip GOP votes on their Obamacare repeal he backed off a bit. He doesn’t want the threat of single payer being used to repeal Obamacare. I’ll give him till once the GOP finishes deciding what they are going to do with healthcare before I pass judgement. A few weeks isn’t going to make a difference either way.

    6. integer

      I once got chewed out here for agreeing with someone who used the term “milquetoast” to describe Sanders.

      milquetoast: a person who is timid or submissive

      The shoe (still) fits, imo. Sanders could have declared war on the D-party and had 10+ million people willing to follow him into battle. More would have joined the cause once it gained traction. Out of crisis emerges opportunity, and Sanders missed his opportunity to precipitate a crisis.

      1. Yves Smith

        Stop begin ridiculous. How is Sanders supposed to declare war, exactly? And what precisely were his followers to do? Blow up Democratic party offices?

        Sanders fought Hillary Clinton with her enormous resources and a party that played every dirty trick in the book to a standstill. He took the fight to California when he was being pressured like crazy to quit. He was tenacious, stuck to his message, and didn’t let the effort of campaigning and all the noise distract him. Sanders way way way outdid anything that seemed even remotely possible in October 2015 but that isn’t good enough for you. If you think you can do so much better, why don’t you run for office rather than play armchair quarterback?

  5. philnc

    It would be good to see a detailed factual discussion about Christie’s Horizon BC/BS measure, whose passage he made a condition for signing the budget. What’s really going on here? Horizon, as a NJ not-for-profit, is traditionally (as in over decades under both Dem and Rep governments) subject to more scrutiny and control by the state under state law than private for profit companies. The state Division of Insurance has some pretty serious power over all insurers operating in the state to begin with (re Dem Gov Florio’s knock down, drag out fight with auto insurers in the 90’s). Yet all the quotes I’ve seen opposing Christie’s proposal to divert money from Horizon’s surplus into drug addiction treatment, and require publication of executive salaries, seem to stand on this being an overreach that will raise premiums. Christie is no socialist, nor is he an egalitarian. He’s as neoliberal as the Dems in the legislature, albeit considerably more authoritarian. What’s his angle here? Why are the Dems defending a health insurer? Is it really an overreach? Will it increase premiums? Who can provide a truly objective analysis on either question? As a former NJ resident I’m painfully aware of how the drive for corrupt partisan advantage colors pretty much everything that politicians and their allies in the press there say about any given issue. Having been on the inside of government and observed how often reporting had little relation to reality, I can’t help but think the public is hopelessly in the dark on this one.

  6. dontknowitall

    Nina Turner has been accused of being too much of a Dem partisan to be an independent actor for Our Revolution but from all the good things I have heard about her during this last election it seems to me she is a surprisingly good choice for the job. To misquote from Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, no well-behaved women has ever made history.

    The future will tell, of course.

    1. DJG

      dontknowitall: Yes, despite some skepticism up-thread, I am willing to give Nina Turner the benefit of the doubt for now. I read the interview with her in the New Republic, and she makes sense, as she always does.

          1. Carla

            The Democrat party has been the unchallenged power in Cleveland for many decades, and Cleveland is as corrupt a one-party town as you can get. Mayor Frank Jackson is such a tool that when the people of Cleveland collected 5 or 6 times as many signatures as needed to get a $15 minimum wage issue on the city ballot, he ran to the Republican state legislature and begged them to pass legislation removing home rule authority over wages from municipalities statewide. Surprise, they were only too happy to accommodate Frank. That’s only one example out of thousands any Clevelander could cite to show how the Democrat political class F’s over the working people of the poorest big city in the country. Nina Turner is a Democrat first, last and foremost. Read the fawning bio of her on Wikipedia.

              1. Carla

                Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.

                I guess you failed to finish reading my comment. And have you read the Wikipedia entry on Nina Turner?

                Get back to me when you have.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Are you referring to this passage in the Wikipedia article:

                  In the 2016 presidential election, Turner initially supported Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination,[1] but switched her support to Bernie Sanders.[2] After Clinton won the nomination, Turner was invited by Jill Stein to become the Green Party’s nominee for Vice President, but Turner declined, stating, “I believe that the Democratic Party is worth fighting for.”[15]

        1. dontknowitall

          If you know something useful please share otherwise you are just wasting electrons

            1. Anon

              . . . it’s now available. Thanks for the cogent response.

              Coming of age (politically) in the Nixon Era, I recall the words of Att. Gen. John Mitchell: ” watch we do, not what we say.” A much more direct era.

  7. voteforno6

    Re: Obama and the Democrats

    So, he’s trying to rebuild the party that he helped to run into the ground…what could go wrong?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Obama wants to make it stay focused on him. If the Democrats succeed without him, what does it say about Obama’s Presidency?

      Right now, his legacy amounts to “he would have except mean Republicans and it was pragmatic to get elected” and similar nonsense. Positioning himself as a defender against shadowy forces is all he has as a legacy. The Obama hagiogrophy is short on details or accomplishments.

      1. oh

        There are still quite a few DimRats ( elites ) who apologize for Lord O… but, but, the Republicans….

      2. Quentin

        Obama was the victim of the Repugnants. Nothing was his fault, though like his appointed heir, Hillary Clinton, he must logically accept responsibility.

  8. DJG

    A Brief, Cheesy Interlude from The Baffler. Ha, I say. Ohio has nothing on Illinois and Wisconsin when it comes to cheese. I recently drove round trip Chicago / Minneapolis for a business meeting. Every town along 90 and 94 advertises a Cheese Shack, or a Cheese Chalet, or a Cheese Emporium. And I won’t even mention the Mars Cheese Castle near Racine, which is a dairy-laden pilgrimage destination on the order of Santiago de Campostela.

    I also stopped for a breakfast-as-lunch on my return trip. Osseo, Wisconsin, beckoned because of a sign for the Norske Nook. Who can resist the siren-song of Norwegians with pie? Naturally, much dairy—sour cream came with the potato fritters. And the breakfast portion of ham must easily have been a half pound. And then the waitress sweetly asked if I wanted one of the cream pies for dessert.

    Great story in The Baffler about the Yarman family business, but for sheer lacto-inundation, you have to head farther west.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump slams CNN, which says he should start doing his job MarketWatch

    If calling out news fakers is part of his job, then he’s been doing it, and just did it again by slamming CNN.

    Wonder if he will slam Marketwatch.

    Or maybe his job is to explain Russiagate.

    Then, some people prefer gridlock. In that case, his job is to produce nothing…nothing that moves.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The US government is removing scientific data from the Internet Ars Technica

    When you mix scientific data with the military or corporations, the number one concern is bad guys (and gals) weaponizing those scientific data, sourced openly on the net or through hacking.

    1. Alex Morfesis

      If the “bad guys” have not by now downloaded all the “bad evil scientist” data after 25 + years of al gores’ little invention…they need to stick to selling chicken and rice from their cousins food truck…

      1. oh

        “after 25 + years of al gores’ little invention” – Hey Alex, can’t you let me drink my coffee in peace? I almost sprayed my coffee on my laptop display when I read that. Good one!

    2. Mike

      I refer you to Oppenheimer and da Bomb, and the development of the hydrogen by Teller. Government started corralling science long before we were born. It is now a fairly exact science, pardon the pun.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Yup. Can’t say the government didn’t do its job back then.

        And not completely shocking that they want to do that again…or more thoroughly.

    3. different clue

      I doubt that militarily or terroristically weaponizable data is what the Trump Admin is ordering taken down. I suspect that data which the Trumpers are removing is data useful to conservation or antipollution or activism on those two areas.

  11. Biologist

    Well-sourced piece by Guardian’s Aditya Chakrabortty, on how a Labour council in North London is throwing its poor communities under the bus for the benefit of real estate investors and developers
    (UK / Grenfell Tower / banana republic / class warfare / social cleansing)

    Sam Leggatt gets the point: “They want to turn our home into Kensington, without Grenfell.” She quotes an assertion from a senior cabinet member that the estate on which she lives is worth “minus £15m”. The council says this is the net cost of improving the 1,300 homes, but Leggatt has her interpretation: “They think we’re what makes it worth minus £15m. Us, the plebs, the people who’ve lived here, raised our families here, worked here, got our memories here. We’re just a commodity to them.”

    Contempt, Haringey-style, is publishing a text longer than War and Peace and expecting the public to digest it in just five working days. It is showing foreign investors one thing, and telling local residents another. Employing a director of regeneration who openly describes part of the area she’s regenerating as a “warzone” – a comment the council claims was taken out of context. It is creating a future for an area in which the very people living there are erased.

    1. a different chris

      > a comment the council claims was taken out of context.

      Yeah there are so many mild variations of “warzone” that I don’t know how they weren’t more careful.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Peter Thiel Is Funding the Effort to Bring Woolly Mammoths Back to Life MIT Technology Review

    And after that, Neanderthals.

    1. Alex Morfesis

      Wait…what ?? Peter Thiel in bid to do LBO of sears/kmart ???…woolie wool sweaters to bring back auntie kate??…funded by the Neanderthal insurance company ?? Get munger on the phone…does he know about this ?

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Its likely he saw Jurassic Park (movie only) and went, “hey, what a good idea!”

      1. a different chris

        Quite possibly. Really, all of my near and far observations of “successful” people in the wealth/business (inc. “technical” businesses, maybe even especially stuff like software and computer hardware) are that they pick at the most obvious bits and move on. They never completely immerse themselves in anything, there is always a phone call to answer, a different place to be.

        So yeah, I would bet money on two facts:
        1) Peter Thiel has “seen” Jurassic Park.
        2) Peter Thiel did not see all of the movie.

        Substitute Gates, Ellison, any mover and shaker, and on the other side put in Transformers, etc.

        That’s just the way very, let’s call them “narrow” individuals behave. They never finish a meal, never quite live in their mansion(s), never really raise their kids. But we are supposed to hand them the keys to society. Sorry, no.

        1. different clue

          Well, if we won’t just hand them the keys to society, they will just take the keys to society. Unless we can find a way to cut off their fingers at the shoulder first.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Sanders Has His Priorities Backwards; We Can’t Delay Medicare for All Counterpunch (ChiGal)

    A ‘jam today’ moment.

  14. eD

    “How America’s Aircraft Carriers Could Become Obsolete Bloomberg”

    This article is quite good and detailed, its only flaw being the usual one with these pieces with understating the corruption in the system, which means sinking money into unusable weapons systems is now pretty much the point.

    If the aircraft carrier is not obsolete now it will be within ten years, so the sensible course is the one proposed of scrapping the Ford class, since the current ones on hand have ten more years of life left in them.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They can be used as cruise ships (not to be confused with cruisers).

      “Turn swords into plowshares, and aircraft carriers into football and soccer-themed cruise ships.”

      1. dontknowitall

        And you can use the secondary cooling circuit of the nuclear reactor to warm up the olympic size pools with the added benefit the leftover steam can be used to expel any deplorables via catapult.

    2. David

      As such, aircraft carriers can’t become obsolete until somebody finds another way of projecting power around the world, including aircraft, helicopters, embarked troops, command and control etc. That’s not to deny that they are vulnerable, simply that if you want to project power you have to take that risk.

      1. a different chris

        Hmm, aren’t we seeing that “projecting power” itself is becoming obsolete? — at least in the classic military sense.

        Again, I call attention to our “destroyer” becoming nearly a squashed squirrel in the road and the absence of two significant buildings in the New York skyline.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    New Mexico health reporter: ‘I’ve yet to find a story that didn’t have its roots in poverty’ CJR

    Not even one story about some rich, greedy billionaire losing his health working too hard for other rich people, trading bonds, for example?

    Let’s not delude ourselves into thinking greedy people are healthy immortals.

  16. WeakenedSquire

    For a dose of reality:

    Basically, a fading rearguard of country-club republicans and liberals in the Texas lege are fighting Christian conservative soldiers on culture-war stuff (and some heartbreaking third-worldification in the area of children’s health as a consequence of said religious crusades).

    There is no Left in the state at all; as noted in the article, there’s no labor movement that could organize such a thing.

    1. Mike

      There once was a branch of the Socialist Workers’ Party in Dallas and Austin. They probably ended up hood ornaments.

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      There is actually active and growing Democratic Socialists of America chapters in Texas as well as chapters of Our Revolution and Justice Democrats/Brand New Congress. And the attitude that one has to be on “the Left” to desire progressive policies is elitist. It’s the standard all-or-nothing worldview that refuses to acknowledge the way to success is to join with as many people as share your goals as possible, without application of some arbitrary standard of purity.

  17. Carey

    My take, for the moment, is that the Few believe they can take out most of the Many in a timeframe that
    makes quaint ideas like Medicare for All moot.

    1. a different chris

      Well if it, um heartens you (??? makes us less likely to contemplate slashing our wrists ???) it’s been proffered that when the people in power believe that change – in their favor – is inevitable they actually loosen the reins a bit.

      The example given by this school of thought is US steelworkers in the early 70’s. They got good raises because the people giving out the money knew they were going to lay them all off in a couple of years so why bother with the fight. Just bad pub for nothing the Richey Richs would actually miss.

  18. hemeantwell

    Why the Media Really Hates ‘War Machine’ American Conservative

    The film’s pretty good, and kudos to all involved, but we were blown away at how delightfully effective Russell Crowe’s uncredited cameo was at the very end. Sure, by the end we get the point that Afghanistan is a quagmire. But the concluding image of a fatigues-wearing, ferocious Crowe charging at us in an airport, flanked by a squad of aides and ready to replace Pitt and WIN FOR AMERICA was the condensing image the film needed.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    US CEOs earn up to three times rivals. FT

    From a Washington Post article, March 2015:

    US IT consultants, medical specialists and journalists lead the world.

    Cleaners, cooks and primary school teachers – middle of the pack.

    I suppose American reporters can’t complain about being underpaid (relatively speaking).

    1. marieann

      Reading from those charts for nursing, the US is top of the list at $23
      In Canada when I retired from nursing in 2004 I was making $35.I believe it is now up to $45/hr
      This just make one wonder how accurate the other numbers are

      I worked in the US for a short while after graduating and the wage in Canada was $5 more/hr than I got in the US.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China, India and Sikkim.

    From Wikipedia, Sikkim:

    The Chinese government eventually recognised Sikkim as an Indian state in 2003, on the condition that India officially recognise Tibet as a part of China;[34] New Delhi had originally accepted Tibet as a part of China in 1953 during the government of Jawaharlal Nehru.[35] The 2003 agreement led to a thaw in Sino-Indian relations,[36] and on 6 July 2006, the Sikkimese Himalayan pass of Nathu La was opened to cross-border trade, becoming the first open border between India and China.[37] The pass, which had previously been closed since the 1962 Sino-Indian War, was an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road.[37]

    It reads like the dispute should have been resolved, an agreement worked out back in 2003.

    1. oh

      India’s better off making peace with China. Aligning with the US is “heap bad medicine” and assures India of dire consequences. When the west sell arms, they usually hold back spare parts if the buyer doesn’t dance to their tune.

      1. a different chris

        haha the real reason not to sell stuff like that to China, as they would rather quickly be selling us and everybody else the spare parts to *our* arms.

        Weird that India never became a “hard” manufacturing giant, or at least weird to me – I really know nothing about India, or more importantly what I do know is so conflicting and simply bent (by exposure to transplanted, software engineering and medical professionals) it’s worse than useless. Enlightenment welcome.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Culture and history.

          China has a long history of leading the world in manufacturing and exporting (of porcelain, tea and silk) and administrative culture, organized as one giant nation.

          In contrast, India was an identify forged by the British from a collection of maharajas with many different languages and scripts, versus one dominant script and one dominant language (that comes with many dialects, some incomprehensible to others verbally).

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    USS Stethem, South China Sea…BBC.

    It’s nice of the BBC to include a photo of a bunch of Chinese tourists posing on one of the islands.

    And a hint of a (Chinese) solution to the problem – settle those islands with tourists, and hold referendums. The settlers can vote with paper ballots.

  22. Alex Morfesis

    The League of Nations tells Qatar to work out its issues with Mussolini while the Condor Legion continues to drop bombs on civilians in Aleppo…

    80 years later it still rhymes…

    the morthings change…

  23. WheresOurTeddy

    Obama plays behind-the-scenes role in rebuilding Democratic Party (that he willfully helped destroy)


  24. Procopius

    OT, mild rant not directed at NC. I didn’t go to the link, but what does it mean that “U.S. bank CEOs earn three times more than their rivals?” Does that mean that a U.S. bank CEO’s compensation is 300% of his peer’s? Or 400%? Meaning as much as a peer plus three times as much on top of that? I always thought the idiom was supposed to be “as much as.” Which probably is what was meant, but I’m never going to know, am I?

  25. different clue

    Since no one else has offered guesses about the birds in the photo, here is my guess. At least two of them are White Faced Ibises. As against plain old Glossy Ibises.

    Here is a link to a bunch of photos of White Faced Ibises and also Glossy Ibises.;_ylt=A0LEV0fgTFtZa18AH3tXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyNWNiaW4yBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjI5NDRfMQRzZWMDc2M-?p=glossy+ibis+vs.+white+faced+ibis&fr=sfp#id=6&

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