Links 8/6/17

Eager beavers experts at recreating wildlife-rich wetlands, study reveals Guardian

Bizarro Life-Forms Inhabiting Deep-Sea Vents May Be at Risk Scientific American

Electric vehicle realities Izabella Kaminska, FT. “Questioning the cost structures of the industry in general is not allowed in public forums.”

The Accounting Tack That Makes PayPal’s Numbers Look So Good Gretchen Morgenson, NYT. File under The Bezzle. But where were the editors on this? Surely that headline should read “This One Accounting Tack….”?

The Hijacking of the Brillante Virtuoso Bloomberg. “Because if the hijacking of the Brillante Virtuoso wasn’t a case of fumbled piracy, it would be the most spectacular fraud in shipping history.” Fun!

There’s No Magic in Venture-Backed Home Care Medium

Airbnb dominated by professional landlords Deutsche Welle

Beyond Bankruptcy: How Failed Stores Come Back Online WSJ

Google blocked every one of the WSWS’s 45 top search terms WSWS (MT). I tried “Trotsky.” Nothing from Google 10 pages into the search results. Bing had a WSWS hit at #75, six pages in. WSWS was at #70 on DuckDuckGo’s infinite scroll. Trotsky is seven pages in at Yahoo, five pages in at the DogPile aggregator, three pages in at Yandex, and two pages in at Yippy, oddly, and on the front page at #19 at Unbubble (a neutral European search engine). Certainly, some, er, invisible hand seems to be operating at Google. Readers, try for yourselves!

For the New Far Right, YouTube Has Become the New Talk Radio NYT

Chinese chatbots apparently re-educated after political faux pas Reuters

Imperial Collapse Watch

The end of the “wars on the cheap” for the United States The Saker

In Blackwater Case, Court Rejects a Murder Conviction and Voids 3 Sentences NYT

Present and Perspectives of the “Triangle” Between China, Latin America and the United States COHA (MT).

American petro-topia Aeon (MT). Plastics.


Venezuela suspended from South American trade bloc FT

Venezuela’s chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega rejects dismissal BBC

North Korea

United Nations bans key North Korea exports over missile tests Reuters

US, North Korean neighbors step up campaign of isolation AP

China, China, China 38 North


Britain willing to accept a £36bn Brexit divorce bill The National

Failure to reach Brexit deal ‘suicide’ for UK, says former EU chief Guardian. Interview with Romano Prodi.

Amsterdam shines as financial groups eye EU access FT

A Creative Brexit? Cable

New Cold War

What’s Worse: Trump’s Campaign Agenda or Empowering Generals and CIA Operatives to Subvert it? Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept (ChiGal).

Louise Mensch’s New Conspiracy: It Wasn’t the Russians; It Was the Jews Tablet. Ah yes. I’m so old I remember when Larry Tribe called Louise Mensch “incomparable,” and the NYT gave her Op-Ed space. Good times…

Trump Transition

Trump and the Leaked Transcripts The American Conservative

Keep the Trump Leaks Coming The New Republic

Republican Shadow Campaign for 2020 Takes Shape as Trump Doubts Grow NYT

Trump now has the votes to feed U.S. fracking frenzy with new gas pipelines McClatchy

Fears rise for US climate report as Trump officials take reins Nature. A red-team approach.

This is a Post About Drought. And Farmer Suicide. Prairie Center

A changing electrical grid may make Snake River dams expendable — and help save salmon Idaho Statesman

Wyoming Residents Reject First New Coal Mine in Decades Global Citizen (GF).

How Air-Conditioning Conquered America (Even the Pacific Northwest) NYT

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Report “Corporate Surveillance in Everyday Life” – Info Institute for Critical Digital Culture (full report).

Our Minds Have Been Hijacked by Our Phones. Tristan Harris Wants to Rescue Them WIRED (Re Silc).

Big Data Is Coming to Take Your Health Insurance Bloomberg

Health Care

Italy may have a struggling economy but its people are the healthiest in the world WEF

Medicare-for-All Isn’t the Solution for Universal Health Care The Nation (GF). Lambert here: Good on transitional costs, but I think holding up systems like Germany, France, and the Netherlands as models for the US isn’t a good idea. They have complex systems that depend on tightly regulated private health insurance companies, and policy wonks like that, because they think we live in the First World. However, for a political economy in a large country like ours, with health inequity, corruption, and poor governance — and with the dominant culture based on cheating — the complexity is an open invitation for corruption and rent-seeking. The simple and rugged Canadian single payer system is more appropriate for us (and it’s also proven to work; you can think of the US vs. Canadian health care systems as the largest competitive testing trial in the history of the world).

Pritzker, Pawar unveil health insurance plans Crain’s Chicago Business

Will Colorado’s Health Insurance Industry Run One Of Its Own For Governor? David Sirota, International Business Times. A Democrat. Naturally.

Aetna CEO: Obamacare ‘cannot be repealed, period‘ CNBC

Cleaning a Dirty Sponge Only Helps Its Worst Bacteria, Study Says NYT (Furzy Mouse). “The thrifty among us may try to clean a sponge that starts to stink, but it’s probably time to let it go.” Just like the health insurance companies!

Soft Money Is Back — And Both Parties Are Cashing In Politico (Re Silc).

Democrats in Disarray

In the key 2018 battlegrounds, Trump’s support is as high as ever Vox (Re Silc). “[I]n congressional districts held by Republicans, there remains a core group of right-leaning voters who don’t seem concerned about the messy dramas emanating from the White House. The pattern is the same when we narrow the focus to the closest 25 congressional districts on either side. (The pattern also persists when we look at close counties, which rules out gerrymandering as an explanation, since county lines are not regularly redrawn for electoral reasons.)”

Bernie, Kamala, and the Left’s War of Mutually Assured Destruction Washington Monthly

Ex-DNC Chair Howard Dean: ‘Whiny’ Left Doesn’t Want to Win, They Just Want to Be ‘Pure’ Mediaite

Hillary Clinton Hires Two Former Campaign Aides For “Resistance” PAC Buzzfeed. Of course she did.

We Need a Plan, Not a Brand Moyers and Company. Naomi Klein.

Warren: ‘I am not running for president, I’m doing my work’ The Hill

9 questions about the Democratic Socialists of America you were too embarrassed to ask Vox. “In the last year alone, DSA’s membership has ballooned from 8,000 to 25,000 dues-paying members. DSA boasts that it is now the biggest socialist organization in America since World War II.”

Democratic Socialists of America Celebrate Record Membership in Chicago. Now What? The Intercept

Why These Millennials Refuse To Miss The Democratic Socialists Of America Convention Bustle

A Turning Point on the Left? Libertarian Caucus Debuts at Democratic Socialist Conference Truthout. (I’m not sure that caucuses exist until formally approved, though.)

The Connective Party Jacobin

Class Warfare

Slate’s Biggest Enemies Are Donald Trump and Its Staff Trying to Unionize Splinter News

While Boeing touts profits, workforce shrinks Seattle Times

Opioid Prescriptions Across The U.S. FiveThirtyEight. Nice to see the Better Dealers tackling this. Oh, wait…

Race to the Bottom Kimberlé Crenshaw, The Baffler

Call me naive, but here’s how Paris Saint-Germain’s ridiculous £200m for Neymar can be a force for good Daily Mail

Jim Plunkett’s painful journey: ‘My life sucks’ The Mercury News

Inside Patreon, the economic engine of internet culture The Verge

Why Relying on People’s Vices Backfires Ian Welsh (MR).

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Catherine

    Link recommendation – An excellent paper that systematically lays debunks the loanable funds theory with the help of first defining what terms such as ‘investment’, ‘saving’ etc mean for economic units, how the units relate to each other and how loanable funds mixes all the terms up. Would thoroughly recommend it.

    “Saving does not finance Investment: Accounting as an indispensable guide to economic theory

    The paper analyses the accounting relationships between the
    financial and the real economy. It will be shown that accounting
    can clarify the nature of economic phenomena and be an important
    building block for economic theory. The paper will argue that the

    re is much confusion about key macroeconomic concepts like sa

    ving, investment and finance. This confusion is best summarised
    in the statement “saving finances investment”. After clearly defining
    the accounting relationships between lending, financial saving and
    physical investment it will be shown that this is a nonsense
    statement. The theory behind it – the loanable funds theory – will
    be analysed and critiqued. It will be shown that the loanable funds
    theory confuses the concepts of income and production, lending and
    saving, and financial saving and non-financial saving. It will further
    be shown that this has not only theoretical but also important policy

    1. cnchal

      Thank you. On page 10

      It is also common to designate the sum of all non-financial assets as the capital stock, K. Equation 7) shows that, by pure accounting, the aggregate (closed or world) economy cannot save in the form of financial assets but only in the form of non-financial assets.

      OH oh. Paper is useless!

    2. Stephen V.

      Thanks Catherine.
      You might also enjoy the work of Dirk Bezemer. If you search for him on google scholar, you will find his 2009 paper (linked then on NC IIRC !): NO ONE SAW THIS COMING.
      Maybe Economics as Accounting will become a thing (Cf. Sir John Hicks, McCloskey’s Accounting as Metaphor, etc.)

  2. BillK

    Trotsky (without the typo) and WSWS both come up as No. 1 in DuckDuckGo results from the UK.

    1. Hana M

      Thanks for the introduction to Unbubble. I’ve been looking for a Euro-centered search engine and this is speedy and finds interesting results. It’s getting to be like the old days before Google where using multiple search engines was the key to good web research. Really, it is a shame that Goggle ruined a superb tool.

      1. Yves Smith

        Unbubble won’t let me use it, said I made “mass and/or automated queries” and locked me out when I have never accessed their site before!

        1. thoughtful person

          That happened to me as well, but it gave me an option of proving i was human by doing a simple math problem. The link did include a search term, trotsky, which I guess their computers found to be automated.

          It looks like you csn go to firefox addons an add unbubble there.

    2. Terry Flynn

      Yeah if I use my UK IP address Trotsky and Flint Michigan bring up WSWS on DuckDuckGo and Unbubble.

      When my VPN is active (US location) WSWS not there in DuckDuckGo.

    3. Judith

      Bing mobile page 6. Google mobile I gave up at page 23. I even saw horse racing sites with horses named Trotsky but no wsws.

    4. Carolinian

      There used to be a way to get Google to show 100 results per page by just adding a tag at the end of the search URL but I believe you now have to “personalize” your search which means you have to be signed into Google account settings. IMO what crapified Google was their decision to compete with Facebook as a social media company. It was no longer about being the best at what you do and more about market power and spying.

      1. jefemt

        Late to the party: 7:40 AM MST, on MSN home page, Bing! assisted by Google ! I typed in what is WSWS and got a much jucier hit, including at # 3 a link to the site/ address.

        Garbage in , garbage out, starting with my 58 years young dumb approach, on a crappy home page called MSN, and Bill’s pride and joy, Bing!

    5. integer

      WSWS was at #70 on DuckDuckGo’s infinite scroll.

      #70 in Aus. DuckDuckGo results also.
      Also, I got to pg. 21 in Google and no WSWS to be seen, but guess what I found?

      Links 8/6/17 | naked capitalism
      7 hours ago – Trotsky is seven pages in at Yahoo, five pages in at the DogPile aggregator, three pages in at Yandex, and two pages in at Yippy, oddly, and on …

      1. ChrisPacific

        “Socialism site” does the same. I tried “socialism” by itself and gave up after not finding it in the first seven pages (I did find quotes, TV tropes and Ayn Rand links, which I guess were all considered more relevant).

        That seems weird to say the least. If it was due to site issues then I’d expect it to apply uniformly across all search terms. The explanation in the link does seem to fit the evidence.

    6. Cat Burglar

      If you google “Trotsky Minneapolis” the Minneapolis general strike comes up first thing! Proving that direct action gets the goods.

      1. flora

        I believe what you are not seeing is Google’s change results in no listings returned for the “blacklisted” (my word) sites appearing in the general search results.

        Not showing a relevant link to said sites reduces traffic to said sites, which has a significant reduction in these sites’ advertising financial income. It appears the Google change is aimed at financially harming a list of sites that an unknown group has decided should be “blacklisted”. The links you found and posted were to Vox and Yahoo. Yet, WSWS also has stories under this search heading that were not presented in the search results.

        This isn’t saying no results on a topic should be shown. It’s saying no results from certain sites should be shown (causing these sites financial harm.) The said “blacklisted” sites are right, left, and center but they are not MSM sites. What is the criteria for inclusion in the list or recourse to present argument to be de-“blacklisted”? No one knows. Kafka-esque is a word that comes to mind.

        It’s hard to make the claim the NC should be “blacklisted” as a fake-news site. NC is a respected top-10 financial site in many rankings. The reporting on Greece, ACA problems, and the mortgage, subprime loan frauds are outstanding reporting. NC, however, is not part of the MSM. (Though the MSM picks up NC stories and re-reports them in many cases.) And, yes, NC appears to be on the “blacklist.”

        shorter: it’s not the search topic that’s the issue; it’s refusing to show results from the “blacklisted” websites that match the search topic criteria, financially harming the sites by reduced traffic/advertising revenue.

        This looks to me like an effort to financially harm the non-MSM websites that WaPo (see Propornot) and others would like to shut down for some reason; not an attempt to rigorously vet stories for accuracy. (see WaPo, Propornot for example.)

        1. flora

          To clarify: you can get Google to include “blacklisted” site links the returned results if you add the “blacklisted” site name to your search string. But that’s like Google saying,”Say the magic word.” The point of a search engine is to return general results that are inclusive of sites you may not know about in an impartial manner.

          1. flora

            adding: there a many ways for Google to game the algo: show no listings from sites; show some listings but not for a sites’ highest ranked search hits; show listings but deep deep down the list past the point most people would stop looking. All of these tricks would result in a fall off of site link clicks/advertising revenue. I don’t know what algo G uses now, but the results it produces are…. uh….. odd. Much odder than a few months ago.

    7. MDBill

      Interestingly, a Google search for “Socialism” brings up “paid retrieval” (Ad) for an article in Jacobin at the bottom of page three. So I guess it’s no problemo if you pay them enough.

      It’s important to remember that there are two aspects to a Google search: Indexing and Rank Ordering. If Google indexes a site then its content will almost certainly appear somewhere in the search results. To see whether or not a particular item from WSWS has been indexed, use the Google advanced search page,

      and specify,

      in the “Site or domain” field, and put the title of the item in the “All these words” field. If Google has indexed the item it should appear at or near the top of the retrieval.

      But Google also uses a sophisticated “Ranking algorithm” to decide where (i.e., how far down) in the displayed retrieval a particular item is displayed. This is most likely where the bedevilment is going on. Google does not make its ranking algorithms public.

  3. Linda

    California Prepares for Solar Power Loss During the Great Eclipse (June 8)

    A total solar eclipse that will sweep across the United States on Aug. 21 is expected to make a noticeable dent in solar-energy collection, prompting energy workers to concoct workarounds that will help them meet energy demands while the eclipse passes overhead.

    Utility workers already have a game plan in California, where 9 percent of electricity came from utility-scale solar plants in 2016.  During the eclipse, when the sun disappears behind the moon, power grid workers plan to ramp up energy output from other sources, including from hydroelectricity and natural gas, and then quickly reintroduce solar power as the sun reappears.

    Even though the eclipse isn’t passing directly over California — it’s traveling in a curved path from Oregon to South Carolina — it will still affect the Golden State, which has nearly half of the nation’s solar-electricity-generating capacity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

    “[The 6,000 megawatts] is the amount of megawatts that we expect that we’ll have to generate to make up for the effect of the solar ellipse,” Greenlee said. “For us here at the ISO [California Independent System Operator (ISO)], a nonprofit that manages California’s power grid., we’re going to need to make sure that we have our reserves properly procured,” which involves having 100 percent of the expected demand plus an additional 6 percent in reserves, just in case, he said.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is it more difficult than when the whole state is blanketed by a Siberian storm…for days?

  4. craazyman

    Wow, people were wasting their time on the internet arguing about sub-Saharan individuals in Roman Britain. Even Professor Taleb was wasting his time doing that? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Hahahahahahahahahahahah.

    Makes me feel like a paragon of time efficiency! LOL

    What’s up with this dude from Google on how the internet engineers waste people’s time sucking them in to things like Youtube? NO way! Snapchat for sure. And Facebook, for sure. Yes. But Youtube! No way! Dudes, this is what they said about TV when it came out. The same shlt. You can always get off your butt and walk outside. But it’s hard to do that when Stark Trek is on — and then after that is the Leave it to Beaver re-run. And then after that is Mayberrry RFD re-run. And after that was Gunsmoke. And after that was the 8:30 movie — the 1 liner in the TV guide looked preetty good. And after that was the 11 pm movie. And after that was the Test Pattern. Sometimes by that time you hit the Test Pattern you’d be so bonged out you’d be asleep. But some of those Test Patterns were actually sort of geometrically interesting — especially stoned. Stoned test patterns! Those were as good as some of the shows. But you watched anyway. See what I’m saying?

    1. craazyman

      Wow Youtube strkes again! Who can believe what a Gold Mine Youtube is. What a cynical manipulative lie about Youtube being a waste of people’s time and hijacker of minds!

      They have old test pattern videos! No lie, here’s one. Can you imagine staring at this at 1 a.m. Stoned. Whoa! You can now!

      1. VK

        I love those old testpatterns and switch signs like that:

        that kind of handcrafted tv surely is long gone and how you could be sure on monday, that each and everyone had watched the same show saturday evening before.
        Sometimes I miss those, but in general I don’t regret to have thrown tv out of the window in ’95.

        1. craazyman

          Test Patterns are valuable works of art that belong in a museum. Maybe a museum of the lived experience.

          One exhibit could be a dude laying on a bed in Levi’s and Frye boots with pizza crumbs on his chest and a bong on the floor with the room dark expect for the test patterns on the old black & white TV. Maybe a few groovy Wall posters of Led Zepplin and Jimi Hendrix along with a shag rug.

          You could also have fine art reproductions of test patterns framed as wall exhibits and a coffee table test pattern book! That would be awesome. A coffee table book of test patterns from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Maybe there is one already — it’s such an obvious idea.

          1. craazyboy

            Test patterns were just a start. Then, as usual, they innovated!

            Check out this early Top Secret Leak!

            Talk about True Art – Digital too!

            Time Tunnel !!!

            This is how kids first discovered science is interesting. But it was mostly kids, and teachers.

            Parents stayed tuned to “Leave It To Beaver”, because they thought the name sounded funny.

            Plus they could say the name at work without getting in trouble with HR.

            Also, the Democrat Party was serious back then.

            Now all we got is really, really good porn :(


            This was before they discovered Russians are terrifying and do horrific things, too!

            Then, check this out. The Outer Limits!


            woowooowooo. Terrifying.

            1. ambrit

              Yah! Try the original show, the favourite one for me being “The Zanti Misfits.”
              Wiki on:
              One show, named “The Inheritors” if I remember correctly had the protagonists amass the requisite funds to carry out their scheme by playing the commodities markets using pure number theory! That’s how powerful were the beliefs in Science and Technology back then.

              1. polecat

                “The Zanti Misfits” …

                Ant-like aliens land on Earth, hefting around a bad attitude, while sporting beatnik goatees !!

            2. neo-realist

              I swear I saw one as late as 1988 while staying at a hotel in Sioux Falls, SD—while moving across the country. And it used the face of a Native American, which doesn’t surprise me considering that the town was full of the.

          2. Annotherone

            Ah yes, test patterns – I remember ’em well – as well as (in the UK back in early days of TV – 1950s) the “interlude” treats which would fill spare time between shows. A popular one was of a potter’s wheel. (The narration now at YouTube was not included, at the time!)


            So, yes, agreed that YouTube is much less of a pain in the rear than some other social media sites.

          3. mpalomar

            Curate the show CM. The Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of TV and Radio) might be interested in a show of test patterns.

            Actually you were missing the best TV. That started when the test pattern went off the air around 3am and the static broadcast of the big bang background radiation show began. In colour on a black and white TV.

            1. craazyman

              that’s a good point. After the test pattern the TV broke free of all formal constraints and you could just stare there in the room, drunk and stone, at pure random light energy.It must have been how Rimbaud felt in Drunken Boat!

              As I was stoned, staring at impassive patterns,
              I no longer felt myself guided by symbols:
              Engineers had taken them after midnight
              And replaced them with snowy screens
              buzzed and drunken I was indifferent to all order
              chafed by the constraints of circles and frames
              and when with these symbols my prisons were done with
              The TV let my mind drift where I pleased.
              Into the furious sparkling of the luminous screen
              sunk in the langours of bong hits and pizza crumbs
              I was immobile! And yet the mind-fried and transcendent ideations
              Have not undergone a more triumphant symphony
              The blank screen blessed my liberations
              Lighter than a cork I danced in the light waves
              That are called eternal rollers of stoners,
              I spent ten nights (with pizza), without missing the stupid eyes of circles!

              1. mpalomar

                Rimbaud wrote Drunken Boat at 17 and was done with poetry by 21 preferring to occupy himself with gun running and slave trading. Other than Verlaine, who would believe much of anything a 17 year old had to say about much of anything?
                Could possibly be lighter than an electron I danced …

    2. Lee

      I’m using You Tube instructional videos to show me how to replace a starter motor on a 1985 diesel engine. Only after I’m done will I get stoned and watch test patterns.

    3. craazyboy

      I’m working on another song!

      This one is about Yoko Ono. She’s been out of the news lately, but I think it’s cause she is distraught over no one giving Reese’s peanut butter cups a chance, anymore.

      She’s hiding on top of Mt. Fuji.

      The name of the song is “Going Craazy On You”, by the senile members of ’80s hottie girl band, Heart.

      I won’t say anymore ’cause the poetic and artfully playfull prose will be a surprise, then.

      1. ambrit

        Boy, you mean that Yoko is a Kilaak, intent on conquering the earth? They hid under Mt Fuji.
        As for “…by the senile members of the ’80s hottie girl band, Heart.” Well, there are so many ways to “unpack” that phrase that I goggle at your ability to inject so much snark into such a small utterance. Kudos!

  5. Marco

    Italy #1 for Health according to WEF. America #34. Three slots BELOW Cuba. Castro laughing in his grave. Seriously why are Cubans (not the ones in Miami) marginally healthier than Americans?

    1. Judith

      Monsanto-free. IIRC cuban bees for example have remained healthy during the bee crisis in other countries.

  6. marym

    Germany, France, and the Netherlands…. have complex systems that depend on tightly regulated private health insurance companies….

    As the article points out, these private companies are also largely (Germany) or fully not-for-profit. No country that has successfully implemented universal healthcare, whether a public health system, public insurance, or private insurance, has for-profit insurance as a basis.

    Now that there’s bipartisan-y talk of pouring more money into the current system, the Aetna CEO is demanding stable markets as a condition for participation. During the recent Republican push to repeal and demolish, he was open to what he called “a debate about what a “single-payer” healthcare system in the United States would look like, but said he does not think the federal government should run it.” (Link)

      1. wilroncanada

        I thought he was talking about the health of his horses. He probably was. Either way, it was horses**t.

    1. oh

      Non Profit corp. is only an accounting gimmick to keep from paying taxes on income. It does not mean that they won’t gouge you like the rest of the health “uncare” corps. Look at Kaiser, a non profit that had record earnings last year and lobbied against Colorado Health Care for all. The only non profit that really counts is the one that’s run by the Federal Government,

    2. Darn

      Exactly. And they ensure universal coverage by having Obamacare subsidies on steroids, premiums for the same policy are paid for the unemployed, the insurer can’t cancel or deny a policy, the individual mandate is harsher, as well as the govt standing on their throats for cost control.

      The Dems didn’t think the insurance, hospital and pharma industry would accept these conditions in 2008. Will they have the courage and unity to impose them in future? Nah.

      Decapitate the vested interests and go straight to single payer.

  7. edmondo

    Howard Dean sez, “If we’re gonna have a single-payer or Medicare for all or whatever we’re gonna have in health care… then we all have to pull together.”

    Can someone please explain to me how we get Medicare for All by electing people who don’t support it?

    1. Carl

      I can’t imagine why anyone is still listening to this idiot. But then again, he’s just one of a large number of idiots who still pontificate on the MSM, which, apparently has no memory when it comes to idiots who screw things up royally (hey, John Bolton!). Just collect some credentials, and you’re good to go.

    2. JohnnySacks

      As always, any of us over-idealistic Dems are expected to hold our noses and vote for the lesser of two evils, usually the electoral equivalent of regurgitated thin gruel. How dare us expect any more than what the DNC decides to give us? I can feel the winning already!

  8. edmondo

    Jim Plunkett’s painful journey: ‘My life sucks’ The Mercury News

    “He recently filed paperwork as part of the $1 billion concussion lawsuit settlement to begin testing. The program provides neuropsychological and neurological assessment examinations to determine whether retired players are suffering from cognitive impairment.”

    I anxiously await the “billion dollar lawsuit” waiting to be filed by the poor dumb schmucks who got battered bodies and live in chronic pain from working 12 hour shifts at the dollar store for $7.35 an hour,

    At least Plunkett has health insurance and a legal prescription for that opiate he takes everyday.

    1. Dan

      Agreed. And its not just dollar stores. Where I work – with a union contract – two coworkers in their 50s had to hang it up this year. Their bodies couldn’t take the physical labor any more. They put a good face on it when leaving. But six months on they’re both struggling with depression.

      Meanwhile they just finished training the first replacement who will start work for about 35 percent less than the person they’re replacing. She’s very dubious about the job. The other position remains open. Wonder why?

      While I’m sad for Jim Plunkett my first thought when this story came out the other day was I wonder what he’d choose if he had it to do over.

      1. wilroncanada

        I wonder about the young men, or children, who were conned by the combination of parent push, coaching sweet talk, and community pressure, into playing football as a blood sport at the elementary and high school level (I’m thinking of Texas and Florida in particular). The brain and other bodily damage it may have caused would have been 1)unreported; 2) typical childish whining; 3)collateral damage in the local bluster of “my town is better than your town.”

        After a little brain damage, the kids would be ready for recruitment into the military where, if not dead, would be suitably recompensed for their military service–free opiates, free flophouse care, and free food at the soup kitchen.

  9. funemployed

    No doubt transitioning to single payer would be a royal crapton of work, but that Nation article brought up a point too often overlooked in analysis of US gov’t: back when the gov’t could do stuff, bills were short, and that’s how it must be if a governmental system with separate Executive and Legislative branches is going to function effectively.

    People who study organizational dynamics have long known that excessive proceduralization of complex and often unpredictable tasks usually winds up exacerbating the problems it seeks to solve. Holland is right that there will be a bazillion details and challenges, but IMNSHO, dead wrong that the solution is legislation that is heavy on the details. What he’s calling for is roughly equivalent to Congress legislating the next five years’ battle plans to a General in the field.

    Here’s my alternative: amend the constitution to guarantee unfettered access to high quality healthcare as a fundamental right. That’s it. Then lets sweat the details without needing to run to Congress and wait a year every time it turns out there’s a better way to do stuff.

      1. marym

        Members of Congress and senior staff who buy insurance on an ACA exchange and federal employees who participate the FEHB all purchase private for-profit insurance. I believe the employer (taxpayer) subsidy is about 70% of the premium.

        No universal healthcare system in the world has been designed using for-profit insurance as a basis.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Will a 70%-subsidy-for-all work for the rest of the us not in our (elect people more like us voters) congress?

            I could be looking at paying about $150 a month, instead of $500 per on my premium.

            1. marym

              Under current law only 85% (PDF) of that 70% (and of your 30%) would “work for you.”

              This is why other countries don’t choose private for-profit insurance as a basis for a universal healthcare system.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Does it work for members of congress and their senior staff?

                If not, that would be impetus for change, for all of us.

                1. marym

                  Actuarial value of gold (mandatory to receive employer contribution) SHOP exchange plans for Congress and senior staff 80% (PDF)

                  Actuarial value of FEHB plans “meets or exceeds” ACA silver 70% (PDF)

                  By comparison the actuarial value of HR 676 would be 100% and the MLR (based on Canadian and original US Medicare) about 2 or 3%.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    Why don’t they want 100%, for themselves, and why are they willing to live with just 70% or 80%?

                    1. oh

                      Simple. They get to keep millions from lobbyists and that far exceeds any extra subsidy for health insurance during their lifetime.

                    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      Could easily have made themselves look good with 0% subsidy, with those millions.

                      As Medicare is not premium free, perhaps 90% subsidy for all of us will work just as good, or better.

                      If not 100% subsidy for all. That’s better than Medicare-For-All (you still have to pay a monthly premium).

                    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      No premium, several way.

                      The current congressional plan, with 70% subsidy, can be offered to all of us, with 100% subsidy.

                      That’s one way, supplemented with cost control.

                      Medicare for all, with zero premium is another, again, with supplemental laws to contain drug and provider costs.

                    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      Back to JEHR’s comment – yes, why not?

                      Just make it 100% subsidy. Call it ‘Enhanced Congressional Plan.’

                      It’s about time all of us benefit as much (or more) as our politicians.

      2. justanotherprogressive

        Sorry but elected Federal politicians DO NOT get coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. They can use DC SHOP or any other exchange they want, just not FEHB until they retire…..

        and they are allowed to make use of military hospitals and the Office of the Attending Physician, things other Federal, non-military employees are not allowed to do……….

    1. marym

      Original Medicare was implemented one year after it became law. It’s an inspiring story of the country pulling together to make something happen.

      I don’t have a link, but I’ve read about implementation discussions and planning done before that. Let’s say for the sake of argument that it was fairly substantial, and that nothing like that has occurred for a potential Medicare for All plan.

      However, HR 676 is 30 pages. The administrative infrastructure for a national public insurance program already exists. Healthcare providers already know how to interact with the system. HR 676 sets “the current prevailing fees or reimbursement [as] the basis for the fee negotiation for all professional services” – whether that’s the right path longer-term, it would be a strong first start for the potentially huge task of negotiating reimbursement rates.

  10. Montanamaven

    That Jacobin piece was really interesting. They have identified the problem and have concrete ideas to fix it.

    1 The demand for a living wage and a plannable future.

    This demand is already shared by very different groups of employees. Recent studies show that as a result of declining pension levels following the Schröder government’s neoliberal pension reforms, wages below €12/hour lead to poverty in old age. Almost every second person who enters retirement beginning in 2030 risks living on a pension below the poverty line.

    Two-thirds of the population do not trust the grand coalition to reverse this growing avalanche of old-age poverty. Accordingly, the unions plan to make pensions a key issue of the federal election in 2017. Die Linke will intervene in the coming debate over pensions and address the connection between pensions and weak wage growth resulting from precarious employment and many employers’ withdrawal from collective bargaining agreements.

    2 | Opposing employers’ withdrawal from collective bargaining agreements.

    Whether collective bargaining agreements cover all workers is, at its core, a question of political power. The unions must fight so that they can submit their proposals directly in the future, instead of having to first consult with the capital side, as is currently the case. It must be made illegal for employers to avoid collective bargaining agreements through outsourcing and temporary contracts. The sociopolitical struggle against precarious work, beginning from branch-specific conflicts such as the retail or logistic sector, could be more effectively conducted from such a perspective.

  11. johnnygl

    Per the above, even members of the dem consultant class are getting squeamish about all the russia-hype.

    Of course…there was that time a president really did act like a traitor…

    Also, consortiumnews has stuff about how reagan got the ayatollahs in iran to hold the hostages until inaugeration day.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Re Nixon negotiating with foreign powers to win the election. Didn’t Ronald Reagan negotiate with Iran NOT to release the US Embassy hostages until after Carter was no longer President to make Reagan look better? Tough luck for the hostages having to wait longer to be freed though.
      When I was a kid we had a word to describe the behaviour of what Nixon and Reagan did. We called it treason. Accusations like that back then though would have been called ‘fake news’. We didn’t have Google then but what newspapers would do was to bury such stories on the back pages or not run the story at all. Of course the trouble was there were more investigative reporters ‘back in the day’ who actually, you know, investigated stuff and who got results. Just ask Nixon.

        1. jawbone

          Yes, getting Medicare up and running for those 65 and older was a great achievement. But I’ve wondered if partly it went so smoothly is because, among other things, the entire population did not sign up all at once. Those over 65 and then those turning 65 were able to sign up.

          I don’t know how Medicaid was rolled out.

          Also, I don’t know for sure how the payments were managed. Was the work done by existing insurance companies? Or was CMS there from the git go?

          I still think kind thoughts about all those who did the prep work to get Medicare passed. FDR felt he had to back off senior health coverage to ensure passage of Social Security. Truman tried and failed. JFK made Medicare a goal, but was assassinated. LBJ, bless his manipulative skills, got it done. But pols and citizens had been working toward this since the late 19th Century. Can’t forget Teddy Roosevelt’s working the political soil. Deep appreciation to all.

          Still the best birthday present EVAH, both SocSec and Medicare.

        2. EricT

          Wow, they danced around the allegations that the Reagan administration met with representatives from Iran in Madrid prior to the election asking them to delay the release until after the election. It avoids discussing the arms for hostage deal, better known as Iran-contra. Yeah, that whole article was just lying by omission. You should check out Robert Parry’s website. He did a whole breakdown of the October surprise right through Iran Contra.

  12. jefemt

    Eager Beavers: Great Summer read: Three Against the Wilderness, by Eric Collier. Homesteading in central BC , with beavers as allies. The beavers have helped bring water back in lots of spots in the arid west.

  13. kurtismayfield

    RE:Slate unionization article

    Wouldn’t call Slate liberal.. neoliberal or limosine liberal but not exactly the bastion of leftist thinkers. Again a corporation shows it’s true colors when people try to unionize. My fav comment from the article:

    Liberals with money tend to want a progressive society. They just don’t want that progressive society to affect their economic privilege, their social privilege, and to be exposed to the grasping hands of the poor.

    To be exposed to anyone poor actually.. unless they are cleaning the house or landscaping.

  14. eD

    On Baidu (, if you type in “World Socialist Website” you get the World Socialist Website on the first hit. The site doesn’t come up on a search for “Trotsky” ten pages in.

      1. BoycottAmazon is another mainland Chinese search engine. Interesting that Trotsky was searchable at all in a PRC based engine, Mao and the Party being very strictly nationalist (pro-Stalinist), even before communist.

        Finally on PRC search engines, In the past both Baidu and Sohu put/attempted to put browser add-ins that would inject adverts and block accessing certain sites. I think they have cleaned up their act, but users, particularly those not literate in Chinese, should be careful about what they click on from either site.

        Separately, on Class Warfare: Co-opting the Union/Why Nissan Mississippi rejected UAW

        With the corruption scandal threatening to ensnare wider layers of the UAW bureaucracy, union president Dennis Williams is trying to contain the growing anger of autoworkers.

  15. leftover

    RE: Google blocked every one of the WSWS’s 45 top search terms

    I don’t know why the WSWS should show up on the first page of a Google search for a general term like “Trotsky.” I’m similarly puzzled that “top search terms” for a website don’t contain the word “website.” But if the WSWS says those are…or used to be…it’s top search terms I guess we just have to take their word for it. Like we must on most of the other assertions they make.

    I did try searching for “socialist websites.” WSWS at the top of the first page. Including a link to its Twitter feed.
    “Socialist healthcare”? Page two.
    “Trotskyist websites”? Page two.
    “Trotsky perspective”? Page one.
    “Grenfell fire socialist response”? Bottom of page one.
    “Democrat healthcare compromise”? #4 on page one.
    “Amazon chinese government censors internet”? Number one on page one. Beating out the Grey Lady.

    I was disappointed with a search for ICFI, which returned nothing but links to a company named ICF International. “Socialist ICFI” put the WSWS near the top of page one. Like wise disappointed with the “Trotskyist website” search. Page three. After an IMDB link!

    It should be obvious that if one is searching Google, or any search engine, for socialist perspective or websites, the best thing to do is to be specific and include the word “socialist” in the search term. But be sure to use a private browsing option if it’s available, though. Keep that discoverable history nice and tidy. Just sayin’.

    1. Yves Smith

      Page 2 = not existing. From the EU Competition Minsiter:

      In fact, even on desktops, the ten highest-ranking generic search results on page 1 together generally receive approximately 95% of all clicks on generic search results (with the top search result receiving about 35% of all the clicks). The first result on page 2 of Google’s search results receives only about 1% of all clicks. The effects on mobile devices are even more pronounced given the much smaller screen size…. moving the first result to the third rank leads to a reduction in the number of clicks by about 50%

  16. Michael

    “In the near future, the U.S. electric grid will be able to digitally manage the vast Northwest hydroelectric network in a way unimaginable just a few years ago. With consent from customers, it will be able to adjust the heaters and air conditioners of millions of homes and buildings, or tap into the batteries of electric cars or other smart appliances.

    Read more here:

    We are one thru the Internet.

    1. bob

      “We are one thru the Internet.”

      Techno-fascism defined- We are not you, we have jets, and lesser people who bathe in and propagate our bullshit.

  17. jfleni

    RE: Google blocked every one of the WSWS’s 45 top search terms.

    Naturally, what would anybody expect from slimy ***** GIGGLE! Expecting truth from them is just telling lies to oneself.

    Please don’t forget that they are in the ad business; lies and deception are normal. Turn on any TV for verification!

  18. FreeMarketApologist

    “The thrifty among us may try to clean a sponge that starts to stink, but it’s probably time to let it go.”

    What degenerate things are people doing with their sponges? All mine disintegrate long before they are uncleanable stink generators. They get thoroughly rinsed after each use, the water squeezed out of them, and left on an open rack to air dry. I’ve never had a problem with stinky sponges, and they last around 6 months.

    1. epynonymous

      You can microwave them wet, (20 seconds abouts) and it seems to help the smell. I prefer to live thrifty.

      In fact, I no longer use dish soap… watch their commercials and branding to see why… “Dove is what wild life rescuers choose to clean oil spills.” The moment of truth for me on the matter came when they put a duckling on their bottle, and promised to donate money per sale (only to a set amount…) to the ‘environment’

      The chemistry says that dish soap (which I’ll use on a greasy table in a pinch) is designed to break down fats… … Fat is the lining of the cell membrane of any organism. It’s a convenience but a poison.

      I use more water to avoid the need for soap, which is an imperfect solution, but we are imperfect beings.

      *edit* the lie is in the headline

      1. polecat

        I once microwaved a dish sponge for 1.3 minutes, about one minute too long ! It resulted in a very toasty, carbonized smoke generator …
        Learned my lesson ..

    2. Richard

      “What degenerate things are people doing with their sponges?”
      We’ll never tell you if you ask us like that! Try being more sly and conversational: “Say everyone, I heard about this guy who married a sponge! How crazy is that?”
      Then wait for the madness to stop by. Salud!

  19. epynonymous

    Just brushing up on my history today. Not taking things too seriously, but an old thought came back and here it is.

    The Clintons fought for the British in the Independence War back in 1776, and in fact, so did the Gates Parkers and Harrises.

    Not too clear on the Harrises honestly. Even Morgan made his profit privateering in the Carribeans.

  20. Alex Morfesis

    Don’t (get caught) be(ing) evil…alphabyte gargoyle is having fun with some manly-festo burped out by some “stud” who imagines paying for a different dominatrix from backpage every weekend makes him an expert on women…

    This will end well with the current guvmynt investigation on pay disparity at the aplhabyte city temple of public opinionating…

    Motherbee has the story but gizmo has the document…

    His mom probably makes a mean grilled cheese and has left his basement lair exactly as it was the day he went off to college…except she resumed using it for her monthly rendezvous with the meter reader…

    1. epynonymous

      Classism doesn’t suit you.

      Sexual politics is local politics.

      We open with a takedown of the elites, and devolve into a slam to the illiterates who outnumber us (and no wonder, per Idiocracy by Mike Judge)

      What’s the real grudge?

      Anger is only useful to the extent it makes you change yourself. Other’s people’s anger is of no use to others.

      1. epynonymous

        To be fair, maybe I missed that your post is designed for a feminist bent.

        No however, but I am not focused on women in the workplace as an issue. I prefer to see the workplace as the issue.

        1. clinical wasteman

          Nice to see a missed point promptly acknowledged, but although I may be missing something in turn, I don’t get the “classism” part either. If you mean Alex was disparaging the Gurgle manifesto writer as some sort of lowly prole, that’s the first time I heard those people described that way. Or if “classism”: means it’s bad manners to vent against the class who own the greater part of our lives, I respectfully disagree. That’s why the “-ism” doesn’t really fit as a suffix on “class”: because class isn’t some innate personal characteristic to be “respected” because the afflicted can’t help it. Class hatred is hatred of a social structure, not of individual “difference”, and as such it does, or at least can, contribute to changing that structure, which is indeed more important than “changing yourself”, even if the latter might happen in the process.
          Anyway, the stereotype of Disrupter types as socially dyspraxic basement-dwellers is inaccurate (no, I don’t know any Gurglers, but you can’t escape Start-up zealots in certain parts of London, and they are hypersocial to a (usually — still!) man) and above all unfair to the socially dyspraxic, who more often than not are more acutely aware of / sensitive to other people than almost anyone else.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Class hatred is hatred of a social structure, not of individual “difference”

            I’m not so sure about that. Don’t class markers count for something?

            1. ambrit

              So, we can start calling Chelsea C “Little Mrs. Marker,” can we?
              The Clintons do seem a lot like Damon Runyon characters.

            2. witters

              With “class markers” you may mean Weber’s “status groups”.

              The class and status group ideas come together in an interesting way in Wolfgang Streek’s work. I believe you had his recent essay “Trump and the Trumpists” up recently (if not:; really interesting and to the point is the subsequent exchange betweem him and Christopher Prendergast:

    2. Alex Morfesis

      To further clarify…we live in a hilarious world where everyone has this thought they understand the opposite gender since they’ve read books and watched dr shrill and ocrah…yet most people can count on their fingers the number of actual partners of carnal experiences they have actually had…paying for the company of someone does not count as dating…

      The writer of the manly-festo is someone who would be escorted out the door if some female family member brought the misanthrope home…

      And the reference to gargoyle is the company formerly known as googles paisan…

      Nonsense one might have expected to be heard at some junior high school cafeteria burped out by presumably adult individuals about “how women are”…rather amusingly pathetic…and anyone espousing ideas about women based on some imagined place infused by their upbringing…needs to find some monastery to enrapture themselves…

      That this “genius” was not summarily dismissed is sad…

      The world seems lost in its illusions and memes…

      1. epynonymous

        Sex is mercantilized, in my view.

        I speak from my anger, something I try and recongize.

        Partner pairing is a marketplace, and as a child of divorce in the third generation, I can speak to the bitterness and absurdity of marriage. I wish I could afford to make that mistake.

        I know some employed google-ites, and it is an employment suitable for the pais-cognoscenti among us. Again to mercantilism, life is a marketplace, and philosophically, a man (or woman’s) value is the worth accorded them in dollars… Religion aside. I am both a sceptic and a believer. I am also angry and a good question is why.

        I cherish my cheese sandwiches. I don’t mind work in the least, and cherish it too. The marketplace leaves me apathetic though. The posts here have highlighted the ephasis on quiting as the new hall-mark of the American (classist) worker. I say it is also the mark of the new breed of family. Yes I am bitter, but I try to aim high.

        Oprah is a great ‘example’ A propogator of false news.

        No, NYT. They aren’t but the hysteria is an industry. Amber alerts and terrorism. A classical reference is that Ares, the Roman war-god, had the hounds phobos and demos. Meaning fear and terror.

        The family construct is artificial, if effective. Clearly I am over my head, dealing (perhaps hyper-sensitively) with a longing for the absurd moralism and duty and the eminently sensical casting aside of these heirarchies.

        The term agoraphobia I’ve come to understand not as a fear of open spaces, but in the original Greek concept. A fear of the marketplace. Not to fear the marketplace and it’s mercenary status is insanity.

        Gender politics is not a construct of the government as you point out, but an independent consequence of our animal opinions… and a hoped-for shelter from them.

        Duty. The metamorphasis is a tale of a moral man who finds himself useless in his family economy. Women face a different trial.

        A songster (Stone Temple Pilots) once mused what is real and what’s for sale.

        To meme- (and abscond) Why not both?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Ares, the Roman war-god, had the hounds phobos and demos. Meaning fear and terror.


          > The term agoraphobia I’ve come to understand not as a fear of open spaces, but in the original Greek concept. A fear of the marketplace

          There’s a whole post there.

        2. Alex Morfesis

          Don’t tell anyone but if I don’t have my grilled cheese at the store losing the donut name at least once a month…

          Its not on the menu on the wall…but it is in their computer…

    1. epynonymous

      Dean took one for the (dem) team when he was destroyed by the media for his “Dean Scream”… which means winning without permission.

      Much like Bernie. He then horse-traded himself, not that I think he got anything for it but personal financing and the mild prestige of not being dismissed from ‘public life.’

      He got votes, Kerry be damned (another loser… from the State Department.)

      We would do well to listen.

      Is it snark I hear, meaning we’re being professionaly trolled in the comments, or are you a purist?

      Purism isn’t an offense on it’s own, but it is a limitation. If not Dean, then who? I don’t trust Warren either.

      1. Pat

        And I give him full credit for that. I also have bothered to watch what he has done since he was summarily dismissed from the DNC for Tim Kaine. Which is why I can state with no reluctance whatsoever that “That was then, this is now.” Now Dean is a fully owned subsidiary of the Clinton Zombies all of which need to be killed with fire.

        Look Dean was always far more conservative in the traditional sense than most liberals realized. Of course since the center has moved so much off axis, Nixon would be pretty liberal lefty in today’s climate. But since he was replaced he has toed the Obama/Clinton party line even in areas where he was previously closer to the traditional Democratic policy stance than they were. He figured out that to be successful in that cesspool, to the point of being bullet proof you had to be a ‘good soldier’. In the 2016 election season, he stood on the front lines and carried a whole lot of water for Wasserman Schultz and Clinton. And that has continued even after they crashed and burned. He deserves the same respect and consideration for his views as DWS, Kaine, Clinton, Pelosi and/or Obama. If you don’t give them the benefit of the doubt, don’t bother giving it to Dean.

        Feel free to check out everything Dean has said in the last year if you think I’m being unfair.

        1. ambrit

          “Lo how the mighty have fallen” is it?
          Then, are the Heirs of Bernie the ‘new’ Deanites? To suffer the same fate? Heaven forfend!
          I would give Dean more credit for his past ‘positive’ actions than any of the other “usual suspects” you name. That he has folded into Clive Barkers’, sorry, The Clintons’ “Dimension of Pain” is a real disappointment.
          I can imagine an organizational chart of the various factions and cliques in the Democrat Party, looking something like a ‘Family Tree’ in an infernal genealogy tome, with Dean as one of those branches that suddenly veers off to the left and ends.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Bizarre life forms may be at risk:

    Regardless of the cause of the distinct populations at the vents, the new research suggests these animal populations might be more fragile than suspected, which raises a looming concern. Several companies are applying for permits to mine the Gulf of California seafloor for precious metals, including gold and platinum. Mining machinery could destroy some of these worlds in the process of generating high returns on ores.

    Sometimes, mere observing changes the observed.

    That is, sending a scientific submersible to a vent might put life forms there at risk.

    Mining for research gold should be monitored just like mining for physical gold.

    1. ambrit

      Who is to say what is bizarre and what is not? We grapple with the concept of “The Wheel of Life.” The savants from Magonia wrestle with the meta concept of “The Sphere of Being.” What do the Zeta Reticulans struggle with, “The Tesseract of the Tao Squared?”
      I sit and try to grok the bees in their endless circling.
      If the character Spock from Star Trek were a Bodhidharma, wouldn’t he say; “Live long and suffer?”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Bizarre for an anthropocentric chauvinist, perhaps.

        Are the bees drawing circles or zeroes? More anthropo-projecting?

        Wild dog hunting rabbits:

        “No rabbit….no dinner…zero.”

        “Yes, rabbit…dinner…not-zero.”

        It appears to me, all animals experience binarily…they experience zero, and they experience not-zero…or hungry vs. not-hungry, thirsty vs. not-thirsty…not just bees

        1. ambrit

          As long as we’re strolling along the Wheel of Life, we’re chauvinists. When we step off of the Path, we ascend.
          When the dog catches the rabbit, he, or she, attains “Onehood.” When caught, the rabbit experiences death, the “Zero State.” The two cancel each other out. Harmony is restored to the phenomenal world.
          We are squarely within the realm of the animals. It’s when we aspire to something ‘more’ that we approach the Big Empty Sphere. When bees fly, they enter the three dimensional world more fully than we earthbound clods. Those circles and spirals are part of larger ‘spheres’ than we can know. Guess, we can.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            “See how the minnows are happy, swimming in the river, and how the butterflies are content, flitting about geometrically.”

  22. allan

    More Boeing p0rn:
    Boeing-Spirit pricing deadlock broken by CEOs who were former GE teammates [Seattle Times]

    … Now on opposing sides, Kevin McAllister and Tom Gentile spearheaded talks that over the past few days broke a contract deadlock pitting Boeing against Spirit AeroSystems, a supplier that used to be part of the Chicago-based plane maker. Spirit surged to a record on news of the tentative pact, which may lead to an even closer tie between the companies. …

    The stakes could hardly be higher. Boeing needs an agreement that will tamp down costs on the 737 MAX, a crucial source of revenue, and help it avoid writing down a portion of the 787 Dreamliner’s $26.5 billion production losses.

    The new framework sets a series of pricing discounts, known as step-downs, that kick in at predetermined points on the 787-9 and -10 programs. Doing so will bring Spirit’s Dreamliner losses to nearly $1 billion, but Boeing has agreed to help it find ways to trim costs. The 787 savings are crucial for Boeing as it works to erase the mountain of production losses and avoid an accounting charge.

    So, a large part of Boeing was split off because financial engineering.
    Then, due to the 787 overruns, Being tries to offload some of the losses
    in order to avoid reality an earnings write down.
    If the former subsidiary is willing to go along, it will lead to “even closer tie between the companies”, which used to be one and the same.

    Is this a great country or what?

  23. Synoia

    The Hijacking of the Brillante Virtuoso

    Tugs pulled it clear, but three months later the Elli suffered an unexplained accident in the calm waters around the Suez Canal, splitting in half like a watermelon.

    Three dimensional stress cracking, first identified on welded Liberty Ships in WW II. All it needs is a small crack, and then under stress the crack propagates at over the speed of sound, 1,100 ft/sec.

    Beaching the tanker, or pulling it off could easily has caused a crack, Tankers are effectively beams, and must be loaded with care, balancing out the load in the compartments, so as not to over stress (bend) the ship.

    Detecting a crack would require an expensive set of X-Ray photographs.

    Coincidence is not correlation.

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Will Colorado’s Health Insurance Industry Run One Of Its Own For Governor? David Sirota, International Business Times. A Democrat. Naturally.

    Cleaning a Dirty Sponge Only Helps Its Worst Bacteria, Study Says NYT (Furzy Mouse). “The thrifty among us may try to clean a sponge that starts to stink, but it’s probably time to let it go.” Just like the health insurance companies!

    I have an image of the D party being seen by people as that dirty, stinking sponge.

    1. justanotherprogressive

      Love the metaphor……seeing an image of a dirty SpongeBob SquarePants with a blue picket sign saying “Have you seen the other guys?”…

    2. Synoia

      Cleaning a dirty sponge is easy. Just expose it to sunlight and let it dry out, then beat off the dirt.

  25. Goyo Marquez

    Always looking for a better search engine so I searched Unbubble for the following “poverty and judaism in the talmudic period” a subject I’m interested in from a Bible study perspective.

    I got these first results:
    – Jewerys plan to blackball Russia, Real Jew News
    – 921 quotes by and about Jews, Jewwatch

    Seems a little odd.

  26. Cat Burglar

    The Washington Monthly article captures something like the state of play in California.

    The default position of the California dems is to agree with single payer in principle, but to question how to pay for it — Governor Brown, Senator Harris, and Assembly Speaker Rendon (when he sent a single-payer bill back to committee for exactly that reason) have all done it. They need to buy the time to figure out how to keep the left from walking out or running their own candidates; perhaps they may try to convince the large-donors that single payer will be required to keep social peace and other goodies coming. The left wing of the party has historically been stronger than in other states; the 1934 “Contest Of The Century” when socialist Democratic gubernatorial candidate Upton Sinclair’s run was sabotaged by the centrists has not been forgotten, nor has the political damage to the party been forgotten.

    Harris has also said that health care is a right of every individual. I can’t remember Obama ever having said that. There aren’t many ways that universal health care can be delivered — Harris has effectively written out a political check and asked us to cash it, unless she can make us forget it. Everybody is waiting for the dem leaders in California to take some kind of action on single payer, and Harris’s political future may depend on it.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Will California single payer be hitched to Calexit, for, as an independent monetary sovereign, there is more room to maneuver?

      Hopefully, the new nation will be neutral like Switzerland, and ban all arms production and research.

      And public campaign financing, so there is no foreign money interference, from China, the UK, the US, the Saudis or anyone else.

      1. Cat Burglar

        Calexit seems about as likely as Ecotopia. But I live in a thinly-populated rural area — nobody talks about it here, and Calexit seems more like an elite political hobby group than serious initiative — but it is hard to tell from out here.

        1. Kim Kaufman

          @ Cat Burglar

          I live in Los Angeles. It seems the same here. If I do run into anyone talking about it, I inwardly roll my eyes and move away.

    2. annie

      I think it is just talk. Gavin Newsome had a recent interview where he said he is in favor of single payer, but since there is no clear way to pay for it (in his opinion) then the state should figure out how to provide universal insurance. It is a logically inconsistent position because there is also no clear way to pay for universal insurance. The California dems talk big. But it is just another example of public versus private positions — no different than the republicans and Obamacare. California dems passed single payer legislation multiple times for Governor Arnold to veto, and now will not pass anything with a supermajority and dem governor.

      1. Cat Burglar

        True enough! It is talk. And even Obama did say once — I remember now! — that he supported it, and look what we got.

        Still, after the fractious state Democratic convention, some of the apparatchiki said they were afraid the Sanders wing would just refuse to vote for single-payer opponents. So what we get from them is support “in principle” — but we should recognize that is because the power of the single-payer movement has the leadership scared. At least in California (I haven’t seen it in Oregon or Washington) the Overton Window shifted just a little.

        As you point out, with a dem supermajority and governor, they have nowhere to hide except “gosh, how do we figure this out?” When I write them I tell them, in politer terms, “It’s what we pay you for, dumbo — do the heavy lifting like the rest of do at work! Or maybe you’d like a different job?”

        My guess is they will try to back off and see if we forget about single-payer, or try a distraction. We need to keep the clamps on and press the advantage: remind them at every turn you want single-payer, or else.

    3. ChrisPacific

      The “how to pay for it” thing is a strawman. The American Conservative article a while back made this point. It would actually save an enormous amount of money. The (explicit or implicit) argument that it will cost more only makes sense if you completely ignore individual (i.e., non-government) expenditures on healthcare. Accountants who try to make costs vanish by shuffling them around like this get thrown in jail. We should hold politicians to the same standard.

      I would suggest that single payer advocates:
      – propose it in revenue neutral form via an across the board tax increase
      – do some work to quantify the average cost of healthcare to individuals in the current system, both in actual spending and negative consequences e.g. from skipping doctor visits
      – subtract the tax increase required from that number, then describe the leftover amount (which should be substantial) as a net financial benefit to taxpayers.

      This would immediately torpedo the “how to pay for it” argument and could also be spun to attract fiscal conservatives, as it would have the same net effect as tax cuts (i.e., putting more money back in people’s pockets).

    4. Jen

      If you believe health care is a human right, you cannot support a market based solution. If you believe in market based solutions, you do not truly believe health care is a human right.

      As I remind my congress critter Annie Kuster whenever she yaps about bipartisan solutions.

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Soft Money Is Back — And Both Parties Are Cashing In Politico (Re Silc).

    Lao Tzu…further said, ‘The soft and weak can overcome the hard

    Water is yielding, soft, goes to low places, and yet is also able to carve mountains over time.

    Wind is soft but blows over the strongest tree.

    How, then, do we response to money that is soft?

    By being as soft or softer…as one wave after another, repeated billions and trillions of times, water pounds that soft, gentle sandy beach.

    No one savior-wave or savior-tsunami.

  28. Tooearly

    Can I ask a question of forum members? What are some of the ways clever C suite types can use procurement for self gain?

    1. Synoia

      Steering procurement (orders) to friends and family.

      It helps to have the whole buying department in on the scam, and let them have a piece of the take.

    2. Adam Eran

      1. Buy a product for the company from a company in which they hold stock. Most effective when the purchase is a big one. (I’ve seen this in software when inferior components were purchased just because the guy doing the purchasing held stock in the component company)

      2. Buy a product that gives them a kickback.

      3. Borrow money to repurchase company stock, raising the price, which in turn raises their stock-price-based compensation.

  29. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    How Air-Conditioning Conquered America (Even the Pacific Northwest) NYT

    Ironic, that AC makes the planet hotter.

    Should we and those before us, say in the last 100 years, have just ‘toughed it out?’

    Do we have a case of penny-wise, pound-foolish?

    1. bronco

      Yes generally . AC makes people need it and they become useless in its absence. AS I got older I succumbed to have one where I sleep for 2 months out of the year.

      There are places in the US where people should never have moved to in the first place , without AC would people retire to Phoenix or Florida? The 2 armpits of america , Florida at least has drinking water I guess. . A good long power outage and Arizona will be a graveyard

    2. mpalomar

      I don’t know what it’s like these days but when the air conditioned A train pulled into Union Station in July pumping more heat into a torrid tunnel crammed with people there was little doubt that AC was both heating and cooling.
      I recall a day so hot that a large, sweaty rat took a stroll down a busy platform, damp fur spiked, parting the crowd, not taking sh#t from anyone and none offered.

    3. Jen

      Over near Augusta, ME for the weekend. This morning it was around 58 degrees when I got up. Took my dogs out for an early morning walk and about half of the houses I walked past had the AC humming. With the windows open, I had to pull a blanket on during the night.

  30. Kim Kaufman

    Re “Google blocked every one of the WSWS’s 45 top search terms WSWS (MT).”

    No, Google is not censoring search results

    WSWS, a socialist site, is quite sure Google is censoring it and other leftie sites. Infowars, which is on the hard right, says Google is doing the same to them. Deranged nutcase site Natural News was delisted by Google, and predictably blamed those bastards at Mountain View who are trying to kill political dissent.

    He says it’s happening because websites don’t have their sh** together. To read his more technical explanation:

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’d hardly regard that article as technical; if it were, there would be some discussion of what the changing algos were, and how the changes affected traffic.

      In any case, as the sample search results show, Google is an extreme outlier with regard to WSWS. I find it hard to believe there’s any other explanation than something internal to Google. Whether that’s censorship in the form of a blacklist, or a happy accident from algorithmic (or algorithmic parameter) change is impossible to know, since Google is completely opaque. (Although at this point we note the political involvement of Eric Schmidt.)

      Here’s what passes for technical analysis from this guy. Pasting Google’s webmaster guidelines (I’ve numbered them):

      Basic principles

      [1] Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.

      [2] Don’t deceive your users.

      [3] Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”

      [4] Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.

      In my view, WSWS is clearly following Webmaster guidelines [1], [2], and [4] (and especially four). The only remaining question is [3].

      Is WSWS, then, employing “tricks” “to improve search engine rankings”?

      First, that seems unlikely to me, if only because the WSWS site is about as 90s-style and unclickbait-y as it’s possible for a website to be.

      Second, all search engines have the incentive to avoid being gamed, so blaming WSWS’s deranking on “tricks” can’t give an account of the different results between Google and the other search engines. (No hits in ten pages. Really?)

      Third, I think the differential search results, as I have said, create a prima facie case that Google is doing something unique. But the only webmaster rule that WSWS can be violating is [3], “tricks.” The onus on Google’s defenders, then, is to show those tricks, and show what WSWS is doing. If anyone has done this, I’d be very glad to see a link, as opposed to this guy’s vague handwaving.

      1. Kim Kaufman

        OK, I’ll ask him. It’s more technical than “doesn’t have sh** together,” which is how much I care about this topic, other than passing it along to those that know more than I do.

        But also, it doesn’t appear to be an attack on only left wing websites either.

      2. Dan

        I’m a little skeptical of their analysis. I randomly checked two of their pages (sorry I don’t have time to consult for free,)

        This link comes up (search term Trotsky) with more than 100 broken link errors. Google will kill you for that:

        This article (search term Russian Revolution) is way too short to rank on google, which has started favoring longer articles;

        Not saying google hasn’t hurt them somehow, but those are very basic errors. I’d want to have my site properly optimized before I’d blame Google.

      3. Yves Smith

        Natural News was a completely different case and was actually briefly delisted for some sort of technical violation that Google saw as a very big deal. They did claim censorship, however, and they had been one of two sites singled out for an in-depth treatment as Russian stooges in the PropOrNot report (they actually did have a BS report which it appears just about no one read, including Craig Timberg at the Washington Post, who nevertheless reported on its existence). So people who didn’t know better believed Natural News’ crying wolf.

        Kim, it does not appear you read the WSWS article you are criticizing carefully. Alternet lost nearly as much Google search traffic as WSWS did. Popular Resistance has also seen a more than 60% drop in traffic since the algo change. Google specifically said change was to elevate the standing of sites with ‘authoritative content”. That means the MSM. The fact that right wing sites were hurt supports rather than disproves the contention that this change had a significant, if not driving, political motivation.

        And you appear unaware of the fact that there has been a crowdsourced effort, led by Eli Pariser, to tackle “fake news” that was INTENDED to inform Google and others:

        As described by the Financial Times

        A community has gathered to share ideas around a 58-page Google document started by Eli Pariser, the author of a best-selling critique of social media, The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is hiding from you. A professor has circulated a spreadsheet of reliable and less reliable news sources for comment, while hackathons at Princeton and in the Bay Area have produced prototype products that Facebook could copy…

        That document includes the PropOrNot report as a source document. A site writer who knows Pariser personally tried to get Pariser to remove it and he refused. So the underlying work is all based on guilty by association.

        A parallel effort (and I can’t recall key terms to find it in my search engine and I need to run out now) is led by a journalism prof at a third tier school. The way they categorize sites is appalling and they have no backup for how they are listed, which strongly indicates that despite having an appearance of rigor, the methods are arbitrary (as in single people make the decisions in isolation with no controls). For instance, when I looked at it, Intercept was “unknown” and we were “political” which to them = “bad”. IIRC, Consortium News was listed as “conspiracy theory”.

        1. Kim Kaufman

          Look, I’m totally sorry I posted the link. I thought I was just posting an alternate point of view about something I know little about – the technicalities of websites getting listed on Google. From a blogger I follow, who does this stuff for a living.

          I also know that Google jacks stuff around but the point of the post is that it might not be an attack on lefties only. I apologize!

          1. flora

            I thought the link was pretty interesting as an example of google-ish PR claiming the changes were wholly innocuous and reasonable. The NC commentariate seems pretty adept at debunking fake PR “reasoning”, which I think this link was. imo.

  31. hreik

    Thank you for the antidote du jour. Eles are my favorite of all mammalian species. Have been doing brush paintings (Sumi-E) of them for years. They are incredibly sentient beings.

    I posted about this a long time ago. will repeat b/c of how extraordinary it was

    For 12 hours, two herds of wild South African elephants slowly made their way through the Zululand bush until they reached the house of late author Lawrence Anthony, the conservationist who saved their lives.
    The formerly violent, rogue elephants, destined to be shot a few years ago as pests, were rescued and rehabilitated by Anthony, who had grown up in the bush and was known as the “Elephant Whisperer.”

    For two days the herds loitered at Anthony’s rural compound on the vast Thula Thula game reserve in the South African KwaZulu – to say good-bye to the man they loved. But how did they know he had died March 7?
    There are two elephant herds at Thula Thula. According to his son Dylan, both arrived at the Anthony family compound shortly after Anthony’s death.

    “They had not visited the house for a year and a half and it must have taken them about 12 hours to make the journey,” Dylan is quoted in various local news accounts. “The first herd arrived on Sunday and the second herd, a day later. They all hung around for about two days before making their way back into the bush.”
    So, how after Anthony’s death, did the reserve’s elephants — grazing miles away in distant parts of the park — know?

    “A good man died suddenly,” says Rabbi Leila Gal Berner, Ph.D., “and from miles and miles away, two herds of elephants, sensing that they had lost a beloved human friend, moved in a solemn, almost ‘funereal’ procession to make a call on the bereaved family at the deceased man’s home.”

    “If there ever were a time, when we can truly sense the wondrous ‘interconnectedness of all beings,’ it is when we reflect on the elephants of Thula Thula. A man’s heart’s stops, and hundreds of elephants’ hearts are grieving. This man’s oh-so-abundantly loving heart offered healing to these elephants, and now, they came to pay loving homage to their friend.”


    1. craazyboy

      Here’s King Crimson Elephant Talk.

      Elephants would like this!

      Has some interesting bass and guitar playing too. Guitar can be made to sound like a violin. (I tried it – it’s hard.) Tony Levin is a great bass player.

    1. Richard

      And another comments disabled story.
      “MSN has temporarily removed commenting on our websites while we explore better ways for you to engage in discussion on the issues you care about”
      I am guessing some of those better ways are:
      *Stand way over there and mumble to yourself
      * Hold this script and begin speaking
      * If you want to indulge in some media criticism, it must be wrapped just so. “I know Putin is evil, but…”

  32. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why relying vices backfires:

    There are, roughly speaking, three views of human nature: we’re inherently good; inherently bad; or about neutral.

    Those on the left tend towards “good” and those on the right tend towards “bad”.

    The question is an old one, as the author details further into the article…Christianity, Mencius, Machiavelli.

    People who take a different view than us are not necessarily ‘evil,’ as there is no definitive answer to that question.

    If you want to do something bad, or rely on bad motives to get something done, the onus is very high to prove that treating people well can’t get the job done too, because your method is polluting, it is in itself bad, happens regularly and makes life worse for people.

    Should the banksters be pitchforked? Obama thought not.

    Should they be treated well (say, according to the newest medical theories, with the best psychiatric treatments, etc, on, say, Greed Rehab Colony on Mars), instead of imprisonment or being pitchforked?

  33. ewmayer

    o “Cleaning a Dirty Sponge Only Helps Its Worst Bacteria, Study Says | NYT” — I just pour a bit of bleach into the toilet to produce a roughly 10:1 dilution, and soak my dirty-but-not-yet-falling-apart sponges in that overnight, perhaps once a week. I guarantee you even the hardiest bacteria are killed, and I get a roughly 3-4-fold increase in lifetime of my sponges before I finally toss ’em. Same diluted bleach mixture also works great for mopping floors, cleaning tub & sinks, and for getting stains/smells out of plastic containers one wishes to reuse.

  34. Livius Drusus

    Re: Italians being the healthier, Italy has more doctors per head than most other wealthy countries while the United States has a shortage thanks to the lobbying efforts of the AMA.


    One of the problems with the liberal and even leftist narrative on health care is that almost all of the blame is being loaded onto the insurance companies while ignoring other bad actors like the physician’s lobby. How would the AMA react to a major Federal effort to increase the number of doctors in the United States? I doubt they would support it.

    I don’t agree with Dean Baker’s policy prescription of bringing in more foreign doctors. We should train more Americans and lower medical school costs instead of poaching doctors from countries than need them, despite Baker’s idea of paying for foreign training to reduce brain drain. But Baker is right to target the physician’s lobby as a major part of the health care problem in the United States.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Or barefoot AI robot doctors.

      Sometimes, a patient just needs to be told everything is OK…the psychological aspect of healing; the tests can be read routinely, unless there are problems.

      “Hey, I’m robot M2D2, here to check if you and your family have been exercising and eating organic vegetables in the most recent 7 days.”

    2. oh

      I like your idea. Let’s first start by first forgiving the existing loans for doctors’ education with the stipulation that they pay a portion of the forgiven loan payment towards universal healthcare.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        And by cutting hair for free, for a stipulated period, beauty school loans should be forgiven as well.

        What can we do for real estate licence school loans?

        Or contractor license school loans.

    3. TK421

      Time to nit-pick: does Dean Baker think America should import doctors from other countries, or is he simply using that as an example of protectionism in action?

      1. Livius Drusus

        I think it is both. Baker often points out that production workers like those in manufacturing have had their wages reduced through trade agreements but that professionals like doctors, dentists and lawyers have been protected from the same forces. Baker calls this “selective protectionism.”

        I think Baker is serious about his doctor importation idea because he mentions it often and seems to see it as a way to address the unfairness of subjecting some workers to foreign competition but not others, especially since those being protected are affluent and influential which worsens inequality.

  35. DJG

    Italians as the healthiest people in the world. As someone of Sicilian descent, my goal in life is to become a flinty old dago. My model is my mother’s godmother, who was originally from near Sulmona (Ovid’s home town) in the Abruzzi. She was sent home from a hospice at the age of 92 because she wasn’t dying within time limits.

    First, I recall that Yves Smith posted that article about the epidemiological puzzle in the Molise region (which is next to the Abruzzi). The Mediterranean diet may have unevenly distributed benefits, and it appears that poorer and less educated Molisani don’t benefit as much. At the same time, the Italian health-care system is widely considered second best in the world, after the French. Further, it isn’t hard to turn up figures that the distribution of income in Italy is much less skewed toward the top as it is in the U S of A. At the same time, Italian hourly wages and salaries are low.

    So the questions that Yves brought up are still hanging out there: Can we improve U.S. outcomes with better diet, better health care (more options, more access), a better distribution of the national wealth, and greater social guarantees?

    There is, though, a genetic and cultural aspect that is extremely strong: Like Japanese-Americans, Italian-Americans don’t benefit from the American diet. I’ve seen it in my own family with some premature deaths. So unless Americans want to live the way Japanese and Italians do, we won’t see certain benefits here.

    Anecdotally and observationally, I note:
    –Italians are simply more active than Americans. Everyone walks. Americans are always shocked at the staircases in museums in Italy, for instance. The Italian attitude is, Walk up the stairs.
    –Italians are more enmeshed in community life and get real benefits from the community. I tend to tease my Italian friends that everyone in Italy is a busybody. After two days, the barista knows how you like your coffee and the cashier wants to know who your friends are and why you can speak (or not speak) Italian.
    –Older Italians are engaged (but they don’t “dress young” and get their skin surgically rearranged). There is less of the generational segregation that you see in the U S of A.
    –Genetics: How else do you explain towns with lots of people in the nineties? Bologna has a reputation for producing nonagenarians, and it can’t just be the substantial Bolognese cookery.
    –Moderation: The Italians are remarkably careful and reserved. You don’t put ice in a drink because it would become too cold, affect your digestion, and kill you. Or it would ruin your digestion, which is a fate worse than death.
    –Not as much consumption of alcohol as it seems. I have been at dinners with three or four friends at which one whole bottle of wine was consumed. Also, there is very little consumption of strong drinks–the white alcohols or the brown alcohols. The fad for grappa often elicits crooked smiles among Italians. And the notorious Italian digestivi don’t have much alcohol. They look like something from the weird sisters of Macbeth, but they don’t pack a punch.
    –A certain stoicisim: Who else sits in their overcoats in January outside in cafes drinking espresso? Or even better, standing outside in one’s overcoat.
    –A strong emphasis on the care of the body: Cleanliness is paramount. You don’t see bed-head and fads for not washing. The crowds in the subway cars in Rome and Turin smell of bath soap. And you don’t see many tattoos, either.
    –Fussiness about ingredients. This may be central. Italians just won’t eat crap, even if they increasingly snack and increasingly are exposed to “pop-i-corn” and “marshmallo.”
    –A certain hesitance about predictions: I recall an Italian friend mentioning that American doctors and their predictions, You have six months to live, are counterproductive. Who knows how long? And why be so mean to the patient?

    I note that the Cypriots and Greeks come in at 18 and 20: Now if they would only stop smoking, they’d move up several slots, because their habits are similiar to Italians. But no one in Europe smokes quite like the Greeks.

    All in all, a knotty problem: What would be best in the U S of A? Better health care, with more G.P.s, more nurse practioners, more community health, more vaccination (yes). Less tolerance for using the U.S. food system as a way for companies to experiment on us through the “market” for the newest twist on potato chips or the newest pesticide. More stress on taking vacations. Less consumption of the brown and white liquors. And thinking in the Italian way–less overheating of our houses in the winter and less use of air conditioning in the summer. (Air conditioning is like ice cubes–potentially fatal.)

    1. DJG

      Opioid consumption and the charts in the 538 article: Can anyone explain why four neighboring states (Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota) and most of Texas are relatively unscathed? As a resident of Illinois, I’d say that the sense of community still exists in those four states in the upper midwest. Access to farms means that produce is good, and maybe all that dairy from northern Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota has benefits.

      These four states are heavily Catholic, and they are also the center for Lutherans in the U S of A. There is a long tradition of migration from Upstate New York and New England as well as Scandinavia, Germany (lots of Germans), and Poland. Maybe people here are using beer rather than opioids, hmmm.

      I’m relieved that Illinois, for once, isn’t in the apocalyptic category. I just can’t quite explain it.

      1. JTMcPhee

        In Wisconsin, in the hinterlands, it’s “a beer and a bump,” which for my ex-wife’s hardscrabble farmer/disability family, means going to the Five Corners, to one of the four establishments there, for a PBR and a peppermint schnapps. Not that the younger ones were averse to growing a little weed and using it semi-discretely.

        See, e.g., “The Beans of Egypt, Maine,”, and “Tobacco Road,” and “Jerry Springer…”

        A place where the last words of more than one rustic bravo were “HOLD MUH BEER AND WATCH THIS!”

        Where the sweet dreams of dark nights feature THIS:
        REAL Flyove: r

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Smell of bath soap.

      That’s a 2,000 + year-old tradition, witnessing the Baths of Caracalla, and the heated Roman bath buildings wherever they went.

    3. TK421

      She was sent home from a hospice at the age of 92 because she wasn’t dying within time limits.

      That sounds like a Rodney Dangerfield joke. “Hey, I get no respect! The hospice kicked me out for being too healthy!”

    4. Livius Drusus

      I was disappointed that the study didn’t seem to discuss anything about community life. For example, it is not considered weird for Italians to live in multigenerational households like it is in the United States. I think multigenerational living is especially good for the elderly because it keeps them from becoming isolated and unhappy but also because it means there are people around to help them stay healthy, for example helping them manage medication and keep up with medical appointments.

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