Links 9/15/17

Cassini: The Grand Finale NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Are Earth’s oldest trees losing the race in a warming climate? Treehugger

Snow leopard no longer ‘endangered’ BBC

Equifax Isn’t A Data Problem. It’s A Political Problem. Matt Stoller, HuffPo

I called Equifax with a simple question. This is what happened. WaPo. Sounds like everything is working as designed.

Equifax used the word ‘admin’ for the login and password of a database CNBC

Electric car dream collides with reality on profits FT

Portland probe finds Uber used software to evade 16 government officials Reuters. Greyball.

Court reveals another overseas-data fight between Google and feds Politico

Google hit with class action lawsuit over gender pay AP

Are Index Funds Communist? Bloomberg. Betteridge’s Law…

Hurricane Alley

Florida’s Poop Nightmare Has Come True TNR

Florida Is Short on Insurance Adjusters, and That Could Stall Recovery Efforts WSJ

Zoned for Displacement City Lab

‘Los Zetas Inc.’ Author on Why Mexico’s Drug War Isn’t About Drugs Texas Observer

AP Explains: Brazil president charged, and what comes next Miami Herald


Brexit transition offer ‘key’ to settling EU divorce bill FT

Britain will regret leaving the European Union: Juncker EU Business

This single speech shows that the Tories aren’t taking Corbyn or Brexit seriously The New Statesman

Grenfell Tower inquiry judge vows to find out truth as witnesses could be forced to give evidence Evening Standard (MR).

EU Worries Grow over U.S. Economic Chaos Der Spiegel

In the Centre of the Centre LRB. Angela Merkel.

Catalonia kicks off banned independence referendum campaign Deutsche Welle

Ukraine’s Imperiled Press Freedom Project Syndicate

EU report on weedkiller safety copied text from Monsanto study Guardian (MR).

North Korea

North Korea fires another missile over Japan, deepening regional tensions Reuters

US demands China take ‘direct action’ after North Korea fires another missile over Japan South China Morning Post

In a first, Myanmar’s ‘ethnic cleansing’ unites Suu Kyi’s party, army and public Reuters

The oil economics and land-grab politics behind Myanmar’s Rohingya refugee crisis Quartz


Hong Kong’s opposition politicians get chance at game-changing comeback next March South China Morning Post

Bitcoin crashes as China closes in Macrobusiness

Trump Transition

The Four Seasons of Kremlingate Foreign Policy

Warning for GOP: Trump voters blame Congress for his flirtation with Dems McClatchy

‘A new strategy’ for Trump? Democrats cautious but encouraged by fresh outreach. WaPo

As G.O.P. Moves to Fill Courts, McConnell Takes Aim at an Enduring Hurdle NYT

10 Things You Need To Know About Blue Slips HuffPo

Trump’s nominees are getting confirmed at half the pace of Obama’s picks CNN

What Happened: Hillary Clinton unleashed FT

DC socialite Sally Quinn, 76, says she is psychic and killed THREE people with CURSES Daily Mail. Yes, this is what the Village is like, if you couldn’t tell from Clinton’s book.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Former acting CIA director quits Harvard over Chelsea Manning post Yahoo News and CIA Director Cancels IOP Appearance After Manning Appointment Harvard Crimson. Morrell’s pro-torture. Pompeo gave Morrell, and all the torturers, a Get Out of Jail free card. Good riddance to all of them.

Tenting the Homeless and Bleaching the Streets: How San Diego Is Fighting a Hepatitis Outbreak Governing. Welcome to the Third World.

CDC official sends troubling message to employees about media questions CJR

Health Care

Everyone Covered, No One Goes Broke’: Sanders Introduces Medicare for All Bill Common Dreams

Trump would veto single payer:

Anybody who’s against single payer is pro-Trump. Those are the rules.

Why Bernie Sanders’ single-payer push is great policy and even better politics The Week

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

News you can use: “Just saw something come across my FB feed which is truly disturbing: With the new facial recognition, a cop can arrest you, handcuff you, then shine your phone in your face, unlock it, and delete any recordings you have made of that cop breaking the law. Scary. Big time scary.” Hat tip: JM. I guess FB is good for something after all…

Another threat to your privacy: the way you write Privacy News Online. Le style c’est l’homme même…

Crime in 2017: A Preliminary Analysis Brennan Center. “The overall crime rate in 2017 is projected to decrease slightly, by 1.8 percent. If this estimate holds, 2017 will have the second-lowest crime rate since 1990.”

Class Warfare

Welfare for Wall Street: fees on retirement accounts Real-World Economics Review (MT).

Union Power Is Putting Pressure on Silicon Valley’s Tech Giants Bloomberg (MR).

Heroin in Cincinnati: This is what an epidemic looks like Cincinnati Inquirer

Prior expectations induce prestimulus sensory templates PNAS

The flaw of averages The Economist

Insurance companies should collect a carbon levy Nature

The great nutrient collapse Politico

Antidote du jour (Chris):

Chris writes: “Attached is close up of a female sunbird on the nest – probably one egg, we shall see.”

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. skippy

    “Florida Is Short on Insurance Adjusters”

    Florida is short of American insurance adjusters e.g. two different sets of law thingy…

    1. Rory

      And does that trouble the insurers? I had a client years ago who observed that insurance companies were like the Las Vegas casinos. No problem buying insurance coverage, just like there’s never a line at the window to change your money into chips. But when you want to cash out, or when you want to collect on a claim under your policy, long lines at the cashier window or interminable delays in the claims process.

  2. Kevin Smith

    Re: Cops deleting video from your phone:
    Simple solution: use Periscope to record your video.
    Periscope uploads your video to the cloud in realtime.
    Problem: it is not usually as hi-res as your phone, so it would be ideal if there was an app that would record hi-res to your phone, and simultaneously upload a lower-bandwidth version to Periscope, for safe-keeping.

    Any devs out there want to pick up the ball and run with it?

    1. diptherio

      Yeah, we need an app specifically designed for filming the police. Seems like there’s something of a niche market there….Actually, I’m kinda surprised such a thing doesn’t exist yet.

    2. justanotherprogressive

      Here’s a better idea – just don’t buy a phone with facial recognition software on it – then you don’t need to find “fixes” to protect yourself…..

      I keep wondering if this will finally be the time that the tech industry has gone too far and people will again decide to use only that technology that works for them (v. against them), but I fear it is not……

      1. begob

        Cue the youtube vid of a cop erasing the iphone vid at the moment he realises there’s a kid in the blood-spattered back seat with an android trained on him.

      2. Geoff

        I’m with you. My feeling is that anyone willing to drop 1 Grand on a “phone” already has the world plastered with so many selfies that facial identification systems already know who they are, what they like for breakfast, and all that funs stuff. I would hope anyone with an ounce of sense regarding data protection and privacy would avoid such phones.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      So much for sticking it to the Military Industrial Complex.. Harvard must have thought they had a leftist two-fer with Ms. Manning (Trans and anti surveillance). I would love to see the communications logs from the University to various members of the MIC during the past 24 hours.. the pressure applied must have been vicious. I hope that another organization picks her up just to send a message.

    2. justanotherprogressive

      Well, it IS Harvard…..

      Obviously, educational institutions (you know, the places you are supposed to go to to learn about other ideas and engage in critical thinking and hopefully ferret out some truths…. /s) must bow to the powers that be and to their whims of what is morally allowable for the rest of us to hear….

      Torture, wanton killing, destruction of other governments and the environment – all of that is apparently morally allowable – but talking about it is not! I guess now even the basic morality of this country is now supposed to be secret……

      I feel like I am living in a dystopian novel……

      1. Rojo

        “We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and our banks destroy the economy.”

        ― Chris Hedges

    3. petal

      I figure it’s all about the money. Donations, special collaborations, the works. Harvard is the establishment. When it really comes down to it, easy to figure out who will stay and who gets the boot. They have to keep sweet so all of the powerful people are kept happy. It’s too high profile.

        1. Mike

          We should remember that Harvard was among the “institutions” tagged to help the Soviet Union transition to capitalism. Yale, MIT (Chomsky fans, bow down), University of Chicago, all jumped in to help Russia get crony capitalism and Boris Yeltsin. Win-win! So we know how corrupt their system is, and that is parcel of Hillary’s ability to charge them with election tampering (what is the latest morph of this accusation, anyway?).

          As for me I am shocked there are any centrists left at Harvard, let alone radicals able to engineer something like a fellowship for C. M., even if temporarily – the world is getting loonier by the minute, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    Why Bernie Sanders’ single-payer push is great policy and even better politics The Week

    I think this article gets to the point and shows why getting too tied up on the details of the proposals is the wrong way to look at what Sanders is doing.

    The way to get over people’s fears of losing their (increasingly lousy) coverage is to promise them something so good that people can be certain they’ll end up better off. The prospect of guaranteed, generous coverage at a reasonable price, that works everywhere and can never be taken away, that would abolish medical bankruptcy and the hell of insurance paperwork, fits that bill. What’s more, most people are already very familiar with Medicare, and so will be resistant to scaremongering from conservatives and the insurance industry.

    Fear of change and knee-jerk moderation is the thinking that made American health care such a disaster in the first place. But at some point America is going to have to rip off this band-aid. BernieCare is an excellent starting point.

    The proposals won’t be enacted of course so long as the Republicans control both houses and the White House. But by thinking big Sanders has pulled the Dem establishment along kicking and screaming into supporting the principle of single payer. He has firmly and and decisively pulled the Overton Window to the left for healthcare. The usual suspects will of course do everything they can to water it down and kill it, but he has made supporting the principle essential for any ambitious Dem, and once they have done so, they can be held to account.

    1. Tom_Doak

      I would like to believe all of your last paragraph, but I think the Dem hopefuls are happy to jump on board with Bernie now and then “unfortunately find” that single payer is “a step too far” before they actually have the power to effect change. Just like in California, where they were all happy to vote for it, until they had a bulletproof majority, and now they find they can’t do it because of Proposition Whatever.

    2. Lee

      The proposals won’t be enacted of course so long as the Republicans control both houses and the White House

      I agree but if the Dems ever again control the three branches will we be treated to yet another case of the dog at last catching the car? It would certainly be a decisive moment of separating the sheep from the goats. OMG, I woke up this morning to find myself living on animal farm.

  4. Darn

    Re ‘Centre of the centre’. “The campaign programmes for the two parties came to mirror each other, as they both toggled between the issues of ‘full employment’ and ‘security’ (though ‘full employment’ no longer means what it used to in an economy dependent on precarious labour).” Phuck yeah.

  5. Jim Haygood

    Bunnies, comrades — for eatin’, not for slippers:

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has unveiled an unusual strategy to help ease the chronic food shortage faced by many of his nation’s 30 million people — something he calls Plan Conejo, or “Plan Rabbit.”

    Maduro and his ministers are embarking on a somewhat surprising — and to many, alarming — campaign to convince Venezuelans to eat rabbits. They say rabbits will make an excellent source of protein for the large number of people who don’t have regular access to red meat or chicken as the result of the country’s economic collapse.

    The rabbit plan, however, has already run into a hole. While rabbit dishes are not uncommon elsewhere in the world, it’s rarely found simmering away in Venezuelan kitchens. Rabbits in Venezuela are much more likely to feature as mascots for soccer teams or characters on birthday cards than as dinner.

    Plan Conejo? Sounds more like Plan Carajo to moi. ;-)

    1. cocomaan

      Rabbit is the best calorie->flesh ratio of domesticated mammals.

      This kind of efficiency-seeking is always a sign of desperation. I know that factoid above because I read about the blitz in the UK in WW2. Their ag department made farmers slaughter pigs and other inefficient flesh producers. Lots of heritage breeds lost during that war. The ag department turned people onto rabbits instead.

      Unfortunately, here in PA, wild rabbits have worms in the spring and summer.

      1. Enquiring Mind

        Some ‘clever’ restaurants use jackrabbits or other wild critters in place of what they call rabbit, a short term solution. Their offerings are an acquired taste, and sometimes there isn’t enough sauce or condiment selection to cover up the gaminess. Their approach is a short hop to failure in the Yelpy world.

        In the brave new eating world, everything will be pitched as Tastes Like Chicken.
        Will it also have hormones, diseases, you name it? Having been on factory farms, and read about the depredations of the protein miners on farmers, I’m even more inclined to be extra-careful about food sourcing.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          What about rat meat?

          From Rat, Wikipedia:

          In the Mishmi culture of India, rats are essential to the traditional diet, as Mishmi women may eat no meat except fish, pork, wild birds and rats.

          From BBC – Future – The Countries Rats Are On The Menu, Dec. 7, 2015:

          Rats are eaten regularly in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, parts of the Philippines and Indonesia, Thailand, Ghana, China and Vietnam, says Grant Singleton, from the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines

      2. Coast Ranger

        While rabbit may be efficient it is a poor long term source of protein because it is so low in fat. You’d starve if it was your only food source.

        Glad to see the comments back. I usually keep NC open as a tab to check back many times a day. With the comments off I simply scanned the links and then shut NC off.

        1. Yves Smith

          What you said makes no sense. Fats and protein are completely separate macronutrients. Whether a protein is a “good” protein depends on how well its amino acid profile matches that of the amino acids needed by humans, and how easily it is digested. For instance, meat-based proteins are higher quality proteins than vegetable-bsed proteins.

          Regarding how lean rabbit is, wild game is also extremely lean, FWIW.

          1. Yves Smith

            Yes, you can die from not having enough fats. That is why they are called “essential fatty acids”. But that has nothing to do with the quality of protein in a particular type of meat, but the lack of fats.

  6. Jim Haygood

    From The Week article on Medicare for All:

    We pay enough in health-care taxes alone to cover a Canada-style Medicare-for-all system for the whole U.S.

    A 7.5 percent new employer-side payroll tax would raise $3.9 trillion, while …a new 4 percent income tax would raise another $3.5 trillion.

    Wait … WHAT? We already pay enough to cover Medicare for all, but we need the Mother of All Tax Hikes to pay for it again?

    Consider how this proposition sounds to the 50 percent of the US population who receive employer-provided health coverage. In place of a service that is currently free from the employee’s perspective, instead they will have to pay perpetual taxes, even into their retirement years, to get what they already have.

    As the late great Walter Mondale orated, “Of COURSE I’m going to increase your taxes.” ;-)

    1. allan

      “Consider how this proposition sounds to the 50 percent of the US population who receive employer-provided health coverage. In place of a service that is currently free from the employee’s perspective …”

      This is false for many people.
      I pay $500/month for a medium deductible PPO plan for spouse and me.
      My employer pays another $800/month, for a total of $1300/month.
      The question is who is the money going to?

      Where are the patients’ yachts?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The 4 percent is optional under MMT.

        If we tax the rich even more, or health care related corporations a little more, that 4 percent is again optional.

        I think Jim raised a good question.

        Do we need that tax hike?

    2. MayM

      “Free” employer sponsored health doesn’t feel particularly free to me.
      I had to pay $750 per month for my portion of an employer sponsored family plan last year.
      My employer was in Massachusetts but because I telecommuted from another New England state, I had to buy the most expensive plan on offer because I was out of most networks. It would have been much cheaper for us to purchase a plan on the exchange in our state, but I was barred from doing so because my employer offered insurance.

      A 4% payroll tax on my $30,000 in income would have saved me hundreds of dollars per month over the employer sponsored plan.

      While I recognize that my particular set of circumstances are somewhat unique, if you look at the average cost of employer-based family plans for employees, as compiled by Kaiser, you’d see that employer sponsored insurance costs thousands a yea.“colId”:”Location”,”sort”:”asc”%7D

      I know people are allergic to the idea of higher taxes, but I think more people can be persuaded on this point than you suggest. Even employer sponsored insurance is not what it used to be.

    3. nippersmom

      Jim, I have “employer-provided healthcare”. My contribution to my healthcare plan (coverage for my husband and self) is over $500 per month, on top of what my employer contributes. We have an HMO and are therefore limited in what doctors we can use without additional charges for out-of-network providers. And we actually have very good coverage, compared to the majority of the US population. Virtually everyone I know- even those with employer-sponsored plans- already pays a portion of their insurance costs. The number of people who “currently receive a service that is free from the employee’s perspective” is not particularly large.

      Not to mention that it is disingenuous of you to suggest that the “cost” of the insurance is not factored into the employee’s total compensation package.

        1. nippersmom

          Is his “suggestion” not “an idea”? That was not a personal attack, and I don’t really see how it can be construed as one.

          1. aletheia33

            just to clarify: the word “disingenuous” attributes insincerity and lack of candor to the source of the suggestion, not the suggestion itself, which in itself cannot possess such human qualities. even in the phrase “a disingenuous suggestion”, the sense is that it is the source who is disingenuous, not the suggestion itself.

            thank you for clarifying your benign intention.

            i am left to wonder exactly what you meant by “disingenuous.” but i usually read overly literally, so don’t mind me.

        2. Richard

          Aletheia, I think that was a comment on the construction of Jim’s idea; leaving something big out that tips the scales is disingenuous. I don’t think it’s meant to imply a character trait or to comment on anything beyond that one idea.
          So it seems to me, anyway…

          1. nippersmom

            Thank you, Richard. That is exactly what I meant. I will try to be crystal clear in my language choices in future.

      1. jrs

        It’s sometimes free for an individual choosing an HMO (and don’t expect a gold or platinum level HMO either as that is probably not free – more like a silver or bronze plan). For covering spouses or opting for EPOs or PPOs, it is pretty much never free. And while children don’t always cost that much more, covering them is seldom free either.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      I also have excellent employer provided healthcare and I’ve rarely paid a dime out of pocket when any of my family visits the doctor. But it definitely is not free nor does it seem free when a chunk is deducted from my paycheck every week.

      If a single payer system is done right and the profit motive for insurance companies who do nothing to improve anyone’s health is taken away, and we don’t get some watered down corporate friendly version, I would bet money that the increase in taxes is less than what I had been paying to my employer for coverage.

      And theoretically at least, if my employer no longer has to spend millions on health care, they would have more money to pay to employees in wages.

      What’s not to like about that? (Unless you’re an insurance company c-suiter)

    5. Vatch

      Jim, the point of that part of the article is that health care is unusually expensive in the U.S. Compared to what other OECD countries pay, we already pay enough to cover the costs of Medicare for All. However, health care is unusually expensive in the U.S., so we aren’t paying enough taxes to cover all of the costs of U.S. health care (we do pay enough in taxes plus private insurance premiums plus out of pocket payments). One of the reasons that health care in the U.S. is so expensive, is that our health care payment system is so complex. Converting to single payer will remove much of that complexity, and will reduce the costs. If the government has the backbone to force the drug companies to make their prices comparable to the prices in other countries, then the cost of health care will drop even more.

      1. Sid Finster

        Much of the reason healthcare in the US is unusually expensive is because of the plethora of rent-seeking industries that have grown up around the healthcare system.

        Single-payer can eliminate at least some of these rent-seekers, and for single-payer to work in the U.S., it will have to get rid of or reduce as many as possible.

      2. fresno dan

        September 15, 2017 at 9:57 am

        Good comment Vatch, but one correction:
        “One of the reasons that health care in the U.S. is so expensive, is that our health care payment system is so complex”
        Should be:
        One of the reasons that health care in the U.S. is so expensive, is that our health care payment system is so CORRUPT

        Example? How many people know that medicare reimbursement rates for medical specialists are set by…..wait for it…..keep waiting…..MEDICAL SPECIALISTS…..???

    6. todde

      If employer paid health care was so great and/or common we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

      And your employer isn’t going to keep paying forever if the rate of premium increase continues

    7. cojo

      It’s all in the spin. We’re already paying for it, yet there is no universal coverage and continued health insecurity for those lucky enough to have health care. This is were the “spin doctors” will have their work cut out to misinform and obfuscate. The real question is whether enough of the population has had it with the current system and will not fall for the fluff.

    8. Otis B Driftwood

      That’s news to me, Jim. I’ll be sure to let my employer know those payments I make every month, plus the high deductibles I pay out for doctor visits and meds, are all supposed to be provided by said employer. This situation has gotten worse over the past few years with both premiums and deductibles going up steadily. Ironically, I work for a rather large healthcare company and they provide the same crappy employer-sponsored health insurance benefit as everyone else (which isn’t so crappy, I suppose, if you compare it to no coverage whatsoever).

      1. a different chris


        Yep. I was shocked to find out, when my son worked for Ginormous Hospitals Inc, he had to pay essentially the same for medical insurance as I did working for Megaglobespanning Industrial Corporation.

        I was so surprised because, when my wife was in the medical field in the 1980s, we didn’t have to pay nobody nuthin’.

        What is maybe even more sad is that, when he got hurt (not seriously! – but enough to get sent to the emergency room for x-rays etc) on-site working for Ginormous Hospital it was a breath-holding period before GH deemed that they would, in fact, cover the cost of said ER visit.

    9. Kurtismayfield

      Jim, I totally agree with you first point that Sanders comment is contradictory. Your point about Health insurance being essentially free from and employees point of view I do not. I currently am lucky to pay 25% of the health insurance costs. That 75% can be considered lost wages to an employee, or lost profits to the employer. Considering the complete stagnation of real wages and the growth of health care costs over the past thirty years, I feel that any money being spent by my employer on Heath insurance to be lost wages. Many employers state that they cannot raise wages because of Health insurance cost increases, and many union bargaining agreement deal with this.

      1. jrs

        “Many employers state that they cannot raise wages because of Health insurance cost increases,”

        while they report record profits every year … I’m not buying it. Or I’d buy it for a very small and also very struggling company, but that has nothing to do with any profitable company.

    10. curlydan

      I’ve had the same health plan since 2007, worked at the same big employer, and kept a spreadsheet on my yearly health care premiums. In 2007, I paid $1,188 in premiums from my health plan (not including the $2,000-$2,600 deductible). In 2017, I paid $5,016 for a CAGR of 15%. There’s nothing free about health care–for me or my employer. OK, under single payer, my taxes go up, but my out-of-pocket post-tax expenses go DOWN, and I’m no longer worried SICK about losing my healthcare.

    11. justanotherprogressive

      Is it the cost of medical care or the fact that you might have to pay more taxes that irks you, Jim? Why does it matter what pot that money you have to pay comes from? So you pay more taxes (and get some benefits from that – what a novel idea!) or you pay an insurance company……”comme ci, comme ca”……

      Personally, I favor universal healthcare – make it simple and the same for everyone and get all the corporations out of the pool that don’t belong there…… this allowing “state control” in Bernie’s plan has me a bit irked……

    12. George Phillies

      “A 7.5 percent new employer-side payroll tax would raise $3.9 trillion, while …a new 4 percent income tax would raise another $3.5 trillion.”

      Your source has some…interesting…numbers. If a 4% income tax raises $3.5 trillion, the total income being taxed is over $80 trillion. Perhaps these numbers are over several years.

    13. Jen

      I have excellent insurance through my employer. Costs 12K a year. 60% of that comes out of my check. I doing quite well so I’m not complaining. By my calculation, I’d save about 2.5K per year if I were paying 4% of my income, and I’d have no deductibles or copays.

      But yeah, taxes bad…

    14. Anon

      JH said:

      In place of a service that is currently free from the employee’s perspective, instead they will have to pay perpetual taxes, even into their retirement years, to get what they already have.

      Those taxes pay for all the bombs and troopers, mostly. Many retirees who worked in government (w/o Medicare deductions) will continue to pay their private plan medical premiums well past retirement age. And those expenses will likely be greater than those who are eligible for Medicare.

      I’m eligible for Medicare and my “premium” is about $200/month less than those ineligible. Retirement years are when medical expenses become REAL.

  7. Edward E

    Here is an interesting statement by Snow Leopard Organization on this status change.

    In the case of the snow leopard, less than 2% of the species’ range has ever been sampled for abundance using reliable techniques, and those data are biased toward high-density areas. The new assessment behind the status change of the snow leopard does not improve on this data and appears to use methodologies – such as asking people how many snow leopards they think exist in any area – that are not recognized as scientifically valid for estimating populations.

    In short, we think the status change is unjustified and detrimental to the conservation of the snow leopard. The snow leopard may not officially be listed as Endangered anymore, but there is no doubt that it very much remains in danger.

    1. Craig H.

      Since the cat lives where it is impossible for humans to visit easily it is hard to see how any number isn’t a wild guess. Nobody really knows how many mountain lions are in the California hills and it is easy to get there. When they see you they scram and they almost always see you before you see them. The only way you know they are there is their footprints are all over the trails during the rainy months.

      Peter Mathiesssen’s book is very good if you haven’t read it.

      1. Wukchumni

        Here in the southern High Sierra, we’ve had around a dozen sightings of mountain lions in Mineral king alone, and almost all of them in afternoon-which is odd, as cougars are nocturnal hunters typically, which is why human beans seldom see them.

        Once upon a time the state thought it prudent to hunt them out of existence, and Jay Bruce was the official state of California mountain lion hunter, with 669 kills to his credit. This video is from 1924, with commentary added much later. You’ll learn a lot about their habits, and why they were such an important part of the ecosystem, as they were a supermarket of sorts for other denizens, as they seldom finished eating what they killed, leaving leftovers…

    1. cocomaan

      I couldn’t finish it, too brutal.

      Here’s another friendly reminder that 90% of heroin worldwide uses Afghani poppy plants. The military and civilian agencies in Afghanistan, primarily USA but also other NATO countries, may be the biggest drug runners in the history of the planet, rivaling the East India Company in China.

      1. Mark P.

        Every year, two trillion dollars worth of drug cartel money washes into the global financial system and needs to get laundered.

        HSBC was not the only big bank routinely involved in doing this. In the wake of the GFC and as part of the general program of ‘foaming the runways’, Holder’s Justice Department issued preemptive indemnity for the five U.S. TBTFs if (ha) they were involved in such money laundering.

        File under: Why Are We In Afghanistan?

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I couldn’t finish either, but life is like that many times…when it pours. It’s relentless.

        I wonder, along the way of reading it, what life was like for the people mentioned in the article before it caved in on them, what got them or how they fell into the hole, and what can be done to minimize, for those who will come after us.

      3. Ned

        Forget “worldwide”. What percentage used in the U.S. comes from Mexico?

        I see two solutions to hard drug epidemic, execute dealers, couriers, growers etc the way Singapore and Indonesia do,
        legalize the whole thing and treat it as a health issue which would probably put the dealers, couriers, growers etc out of business.

        There will always be some self destructive losers in any society, i.e. smokers. There’s nothing you can do about that small minority.

    2. George B.

      though I read through it at lunch earlier this week and I couldn’t work for the rest of the day it was such an intense read. And as I was reading it I kept thinking about Afghan connection to heroin as cocomaan mentioned.

      When I’m feeling REALLY cynical, I wonder just to what extent this is deliberate and what the end game is.

      1. curlydan

        Since I’ve read “Dreamland” by Sam Quinones (that I saw first rec’ed here),I saw a Mexican connection, likely alluded to in the article when the cops are following an alleged immigrant in his car, tear up the car, but are disappointed to find nothing.

        In terms of US share,…
        “Mexican organizations had expanded their market share to nearly 80% in 2014, whittling away the shares of South American and Southwest Asian producers”

  8. sd

    Iceland’s government collapsed last night.

    It’s quite the story involving corruption, pedophilia, etc.

    By this, they are referring to news which broke earlier this evening that Bjarni’s father had provided a recommendation letter of “restored honour” for Hjalti Sigurjón Hauksson, a man convicted of having raped his stepdaughter almost daily for 12 years. Bjarni, despite having been informed of this by the Minister of Justice last July, kept this matter to himself until a parliamentary committee compelled the Ministry to release this information to the press.

    1. paul

      Aside from this, the real estate market (ownership,rental) has returned to the chaos before the crisis. Airbnb is disrupting on top.

      I would add supporting material but that might be sensitive, when its approved for publication, I will supply.

        1. paul

          Approved by the people in iceland who are trying to raise this issue, I did quote their abstract initially, but decided against it.
          So nothing to do with NC, just my own feelings of propriety.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      My connection in the Icelandic Parliament has no idea how this will wash out politically.

      “To be honest I have no idea what will happen tomorrow, but it will be something to remember.”

  9. DJG

    The Great Nutrient Collapse: On one level, it is the story of the scientific method at work, animated by people like Loladze, Ziska, and Nestle, who get little cooperation from the compartmentalized “research university.”

    On the other hand, the data coming in are just plain disturbing: Two paragraphs >>

    Goldenrod, a wildflower many consider a weed, is extremely important to bees. It flowers late in the season, and its pollen provides an important source of protein for bees as they head into the harshness of winter. Since goldenrod is wild and humans haven’t bred it into new strains, it hasn’t changed over time as much as, say, corn or wheat. And the Smithsonian Institution also happens to have hundreds of samples of goldenrod, dating back to 1842, in its massive historical archive—which gave Ziska and his colleagues a chance to figure out how one plant has changed over time.

    They found that the protein content of goldenrod pollen has declined by a third since the industrial revolution—and the change closely tracks with the rise in CO2. Scientists have been trying to figure out why bee populations around the world have been in decline, which threatens many crops that rely on bees for pollination. Ziska’s paper suggested that a decline in protein prior to winter could be an additional factor making it hard for bees to survive other stressors.

    1. Kevin

      My hope is someday scientists like these will reach the rock start status of today’s economists, and economists will once again be relegated to the dismal science it always has been.

      1. a different chris

        Sigh. I know what you mean but “status” in a public sense, in any profession just seems to lead to bad things.

      2. John Wright

        I don’t understand why economics is the “dismal science”.

        II view economics as an “optimistic pseudo-science” as the economics profession apparently sees no limit to economic growth or any limit to the carrying capacity of the earth for human life forms.

        I suspect the rock star status of today’s economists exists because they reinforce what TPTB and the media want to hear.

        I doubt that scientists will ever fit in that category.

      3. JBird4049

        Back in Marx’s life and before, economics was more Political economics, but somehow in the last ~150 years it mutated into the academic nonsense it is today. That’s not to say all economists and their work is that. There is some good work, but trying to get real use of economics almost requires, I think, going at it sideways from anthropology, political science, history, or a real political economics program of which there are a (very) few. Actually, political theory and philosophy is good too.

        It’s almost as if there has been a consistent program of stripping out all other forms of economics and social organization, simplified into stupidity, or twisted into a kind of giant system of book keeping, and leaving in the only modern Western (very) capitalistic free market system to be studied. Nah, who would profit from studying only the last five hundred years of Western European and North American political theory and business, and an incomplete part of that small amount?

    2. jrs

      the poor of the planet who have contributed least to the problem will suffer most of course. Yes Americans may be obsessed with macro-nutrients, which probably have little to do with why they are overweight and unhealthy, but poor countries rely on rice and the like as much of their diet to SURVIVE at all. It’s never been ideal, but if it gets even less nutritious than it is at present … Of course the lack of micro-nutrients could also mean more degenerative diseases for richer countries.

    3. georgieboy2

      Fully agreed, that is the key passage from the article. Good catch. Great link.

      I wonder if C4 plants are showing the same nutrient dilution as the C3 (which feed us, and are largely temperate climate plants)?

    4. HopeLB

      Remember the Irish girls who won the Google Prize for their discovery of bacteria on pea plant roots that increased yields when moved to other plants? Remember that great mycelium TED talk? Perhaps, soil degradation is also to blame or exacerbating the problem of CO? Maybe, there is a way to counter the nutrient depletion with better,more mineral and more bacteria/fungi rich soils?

    5. Anon

      I have some issues with this Politico article on CO2 and its effects on plant metabolism.

      The growth of algae in a water environment has similarities, but also differences, with terrestrial plant life. There are complex/interacting mechanisms that both inhibit and promote photosynthesis. With water-borne algae the limiting element is basically P (Phosphorus) and zooplankton (if present), although sunlight and other nutrients come into play. With terrestrial plants the soil is an essential source of nutrients NPK (nitrogen, phosph., potassium) and they become the limiting elements (along with micro-nutrients like zinc, iron, etc.)

      So, while increased CO2 in the atmosphere MAY induce an increase photosynthetic sugar (C6-H12-O6), it is but one element in the process. (Soil nutrients, soil moisture, soil temperature (microbial activity in the root zone) are also critical. If the soil has limited zinc/iron nutrient availability the plant will/may produce foliage/fruit with diminished micro-nutrient content.

      While the article raises some interesting points of interest, I think it’s a bit breathless in tone. We definitely are moving into uncharted territory with rapid climate change, but some of the points in the article are a stretch.

  10. Chris

    Thank you Yves, good to see comments back. I’ve missed, well, I think I’ve missed us.

    The Yellow Sunbird is a small honey eater and prone to predation, so an ‘arrangement’ with the home owner is necessary. This nest was never used and first put up two years ago under my veranda. It has just been renovated and the new owners are very house proud. If I see any chicks, I’ll try to get a good picture.

    Nothing happening here in Australia worth mentioning. No, really. I mean, our listless leader, Turnbull, comes out breathing fire and fury over the latest missile by NK. Sure, he gets his airtime, but I think, ffs why bother, as if anyone cares.

    Footy finals will keep most of us occupied for a couple of weeks. Real estate bubble continues to defy gravity… yawn /s

  11. fresno dan

    “Along similar lines, Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels, political scientists at Princeton and Vanderbilt, reject traditional views of democratic elections in their new book, “Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government.” Achen and Bartels argue that the “familiar ideal of thoughtful citizens steering the ship of state from the voting booth is fundamentally misguided.”

    In the conventional view, democracy begins with the voters. Ordinary people have preferences about what their government should do. They choose leaders who will do those things, or they enact their preferences directly in referendums. In either case, what the majority wants becomes government policy — a highly attractive prospect.

    Achen and Bartels dismiss this “folk theory of democracy” to argue that the more realistic view is that:

    Citizens’ perceptions of parties’ policy stands and their own policy views are significantly colored by their party preferences. Even on purely factual questions with clear right answers, citizens are sometimes willing to believe the opposite if it makes them feel better about their partisanship and vote choices.

    They conclude “that group and partisan loyalties, not policy preferences or ideologies, are fundamental in democratic politics.”
    While elites — elected officials and party activists — are ideologically polarized, the best the general public “can manage is a kind of tribal partisanship that does not really reflect the content of the elite discussion,” Pope wrote:

    Citizens pick a team, but they don’t naturally think like the team leadership does. And when Trump tells Republicans to think in a new way, lots of people happily adopt that new position because they were never that committed to the old ideas anyway. They’re just committed to the label.

    Republican leaders in the House and Senate, in Pope’s view, are struggling to come to terms with a hard truth: that much of the Republican electorate is not really interested in the conservative project as expressed by Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell or the Freedom Caucus. They are hostile to immigrants and rather nationalist in outlook, but not consistently market-oriented or libertarian in their thinking the way that some Republican elites continue to be.

    In a separate email, Barber wrote that the commonplace phrase “all politics is identity politics” is a good description “of the state of the Republican Party, and the Democratic Party to a degree.”

    How many people think John F. Kennedy was a liberal? A conservative? My google search seems to indicate that Kennedy said he was a liberal*, but many argue in actuality he was a conservative.
    As I believe labels like “conservative” and “liberal” obfuscate the fact that the parties pretty much just represent the wealthy, and that the ONLY thing parties do is obfuscate this fact (OK, not a fact – just a point of view).

    If Trump actually goes along with DACA (I haven’t checked Trump’s twitter since I started writing this comment, so I don’t know if Trump is STILL inclined to kinda maybe go along with it) I think it will be very interesting to see what the BASE, as opposed as the Breitbart right (Will Trump label Breitbart “fake right media”? LOL) really thinks about this. Shooting someone on 5th avenue is OK, but not immigration reform?

    I think sports loyalty gives a better insight to how people form “attachments” than most political analysis. A quarterback or a pitcher is “great” when he is playing in your home town, but when he is traded all objective criteria of statistics, talent, and even character go right out the window – he is now the “enemy.”

    *In 1960 the Liberal Party endorsed John F. Kennedy for president. On September 14, 1960 he accepted the nomination, giving almost a 20-minute speech defending American Liberalism and his campaign. Here he also gave a famous quote about liberalism, stating “I’m proud to say I’m a Liberal.”

    1. justanotherprogressive

      Interesting article. For years, the powers that be, including politicians have actively worked to divide the country into “tribes” for their own benefit, and now that they have done this, they are bemoaning that fact and saying:
      “In other words, insofar as elections have become primal struggles, and political competition has devolved into an atavistic spectacle, the prospect for a return to a politics of compromise and consensus approaches zero, no matter what temporary accommodations professional politicians make.” Seriously, Edsall?

      Why of course, now we must revert back to Plato and his “philosopher kings” because what little “democracy” we had has failed (actually purposely murdered)……..I’m sure that will be the topic of a future essay by NYT……

      1. fresno dan

        September 15, 2017 at 12:25 pm
        But I also find that when Americans with different income levels differ in their policy preferences, actual policy outcomes strongly reflect the preferences of the most affluent but bear virtually no relationship to the preferences of poor or middle-income Americans. The vast discrepancy I find in government responsiveness to citizens with different incomes stands in stark contrast to the ideal of political equality that Americans hold dear. Although perfect political equality is an unrealistic goal, representational biases of this magnitude call into question the very democratic character* of our society.

        The thing that gets me is that the America system is always rationalized as being designed to protect minority rights against the majority mob. So I don’t know how many polls show substantial majorities for universal/single payer health care, employment protections, etcetera, yet such thwarting of majority will is always defended (always in sadness) as being necessary to guard against the tyranny of the majority. Yeah, but its funny how the ONLY minority being truly protected is the 0.1%

        *democratic character – which is how you can say the US doesn’t have a representative government without sounding harsh…..kinda like TANG is orange flavored, but doesn’t actually even have even 1 molecule of an actual orange in it…..

    2. Oregoncharles

      Party affiliation, meaning the percentage of people willing to tell a pollster that they support one or the other, has dropped precipitously since about 2006. (What happened then?) But elections haven’t changed much, although there do seem to be more wild cards.

      I think democracy is essentially trial and error, especially as long as people limit themselves to the obvious choices. They try one, which turns out to be inadequate or dangerous, so they switch to the other, which turns out even worse, and so on.

      It’s becoming a very good question when the 40+% of independent voters, a very solid plurality, will assert themselves. Unless they just did, with a gigantic upraised middle finger – the best explanation of Trump’s appeal I’ve yet seen.

  12. XXYY

    Re. Cassini, The Grand Finale.

    For some reason, this is one of the saddest things I have ever read. JPL keeping the flame alive in the annals of beautiful and amazing engineering and science (the contrast with most of what’s presently going on in Silicon Valley could not be greater). There must be people who have spent their entire career on this 20 year mission, and many MEs and SW people who consider this their finest and most important work.

    “Final Downlink: Cassini turns to Earth and transmits everything on its data recorders. Because of Earth’s rotation, this 11-hour downlink begins with the NASA Deep Space Network (or DSN) antenna station in California, which then hands off receiving to a station in Australia. From this point the spacecraft holds this orientation — its antenna pointed toward Earth — for the remaining 14.5 hours of the mission.”

    Very reminiscent of HAL on the Discovery in the final moments of the movie 2010. (Same planet!)

    “What is happening?”

    “Something wonderful!”

    1. UserFriendly

      I actually cried about the end of Cassini…. at least it was at home by myself. When I heard via podcast while working out at the gym that Oliver Sacks died I had to leave trying to hold back tears… I must have looked like a total fool. I’m not generally a very emotional person either but I’ve always thought Cassini is the most interesting space mission and I see a lot of myself in Dr. Sacks. I can only think of one other time I’ve cried in the last decade; over a breakup. Wow, I’m a nutter.

      1. Ned

        Had the launch rocket gone wrong, the plutonium on board Cassini to power its reactor would have vaporized on reentry and could have given a good share of the human race lung cancer. Think of the millions of gallons of tears that would be shed as people buried their loved ones or watched them die.

        A bunch of picture of planets we’ll never visit is not worth that risk.

      2. uncle tungsten

        Thank you UserFriendly. I too cried at the death of Oliver Sacks, he was a major inspiration in my life and a magnificent inquirer/writer. I often tell my daughter tales of his journeys and his manner of thinking and analyzing so that she is cautious and clearminded in taking anything for granted or merely on supposition.

        I thought the Cassini devotional was well done too and the scientists and technicians and supporters deserve a vote of thanks from us other earthlings for being so bold AND precise.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Today: Trump would veto single payer

    From a Newsmax article:

    In his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” he wrote:

    “I’m a conservative on most issues but a liberal on this one. We should not hear so many stories of families ruined by health care expenses. . . . We must have universal health care. . . . The Canadian plan . . . helps Canadians live longer and healthier than Americans. There are fewer medical lawsuits, less loss of labor to sickness, and lower costs to companies paying for the medical care of their employees. . . . We need, as a nation, to re-examine the single-payer plan, as many individual states are doing.”

    What will his position be tomorrow?

    Can Ivanka help here?

  14. Synoia

    In a first, Myanmar’s ‘ethnic cleansing’ unites Suu Kyi’s party, army and public

    Power Corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.

    Or as I heard repeatedly over my life: “It’s not us, it’s the Others!!”

  15. Synoia

    EU and Junker:

    It also could take credit, he said, for having brought public deficits down from 6.6% to 1.6%, “thanks to an intelligent application of the Stability and Growth Pact.

    Hmmm, Where did the MMT accounting equation place the balance, on the Private sector or reducing trade balance of payments?

    If I remember correctly:
    Sovereign (Deficit or Surplus) + Private (Deficit or Surplus) + Trade Account( Deficit or Surplus ) = 0;

    Has the ECB’s purchases of Private Debt ( Sovereign Deficit) have moved the Sovereign Deficit from Public Spending by Governments, to Public Spending by the ECB?

  16. Synoia

    With the new facial recognition, a cop can arrest you, handcuff you, then shine your phone in your face, unlock it, and delete any recordings you have made of that cop breaking the law. Scary. Big time scary.” Hat tip: JM. I guess FB is good for something after all…

    There’s an app for that: It’s called Google Backup, or Evidence for short. Every action is timestamped.

  17. Wukchumni

    So far in the forest for the trees in the southern High Sierra, the largest living things in the world have held out much better than lesser species, although there is a little bit of mortality going on amongst Sequoia groves, but nothing like the die-off we’ve had the past 5 years for damn near every other tree. I was at a friend’s cabin last summer and a 400 year old-5 foot wide, 210 foot tall Ponderosa was doing the oddest thing, in that a steady small stream of water was dripping from around 20 feet up, as the bark beetles had so compromised the tree’s vascular system that transported water to higher climes, that it was literally on tilt. A week later all of the greenery up top turned to ocher and that’s all she wrote-dead as a doornail.

    There are something like 100 million dead trees in the Sierra, biding their time for a lightning strike to put them out of their upright misery~

    1. JBird4049

      They are amazing trees aren’t they? Up to 300 feet and two thousand years. There is some evidence that before we chopped most of them down there were even bigger and older trees.

      They are also fast growing in the right climate. Sometimes people put in a small one, but don’t realize that in fifty years the tree could be several stories higher than and massive enough to crush the whole house. It’s a sight. And because the roots go out not down, they can cause problems over a large area.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Great Nutrient Collapse:

    In the outside world, the problem isn’t that plants are suddenly getting more light: It’s that for years, they’ve been getting more carbon dioxide. Plants rely on both light and carbon dioxide to grow. If shining more light results in faster-growing, less nutritious algae—junk-food algae whose ratio of sugar to nutrients was out of whack—then it seemed logical to assume that ramping up carbon dioxide might do the same. And it could also be playing out in plants all over the planet. What might that mean for the plants that people eat?

    Fast = not good…in this case.

    How often is that true?

    Pygmy kids grow faster than other kids…until around puberty. Then, they stop growing, while other kids continue and surpass them in height.

    Can being child prodigies be negative in some ways later in life?

    Is it harmful to get a early and fast start for kids?

    “I learned fast. By age five, I was able to compose symphonies.”

    “I learned faster. I graduated from college with a math degree when I was 12.”

    Is being slow better?

    “I am still using a dumb phone. Too slow to catch up with all the new gadgets. I don’t know what government surveillance you’re talking about.”

    Will the technologically meek, being slow, inherit the earth?

    1. UserFriendly

      Presumably not in most cases. If I had to guess I’d say that the rate at which certain plants absorb metals or other rare nutrients is fixed, but that excess CO2 allows for faster growth regardless. Which still leaves us screwed.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Probably not in many cases, as you said.

        Another case for slow – chew your food many times and don’t eat too fast.

  19. Tooearly

    What is the likelihood that Equifax will be forced to pay for freezes and longer term solutions? Seems more likely they will seek protections of chapter8

  20. UserFriendly

    Another threat to your privacy: the way you write Privacy News Online. Le style c’est l’homme même…

    LMAO South Park just used that as a plot device… Well a take on it. They tracked trolls by the way they used emoji ;-). It was how they unmasked who was trolling during their 2016 election series; which was hilariously well done, especially since they had to rewrite the entire ending to the season the night of the election with Trump’s unexpected win.

  21. john D.

    I knew Sally Quinn was a nasty piece of work, but yikes. It really sounds like she’s flipped her lid.

    Mind you, this comes from the Daily Mail, not exactly a paragon of truth. So, who knows?

  22. Kim Kaufman

    Harvard not having a good day in the media…

    Harvard Hopes Trump Will Help It Undermine Unions
    September 14, 2017 / John Trumpbour and Chris Tilly

    The richest university in the world, with an endowment of $36 billion, is asking the National Labor Relations Board to change how union elections are run. Harvard University sees itself in the vanguard of resistance to the Trump administration. So why is the university now courting the support of Trump’s appointees by challenging an obscure—but far-reaching—labor relations rule? In order to prevent a fair vote by its graduate student workforce on whether to unionize.

      1. Kim Kaufman

        Good title from Op/Ed:

        Harvard Disgraces Itself to Appease CIA Crybullies

        Among those who contend that the assassination of JFK was not the act of a lone gunman, the CIA tends to move to center stage as the likely center of a conspiracy to kill the president. While Kennedy’s intent to thwart the military-industrial complex in general and the CIA in particular may be exaggerated, he nonetheless enjoys a posthumous reputation for attempting to rein the agency in.

        Now, more than half a century later, the school that bears his name kowtows to that same CIA over what Julian Assange of WikiLeaks accurately deems a “cry-bully complaint” from Pompeo and Morell. It’s sickening.

  23. dbk

    The article in The Week on Sanders’ Medicare for All was really good.

    Some points:

    I disagree with those who say “this is the ideal, the opening gambit” but …
    No. This is the offer. Period. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on this topic, and one of the pieces I read recently noted that the U.S., in coming so late to SP, has a golden opportunity to get everything right – to learn what works, and what doesn’t, in the universal healthcare systems of every other developed country in the world. What’s on offer is getting it right, all of it.

    “Anybody who is against single payer is pro-Trump. Those are the rules.”
    I’d go further: “Any Democrat who’s against single payer doesn’t get elected in 2018.” Yeah, I know, sounds drastic – but it’s not. This is the moment. All four of the leading contenders for the Dem gubernatorial nomination in IL are already on record as being in favor of SP–and calling it that.

    Re: the money angle: the U.S., as the article noted, is very rich. It’s a question of priorities. We all have to make certain that SP becomes the #1 priority moving forward.

    For those interested in both the moral arguments and the wonkery involved – both are pretty compelling – I’d highly recommend the twitter feed of Adam W. Gaffney, a Harvard physician and increasingly, the public face of PNHP. Gaffney also has his own website.

  24. Kim Kaufman

    re Sally Quinn.

    A year or two ago, I realized how bored I was with the traditional “left gatekeepers” on radio (and elsewhere). I started listening to Coast to Coast, the national overnight talk radio that bills itself as the “paranormal network.” I check the schedule for the week and skip the kooky stuff. They have interesting guests mixed in – from Greg Palast and Bev Harris to Russian expert Stephen Cohen. So if anyone wants to know more about Sally Quinn (“D.C. Occultism”), she’s on next week:

    Second half: Journalist, television commentator, and longtime Washington insider, Sally Quinn, will discuss how influential the paranormal has been to her all of her life. Starting with her Scottish ancestry and how they believed in the magic of stones and time travel to the ancestors she communicated with in the graveyards of Savannah, GA.

    Other upcoming guests include Michael Nesmith of the Monkees and John Yoo of the Bush Admin, as well as the usual UFO sightings, tales of the supernatural, serial killers, Biblical prophecies, etc.

  25. Bill

    if this doesn’t say “Third World Country” I don’t know what does

    The IMF has adjusted its 2017 and 2018 growth forecast for the United States downward, and it has urged the US government to finally address pressing problems such as the aging of society, flagging growth and the unequal distribution of income.

  26. Geoff

    The FT article is yet another that lends weight to the notion that Comey’s announced reopening of the email investigation had a strong impact on the polls. I wonder why no one ever mentions the fact that announced large increases in the ACA premiums at the same time (late Oct) may have been the reason for that sudden dip in the polls?

    It seems to me a sudden announcement that a person’s wallet just got a lot emptier would have a more dramatic impact on their desire to “drain the swamp” than a vague email scandal.

    Clinton blames Obama for not speaking of the Russian scandal. She should be upset about the timing of the premium increases and his constant selling of the TPP while she frantically tried to distance herself from trade policies while still acting like the status quo was “already great”.

  27. Ned

    Re Nutrient Collapse.

    Couldn’t scientists use the FACE technique to enrich the air crops are growing in with extra oxygen to test whether those crops would have higher levels of nutrients?

    Deliberate corporate intervention in today’s food supply is far more alarming and important than long term levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    I see no mention of conventional versus organic agriculture nor the effect of adding compost and humus to crops. Compost sequesters carbon in soil but doesn’t AFAIK make it available to plants to take up. Nor is there mention of the world’s best selling weed killer, Roundup, that by design, chelates minerals and makes them unavailable to crops, even those genetically modified to tolerate it, which are the basis for the food chain which directly affects humans’ diets.

    Much concern for India’s population in the article, but what about GMO crops heavily marketed there that are designed to be doused in Roundup that cause nutrient deficiencies?

    Are your kids Roundup Ready? Feed them conventional foodstuff and they are getting their daily dose, plus high fructose corn syrup, a far more dangerous sugar than CO2 boosted sugars.

  28. uncle tungsten

    On North Korea can I suggest the west drop its testosterone boosted huffing and puffing and consider making reparations for the criminally outrageous invasions and debilitating actions in the middle of the last century. Both Japan and the USA owe reparations to every Korean for their malign global violence toward those people. Six hundred and fifty thousand tons of bombs and thirty thousand tons of napalm from the USA alone just after the Koreans had driven off the Japanese at the end of WW2. That level of blitzkrieg is criminal.

    The Koreans suffered a 20 percent population slaughter in the USA part of their battle for independence! Compare that with a 2 percent population slaughter in the UK during the WW2 experience.

    Nations of people that are so severely wounded need sane persistent diplomacy. Please give peace a chance in Korea for once.

    1. rd

      The Post had a good piece on this a couple of years ago.

      MacArthur had the war won very early with Inchon landings (one of the few things I credit MacArthur for as I think he is one of the most over-rated generals). He kept going after Truman said to stop and triggered the Chinese invasion of Korea which is when most of the Americans lost their lives and is what made it a terrible war instead of a “policing action”.

      Much of the bombing occurred after MacArthur could have re-established a defensible border along the 38th parallel or a bit further north. So his disastrous decision to go the Chinese border is a gift that keeps on giving as it reverberates today.

      During Pax Americana, most American solders’ lives have been lost when American leaders were not willing to simply declare victory at a demarcation line but instead want to go for “victory”, Contrast Bush 41 vs Bush 43 approaches on Iraq. Korea and Vietnam keep rhyming with the present.

  29. Jake

    Glad to see that comments are back on :)

    I just found a guy called Timothy Snyder on one of Sam Harriss’ podcasts( He sounded like a sensible guy however he is of the view that Russia did have a hand in manipulating US elections which if I remember correctly is of the opposite view of that of NC here. Can anyone shed some light on this guy and the differences of view on russian election hacking b/w NC and him?

  30. jackiebass

    There is a way to lock the face recognition feature on the new iPhone. It involves pressing two buttons on the side of the phone at the same time.

  31. rd

    Re: Welfare for Wall Street

    I am ready to scream every time I read something like “Twenty or 30 years ago, most middle-class workers had defined benefit pensions.” The actual statistics are quite different.

    Over the years, I have routinely seen an estimate of about 30% – 40% of private sector workers had defined pension benefit plans. Government workers were higher, but were not the majority of workers. I think this issue is like “Make America Great Again” stuff, where the “good old days” is really selective memory. I have been working since 1981 (7 companies) and not one day of that has been in an organization that offered a Defined Benefit plan. They all offered 401ks – a couple had ESOPs.

    People who spent 20 years plus working for a Fortune 500 company or a government had decent defined benefit plans. Most other people did not. The key in the 60s-80s was that the average life span was shorter (smoking is good for pension plans) and so it didn’t take as much money to fund the plans as today.

    With frequent job changes today, defined pension benefit plans would not improve the retirement crisis much because people would simply not accrue enough for it to make a big difference. The defined contribution system in conjunction with Social Security really is the key to the future. However, as the article points out, they are generally too expensive focused on making money for the providers instead of long-term security for the workers. Also, most employers don’t put much money into the plans. And employees don’t make enough use of them.

    I know a number of millenials. I make a point about asking them about their 401ks. A surprising number of them are not participating. Usually this is because they “got an envelope with a stack of paper I don’t understand”. I point out to them that they are leaving their employer’s match on the table and that is part of their compensation. I recommend to them that if they do nothing else they put enough in to get their employer’s full match and invest it in a Target Date fund. If somebody just puts 6% in when they first start working and their employers match 3%-6%3%, then they may not be positioned to maintain their standard of living in retirement but they certainly won’t be poor just relying SS.

    BTW – many of those fabled defined pension plans, especially many local and state plans, are in very deep do-do. The PBGC is struggling due to the large quantity of failing corporate DB plans. If I was a worker in those organizations, I would be making use of all my defined contribution options that I could.

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