Links 9/20/17

A vision of the future with self-driving cars, drones, hyperloops and infinite suburbia Treehugger. Quelle horreur!

How flying seriously messes with your mind BBC

A study, with some limitations, sees link between youth football and emotional issues in adulthood Stat

Seismologist: What caused Mexico’s latest earthquake CNN

Silicon Valley and the limits of ‘leaning in’ FT

We’re building roads to withstand last century’s climate Ars Technica

Health workers in Uganda are measuring newborn babies’ feet to save their lives

WHO warns the world is running out of antibiotics MarketWatch

North Korea

Donald Trump threatens ‘total destruction’ of North Korea over nuclear programme during UN address SCMP

Tensions to rise’ after Trump’s North Korea comments Al Jazeera

The cold, calculated logic behind North Korea’s missile tests SCMP


AG Maura Healey Suing Equifax After Data Breach CBS Boston

Equifax Confirms Another ‘Security Incident’ NPR

Soviet air defense officer who saved the world dies at age 77 Ars Technica


The Long and Short of India’s Bullet Train The Wire

Watch: Kolkata artists paint one-kilometre-long design on a street to welcome Durga Puja

Chinese parents splash out on US properties to pay for children’s college education  SCMP


Sheikh Tamim takes Gulf crisis to global audience Al Jazeera

Why is the USA in Afghanistan? An Answer To The Big Question NEO (Micael)

Afghanistan Again? Tom Dispatch

Where Are the Brave Military Voices Against Forever War? American Conservative

The Future of Partisan Gerrymandering Hinges on a Supreme Court Case Truthdig

Health Care

The Political and the Technical Jacobin. bob k: “Just how much say do those who “love them employer-provided health insurance” get to have in their policies, copays, deductibles, etc.? Just how much do they love their jobs?”

The two senators who will likely decide fate of ObamaCare repeal The Hill

Even Business Leaders Are Realizing Health Insurance Companies Serve No Purpose Truthout

New health-care plan stumbles under opposition from governors WaPo


Single Payer Myths: Redundant Health Administration Workers People’s Policy Project (bob k)


One-Fifth of Medical Care Is Unnecessary, Doctors Say Real Clear Science (UserFriendly)

Democratic Governor Hires Health Care Industry Lobbyist To Push Obamacare Fixes In Congress International Business Times. David Sirota.

Class Warfare

“Dude, You’re in My Garage”: Why Socialism Blows American Greatness. UserFriendly: “So bad it’s hilarious.”

World hunger increasing for first time since turn of the century World Socialist Web Site (Micael)

Without opioids, our collective life expectancy would be 2.5 mos longer Ars Technica

Inequality Is Probably Costing You a Lot of Money Talk Poverty (UserFriendly)

Millennials spend three times more of income on housing than grandparents Guardian

5 Things You Need to Know About B.C.’s Ban on Big Money DeSmogBlog

Senators to reintroduce bipartisan criminal justice bill The Hill

Wells Fargo

Cordray lied, botched Wells investigation: GOP report American Banker

CFPB Says in Memo It Could Have Pursued $10 Billion Penalty Vs. Wells Fargo WSJ

Trump Transition

What’s the One U.N. Treaty Trump Should Love? Foreign Policy

Exclusive: Trump administration prepares to ease export rules for U.S. guns Reuters

House Passes Amendment Rolling Back Jeff Sessions’s Civil Asset Forfeiture Expansion Above the Law

International Tourism to the U.S. Declined in Early 2017 NYT

Trump rebounds after polling slide Politico

Unmasked: Trump Doctrine vows carnage for new axis of evil Asia Times. Pepe Escobar

Ignore the Bombast. Trump Gave a Conventional Speech Bloomberg

Price’s private-jet travel breaks precedent Politico


Brexit Is Hurting the Fight Against Corruption NYT (Richard Smith)

Boris Johnson: I won’t quit over Theresa May’s Brexit speech Guardian

Hurricane Alley

Shooting Bullets at a Hurricane Jacobin

Why Hurricane Maria Surprised Forecasters By Getting So Strong So Fast FiveThirtyEight

Puerto Rico Faces Hurricane Maria After Irma’s $1 Billion Damage Bloomberg

Beyond Harvey and Irma: Militarization in the Climate-Change Era Truthdig

Maria ‘potentially most catastrophic hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in a century’: Governor ABC News

Kill Me Now

As the Clintons Step Back From Global Stage, Bloomberg Steps Up NYT

Democrats in Disarray

Hillary Clinton’s Legacy Is Huge and Lasting New Republic. UserFriendly: “ROFL.”

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Dita

    Re: International Tourism to the U.S. Declined…The article wants this to be all about Trump, but its own stats suggest broader issues at work and a general slowdown. A/K/A we broke!
    “Within Europe, the tourism declines were largest in Switzerland at nearly 28 percent, Belgium at 20 percent and Britain at 15.5 percent. Britain accounts for the largest share by country of European arrivals in the United States, with 4.5 million tourists last year, making its slowdown significant. (Asian tourism was about the same as last year — up .6 percent — mainly due to a surge of South Korean travelers, up over 15 percent in the first quarter.)”

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Anecdotally, I don’t think it has much to do with Trump. Partly, its the strong dollar making it very expensive, but I think the most important issue is just security and visa issues. Its just too much hassle and uncertainty for general holidaymakers.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Anecdotally, I’ve seen claims that national parks are crowded due to the lifetime passes, and given the travel times, what is the draw of the U.S. for many foreign tourists? Have you seen the design for the Disney in China? I want to go to China just to go that park. To family blog with Orlando! Perhaps it’s age, but the U.S. seems to be more homogenized by region than it used to be.

        1. Wukchumni

          A friend has worked the entrance station for a few years @ Sequoia NP and I asked her what percentage of foreign visitors come into the NP in terms of overall visitation numbers, and she told me 60%, maybe a bit more. Here in town during the summer, English is often a 2nd language. It’s not uncommon to be our small supermarket, and hear French in one aisle, German in the next and Dutch one over. Curiously though, there are relatively few Asian tourists frequenting the park compared to Europeans.

          Despite there being 20 million Californians within in 5 hour drive, they mostly stay away in droves.

          On Labor Day weekend, there was a 4 mile backup to get to the entrance station @ one point, to give you an idea of how silly it gets on holiday weekends. On any old Saturday or Sunday in the summer, you’re looking at a 1/2 a mile backup if you don’t arrive by say 9 am.

          1. Sutter Cane

            Despite there being 20 million Californians within in 5 hour drive, they mostly stay away in droves.

            What percentage of those 20 million ever get to take a vacation? National Parks are a middle class destination. The wealthy can afford something more luxurious, everyone else is just lucky to get a day off.

            1. Wukchumni

              It costs $30 to get into the National Park and a car camping spot is around $20 a night and if you stayed 3 nights, it all starts adding up, to not much.

              1. Sutter Cane

                It costs $30 to get into the National Park and a car camping spot is around $20 a night and if you stayed 3 nights, it all starts adding up, to not much.

                This presupposes 1) a family with two working members who can both get three or more consecutive days off of work at the same time (hope one of them doesn’t work in the service industry), 2) that this family owns a car big enough to camp in, that is also mechanically sound enough to make a drive of a few hundred miles, and 3) a few hundred dollars in disposable income.

                Your posts seem to take for granted that these things are common for working Americans. They are not.

                1. Wukchumni

                  Why would you need 2 working members of the family for a trip that might set you back a few hundred bucks if you do it on the cheap, which is the way to go?

                  If our collective American families are that close to the edge financially, then there’s much bigger issues than them getting out on vacation, of which most everybody gets, although many don’t use it.

                  Cars are incredibly reliable now, how many do you ever see on the side of the road broken down, compared to back in the day 50 years ago?

                  Nobody camps in their car, you bring a tent that’ll run you around $50 to $100 that will last you dozens of trips.

                  1. Sutter Cane

                    Why would you need two working family members? You do know that in most families, both parents work, right? Wouldn’t be much of a family vacation if only one parent gets to attend.

                    If our collective American families are that close to the edge financially, then there’s much bigger issues than them getting out on vacation, of which most everybody gets, although many don’t use it.

                    They are that close to the edge:

                    Two year old article, but it was the first that came up on ducksuckgo. I’m sure you can find many stating the same things.

                    And the US is about the only first world country that doesn’t mandate employers to provide paid vacation time. Even if people have it, they often put their jobs at risk if they try yo use it.

                    I am puzzled as to why you feel the need to insist that it is some kind of moral failure that Americans living paycheck to paycheck in the highest cost of living state in the country, with no guaranteed vacation time, don’t have the time and money to visit our national parks.

            2. WheresOurTeddy

              Some of us give Uncle Sam’s toll booths a pass altogether and just LIVE in the forest, as opposed to just visiting it.

              I’ve found my optimal happiness exists with a tree-to-person ratio of about 10,000-1.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Again, anecdote, I haven’t seen any figures on this, but I think its not the sort of person who always wanted to see Yellowstone or hike in the Grand Canyon who is not visiting – its family holidays and more ‘casual’ visits that are being cut back.

          For example, Florida used to be a very popular family holiday destination for a lot of north Europeans. I’ve noticed in the past few years that the number of holidays advertised there has dropped a lot. I suspect its a combination of strong dollar and the security issues that makes Europeans opt for Greece or Thailand instead.

          Another very popular trip was the long weekend city trip, especially to New York. This was hugely popular back 10-12 years ago when the euro was very strong, so you could pretty much pay for the trip by doing your annual shop (most airlines turned a blind eye to baggage rules). I remember going to an outlet store in NJ with a long shopping list given by my family – I think I heard more Swedish spoken than English in the queues. Its a long time since I heard anyone talk about their NY or Boston trip.

  2. Alex Morfesis

    Tovarich Petrov saved the world from itself but also on same day reagan had publicly called for further cuts in nuclear arms as part of the salt plus mx deal 2 for 1 build down…and soyuz t-10(minus) went boom…the cosmonauts saved by the russian knock off of the escape module designed originally for the mercury program by maxime faget…

    the darkness wanted war that day…

    the peacemongers held fast…

  3. grayslady

    I notice that NC is now using https. Is today the first day of the changeover? The site as a whole loads much faster, as do the individual articles. I don’t understand why https should make such a difference to load times, but it does. Thanks NC team.

  4. The Rev Kev

    Any word on where that photo of that parrot was taken? Looks kinda like a parrot that I see here in Oz. Great photo by the way.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      No idea where the photo was taken– but you can certainly see them in Oz. Per wikipedia:

      “According to the annual Birdlife Australia census, it is the most commonly observed bird in Australia.”

        1. JerryDenim

          I must have seen thousands upon thousands of Rainbow Lorrikeets in coastal Queensland when I visited Australia this past May. My wife and I were very impressed by their beauty and their abundance, but also by their extremely garrulous nature. Great birds. Almost deafening in groups exceeding several hundred though.

    2. Barry

      Rainbow Lorikeet
      Common even in cities – On the coast from Adelaide anticlockwise around to Broome – Also PNG and Indonesia -raucous chatterer.

    3. Chris

      Thanks RK, I was going to say it was my photo, as I had a pair feasting on a big lemonade grevillea we have growing in our front yard (planted to attract birds). I took some good shots using a telephoto lens and had intended sending to Yves…

      Yet is not mine, different tree. Yes a great photo, regardless of where you live, watching birds is good fun.

  5. Basil Pesto

    I thought this was interesting:

    the two guys that go to bat for the US seem to do so on the basis that America is more innovative in healthcare technology than everyone else so, USA! USA!

    I’m not sure why medical innovation and not having a population where some people go bankrupt in order to pay for medical treatment are mutually exclusive but there you go. Something tells me the EU isn’t exactly a black hole of medical innovation either.

    1. Adam Eran

      First, Marianne Mazzucato says government-funded research is responsible for 75% of pharmaceutical innovation.

      The standard line of talk is that paying more for U.S. pharma funds its research & development. The truth is that big Pharma spends 55% of its gross profits on marketing, and only 15% on R&D–and that R&D is largely to extend the life of already patented drugs. Think “time release Viagra” (source: former NE Journal of Medicine editor, Marcia Angell in the NYRB).

      I’ve had online conversations with our more conservative brethren who assert that U.S. cancer treatment is better than, say, France’s. Of course French cancer rates are lower, but survival of existing cancers is slightly higher in the U.S.

      Worth paying twice what the French pay…?

  6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    A vision of the future with self-driving cars, drones, hyperloops and infinite suburbia Treehugger. Quelle horreur!

    No domed or undersea cities?

    (Hint: don’t be the ones living outside of them.)

    Kids in the 1950’s or maybe the 40s were much ahead in imagining than us today.

  7. blkwhiskey

    Re: Where Are the Brave Military Voices Against Forever War?

    Kudos to Maj. Sjursen.

    After the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) Pittsburgh G20 protest in 2009, every single attending group member (or their family) got a visit from either an FBI special agent or a DHS agent.

    The future in-laws of one veteran protester, whose academic work was investigating economic conscription and the racial and class-based targeting practices of recruiters, were given “an informational interview” and were urged by the agent to consider whether their daughter should be in a relationship with someone who, “one day, might become radicalized…”

    The blob doesn’t tolerate dissent or even constructive criticism. The poor exist to die by their elected-hand quickly in war or slowly in poverty and slums.

    1. JTMcPhee

      …We’ve come a long way from the day when a pre-aspirant politician could throw his medals over the White House fence as a sign of something or other. I wonder, is their a special detail in the Secret Service/Blob that surrounds the figureheads of the Elite to keep any of the rest of us from throwing shoes at them?

      In getting ready for the coming of Irma, I looked into a pile of paper from the past and found the letter I got from the Nixon White House, signed by the Chief of Staff. The letter was in response to a long one I sent as a Vietnam veteran to Nixon, telling him and Henry the K what I thought of their “policies,” particularly the “incursions” (what the Empire did before just invading as it pleased) into Cambodia and Laos, the idiotic bombing of all of VN and neighboring countries, and the attempted scorched earth on Hanoi and Haiphong. The Response from On High: “Dear Mr. McPhee: Please be assured that your comments have been noted.”

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    World hunger increasing for first time since turn of the century World Socialist Web Site (Micael)

    The situation is worse than that.

    What people eat to stop hunger is actually less healthy than then, or another century earlier. So some of us are not hungry now, but they wonder what will happen to their health later.

    It’s similar to ‘It’s not as painful now, but will it be addictive?’ (Not quite the same, but similar).

    1. justanotherprogressive

      And my question to you is why do you think this experiment is so significant that we all need to be aware of it?

      1. Invy

        Low temperature fusion could solve a lot of our current problem. Which ones are important to you depends on your concerns.

        Japan could use it to remediate their nuclear problems. We could use it on the fuels sitting in storage tanks because Congress can’t get their act together.

        It could solve intermittent power problems associated with green energy without relying on fission or battery tech that isn’t quite ready.

        It can democratize power generation, and provide a method of manufacturing isotopes on demand on location.

        1. justanotherprogressive

          I just read the abstract and the “fusion” story is pretty fuzzy there.
          I can see how it would be useful for the production of isotopes, back in my day, Tc99m used to get scarce in this country when Chalk River shut down for maintenance……
          But you’ve intrigued me, so I will have to download and read the entire article!!!

        2. Ned

          Hope springs eternal in nuclear power research.

          How to pay back those student loans for nuclear engineering grad school?

    2. Vatch

      So what is deuterating? It’s changing a hydrogen atom to a deuterium atom, right? Is it a type of fusion? Is this the new cold fusion?

      1. Invy

        Dueterating likely refers to loading dueterons/heavy hydrogen into a metal lattice.

        The process generates nuetrons which interact with the nuclei, hydrogen plus a neutron is a dueteron, add another and tritium is generated.

        It also happens to the heavier elements.

      2. UserFriendly

        This is not a fusion reaction it is still fission.

        Basically they took these rare heavy metals that are known for their willingness to pick up spare neutrons and put them in a chamber with pressurized deuterium so that the deuterium would penetrate into the crystal lattice structure of the metals with at least two deuterium atoms per metal atom. That is kind of like an alloy, the paper mentions that both of those alloys are stable in air which I find rather surprising since both metals readily oxidize, one of them is actually pyrophoric (spontaneously ignites when exposed to air) when it’s pure. But, sometimes alloys are weird. Anyways, they shined a relatively weak light on it and some of the extra neutrons from the deuterium apparently hopped over to the heavy metals which turned them from stable isotopes to radioactive ones. Then they observed some of the decay products and repeated with hydrogen instead of deuterium and saw no results.

        It isn’t clear if this process is feasible with any other heavy metals, or how much energy could be harnessed from this before the decay products either become stable or something with a really long half life. It is an interesting step, but there is no guarantee this would be any safer and it would for sure take decades to get as far as a reactor. There are other nuclear reactors like Fast Breeders that are much safer than water reactors and are starting to come on line soon and run largely on current nuclear waste which is a much better bet and should really be pursued at a much faster rate.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    One-Fifth of Medical Care Is Unnecessary, Doctors Say Real Clear Science (UserFriendly)

    Of the remaining four fifth, how much can be further avoided with a better diet, or less wealth inequality?

    (Stress, and sickness, can also be caused by other forms of inequality. For example, IQ inequality. Less smart students can be stressed out by smarter students. There are only so many admission spots at top colleges and job openings on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley. Another inequality is long legged-ness. Only so many of the young people can have long legs that attract other teenagers of the opposite gender.).

    1. Enquiring Mind

      When I read healthcare cost articles, my mind conjures up relationships among the groups, and then looks for the cui, bono? aspects.

      Here are some items that I wish would appear in presentations by politicians about their current and pending legislation:

      A waterfall chart or two that showed the share of healthcare spending going to all those people in the shadows. You know the ones, shares to those pharma benefit managers, to healthcare insurers, to PE companies, to lobbyists, to rent (paid to whom?) and then to what people would reasonably think of more conventional items like doctors and nurses. You know, all the Helmsleyian little people. ;p

      Another chart or other graphic that looks at those waterfalls over time, matched up to stock prices, and to executive compensation, and to lobbying or other cash or in-kind donations, or whatever else might shed more light on the sheer venality of the process.

      And another chart that shows the time-tax on people to comply with, search out, enroll, dispute, reconcile, spend time on hold, or otherwise to spin their wheels on the myriad delays and obstacles baked into the current system. My, how that time-tax has increased over the past years.

      To supplement the above, I imagine some type of Truth-in-Legislating law to give citizens some slight chance of getting the truth from DC. If politicians could be coerced into signing a no-new-taxes pledge or whatever, then why not a no-lies pledge. I think my fever must be breaking!

      1. oh

        The best solution to all our problems is to fire all of the CONgress at one time and arrest all the lobbyists for bribery.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          to be tried by attorneys they appointed or took contributions from, and be heard in front of judges that exist similarly?

    2. Tooearly

      As a physician i can say with reasonable certainty that 1/5 is way too low. I have seen patients getting nearly daily CT scans for the same condition . Lab tests run 4 times a day inpatient. Countless waste on so called prevention programmes like mammograms and prostate screens that generate in turn more needless testing or surgery.
      And that is the tip of the iceberg. Once you wade into the realm of end of life care the real waste flows in vast gushes

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


        I hope universal coverage is possible withut a 4% tax on income. And this is one possible area to look at, if people in congress don’t want to bring up MMT.

      2. Oregoncharles

        A local physician (emergency medicine) who is a prominent single-payer advocate devoted a whole talk to this problem.

        He blamed doctors, and he was in a position to know.

        A further point: most of those procedures and medications carry some degree of risk. X-rays, for instance, cause cancer. So excessive “care” is actually dangerous and a major source of iatrogenic illness – a lot of it not detected, like cancers 10 years later.

        We heard of someone who died from a colonoscopy: they tried to remove a polyp, hit a blood vessel.

    3. Adam Eran

      Worth a look: What the Health? — now on Netflix and Youtube.

      It’s a Michael Moore wannabe confronting the conventional “cure” organizations about the contradictions in their promoting “healthy diet” that includes meat and milk. Whether you want to be vegan (or simply eat less meat) it’s worth seeing just how invested are the conventional “cure” organizations (for heart, diabetes, cancer) in the current American diet. One example, the American Cancer Society website publishes recipes for red meat dishes immediately after studies demonstrate it’s a carcinogen.

      Most of these organizations are funded by big meat and big dairy, too, so there’s just a teeny-tiny conflict of interest in their dietary recommendations.

      Incidentally, there are “answers” to the film by industry shills, and now answers to the answers…It’s almost as much fun as NC comments!…;-)

  10. leftover

    Re: Newsweek/The Best Healthcare System?
    The 1,033 respondents to the Merritt Hawkins survey of 70,000 cited by Newsweek represent 0.11% of professionally active physicians.
    The Single Payer advocacy group Physicians for a National Health Program claims 20,000 members, or roughly 2.2% of professionally active physicians.
    I suppose my point is: If physicians in the United States, as a group, were actually more interested in patient welfare than personal profit we would have had universal healthcare rationed by need and availability, instead of affordability…economic class, 30 years ago…at least. That a relative handful of American physicians might now consider Single Payer, (or whatever that is Bernie is proposing), a feasible option isn’t exactly what I would consider great news, nor any indication of some quantum shift toward Hippocratic beneficence within that professional community.

  11. L

    Apropos of the ongoing struggle for Democrat Domination (i.e. who rules over the ashes) Jacobin has posted a nice takedown of Clinton’s book. A particular money quote (emphasis mine):

    Clinton is also annoyed now that Sanders supposedly created Trump’s attacks against her. But this is not only an accusation one can level against any primary opponent, but it’s also one that particularly applies to her ’08 campaign. Clinton spent that campaign attacking Obama as inexperienced and incapable of protecting Americans’ security, a line John McCain and other Republicans would later take. In March, she actually suggested to reporters that McCain — by then the GOP nominee — was better qualified to be president than Obama, explaining that he would bring “his lifetime of experience” to the post while Obama would “put forth a speech he made in 2002.”

    Say what you will about Sanders’s criticisms of Clinton, but even at the campaign’s most acrimonious, I don’t recall him ever suggesting Trump would be a better president than her.

    They also make a telling point about Clinton’s loss to Trump and whether it can be based upon Sanders’ attacks:

    Just as important: none of it mattered. The stinging criticisms and scurrilous character attacks Clinton threw at Obama didn’t stop him from handily beating McCain months later, much as the vicious attacks on Trump by the other Republican candidates didn’t stop him from ascending to the presidency in November last year.

    While it is of course impossible to prove a counterfactual in History that point may be the strongest retort to the “but for Sanders we would have Won!” rant that there ever was.

  12. Jim Haygood

    Well, that escalated quickly:

    The Catalan president has accused the Spanish government of effectively suspending the region’s autonomy and declaring a de facto state of emergency. Police officers raided Catalan government offices on Wednesday and arrested 12 senior officials in a bid to stop an independence referendum being held in less than two weeks’ time.

    Carles Puigdemont described the raids as a “a co-ordinated police assault” that showed that Madrid “has de facto suspended self-government and applied a de facto state of emergency” in Catalonia.

    Madrid’s Francisco Franco-style resort to jackboots and arrests could backfire big time. Folks don’t like government trying to shut down an election, even if it wasn’t authorized under national law.

    Free California Catalonia! :-)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A national government usually opposes secession, instinctually, often with violence. Just googled and found a 2014 Washington Post article about the new nations of the world and it seems that there was some bloody struggle behind each birth.

      Why can’t some parts or states declare independence, be recognized and have agreements worked out to withdraw troops and police officers?

      Why are they automatically treated as rebels, or put under criminal investigations, as one by Madrid that was reported in a link recently?

    2. Oregoncharles

      There’ve already been conflicts, when demonstrators tried to stop the arrests. Rajoy is trying to start a civil war.

      Heaven help Spain.

    3. G

      As noted in these pages recently, Catalonia was potentially going to lead to issues. And it has
      (they have a link to an original article, in a foreign language, and other articles on the same topic)

      Amusingly, at least some limited polling data seemed to indicate that the pro-independence side was going to lose, a condition the Spanish government is laboring to correct.

  13. justanotherprogressive

    Re: “Dude, You’re in My Garage!”
    I agree – a totally hilarious article! Thanks for making my day!

    I thought it was a snark at first, but seeing where it came from…..
    1. The author has a very low opinion of the intelligence of this country, or
    2. The author just has low intelligence…..

  14. Michael

    Even Business Leaders Are Realizing Health Insurance Companies Serve No Purpose Truthout

    Excellent article showing another break in the dam. If large companies are self insuring after doin the numbers, the ins co cartel must gouge the rest of us, following the same logic that having millions of young insured will lower the cost for all of us. Another lose-lose deal that needs to be replaced.

    Momentum is everything now…Charge! Follow Grandpa Buffet

  15. JEHR

    Thaddeus, in Canada we have single-payer healthcare and it has nothing to do with the government choosing our doctor. It only means that the money to pay for healthcare comes from government funding. We patients choose our own doctor. In “socialist” Canada no one would even consider letting anyone, let alone the government, drive our car out of our garage. Socialism Canadian-style, means that all the citizens of Canada have healthcare equally because the government and the people who elect government believe that universal healthcare is essential in order for all citizens to live a healthy long life. We believe that everyone who lives in Canada should have enough food, clothing, housing, healthcare and other essentials (such as heat for homes) and we elect government officials to carry out that mandate. Our socialism is not an ideology or an abstraction because we do have healthcare for all our citizens and they live longer and healthier lives than places without single-payer healthcare.

    What, Thaddeus, are you afraid of? If you give everyone the chance to live a healthier life, then you will be happier for it and you will not have to give up your doctor, your car or your “hard-earned bread.” Come and visit us for yourself.

    1. Kevin

      My wife is Canadian. I lived there for 8 years back in 2000.

      My wife constantly runs into Americans who think they have Canadian Healthcare all figured out. She gets extremely frustrated. I tell her it’s “american exceptionalism” that prevents Americans from even bothering to study before they pontificate. It’s drilled in our heads that we are the best, therefore, you can happily go about your life and ignore what happens on other parts of the globe..

      1. rd

        My parents and sibling are in Canada. When the Canadian health care system is castigated in the US, they are totally baffled and simply conclude that Americans are uninformed idiots.

  16. petal

    Middle-class families would get a $1,000 tax credit under a bill being introduced by U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan.

    Hassan, a Democrat, says her Middle Class Tax Break Act would apply to families who have earned income up to $200,000. It would also provide a $500 tax credit for individuals with earned income up to $100,000.
    Why not the other way around, say $1000 for the up to $100,000 people, and $500 for the up to $200,000 people? Wouldn’t that drive more economic growth(which she says she is trying to do)?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Instead of $200,000 or $100,000, why not up to whatever qualifies a person as a member of the 1%, around $350K I think.

  17. D

    September 19, 2017 Health Advocates Urge Governor to Veto 5G Cell Tower Bill [SB 649 – D]

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A bill that would lead to the proliferation of refrigerator-sized 5G cell tower boxes across the state is now on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk – and health advocates are pressing for a veto.

    SB 649 would allow telecom companies to install 5G and other wireless cell equipment on poles and on the ground every few hundred feet without getting a permit from the local jurisdiction, cutting off public input.

    Ellen Marks, director of the California Brain Tumor Association and chair of the California Alliance for Safer Technology, says there haven’t been any studies to prove 5G is safe – but studies have shown that older, less powerful cell technology can have serious health effects.

    “There’s a U.S. National Toxicology Program that was released last year found that 2G was causing brain tumors and tumors near the heart in laboratory animals,” she says. “So employing 5G without any knowledge of health effects is not a good idea.”
    Dozens of cities protested after the state Assembly passed the bill last week. Marks notes that Brown is now the only hope of stopping it.

    “Our legislators took about $2.5 million from telecom in their last election,” she notes. “I don’t think the governor is concerned about campaign contributions any longer, so hopefully he does what is right for the state.”

    Brown has until next week to sign the bill, veto it or let it become law without his signature.

    Above emphasis mine. Governer Brown’s phone number is (916) 445-2841.

  18. Oregoncharles

    In case no one already said this, on “Single Payer Myths: Redundant Health Administration Workers People’s Policy Project (bob k)”:

    The article makes the point that the numbers are relatively small, a few hundred thousand. To repeat myself, but it’s an important point: universal health care would substantially increase the demand. Hence, a lot more “frontline” health care workers would be needed – in fact, this could be a problem for the program. EG, the supply of doctors is deliberately restricted. So in this case “retraining” would actually work: teach them something useful, and the jobs will be there.

    Although “retraining” as a solution to unemployment is often a scam, in this case it wouldn’t be. Despite the optimism of the article, the prospect of jamming half a million more people into the market for office workers doesn’t appeal.

  19. Oregoncharles

    Now I can’t find the report I saw, but in Catalonia the demonstrators tried to block Guardia Civil arrests. They failed; next time they’ll try harder. The Guardia are formidable, but they’re a sprinkling among a hostile population.

    What does Rajoy think he’s doing? He’s going to precipitate a war for independence over a referendum that would fail.

  20. will_f

    That New Republic article by Jet Heer recalls the “acid, amnesty, and abortion” smear on McGovern without mentioning that the smear came from a Democrat. McGovern was smeared by his own party, the leaders of which were fine with a Nixon win, if it meant discrediting McGovern’s ideas for a generation or two.

      1. Darthbobber

        But his equation with Smith passes over the further pro-business, anti-New Deal activism that characterized Smith’s later career. He even manages to forget that Smith was FDR’s opponent for the nomination in 1932.

  21. ewmayer

    o ‘Without opioids, our collective life expectancy would be 2.5 mos longer | Ars Technica” — Assumes those using opioids to self-medicate for both physical and emotional pain would not commit suicide in larger numbers absent the meds, which IMO is a highly dubious premise.

    o Study Shows Student Debt Delays Home Buying by Seven Years | MishTalk

    Article title should really begin with ‘Success!’, since universal debt peonage for the proles is after all one of the key pillars of neoliberal financialization, the other being elimination of any remaining common-pool public goods.

  22. rgf

    Donald Trump threatens ‘total destruction’ of North Korea over nuclear programme during UN address SCMP

    ‘Tensions to rise’ after Trump’s North Korea comments Al Jazeera

    Correlation sometimes IS causation.

  23. Darthbobber

    Regarding Jeet Heer’s Clinton hagiography piece in TNR, I usually just roll my eyes at the absurdity of these pieces, but Heer has tossed in one extra that is so unintentionally hilarious that I just can’t resist. I refer to this little bit of “history” (or something vaguely like it):
    “Perhaps the losing candidate that Clinton most resembles is Al Smith, the first major-party Catholic candidate for president. Smith was thoroughly drubbed by Herbert Hoover in 1928, in a race defined by anti-Catholic bigotry. “If you vote for Al Smith,” the minister of the largest Baptist church in Oklahoma City thundered from the pulpit, “you’re voting against Christ and you’ll all be damned.” Even in his loss, Smith remade the Democratic Party. Just four years before Smith ran, in 1924, a resolution condemning the Ku Klux Klan failed at the Democratic National Convention. After Smith won the nomination, the Democrats were clearly the party of ethnic pluralism. The white ethnic voters Smith brought into the fold became the mainstay of the party with the victory of Franklin Roosevelt in 1932, and they stayed loyal for decades to come.”
    OK. Apparently Heer is unaware that after being drubbed by Hoover in ’28, Smith went on to be defeated by former protege FDR for the nomination in 1932, after allying with the most reactionary elements in the party to that end. After failing to block Roosevelt he became a bitter and vehement critic of pretty much everything about the New Deal, becoming a member and spokesman for the business-dominated Liberty League, and supporting Alf Landon for President in 1936, and Wendell Willkie in 1940. So maybe there are parallels with the extremely biz-friendly HRC, but I don’t think Heer had any of that in mind.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Ha! Well done sir.

      Goldwater Girl who crossed a picket line on her and Bill’s first date (look it up, seriously).

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