Links 9/26/17

Nerve implant ‘restores consciousness’ to man in vegetative state Guardian (David L)

A Binary Asteroid That’s Actually a Binary Comet Syfy Wire

Giant Trilobite Crashes Wisconsin Corn Field Science

Humans are Wired for Negativity aeon (micael). Most people have mainly anxious dreams? Or maybe most people aren’t good at remembering their good dreams.

Ancient Primitive Amphibians Had Mouthful of Teeth, New Research Finds Sci-News. With a cool illustration.

Ex-HSBC Forex Trader Goes on Trial in New York FT. Prosecutors accuse the defendant of front-running; the defense says he acted according to “standard practice in the banking industry.”

Financialization impedes climate change mitigation: Evidence from the early American solar industry Science Magazine

Understanding Uber: It’s Not About The App Reconnections (musicismath). The “not about the app” framing is a straw man, but lots of good detail.

Dudley sees Fed rate hikes; inflation weakness ‘fading’ Reuters. UserFriendly: “Shoot me.”

How Did Women Fare in China’s Communist Revolution? NYT

Revolutionary Possibility Jacobin. From China Miéville’s October: “Those who count themselves on the side of the revolution must engage with these failures and crimes. To do otherwise is to fall into apologia, special pleading, hagiography – and to run the risk of repeating such mistakes. […] The standard of October declares that things changed once, and they might do so again.”

Give RPS a Chance Michael Albert and Justin Podur, ZNet. Have any readers looked in depth at Albert’s detailed models for how “participatory economics” might work?

How an Economic Theory Helped Mire the United States in Vietnam The Conversation. On Walt Rostow.

The James Brown Theory of Black Liberation Adolph Reed, Jacobin. From 2015, but well worth a look.

German Election Aftermath

AfD Party Enters German Parliament: The Country Is No Longer Immune From the Far Right Slate (resilc)

German election: Merkel vows to win back right-wing voters BBC


Hopes and Frustrations As Brexit Talks Resume After May Speech Reuters

Momentum Festival Shows Labour’s Left Is Increasing Its Grip on Party Sky News


Greece no longer in breach of EU budget deficit rules EU Business (micael)

Greece and Economic Recovery: Fake News in Action CJ Polychroniou, Al Jazeera. Not everyone is convinced that things are going swimmingly.

North Korea

North Korea Calls Trump Tweet a ‘Declaration of War’ CBS/AP. Nothing good happening. The article incidentally notes that in “July 2016, Pyongyang said U.S. sanctions imposed on Kim were a ‘declaration of war’.”

As Always, There Are Variations, Mistranslations & Missed Nuances Noon in Korea. Twitter thread showing how mistranslation of key speeches is not helping.

Three perspectives on what the obviously sane response is here:

A Way Forward in the North Korea Crisis Time. A summary of US elite views.

Breaking: Germany ‘Sides With China and Russia’, Supports China Peace Plan The Duran (August). The Chinese/Russian “double-freeze” plan. Judging from RT, this is still Russia’s preferred approach.

Peace With North Korea Is Still Possible Al Jazeera (three weeks ago). What the President of South Korea would like to see.


Kurdistan’s Leaders Put Aside Differences, Vote Yes in Independence Referendum Kurdistan 24

Iraqi Kurdistan Referendum: High Turnout in Independence Vote BBC

US Deeply Disappointed by Iraqi Kurds Vote Washington Post

US-Saudi Alliance Fragments the Middle East (part 1), (part 2) The Real News. Wide-ranging interview with Rania Khalek.

Russia to Set Up New Military Base in Eastern Syria FarsNews

Trial and Terror The Intercept. Comprehensive information on terrorism prosecutions since 9/11.

Health Care

Latest GOP Health Care Bill Dies As Collins Says She Will Vote No Bloomberg

McCain Saves the GOP The Week. From the same source, McCain’s cancer prognosis is ‘very poor’.

Live Coverage of CNN Health Care Debate Progressive Army. Live blog of the debate between Klobuchar/Sanders and Graham/Cassidy.

How An Industry Shifted From Protecting Patients to Seeking Profit Stanford Medicine (micael)

Slaying the Partisan Gerrymander American Prospect (UserFriendly)

Trump Transition

With a Picked Lock and a Threatened Indictment, Mueller’s Inquiry Sets a Tone NYT. Duh.

Donald Trump Wants to Lead a 21st Century Scramble for Africa – But He Doesn’t Know How Quartz Africa

At Least 6 White House Advisors Used Private Email Accounts NYT

Realignment and Legitimacy

I Understand Why They Knelt National Review

Time for a Conservative Anti-Monopoly Movement The American Conservative (a week ago)

Class Warfare

Target to Raise Its Minimum Wage to $15 by the End of 2020 Los Angeles Times

Flint Water Crisis: New Study Shows Rise in Fetal Deaths, Drop in Fertility After Lead Exposure Paste (UserFriendly)

Puerto Rico

‘This Is Chaos’: Day 5 in Storm-Ravaged, Blacked-Out Puerto Rico Bloomberg

Puerto Rico Needs a Major Relief Effort The American Conservative

Indonesian Island Prepares for Devastating Volcanic Eruption Gizmodo

Alarm as Super Malaria Spreads in South East Asia BBC

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Deloitte Gets Hacked: What We Know So Far Fortune.

If Someone Hadn’t Traded On Hacked SEC Files, We’d Never Have Known The SEC Was Hacked DealBreaker. J-LS: “Wowsers.”

Cloudflare CEO: DDoS Attacks Will Now Be ‘Something You Only Read About in the History Books’ Motherboard

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. WobblyTelomeres

    Unrelated to today’s links but site related…

    Am a bit late to the party, but I am finally reading Econned. On page 115 of my copy, in Chapter 5 – ‘How “Free Markets” Was Sold’, I encountered the sentence,

    He [Milton Friedman] gained in stature as he correctly predicted the 1970s stagflation.

    Gained in stature??? Mother-[family blog]! I’m going to go back to page 1 and start over as, apparently, this book may be rife with snark and I may just be too dense to have recognized it. Argh. :)

    1. HopeLB

      “Love the Flag! Hate the Constitution!” is a great summary of our history for many deccades.
      It’s gotten so bad now that either Party could use it as a campaign slogan.

      1. UserFriendly

        Hate the flag, hate the constitution, hate the government, hate the oligarchy, hate neofeudalism and debt bondage, hate the non stop propaganda spouting MSM, hate that the people fall for it. There isn’t much I don’t hate about this miserable shithole.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Whoa, whoa, whoa!

          Y’all are jumping around like a grasshopper on pheromone night! Just how did you go from snarky/Lambertesque commentary on Friedman’s stature to “There isn’t much I don’t hate about this miserable shithole”???????

      2. oh

        The article “I understand why they knelt” is full of myths. Starting 9/11 we’ve lost most of our rights. The so called “patriots who died defending our country” is another myth. Nobody has attacked our country (Pearl Harbor was not part of the US at that time; just a (occupied) territory. The NFL is paid enough $$ to play the anthem and promote “patriotism” and bring in people from the armed forces to propagate “patriotism”. If the NFL doesn’t want the protests all they have to is stop the cheapening of our flag and the anthem (the flag is probably made in China!), they should stop this charade. Patriotism is sold as saluting the flag or the troops. Patriotism is supporting our manufacturing, helping our poor and enabling a good life for all US citizens. Healthcare for all would be a good start.

  2. fresno dan

    On June 14, 2018, people in the United States — many, and indeed most, people, I hope — will mark and celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette. In that landmark decision, the Court struck down as unconstitutional the State’s requirement that all public school teachers and students participate in a salute to the American flag and a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

    The case was brought on behalf of students who were Jehovah’s Witnesses. In deference to their belief that the Bible forbade them to bow down to graven images, they refused to salute the flag. For that refusal, they were expelled from school. Expulsion made the children unlawfully absent, subjecting them to delinquency proceedings and their parents to criminal prosecution.

    From the decision:
    “The case is made difficult not because the principles of its decision are obscure, but because the flag involved is our own. Nevertheless, we apply the limitations of the Constitution with no fear that freedom to be intellectually and spiritually diverse or even contrary will disintegrate the social organization. To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous, instead of a compulsory routine, is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds.

    “We can have intellectual individualism and the rich cultural diversities that we owe to exceptional minds only at the price of occasional eccentricity and abnormal attitudes. When they are so harmless to others or to the State as those we deal with here, the price is not too great. But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.

    “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.
    Why O why does a very small number who SAY they so love the flag so hate the constitution? Rhetorical question….

    1. Jim Haygood

      In my area public meetings still begin with the Pledge of Allegiance, as if we were frickin’ third graders.

      Nobody knows that Francis Bellamy’s patriotic doggerel was a crass scheme to peddle mail-order flags.

      Usually I either arrive late or excuse myself to take an “important phone call,” to avoid having to kneel NFL-style.

      1. Wukchumni

        A different fellow with the same name, but Edward Bellamy’s “Looking Backward” from 1888, manages to capture a lot of the future, as it played out.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I believe the players are protesting about injustice in general, or police brutality.

      That’s the message they want to convey, or wanted to.

      They didn’t start out protesting about the right to protest. But now, that is the dominant argument (patriotism, belligerent words in the anthem, respect for those who died for the flag, etc), drowning the original point (what I believe to be their point).

      Is there another way to protest so that the message is not easily confused with something else?

      What if everyone knelt? That would look like that the painting of Clovis conversion to Christianity.

    3. Ned

      “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”

      How can public officials get away with preaching diversity and multiculturalism as public goals then?

  3. PlutoniumKun

    North Korea Calls Trump Tweet a ‘Declaration of War’ CBS/AP. Nothing good happening. The article incidentally notes that in “July 2016, Pyongyang said U.S. sanctions imposed on Kim were a ‘declaration of war’.”

    While reading in too much to anything said by either Trump or Pyongyang is usually a fools game, I can’t help thinking about various histories I’ve read of 1930’s Japan. What was most striking in the Japanese perspective was that both the establishment and public became convinced that a war with the US was inevitable, so that when Pearl Harbour was attacked, the overwhelming public reaction (including among anti-militarist activists) was a sense of relief. A feeling that ‘at last the waiting is over’. If Pyongyang believes this, as Japan did when the oil embargo was imposed, then the chance of them doing something suicidally stupid is very high.

    1. Basil Pesto

      Somewhat tangential, but I was very interested last year in the case of Thae Yong ho, a senior NK diplomat based in London who defected. I had a look to see what his Hot Take on the current situation is but he appears to be laying low at the moment following what happened to Kim Jong nam. This interview with Al Jazeera from May is the most recent thing I saw, and is typically insightful:

      The idea that, if NK is left to its own devices, things could go a bit Ceausescu for Kim Jong-un is particularly interesting. You’d like to think that various western intelligence (chortle) apparatuses might have sat down and had a meaningful chat with Yong-ho but somehow I doubt it. (by ‘meaningful chat’ I mean them asking “what do you think might be an effective way to handle the regime?” rather than just “tell us everything you know!!”)

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its an interesting issue, but I think all NK defectors comments have to be read with a certain degree of scepticism. They are constrained by what they can say on two sides – by what happens to their family members in NK and what their ‘minders’ in the west of South Korea want to hear (or tell them to say). Some of the South Korean organisations that help refugees and defectors have some pretty dubious motivations, and I’m sure intelligence agencies are active in this too.

        I think its striking just how bad outside information is on NK. At various points of the last 30 years it has supposedly been on the brink of collapse, but it hasn’t, if anything it looks even more intractable and stable than it has been in the past. I really wonder if even many North Koreans know the true story (since there is likely very little open sharing of information and discussion, even among mid level elites).

        It may be, of course, that outside threats allows the regime to focus on foreign enemies to keep everyone in line, and that if the pressure comes off they will be in trouble. I am inclined to doubt this as they have the advantage of being able to see how the Chinese, Vietnamese and other regimes have managed to maintain control while managing economic growth. I really see no reason why Kim won’t be able to hang on for many many years, assuming he doesn’t overplay his hand and provoke a full on war. Even then, it can’t be ruled out that they would not do what they did in the 1950’s, burrow in and go for guerrilla warfare. The topography of NK means that it is an invaders nightmare.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Given he’s been there as long as he has, Kim’s problem is one of succession. A prolonged bout of flu for Kim might make the powers that be look at the future differently. There was a retired American general before the Iraq War who had made plans for an occupation and humanitarian intervention of Iraq in the 90’s made his plans on the likelihood of Iraq’s ruling elites splitting into three groups, one for each son, and another for anyone who was worried they weren’t in the remaining son’s good graces. I can’t remember the Hussein children exactly, but there was an expectation the son who would be easier to stomach wouldn’t be able to beat his brother.

          Kim likely iced his brother because the brother could be brought in as a symbolic head of state for a coup government.

        2. Basil Pesto

          Fair points. One interesting thing about Yong-ho is that, pre-defection, he occasionally gave talks in London. I watched one on Youtube last year, I think it was given at a communist bookstore or something, and the points he made that were critical of western/US hypocrisy were pretty hard to fault. Those have fallen by the wayside since the defection, for obvious reasons I guess.

          No doubt few in NK know the full story about anything, given just how strictly information is controlled. However, if I’m not mistaken, since the intensification of sanctions a lot of NK’s economy is supported by workers travelling to certain African countries and also I think China and Russia, and sending remittances. I suspect that work is undertaken in fairly abject conditions, but the supply of information in those countries is a lot freer than it is in NK – it seems to me that when those workers return home, they probably have a lot of interesting things to communicate about the outside world, and if that information spreads, it could lead to a certain tension, or at least a disconnect between the public and the leadership.

          1. Matt

            “Fair points. One interesting thing about Yong-ho is that, pre-defection, he occasionally gave talks in London. I watched one on Youtube last year, I think it was given at a communist bookstore or something, and the points he made that were critical of western/US hypocrisy were pretty hard to fault.”

            You may be thinking of a different guy, I’ve never seen a Thae talk. This other guy though has spoken at a local communist party meeting.


        3. Wukchumni

          During the cold war, we could fly my aunt from Prague out to see us in the USA, but not with her husband(or the reverse). It was a classic hostage situation, and had she defected, there would’ve hell to pay on his end for her actions.

      2. L

        Thank you for posting that link. I found this part particularly interesting:

        Kim Jong-un is different, because he doesn’t have any sense of solidarity among the family members and even the relatives because Kim Jong-un was a hidden boy. Not only in North Korean society, but he was also a hidden boy to the family members of his father and his grandfather.

        Even up to now, Kim Jong-un cannot present a single photo with his grandfather because his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, didn’t know the existence of this grandson, Kim Jong-un. So, he doesn’t have any sense of solidarity with the rest of the family.

        And to my impression, Kim Jong-un is in great fear of those officials around him because those officials are old and the ones who used to be followers of his grandfather and his father. Kim Jong-un is always sensitive whether he’s looked down upon by them as a young leader or whatever, so Kim Jong-un is a man with great paranoia.

        In that sense it would seem that the nuclear ambitions are also all about cementing his place at home. If he cannot prove a direct link to his godlike grandfather which seems to be everything in the North Korean system then what does he have? Clearly not the loyalty of the elites who are mostly handpicked followers of his famed ancestor.

        Perhaps his attempts to purge around him are not because he fears the U.S. but because he fears that he would be replaced by some regency in the name of his Children.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        What would happen to North Korea after a peace treaty is signed?

        I can see human rights groups trying to improve and help the people there. Unless that’s addressed in the treaty, but the US government has no control over them.

        1. Basil Pesto

          Do you mean after a potential insurrection? I can only imagine, but I’d like to think that 1. humanitarian aid from both NGOs and governments would be provided to the population. South Korea should probably be the driving force for that humanitarian relief, as a gesture of goodwill. However I think those that drove the sanctioning of NK should provide considerable relief as well, given that those sanctions presumably lead to the worsening of the penury of the citizenry, rather than any genuine hardship for the government and 2. beyond the peace, NK and SK begin the process of reunification. Ideally, the US would butt out of that process as they have no business deciding the fate of the Korean people but, y’know.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think issues like political prisoners, etc will still be problematic..and an opportunity to the MIC to exploit, even as we leave out human rights groups.

            As for reunification, I read that integrating the much lower wage earning North Koreans is a consideration in the south.

            Of course, size is a factor here, just like how the huge Treasury and bond markets is a factor in choosing a fiat global reserve currency. Only we are big enough to take into all those upward-mobility-ready former Kim subjects.

            And China…though it’s like they employ North Koreans to make export products to earn the mighty dollars.

          2. JTMcPhee

            Remember the re-joining of those vastly different but formerly unitary polities, East and West Germany? One might look there for inspiration and parables…

      4. Ned

        I’ll bet that Jong On’s brother who tried to use a fake passport to sneak into Japan to go to Japanese Disneyland would be a favored replacement…
        (Insert Micky Mouse head here, can’t find the combination of keys to do that…)

    2. David

      Well, whilst there was a war party in Japan in the 1930s, the immediate cause of the conflict was the oil embargo, which was aimed at strangling the Japanese economy. As I recall, there were about five days worth of oil left in the country at the time of the attack. If they had not attacked their economy would have been destroyed, so the embargo certainly shades into at least some definitions of a declaration of war. But of course North Korea has a land border so sanctions would not have the same catastrophic effect.

      1. Vatch

        I’m not going to defend Trump’s sabre rattling in the case of North Korea. The North Koreans don’t seem to have done nearly as much as Japan did in the 1930s to provoke an embargo. In 1931, Japan invaded Manchuria. In 1937, Japan invaded the main part of China, and behaved quite brutally, especially in Nanjing. In 1940, Japan invaded French Indo China. The French really didn’t have a valid reason for being there, but I doubt that the Japanese planned to liberate the Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians from foreign occupation. They just wanted to become the occupiers themselves. Anyhow, after all of these provocations, the embargoes were implemented.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Since sanctions usually target states that can’t fight back, we don’t have great data points, but in the case of Japan, the promise of empire is to bring back riches to the imperial citizens or at least the equestrian class. Why kill and murder random foreigners if we don’t have any oil as a result? Trump’s criticism of invading Iraq and letting Chinese oil companies isn’t a bizarre thought process except for people who believe in “freedumb”. He’s a bad man, but at least, his criticism is how people do register these wars.

          In the case of NK, the state is already under siege by foreigners who have slaughtered millions and destroyed their cities not terribly long ago. External pressure will only serve to strengthen the existing government. There are no North Korean armies in Mexico.

          1. Vatch

            The total number of North Korean deaths was probably not millions (in other words, it was under two million). A lot of people died, and this article estimates the total battle deaths on both sides to be about 1.2 million. Of course, there were also hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, so the total North Korean deaths may have exceeded one million.


            The North Koreans are right to mistrust the U.S. government, especially after the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq. However, that does not excuse their weird and tyrannical behavior towards their own people. North Korea has one of the worst governments on the planet.

      2. José

        The lack of oil due to the embargo still does not explain the logic behind Japan’s direct attack on the US.

        It would have been enough for Japan to occupy the oil producing territories in Asia, especially those then under Dutch control. Without a direct attack against the US President Roosevelt likely wouldn’t be able to gather enough support in Congress for a declaration of war against Japan.

        Pearl Harbor seems to have been a strategic mistake of the first order, almost infantile in its hubris. It’s comparable to the incomprehensible unilateral declaration of war by Germany on the US a couple of days after Pearl Harbor (the Japanese didn’t support the German invasion of the USSR so Germany had no obligation to come to war on Japan’s side). Strangely, these two key strategic blunders by the Axis powers are not much analysed by the historians of the WWII period.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Firing on Fort Sumter is another example.

          “You want to leave, leave. Negotiate details like customs, border control and withdrawing troops.”

      1. Chris

        Thank you Mark, that was an interesting read.

        So, if NK achieves its stated aim – to have the capacity to target US personnel on US soil with nuclear tipped missiles – then the US will have no choice but to eliminate the threat.

        And, is unlikely to eliminate the threat without the use of nuclear weapons – ie a conventional strike cannot guarantee success.

        I can’t see the NK regime being toppled from within – the men and women that protect it (both from internal and external adversaries) have too much skin the game.

        So who is going to blink first? I don’t think China and Russia are going to welcome US Military intervention.

        Scary times. There will be no winners from conflict

        1. UserFriendly

          Trump really is following in Obama’s footsteps of being not agreement capable. Seriously Trump was supposed to be the less hawkish one but his complete incompetence is really testing that theory.

  4. Lulz Street Journal

    Re: Albert’s Participatory Economics

    When I was a burgeoning socialist a decade ago I was confused about what exactly socialists wanted beyond state programs. I found the “Parecon” book from Verso illuminating in this regard. Basically, Parecon is based on common ownership of productive assests, remuneration for effort/sacrifice/time, balanced jobs (specialization but no corporate division of labor), and democratic planning.

    Most of the criticism I’ve heard of participatory economics argues it would require lots of meetings and would turn into “a dictatorship of the extroverts”. Albert says meetings would be less daunting if people actually had a say in them, had more knowledge about their work, and weren’t alienated from one another through competition for basic livelihoods.

    Some leftists criticize it for having a price mechanism which Albert argues is necessary for allocation; no economy can function without information about the opportunity costs of inputs. These critics seem to think that prices = capitalism.

    Haven’t heard much criticism of the economic modeling Albert and Hanel put together for the book THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF PARTICIPATORY ECONOMICS, a link to which can be found here:

    1. Darius

      It seems that people who oppose prices need to come up with an alternative information feedback mechanism that guides the infinite number of daily microeconomic decisions in a practical way. I haven’t heard of any proposed alternatives, but would be thrilled to be educated by those better informed than I.

        1. Lulz Street Journal

          Yes! I’ve read this article many times. I feel it doesn’t really deal with Albert’s points. I certainly agree that a sovereign wealth fund could be a path to common ownership but as Albert argues state ownership of productive assets was tried in the USSR with “mixed” results. The corporate division of labor remained in state socialism forcing some to do disempowering work, people were paid based on output, and state planning was not democratic; both of which incentivized gaming the system. As Albert argues, state socialism revealed a third class between capital and labor which he christens the coordinator class; something like the 20% or managerial/professional class we see in capitalism. This class draws their power not from owning productive assets but monopolizing empowering work, increasing output of their employees, or planning the economy.

          I really wish the article would go more in depth with criticisms of participatory economics; instead it merely proposes a more far-reaching version of a policy found in most social democracies.

    2. Saddam Smith

      I’ve been anti-price for a while, so take your point about viable alternatives. It’s a serious challenge because a different allocation system would necessarily require a radically different economics. With that in mind, I just want to bullet point the logic that led me to an anti-price position, one that has a perhaps naive faith that we can figure it out simply because I strongly believe we’re going to have to.

      1. Scarcity is not fundamental, it is subjective. The orthodox maxim that economics is the dynamic resolving of the clash of infinite wants against finite resources is an assumption. Greed is not infinite (e.g., by golly we need a lot of advertising to keep the market going), and, though finite, resources can be abundant/plentiful when managed by a different system, e.g., one that does not venerate narcissistic consumption or rely on perceived obsolescence. Digital goods is one example of potential over-abundance, though I note that scarce attention is an issue there, however I think one not resolvable healthily (see point 3.) by price mechanisms.

      2. Price requires scarcity. If there were more than enough of everything for everyone, stuff could be given away for a price of zero.

      3. Abundance of probably all essentials (and many luxuries) is already technically feasible but culturally unthinkable. Actually taking on that challenge with the intention of giving shit away for free would require too radical a change to existing structures. However, I believe there is historical pressure in this direction as scarcity-based competition is one of the drivers of perpetual economic growth, which is an actual impossibility. I.e., it makes sense to hoard and ‘win’ economically if we all Just Know there’s never enough to go around. Some noticeable recent shifts support my rather bold claim about the feasibility of abundance and fall under the aegis of the nascent but sensible transition from ownership to access. I live in Berlin where I need no car because of Car2Go and Drive Now. Air BnB represents the tentative beginnings of a new way of thinking about what home is. Open- compared to closed-source software. The examples are familiar and perhaps a little tired but not without merit. All that said, the institutional/cultural inertia here is profound.

      4. Price distorts how we think of value, and thus how we value our world. Value (I’m leaving the niceties of the so-called distinctions between exchange and utility value to one side for brevity) is absolutely pivotal to how society operates, and is very subtle, impossible to capture on a linear scale. 3. above mentions perpetual growth. Can we really get our act together as a species and address that enormous issue while we measure value via price 99% of the time? Observations about the dollar value of ‘nature’ are flat out offensive. Economic activity is a subset of nature, not the other way around.

      As for solutions, I’ll say two quick things. The first is probably less silly than it at first appears: Necessity is the mother of invention. If we do by some miracle choose to tackle this issue head on, it’s going to take a lot of experimentation. Deep change always does. To that end, there is Info Money, the second thing I want to mention re. solutions. I think it represents a good starting point. Sadly, it is still miles away from mainstream thinking.

      Finally, must economic activity always be buying and selling, unchangingly and for all time like some universal law? Can’t it be resource husbandry via community, democracy and the scientific method?

      1. UserFriendly

        2. Price requires scarcity. If there were more than enough of everything for everyone, stuff could be given away for a price of zero.

        Price can indicate relative preference. You are implicitly making the assumption that everyone wants the same things which they don’t. Someone might really want a super fast computer for gaming and gladly go without the latest fashion or art. Price can indicate how much resources went into making something and it’s best to let people decide what they want based on preference.

        It also works as a way to incentivise people into certain fields of work. I think that aspect of it is completely distorted at the moment but there is no way you are going to convince people to study medicine and engineering in the quantity needed if they aren’t going to be able to improve their situation at least a little over someone who just wants to flip burgers. The status quo is way too far to the extreme now but you aren’t going to find many people who are willing to sign up for complete equality of outcomes.

        1. Saddam Smith

          I’d say the brevity of my bullet points gives you the space to assume that I’m implicitly making that assumption. Might I suggest that your point assumes our current appetite for diversity of product is a constant unrelated to the power of advertising?

          Further, I am not in anyway arguing that price is without benefit. As a system it’s really quite ingenious. One of humanity’s more overlooked accomplishments in terms of bang for your buck. If you’ll pardon the pun.

          As for incentive, that’s a huge topic related to our cultural expectations and sense of where value is and how to generate it. For example, you write, “improve their situation”. On what measure of “improve”? Money? What about the satisfaction of stimulating work? Isn’t that an incentive? What about why we do engineering and medicine in the first place? For weapons and endless drug prescriptions going nowhere, or for stable, durable infrastructure and the prevention of sickness via truly healthy lifestyles? What about those types of motivations? And burger flipping is being automated. Much menial work can be.

          This is not about equality of outcome, either. That’s an impossibility and a misreading of my position.

          On the whole though I’m not describing some binary switch from price to no price, more a turbulent process that may or may not progress away from the price system. I see historical pressures in favour of that vector, and others that can prevent it.

          1. UserFriendly

            The satisfaction of stimulating work will only get you so far. If you expect people to dedicate years of study and training to become a doctor they are going to want, and should be entitled to more of whatever luxuries society has produced. I don’t care how advanced machines get there are always going to be menial jobs, which of course those people deserve to live happy fulfilling lives but if there are no incentives past ‘a job well done’ you will not get enough people in tedious or demanding positions and it is utopian to pretend those jobs will be automated away.

            1. Matt

              “If you expect people to dedicate years of study and training to become a doctor they are going to want, and should be entitled to more of whatever luxuries society has produced”

              I don’t see why this is true. There were no shortages of doctors in countries like Cuba or the Soviet Union. The only real financial justification for huge doctor pay is the high cost of medical school. Presumably, in a socialist society, study time would be remunerated and education would be provided for free, eliminating that justification.

                1. Matt

                  This article is not about a shortage of Cuban doctors but rather a surplus! I would guess that many in Cuba have low wages; the only reason low doctor wages in Cuba deserves its own article is that we are so accustomed to doctors who make enormous sums of money.

                  I can understand justifying differences in pay on practical grounds that you may be unable to find laborers for necessary jobs, but I don’t see why at the outset you should philosophically privilege one kind of labor as “more deserving” than another. If you take the Marxist view that labor in the abstract is the source of commodity value, there is no distinction between types of labor as creators of value.

                  1. Vatch

                    One doesn’t need to be a Marxist to object to severe discrepancies in wages. One can easily accept the view of John Rawls, that some inequality is acceptable, but only if the higher wages provide a benefit for the least privileged members of society. That is, if a profession is difficult or hazardous, but beneficial to many people, then it makes sense to pay a extra to encourage people to enter the profession. But at the point where there is no longer any difficulty recruiting people, there’s no need for further increases in wages for the difficult or hazardous useful professions.

            2. Saddam Smith

              You fail to take into consideration that to walk the path I am sketching out above requires a fundamental shift in how we handle value creation and distribution culturally, how we understand it. Your criticisms are rooted in the price system as if price were a law of nature. You are using price to assess how people would respond to a radically different model, as if humans can only think about value in price terms, and that rewards must be primarily economical for all time, as if happiness and monetary wealth are the same thing. Again, this isn’t a binary switch. The only way price is left behind is via gradual evolution and experimentation.

              You repeat that equality of outcome is unacceptable to people on the whole, a point that is still not relevant to my position. You’d need to take a look at Information Money to understand this. I’m not going to lay it out here as I don’t have the time.

              You assert that there will always be menial work. I agree. I said “much” can be automated, not all. Menial is demeaning in the price system due to the way price and value are conceptually conjoined. It might be noble in a different one.

              Automation is an historical pressure on the wage-for-work model. Stagnant wages are evidence of this. Perpetual growth is a huge problem: consumerism is unsustainable. Consumerism produces lots of work. Ergo, wage-for-work is running out of rope, as are all planetary ecosystems. Yes, there will aways be work (whatever we mean by work), but it is utopian and unimaginative to think that the current model can last forever and is not subject to evolutionary change. After all, price is quite new to humans biologically speaking. It wasn’t always there. Perhaps specialised societies need it because they’re specialised, perhaps not. I think not. Time will tell.

              One final point. How much work actually needs to be done, and how much is bullshit?

            3. Saddam Smith

              I forgot to address this:

              “if there are no incentives past ‘a job well done’ you will not get enough people in tedious or demanding positions”

              Can you prove that? How did humans get work done before money and price? With different incentive systems, different notions of contribution and reward, different notions of belonging, different notions of what it is to exist as a human being. Ok, perhaps that’s a little black and white, too sophomoric. I mean these rhetorical questions as food for thought, to point out that there’s much more to incentives than money.

              Incentive and reward are as subtle and subjective as value. See Dan Pink for real-world studies that demonstrate how subtle this stuff is and how price/wage gets in the way and undermines performance as tasks get creative and challenging. See also “The Spirit Level” for the negatives of economic and class differentials. Again, I am not for equality of outcomes. That is an absurdity in my view.

              “past ‘a job well done'” is a crude simplification of the richness of doing work well. In the end, money rewards are symbolic proofs of how society values work contributed. The social status achieved by conspicuous consumption and wage levels is, therefore, conceivable in different forms: Native American potlatch is one example. Phasing out price does not mean ending this sort of thing. The very human need for reward and recognition would be met differently, not suppressed as ‘selfish’ or ‘egotistical’. Why? Because it would make more sense to do so given the requirements of establishing steady-state economics and the need to develop new ways of valuing each other as societal contribution via wage-for-work becomes progressively unworkable and disruptive.

      1. UserFriendly

        Nevermind, don’t read it interview 2 and 3 are almost entirely about shaming Sandrs voters for not backing Clinton.

  5. Darn

    I almost never remember my dreams but can relate to anxiety being common. Politics sometimes also. I do remember last night’s, starring Bernie Sanders, who had noticeably lost weight was standing on a stage holding a (small) public meeting. Then he turned and looked at me and said, “South Africa?”. My reply was “long struggle followed by limited gains?”. “That’s right”, he answered. Is that dream positive, negative or ambivalent?

    1. Darn

      Isolated, hermit kingdom with dreams of glory that enjoys having nukes… falling behind economically… shares border with nervous southern neighbour…

  6. funemployed

    Trump to Africans “I congratulate you, [my friends] are spending a lot of money.” Peak neoliberalism?

  7. The Rev Kev

    Re: Iraqi Kurdistan Referendum
    Hard to see where this can all go. All the main countries that border the Kurds have their own Kurdish population, especially Turkey, and so would not want to encourage this development. The only country that supports them is Israel who want to use it to stir up chaos in the bordering countries. The place is land-locked and there have already been moves to isolate this area. Turkey has already stated that they might stop oil shipments from there which I believe is the source of their wealth.
    I am wondering if this might be a move by a local political configuration to put itself at the head of this movement. That way, if they could encourage the Kurdish populations of Turkey, Syria and Iran to join them down the track, they would be in charge of any future Greater Kurdistan. Thus rather than a play for independence, the whole thing becomes a play for local political power. Tough luck for the Kurdish people themselves but after the past thirty years in this region they should have learned the lesson of not putting their faith in princes. Cruel but true.

    1. jawbone

      Not to be too cynical about Trump’s administration’s actions, but there are several goals they’re trying to achieve.

      1) Lower the number of people who will be covered by ACA insurance, especially those who can’t afford much else.

      2) Lower the number of people who will be alive for the upcoming census count. Having fewer counted, especially for those who live in urban areas, will possibly change the number of representatives those areas have in Congress to represent them. Almost as good gerrymandering!

      3) Lowering the census counts is also aided by the immigration tactics: either get them out of the country or scare them so much they will not be counted.

      4) And, of course, the old, ever popular tactic of having the poor just “Hurry up and die.”

    2. Vatch

      Chick-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby are closed on Sunday so that their employees can attend church. Now people who need health insurance will be able to attend church, too! Mike Pence, Tom Price, Jeff Sessions, and Betsy DeVos probably see this as a win for everyone!

  8. Wukchumni

    “The homeless no-camping ordinance in Fresno will be implemented on Friday. At that time, Fresno Police officers will be authorized to arrest homeless people who sleep on public or private property, effectively criminalizing homelessness. After arrest, homeless people will face a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

    This is a pivotal moment in Fresno’s approach to homelessness. How we respond when the authorities come after the homeless and drag them to jail one at a time will say a lot about who we are and what we do when confronted with injustice, intolerance and a city government engaged in immoral conduct that violates basic human rights.”

    “Fresno City Council members say they’ve received complaints for years from residents and businesses about recycling centers operating from shipping containers in shopping center parking lots, providing a few cents in cash for each can or bottle that people bring in for redemption.

    On Thursday, the council approved a new ordinance to seriously restrict how and where such recyclers – called CRV (California Redemption Value) recycling centers – can operate. The 7-0 vote is the first step toward final approval, most likely in two weeks. The law, sponsored by Councilmen Paul Caprioglio and Oliver Baines, would take effect 30 days after a final vote.

    Once that happens, the law will effectively put 16 of Fresno’s 22 CRV recycling centers out of business within six months to a year. The centers are where people can get back the nickel that grocers charge for every can or bottle of soft drink, beer or other beverages that carries a California Redemption Value stamp.”

    Fresno has more homeless than anywhere else i’ve seen in California, and the city leans so far to right politically, it might tip over.

    They’ve gone to draconian measures, and jailing the homeless for 6 months will cost the city a pretty penny, and requiring the homeless to redeem recyclables @ grocery stores only brings the problem more to the forefront.

    1. jawbone

      In NY state grocery stores, others perhaps, will not issue refunds for any item they did not carry, leaving people to try to recall where a specific brand or even just the size of container was sold. Fun times.

      And depriving the poorest of this tiny access to money they can control is just unmerciful. So sad….

    2. fresno dan

      September 26, 2017 at 9:34 am

      Fresno, Calif. – The City of Fresno is in the process of moving forward (NOTE – this is an older article) with a no camping ordinance as a tool to deal complaints related to homelessness. The ordinance was designed to be similar to a no camping ordinance in Sacramento that’s been tested in court and has remained in place for more than two decades now.
      Not to defend Fresno politics, but Fresno is just copying Sacramento.
      And actually, the anti camping ruse is used though out CA

      1. Wukchumni

        The recycling gig is a bit harsh, as they are going to extort $36,500 out of damn near every supermarket per year, that will gladly pay the $100 fine per day, in lieu of having to deal with the issue.

        By the way, a most excellent mini-series along the lines of Dynasty or Falcon Crest-but entirely tongue in cheek, came out about 30 years ago, entitled simply:


        1. fresno dan

          September 26, 2017 at 5:32 pm

          Ah yes, with Carol Burnet. The only scene shot on location was at the old Fresno water tower.

          Although there are numerous references to Fresno in movies, and Johnny Carson constantly mentioned Fresno, the best line EVAH about Fresno was Warren Oates (in Sam Peckinpah’s Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia) who is at this dilapidated bar, standing at the bar with his prostitute girlfriend, when the man standing next to Oates girlfriend just urinates where he is standing. The woman gets a look of disgust, and Oates says, “You ought to be drunk in Fresno, California. This place is a palace”
          although I swear the DVD version has Oates say, “Compared to places I’ve been in Fresno, this place is a palace.”

          Sam Peckinpah made fun of Fresno because his brother, Denver Peckinpah, was a superior court Judge in Fresno

          1. Wukchumni

            I’m pretty sure Johnny Carson’s target was the lower 99 behemoth Bakersfield

            Hwy 99 is the “Pearl Harbor Survivors Memorial Highway”

            What’s that all about… they survived?

    3. JBird4049

      The costs of housing a person in jail is north of 30k, and 70k for California state prisons. Most people do not want to be homeless, and they certainly do not want to sleep out in the street. So what will arresting them do? They are not going anywhere, and with the recent push back on the unofficial, but unconstitutional debtors prisons run by many states including California, they are not likely to get much money anyways.

      So jail someone, perhaps costing him whatever possessions he has left, then chuck him right back out onto the streets after six months. Where he is going to sleep. Again. And the city is out 15k plus just for housing him, and not for the court and police costs. Just for that one person.

      That is just vindictively stupid.

      1. Wukchumni

        There used to be a homeless tent city in Fresno, and the powers that be decided to dismantle it, which only widely dispersed people into every nook and cranny in the city even more so than it had been prior.

        It’s as if they want to compound the problem with every new measure…

  9. salvo

    Germany was never immune to the far right, on the contrary, the far right was mostly integrated in the political establishment parties. The afd sees itself not as a extreme right wing party, but as liberal conservative. The afd is just an expression of the german version of neoliberalism

  10. FriarTuck

    Quoting the Vice article on Cloudflare: Cloudflare CEO: “We can now absorb anything that the internet throws at us,” he said. DDoS attacks are going to become “something you only read about in the history books.”

    Hubris is the ultimate equalizer.

    The history of the internet is replete with people finding ways around systems, and Cloudflare is no different. Whether it is tools being misused, like LOIC, or an unpatched security vulnerability, or just a plain old fire in a building, proclaiming that you’re invincible is just painting a large target on your back.

    This does not seem a wise statement.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    North Korea Calls Trump Tweet a ‘Declaration of War’ CBS/AP.

    Is North Korea wrong here, as technically, from reading the news lately, that no peace treaty was signed, and the Korean War has not officially ended?

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Donald Trump Wants to Lead a 21st Century Scramble for Africa – But He Doesn’t Know How Quartz Africa

    Scramble for Africa is related to what is happening here at home here.

    Imagine an Africa where all the smartphones and electric cars in the world are made, and people in small town America roll out the red carpet to welcome investments from rich multi-national corporations from there, instead of the scramble for Africa.

    In that world, there are far fewer problems than this world, though we might have to deal with one of their stronger currencies replacing ours as the global reserve money.

  13. UserFriendly

    Time for a Conservative Anti-Monopoly Movement The American Conservative (a week ago)

    This came out around the same time. It’s a 2 hour video hosted by TAC on how they want to end monopoly….. It kind of blew my mind because I didn’t really understand how conservatives think about monopoly. Their one and only solution is deregulation because they think that all regulations are written by crony capitalists to benefit one company or another. I’m willing to admit that is a problem but definitely not the only or even the main problem. I think that every new rule passed should have a cost benefit analysis attached so we can show that large companies will be hurt and small ones benefit.

    They constantly refer to GDP growth and stock market growth as the only gains that are relevant and ignore maldistribution’s deleterious effects. I highly recommend watching it if you have the time though (it’s on youtube so you can always increase the playback speed).

    1. Kevin

      Many economists have risen to fetishists.
      They worship at the alter of the Market. All must done so that their god, the market, runs free and untethered.

      Moral arguments fall on deaf ears.

      We live in a live experiment: untethered capitalism.
      Just like the game of Monopoly, we all play until one or two own all the marbles…we’re getting there.

      1. UserFriendly

        The thing is that they aren’t totally wrong. Dodd Frank and the ACA were written to benefit the TBTF banks, well heeled insurance, and pharma. They list a dozen other examples of a specific industry or company pushing a rule change that does nothing but help them by erecting barriers to entry. It is next to impossible to have enough watchdogs with enough power to stop bad regulations. They mention antitrust as an option but are skeptical it wouldn’t be abused too.

        I know EPA has to do cost benefit analysis of new rules. I would love that analysis to spell out which companies, representing how much market share, would experience the cost as well as the potential effect on new market entrance. How amazing would it be if some conservatives started to like EPA because it was an agent to end monopoly and crony capitalism?

        1. EricT

          Yes, but what cost are considered. The reps have a habit of skewing analysis to favor their desired outcome. A few examples, Iraq war, Bush’s tax cuts, Medicare part D, how did all those turn out?

          1. UserFriendly

            Bush’s tax cuts held off a recession for a few years, even though they should have been targeted better. And CBO scoring is not a cost benefit analysis.

      2. Adam Eran

        I’ll agree that economics is a covert religion (God has this invisible hand, doncha know).

        …although one reason the Kochs hate government is that Fred Koch (the father) was sued by Rockefeller oil interests so they could use his patented refining processes…and he lost! … then found out later that Rockefellers bribed the judge (whose judgment was overturned once this was revealed).

        Monopoly…the gift that keeps on giving.

        1. JBird4049

          Conservative does not mean Republican, which should not mean money.

          As set up, our capitalist “free” markets with bonus monopolies are not conservative or liberal, and certainly not leftist. This is especially true when looked at the social aspects of either ideology. The goals of these ideologies is an functional society full of happy or at least contented people. Defining those goals and what are the best ways of achieving them is truly what brings conflict.

          However, the main political parties have become dominated, even owned by monied interests. American Conservatism as a political philosophy and ideology has become co-opted by financial reactionary or libertarian ideology and the ostensibly liberal Democrats have become neoliberal which is financially similar to what the Republican Party used to be.

          Both Parties somewhat represent the conservative or liberal views on social issues, but only as long as it does not really impede their patrons’ profits.

          So yes, as others mentioned the Free Market is the True One Religion.

  14. UserFriendly

    Target to Raise Its Minimum Wage to $15 by the End of 2020 Los Angeles Times

    Target – The slightly less evil Walmart.

  15. JohnnyGL

    Re: private email use in White House

    I’ll say it because someone has to say it….

    Thanks Obama! Thanks HRC!

  16. L

    With respect to this:

    Breaking: Germany ‘Sides With China and Russia’, Supports China Peace Plan The Duran (August). The Chinese/Russian “double-freeze” plan. Judging from RT, this is still Russia’s preferred approach.

    I take it with a very large grain of salt. During the Doklam standoff the Chinese Foreign Ministry also reported that others agreed with their side only to have that be immediately refuted (see The Diplomat).

    Then again as Wikileaks has shown diplomats say many things in private that they do not want to be public.

  17. L

    It appears that President Trump has finally noticed Puerto Rico. He opted to tweet about them stating:

    Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble..

    …It’s old electrical grid, which was in terrible shape, was devastated. Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars….

    …owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with. Food, water and medical are top priorities – and doing well. #FEMA

    I admit I find this difficult to parse. Unlike his comments on the NFL he might actually mean well but it is hard to see how this will be seen as a comfort to U.S. citizens who have been hit by two record breaking hurricanes in a month.

    1. Darius

      Puerto Rico is the Western Hemisphere’s Greece. Except it looks like the US will make Germany and the EU look like paragons of virtue.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


      I remember he mentioned that he wasn’t going to visit a particular place because he didn’t want to interfere with rescue and recovery.

      Perhaps we should use that temporal standard when watching what he does…”Does, will or did he do it, later or eventually?”

      That’s in contrast with the typical strike-when-it’s-hot act by politicians. I think someone commented the other day about the minimal coverage of the still ongoing suffering just a few days after a hurricane landed.

      “The media has moved on to something more exciting…”

      Maybe it’s better he says now.

  18. Darius

    Adam Proctor has a great interview with Rania Khalek on the Dead Pundits Society podcast. Really puts Saudi Arabia and Iran in context.

    1. djrichard

      CJ Hopkins calls it like it is. But he.might as well be yelling in the wind.

      The powers that be want the battle to be about “global neoliberalism vs. neo-nationalism”. It’s one they can win, like they did in France. Because they’ll always win the claim to moral authority against neo-nationalism. It’s only a matter of time before they win this argument in the US. And they’re willing to wait for this to take as long as needed, in order to fully repudiate the other side.

      If the debate ever got close to being one about “global neoliberalism vs something better” that would get re-cast into a debate about “global neoliberalism vs socialism-a-la-venezuela”. Of course here the moral high-ground would be more up for grabs. Unless of course somebody gets elected that can be channeled into running the US into the ground just like what VZ did with their economy.

  19. allan

    Fed’s Brainard: Labor market disparities reducing U.S. economy’s potential [Reuters]

    Labor market disparities in the U.S. economy are curbing the nation’s long-run potential growth, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said on Tuesday, as she urged the central bank to undertake more research to help diminish inequality.

    “To the extent that disparities in income and wealth across race, ethnicity, gender, or geography reflect such disparities in opportunity…the disadvantaged groups will underinvest in education or business endeavors, and potential growth will fall short of the levels it might otherwise attain,” Brainard said at a Fed research conference on disparities in the labor market held in Washington.

    In a speech entitled “Why persistent employment disparities matter for the economy’s health,” Brainard also said that high levels of income and wealth inequality could impact consumer spending. …

    Elsewhere, Brainard said that the disproportionate accumulation of wealth in urban areas since the recession along with historically low levels of migration across county and state lines could be a factor in the economic disadvantage of rural populations. …

    It’s great there is some inkling inside the Eccles Building that something might be amiss in flyover country,
    but are we really still at the More Research stage?

  20. Jim Haygood

    Communism, therefore, had to be forcefully resisted to protect a given country’s economic prosperity and freedoms and, ultimately, American national security and well-being as well.‘ — Walt Rostow article

    At least wonky ol’ Walt had a theory, flawed as it was. Whereas today’s permanent wars are just mindless boodling, anchored in hoary old rhetoric from the George W Bush era … “Ima nuke me some terrists,” etc

    Global military empires do not pay their own freight. They are negative rate of return activities for the US economy, though there’s plenty of rent to be extracted by private interests from this macro-scale, gov-sponsored blood sport.

    Its abject failure to confront the relentless decadence of America’s dying empire is the shame of 21st century economics. War or pensions? The Depublicrat party promises the latter, but funds the former.

    1. RabidGandhi

      I mean, say what you want about the tenets of slaughtering 3 million Vietnamese, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.

    2. Jim Haygood

      From Patrick Watson at Mauldin Economics, via email:

      Governments currently disclose their retiree healthcare liabilities only in footnotes to their financial statements. Many have saved little to no money to cover those future expenses.

      That’s about to change.

      Starting in 2018, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board will force officials to record healthcare liabilities on their balance sheets. Pew Charitable Trusts estimates the national shortfall will add up to $645 billion.

      That’s on top of the estimated $1.1 trillion in unfunded pension liabilities they already had. In other words, this giant problem that no one knows how to solve is about to get 59% worse!

      Or, more accurately, it’s going to look 59% worse. The healthcare shortfall isn’t new. What’s new is that local governments have to stop obscuring it.

      Are we having fun yet?

      1. Oregoncharles

        Isn’t this a fake issue? Governments have quite reliable income streams, called taxes, which they can modify if needed. That’s what backs up their commitments.

        Granted, tax income does vary, so they should have a reserve that covers likely variations – not the whole amount.

        It’s like saying Social Security is bankrupt because the trust fund doesn’t equal all projected expenses. No, the trust fund only needs to cover occasional shortfalls; SS is actually a transfer payment, and so are those medical commitments by local governments.

        (In my opinion, the “trust fund” is not what it pretends to be. Ultimately, it’s a prior commitment of the general funds, since that’s where the money went. Hence, it’s subject to political interference in a way current income is not. It was something Greenspan promoted, for heaven’s sake. Granted, at least the federal government can print the money if it needs to, which local and state gov’ts cannot.)

        1. Bill Smith

          Not quite a fake issue. How much would states have raise their taxes to really fund this? If it required doubling the tax rate it might not be doable.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Rostow is like the neoconservatives. The veneer of academia makes it look respectable. You see McNamara had good intentions because he was trying to help the Vietnamese economy. For people who are disconnected from FP, this is good enough especially if the victims are distant kids or the soldiers are escaping poverty in WV or East St Louis. They aren’t joining gangs! For the Scarboroughs of the world, this is what they need to embrace an orgy of violence.

      Bush on his own would have been stomped. He hid behind his daddy’s “wise” friends. “What I have to miss the back nine? Can’t we just ask Colon to take care of it? Where is Dick? Heheheh” With Iraq, we had all kinds of nonsense about direct threats, but we also were inundated with crazed plans to destroy terrorist breeding grounds. By bringing prosperity, there would be less incentive to be a terrorist. The example of post 1945 Germany and Japan were tossed around, playing to bizarre memories of U.S. history classes when students were waiting for Summer break to start.

      In the case of Syria, Obama simply had rhetoric about red lines and failed especially in light of the failures of the “democratic smart” war in Libya. Trump being crazier than usual help prevent the head in the sand types from being content the wise men in suits have a theory.

  21. Juliania

    Thanks for the Stanford Medicine article. It probably says a lot to those who already know it, but seeing it all in readable sequence makes it a must read.

    “,,,transformation of the United States healthcare economy began with the creation of insurance companies and their evolution into for-profit companies…”

    Sigh. There was a time. . .

    1. Wukchumni

      It isn’t just healthcare, other nations look at prisons as a necessary evil, we look at them as a profit center.

      A couple of friends became newly minted RN’s a few years back, and starting pay @ a hospital that catered to sick/hurt citizens was $34 an hour, versus $51 if they had decided to treat inmates in one of our many prisons in the Central Valley.

  22. fresno dan

    Interesting graphic on how much and what percentage of income is spent in different states. Surprising (at least to me) CA (along with NY and NJ!!!) has low heath care costs and consequently spends less as a percentage of take home pay, at least according to this study….

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Doesn’t surprise me at all.
      I’m guessing it’s a combo of 2 things.
      Insurance premiums aren’t counted as healthcare outlays and most people who use health care services have those costs paid for by either their corporate employers, their unions or the state (Medicare).

      PS just read bits of the executive summary…They excluded anyone who paid by check! JP liars…

      Everyone else doesn’t use health care.

      1. Anon

        their unions or the state (Medicare)

        Actually, Medicare is a federal program. The state run (but also partially federally funded) program is called Medicaid.

        Didn’t read the article, but healthcare expenditures may be low per capita because there is a large poor/undocumented cohort that doesn’t have health insurance.

  23. Tooearly

    “The United States spends almost 20 percent of its gross domestic product on health care, and if we want to reduce that, Rosenthal argues, we’re all going to have to be more like Jeffrey Kivi. ”

    Rosenthal getting lots of attention for the absurd idea that we will solve the rot of our healthcare system by getting better at being consumers.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The United States spends almost 20 percent of its gross domestic product on health care, and if we want to reduce that, Rosenthal argues, we’re all going to have to be more like Jeffrey Kivi. Rosenthal, editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News, itemizes the ills that have befallen health care, including opaque and inequitable pricing, perverse financial incentives and an ethos of putting profits before patients. She then writes a prescription for reform, including short-term strategies to reduce costs and long-term policy goals.

      Taking all of what she said in the paragraph together, in addition to getting better at being consumers, it seems to be reasonable…opaque pricing, perverse incentives, money before patients, etc.

      I don’t think we can overdo cost containment…Big Pharma, hospitals, doctors (those who are rich enough), etc all can stand to make less money to help the sick.

  24. Synoia

    Puerto Rico Needs a Major Relief Effort

    This is going to be a very interesting measure of Republican governance.

  25. joe defiant

    All this talk of Kaepernick and everyone forgets the media blackout still on Mahmoud Abdul-Raif a basketball player who lost his job, had his house burned down, and faced a complete media blackout. That was during Bill Clinton’s reign when the media was doing all it could to hide any black radical action because of the crime bill and welfare reform. Americans were also being brainwashed to hate muslims so imperialism and coups happening in the middle east would not face mainstream criticism.

    1. Synoia

      The buries its black problems, one way or another.

      War on Drugs
      etc…(not a complete list)

  26. Daryl

    > Nerve implant ‘restores consciousness’ to man in vegetative state Guardian (David L)

    Can someone explain the term “passive euthanasia” to me? Is this referring to damage or other neglect that occurs because the patient is believed to be hopeless?

Comments are closed.