Links 10/22/18

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Chimps like to copy human visitors to the zoo – Ig Nobel Prize The Conversation

Man, 72, killed by group of aggressive “rogue” monkeys throwing bricks at him from tree Daily Mirror

A 9-year-old Canadian girl figured out a brilliant way to sell all her Girl Scout cookies Quartz

UN’s 10-year plan to tackle world’s drug problem has been ‘spectacular failure’ as production and consumption soar, report says Independent. Not to mention a spectacular waste of money.

Indonesia’s Indigenous Languages Hold the Secrets of Surviving Disaster Foreign Policy

Denmark wants to make climate impact labels mandatory for food TreeHugger

Germany’s great environmental failure Handelsblatt

Eating Locally and in Season: Is It Really Better for the Environment? TruthOut

Police Body Camera Bursts Into Flames; New York Pulls 2,990 From Use NYT

Uber Ambitiously Eyes 2021 for Food-Delivery Drones Launch WSJ


Australian PM seeks meeting with independent lawmakers in bid to shore-up government Reuters


MPs press Hunt to take action against Saudis over Khashoggi affair Guardian

Erdogan: Turkey will reveal ‘naked truth’ over Khashoggi killing Al Jazeera

Jamal Khashoggi: UK, France and Germany ‘urgently’ demand clarification of ‘exactly what happened’ in Saudi consulate Independent

Lawmakers point fingers at Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi’s death The Hill

McKinsey Is ‘Horrified’ That Saudi Arabia Report May Have Been Misused Bloomberg

Inside the Saudis’ Washington influence machine: How the kingdom gained power through fierce lobbying and charm offensives WaPo

Mnuchin Heads to Saudi Arabia to Bolster Iran Policy as Uproar Grows Over Journalist Death WSJ

US fears Russia will help Iran evade oil sanctions FT


Suburban women, Trump fatigue and the House races that could make the difference WaPo

Trump gets ready to play midterm blowout blame game Politico

OMG plz Vote4Me: Here’s why your phone is blowing up with political text messages you didn’t sign up for Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

Adelsons Add $25 Million to Their Midterm Campaign Spending Bloomberg

Dem Senate hopes shift from winning majority to limiting losses Politico


Inside the Black Hole of Global Consultants That India’s Public Sector Banks Hire The Wire

When drought and extreme heat strike forests at the same time Mongabay

‘Nirmal’ Ganga: Govt plans to finish 200 projects for ghats, crematoria by March 2019, says Nitin Gadkari Economic Times

India in a Bind as it Considers How to Respond to Trade Skirmishes with the US The Wire


UBS Warns Staff Over China Travel After Banker Held In Beijing: Source International Business Times


Brexit: a total lack of substance

Theresa May faces fight for her leadership as mutinous Tory MPs warn she is ‘drinking in last chance saloon’ Independent. Seems two weeks doesn’t pass now without May facing another similar revolt – if you believe the UK MSM. On the other hand, one shouldn’t entirely forget the story of Peter and the wolf.

Class Warfare

CEOs should have been the fall guys; why are they still heroes? Aeon

What Is Harvard Trying to Hide? Politico

Prop. C on SF ballot would tap biggest businesses to raise millions for homeless San Francisco Chronicle

Are we too broke to stick to our principles? BBC

How a Gang of Hedge Funders Strip-Mined Kentucky’s Public Pensions The Intercept

Miscarrying at Work: The Physical Toll of Pregnancy Discrimination NYT

Kill Me Now

Count on Hillary Clinton running again in 2020 NY Post. I remind readers that to post a link is not necessarily to endorse its reasoning – I throw this one up as a spur to reader comments. Enjoy!

Tariff Tantrum

Chinese broadens its propaganda drive to heartland America ABC News

“He wants them to suffer more”: Inside Trump’s China bet Axios

Thousands in U.S.-bound migrant caravan pour into Mexican city Reuters

Mexico opens border to migrant women and children from Honduras; caravan plans to travel to US FirstPost

The Pieties of the Liberal Class Counterpunch

Trump Transition

Trump Administration Eyes Defining Transgender Out of Existence NYT

Quitting the INF Treaty Is a Serious Mistake American Conservative

Antidote du Jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Eduardo

    Count on Hillary Clinton running again in 2020 NY Post. I remind readers that to post a link is not necessarily to endorse its reasoning – I throw this one up as a spur to reader comments. Enjoy!

    throw this one up

    1. Quentin

      A spectre is haunting the United States…but not the kind we may want. Two in fact, two for the price of one, a steep price at that. These spectres do nothing without charging you through the teeth to express your adulation of their personalities.

    2. Darius

      I have described it as the toxic waste the Republicans bring out versus the mouthful of phlegm the Democrats cough up.

    3. johnnygl

      I actually want HRC to run again. I doubt she’ll crack 10% in any state.

      I mostly want her to run because i want to watch Bernie slay the whole field of crappy dem candidates just the way trump slayed all the awful repub candidates that we all have grown to hate in their party.

      I’m eagerly anticipating the avalanche of declarations that come post midterms.

      Crush them all!!!

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        agreed. If she wants to know just how disliked she is, and this is the only way to let her know, then so be it.

        who are we kidding, it will be someone else’s fault. It always is. The Clintons cannot fail, they can only be failed by lesser beings.

    4. flora

      It’s not about her winning; it’s about filling the Clinton Foundation coffers (and the speaking fees.) heh.

      1. a different chris

        It’s certainly about her winning. The money is also “her due” as she sees it. Girl wants it all.

      1. neo-realist

        I would be a little surprised if the Chinese Ambassador, having listened to Haley go “off script” with an threatened invasion of North Korea, did not say more or less “try it and we’ll be ready for you: With a PLA division and a North Korean military that is as large as 8 million, including reserves, I think they could have made an American invasion very difficult, to say the least.

        Very Palin like remark from her if she made it.

    5. Left in Wisconsin

      So suppose HRC, Biden, and Kerry are all running in addition to Bernie, Warren, and maybe a dozen others. Unless Bernie can really muster an early 30%, those conditions would seem to me to encourage all kinds of insider shenanigans, given that the difference between polling 5% and 10% in a crowded field is huge. And of course if Bernie does poll an early 30%, then all the knives will be out and we will really see how dirty the DNC can play.

      1. JohnnyGL

        I think there’s definitely states where electoral shenanigans will be filthy….we’ve seen what NY state can do. They can make hundreds of thousands of voters disappear from NYC. This is why Teachout’s loss was so important and hurtful. The AG job would have been a real check on the NYCBOE.

        I also think there’s limits to what the party can do. Winning candidates tend to build momentum, just as Trump did in 2016 as the primaries rolled on. If Bernie gets early wins in NH, IA, and even a solid performance in SC and on the first super Tuesday, he may well be on his way.

        1. RMO

          Maybe I should run the “It just doesn’t matter” pep talk from Meatballs… we already know from the 2016 primaries and the fact that the Dem party defense when accused in court of rigging those primaries was essentially “we don’t have to provide a fair election or even follow our own rules and can pick whoever we want regardless of the membership’s preferences” that anyone not anointed by the corporate wing has the deck stacked against them.

          I believe it’s still well worth supporting a candidate like Sanders (and as a Canadian I thank the U.S. citizens who do this) and there is still a chance of success but the standard primary horse-race evaluation and tactical theorizing don’t really apply to someone like this.

    6. none

      Count on Hillary Clinton running again in 2020 NY Post.

      As someone on reddit asked: can we get a restraining order against her?

    7. Westcoastdeplorable

      Since about 1/2 the U.S. thinks Hitlery should be locked up, I don’t see any way in hell she could come close to winning the Dem nomination, much less going up against the big “T” again.
      He would make mincemeat of her; she wouldn’t even last until election day.

      1. knowbuddhau

        What did popular preference have to do with her outright theft of the primary from Sanders? The state orgs were mere convenient fronts for her magnum griftus. There’s never any sincere full-time GOTV effort. And even if we vote “wrong,” that can be taken care of, too, thanks to our ever so hackable voting machines.

        For HRC, evidence of failure is a failure of evidence.

  2. emorej a hong kong

    Count on Hillary Clinton running again in 2020 NY Post.

    Pretty useless analysis.
    Yes the other potential candidates not named Sanders all have known and unknown weaknesses, but Hillary’s weaknesses (some oppo-fabricated but many all too real) are known to too many voters.
    If Hillary runs a 3rd time:
    1. She will not enjoy the aura of primary inevitability and general electability as 2016.
    2. One-on-one, Bernie would win more votes than her unless vote suppression is ramped up to a reckless degree.
    3. She wouldn’t even get a one-on-one shot at Bernie, because Kamala and Cory (not to mention Elizabeth) would peel more votes away from Hillary than from Bernie.
    4. If Bernie has a sudden health decline, Bernie supporters will have difficulty uniting around a successor, or getting that successor’s name out, but Hillary is not well-equipped to take advantage of this scenario.

    1. emorej a hong kong

      Perhaps the worst thing about another Hillary candidacy is that it would need to explain away her 2016 loss by dialing up to 11 the allegations that Russia stole the 2016 vote, and that Trump (and Bernie) are dupes or agents of Putin.

      Whether these allegations could help Hillary win the nomination is not fully predictable, but they very predictably would deepen the polarization between establishment Dems and everybody to their Left (while also probably alienating most Independents).

      1. noonespecial

        – NY Post / AM Radio re HRC in 2020 –

        To get a sense of right-wing radio, I’ll tune into Bill Cunningham’s “Live On Sunday Night” show here and there. And last night proved to be timely re the NY Post article because this topic received some air time.

        On the show, Corey Lewandowski spoke (with much gloat in his tone) welcoming the chance of a re-run. The phrase that I can recall as I sip my a.m. joe is that, “an HRC run would be an opportunity to re-litigate all of her failings.” Host Cunningham added his support for an HRC run with similar snark.

        However, a discussion of 2020 was secondary to a discussion about immigration between these two paragons of intellectual prowess. Not only did these two froth on about the impending arrival of MS-13-like hordes, they quickly surmised that most, if not all, of Central and South Americans want to emigrate to the USA.

        Count me as one who wishes Gore Vidal were still around writing and speaking about the duopoly and fun times radio/media landscape.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Clinton clearly has a hard base of support, especially among Democrat loyalists and apparatchiks. She’s also been developing networks to support her, like Indivisible, and allying herself with other networks, like #MeToo. Would it be possible for her to bootstrap a run on small donations from those sources alone? I don’t know. Add to this that nobody in Clinton’s circle will tell her she can’t, on grounds of the gravy train alone, and combine that with the fact that (1) nobody in Clinton’s circle even accepts that she lost (one reason, perhaps, that the Party never produced an autopsy; in their minds there’s no corpus delicti), and (2) whatever else she is, Clinton is insanely persistent, and you have a recipe for Clinton running again.

      I don’t think she’d win, but she might be third or fourth in a crowded field, win a primary or two, at which point she could bet on a brokered convention. A bet she would lose, and lose ugly, but that wouldn’t stop her from making it.

      1. Lord Koos

        Perhaps that’s the plan – she makes enough of a showing that a progressive platform is then forced to compromise.

        As far as her support, I’d guess that at this point her base is small, but well-funded.

  3. You're soaking in it!

    Peter and the Wolf? Where David Cameron warns Treeza not to head up Brexit because it’s too dangerous for a girl like her, Murdoch and friends are the hunters who are astonished that she pulls it off, Rees-Mogg as the tweety bird who helps her distract it, and the British people ending up swallowed whole? I like it!

  4. Amfortas the hippie

    On Hillary and inevitability and athlete’s foot-like immortality:
    we don’t have cable, so being exposed to network tv in hospital was strange and unsettling…even more so when Hilldog appears in cameos.
    The reboot of Murphy Brown appears to be made for Hillary, and there she was.
    the studio crowd roars(or canned roar, i’m not sophisticated enough to tell).
    transparent, narcissistic, holier than thou.
    “oh no…I’m not running…not even in politics any more…just popping by to see my friends…”
    her and trump are the perfect representative symbols of an exhausted civilisation that has yet to get past the denial phase in the stages of grief.

    and I’m late as usual…but the NYT piece about how even having health insurance doesn’t help was eye opening…given wife and I’s current adventures with terminal cancer.
    some of the anecdotes in that article shook me: how doctors rarely discuss price, how the breadwinner being out of work just compounds the “financial toxicity”…
    Alan Grayson’s in-your-face on the floor testimony has been running through my mind for weeks:”die quickly”…and the biggest culprits in the whole cruel mess that is the money side of healthcare still insist that we’re a Christian Nation(tm).
    The recent discussions around NC about climate denial as a culling of the herd could easily be applied to our healthcare, as well.
    we got the first stack of bills yesterday…wife wept, I grit my teeth.
    the largest, the hospital itself, was “forgiven”…quarter million bucks…Forgiven.
    the now normal feeling of being a dixie cup in the roiling surf…i know not whether to laugh, cry or howl at the moon…how does one express gratitude in such a situation?
    (a preemptive thanks for y’all’s patience with my rambling digressions)

    1. Janie

      The right words won’t come; they seem so inadequate. Our family’s hearts go out to you and yours.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      I am so sorry, terminal and “owing” hundreds of thousands of dollars. You are not the ones who need to be forgiven.

      A wish for the least amount of pain, physical and emotional, as is possible under the circumstances.

    3. Alex V

      Forgiveness implies a sin has been committed. Yet more evidence of the sociopathy of the American health care system.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I’ve been trying to think of the words to say and failing but what can you say about such a hideous situation? All I can say is that there are a lot of people thinking of you and your wife and hoping that things start breaking your way soon.

    4. Tom Stone

      You have my understanding, on a personal basis.
      I’d have preferred a weekend with Halle Berry and a winning lottery ticket.
      I’ll quote a friend “If you can’t be grateful for what you have, or where you are…be grateful for what you don’t have and where you aren’t”.
      I am alive today, and I can make a difference today, if only a small one.
      Be present and enjoy the beauty today brings you.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        Thank you all…again…
        I swear I’m not dragging a sympathy lure through the place.
        Our current troubles of Job are merely the facts of existence at this point…but I consider these experiences…and my observations while experiencing them…entirely germane to our collective dysfunction, ennui and multiple and overlapping ontological crises.
        from any point on or near that enormous hospital campus, one can hear the regular arrival of ambulances and helicopters…loud but subtle indicators of yet another human tragedy unfolding behind locked doors…the swarms of family sleeping on chairs in the lobbies attest to the Universals…their manner of dress, and the beat up cars they hand off to the Valet(!!*) indicate a level of relative lack of wealth, which indicates a lack of comprehensive “coverage”>
        who, exactly, is paying for all this?
        how much is “forgiven”?
        (and yes, “forgiveness” strongly implies some transgression…which is so subtlety demeaning as to go unnoticed)
        I have been torn asunder by the disconnect I’ve witnessed…between unmitigated compassion from all and sundry…and the cruelty and capriciousness of the “System”.
        My thanks, again, to you all.

        Wife is back to work, today…for the first time in more than a month. I’ll go get her at lunch(or sooner, if needed). Thankfully, it’s Pajama Day…and I expect little actual work to get done. She’s a Spanish/ESL Teacher. The school, and the whole damned county, have gone above and beyond.
        we did the first round of chemo last week…3 days of waiting for side effects that never appeared(yet)…inpatient: somehow the Oncologist set that up, presumebly so that can be “forgiven”, too(I’ll frelling take it).
        and, regarding Price Discovery…no one seems to know what the drugs/poisons cost.
        How can it be a “Market” if no one knows the cost?

        (* the whole front parking lot is occupied by the Valet Parking outfit. $8/day. the other choices are two garages that cost a little less, and a “surface parking”…way out back, <1/2 mile from the room…where I parked. There's nobody there to take your money upon exit on weekends, and between 6pm and it's free if you time it right)

        1. freedomny

          I am so sorry you and your wife are going through this. Interesting choice of words these healthcare vultures use. You got “forgiveness”. I received “discount” on my last surgery.

        2. ambrit

          Phyl and I send love and solidarity. Your ‘support community’ will be invaluable going through this. You will need to have support yourself from time to time. The caretaker often fares worse that the patient during the run of the ailment. For her sake, take good care of yourself.
          Secondly, don’t take the ‘official’ pronouncements of the medicos as Gospel Truth. Make your own evaluations. Be positive, cliche as that sounds, because, psychological health does effect the physical body’s response to illness. It is good news indeed that she is up and about after chemo.
          Finally, allow yourself to sit down somewhere and be sad from time to time. It has to come out. There’s a sound reason why the Ancient Greeks valued Catharsis.
          Theologians call it “The Problem of Evil.”
          Sitting here and looking over what I wrote, I am struck with the inadequacy of words to express strong feelings. Just let her know that she has your love.
          You all have our love.

        3. ChristopherJ

          Love brother from Australia, Amfortas and wife.

          Read some good insights from you, mate, over the years.

          Hope to see you find time to get on here between all the shit going on in your lives.

        4. ChrisPacific

          I have been torn asunder by the disconnect I’ve witnessed…between unmitigated compassion from all and sundry…and the cruelty and capriciousness of the “System”.

          This is reportedly difficult to handle from the other side as well (i.e., taking the Hippocratic Oath and then being forced to work within such a predatory and destructive system).

          I am sorry you and your wife are having to deal with this. I hope you are keeping your copy of Meditations handy.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            the nearest half priced books had several copies of Aurelius for like $2 each. so I bought all but one.
            I’ve been giving them away and leaving them on the random table.
            One of my favorite books.
            as far as being difficult from the doctor/nurse side…yup. I get that.
            They do their thing regardless, and that is truly admirable.
            Rode the elevator with a surgeon and he talked about this.
            I pointed to the Caduceus on his little patch.
            everybody thinks its the Rod of Aesculapius, god of healing…but it’s really that of Hermes, god of…among other things…commerce.
            I’m partial to the Oath of Maimonides, myself.


        5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Amfortas, my prayers for you and your wife.

          Perhaps along with infrastructure, we spend money for find the cure for cancer.

        6. crittermom

          Amfortas, my heart goes out to you & your wife for all you’re going through. I’m so sorry. Here on NC I feel like you’re ‘family’ & such news hurts. (sending you both an online hug)

          As Ambrit stated, however, “don’t take the ‘official’ pronouncements of the medicos as Gospel Truth…”, & “psychological health does effect the physical body’s response to illness.”

          I truly believe this, but the woman in the chair next to me as I was receiving my final chemo session last year (stage III breast cancer for me but she had a different cancer with a very high mortality rate) said it best…

          We had begun talking & she said the Drs had told her she was stage IV the previous year when she was diagnosed, & to get her affairs in order. Little hope for a cure & little time.

          Her response was to look him in the eye & state, “There’s no expiration date stamped on my a**!”
          I loved that woman’s attitude.

          When we met she had been undergoing chemo for a year & said the Drs, much to their own surprise even, were now using the “R” word (remission).

          I dislike the word ‘terminal’ for that very reason. That diagnosis can be proven wrong & I hope your wife is among those who prove that to them.

          I find it great that she didn’t experience side effects from her first infusion “yet” & take that as a positive sign. Try to build upon those small victories.

          Humor has helped me go thru my ordeal (alone).
          Even in these darkest of times, keep laughter in your life. It will help you both.

          Also, be sure to double-check & question the billing.
          I was being billed for thousands & had even set up a repayment plan when I discovered the cancer center wasn’t billing my secondary insurance. They were instead billing a different insurance company I wasn’t with. I owed none of it. Got it straightened out.
          Don’t just take their word for it.

          If she is going to lose her hair (as I did), note that either Great Clips or Super Cuts (can’t remember which?) will cut it for free for cancer patients. I had my long, long hair cut short after my first chemo as I knew it would be less psychologically damaging to me when it began to fall out.
          A few weeks later, when even my now short hair was falling onto my plate & everywhere, I took the dog clippers to it & shaved my head. (THAT was good for a laugh)

          Sending positive thoughts your way…

          1. ambrit

            You get complete agreement from Phyl and me about ditching the ‘terminal’ mind set. Even when it becomes clear that, as the Doors sang, “No one gets out of here alive,” you must avoid mental morbidity.
            Anectdotally in regards to morbidity; my Dad worked with an older engineer “Ed.” Ed had been a prisoner of the Japanese in what then was the Dutch East Indies. He told young me once about being able to predict how long a prisoner was going to live by “the look in their eyes.” When one of the prisoners gave up, he said you could see it: in their empty gaze, listless demeanour, and lack of interest in anything. His words to me were simple: “Have something to live for.”
            Who was it who said that the measure of a society was in how it treated the lowest and most powerless in it?
            Love to you and yours.

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            aye. my Tarot is very fallible,lol. as are my chicken bones.
            I expect the same could be said for everybody, including medical professionals.
            Unexpected things happen regularly.
            everywhere i’ve turned in the last month, there’s someone with a story of survival…even of this very thing.
            So I wrestle with my cynical nature, and try hard not to let it infect her mind.
            Prayer works for her(by whatever name..positive thoughts, etc) and she’s been remarkably calm and clear eyed about it all.
            Day by day, and all. Hard-head one’s way through.
            Bruxist tenacity is a way of life around here…we’ve both had our share of adversity.
            and i am not above lighting a little candle in the nearest church.
            as for alopecia…I’d be freaking out at the prospect. My long scraggly is a big part of my self-image, a la Samson.
            She seems rather unfrazzled about it, and has instructed me to chase down a certain hot Hawaiian surgeon who wears a collection of loud and striking scarf-things, so as to inquire where they may be obtained.
            this desire for brazen self-expression is encouraging…if somewhat out of character.

        7. Jen

          I’m sorry, Amfortas, for all you are going through. Cancer is enough of a burden. Our system sucks.

        8. Oregoncharles

          Yes, please keep us updated AS YOU ARE ABLE; hopefully NC will provide a mental refuge in your trials.

    5. a different chris

      Wow. So very sorry.

      We’re fussing around my place because my adult, employed-in-a-job-he-needed-an-expensive-masters-for tore up his knee AND he actually has health insurance BUT his “out-of-pocket” is 1/6 of his entire yearly income. Oh, actually co-pays, whatever the frell that means, don’t count towards oop. So, and of course, who knows what the final toll will be, because nobody can ever tell you.

      Nothing compared to yours, just will make Christmas and next year less consumerish as we all chip in, but how stupid is this. I guess he should have been more careful, huh? Won’t do that again, will you boy? Is that the message this ridiculous system thinks it is sending?

      You know, I started out to say yours “puts ours into perspective”. But that’s the whole scam, warn everybody hey it could be way worse look at Amfortas and so we just swallow and accept it. My son’s screwing is of a much, much lesser degree than yours, but it is still the same thing.

      And we need to all understand that.

    6. jefemt

      The fundamental notion of insuring the life of a mortal being is flawed. The morality of rationing care is questionable, or at least needs honest examination. The systemic waste of resources, predicated on fear, is really immoral.

      That you express some modicum of guilt for expressing frustration is a terrible symptom of our collective ills.

      I wish you all peace and grace– I am pinging the universe for good energy your way

    7. Eclair

      First, I let out a string of expletives, hoping that would clear my mind. But they keep coming.

      I am so very sorry, Amfortas. I enjoy your comments and hearing about your outlook on life.

      Must leave. More expletives concerning our &*($% health care (ha) system are roiling to the top …..

    8. Jeremy Grimm

      What horrible news you bear us and what horrible events your wife and you bear. It causes me great sadness for you both.

      I watched a friend and colleague as he slowly died from cancer. He dragged himself into work every day — though sick and weak — to hold on to his medical insurance which he lost if he were no longer a full-time employee of the firm we worked for. He left behind a young wife and two young children. Watching his suffering day-by-day left a deep bitterness in me toward our firm, our health insurance company, and our barbaric Medical Industrial Complex.

      As I do, perhaps too often, I thought of further unhappy ramifications of the “forgivenesses” you received from the Medical Industrial Complex. I hope someone more knowledgeable about tax law will resolve a question I wonder at — might the IRS or a state treat the “forgivenesses” as income?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        that was exactly my thought, ten minutes after opening that letter.
        Will SSI count that as household income?
        (I’m on SSI, disabled. working on getting her covered under at least that(I could go on and on about that subject,lol))
        what about bakesale proceeds(the foundation of the rural healthcare system)?
        Complexity is camouflage for so many indignities and injustices.
        This is exactly why I’m so open about all this.
        MSNBC doesn’t cover the below the surface/acronym/talking points reality of these things.

      2. Todde

        It depends.

        Medical debt isnt treated any differently than other debt when forgiven.

        If you are insolvent it would be tax free.

        If you declared bankruptcy, itwould ve tax free.

        I would venture tonsay the insolvent exemption would apply here.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          Thank you, Todde.
          Yet another reason to be open, and the whole reason .. largely forgotten, it sometimes seems…behind social media.
          I’ve tentatively settled on the “Blood from a Stone” approach.
          It has the benefit of being the truth.
          Given that I have no stable of lawyers and accountants, like all the rest of the poors must have(missed that meeting), I reckon honesty is the best policy.
          From my own experience with Disability, all the way down to SSI,(2006 to 2013), I was repeatedly surprised at how complex the whole thing is….and the embedded default assumption that if you’re applying, you simply must be a fraudster.
          It can be intimidating, discouraging and demeaning, at times.
          I rarely see mention of this aspect in the press.

          1. todde

            I can/will help you with any IRS issues, I have been a cpa since 1995. All you have to do is ask.

            Bake sale proceeds would be considered gifts for tax purposes and more than likely the same for SSDI.

            SSI is a different story and is very complicated.

            I am sorry.

          2. ambrit

            It’s the “Ghost of John Calvin” working the fermenting yeast of “The Exceptional People.”

      1. newcatty

        Amfortas, sending you and your wife comfort and peace. The compassionate people surrounding you now is the kindness you and she are so enveloped by as this time passes.

    9. Jeff Kinney

      Sitting in the hospital as I write this. A veteran of 4 major abdominal surgeries, around 60 chemo sessions and 2 Phase 1 trials. This is not a load that you can shoulder by yourself. It’s difficult at first, but accept help from any quarter as gracefully as possible. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        aye. that accepting help from any quarter, and accepting the prayers and other good vibes, has been the weirdest thing for me. I’m a hermit, after all, for good reason.
        with a lifetime of weirdohood, a certain distance…shrinks might call it avoidance…starts looking like the downhill path.
        prior to this series of events, I’d speak more with birds and squirrels than humans in a given week.
        Wife is usually the point person…the face of the family.
        I was the stay at home dad.
        It’s been a strange experience, this re-reversal of roles
        Good luck with your travails.

    10. Edward E

      I hate cancer, it has taken a couple of my Superstars. The sweet neighbor girl I grew up with. She whipped cancer but tragically it came back with a vengeance. It took my favorite singer. My mother didn’t die of cancer but she was comatose for more than a year. Tears have been in my eyes much of the day. And this song, Mother’s Spiritual by Laura Nyro. If you get into her lyrics make you a better person.

      That love is always alive
      And part of thee
      Feel this love
      My brothers and sisters

    11. kareninca

      I’m terribly sorry. I have always enjoyed your posts and your descriptions of the area you live in. It would be terrible anyway, but your being so nice makes it even worse.

    12. knowbuddhau

      I’m so sorry. You’re not alone, and you’ve no need to apologize, IMO.

      The caregivers you’re involved often are only too aware of the absurdity of the system you’re in. Although I know the money side is an absolute astronomical farce, their care is real. You can grateful to them, one to one, while you all say, F^CK THIS SYSTEM.

    13. Edward E

      Silicon Valley’s Tech Elite Zoom in on Crispr

      Crispr-based cancer treatments are of particular interest to Silicon Valley’s tech elite. The first human trial in the US kicked off this year, financed by the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, a charity set up by Sean Parker of Napster and Facebook fame.


      Jiwoo Lee is a sophomore at Stanford studying computational and experimental biology. In high school, she developed a technique using Crispr gene editing to kill cancer cells without harming normal cells. Here’s her vision of the future that she presented at our #WIRED25 summit.

      God if we could just get her into this Parker Institute trials.

      1. Edward E

        Folks, let’s put our heads together and find a way… anybody have any contacts? Talk to the doctors, Amfortas, they might have a way

    14. Oregoncharles

      Terrible news. Our hearts are with you.

      That last thing anyone wants to be is an example of the horrors of modern American healthcare.

    15. Lambert Strether

      I’m so sorry to hear this. What a system, that kicks people who are the most down.

      OTOH, they can whistle for their money. And it’s not like you have property they can seize. But what a horrid, stressful situation, when both of you need all your strength!

  5. The Rev Kev

    “UBS Warns Staff Over China Travel After Banker Held In Beijing: Source”

    I wonder if USB warned their staff over traveling to Saudi Arabia or any Saudi Arabian consulate for that matter too?

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Brexit: a total lack of substance

    Theresa May faces fight for her leadership as mutinous Tory MPs warn she is ‘drinking in last chance saloon’ Independent. Seems two weeks doesn’t pass now without May facing another similar revolt – if you believe the UK MSM. On the other hand, one shouldn’t entirely forget the story of Peter and the wolf.

    Total madness if they do try to topple May at this time – the last ‘realistic’ time was the party conference. It will tear the Tory party apart and make the UK ungovernable for weeks, at precisely the wrong time. And its hard to see who could come out of an election as a unifier. Its proof positive that the Tory party has lost its marbles – its not remotely in the countries interest to do this. It could well spark a run on sterling.

    I do think there is substance to it as May seemed particularly keen this morning to emphasise that the ‘deal is 95% done’. Her sole message seems to be ‘I’m nearly there, don’t throw me out yet!’.

    I doubt if they’ll get enough names for a vote of confidence, but its hard to tell with the Tories these days. Its not even clear that its all just Brexiters who are driven demented with this, some Remainers seem to have just thrown in any sense of caution. And there is also of course the ‘men in grey suits’ option, but I wouldn’t put it past May to ignore even this. Her sole political strong point these days seems to be a remarkably thick skin.

    1. Anonymous2

      It is interesting is it not? I agree madness to try to topple May now (but when has sanity ever been part of this saga?). I do wonder, though, if her opponents do not go for her now, whether they run the risk of being deemed paper tigers. Time for a leadership challenge which could deliver a new leader before Christmas is running short and the Council meeting on 13th-14th December may be the meeting when it is planned to produce white smoke.

      There is quite a lot of comment around to the effect that a text has been agreed at official level and that ‘all the remains to be done’ is for May to sell it politically. Which is a bit like saying that the easy bit has been done; all that remains is the bit that is extremely difficult if not downright impossible.

  7. Reify99

    Thank you Amfortas. It is courageous of you to shine this light in the midst of your pain.
    Our leaders, who all live in richistan, have no trouble plunking down a quarter mil at such times, so it will never occur to them to change this, never even bubble into consciousness.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “He wants them to suffer more”: Inside Trump’s China bet”

    Could it be that at least once in Donald Trump’s long life that he may have accidentaly read a book once? Perhaps George Orwell’s 1984?

    “How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?“

    Winston thought. “By making him suffer”, he said.

    “Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation.

    1. marym

      Trumps methodology in response to most issues is inflicting suffering and destruction on individuals, families, most demographic groups in this country, the federal bureaucracy, regulations, the environment, international alliances and treaties, “norms,” and nations.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Tanking running over protesters, killing instantly, doesn’t inflict as much suffering as maiming them.

      Social credit scoring instills fear. People will obey, but psychologically, they suffer.

      Hillary running again, is it not torture? Does it make many suffer to hear that? How many will scream ‘Kill me now?”

  9. nippersdad

    Re: The Pieties of the Liberal Class.

    I just loved that article; thanks for posting it. It is not their stupidity that gets under my skin, something that could be fixed with a little effort, but their arrogance and hypocrisy which will never be.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Dear Democratic Party:

      be progressive politically, or serve the ruling class. You can only pick one, despite doing your damnedest for 30+ years to do both, and only succeeding at the latter.

      1. newcatty

        The Democractic Party establishment elite long ago decided that they would propagate that it would be possible to serve two masters. Turned out that really is not a successful strategy.

  10. Carolinian

    The Politico story on Harvard admissions is probably way more than most of us want to know about the nuts and bolts–as opposed to the premises–of the meritocracy. But it does contain this nugget.

    “Most notably, a politically connected New Jersey real estate mogul with no Harvard ties pledged $2.5 million to the university only months before his elder son—a student below Harvard’s usual standards—was admitted.”

    The anecdote—a good one at the time—is even better today. The wealthy scion was Jared Kushner, now President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a senior adviser to the president. Current and former officials at Kushner’s private high school didn’t view him as Harvard material and were surprised—even a little miffed—he got in.

    “His GPA did not warrant it, his SAT scores did not warrant it. We thought for sure there is no way this was going to happen,” a former official at the high school told Golden. “It was a little bit disappointing because there were at the time other kids we thought should really get in on the merits, and they did not.”

    The dubious Jared is of course a very powerful person now with major sway over the Middle East policy of a hegemon. One might go so far as to say being admitted to Harvard made him what he is today just as being the son of one of Saudi Arabia’s “owners” made Kushner’s pal MBS the current terror of the Arabian peninsula.

    As a society we surely need what advanced schools like Harvard have to offer as long as that thing isn’t aristocracy. If our current rulers live in bubble it could be a bubble that the Ivy League played a major role in creating.

    1. Summer

      I find it hard to believe the Ivy Leagues have ever been about anything but maintaining sociological and psychological bubbles.

      The “rulers” hire from those schools to protect their largely inherited wealth and no one is going to protect that as well as others with inherited wealth. The Asians that get in will act no differently.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      As a society we surely need what advanced schools like Harvard have to offer as long as that thing isn’t aristocracy.

      Do we really need what harvard and the like has to offer?

      To the extent that many american “titans” of industry, finance and government have passed through those hallowed halls, and notwithstanding harvard graduates’ lofty opinions of themselves, their qualifications and their capabilities, the results they have produced have become increasingly and miserably unacceptable and inept. (Lookin’ at you, larry summers.)

      There is no doubt that, in days gone by, harvard (and the like) have produced great jurists, politicians, statesmen, scientists and business people. But that was then. as with kushner, harvard has succumbed to the demands of big money donors, alumnae, a “diversity” doctrine and athletic enthusiasts in constructing its student body and conferring the imprimatur of a harvard degree.

      The university apparently believes that its historic reputation will obscure its descent into just another gamed, pay-to-play credential scam. Unfortunately for the school, results speak louder than hubris. It reminds me of what is said about how successive generations affect the viability of family businesses:

      “The first generation builds the business, the second makes it a success, and the third wrecks it” is another version of the old saying: “It is only but three generations from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves.” American businessman Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) wrote the “three generations in America from shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves” remark in 1886, but the expression has been cited in print since at least 1874.

      1. Carolinian

        You may be right. Indeed an interesting question might be why these less than qualified applicants don’t flunk out due to the supposedly rigorous curriculum. After all the claimed goal of the acceptance process is to weed out people who are not likely to succeed academically.

        But historically some of our best scientists have taught or gone to these universities. That’s probably not true of politicians until recently although FDR went to Harvard (while probably learning more about life and courage by being a polio patient in Warm Springs, GA). LBJ had a tremendous complex because he didn’t go to the Ivy League. There are some who argue this inferiority complex brought about his rash misjudgments.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          We should have a moratorium on Ivy League presidents for 50 years.

          After LBJ and Bush The Elder and The Younger, same policy toward presidents from Texas.

          If you’re both from the Ivy League and from Texas, you should pay a $50,000 annual oxygen tax.

          1. Lord Koos

            A moratorium on Ivy League cabinet posts might be an excellent idea as well. Let the so-called “best and the brightest” find something else to do besides advising government — their track record is poor to say the least.

        2. Medbh

          “But historically some of our best scientists have taught or gone to these universities.”

          I recently finished the book “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania.” One of the themes of the book was that Ivy league schools excel in marketing and that a lot of their status is more related to reputation than results. Their students aren’t necessarily getting a better education; they are just so driven they would be successful in almost any environment.

          Also, for some topics/majors, students are better off in a non-Ivy league school. I can’t remember any of the details, but there were some situations where public schools were the worldwide leader for certain types of research. The author emphasized that it was more important to look at the individual student and her goals, rather than focusing on specific universities.

      2. WheresOurTeddy

        a common refrain heard in my part of rural California during Kavanaugh fracas:

        “I don’t know if he did what they said he did, but he went to Yale and that’s enough to disqualify him for me”

      3. Synapsid

        Katniss Everdeen,

        I’m a geologist; I deal with the Quaternary, that is the ice ages, mostly, and my professional interests have been with Quaternary palaeoecology, geoarchaeology, and geomorphology which is the study of landforms and the processes that form and shape them. My other informed interests are in stable-isotope geochemistry, palaeoanthropology, and planetary sciences. (Sorry about all the -ologies.)

        This is what leads me to post: “…harvard [sic] (and the like) have produced great jurists, politicians, statesmen, scientists and business people. But…harvard has succumbed to the demands of big money donors, alumnae (!), a ‘diversity’ doctrine and athletic enthusiasts in constructing its student body and conferring the imprimatur of a harvard degree.”

        I’m curious about what you’re referring to as regards scientists–I can’t speak to the other entities you mention except in general terms. I’m well informed in my own professional fields and in my fields of interest and familiar with which schools have particular strengths in which ones, and I wouldn’t be able to support such a broad statement as yours which is referring to, I believe, Ivy League schools. Each school has its own strengths. Cornell, for instance, stands out in ecology and in planetary science, Brown especially in planetary science; Harvard is strong in lab-based Earth science and in modeling while Yale has more of a presence in field-based studies and has been a trailblazer in clasidtic-based palaeontology, and Dartmouth is very productive in field-based work. This is nothing like a complete list or even a detailed one.

        If “the like” includes schools not in the Ivy League then we would find a similar range of expertise and accomplishment at the universities of Minnesota, Arizona, Wisconsin, California…and many smaller ones such as Portland State and Wellesley.

        I often see posts at NC containing reference to “scientists” and “the scientists” but I’ve rarely been able to spot any indication that the writer works or does research in the natural sciences. I’ve long wondered what the view is based on–the view, approximately, that the natural sciences have been bought out by various sources of funding and thus that research, especially, has been tethered to an agenda. Some individuals certainly have gone such a route, and some such as Freeman Dyson and Stephen Hawking have retained their integrity but, as we say, “gone emeritus”, that is, have taken to speaking from the prominence of their own well-earned positions on topics they have no more understanding of than do many of the rest of us, or less.

        So I’m asking in this case what led to “scientists” being mentioned in the sentence I quoted. This is in no way pointed at you–I look for and read and enjoy your posts, and that’s why I’d like to know.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          When you write . . . ” clasidtic-based” paleontology . . . do you mean ” cladistics-based” paleontology?

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Resettle Nauru child refugees, two independents tell Australia PM”

    Gawd! Australia has reached the point where it gets its own heading in links? I made a comment several days ago that gridlock can be your friend and here is a perfect example. Australia has outsourced illegal immigrants to Nauru for years now. The Coalition government has been happy to let them rot there and has refused to alleviate the worse of their suffering.
    What is worse, a lot of this built-in cruelty seems to be on ideological grounds. The opposition, even when it was in power, never tried to sort this out as they did not want to be seen as ‘weak’ on the matter of illegal immigrants. So there they have sat in Nauru.
    Now with a hung Parliament i.e. ‘gridlock’, it’s let’s-make-a-deal time to get support from the independents as they need their support to pass any legislation. Child refugees are once again back up for discussion and that is just a start.
    And it remains unsaid that both parties are always united on one issue – replacing independents with one of their own in Parliament and the Senate but independents are becoming more and more popular over the years as both parties fail to deliver what voters want. It’s almost like there is a cause and effect going on here.

    1. ChristopherJ

      Thank you, Kev. Australia gets its own subheading on NC. For one link.

      I’m sure it will build from here, or do we want it to?

      Seriously, those of us that have been vocal on the horror and injustice of illegally detaining people who are seeking asylum in our country, and esp. children, well we’ve got no traction until now, when the balance of power in the Australian Parliament goes to a few independents and the major parties are forced into negotiating their policies.

      Still, you know Phelps is likely to lose Wentworth in a general. She was only a safe protest vote for the wealthy in that electorate to let the Libs know that knifing a sitting PM and replacing them with someone, well, less than inspirational… just sayin’

      Independents are more like in the Senate than the Reps, I reckon. We’ll see, eh?

  12. Roger Smith

    Police Body Camera Bursts Into Flames; New York Pulls 2,990 From Use NYT

    How convenient… I have read stories where officers just shut them off without repercussion, or other stories where the footage recorded didn’t even matter any ways.

    1. ChristopherJ

      Puts that feature of ‘policing’ out of action. Could be while till they find a model which passes all those health and safety checks…

  13. diptherio

    Friendly reminder:

    Don’t eat the rich. Humans contain a lot of toxins that are harmful to humans, and eating them doubles up on that. Also they contain (obviously enough) human vector diseases that you can catch in a way eating another species you wouldn’t necessarily; Compost the rich and use them to grow other crops instead.

    1. The Rev Kev

      And that is why cannibalism will never be legalized. Because the meat would not meet human food standards for consumption – too many chemical pollutants saturating the flesh.

    2. knowbuddhau

      LMAO thanks, I needed that.

      Weeds in the rice field
      Cut them down, swish, let them be where they fall;
      sonomama [just so], fertilizer.

      (Adapted from a Zen poem of uncertain origin.)

      Now if we could only get them to drop-and-rot in place, we’d be set.

  14. katiebird

    I really don’t understand why the Universal Healthcare issue has lurked behind almost every election without resolve.

    Both Jimmy Carter and Obama were given gigantic majorities and each blew off the chance to take care of it once and for all. …. I was a delegate to the Democratic Midterm Convention in 1978 (an experimental convention to decide on the Platform Planks in the next Presidential race) and saw a debate between Ted Kennedy and Carter’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Joseph Califano. Kennedy was emphatic that everyone had a right to healthcare. Califano was emphatic that we couldn’t afford it)

    Both Carter (the first Dem Pres after original Medicare was passed and implemented — Wouldn’t it have been cool if he had immediately expanded it?) and Obama had the power to get it done if they wanted. Presidents have huge power to get legislation passed when they really, really want it. And Presidents with incredible majorities really have power. (How did George W Bush get anything passed)

    So, my observation is that if a President doesn’t want decent, real health care for us, then we won’t get it. Is the answer that the issue Health Care Disaster is there election after election but we elect Presidents who don’t care?

    1. flora

      Go to the website and check the industries contributing to individual candidates’ campaigns. Both Dem and GOP candidates get significant money from insurance, pharma and health industries. Follow the money.

      1. katiebird

        But Presidents control a lot of money. Was the Congress and Senate less influenced by it in Johnson’s day when he got original Medicare passed?

        1. flora

          In the US the ‘power of the purse’* is vested with Congress, not with the President.


          1. flora

            adding: Johnson was the last New Deal pres; the 1960’s was the last New Deal Dem Congress. By the mid-1970’s the Dem party began its steady move away from and eventual outright rejection of the New Deal programs and philosophy of government. Since 1990 neoliberalism is the reigning philosophy in both parties.

            1. JBird4049

              Which is why I get a little bit angry reading again about how many say how different the two parties are and how disastrous it would be to have one party in control; there are a few differences, but long term there is hardly a difference in economic policy and results.

              Regardless of any differences in their respective social ideologies, the ultimate result of their near mutual economic ideologies means ruin for most. Pro-life, pro-choice, gun rights, gun control, marriage equality, or not, property rights, whatever, it is all great to have the rights you think are needed, but if you cannot afford your needs such as the rent, or food, or transportation, it really means nothing.

      2. Doug Hillman

        Most of us still labor under the false premise that the US is a democracy. Its vestiges remain as props and the value of attempting to sustain the myth are still somewhat moderating for its victims, but it is entirely hollow, and those who wear the lapel-flags know it.

        1. ChristopherJ

          Thank you Katie. You got it Doug

          Everyone can see that the health ‘system’ you have is not working for the majority of Americans – you pay way more for poorer outcomes and life expectancy for all but the uber wealthy is in decline (for the first time ever?).

          You don’t need to dive very deep to conclude that for profit health care only works for the capitalists and must be resisted wherever it appears.

          You would think with clear evidence in your country and elsewhere, others would not be contemplating anything other than where the public sets the fair price (including what it will pay for drugs) and the market can come and meet it, with the public picking up the tab.

          The USA persists with its for profit model, with ‘insurance’ as the backstop. Everyone can see that this only suits the very wealthy and those with money in MRIs, Lazers, hospitals and so on. We can all see this does not work for US citizens (or anyone visiting for that matter), but particularly people who have little or not money.

          Clearly, these systems are designed to extract every single dollar from citizens, leaving their children impoverished and disinherited. It is plain theft.

          New elections, new faces in positions of power. Every thinking person knows this will not get you universal health care or anything other than further cuts to your lives. Only a few of you are angry enough to get out there and protest and that is what it will take to reverse your trajectory.

          We have our own set of problems in Australia, but end of life and emergency care is still there for all citizens. My own Mother… Her family had a history of weak hearts, with her own Mum and older sister both dying in their early 50s from ruptured heart valves. And, you can bleed out very quickly when this happens.

          Given my Mother smoked until she was 60, she did okay and she almost made it to her 80th birthday when her own heart had its moment.

          Ambulance to Bateman’s Bay hospital, where they couldn’t save her and a helicopter flew her to Canberra (to the great public hospital there in Woden Valley). Perhaps 12 hours of surgery to resection her heart and save her life. In a coma in intensive care for couple of weeks. She then woke up, got briefly better and then gave up the fight.

          I can’t even guess at the cost of her care over that period. Hundreds of thousands…

          And, I cannot imagine what it would be like to be worried about money at such a time. Dad was never billed.

          Is that worth fighting for? Try and take it from me.

          1. Doug Hillman

            Thank you, Christopher. We envy you.

            Our for-profit system is a straight-up criminal racket. Health-care simply cannot fit a competitive market commodity and everyone involved knows it. Worse yet, Obama bailed out these racketeers by forcing taxpayers and individuals to buy their fatally-flawed, unaffordable product under legal penalties, a legacy for which he should be strung up, not given public park land for a phallic monument to his awesomeness.

            1. ChristopherJ

              I’ve been fortunate, Doug, to have been healthy my entire life, but still need to work on it

              I am not trying to high note Australia, we have lots of problems, racism, unaffordable housing, exploitation of indigenous and poor people. And, our climate is becoming unpredictable and extreme. And those politicians…

              Americans will have their say eventually. The current trajectory leads to widespread impoverishment and the deaths of despair that we are seeing.

              Many don’t know what they are missing until they go overseas…

        2. Eureka Springs

          Oh come on Doug. You know the overwhelming majority of Americans want to pay by far the highest prices in the world for the worst results. They really just want the ‘best’ prices at wal-mart. I mean I love not being able to afford a good physical or simple examination of a highly questionable lump. Makes me proud. Even more so, the fact I really cannot vote on it even with a few loud voices like Sanders. My cat died quickly (five days hospitalization) this year with better care than I will likely ever get. Guess I ought to plant a flag where she was buried. A French flag.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      You know, I honestly believe it’s not a question of dollars. It’s been proven in every other economically developed country that universal “healthcare” is less expensive. Not to mention achieving better overall results. And so-called “defense” budgets, another “universal” program, are basically blank checks.

      Although it’s never spoken of in polite company, I think the opportunity to ration care, and maintain some level of exclusivity in its provision, is the bridge that will not be crossed.

      Elites in this country live in a world of exclusive clubs and gated communities. They dine at exclusive restaurants and their children attend exclusive schools. They expect to be catered to by servants at all levels. I do not see them supporting a system that would relegate them to “equality” in as critical an aspect of their lives as their health, and I do not see them as willing to wait in line for access to “healthcare” behind other humans whom they see as so far beneath them.

      How else to explain a society that celebrates the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness but refuses to make the obvious connection between “life” and “healthcare?”

      Tax-funded expenditures accounted for 64.3 percent of U.S. health spending – about $1.9 trillion – in 2013, according to new data published today [Thursday, Jan. 21] in the American Journal of Public Health. The Affordable Care Act will push that figure even higher by 2024, when government’s share of U.S. health spending is expected to rise to 67.3 percent. (Article from 2016.)

      By 2024, the government will pay for 67% of the nation’s “healthcare,” leaving one-third of the expenditures to set the parameters which define the system–the country club “healthcare” system. It’s not the money that’s the problem, it’s the egalitarianism that is so distasteful.

      1. katiebird

        Yes! I know that my former Dem Congressman, Dennis Moore, did not want to be in the same line as the rest of us…. he told me so when I met with him to discuss the issue. Well, HE said waiting lines for healthcare would be too long if we improved/expanded Medicare. I said that it sounded like he didn’t want the rest of us in line with him. And also said that maybe getting in line would be better than nothing. Also, more doctors would help. He just stared i to space. And retired a couple of monthss later.

        1. flora

          Moore retired because he’d been diagnosed with Alzheimers and wasn’t functioning as well as required. It seems like he may have told you exactly what the Dem caucus says among themselves in D.C., forgetting for the moment the voters aren’t supposed to hear these ideas. I think you got the unfiltered Dem estab viewpoint.

          Moore’s diagnosis is a personal tragedy for him and his family. The Dem estab’s disregard of representing their voters basic needs is a tragedy for everyone who thinks the Dems are “the party of the people.” my 2¢.

    3. James

      I pondered this at great length for years too, before coming to the simple conclusion that linking healthcare (or lack thereof) to employment was simply another way for the rich and powerful to say in no uncertain terms that if you’re productive and/or privately wealthy you count and deserve to be looked after and if you’re not you don’t. Secondarily, it also props up the hugely lucrative health insurance and healthcare for profit and pharmaceutical service industries, so in that light it should be no surprise that neither party wants to take this on. Thirdly, just like gun control, it’s a great electioneering issue, not to be wasted it on a solution. What’s not to love? Affordability’s a mere strawman.

      1. LifelongLib

        Employer provided health insurance started on a large scale in the U.S. during WW2, when companies were competing for workers but were prohibited from raising wages.

    4. knowbuddhau

      Presidents are elected, but I’m not so sure we elect them. Election thieves need only 50% + 1 vote. We’re going to have to swamp the system to get one of ours through.

      And even then, there’s still the Kennedy Sanction, amongst others, to keep them in line, as the appalling Chuck Schumer recently noted.

      No one said this would be easy.

  15. Roger Smith

    RE: Denmark wants to make climate impact labels mandatory for food

    From the article: “First, producers would have to measure their impacts in a uniform way and be accountable for the results.”

    Again, I see this as shaming individuals for processes they have no direct control over. My first issue with this is that, rather than caring about the junk additives, hormones, pesticides, and chemical processing mixed into our food for decades, we are instead borderline virtue signalling about climate change. Second, this is either going to cost the government more (can’t wait for the congressional reviews of these bills and watching all that special interest money fund some nice big, ridiculous foam board bar graphs etc…), or it is going to make food prices go up for the same individuals who are supposed to be seeing how at fault they are.

    I think a larger slice of the problem is that free enterprise has made it so that a large percentage of what we consume is not needed or worthwhile. Despite not having any inherent value, it sells, it creates profit, and therefore production of these items doubles down as exponentially as it can to sell more and more. This means cutting costs on the supply side and gouging just enough at the demand side. I was thinking about this yesterday as was observing a similar aged Subway worker and wondering where they were “going” from here/in general. People like to complain about secure wages that provide a standard of life quality at fast food restaurants, but they shamelessly keep demanding the product. In reality we don’t need Subway (or McDonalds et al.) It is a useless function that preys on gluttony and other things, for profit but offers no real value to shared or personal existence. We have two choices then, manage the irresponsibility of these endeavors and pay people more, or smash these companies to bits (something that corporations will immediately cry out over, the big bag authoritarian government telling private “”people”” what they can or can’t do–and that kind of authority is something to be worried about). What we really need are more communal, socialist policies and thinking, rather than this selfish, gluttonous, vane, arrogant, cut-throat, corrupt disease that this variation of capitalism has become.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Maybe if all the “regulators” and the legislators that give them their enforcement tools would just adopt and adhere to the Precautionary Principle? I know, lots of weasel room in even this formulation. Would be better with a codicil that no product or substance or procedure can be introduced until the proponent and profiteer can demonstrate that it will not cause harm or damage. These days, it is up to the mopes to prove that the crap will kill and harm and damage — the burden of proof ought to be on the “market participants,” which the mopes are not, in any substantive sense.

      Not that this would ever fly, though a number of US environmental laws used to be based on that principle — like the original Toxic Substances Control Act, and the way permitting used to be done under the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts (long since a superseded notion, now it is all “risk assessment” and balancing benefits against harms, all easily game-able by skum like the People of Monsanto and DowduPont and their other Great Powers fellow supranational corporations. And the EU bureaucrats apparently do some of this focusing on the polluter-must-prove-no harm precautionary principle stuff.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Count on Hillary Clinton running again in 2020”

    Did anybody else notice the sleight of hands in this story? It’s like when the magician says: “Pick a card! Any card!” and you know that the deck is so cold that it is nearly frozen in a block of ice. If there are so few good candidates as the author of this article mentioned, it is because the democrats like it this way. That is how you ended up with Hillary the last time around. The fix was in.
    In an honest choice you might have Sanders in. But now the author is saying that There Is No Alternative? That it should be Hillary again which rewards this stacked deck? If America could choose a very young candidate back in the early 60s that was actually a Catholic, then I am sure that America in the early 21st century could cope with a progressive President. And not one selected from this democrat clown car. Be nice to find out.

    1. Carolinian

      The author seems to be saying that Hillary, who is famous for being famous rather than any actual accomplishments, is the lead choice simply from celebrity star power. This is dumb but may reflect the way the Whig, er Democratic party poobahs think. Some of us suspect that any hope from the Dem direction, Hillary or no, is fanciful. But we shall see…

  17. Poopypants

    New Rule:

    In a world that’s increasingly weed friendly, no more stories about Girl Scouts or the like selling cookies outside dispensaries.

    The first story, original and cute, after that, not so much.

    Yeah, we get it, weed smokers get the munchies and will buy stuff to eat.

  18. flora

    re: How a Gang of Hedge Funders Strip-Mined Kentucky’s Public Pensions – The Intercept

    Thanks for this link. Good shout-out to Yves and NC link for PE and public pensions writing.
    If there’s a coming ‘retirement savings crisis’ it’s due in large part to the Wall St. PE looting of pensions (with political “help”, imo.)

  19. hemeantwell

    Can we have a little disaster socialism, please? From today’s Times:

    “The Marianna, Florida emergency management director is cutting back aid distribution centers from 8 to 1 because there’s no other way to put money in the economy. ““The grocery stores are starting to come on line, and we want to start pumping money back into the economy,” said Mr. Andreasen, who worries a green fidget spinner to work off excess energy. “If people are getting food for free, they aren’t going to the stores, so the stores can’t pay people, and so on and so on — the ripple effect. So I get to be the bad guy. I’ve got to make that call.”

  20. The Rev Kev

    “US fears Russia will help Iran evade oil sanctions”

    Did anybody else notice the date that Iran is suppose to not be able to export oil? That is by November 5th which by happenstance is the day before the mid-term elections. And that is the danger of having local politics determine foreign policy as the Australian Prime Minister found to his cost. What if Iran is still exporting oil? What then? Will Trump threaten to blockade Iran’s oil tankers? Good luck with trying that in such tight enclosed waters.
    John “Yosemite Sam” Bolton is going to go to Moscow early next week but if he thinks that he can threaten them or attempt to bribe them then I have some news for him and it will be all bad. After Trump announced he was bailing out of the nuclear treaty he can be guaranteed a frosty reception. Maybe the idea is that if he promises Russia to stay with the treaty, Russia should stop supporting Iran’s oil industry. I doubt that that will fly if so as the Russians now treat America as agreement-incapable and that is that.
    The US is again trying to have the SWIFT network cut off Iran ( but this time both the Russians and the Chinese have alternative systems in place and other countries may sign up to it as well if threatened over buying Iran’s oil. I cannot see Russia aligning with the US as the US just recently floated the idea of attacking Russia’s oil exports with a blockade so how can you trust such people to be partners? See what happens in early November.

    1. vidimi

      not to mention the fact that the US just withdrew form the nuclear arms treaty

      what (another) farce it would have been had the peace nobel gone to trump. any rapprochement between the koreas is in spite of the US, not because of it.

  21. timbers

    New York Times columnist Paul Krugman fears that President Donald Trump’s insistent complaints of “voter fraud” are a setup to deny the legitimacy of a Democratic majority in the House should the party win in the midterm elections.

    If Democrats win, maybe Trump can assert Russia meddled in the 2018 elections because Russia thinks Democrats will go easier on them than Republicans and Trump has. Trump can declare the results invalid and launch some investigations or void the results or something, and the outgoing Republican majority in the House or Senate can refuse to seat them for fear of Russia running our legislature?

    Would that be pay back?

  22. Doug Hillman

    WaPo “exposes” the possibly-undue influence of Saudi Arabia in US politics using lobbying and charm, which are entirely legitimate and legal means of subverting democracy. Like a good propaganda mill, of course it avoids terms like ‘bribery’ or ‘meddling’. It does not note the $100 million invested since 911 alone, nor the billions in weapons purchases, nor the $10-25 million donated to the Clinton Family Slush Fund, much of it while Hillary was running SecState under her private email account.

    This hideous medieval monarchy of head/body-choppers and child killers has such an outsize role in the USG crime syndicate that we spend weeks in the 39-year old sins of a drunken Supine Court candidate, instead of thousands of murdered innocents in Yemen. It is a highly successful charm offensive indeed, one that WaPo practically endorses.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Chimps like to copy human visitors to the zoo – Ig Nobel Prize The Conversation

    Man, 72, killed by group of aggressive “rogue” monkeys throwing bricks at him from tree Daily Mirror

    Harassing senators may be virtuous, but it can have negative consequences if chimps see it on TV.

    1. Partyless Poster

      I for one would not mind seeing Mitch McConnell pelted with rocks thrown from monkeys.
      Just sayin.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In that world, there are conservative monkeys and liberal monkeys.

        Perhaps it is not a good idea.

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    UN’s 10-year plan to tackle world’s drug problem has been ‘spectacular failure’ as production and consumption soar, report says Independent. Not to mention a spectacular waste of money.

    Hopefully the UN would do better should they decided to tackle’s world’s corruption problem, and it would not be a waste of money.

    1. polecat

      Is not the UN itself corrupted ??

      They’re just one more top-down hierarchy vying for dominance in an era of ever greater global discombobulation, while never really achieving the egalitarian precepts they were supposedly founded on .. they are one in the same as those stern EU bureaucrats who reside in Brussels, or the belligerent functionaries within NATO ..

      Tectonic forces are in play .. with the U.N., among others, having passed it’s pull-date !

    2. Lord Koos

      Honestly, how much would the UN really able to do, even given the best intentions? The USA basically controls opium production in Afghanistan at this point, does it not? Drug dealing on an international scale is done by very powerful people, while power is something that the UN has never had.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Indonesia’s Indigenous Languages Hold the Secrets of Surviving Disaster Foreign Policy


    Will the nations near the equator be the first ones to be too hot to live as the globe continues to warm, and their indigenous language speakers have to survive elsewhere?

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    UBS Warns Staff Over China Travel After Banker Held In Beijing: Source International Business


    Who will warn over US travel, the neoliberal heartland?

    “Don’t go there. People are dangerous. Jobs are dangerous. Drinking water is dangerous…no Montezuma there to seek revenge, but Pocahontas might .”

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Denmark wants to make climate impact labels mandatory for food TreeHugger

    Should extend it to, say, travel.

    Have labels all over airports and tourist spots.

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump gets ready to play midterm blowout blame game Politico

    This one reminds me of the news days before Hillary lost in Nov. 2016, about the life in Trump campaign then was ‘bunker-like.’

    Instead, after the election, it was her thinking “My people let me down. They don’t deserve me.”

  29. Aileen

    Re: Trump Administration Eyes Defining Transgender Out of Existence NYT

    “Gender identity” has become an issue that is severely dividing feminism. Title IX originally referred to sex, as in biological sex, in order to prevent sex-based discrimination. Title IX has been the primary basis for supporting equal support for girl’s sports & activities in schools. The Obama administration changed Title IX to include “gender identity” as a basis for non-discrimination, which is a fine goal, but it brings with it the significant problem: how to maintain access for women and girls to sex-segregated activities and spaces?

    In the case of minor children, trans-identification is largely independent of medical transition as minors cannot have gender-confirmation (sex change) surgery. Trans-identified children may be on puberty suppression drugs and/or cross-sex hormones, but they may not be. So a child born male may simply state that their “gender identity” is female in order to have full access to spaces and activities usually reserved for female-born children.

    This situation is proving much more fraught than many would like to believe. Many schools have rules forbidding parents from being informed that biological males will be sharing accommodations or facilities with girls. Biological males are directly competing against girls in high school sports, with devastating results (for the girls).

    Due to the considerable influence of radical transactivists, stating that biological sex is important is now considered transphobic. We’re told that we must believe that “sex is a spectrum” and that basing rights on biology is “reducing people to their genitals.” But “gender identity” is not supported by current scientific knowledge of human sexual development. Humans are sexually dimorphic: two sexes, males and females. There are individuals who have disorders of sexual development (aka “intersex,”) but these disorders do not negate the essential basis of two, and only two, human sexes.

    “Gender” and “sex” are not synonymous. Gender can refer to male or female (sex), but it more widely refers to gender roles, e.g. masculinity and femininity, and how those roles define an individual human’s place in their society. This view, as I noted above, is now considered transphobic and as such any feminist who attempts to defend rights for females as a protected class are now lumped with evangelical Christians and far-right reactionaries. (Transgender identification refers to gender roles, not biology. A human being cannot change their birth sex, although they can more closely align their appearance with the opposite sex through medical and social transition.)

    Here’s just a single recent example of the “problematic” attempt to align gender identity with female-specific activities (apologies for the Reddit link, but the commentary is quite illuminating):

    MacKinnon, a mediocre male athlete, made record time against top female cyclists. This “female” champion claims that they have no advantage whatever from being born and developing male, and complains that requirements for reduction of serum testosterone is violation of their civil rights. This is just the latest example of male-born people wiping out female athletic records.

    Another link, with detailed stats on the significant disparity of physical performance between male and female athletes:

    Title IX is essential guidance for sex-based protections. “Gender identity” is not a sound basis for determining rights of male and female people. I despise supporting anything that Trump’s administration favors but the Obama-era change of Title IX was, IMHO, a serious mistake, and if it is allowed to persist then women’s and girls’ sports, as well as other sex-based protections in the public sphere, are pretty well doomed.

  30. Anon

    Excellent commentary and insightful links regarding athletic performance.

    Having grown up (playing baseball) alongside Billie Jean King’s younger brother, I can confirm the difference in athletic performance between girls and boys (as a group). Title IX (a response to BJ King’s influence) is essential to providing equal opportunity for girls/women in athletic endeavors—not to compete against men but to compete against other women (and gain/learn the principles/exhilaration of competing to be your best).

    The physical attributes of men and women, and their best athletic performance, are quite clear (as a group). But that is NOT the point of women’s (or men’s) sport. The point of elite athletic endeavor is the transformation of Aspiration into Inspiration. (Watch the US Women National Soccer Team!)

    1. archnj

      Also, people should not accept karotyping or other genetic testing as any standard for any government matter unless they are prepared for that methodology to be applied to them. It is needlessly invasive and doesn’t say what people think it says, and once entrenched in one place, make no mistake, it will expand.

    2. archnj

      First comment got lost – so here it is again:

      If this policy were simply a reversal of the Obama administration’s interpretation of Title IX, it would be regrettable but a return to recent staus quo ante. The debate about trans athletes has been going on forever and I will not add to it here. This policy change, however, is MUCH broader. It is meant to apply to all federal agencies, which one has to assume to include the SSA and State. Those agencies control ID at the federal level, and returning to the “original birth certificate only” standard means overturning decades of settled policy and eliminating people’s ability to manage their documentation. This can cause all sorts of mischief with international travel and access to healthcare, and leaves people wide open to official harassment – which is the real point. Regardless of what you think about trans athletes this thing needs to be killed dead.

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