The rich are different. They're way more paranoid, greedy, out of touch, and they own the political class
Apparently, some really rich dude named Tom Perkins wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal:
Regarding your editorial “Censors on Campus” (Jan. 18): Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its “one percent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich.”Read below the fold...
Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, state Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-170, and state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, attended the 13th Congressional District Democratic Forum inside the Upper Dublin Township Building, 801 Loch Alsh Ave., Fort Washington, Jan. 26 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Arkoosh and Leach said they both support a single-payer system in which the government pays for health care costs, rather than private insurers. Leach even went as far as to say the single-payer system was “an eventuality.” Boyle, meanwhile, said he prefers the public option, because he feels by letting consumers decide their health care provider, it keeps private insurance companies honest.Read below the fold...
Excellent piece from Massocio at FDL, who quotes several recent examples of corruption (although not the wage fixing case by Silicon Valley icons like George Lucas and Steve Jobs). Here is the conclusion:
The concept “market” may be perfectly efficient and wonderful in every respect, but the practical application of the term in the real world is pretty much like every other human activity: plenty of effort by participants to game the system for their personal benefit and screw everyone else.
It’s bizarre that so many people cling to the myth of market marvelousness despite massive evidence of market corruption and inefficiency. People seem to think that each example of corruption or inefficiency is a bad apple who should be punished. But, of course, we don’t do that any more. The people behind these examples are being sued, not indicted. Their corporations may or may not pay up, but no one is going to jail, and no one is being punished. Every single one of the responsible people will walk away with a pocket full of dirty money, and their reputations, if they care about them, will be restored after the obligatory time away from the media spotlight.
Beyond that, how could anyone think that any human activity wouldn’t be subject to lying, cheating and stealing, including the sacred market?
Families shopping for health insurance through the new federal marketplace are running into trouble getting everyone covered when children are eligible for Medicaid but their parents are not.
Children who qualify for Medicaid, the safety-net program for the poor and disabled, can’t be included on subsidized family plans purchased through the federal marketplace, a fact that is taking many parents by surprise and leaving some kids stuck without coverage.
A California man says he was given false assurances that his children could be covered by the same plan he picked for his wife and himself, and a Florida father says his daughter is going without coverage while he waits for answers.
And in New Hampshire, some parents who've enrolled in private plans for themselves alone are finding out later that their children aren’t eligible for Medicaid after all, leaving their kids with no options.
‘‘The children are getting stuck in this spot where we've enrolled the parent, but we can’t bring the children back on the family plan,’’ Maria Proulx, senior legal counsel for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Hampshire, told a state advisory board panel this month.
Well, when you've got an insanely complicated system of buckets that you're throwing people into, it's inevitable that some people are going to fall between buckets, which is what's happening here -- and wouldn't happen in a Canadian-style single payer system.* Read below the fold...
[Nice linky goodness from alert reader Ellen F on the commons. --lambert]
[Stickying this, too. I want to nail the whole project, the whole architecture, so I (and I hope others!) can start posting on individual planks or points before we get too far into the campaign season. --lambert]
[Stickying this because the concrete material benefits in the 12 Planks are comparatively easy. But what kind of political world do we need to build, how do we "do politics," to make those benefits concrete? The 12 Steps get all the glory, but the 12 Traditions are just as important, because they structure the group dynamics that enable group members to take the steps. In the same way, the policies in the planks "have to be paid for," but the sterile tax debate of the political class gets in the way; since MMT teaches (correctly) that taxes don't fund spending (though there are plenty of other reasons to soak the rich, besides fun, I mean) MMT is an importent, er, thingummy. So this part of the 12-Plank architecture needs a lot of help from Correntians, many of whom have thought deeply about these issues, and especiallly governance issues. --lambert]
In draft 2 of the 12-plank platform* I wrote:
I'm also conceiving of the 12-Plank Platform -- it's nearly done, right? -- as one leg of a triad, again modeled on AA's 12 Steps, 12 Traditions, and 12 Concepts of Service.** The Platform focuses on policy, but it doesn't cover implementation at all; we need a place for voting systems, MMT to nuke the Austerians, and stuff like land taxes (if that's a good idea), so we'll need the 12 Implementation Thingummies. We also have nothing on values whatever; we need a place for "No more strategic hate management" and "No more bullshit, yes, seriously, we don't have any more time for nonsense!" and "What about the commons?" And so the third leg of the triad would be 12 Things To Help Us Avoid Breaking Bad.
So here we have "X-point structural thingummies," and obviously I'm pleading for little help on the headline, with "thingummies." Also, exactly as I moved "Net Neutrality" here, because it cuts across our ability to get any policy passed, maybe "10. More co-operatives, fewer corporations" should move here, to be replaced with some other policy plank offering more obvious concrete material benefits. Here's what I've been able to come up with, in buckets. Read below the fold...
Peter Rouse and Mark Patterson, former top Obama administration aides, join Perkins Coie
Peter M. Rouse, the former White House official who was President Obama’s longest-serving top aide, has landed [ha] in the private sector.
Next month, Rouse and Mark A. Patterson, who was chief of staff to the last two Treasury secretaries, will join Perkins Coie LLP, where the two will set up what the law firm is describing as a new public and strategic affairs practice.
They used to call that "influence peddling." Read below the fold...
OK, state allocates rental streams (and doesn't deliver real services in the real economy; that's so 20th century FDR-style oldthink). But does the state reserve any services for itself? And, if not, are there problems? Well, seemingly not*, and yes there are problems. Here's what happens when you don't treat security screening as a core function, and outsource it to rentiers:
Lawmakers said Thursday that new details emerging from the Justice Department’s civil case against a leading company that conducts security background checks for the federal government may speed legislation designed to clean up the once-burgeoning contracting business.
This week, the Justice Department filed a new complaint in a whistleblowers’ lawsuit it joined in October against USIS, a company that conducts background checks for nearly half of potential U.S. government hires.
The filing accuses the Falls Church, Va., firm of taking shortcuts [same euphemism was used for robosigning] in about 40 percent of the cases it handled — at least 665,000 in total — and, in the process, qualifying for nearly $12 million in performance bonuses from the federal government. Yet USIS officials told the government that all the necessary reviews had been done.
“Flushed everything like a dead goldfish,” one USIS manager wrote in one of several e-mails cited in the court filing about how cases were being sped along to meet revenue targets.
“Beginning in at least March 2008 and continuing through at least September 2012, USIS management devised and executed a scheme to deliberately circumvent contractually required quality reviews of completed background investigations in order to increase the company’s revenues and profits,” the Justice Department said in a filing Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Alabama.
Accounting control fraud, so naturally, a civil suit (can't jail executives after all (even if these guys aren't banksters)). Read below the fold...
ObamaCare Clusterfuck: White House adviser on health care, steps down to spend more time with his family
Chris Jennings, the White House’s coordinator of health reform, has resigned six months after he was recruited to try to iron out the implementation of major aspects of the Affordable Care Act.
Jennings said in an interview Thursday that he decided to leave after he landed in the hospital last month with a health scare after working the long, intense hours typical of senior White House aides.
“It helped change perspective, and so did some other sad family events, and it really focused me on the priority of health and family,” he said. “After a lot of contemplation, I decided this was the best thing for me.”
Six months? That was fast. Read below the fold...
This online interview with Snowden is full of awesome, by which I mean it's reasoned and sane. I think this is the heart of the matter:
@ferenstein what’s the worst and most realistic harm from bulk collection of data? Why do you think it outweighs national security? #AskSnowden
The worst and happening-right-now harm of bulk collection — which again, is a euphemism for mass surveillance — is two-fold.
The first is the chilling effect, which is well-understood. Study after study has show that human behavior changes when we know we’re being watched. Under observation, we act less free, which means we effectively *are* less free.
The second, less understood but far more sinister effect of these classified programs, is that they effectively create “permanent records” of our daily activities, even in the absence of any wrongdoing on our part. This enables a capability called “retroactive investigation,” where once you come to the government’s attention, they’ve got a very complete record of your daily activity going back, under current law, often as far as five years. You might not remember where you went to dinner on June 12th 2009, but the government does.
The power these records represent can’t be overstated. In fact, researchers have referred to this sort of data gathering as resulting in “databases of ruin,” where harmful and embarrassing details exist about even the most innocent individuals. The fact that these records are gathered without the government having any reasonable suspicion or probable cause justifying the seizure of data is so divorced from the domain of reason as to be incapable of ever being made lawful at all, and this view was endorsed as recently as today by the federal government’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight board.
Fundamentally, a society in which the pervasive monitoring of the sum of civil activity becomes routine is turning from the traditions of liberty toward what is an inherently illiberal infrastructure of preemptive investigation, a sort of quantified state where the least of actions are measured for propriety. I don’t seek to pass judgment in favor or against such a state in the short time I have here, only to declare that it is not the one we inherited, and should we as a society embrace it, it should be the result of public decision rather than closed conference.
But Obama! Read below the fold...
A feature article published today in the Journal of Oncology Practice contains an evidence-based appeal by two oncologists, including a past president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), for their colleagues to endorse a single-payer health system.
The authors are Dr. Ray Drasga, a longtime community-based oncologist who founded a free clinic in his own community of Crown Point, Ind., and Dr. Lawrence Einhorn, a distinguished professor of medicine at Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis.
Einhorn is perhaps best known for his pioneering research in the treatment of testicular cancer; his successful treatment of cyclist Lance Armstrong received widespread media attention. His research interests also include tumor oncology and lung cancer.
And the article itself: Read below the fold...
Democrats mobilise to build support for Clinton candidacy
The latest sign the party wants to entrench the former New York senator as its candidate, and fortify her against coming Republican attacks, is the decision of Priorities USA, the largest Democratic-aligned campaign group, formally to start raising money for her.
I hate it that I'm writing about 2016 now. It's like Xmas muzak before Halloween. So I guess the political class has a whole lot of distracting to do. Read below the fold...
If you like complicated data structures and maps, from the abstract:
We propose that emotions are represented in the somatosensory system as culturally universal categorical somatotopic maps. Perception of these emotion-triggered bodily changes may play a key role in generating consciously felt emotions
I don't have the technical chops to critique the study. Read below the fold...
Lawsuit: Silicon valley squillionaires loot $9.5 billion from 100,000 engineers in wage-fixing conspiracy
Excellent article in Pando by Mark Ames:*
In early 2005, as demand for Silicon Valley engineers began booming, Apple’s Steve Jobs sealed a secret and illegal pact with Google’s Eric Schmidt to artificially push their workers wages lower by agreeing not to recruit each other’s employees, sharing wage scale information, and punishing violators. On February 27, 2005, Bill Campbell, a member of Apple’s board of directors and senior advisor to Google, emailed Jobs to confirm that Eric Schmidt “got directly involved and firmly stopped all efforts to recruit anyone from Apple.”
Later that year, Schmidt instructed his Sr VP for Business Operation Shona Brown to keep the pact a secret and only share information “verbally, since I don’t want to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later?” ...
In a related but separate investigation and ongoing suit, eBay and its former CEO Meg Whitman, now CEO of HP, are being sued by both the federal government and the state of California for arranging a similar, secret wage-theft agreement with Intuit (and possibly Google as well) during the same period. ...
The secret wage-theft agreements between Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, and Pixar (now owned by Disney) are described in court papers obtained by PandoDaily as “an overarching conspiracy” in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Antitrust Act, and at times it reads like something lifted straight out of the robber baron era that produced those laws. ...
Shortly after sealing the pact with Google, Jobs strong-armed Adobe into joining after he complained to CEO Bruce Chizen that Adobe was recruiting Apple’s employees.
Jeebus, it's like these guys are mafia chieftains fixing garbage collection fiefdoms, or construction, or drugs. Maybe that's why glibertarians admire them so much? Read below the fold...
An independent executive branch board has concluded that the National Security Agency’s long-running program to collect billions of Americans’ phone records is illegal and should end.
In a strongly worded report to be issued Thursday, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) said that the statute upon which the program was based, Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, “does not provide an adequate basis to support this program.”
Plus, if the actual purpose of the program is what we have been told it is, it's useless: Read below the fold...