when free enterprise becomes socially acceptable corruption

coast of finland wallpaper

coast of finland wallpaper 1728×1080

 

Paul Buchheit covers some of the same ground he has covered previously in this essay, though this disparity in costs stood out, Public Beats Private: Six Reasons Why

1. The Profit Motive Moves Most of the Money to the Top

The federal Medicare Administrator made $170,000 in 2010. The president of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas made over ten times as much in 2012. Stephen J. Hemsley, the CEO of United Health Group, made almost 300 times as much in one year, $48 million, most of it from company stock.

In part because of such inequities in compensation, our private health care system is the most expensive system in the developed world. The price of common surgeries is anywhere from three to ten times higher in the U.S. than in Great Britain, Canada, France, or Germany. Two of the documented examples: an $8,000 special stress test for which Medicare would have paid $554; and a $60,000 gall bladder operation, for which a private insurance company was willing to pay $2,000.

Medicare, on the other hand, which is largely without the profit motive and the competing sources of billing, is efficiently run, for all eligible Americans. According to the Council for Affordable Health Insurance and other sources, medical administrative costs are much higher for private insurance than for Medicare.

But the privatizers keep encroaching on the public sector. Our government reimburses the CEOs of private contractors at a rate approximately double what we pay the President. Overall, we pay the corporate bosses over $7 billion a year.

Back in high school we learned the basics about free enterprise. If Jane makes great Widgets, she goes out and buys good components and pays employees a fair wage to make them. She takes a nice cut of the profits. That is the pie in the sky version in text books. In the real world John, who went to Yale on his parents dime, makes Widgets, pays employees a sub-living wage, over charges consumers for the Widgets. All the top executives at John’s company take the lion’s share of the revenue and pay it to themselves. Then they hire lobbyists who make it easier to escape liability for any harm their product does, escape responsibility for the toxic pollution they put in their worker’s drinking water and air, and escape paying their fair share of taxes – and just to make sure, John offshores a good chunk of the company’s money. That is not free enterprise, that is ongoing corruption.

april tulips wallpaper, nobel prize winner gets some vindication over iraq

april tulips wallpaper

april tulips wallpaper

Many of the details of events that lead us into the disastrous invasion of Iraq are fading, like too many other important details tend to do. One of the things the Bush administration did was to get rid of the director of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, José Bustani. Bustani got some justice when he won the Nobel Peace Prize, To Ousted Boss, Arms Watchdog Was Seen as an Obstacle in Iraq

But Mr. Bustani and some senior officials, both in Brazil and the United States, say Washington acted because it believed that the organization under Mr. Bustani threatened to become an obstacle to the administration’s plans to invade Iraq. As justification, Washington was claiming that Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi leader, possessed chemical weapons, but Mr. Bustani said his own experts had told him that those weapons were destroyed in the 1990s, after the Persian Gulf war.

“Everybody knew there weren’t any,” he said. “An inspection would make it obvious there were no weapons to destroy. This would completely nullify the decision to invade.”

…..Getting Mr. Bustani fired took some doing. Washington failed to obtain a no-confidence motion from the chemical weapons watchdog’s executive council. Then the United States, which was responsible for 22 percent of the agency’s budget at the time, threatened to cut off its financing and warned that several other countries, including Japan, would follow suit, diplomats have said.

Former UN ambassador John Bolton ( and unbelievably also mentioned to be a possible presidential candidate in 2016) said that Bustani did not make the chemical weapons argument until after the invasion. Which is ridiculous considering the timeline, Bustani was working on getting Iraq to join the OPCW since the late 90s and was getting more and more cooperation. Bolton was and still is a very good neocon, he believes in the doctrine of the Big Lie, repeated loud and often, he is a master of bull. He probably suffers from something like O.J. syndrome, he has been BSing for so long he has begun to believe the twisted narrative in his head.

Grand Bal poster for a Swiss film festival, March 23, 1929. They’re difficult to see, but the Cubist-style jazz musicians are an especially nice touch.

mountain dawn wallpaper, government shut down produces hardship and paranoid rants

mountain dawn wallpaper

mountain dawn wallpaper

James Woods claims Hollywood is against him after anti-Obama tweets. Actor and vocal Republican says he won’t ‘work again’ after repeatedly criticizing the president over government shutdown. Woods is not particularly important in the total scheme of things. Another multi-millionaire conservative complaining about how hard life is as he lounges by the pool at his literal mansion. He tweets his opinions, free of facts or logic and tells the maid to bring him another martini. Besides blaming president Obama for the shut-down, he also blames the president for the consequences of the shut-down like the WW II vets  having some of their benefits delayed. I have no inside information as to why Hollywood has some of the most misinformed conservatives in the conservative movement. Woods was just in the Showtime series Ray with comrade in ignorance Jon Voight. Both of them insipid aging actors that, despite their paranoid rants, keep getting work from those mean Hollywood liberals. Though Woods gives us a chance to unpack some basic truths. Who is responsible for the government shut-down. Woods blames Democrats. The lame stream media says there is blame on both sides. The truth is that conservative Republicans are not only to blame, they are seeing the results of their plans, A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning -

….a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the capital to plot strategy. Their push to repeal Mr. Obama’s health care law was going nowhere, and they desperately needed a new plan.

Out of that session, held one morning in a location the members insist on keeping secret, came a little-noticed “blueprint to defunding Obamacare,” signed by Mr. Meese and leaders of more than three dozen conservative groups.

It articulated a take-no-prisoners legislative strategy that had long percolated in conservative circles: that Republicans could derail the health care overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans — including their cautious leaders — into cutting off financing for the entire federal government.

And of course lots of money from radical conservative groups was involved, The Money Behind the Shutdown Crisis. Some conservatives, backed into a corner on these facts, of which Woods and other true believers are blissfully ignorant or lack the integrity to admit, will say they had no choice. They say the deficit is out of control and a shut-down will force the president to stop his alleged free spending. The problem with that is the deficit has declined steadily under the Obama presidency. Here’s a fact: The deficit is falling. Mr. Woods further claimed, “I don’t expect to work again. I l think Barack Obama is a threat to the integrity and future of the Republic. My country first.” Here is someone using highly inflammatory hyperbole to make brazenly ignorant claims about who is responsible for the shut-down and yet also claims to care about his country.  How can one be a good citizen, try to shift the direction of the nation, yet not know the course or the reasons behind it. Is that patriotism, the blind alliance to a set of weird lies and baseless paranoia. Ultra nationalist throughout history have relied on the ignorance, greed and lack of reflection of people like Woods and Voight. Together they have caused untold misery and death. That is the perverse kind of patriotism Mark Twain was taking about when he defined a patriot as ” the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.”

South Pasadena Recreation Center. Photographer, Doug White   (No date, probably late 1950s or early 1960s)

yellow fall wheat wallpaper, the myths of free trade and growth

yellow fall wheat wallpaper

yellow fall wheat wallpaper

 

‘Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism’

Second, the way “infant” economies become “mature” economies is not via free trade. It never has been and never will be. Whether it be the mature economies of Britain (which began to seriously grow in the early 1600s), America (late 1700s), Japan (1800s), or Brazil (1900s), in every single case, worldwide, without exception, the economic strength and maturity of a nation came about as a result not of governments “standing aside” or “getting out of the way” but instead of direct government participation in and protection of the “infant” industries and economy.

The modern history of protectionist trade policies goes back to ancient Rome, stretches through the reigns of a series of King Henry’s in the UK, through Alexander Hamilton’s tenure as Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington, through the trade policies of Dwight D. Eisenhower and JFK, and continues today with China, Korea, the Middle East, and the rapidly-growing Brazilian economy.

[  ]…Once “strategic” and “important” industries are identified, government both encourages and protects their domestic growth in a variety of ways. These include subsidies, legal protections (like patent laws), import tariffs to protect against foreign competition, strong industry regulation to ensure quality, and development of infrastructure to ease manufacture, distribution, sales, and use of the product.

As Ha-Joon Chang points out in his brilliant book Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism,” in 1933 a clothing manufacturing company decided to branch out into the manufacture of automobiles. They had everything going against them – their nation had no really serious domestic auto industry, the company had no experience with the product, and other nations (particularly the US and Great Britain) were already making world-class vehicles that had captured most of the world’s markets.

But the company caught the imagination of its country’s leadership, and a ministry of trade decided to help it along. Government subsidies helped the company develop their first car. Decades of high import tariffs protected it from foreign competition as it grew into a serious contender. Domestic content laws both made sure the company used parts made within the country, and also guaranteed that domestic competitors would have to, thus building a strong base of domestic companies supportive of an auto industry, from tires to plastic components to precision machine tools and electronics.

In 1939 the country even kicked out both GM and Ford from sales within the country, and the nation’s single wholly-owned bank bailed out the struggling textile manufacturer as it moved relentlessly forward in the development of an automobile.

That company, originally known as The Toyoda Automatic Loom Company, is today known as Toyota, and manufactures the infamous Lexus that Tom Friedman mistakenly thought was successful because the world is “flat” and trade is “free.” In fact, the success of the Lexus (and the Prius and every other Toyota) is entirely traceable to massive government intervention in the markets by Japan over a fifty-year period that continues to this very day.

Like so many other words heard in everyday political speech, free trade has been a code word for some time. My neighbors think of it as this nice little system that means they can buy ham slightly cheaper at store X than at store Y. In reality it becomes the nice sounding grand old American tradition morphed into the right to ship jobs to Asia and hobble organized labor – though who object are Marxist radicals who do not want everyone to live up to their potential to be the next billionaire. Free markets is code for not allowing labor to have too much power because it takes away the freedom of rent-seekers to squeeze as much money as they can out of labor without paying them a living wage or simply taking the lion’s share of the profits created by someone else work, ideas, research or invention.

What’s That Smell?

Using advanced statistical techniques, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Bates College have developed an approach to systematically describing smells.

This work may help guide future studies pertaining to how smells are represented in the brain. The research suggests that there are 10 basic categories of odor including fruity, minty, lemony—and sickening.

Senses such as hearing and vision can be discussed in terms that most people understand and that are tied to measurable physical phenomena. But the sense of smell, or olfaction, has thus far not lent itself to such a systematic understanding of what smells we perceive and how those perceptions relate to physical phenomena.

I’m amazed at how the brain, to an extraordinary degree, links smells with memory. Suede, which is probably partly a smell from the chemical tanning process, brings back very distinct sharp memories of someone I knew as a teenager. While some perfumes/colognes bring back other memories.

new york wallpaper, brain tumor switch identified

Retro New York wallpaper

Retro New York wallpaper

 

Obamacare or The Affordable Care Act already seems like it is generally bending the cost curve of health care inflation. But one of the factors that will help is all that silly public funding for medical-science research to institutions like the UT Southwestern Medical Center, Researchers Identify a Switch Which Controls Growth of Most Aggressive Brain Tumor Cells

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified a cellular switch that potentially can be turned off and on to slow down, and eventually inhibit the growth of the most commonly diagnosed and aggressive malignant brain tumor.

Findings of their investigation show that the protein RIP1 acts as a mediator of brain tumor cell survival, either protecting or destroying cells. Researchers believe that the protein, found in most glioblastomas, can be targeted to develop a drug treatment for these highly malignant brain tumors.

Some of UT Southwestern Medical Center’s funding came through the National Institutes of Health, NASA, and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

PROFESSOR MAYER’S TOPOPHONE.

The aim of the topophone, which was invented and patented by Professor A. M. Mayer, last winter, is to enable the user to determine quickly and surely the exact direction and position of any source of sound. Our figure shows a portable style of the instrument; for use on ship-board it would probably form one of the fixtures of the pilot-house or the “bridge,” or both. In most cases arising in sailing through fogs, it would be enough for the captain or pilot to be sure of the exact direction of a fog horn, whistling buoy, or steam whistle; and for this a single aural observation suffices.

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, NEW YORK, July 3, 1880.

Just One Senator Is Single-Handedly Preventing The First Gay Black Federal Judge From Being Confirmed. That senator is 2016 conservative presidential hopeful Marco Rubio (R-FL). To be fair, Marco may not understand what he’s doing, his maid still helps him tie his sneakers in the morning.

blue hyacinth wallpaper, the brain prion from hell, no right to be obnoxious

blue hyacinth wallpaper

blue hyacinth wallpaper

Prions are kinds of proteins. Organic compounds that we ordinarily think of as harmless. After all they’re not bacteria or fungi. Not so with the prions that cause Mad Cow disease or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. N.H. patients possibly exposed to fatal brain disease

Eight patients at a New Hampshire hospital may have been exposed to a rare, fatal brain disease from surgery equipment that was used on a patient who likely had the incurable disease, state health officials said Wednesday.

The patients underwent brain surgery at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester between May and August and have been notified of their potential exposure, the officials said during a news conference.

The equipment, rented from Minneapolis-based Medtronic, may also have been used on five patients in unnamed other states before health officials realized the instruments were possibly contaminated with tissue from the initial patient. That person had undergone surgery in May, but only last month was it discovered that the patient had symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Standard methods for sterilizing surgical equipment before every operation do not protect against the rare disease, specialists said.

And they’re understating the case when they say the standard methods for cleaning surgical instruments do not kill all the prions. using these steaming hot high pressure autoclaves, the usual sterilizing detergents do not kill them all. A researcher at National Institutes of Health said that some of them can even survive incineration. These specific prions are rare and the people who are mentioned in the article are not positively going to be infected. Though if anyone is, there is no cure.

Saducismus triumphatus

Saducismus triumphatus: or, Full and plain evidence concerning witches and apparitions. In two parts. The first treating of their possiblity. The second of their real existence. By Joseph Glanvil 1636-1680., late Chaplain in Ordinary to His Majesty, and fellow of the Royal Society. The second edition. With two authentick, but wonderful stories of certain Swedish witches; done into English by Anth. Horneck D.D. 1682. Of course they have proof and it must be true since this an old book written by a chaplain. 

Fiona Apple and Dave Chappelle: Are Artists Obligated to Appease Disrespectful Audiences?

Last week, Fiona Apple performed at a Louis Vuitton-sponsored show in Tokyo, one that paid tribute to women like Kate Moss, Sofia Coppola, and Catherine Deneuve (the event was called “Timeless Muses”). As you may expect at this type of event, people were chatty and less interested in the music being performed onstage for their entertainment. Annoyed with the noise coming from the crowd, Apple allegedly cursed at the audience stormed off stage following her set. Her behavior, of course, was labeled as “a meltdown,” and the seemingly unstable Apple — whose public acknowledgement of mental illness has never particularly worked in her favor — was yet again portrayed as a loon.

Apple’s performance at the Louis Vuitton show took place the same day that news broke online of comedian Dave Chappelle’s disastrous stand-up set at Funny or Die’s The Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival in Hartford, Connecticut. In response to visibly and audibly drunk audience members who yelled to the stage to get his attention, Chappelle responded in a way that probably isn’t too surprising: he told them to shut up. When the audience booed and continued to heckle him, he sat on stage until his time was up. Obviously, the media reported that he, too, had a meltdown.

I’m not buying the argument that since someone bought a ticket they are entitled to any kind of obnoxious behavior. Other people paid for their tickets as well. Most of these artists understand that there is going to be some chatter during their performance; one of the reason the amplifiers at concerts are so loud. But purposely disrupting them is not. No one bought the right, along with that ticket to put on their own little show. The performers have every right to be upset, and being upset is no more a meltdown than when the rowdy members of the crowd were upset when they were harassed at work or school. I think this tendency to describe female performers this way is mostly the gossip press, whose sole purpose in life is to get some rise out of people one way or the other. They don’t care as long as readers are agitated for and against what they wrote.

snowy central park wallpaper

snowy central park wallpaper

snowy central park wallpaper

A microbe in the gut of a stick insect could help scientists to unravel the puzzle of antibiotic resistance

Professor Tony Maxwell, head of biological chemistry, said: “We have discovered the microbe in the stick insect’s gut is resistant to toxins and infections it could never have been exposed to.

“This indicates that there is a general mechanism at work.

Perfectly designed humans learning from an organism the size of a pen dot.

Palma

Palma - a city plan map, 1593. By Pasquale Cicogna and Georg Braun.

The details at the link are well explained, if a little complicated, but this is the end result, Health Insurance “Coverage Gap” Coming to a Red State Near You

The resulting Republican body count is staggering. Thanks to the GOP’s rejection of Medicaid expansion, 1.3 million people in Texas, 1 million in Florida, 534,000 in Georgia and 267,000 in Missouri will be ensnared in the coverage gap.

A combination of people who are seniors, or poor or elderly and poor. Conservatives would either respond with a cheer at the prospect of their deaths or tell them to get a job in the fast food industry.