To Accompany the February 15, 2016 edition of Tidbits
Bob Jensen at Trinity University
It's hard to beat a person who never gives up.
Historic Home Run Hitter
And he wasn't even thinking about Jihads in those days but I am thinking Jihads these days
Only those who
will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life
that is waiting for us.
switched on a new kind of nuclear reactor, the
latest experiment in the quest to produce clean, sustainable power from
controlled nuclear fusion ---
Ir will give me great joy the day fusion power renders bird-killing wind power turbinesobsolete.
If you don't know
where you're going, you might not get there.
If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.
George S. Patton
Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude
you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly
on your shoulder.
Henry David Thoreau
We’re Wasting As
Much As Half the Food We Produce ---
James Macdonald, Jstor --- http://daily.jstor.org/were-wasting-as-much-as-half-the-food-we-produce/
Entitlements are two-thirds of the federal budget.
Entitlement spending has grown 100-fold over the past 50 years. Half of all
American households now rely on government handouts. When we hear statistics
like that, most of us shake our heads and mutter some sort of expletive. That’s
because nobody thinks they’re the problem. Nobody ever wants to think they’re
the problem. But that’s not the truth. The truth is, as long as we continue to
think of the rising entitlement culture in America as someone else’s problem,
someone else’s fault, we’ll never truly understand it and we’ll have absolutely
Steve Tobak ---
just reached a record $19 trillion (plus over $100 trillion in unbooked
entitlements burdening future generations in the USA)
Martin Matishak and Eric Pianin, The Fiscal Times
Bob Jensen's threads on entitlements
The IRS Scandal,
Days 901-1,000 ---
Gandhi Writes Letters to Hitler: “We
Have Found in Non-Violence a Force Which Can Match the Most Violent Forces in
the World” (1939/40) ---
"While the free world awaits a Muslim
reformation, the leader of the free world shows blatant disregard for gender
equality by visiting a mosque that treats females like second-class citizens,”
said Pakistani-Canadian activist Raheel Raza, author and cofounder of the Muslim
Also see "Obama at the Mosque" --- http://www.wsj.com/articles/obama-at-the-mosque-1454632914?mod=djemMER
themselves rigorous social scientists. But science tends to foster consensus,
and economists are as divided as ever ---
Bernie could get fewer delegates
than Hillary in New Hampshire despite a dominating win ---
Rob Garver --- http://www.businessinsider.com/clinton-can-still-beat-sanders-in-new-hampshire-2016-2
Mr. Sanders, far from
being a radical departure, is merely a perfection of what Democrats have offered
since the Clinton era, namely denial. Ignore the problem. If forced to
acknowledge it, insist there’s no problem
because the rich will pay. In the meantime,
savage every reform proposal as an attack on “unmet needs.” Collect the
political rents from serving as defender of every spending interest in our
Homan W. Jenkins, Jr. --- http://www.wsj.com/articles/explaining-bernies-socialism-1455063755?mod=djemMER
One misleading fact that Bernie Sanders never mentions is that his proposed transactions tax on stocks and bonds traded on Wall Street will not be paid by brokerage firms and investment banks. They will simply be passed on to investors, many of whom in middle income investors such as teachers who depend upon retirement funds comprised of stocks and bonds. For example, ultimately professors in TIAA-CREF will pay the transactions fees imposed by Bernie Sanders. It's ironic that the teachers of students paying getting a free college education will be paying a huge part of the tuition of their students.
Donald Trump and Bernie
Sanders are both wrong about the Trans-Pacific Partnership ---
Walmart Sues Puerto Rico Over 91.5% Tax Rate Applicable
Only To Walmart ---
Sweden to deport
60,000-80,000 asylum seekers ---
One of the least reliable
sources for data on climate change is the US federal government. Now, a group of
300 scientists and academics want Congress to investigate the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for cooking the books on climate data in
order to erase the pause in the rise in temperature cited by, among other
sources, the IPCC.
Photos Linked to
Detainee Abuse Released By U.S. Military ---
Bernie Sanders’ campaign
is getting nailed for some unethical shenanigans ---
Stephen Colbert Exposes
Trump's Flip-Flops In Hilarious "Trump vs Trump" Debate ---
Clinton Inside Information Financial Scandal ---
Campaign Balks At Releasing Wall Street Speech Transcripts ---
My guess is that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren would have a field day screaming about the content of those speeches.
There's an important
fact Bernie Sanders fails to tell you when he advocates taxing Wall Street
transactions to pay for free college in the USA. What he never tells you is that
Wall Street will not pay those taxes. Those transactions taxes will be passed
along to hundreds of millions of Main Street pension and other investors in the
USA and in other countries whose investors invest in Wall Street traded stocks
and bonds. For example, professor's TIAA-CREF balances will take a big hit every
Earning Over $1 million living in NYC public housing ---
goods worth £2m, has SIX children by four fathers - and lives off benefits ---
Moocher Hall of Fame --- https://danieljmitchell.wordpress.com/the-moocher-hall-of-fame/
Election Gaming "Fraud" in Primary Elections in the USA:
Making Sure Your General Election Opponent is a Real Loser
Table of Contents
Communications Juggernauts in Crossover Voting Frauds
Funding Opponent Scandals
Top Republicans are working hard to help Bernie Sanders ---
Trump part of conspiracy to ensure
Clinton presidency ---
Jeb Bush --- http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/dec/8/jeb-bush-suggests-donald-trump-part-of-conspiracy-/
Is such a conspiracy necessary given the slate of losers running as GOP candidates for President in 2016?
The Black Panther: Newspaper of the Black Panther Party --- https://libcom.org/history/black-panther-newspaper-black-panther-party
an important fact Bernie Sanders fails to
tell you when he advocates taxing Wall Street transactions to pay for free
college in the USA. What he never tells you is that Wall Street will not pay
those taxes. Those transactions taxes will be passed along to hundreds of
millions of Main Street pension and other investors in the USA and in other
countries whose investors invest in Wall Street traded stocks and bonds. For
example, professor's TIAA-CREF balances will take a big hit every year.
The President's Proposed Fiscal Year 2017 Fantasy Budget ---
"President’s budget proposes many tax changes," byAlistair
M. Nevius, Journal of Accountancy, February 9, 2016 ---
Many of these changes will be dead in the water in part because the USA deficit went over $19 trillion and this budget alone for 2017 is $4 trillion.
the Plug on Obama’s Power Plan: The Supreme Court sent a clear message:
Your clean-energy strong-arming campaign must stop.," by David B. Rivkin Jr.
and Andrew M. Grossman, The Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2016 ---
President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is dead and will not be resurrected. The cause of death was hubris. As a result, the plan’s intended victims—including the national coal industry, the rule of law and state sovereignty—will live to fight another day.
On Tuesday the Supreme Court put President Obama’s signature climate initiative on hold while a lower court considers challenges brought by industry opponents and 27 states. That stay will remain in effect through the end of Mr. Obama’s presidency, until the Supreme Court has a chance to hear the case—in 2017 at the earliest. The stay sends the strongest possible signal that the court is prepared to strike down the Clean Power Plan on the merits, assuming the next president doesn’t revoke it.
Not since the court blocked President Harry Truman’s seizure of the steel industry has it so severely rebuked a president’s abuse of power.
The dubious legal premise of the Clean Power Plan was that Congress, in an all-but-forgotten 1970s-era provision of the Clean Air Act, had empowered the Environmental Protection Agency to displace the states in regulating power generation. The EPA, in turn, would use that authority to mandate a shift from fossil-fuel-fired plants to renewables. The effect would be to institute by fiat the “cap and trade” scheme for carbon emissions that the Obama administration failed to push through Congress in 2009.
The legal defects inherent in this scheme are legion. For one, in a ruling two years ago the court held that the EPA couldn’t conjure up authority to make “decisions of vast economic and political significance” absent a clear statement from Congress. Thus, the EPA may have the authority to require power plants to operate more efficiently and to install reasonable emissions-reduction technologies. But nothing authorizes the agency to pick winners (solar, wind) and losers (coal) and order generation to be shifted from one to the other, disrupting billion-dollar industries in the process.
The agency also overstepped its legal authority by using a tortured redefinition of “system of emission reduction.” That statutory term has always been taken to give authority to regulate plant-level equipment and practices. Instead the EPA contorted the term to apply to the entire power grid. That redefinition, while necessary for the EPA to mount its attack on traditional power sources, violates the rule that federal statutes must be interpreted, absent a clear indication to the contrary, to maintain the existing balance of power between the federal government and the states. Federal law has long recognized states’ primacy in regulating their electric utilities, the economic aspects of power generation and transmission, and electric reliability.
Worse, the Clean Power Plan commandeers the states and their officials to do the dirty work that the EPA can’t. The agency seeks to phase out coal-fired plants, but it lacks any ability to regulate electric reliability, control how and when plants are run, oversee the planning and construction of new generators and transmission lines, or take any other of the many steps necessary to bring the plan to fruition.
Only the states can do those things, and the plan simply assumes that they will: Because, if they refuse, and the federal government forces coal-plan retirements, the result would be catastrophic, featuring regular blackouts, threats to public health and safety and unprecedented spikes in electricity prices.
The EPA defended this approach before the Supreme Court during legal arguments leading up to Tuesday’s stay order as a “textbook exercise of cooperative federalism.” But the textbook—our Constitution as interpreted by the court in case after case—guarantees that the states can’t be dragooned into administering federal law and implementing federal policy. Their sovereignty and political accountability require that they have the power to decline any federal entreaty. The Clean Power Plan denies them that choice.
No doubt the court was swayed by evidence that the states already are laboring to accommodate the plan’s forced retirement and reduced utilization of massive amounts of generating capacity. Given the years that it takes to bring new capacity online, not even opponents of the plan could afford to wait for the conclusion of judicial review to begin carrying out the EPA’s mandate.
Continued in article
What happens when libraries are asked to help the homeless
find shelter? ---
One question is what the homeless do all day in a library? I read previously where many prefer video games and computer games. However, It would be interesting to see what some of them are learning apart from game playing and sleeping away the days
15 Most Corrupt Nations in the World
Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
For decades, state and local governments have been able to essentially hide—or
at least downplay—the size of their unfunded pension and retiree health-care
"California's Deep Debt Problems: Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing unions to contribute more for health care," by Steven Greenhut, Reason Magazine, February 5, 2016 ---
For those who wonder about the practical importance of transparency, I offer as evidence the latest result of a modest rule change in California from a mind-numbingly named organization—the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, or GASB (pronounced Gaz-bee). The group's stated goal is to promote accountability through "excellence in public-sector financial reporting." This is exciting stuff for people who wear green eyeshades.
But it has practical importance for taxpayers. For decades, state and local governments have been able to essentially hide—or at least downplay—the size of their unfunded pension and retiree health-care liabilities, or debts. GASB passed rule changes that make governments more directly account for these debts. California governments are starting to report pension debts differently in their 2015 financial statements, which is becoming a wake-up call. (Medical costs and other non-pension benefits will be accounted for differently in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.)
As a result, localities are facing much larger pension debts than previously reported. Pension problems have long been the subject of public and media discussion. We're also seeing that "unfunded retiree health-care liabilities" are potentially more astounding. Pension liabilities are the calculation of future dollars owed to current workers and retirees. Most systems have a large "unfunded" liability, but there is a lot of prefunding. In other words, agencies and even employees kick in a portion of each paycheck to address the eventual costs.
With medical care, most agencies don't set aside any money to handle future costs, but handle them on a "pay as you go basis." With medical costs soaring and the population aging, these health-care obligations are turning into major problems.
California Controller Betty Yee this week released a new report just on the retiree health-care situation, in response to the new GASB requirements. "The state's cost for retiree health and dental benefits has grown to $74.1 billion," according to Yee's office. "The total liability grew $2.38 billion compared to the prior fiscal year, but the size of the increase was $1.5 billion less than estimated in last year's report... These costs have increased dramatically over the past 15 years."
Those liabilities are only for state agencies. They do not include liabilities for teachers or University of California employees, which have their own systems. They also do not include cities, counties and other local governments. One think-tank analysis suggested that Los Angeles County alone has an unfunded retiree health-care liability of many billions, so the controller's numbers might only reveal the tip of the iceberg.
At the local level, these soaring costs have pushed some cities into troubled fiscal waters. Stockton's unusually generous health-care plan—a Lamborghini-style plan, according to one council member—helped push the city into bankruptcy. Stockton cut back the benefits because—unlike pensions—medical plans are not always considered "vested," or guaranteed. In many cases, the agency can unilaterally cut back the benefits or require higher contributions.
But there is some hopeful news. In his State of the State address, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) made reference to the problem: "To date, we have set aside only a token amount to pay for $72 billion in future retiree health benefits. These liabilities are so massive that it is tempting to ignore them. We can't possibly pay them off in a year or two or even 10... Yet it is our moral obligation to do so—particularly before we make new commitments."
And those strong words apparently are being backed up with a little action. It's disappointing the governor refuses to reopen the pension issue, and continues to claim that a modest three-year old reform law has done its job. But news reports suggest he is negotiating with the state's public-employee unions to exact contributions from employees to help fill the medical-liability hole.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on the sad state of
governmental accounting ---
The IRS Scandal Day 994 --- http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/01/the-irs-scandal-day-994.html
The Fiscal Times, Here We Go Again … IRS Destroys Another Hard Drive:
- Accounting Today, Congress Demands Answers from IRS about Destroyed Hard Drive
- Independent Journal, IRS Once Again Called Out for Erasing Hard Drives in Violation of a Court Order
- Tru News, Congress’s Bluff Called: IRS Erases Another Hard Drive
Nearly half of
Chicago's young black men are out of work, out of school ---
Education Begins or Ends at Home
"Education Insanity," by Walter E. Williams, Townhall, January
27, 2016 ---
Some credit Albert Einstein, others credit Benjamin Franklin, with the observation that "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing year after year and expecting different results." Whomever we credit, he was absolutely right. A perfect example of that insanity is education in general and particularly black education.
Education Next has recently published a series commemorating the 50th anniversary of James S. Coleman's groundbreaking 1965 report, "Equality of Educational Opportunity," popularly referred to as the "Coleman Report." In 1965, the average black 12th grader placed at the 13th percentile of the score distribution for whites in math and reading. That means 87 percent of white 12th graders scored higher than the average black 12th graders. Fifty years later there has been a slight narrowing of the math gap leaving the average black 12th-grade student at the 19th percentile of the white distribution; 81 percent of white 12th-grade students score higher. The black-white reading gap has narrowed such that the average black 12th-grader scores at the 22nd percentile of the white distribution, meaning 78 percent of white 12th-graders score higher.
Eric A. Hanushek is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His Education Next contribution is "What Matters for Student Achievement: Updating Coleman on the Influence of Families and Schools." Hanushek concludes, "After nearly a half century of supposed progress in race relations within the United States, the modest improvements in achievement gaps since 1965 can only be called a national embarrassment. Put differently, if we continue to close gaps at the same rate in the future, it will be roughly two and a half centuries before the black-white math gap closes and over one and a half centuries until the reading gap closes." I would like to know what American, particularly a black American, can be pleased with that kind of progress and the future it holds for black people.
. . .
The most crucial input for a child's education cannot be provided by schools, politicians and government. As such, continued calls for more school resources will produce disappointing results as they have in the past. There are certain minimum requirements that must be met for any child to do well in school. Someone must make the youngster do his homework, ensure that he gets eight to nine hours of sleep, feed him breakfast and make sure that he behaves in school and respects the teachers. If these minimum requirements are not met, and by the way they can be met even if a family is poor, all else is for naught.
What the education establishment can do is to prevent youngsters who are alien and hostile to the educational process from making education impossible for those who are equipped to learn. That is accomplished by removing students who pose disciplinary problems, but the Barack Obama administration is even restricting a school's power to do that. You might ask, "Williams, what are we going to do with those expelled students?" I do not know, but I do know one thing: Black people cannot afford to allow them to sabotage the education chances of everyone else.
Continued in articl
"The World’s Favorite New Tax Haven Is the United States: Moving
money out of the usual offshore secrecy havens and into the U.S. is a brisk new
business," Jesse Drucker, Bloomberg, January 27, 2016 ---
Last September, at a law firm overlooking San Francisco Bay, Andrew Penney, a managing director at Rothschild & Co., gave a talk on how the world’s wealthy elite can avoid paying taxes.
His message was clear: You can help your clients move their fortunes to the United States, free of taxes and hidden from their governments.
Some are calling it the new Switzerland.
After years of lambasting other countries for helping rich Americans hide their money offshore, the U.S. is emerging as a leading tax and secrecy haven for rich foreigners. By resisting new global disclosure standards, the U.S. is creating a hot new market, becoming the go-to place to stash foreign wealth. Everyone from London lawyers to Swiss trust companies is getting in on the act, helping the world’s rich move accounts from places like the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands to Nevada, Wyoming, and South Dakota.
“How ironic—no, how perverse—that the USA, which has been so sanctimonious in its condemnation of Swiss banks, has become the banking secrecy jurisdiction du jour,” wrote Peter A. Cotorceanu, a lawyer at Anaford AG, a Zurich law firm, in a recent legal journal. “That ‘giant sucking sound’ you hear? It is the sound of money rushing to the USA.”
Rothschild, the centuries-old European financial institution, has opened a trust company in Reno, Nev., a few blocks from the Harrah’s and Eldorado casinos. It is now moving the fortunes of wealthy foreign clients out of offshore havens such as Bermuda, subject to the new international disclosure requirements, and into Rothschild-run trusts in Nevada, which are exempt.
The U.S. “is effectively the biggest tax haven in the world” —Andrew Penney, Rothschild & Co.
The firm says its Reno operation caters to international families attracted to the stability of the U.S. and that customers must prove they comply with their home countries’ tax laws. Its trusts, moreover, have “not been set up with a view to exploiting that the U.S. has not signed up” for international reporting standards, said Rothschild spokeswoman Emma Rees.
Others are also jumping in: Geneva-based Cisa Trust Co. SA, which advises wealthy Latin Americans, is applying to open in Pierre, S.D., to “serve the needs of our foreign clients,” said John J. Ryan Jr., Cisa’s president.
Trident Trust Co., one of the world’s biggest providers of offshore trusts, moved dozens of accounts out of Switzerland, Grand Cayman, and other locales and into Sioux Falls, S.D., in December, ahead of a Jan. 1 disclosure deadline.
“Cayman was slammed in December, closing things that people were withdrawing,” said Alice Rokahr, the president of Trident in South Dakota, one of several states promoting low taxes and confidentiality in their trust laws. “I was surprised at how many were coming across that were formerly Swiss bank accounts, but they want out of Switzerland.” Why the Wealthy Are Moving Their Money Into the U.S.
Rokahr and other advisers said there is a legitimate need for secrecy. Confidential accounts that hide wealth, whether in the U.S., Switzerland, or elsewhere, protect against kidnappings or extortion in their owners’ home countries. The rich also often feel safer parking their money in the U.S. rather than some other location perceived as less-sure.
“I do not hear anybody saying, ‘I want to avoid taxes,’ ” Rokahr said. “These are people who are legitimately concerned with their own health and welfare.”
Continued in article
Jellum: Why The Treasury's (Tax Shelter) Anti-Abuse Regulation Is
The Conservatives are privately lobbying to protect Google's £30 billion
Bermuda tax haven ---
Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
The University of Copenhagen announced that it is cutting more than 500 teaching, research, service and administrative jobs -- 7 percent of its total staff -- in response to government cuts to its budget.
So how does a nation with free higher education cope with cutbacks in college education budgets?
Unlike Bernie Sanders, no nation on earth offers free education to everybody. Education is only offered to a relatively small percentage of elite applicants.
In Denmark over 60% of the Tier 2 graduates receive free college degree and training certificate programs.
With government budget cuts even fewer Tier 2 graduates receive free tertiary education and training.
OECD Study Published in 2014: List of countries by 25- to
34-year-olds having a tertiary education degree ---
This is a list of countries by 25- to 34-year-olds having a tertiary education degree as published by the OECD. It includes some non-OECD members.
Tertiary education is the educational level following the completion of a school providing a secondary education. The World Bank, for example, defines tertiary education as including universities as well as institutions that teach specific capacities of higher learning such as colleges, technical training institutes, community colleges, nursing schools, research laboratories, centers of excellence, and distance learning centers.
OECD 2011 Tertiary Education Percentages of Tier 2 Graduates Going Into Tier 3
Whereas nations like Finland, Denmark, and Germany only admit
elite and motivated learners into colleges, what Bernie Sanders intends is that
virtually anybody who wants to can be admitted to college for free. Sanders most
likely hopes that the unmotivated and low-aptitude admissions will not graduate,
but there are not many such academic standards in this era of grade inflation
Some academics graduate that a m 18 year old Tier 2 graduate in Denmark is equivalent to a 22 year old Tier 3 college graduate in the USA. That may be true for some lower quality colleges in the USA, but Denmark is a much smaller nation with much less ethnic and racial turmoil in the USA. A Tier 2 graduate in Europe is not equivalent to a flagship university graduate in the USA.
If Denmark offered free college education to everybody, budget cutbacks that entail laying off hundreds or thousands of teachers would be much more difficult if the colleges could not cut back on the inflow of students seeking a free diploma. As it stands Denmark's colleges can tighten the inflow of new students by raising the bar on admissions.
"Pushback for Anti-Israel Academics: The American Historical
Association recognized that its own credibility was on the line in a recent vote,"
by Cary Nelson, The Wall Street Journal, January 28, 2016 ---
At their annual meeting in Atlanta earlier this month, members of the American Historical Association voted down a factually flawed resolution condemning Israel. It was a victory that may also point the way for academic fields in the humanities to regain their lost credibility and stature on campus.
The AHA consists of faculty and graduate students who teach and study history throughout the country. Up for debate and a vote at the January meeting was a resolution condemning Israel for its conduct affecting higher education in Gaza, Israel itself, and the West Bank. For instance, the resolution claimed that Israel refuses “to allow students from Gaza to travel in order to pursue higher education abroad.”
Opponents marshaled evidence to prove this was untrue. Egypt, not Israel, controls the “Rafah crossing” that Gaza students and faculty heading toward universities abroad have used for decades. Unlike the benighted English-department faculty members from Columbia and Wesleyan universities who proposed a similar resolution two years ago, AHA historians were interested in facts. They likely knew that after Egypt closed the Rafah crossing in October 2014, Israel increased the flow of students leaving Gaza through the Erez crossing into Israel to the north, and on to Jordan for flights abroad.
But Jordan, which once issued transit visas in 10 days, now takes several months or longer because of increased security concerns about students from Gaza. The Palestinian Authority doesn’t pass on requests for permits to Israel without the visa from Jordan. Fellowships and other opportunities expire as a result.
The resolution also condemned Israel for an air attack on the Islamic University of Gaza during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. But it failed to mention that the campus housed a weapons development and testing facility, a valid target under the laws of war.
All this was too much nuance and complication for Historians Against War, the group proposing the resolution. Yet an academic discipline that is supposedly a forum for disinterested scholarship and open debate was at risk of abandoning its traditions and intellectual integrity. In the end a strong majority of historians didn’t want to see their field turned into a propaganda machine (although a similar resolution is sure to return eventually).
Less was at stake for some academic organizations—such as the National Women’s Studies Association—that have endorsed anti-Israel resolutions. Born of political movements and forged with political agendas, they sacrificed little in terms of disinterested scholarship.
But history is one of the venerable humanities fields, and its loss to ideological politics would have wide and deeper implications. The humanities have been slowly defunded over decades. If the key humanities and interpretive social-science fields—from literature and languages to history and anthropology—become centers of anti-Israel indoctrination, they will not only be economically marginal; they will be discredited. Will parents, state legislators and, most important, universities feel any reason to replenish humanities resources?
On April 15, the 10,000-member American Anthropological Association will begin voting on an anti-Israel resolution endorsed at its annual meeting in November. While that meeting was dominated by zealots, the April vote may focus instead on hard evidence and on the damage the resolution would do to anthropology as a field. A battle over whether to boycott Israeli universities also will unfold this year in the 25,000-member Modern Language Association representing English and foreign-language faculty and graduate students.
Continued in article
"Socialism Gets a Second Life: Why do the young love
Bernie Sanders? Because their experience of capitalism is different," by
Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2016 ---
. . .
Mr. Sanders says people don’t go to the doctor when they’re sick because of the deductibles. “Same with mental-health care!” a woman calls out. “Mental-health care must be considered part of health care,” he responds, to applause. He is for “a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system.”
How to pay for it all? “Impose a tax on Wall Street speculation,” he says, briefly. He does not elaborate and is not pressed to.
Mr. Sanders’s essential message was somber, grim, even dark. It’s all stark—good guys and bad guys, angels and devils. But it’s also clear and easy to understand: We are in terrible trouble because our entire system is rigged, the billionaires did it, they are the beneficiaries of the biggest income transfer from the poor to the rich in the history of man, and we are going to stop it. How? Through “a political revolution.” But a soft one that will take place in voting booths. We will vote to go left.
As the audience left they seemed not pumped or excited, but satisfied.
I listen to Mr. Sanders a lot, and what he says marks a departure from the ways the Democratic Party has been operating for at least a generation now.
Formally, since 1992, the Democratic Party has been Clintonian in its economics—moderate, showing the influence of the Democratic Leadership Council. Free-market capitalism is something you live with and accept; the wealth it produces can be directed toward public programs and endeavors. The Clinton administration didn’t hate Wall Street, it hired Wall Street. Big government, big Wall Street—it all worked. It was the Great Accommodation, and it was a break with more-socialist approaches of the past.
All this began to shatter in the crash of 2008, not that anyone noticed—it got lost in the Obama hoopla. In March 2009, when Mr. Obama told Wall Street bankers at the White House that his administration was the only thing standing between them and “the pitchforks,” he was wittingly or unwittingly acknowledging the Great Accommodation.
The rise of Bernie Sanders means that accommodation is ending, and something new will take its place.
Surely it means something that Mr. Obama spent eight years insisting he was not a socialist, and Bernie Sanders is rising while saying he is one.
It has left Hillary Clinton scrambling, unsteady. She thought she and her husband had cracked the code and made peace with big wealth. But her party is undoing it—without her permission and without her leading the way. She is meekly following.
It is my guess that Mr. Sanders will win in Iowa and New Hampshire. But the tendency he represents—whether it succeeds this time or simply settles in and grows—is, I suspect, here to stay.
A conservative of a certain age might say: “No, he’s a fad. Socialism is yesterday! Marx is dead, the American economic behemoth rolled over and flattened him. Socialism is an antique idea that rocks with age. America is about the future, not the past.”
I disagree. It’s back because it’s new again.
For so many, 2008 shattered faith in the system—in its fairness, usefulness and efficacy, even in its ability to endure.
As for the young, let’s say you’re 20 or 30, meaning you’ll be voting for a long time. What in your formative years would have taught you about the excellence of free markets, low taxes, “a friendly business climate”? A teacher in public high school? Maybe one—the faculty-lounge eccentric who boycotted the union meetings. And who in our colleges teaches the virtues of capitalism?
If you are 20 or 30 you probably see capitalism in terms of two dramatic themes. The first was the crash of ’08, in which heedless, irresponsible operators in business and government kited the system and scrammed. The second is income inequality. Why are some people richer than the richest kings and so many poor as serfs? Is that what capitalism gives you? Then maybe we should rethink this!
And Mr. Sanders makes it sound so easy. We’re rich, he says; we can do this with a few taxes. It is soft Marxism. And it’s not socialism now, it’s “democratic socialism” like they have in Europe. You’ve been to Europe. Aside from its refugee crisis and some EU problems, it’s a great place—a big welfare state that’s wealthy! The French take three-hour lunches.
Socialism is an old idea to you if you’re over 50 but a nice new idea if you’re 25.
Do you know what’s old if you’re 25? The free-market capitalist system that drove us into a ditch.
Polls show the generation gap. Mr. Sanders does poorly among the old. They remember socialism. He does well among the young, who’ve just discovered it and have little to no knowledge of its effects. A nationwide Marist poll in November showed Mr. Sanders already leading Mrs. Clinton, 58% to 35%, among voters under 30. She led him among all other age groups, and 69% to 21% among those 60 and older. By this month a CBS/New York Times poll had Mr. Sanders up 60% to 31% among voters under 45.
Bernie Sanders is an indicator of the Democratic future. He is telling you where that party’s going. In time some Democrats will leave over it, and look for other homes.
It’s all part of the great scrambling that is happening this political year—the most dramatic, and perhaps most consequential, of our lifetimes.
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"How a Duke Imam Became a Lightning Rod in the Campus Israel
Wars," by Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 31, 2016
"The Regrettable Decline of Higher Learning,"
by Victor Davis Hanson, Townhall, February 4, 2016 ---
What do campus microaggressions, safe spaces, trigger warnings, speech codes and censorship have to do with higher learning?
American universities want it both ways. They expect unquestioned subsidized support from the public, but also to operate in a way impossible for anyone else.
Colleges still wear the ancient clothes of higher learning. Latin mottos, caps and gowns, ivy-covered spires and high talk of liberal education reflect a hallowed intellectual tradition.
In fact, today's campuses mimic ideological boot camps. Tenured professors seek to indoctrinate young people in certain preconceived progressive political agendas. Environmental studies classes are not very open to debating the "settled science" of man-caused, carbon-induced global warming -- or the need for immediate and massive government intervention to address it. Grade-conscious and indebted students make the necessary ideological adjustments.
Few sociological courses celebrate the uniquely American assimilationist melting pot. Race, class and gender agenda courses -- along with thousands of "studies" courses -- have been invented. A generation of politicized professors has made the strange argument that they alone have discovered all sorts of critical new disciplines of knowledge -- apparently unknown for 2,500 years -- to ensure that graduates would be better educated than ever before.
Universities have lost their commitment to the inductive method. Preconceived anti-Enlightenment theories are established as settled fact and part of career promotion. Evidence is made to fit these unquestioned assumptions.
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Soon a college diploma may be free in the USA to anybody who wants a diploma. With the tragedy of grade inflation don't expect the masses to shed blood, sweat, and tears for their diplomas. Sure there will be some who will work night and day to learn, but they will become the exception rather than the rule---
"The Windmills of Bernie’s Mind: Sen.
Sanders better check with his Vermont constituents about the popularity of wind
energy," by Robert Bryce, The Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2016
. . .
Mr. Rodgers called the growing resistance to wind projects “a rebellion” at a news conference in Montpelier, the state capital. “I know of no place in the state where we can place industrial wind turbines without creating an unacceptable level of damage to our environment and our people.”
Wind-generated electricity in the U.S. has more than tripled since 2008, but opposition to the gigantic turbines, which can stand more than 500 feet, has been growing. In Vermont several protesters were arrested in 2011 and 2012 while trying to stop work on a wind project built on top of Lowell Mountain.
In March 2015 the Northeastern Vermont Development Association, a regional planning commission that covers 21% of the state’s land area, voted unanimously in favor of a resolution that said “no further development of industrial-scale wind turbines should take place in the Northeast Kingdom.”
In October residents of Irasburg overwhelmingly voted down, 274-9, a proposed five-megawatt wind project near their town. In November residents of Swanton met to consider a seven-turbine wind project proposed to be built atop nearby Rocky Ridge. The tally: 731 votes against, 160 in favor. And in December the town select board in Fairfield, a few miles southeast of Swanton, declared its opposition to the same project.
Mr. Sanders’s target is for the U.S. to get 80% of its energy from renewables by 2050. The plan calls for 25% of Vermont’s energy needs to be produced from wind—a giant expansion. In 2014, according to the American Wind Energy Association, Vermont’s 119 megawatts of installed turbine capacity generated about 4% of the electricity produced in the state.
Vermont’s bill appears to be the first effort by state legislators to outright ban large wind projects, but dozens of governmental entities have rejected or restricted such developments over the past year. In May 2015 commissioners in Stark County, N.D., rejected a $250 million wind project being pushed by Florida-based NextEra Energy, America’s biggest wind-energy producer.
In July the town board of Somerset, N.Y., voted to oppose a proposed 200-megawatt project known as Lighthouse Wind. And the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a ban on large wind turbines in the county’s unincorporated areas.
“Wind turbines create visual blight,” said Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. Skyscraper-size turbines, he added, would “contradict the county’s rural dark skies ordinance which aims to protect dark skies in areas like Antelope Valley and the Santa Monica Mountains.”
In Iowa, a three-turbine wind project pushed by a company called Optimum Renewables has been rejected by three different counties, most recently in August by the Black Hawk County Board of Adjustment, after more than 100 local residents expressed concerns.
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Finding and Using Health Statistics --- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/nichsr/usestats/index.htm
Bob Jensen's threads on economic statistics and databases ---
Medicare Fraud is Rampant ---
"ObamaCare’s Wallet-Buster Health Plans: While insurance premiums
and deductibles soar, Hillary Clinton takes credit for the president’s mess,"
by Nathan Nascimento, The Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2016 ---
. . .
Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, where I work, has analyzed all publicly available information for health-insurance premiums from healthcare.gov and state insurance departments. It then calculated the weighted averages for all health-insurance plans available on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges. The weighted average gives a more accurate view of overall premium increases, because it takes into account each insurance plan’s market share.
The findings: Nationally, premiums for individual health plans increased on average between 2015 and 2016 by 14.9%.
Consumers in every state except Mississippi faced increased premiums, and in no fewer than 29 states the average increases were in the double digits. For a third of states, the average premiums rose 20% or more.
Health-insurance premiums rose by more than 30% in Alaska and Hawaii; Oregon’s average rate increase was 23.2%. California’s premiums on average rose by a modest 1.5%.
Consumers in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois faced increases exceeding 20% on average. The East Coast north of Maryland was the least hard hit (New York’s average premium increase was 6%), although Pennsylvania and New Jersey consumers faced premium increases of 14.6% and 13.1% respectively.
In 11 of the 16 states defined as southern by the U.S. Census Bureau, premiums rose by more than 10%. Premiums rose on average by 13.9%, and by more than 20% in Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina and Oklahoma. In Texas, where data was only available for 98.5% of individual-market health-care plans, premiums rose by 14.1%.
Average premiums in Tennessee rose 35.2%—mostly because of the state’s largest individual-market insurer, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, which sold 82% of all exchange plans in 2015. After losing $141 million on these plans last year, the company had little choice but to request average premium increases of 36.3%. The state insurance commission approved this request, lest the company leave the exchange altogether and leave 231,000 Tennesseans in the lurch.
Minnesota holds the dubious honor of having the highest year-over-year premium increases, 47.7%. Why? Because that state’s BlueCross BlueShield, the largest insurer, with over 90% of the market, lost tens of millions of dollars during the Affordable Care Act’s first two years. The company requested an average 49% rate increase, which was approved by state regulators.
Remember: These premium increases are only one piece of the health-care cost puzzle. Deductibles are also rising under the Affordable Care Act. Silver plans—the most popular on the exchanges—had average deductibles of nearly $3,000 in 2016, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This represents an 8% increase over last year.
Millions of Americans are coming to believe that the Affordable Care Act’s costs far outweigh its benefits. In 2014, the latest year for which data is available, roughly 7.5 million Americans paid the IRS penalty rather than purchase the law’s insurance. This penalty is rising to an average $969 per household in 2016 in an attempt to force people onto the exchanges. Yet even a $1,000 fine is cheap compared to thousands—and sometimes tens of thousands—of dollars for an Affordable Care Act-compliant plan.
Nevertheless, Mrs. Clinton refuses to acknowledge the law’s widespread problems. At the Dec. 19 Democratic presidential debate, she responded to a question about rising premiums and deductibles by calling them “glitches,” and a month later she was claiming credit for the health-care law altogether. But if ObamaCare is HillaryCare by a different name, shouldn’t voters hold her responsible?
Bob Jensen's universal health care messaging --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm
"ObamaCare in Arrears: The losses keep piling up for private
insurers on the exchanges," The Wall Street Journal, January 26, 2016
In her confrontation with Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton always promises to “build on the successes” of ObamaCare, so allow us to recommend a follow-up question: What would those be, precisely? The entitlement is becoming less stable and less entrenched, not more, as it gets older.
The latest jolt is the $475 million loss UnitedHealth Group booked on the insurance exchanges in 2015, which the largest U.S. mega-insurer by membership expects to rise this year to another $500 million. Only three months ago the company projected losses of $400 million to $425 million. Every other line of UnitedHealth’s business is thriving, but the ObamaCare money-pit sunk its year-over-year profit margin to 3.7% from 4.3%.
The explanation for this underperformance: Too many people bought UnitedHealth’s ObamaCare products—despite what CFO Dave Wichmann told analysts was “a comprehensive set of actions to contain membership.” These include raising premiums, eliminating advertising and insurance broker commissions, narrowing the provider network, cutting the customer service budget and “intensified clinical engagement and medical management.” Another term for that last one is bureaucratic nuisance.
Despite UnitedHealth’s labors to seek fewer customers, enrollment has risen to 700,000 from about a half-million. The only recourse left would be to exit ObamaCare altogether, as the company is threatening to do in 2017. Humana has also warned investors that it is taking losses on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, though it hasn’t released a number.
ObamaCare mandates that commercial insurers cover anyone who applies and to charge more or less the same premiums. Supposedly this prevents “discrimination.” But the natural result is that young people who should be cheap to insure don’t sign up to avoid artificially inflated prices, and the risk pool skews older and more expensive. Insurers that charge average premiums thus lose money on every customer. UnitedHealth estimates it loses 15 or 16 cents for every dollar of revenue on the exchanges.
ObamaCare’s rules also make it economically rational for patients to wait until they are about to incur major medical expenses to get covered, which the company says contributed to losses. An annual enrollment period from November to January is supposed to deter such gaming, but the Health and Human Services Department turned it into Swiss cheese by creating “special enrollment periods” for virtually all life events.
A lost job or divorce qualifies—but so does unspecified “confusion” about the health-care system, HHS’s own incompetence and, incredibly, failing to meet the normal enrollment deadline for any reason and lost coverage due to being a premium deadbeat. HHS has no process to validate the claims people make when claiming one of these exemptions.
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Bob Jensen's threads on health care --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm
"Bernie Sanders' healthcare plan would cost $13.8 trillion over 10 years,"
by Eric Pianin, The Fiscal Times, January 20, 2016 ---
"The Fiction Behind Sanders' Health Plan: You can’t demand more
without paying more," by Steve Chapman, Reason Magazine, January 21,
. . .
It would encompass "the entire continuum of care," including long-term care and dentistry. There would be "no more copays, no more deductibles, and no more fighting with insurance companies when they fail to pay for charges." In sum: Every person will have everything he or she wants in the way of care and will pay zero at the point of service.
Contrast that with Medicare, which doesn't cover long-term care or dentistry. It also imposes a deductible for hospital stays and a copay on doctor services. In 2010, the average Medicare recipient spent $4,734 for out-of-pocket costs.
Such obligations are an inconvenience and a burden to patients, but they serve two useful purposes: reducing what taxpayers have to pay and discouraging care that is only marginally helpful. This approach serves to contain costs. Sanders' change would serve to increase them.
He argues that his system will be more far cheaper than private insurance because it will cut down on "overhead, administrative costs and complexity." But a lot of private insurers' costs come from scrutinizing claims to prevent fraud, overtreatment and unnecessary treatment. Agreeing to pay all charges without review, as Sanders proposes, is an invitation to be fleeced.
One reason he thinks the single-payer approach will work so well is that countries like Canada and Britain use it and spend far less than we do on health care. He takes care not to mention one major tool they use to hold down costs: limiting access to procedures that insured Americans take for granted.
"One in four Canadians reported waiting four months or more for elective surgery, similar to the proportion of patients in the United Kingdom (21 percent) but much higher than in Germany (almost 0 percent) and the United States (7 percent)," the Canadian Institute for Health Information found in 2012. One in five Canadians needing knee or hip replacements has to wait more than six months.
The Guardian newspaper reported in 2012 that Britain's National Health Service "has come under growing criticism for making it harder for patients to have operations for routine conditions such as hernia, cataracts, grommets, wisdom teeth, or hip or knee replacement, and denying infertile couples IVF."
Single-payer advocates will argue that such limits are a small price to pay for guaranteeing coverage for everyone. It's a plausible cause that Sanders, alas, is unwilling to make. He would have us believe there will be no limits.
He's hardly unique in pretending we can all get everything we want for a pittance. George W. Bush did the same thing in pushing a new program of Medicare prescription drug coverage without raising payroll taxes to pay for it. It cost the government $78 billion in 2014—only 15 percent of which was covered by premiums from seniors.
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Add to this another $10 trillion for free college education for all and you've got a monumental obligation to be paid by government. But there's really no sweat since the Fed has already proven that printing money is the best way to pay government bills to avoid taxation and debt.
After paying into the Medicare Trust Fund for so many of my working years,
Medicare in retirement is far from free and are based upon retirement income ---
And the Medicare only pays 80% of qualified expenses.
And many of the top physicians and medical clinics will not accept Medicare patients, especially if they do not have expensive supplemental private insurance.
With the Medicare premiums. the supplemental Medicare premiums, and the out-of-pocket costs for medical services and medication expenses beyond Plan D coverage, our out-of-pocket medical costs are nearly $20,000 per year. What's this about Medicare being free after paying in all those years? That's bull sh##!!
And Medicare does not cover long-term care (which we don't need yet) and dentistry (which we do need). Adding these to Medicare would be exceedingly costly to the government.
Actually I'm in favor of a basic national health care plan. But it should be funded with tax dollars so that revenue streams cover costs. The more you add in coverage, the more you tax. And all covered persons should pay something toward their national health insurance, including low income people taxed at progressive rates for medical coverage.
Long term care should entail estate taxation when care is needed. For example, when grandma is put into a nursing home here home and investments should bear much of the cost. Penalties for fraudulent advance bleeding of estate values should be severe such as fraudulent reverse mortgage frauds.
Bob Jensen's threads on health care --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm
Bob Jensen's universal health care messaging --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm
Bob Jensen's Home Page --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/