Tidbits Political Quotations
To Accompany the December 30, 2016 edition of Tidbits
Bob Jensen at
Trinity University

It's hard to beat a person who never gives up.

Babe Ruth, Historic Home Run Hitter
What's sad is to witness what Syria has become because nobody will give up.

Why, we grow rusty and you catch us at the very point of decadence --- by this time tomorrow we may have forgotten everything we ever knew. That's a thought isn't it? We'd be back to where we started --- improvising.
Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Act I)

And "because they're nonstate actors, it's hard for us to get the satisfaction of [Gen.] MacArthur and the [Japanese] Emperor [Hirohito] meeting and the war officially being over," Obama observed, referencing the end of World War II.
President Barack Obama when asked if the USA of the future will be perpetually engaged in war.

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
T.S. Eliot

There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.
Leonard Cohen

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
Margaret Wheatley
Even conversations that are not politically correct.

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
Joseph Campbell

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.
George S. Patton
Why were nearly all poll statisticians thinking alike in 2016?

If you don't know where you're going, you might not get there.
Yogi Berra

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

President Obama and First Lady wish everyone a Merry Christmas ---

Obama: 'I'm confident' I would've won if I ran for president in 2016 ---
Jensen Comment
This type of bragging probably helps Republicans more than Democrats in the future 2018 and 2020 elections.
At this point Obama should speak more softly and carry a bigger stick.
His record is not all that much to brag about among most of his constituencies.

The White House has repeatedly released hundreds Guantanamo detainees to countries it knew lacked the intent and capability to keep the detainees from returning to terrorism ---

SNL's Effort to Help the GOP Win Bigger in 2018 and 2020 ---
Pissing off a shirtless Putin even more is not a good way to stop the hacking
SNL = Sore Nighttime Losers on NBC

Lockheed CEO Vows to Cut Cost of Fighter Jet After Donald Trump Tweet ---
Jensen Comment
It might be interesting if accounting case method researchers study how Lockheed cuts F-35 costs and Boeing cuts Air Force 1 costs after the Trump tweets.

At the start of the 20th century, average life expectancy globally was just 31 years. Today it is 71. Will this progress continue? Matthew Rees reviews two books about the future of progress and innovation ---

Country Singer Ray Stevens Reveals How Election Fraud Typically Takes Place ---

Donald Trump did not get to the White House because of the Kremlin. But America’s response to news of Russian hacking is a measure of how much partisan division has weakened the country ---
The Economist Magazine

Donald Trump Won Because People Are Tired of Political Correctness ---
Bernie Sanders
He also blamed cheating in the Democratic National Committee

Voters Really Did Switch To Trump At The Last Minute  ---

An op-ed published last month by The New York Times argues that “American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender, and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force.” The author, Mark Lilla, a humanities professor at Columbia University, pins the blame, in part, on academe and its fixation on identity politics.
Chronicle of Higher Education Newsletter on December 15, 2016

Political Correctness Offends Me
John Cleese Video
Not Humor
The phrase "living in 1984" relates to "Big Brother" in the writing of George Orwell

Here's the Aftermath of Hillary's Victory That We All Anticipated ---

Two weeks ago the Senate passed, by unanimous consent, the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, an unquestionably well-intentioned attempt to protect Jewish students on campus. Unfortunately the bill runs afoul of the First Amendment. If passed by the House and signed into law, it would encourage the Education Department to further punish constitutionally protected free speech at colleges and universities.

Iowa is the #1 State for Drivers, California is Last ---

Chronicle of  Philanthropy:  The IRS Has Granted Tax-Exempt Status To More Than 60 'Hate Groups' ---

We were frankly more concerned in the run up to the election to the possibilities of vote tampering, which we did not see evidence of . .
President Barack Obama
Jensen Comment
The main concern is with illegally obtained authentic email messages rather than fake messages.

From an MIT Newsletter on December 15, 2016
There’s plenty of publicly available evidence to suggest that Russia could have hacked the election. But there’s not yet enough to say it’s the case with certainty ---
Jensen Comment
For example code using the Russian alphabet is no proof. Hackers from most anywhere can use the Russian alphabet. Alas I've lost most everything I learned after three years of Russian decades ago. But I'm no hacker.

Now We Know How the Russians Did It --- Floppy Disks
Jill Stein:  Voters in 2016 May Have Reprogrammed the Voting Machines with Floppy Disks ---
Jensen Comment
Where were there off line voting machines that could be reprogrammed with floppy disks or even CD disks or even thumb drives?
Were there voting machines connected to the Internet?
In fact where were there voting machines that could be reprogrammed by voters via any means?

Candidate Campaign Stops ---
Wait for the dots to form on the maps
Jensen Comment
Some of the campaign stops are fund raisers where there are probably no hopes of changing the state outcomes where funds were raised. California in particular comes to mind. Purportedly each Clinton vote cost three times that of a Trump vote. If the election was based on popular vote Republicans would've had to have a Presidential candidate who attracted more funds and made more campaign promises in highly populated states.

ERISA of Lack Thereof:  The Supreme Court Case That Can Bankrupt Schools and Hospitals ---

Analysis: In Support of Elizabeth Warren's Stance on Trump's Assets and Establishing a 'Blind Trust' ---

Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain says Andrew McClinton of Leland, Mississippi, who is African-American, is charged with first-degree arson in the burning of an African-American church spray-painted with the words, “Vote Trump. ---

Schumer: Trump's trillion dollar infrastructure plan sounds good to me ---

Students at Oxford University have been told to use the pronoun “ze” rather than “he” or “she” to eliminate discrimination against transgender people.
Jensen Comment
Something may be lost in the politically correct translation.
For example, now "He likes beer, and she likes wine " becomes "Ze likes beer, and Ze likes wine,"
Alas, Ruth Bender points out that the case may be overstated --- 

How to Screw Up a Political Poll ---
19 Things We Learned from the 2016 Election ---
Also read the comments

Political Correctness Police Meanness and Stupidity
Tax Prof Nancy Shurtz Blasts University Of Oregon For Improperly Releasing Error Filled Report As 'Public Retaliation And Shaming'---
Other Examples

5:38 Blog:  How Much Did Wikileaks Hurt Hillary Clinton? ---
Jensen Comment
Correlation is always controversial in assessing causation, more so when a causal variable is confounded with other causal variables.
Personally I think the revelations of her cheating in the debates with Sanders hurt more by resulting in fewer Sanders supporters even voting in the election. She'd be President Hillary Clinton if more Sanders supporters voted in the election.

Country Singer Ray Stevens Reveals How Election Fraud Typically Takes Place ---

Pipeline rupture spews oil into creek 150 miles from Standing Rock. Electronic monitoring equipment failed to detect a pipeline rupture that spewed more than 176,000 gallons of crude oil into a North Dakota creek, according to the pipeline’s operator, about 150 miles from the site of the Standing Rock protests ---

Trump calls Paul Krugman 'demented' for suggesting he has an 'incentive' to benefit from a 9/11-style attack ---
Jensen Question
The question is whether Krugman is more demented that Trump for suggesting such a horrible thing.

The New York Times called for an end to the Electoral College in an editorial on December 19, calling it a “living symbol of America’s original sin.” But the paper was forced to issue an embarrassing correction when the editors all of a sudden remembered that they used to support the Electoral College. Even worse for the Times? That support came in 2000 when another Republican president lost the popular vote but won the Electoral College: Correction: December 20, 2016 An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that the editorial board has been opposed to the Electoral College going...

Michigan’s economy had the fastest growth in the Midwest in the second quarter of 2016 and ranked in the top 10 nationally, according to the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis ---
Hillsdale College Professor: Michigan benefiting from move to more certain tax and regulatory environment

The US is $19.9 trillion in debt — here are the countries we owe the most ---
Jensen Comment
I remember the Jane Fonda1981  movie called "Rollover" where the Arabs refuse to rollover their investment in US debt ---
China has since overtaken the Arabs in holding Uncle Sam somewhere below the belt.

A Chicago man is suing several McDonald’s restaurants because the “Extra Value Meal” is 41 cents more expensive than if each item was separately purchased.---

Democrats scorch Obama over UN vote condemning Israeli settlements ---
Also see

Animated map shows the most dangerous countries in the world for tourists ---

Data from a Few Years Back on the Largest Single Donors to Republicans Versus Democrats ---

Management theory is becoming a compendium of dead ideas. It needs a Reformation
The Economist Magazine

Bob Dylan's Nobel Speech ---

As a performer I've played for 50,000 people and I've played for 50 people and I can tell you that it is harder to play for 50 people. 50,000 people have a singular persona, not so with 50. Each person has an individual, separate identity, a world unto themselves. They can perceive things more clearly. Your honesty and how it relates to the depth of your talent is tried. The fact that the Nobel committee is so small is not lost on me.
Bob Dylan

They say that patriotism is the last refuge
To which a scoundrel clings.
Steal a little and they throw you in jail,
Steal a lot and they make you king.
There's only one step down from here, baby,
It's called the land of permanent bliss. 
What's a sweetheart like you doin' in a dump like this?

Bob Dylan

Well, the rifleman’s stalking the sick and the lame
Preacherman seeks the same, who’ll get there first is uncertain
Nightsticks and water cannons, tear gas, padlocks
Molotov cocktails and rocks behind every curtain
False-hearted judges dying in the webs that they spin
Only a matter of time ’til night comes steppin’ in

Bob Dylan

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son
And what did you see, my darling young one
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin'
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin'
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall

Bob Dylan

Patti Smith Sings Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rains Gonna Fall” at Nobel Prize Ceremony & Gets a Case of the Nerves ---

This Convenient Summary Will Only Be Available Free for a Short Time
The Economist Magazine:  The World This Year (2016)

Washington Post:  At the University of Oregon, no more free speech for professors on subjects such as race, religion, sexual orientation ---

1. Last week, the University of Oregon made clear to its faculty: If you say things about race, sexual orientation, sex, religion and so on that enough people find offensive, you could get suspended (and, following the logic of the analysis) even fired. This can happen even to tenured faculty members; even more clearly, it can happen to anyone else. It’s not limited to personal insults. It’s not limited to deliberate racism or bigotry.

This time it involved someone making herself up as a black man at a costume party (as it happens, doing so in order to try to send an antiracist message). But according to the university’s logic, a faculty member could be disciplined for displaying the Mohammed cartoons, if it caused enough of a furor. Or a faculty member could be disciplined for suggesting that homosexuality may be immoral or dangerous. Or for stating that biological males who view themselves as female should be viewed as men, not as women. Or for suggesting that there are, on average, biological differences in temperament or talents between men and women.

All such speech at the University of Oregon will risk your being suspended or perhaps even worse. Orthodoxy, enforced on threat of institutional punishment, is what the University of Oregon is now about.

2. This all began with a Halloween party hosted by tenured University of Oregon law school professor Nancy Shurtz. (I rely on the facts as described in the university’s report; Shurtz has questioned some of the factual assertions in this report, but these ones appear accurate.) Shurtz had invited her students, something law professors sometimes do; about a dozen students came, and about a dozen nonstudents did, too).

Shurtz had told the students that she would be “going as a popular book title”; she didn’t tell the students up front what it was, but the book was the recent (and acclaimed) “Black Man in a White Coat,” a black doctor’s “reflections on race and medicine” (according to the subtitle). Shurtz’s “costume incorporated a white doctor’s lab coat, a stethoscope, black makeup on her face and hands, and a black curly wig resembling an afro.” The university report states that Shurtz “was inspired by this book and by the author, that she greatly admires [the author] and wanted to honor him, and that she dressed as the book because she finds it reprehensible that there is a shortage of racial diversity, and particularly of black men, in higher education.”

. . .

And, of course, this would be even clearer as to deliberate negative commentary on a particular group:

Sharp criticism of Islam.

Claims that homosexuality is immoral.

Claims that there are biological differences in aptitude and temperament, on average, between men and women.

Rejection of the view that gender identity can be defined by self-perception, as opposed to biology.

Harsh condemnation of soldiering (that would be harassment based on “service in the uniformed services” or “veteran status”).

Condemnation of people who have children out of wedlock (that would be harassment based on “marital … status” and “family status”).

All of these could be punishable harassment under the university report’s analysis, if they generate enough controversy. And this is so even if they are just general political statements, without any targeted insults of particular individuals. The expression of certain views, however linked they may be to important public debates, is forbidden to University of Oregon professors, at least once the views create enough controversy.

Continued in article

"Taking the Right Seriously Conservatism is a tradition, not a pathology," by Mark Lilla, Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, September 11, 2009 ---

"Campus Identity Politics Is Dooming Liberal Causes, a Professor Charges ," by Evan R. Goldstein, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 15, 2016 ---

The day after the presidential election, Mark Lilla had to get something off his chest. "I wrote in a fever," he says. The article that resulted, which appeared in The New York Times, argues that "American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender, and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force."

Mr. Lilla, a professor of humanities at Columbia University, pinned the blame, in part, on academe and its fixation on identity politics. "How to explain to the average voter the supposed moral urgency of giving college students the right to choose … gender pronouns?" he asked. "How not to laugh along with those voters at the story of a University of Michigan prankster who wrote in ‘His Majesty’?"

The article has provoked an avalanche of response and rebuttal. "Stop blaming our society’s political and social crises on campus-based demands for color- and gender- coded justice that reflect the crises far more than they cause them," wrote Jim Sleeper, a lecturer in political science at Yale University, in the Times. "It is unconscionable, this know-better recrimination, directed at the very people who just put the most work and energy into defeating Trumpism, coming from those who will be made least vulnerable by Trump’s ascension," wrote Rebecca Traister in New York magazine.

A Columbia colleague accused Mr. Lilla of aiding and abetting white supremacy. The article also struck a chord in Europe, where it was republished on the front page of Le Monde and debated in newspapers across the continent. Mr. Lilla has been interviewed nonstop for a month and is considering writing a book on identity politics.

After checking the NFL schedule, he found time to talk with The Chronicle last weekend about political correctness, being likened to David Duke, and why academics need to watch more Fox News.

Are colleges too obsessed with diversity?

They’re too obsessed with identity. There’s a subtle distinction. Diversity as a social goal and aim of social reform is an excellent thing. But identity politics today isn’t about group belonging; it’s about personal identity. From the ’70s into the ’90s, there was a shift in focus from group identity to the self as the intersection of different kinds of identities. Identity became more narcissistic and less connected to larger political themes. For many students, their political interest and engagement end at the border of how they’ve defined themselves.

Continued in article

Donald Trump Won Because People Are Tired of Political Correctness ---
Senator Bernie Sanders

"The Coddling of the American Mind:  In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like. Here’s why that’s disastrous for education—and mental health," by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, The Atlantic, September 2015 ---

Political Correctness and Other Academic Freedom Issues ---

These striking images show just how overcrowded China's population really is ---

Reverend Malthus Math --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malthusianism
Animated Map Shows How It Took 200,000 Years for Human Population to Reach 1 Billion, and Only Another 200 Years to Get to 7 Billion ---

At the start of the 20th century, average life expectancy globally was just 31 years. Today it is 71. Will this progress continue? Matthew Rees reviews two books about the future of progress and innovation ---

Reverend Malthus Math --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malthusianism
Animated Map Shows How It Took 200,000 Years for Human Population to Reach 1 Billion, and Only Another 200 Years to Get to 7 Billion ---

Jensen Comment
The most rapid and fearsome explosions of world population are in Asia and Africa. It occurred to me that the fastest way to destroy the United Nations would be to have all UN representatives be chosen by popular vote. What would happen is that Asia and Africa would take over the UN and the NATO countries and Russia would probably pull out, thereby defeating the purpose of the UN in unifying the world.

Will the State of Washington only tax Amazon shipments to residents of the State of Washington?
Will UPS only pay a gross revenue tax on shipping revenues within the State of Washington?
Will business gross revenue taxes nationalize state funding of schools across the USA?
Washington State:  Gov. Inslee proposes billions in new business taxes to boost school funding

Jensen Comment
The article makes the business gross revenue tax all sound like milk and honey for the K-12 education system until you read the last paragraph of the article.

A tax on gross revenues as opposed to net income tends to clobber companies that are operating on the margin, especially startup companies that try to attract investment and credit on the basis of net revenue growth as opposed to profits.

In retail businesses such as Wal-Mart such taxes are usually passed on local customers in the way of price hikes and labor cutbacks. However, for businesses that compete nationally or globally with other businesses not subject to gross revenue taxes this kind of state tax can be devastating in terms of discouraging new businesses, retaining businesses within a state, and preventing bankruptcy of businesses that are already losing money like shopping malls.

What makes matters even worse is when towns add local revenue taxes on businesses being burdened by new state revenue taxes. For example, Portland, Oregon just added a new controversial revenue tax to help the homeless.

The purposes of these gross revenue taxes are all worthwhile (e.g. for education of children and for homeless shelters). But the question is whether such taxes end up being dysfunctional in the long run to future tax revenues and economic growth.

It would seem that there might be more equitable and economically-viable alternative sources of revenue for the State of Washington. For example, this State does not yet have a personal income tax. Perhaps a personal income tax would be less devastating to the economy than an increase in the gross revenue tax on businesses operating within the state. The problem is that many voters, particularly uneducated voters, simply see fat-cat corporations as pińatas for more and more tax money for public services.

The analogy here is butchering some of your youngest milk cows for hamburger. Doing so may get you through the winter, but there's no milk sales revenues from dead cows next summer.

Will this nationalize K-12 school funding?

Here in New Hampshire my relatively high property taxes fund both our local schools and about 10% of my property taxes are redistributed to poorer school districts in New Hampshire. In other states most of the funding for schools comes from in-state residents and tourist spending within the states. There are exceptions such as the State of Alaska where the price of oil exported from Alaska contributes much of the school funding in some school districts.

Most of the USA  funding of K-12 schools is tax deductible on Federal tax returns, especially for local property taxes, state income taxes, sales taxes, etc.

I buy a lot (almost daily) from Amazon and spend more for goods from Amazon than I pay in property taxes in New Hampshire.
Amazon is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.
Now the State of Washington is replacing property tax funding of schools (paid by residents of Washington) with a gross revenue tax on in-state corporations it dawned on me that I will soon be paying for K-12 schools in both New Hampshire and Washington. Adding to my tax misery is the Washington State gross revenue tax on a portion of each of the UPS shipping costs that I pay on most of the goods I receive from Amazon.

Adding pain to misery here is that my funding of the K-12 schools in the State of Washington is not tax deductible on my Federal tax return, whereas my funding of these schools in New Hampshire is tax deductible.

I'm going to request that Amazon ship more of my goods via the US Postal Service since the State of Washington cannot tax postage revenues. The USPS may become profitable once again after decades of losing billions every year.

What's more important is that the Amazon gross revenue tax funding of corporations will probably catch on in all 50 states such that the funding of K-12 schools will go from state funding to national funding.

Am I missing something in my interpretation of the State of Washington's new gross revenue tax for school funding?

Will the State of Washington only tax Amazon shipments to residents of the State of Washington?
Will UPS only pay a gross revenue tax on shipping revenues within the State of Washington?
If not, I think this gross revenue tax of State of Washington schools is unconstitutional since worldwide customers have no say on how much is spent on Washington's schools or how school funding is allocated such as paying for bigger and better Washington schools than the other 49 states thanks to Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing, etc. When I think about it, Iran might be paying for the State of Washington schools in the billions of dollars in may soon be paying to Boeing.

In any case the gross revenue tax of business is regressive since worldwide customers are mostly poor and middle class buyers who end up paying the tax in the form of higher purchase prices and shipping costs?

Proposed Destination Tax:  A plan to tax US imports has better odds of becoming law than many people think ---

A controversial proposal to tax all goods and services coming into the United States has a better chance of becoming law than many on Wall Street suspect.

The so-called "border-adjusted" tax is part of the House tax overhaul plan that also would reduce the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. The idea is to tax goods as they come into the country from overseas, but to avoid taxing U.S. exports at all. For instance, a car imported into the U.S. from Mexico would be taxed, but the American-made steel sent to Mexico would not.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
It's unrealistic to assume that other nations buying USA exports would not similarly react with their own border-adjusted taxes.

The net effect will be to severely restrain world trade. This in my opinion is a lousy idea.


If this was such a good deal Chicago and Detroit would've imposed such a surtax years ago.

. . .

The Portland, Oregon, city council has voted to pass a first-of-its-kind measure that would levy a tax on public companies whose CEO-to-workers pay ratio is more than 100-1. Portland to vote on taxing companies if CEO earns 100 times more than staff Read more

The new tax, which seeks to address income inequality, was voted in 3-1 by the council on Wednesday. It increases corporate income tax by 10% if a company’s CEO has a salary ratio of above 100-1, and by 25% if the CEO has a ratio of 250-1 or more.

Officials expect that the measure will raise $2.5m a year from January 2018, with former environmental lawyer Steve Novick, the city commissioner who proposed the measure, saying that the revenue is intended to be used to pay for programs for homeless people.

There are around 540 publicly traded companies that do enough business in Portland to be subject to the business income tax under current law, Novick said. It is unclear how many of those have CEO-to-worker pay ratios that would make them subject to the increased surcharge.

Novick said he had decided to come up with a measure to address the problems of income inequality while reading French economist Thomas Piketty’s book Capital.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Keep in mind that this is not a tax on those fat-corporations. It's a regressive tax on shoppers in the City of Portland. The people paying most of the tax will be the poor and middle-class residents of Portland. For example, the prices of things like groceries may end up higher in Portland than its surrounding suburbs. Affected companies may lay off some Portland workers to protect profits. For example, inside the city the checkout lines and service counter lines may be longer than in similar stores in the suburbs.

And to the extent that the affected companies avoid investing in real estate and new jobs in Portland the city hurts in spite of the revenue raised by this new corporate income tax.

 It's probable that homeless people and panhandlers in Portland's suburbs and nearby cities like Eugene, Tacoma, and  Seattle will be attracted to the better free food and facilities for them in downtown Portland.

The criterion of taxing only businesses having highly-paid CEOs is just a smoke and mirrors excuse to tax the poor and middle class workers in Portland, Oregon.

The roses were previously wilting in the City of Roses after the surtax on large corporation operations in Portland (irrespective of CEO pay). This simply adds to the wilt.

I'm reminded that over half the license plates in our closest Wal-Mart parking lot are green due to shoppers seeking to avoid Vermont's sales tax, especially on big ticket items like tires, television sets, and computers. In return many of the homeless people moved from New Hampshire to Vermont because of the much better welfare benefits in Vermont. Meanwhile physicians and other high income people in Vermont moved across the border into New Hampshire to avoid Vermont's high state income tax. There's a big Morgan Stanley investment firm building in Lebanon, New Hampshire serving thousands of physicians, some of whom set up private practices just across the border from Vermont. There's no Morgan Stanley building on the other side of the Connecticut River.

This is the best research we've seen on how many Americans are really struggling financially, and it is heartbreaking ---

Jensen Comment
The article does not stress what seems to me to be obvious in the graphic --- raising the minimum wage may be dysfunctional. For example, California, Oregon, and Washington that have raised minimum rages have some of the worst problems with counties struggling financially. Firstly, there's a problem with cost of living. A minimums wage of $25 per hour might not be enough in those states counties where living costs are relatively high. For example, in San Francisco nearly all low-wage workers have to be homeless or cummute long distances from outside the city. This is not the case in San Antonio, Texas.

 Secondly, there's a problem of how businesses and local governments deal with minimum wages. One problem is outsourcing such as when a university or courthouse outsourcers its janitorial services. A related problem is to cut back on working hours as wage rates increase. Another problem, especially in California and Oregon is discouraging new business ventures due to taxation and regulations. For example, the Town of Portland, Oregon just imposed a surtax on some companies (like Wal-Mart) to raise money to help the homeless. This may help the homeless at the expense of low-wage workers who will actually see their incomes decline due to working less hours and losing opportunities for jobs in companies that now shirk moving into Portland.

Will the Minimum Wage Debate Ever Be Settled? ---

Jensen Comment
About the only thing we can conclude is that minimum wages have differing impacts in differing circumstances such as local employment markets, worker ages, living costs, and fringe benefits such as the value of training/apprenticeships. In a really free market economy some workers might benefit greatly from working for nothing if the training is extremely valuable. And we have to consider the prospects of workers on minimum wages. Wal-Mart has low wages but in most instances those wages are above minimum wage. But Wal-Mart also offers solid promotion tracks for quality workers, and the promotions in almost all instances are relatively attractive even if the work itself can be boring and stressful at the same time.

Minimum wage impact data from Seattle may be highly misleading when compared to similar studies in San Antonio.

Minimum wage impact data may be quite different when comparing Burger King in San Antonio with construction workers in San Antonio. This is because Burger King resists hiring undocumented workers nationwide whereas in San Antonio there are probably more undocumented construction workers in the underground (cash-only) market than those who work for reported wages and fringe benefits. In my opinion raising the minimum wage in San Antonio will only strengthen the underground market job supply. Authorities are hesitant to shut down the underground labor supply since doing so will badly hurt thousands and thousands of families of undocumented workers.

Comparing minimum wages in Europe with the USA is also misleading. In spite of the current media coverage of immigration issues in Europe, those issues are relatively small compared to immigration issues for people easily getting into the USA from Latin and South America

The New York Times:  the Finnish government will randomly choose 2,000 unemployed people and pay them a regular wage for doing nothing, no strings attached ---

Jensen Comment
This is a variation of the Cuban Model wherein every Cuban gets free housing, free education, free medical services, free transportation, and free coupon books for food and beer. Unlike Finland, however, there's not much incentive to become employed since the maximum wage allowed is $27 per day.

This Finnish Model is an experiment akin to a negative income tax favored by conservative economist Milton Friedman. Neither the Finnish Model nor the Negative Income Tax Model, however, would work well in large economies having  massive underground (cash-only) economies where many people supposedly being low in income are really secretly employed for cash supplementing their reported incomes. Examples of economies having huge underground economies include the USA and India. India is now trying to fight back against the underground economy by replacing cash with digital payment systems having records of payments. However, thus far the experiment in India is a disaster since it was too big a transition implemented much too quickly.

There's potential unfairness in the Finnish Model and the Negative Income Tax Model for people living alone versus people living in co-habitation such as is common in marriage. It is harder to live alone on a $40,000 cash benefit than to live with another person and doubling up two $40,000 cash payments or living with another person earning $200,000 per year.

The Cuban model is better in many instances to giving cash for not working since many people are irresponsible with money ---  such as letting the kids go hungry and not paying the rent so that the cash can be spent on booze, drugs, gambling, cruises, etc.

However good it sounds on paper, however, the Cuban model is not sustainable. The same can probably be said for the new Finnish Model and the Negative Income Tax Model. They can probably only work in a nation having an enormous windfall to support enormous numbers of people who do not work --- Kuwait comes first to mind before the crash in oil prices. Norway could not make it on oil money alone even before oil prices crashed.. North Korea would like to win by extortion where the rest of the world pays enormous amounts to prevent North Korea from selling WMDs to terrorists. There's great risk to this strategy, however, since North Korea might be destroyed in retaliation if terrorists use those WMDs.

The Atlantic: Fidel Knew the 'Cuban Model' Couldn't Last Forever ---

. . .

His self-awareness evinced itself most notably during a discussion about the relevance of Cuban revolutionary socialism. I had asked him if he believed that the Cuban model was still something worth exporting. He answered, “The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore.” As I wrote at the time, this struck me as the mother of all Emily Litella moments—it seemed as if the leader of the Revolution had just said, in essence, “never mind.”

Continued in article

In Cuba where the goal was to eliminate inequality, Fidel Castro found that his ration books, free housing, free public transportation, and minimal wages destroyed incentives to work.

"Report: Castro says Cuban model doesn't work," by Paul Haven. Associated Press, Yahoo News, September 8, 2010 ---

Fidel Castro told a visiting American journalist that Cuba's communist economic model doesn't work, a rare comment on domestic affairs from a man who has conspicuously steered clear of local issues since stepping down four years ago.

The fact that things are not working efficiently on this cash-strapped Caribbean island is hardly news. Fidel's brother Raul, the country's president, has said the same thing repeatedly. But the blunt assessment by the father of Cuba's 1959 revolution is sure to raise eyebrows.

Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine, asked if Cuba's economic system was still worth exporting to other countries, and Castro replied: "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore" Goldberg wrote Wednesday in a post on his Atlantic blog.

He said Castro made the comment casually over lunch following a long talk about the Middle East, and did not elaborate. The Cuban government had no immediate comment on Goldberg's account.

Since stepping down from power in 2006, the ex-president has focused almost entirely on international affairs and said very little about Cuba and its politics, perhaps to limit the perception he is stepping on his brother's toes.

Goldberg, who traveled to Cuba at Castro's invitation last week to discuss a recent Atlantic article he wrote about Iran's nuclear program, also reported on Tuesday that Castro questioned his own actions during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, including his recommendation to Soviet leaders that they use nuclear weapons against the United States.

Even after the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba has clung to its communist system.

The state controls well over 90 percent of the economy, paying workers salaries of about $20 a month in return for free health care and education, and nearly free transportation and housing. At least a portion of every citizen's food needs are sold to them through ration books at heavily subsidized prices.

President Raul Castro and others have instituted a series of limited economic reforms, and have warned Cubans that they need to start working harder and expecting less from the government. But the president has also made it clear he has no desire to depart from Cuba's socialist system or embrace capitalism.

Fidel Castro stepped down temporarily in July 2006 due to a serious illness that nearly killed him.

He resigned permanently two years later, but remains head of the Communist Party. After staying almost entirely out of the spotlight for four years, he re-emerged in July and now speaks frequently about international affairs. He has been warning for weeks of the threat of a nuclear war over Iran.

Castro's interview with Goldberg is the only one he has given to an American journalist since he left office.

.Watch a 2-Year-Old Solve Philosophy’s Famous Ethical “Trolley Problem” (It Doesn’t End Well) ---
Jensen Comment
 Erika and I yesterday watched the Helen Mirren film entitled "Eye in the Sky" ---
That movie centers on a drone strike in Kenya where the debate concerns whether collateral damage with a 65% chance of knowingly killing one child outweighs an almost certain chance of killing 80 people in a mall (where the terrorists cause the deaths).
I'm told that some of the technologies in the "Eye in the Sky" movie will not become realities for a few years.

There's are added considerations beyond the morality of the decision to incur the collateral damage of one child's death. This is mentioned in the "Eye in the Sky" movie. The added considerations are the externalities of media coverage. The terrorists take a media hit if they kill 80 innocent shoppers in a mall. The military takes a media hit if it kills one innocent child. That media hit can affect the amount of future funding of the military.

Harvard:  Solar Is Being Held Back by Regulations, Not Technology ---

Obama's Parting Shot at Birds
nearly four times the current limit
"Final wind-turbine rule permits thousands of eagle deaths," Matthew Daly, Associated Press, San Francisco Chronicle, December 14, 2016 ---

The Obama administration on Wednesday finalized a rule that lets wind-energy companies operate high-speed turbines for up to 30 years — even if means killing or injuring thousands of federally protected bald and golden eagles.

Under the new rule, wind companies and other power providers will not face a penalty if they kill or injure up to 4,200 bald eagles, nearly four times the current limit. Deaths of the more rare golden eagles would be allowed without penalty so long as companies minimize losses by taking steps such as retrofitting power poles to reduce the risk of electrocution.

The new rule will conserve eagles while also spurring development of a pollution-free energy source intended to ease global warming, a cornerstone of President Barack Obama's energy plan, said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.

"No animal says America like the bald eagle," Ashe said in a statement, calling recovery of the bald eagle "one of our greatest national conservation achievements."

The new rule attempts to build on that success, Ashe said, adding that the Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to balance energy development with eagle conservation. Wind power has increased significantly since Obama took office, and wind turbines as tall as 30-story buildings are rising across the country. The wind towers have spinning rotors as wide as a passenger jet's wingspan, and blades reach speeds of up to 170 mph at the tips, creating tornado-like vortexes.

The surge in wind power has generally been well-received in the environmental community, but bird deaths — and eagle deaths in particular — have been a source of contention.

The birds are not endangered species but are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The laws prohibit killing, selling or otherwise harming eagles, their nests or eggs without a permit.

 It's unclear what toll wind energy companies are having on eagle populations, although Ashe said as many 500 golden eagles a year are killed by collisions with wind towers, power lines, buildings, cars and trucks. Thousands more are killed by gunshots and poisonings.

Continued in article

49.000 Wind Turbines Now Exist Across 30 States
Sure, it’s green energy—but it also results in hundreds of thousands of bird deaths each year

Audubon Society

Wind turbines kill an estimated 140,000 to 328,000 birds each year in North America, making it the most threatening form of green energy.

And yet, it’s also one of the most rapidly expanding energy industries: more than 49,000 individual wind turbines now exist across 39 states. The wind industry has the incentive to stop the slaughter: Thanks to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it’s illegal to kill any bird protected by the Act—even if the death is "incidental," meaning it occurs unintentionally on the part of the wind farm.

The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act recommends that to avoid eagle deaths, specifically, companies seriously consider where they site their wind developments, and that they also limit turbines’ impact using techniques like radar to detect incoming birds. But as the accident at the Peńascal wind farm shows, it’s unclear if deterrents like these actually work. The Ways Wind Farms Try to Scare Birds Away There are many kinds of retrofits that people are testing to hopefully make wind turbines better for birds.

Here are some of the options (the Audubon Society thinks clean energy is more important that the banning of windmills).

Continued in article

Photographs from Rhode Island:  America's first offshore wind farm just launched with GE turbines twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty ---

Jensen Comment

Here in New England many environmentalists see the Block Island wind farm as a horrid example of dirty politics ---

Environmentalists complain that Deep Water picked this island so because they would not be regulated properly ---

Having made his living in the utility industry, Warfel, a 17-year island resident, said he analyzed the project as well as Block Island’s power problems, and concluded that they could have been solved much more cheaply with energy conservation and on-island resources. He accused the Block Island Power Co. of being a “rogue utility” not properly regulated by the state that left the island vulnerable to Deepwater’s pitch. “I see no joy in taking this historic viewshed and adulterating it for the benefit of D.E. Shaw,” he said.

Illinois:  The Land of the Leaving ---

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s Illinois turnaround project got a boost when state Democrats lost their veto-proof majority in November. Some bipartisan reform can’t come soon enough given this week’s news that taxpayers are fleeing the Land of Lincoln in record numbers (leading the nation).

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
At the same time Michigan is troubled state having considerable success in an economic turn aound.

Costs Environmentalists Don't Like to Measure or Disclose

EV = Electric Vehicle

Washington Post:  Indigenous people are left poor as tech world takes lithium from under their feet --- "
And we give taxpayer subsidies so the 1% won't have to pay quite so much for their luxuray Tesla elecric cars.

. . .

The silvery-white metal is essential for the lithium-ion batteries that power smartphones, laptops and electric vehicles, and the popularity of these products has prompted a land rush here. Mining companies have for years been extracting billions of dollars of lithium from the Atacama region in Chile, and now firms are flocking to the neighboring Atacama lands in Argentina to hunt for the mineral known as “white gold.” But the impoverished Atacamas have seen little of the riches.

. . .

In visits to all six of the indigenous communities, which lie on a mountain-ringed desert about 25 miles from Argentina’s northwest border with Chile, The Post found a striking contrast — faraway companies profiting from mineral riches while the communities that own the land struggle to pay for sewage systems, drinking water and heat for schools.

“We know the lithium companies are taking millions of dollars from our lands,” said Luisa Jorge, a leader in Susques, one of the six communities around the salt flats. “The companies are conscious of this. And we know they ought to give something back. But they’re not.”

Many in the communities also are worried that the lithium plants, which use vast amounts of water, will deepen existing shortages in the region, which receives less than four inches of rain a year. At least one of the six communities, Pastos Chicos, already has to have potable water trucked in.

Continued in article

Your Tesla might be worse for the environment than a gas car

. . .

Where did that battery come from?

Carl Sagan is famed for saying, “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows about science and technology.” He could have been talking directly about lithium-ion batteries. Chances are you are sitting within three feet of something that uses lithium-ion technology, heck you are probably reading these words thanks to lithium-ion batteries. Yet, not that many people really understand what goes into them.

So how do they work? Like any battery, lithium-ions work by creating a flow of current (electrons) between a positively charged (missing electrons) cathode and a negatively charged anode (extra electrons), through a conductive electrolyte. Lithium makes a great battery because it is both very conductive, making it a good electrolyte, allows for extremely high electrical potential. And of course, because this electrochemical reaction is reversible, the batteries are readily rechargeable.

As great as lithium is for batteries, it has a dark side as well: The stuff is downright nasty. Lithium is flammable and highly reactive, as anyone who has seen photos of burning a Tesla can attest, but that’s the least of our worries. The EPA has linked the use of extremely powerful solvents in the creation of lithium electrolytes and cathodes to everything from cancer to neurological problems. Specifically, the cobalt used in the creation of the most energy dense lithium-ion batteries is poisonous and extremely carcinogenic. Pulmonary, neurological, and respiratory problems have all been connected to cobalt exposure.

A good rule of thumb is that any industrial process that makes liberal use of the word ‘slurry’ is not good for pandas, or for that matter people. And, boy, does slurry come up a lot in the battery-making process.

Other combinations of lithium are not as bad, but none is exactly good. The lithium-iron phosphate used in lower energy density batteries is better in terms of its carcinogenic effect, but might be worse in terms of the impact on the biosphere.

Is it getting hot in here?

Clearly then, EVs and plug-in hybrids have environmental costs. What effects however, do lithium-ion batteries have on John Q. Polar Bear? Well, a recent study from Norway looked at the global-warming potential of the complete lifecycle of EVs, from mining to recycling. Previous studies hadn’t accounted for the energy-intensive process of building EVs, and missed the point: They’re not that much better than gasoline cars.

The best outcome for EVs was a 24-percent improvement in global-warming potential over the average gas powered car, and between 10 percent and 14 percent over diesel. These numbers are nothing to sneeze at, but they change radically depending on the source of electricity that EVs are powered on.

The above numbers rely on the European power mix, which more heavily favors nuclear, hydroelectric, and renewable sources of energy than other parts of the world.

The global warming potential for EVs that rely on natural gas – generally considered to be the cleanest fossil fuel – show an improvement of only 12 percent over gasoline, and break even with diesel.

Most alarming, EVs that depend on coal for their electricity are actually 17 percent to 27 percent worse than diesel or gas engines. That is especially bad for the United States, because we derive close to 45 percent of our electricity from coal. In states like Texas, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, that number is much closer to 100 percent. That’s right folks; for residents of some of the most populous states, buying an EV is not only toxic, it’s warming the planet more than its gas-powered counterparts.

With cars that supposedly generate “zero tailpipe emissions,” how are these pollution numbers even possible? The simple answer is that as well as being messy to produce; battery production requires a tremendous amount of electricity. The initial production of the vehicle and the batteries together make up something like 40 percent of the total carbon footprint of an EV – nearly double that of an equivalent gasoline-powered vehicle.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
In fairness coal is on it's way out is some nations, but not in India, China, and various coal-rich nations. Cleaner natural gas, propane, nuclear fuel, and hydrogen will still be major power sources on the grid for years to come  All these sources of grid power to recharge batteries are relatively costly..

The Atlantic:  In a Decade, Oklahoma's Earthquakes Will Be Normal Again (but watch out for next year) ---

Housing Affordability:  Canada vs. the U.K. vs. Australia vs. the USA ---

Professional Athlete Scammer
Feds arrest woman accused of stealing from Ricky Williams and Dennis Rodman (and others) ---

Jensen Comment
Sadly, rich athletes and their money are soon parted in too many instances.

Watchdog Group That Does Not Watch Itself
David Brock and Media Matters for America--- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Brock "

Uncovered financial statements expose Media Matters. The organization received $1,052,500 in sublet rental income from 2010 to 2014, but failed to report this income to the IRS. Instead, key players pocketed this money for their own personal use. David Brock, recently described by Politico as “the Democrats’ dark-arts master,” has some explaining to do ---
Also see

How Big Banks Are Putting Rain Forests in Peril ---

Environmental groups raced to the scene in West Kalimantan province, on the island of Borneo, to find a charred wasteland: smoldering fires, orangutans driven from their nests, and signs of an extensive release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

“There was pretty much no forest left,” said Karmele Llano Sánchez, director of the nonprofit International Animal Rescue’s orangutan rescue group, which set out to save the endangered primates. “All the forest had burned.”

Fingers pointed to the Rajawali Group, a sprawling local conglomerate known for its ties to powerful politicians like Malaysia’s scandal-plagued prime minister. But lesser known is how some of the world’s largest banks have helped Rajawali — and other global agricultural powerhouses — expand their plantation empires.

The year before the clearing of trees in West Kalimantan, Rajawali’s plantation arm secured $235 million in loans — funds that the Indonesian company used to buy out a partner and bolster its landholdings — from banks including Credit Suisse and Bank of America, according to an examination of lending data by The New York Times.

Continued in article

Is it illegal to take video of shoppers in Germany?

Based upon what I'm hearing about the truck terror in Berlin in 2016 it leads me to suspect that nobody in Germany can be filmed such as at ATM machines and in stores. If this is true, then this plus the lax German punishments for crime have to really, really encourage shoplifting and other crimes that are restrained in the USA by video surveillance.

Shoplifting on the Rise in Germany (the average cost has risen to about 50 euros per German household)

Waterboarding is Not Torture ---

. . .

During the war on terror, the CIA alone had been authorized to use the technique. I personally waterboarded the only three terrorists subjected to the tactic by the CIA. I also waterboarded two U.S. government lawyers, at their request, when they were trying to decide for themselves whether the practice was “torture.” They determined it was not.

I volunteered to be waterboarded myself and can assure you that it is not a pleasant experience. But no one volunteers to be tortured.

Waterboarding was never the first, nor the best, choice for most detainees. We started out with the “tea and sympathy” approach and only escalated to harsher methods when it became clear that the detainee held vital information that might save innocent lives and was determined not to provide it. We quickly moved away from enhanced interrogations as soon as the detainee showed even a little cooperation.

The people I dealt with were not run-of-the-mill battlefield detainees, but hardened terrorists. Men like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. These people were hellbent on bringing about further devastation.

I would ask Gen. Mattis this: Imagine being captured by America’s enemies. Would you give up important secrets that could get fellow Americans captured or killed in exchange for a Michelob and a pack of Marlboros?

In our case, it is not as if we had unlimited time to see if we could buddy up to terrorists to find out if another attack was on the horizon. There were multiple attacks being planned at the time. For example, not long after 9/11 the CIA was told of an al Qaeda effort to obtain nuclear fissionable material. When KSM was captured in 2003, we asked whether another major attack was in the works, and he responded, “Soon you will know.” We didn’t have time to dither.

Critics will point to the 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report that declared enhanced interrogation didn’t work. The investigation cost $40 million and took five years, yet investigators didn’t even speak to anyone involved in the program. Anyway, a report produced by an extremely partisan congressional committee deserves skepticism to begin with.

I am not advocating that Mr. Trump “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,” as he suggested during the campaign. But the president-elect needs to think through what to do when the U.S. captures a major terrorist who likely has information about an impending nuclear, chemical or biological attack. Is he prepared to say that if intelligence cannot be elicited using only the tactics contained in the Army Field Manual—as President Obama has directed—we will simply have to live with the consequences?

Some in government have argued that for the U.S. to maintain the moral high ground, all harsh interrogation tactics should remain illegal, as they have been since the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2016 was enacted.

Yet in a ticking-time-bomb scenario, should CIA officers just do whatever is necessary and hope for clemency in the trial that would follow? As someone who was thrown under the bus by the Obama Justice Department, I believe it is unreasonable to expect CIA officers to put their lives at risk to protect a government that will not do its best to protect them in return. Overemphasize political correctness, and we will be standing on the moral high ground, looking down into a smoking hole that used to be several city blocks.

Mr. Mitchell, a retired Air Force officer and former CIA contractor, is the author of “Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America,” out last month from Crown Forum.

Jensen Comment
Waterboarding use in much a matter of what's at stake. Many leaders who say their aborted by the thought, including President Obama or Mayor DeBlasio,  would do it in a New York minute if the future of NYC was at stake in an almost certain pending threat of use of a WMD in New York City. Finding perpetrators of disasters after the fact, such as the implosion of the Twin Towers, is not nearly as serious as preventing the implosion of an entire city.





    Finding and Using Health Statistics --- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/nichsr/usestats/index.htm

    Best Medical Schools in the World (2013) ---
    More of the Top 50 are in the USA relative to any other nation.

    World Health Organization ranking of health systems in 2000 ---

    From Our World in Data
    Financing Health Care
    --- https://ourworldindata.org/financing-healthcare/
    Lots of interesting comparisons here
    Added considerations should be that having insurance with enormous deductibles is like having no insurance for people who cannot afford thousands of dollars in deductibles before the insurance kicks in,"
    Added considerations include having insurance that the major providers (hospitals and doctors) refuse to accept is like having no insurance.

    Something you will never hear in a speech by President Obama
    Major hospitals in Chicago will no longer serve patients insured in Obamacare exchanges (except in true emergencies) ---

    News Item Prior to November 8 Election of President Trump
    Major Chicago Hospitals Not In 2017 Obamacare Marketplace Plans -

    Some of Chicago’s largest hospitals said they will not be part of any Cook County Affordable Care Act marketplace plans in 2017.


    University of Chicago Medical Center and Rush University Medical Center both said they don’t plan to be in network for any Obamacare marketplace plans next year. 



    The change means patients with doctors at those hospitals will either need to find a plan off the marketplace, and lose Obamacare subsides, or find a new doctor.


    Northwestern Memorial Hospital said it will also be out of the marketplace, but will have exceptions for some of its partner hospitals.

    Continued in article

    According to emergency room physicians Obamacare made it much worse for emergency rooms.
    American College of Emergency Room Physicians
    The Uninsured: Access to Medical Care Fact Sheet ---


    World Health Organization: World Health Statistics 2015 --- http://www.who.int/gho/publications/world_health_statistics/2015/en/

    Updates from WebMD --- http://www.webmd.com/

    Medical Malpractice Lottery for Lawyers or Criminals or Both ---

    Bob Jensen's Threads and Timeline for  Obamacare ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on medicine ---

    From Vox (a left-leaning Website) ---
    Why many Obamacare enrollees voted for Trump ---

    Russia's Bad Health Care System Is Getting Worse ---

    From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on December 2, 2016

    Obamacare’s bright spots and drawbacks
    Here’s the good news: Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, more Americans have access to health care than ever before, Leemore Dafny and Dr. Thomas Lee write for Harvard Business Review. The bad news? The care itself hasn’t improved much. Despite the hard work of dedicated providers, our health-care system remains chaotic, unreliable, inefficient and crushingly expensive.

    Nation's Top Hospitals Refuse Obamacare-Insured Patients ---

    Something you will never hear in a speech by President Obama
    Major hospitals in Obama's home town of Chicago will no longer serve patients insured in Obamacare exchanges (except in true emergencies) ---

    News Item Prior to November 8 Election of President Trump
    Major Chicago Hospitals Not In 2017 Obamacare Marketplace Plans -

    Some of Chicago’s largest hospitals said they will not be part of any Cook County Affordable Care Act marketplace plans in 2017.


    University of Chicago Medical Center and Rush University Medical Center both said they don’t plan to be in network for any Obamacare marketplace plans next year. 



    The change means patients with doctors at those hospitals will either need to find a plan off the marketplace, and lose Obamacare subsides, or find a new doctor.


    Northwestern Memorial Hospital said it will also be out of the marketplace, but will have exceptions for some of its partner hospitals.

    Continued in article

    According to emergency room physicians Obamacare made it much worse for emergency rooms.
    American College of Emergency Room Physicians
    The Uninsured: Access to Medical Care Fact Sheet ---

    "Sen. Chuck Schumer: Obamacare Focused 'On The Wrong Problem,' Ignores The Middle Class" by  Avik Roy, Forbes, November 26, 2014 ---

    Despite the enduring unpopularity of Obamacare, Congressional Democrats have up to now stood by their health care law, allowing that “it’s not perfect” but that they are proud of their votes to pass it. That all changed on Tuesday, when the Senate’s third-highest-ranking Democrat—New York’s Chuck Schumer—declared that “we took [the public’s] mandate and put all our focus on the wrong problem—health care reform…When Democrats focused on health care, the average middle-class person thought, ‘The Democrats aren’t paying enough attention to me.’”

    Sen. Schumer made his remarks at the National Press Club in Washington. “Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them…Now, the plight of uninsured Americans and the hardships caused by unfair insurance company practices certainly needed to be addressed,” Schumer maintained. “But it wasn’t the change we were hired to make. Americans were crying out for the end to the recession, for better wages and more jobs—not changes in health care.”

    “This makes sense,” Schumer continued, “considering 85 percent of all Americans got their health care from either the government, Medicare, Medicaid, or their employer. And if health care costs were going up, it really did not affect them. The Affordable Care Act was aimed at the 36 million Americans who were not covered. It has been reported that only a third of the uninsured are even registered to vote…it made no political sense.”

    The response from Obama Democrats was swift. Many, like Obama speechwriters Jon Lovett and Jon Favreau and NSC spokesman Tommy Vietor, took to Twitter. “Shorter Chuck Schumer,” said Vietor, “I wish Obama cared more about helping Democrats than sick people.

    Medicaid Explodes New enrollments vastly exceed estimates, and states are on the hook. ---

    On Donald Trump’s victory Republicans in Congress are primed for an ambitious agenda, and not a moment too soon. One immediate problem is ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid, which has seen enrollment at least twice as high as advertised.

    Most of the insurance coverage gains from the law come from opening Medicaid eligibility beyond its original goal of helping the poor and disabled to include prime-age, able-bodied, childless adults. The Supreme Court made this expansion optional in 2012, and Governors claimed not joining would leave “free money” on the table because the feds would pick up 100% of the costs of new beneficiaries.

    In a new report this week for the Foundation for Government Accountability, Jonathan Ingram and Nicholas Horton tracked down the original enrollment projections by actuaries in 24 states that expanded and have since disclosed at least a year of data on the results. Some 11.5 million people now belong to ObamaCare’s new class of able-bodied enrollees, or 110% higher than the projections.

    Analysts in California expected only 910,000 people to sign up, but instead 3.84 million have, 322% off the projections. The situation is nearly as dire in New York, where enrollment is 276% higher than expected, and Illinois, which is up 90%. This liberal state triumvirate is particularly notable because they already ran generous welfare states long before ObamaCare.

    Continued in article

    Jensen Comment
    President Obama baited the hook by claiming the Federal Government would pay for Medicaid expansion. But the states that took the bait are now on the hook. Medicaid is not the largest single expense item in most states, and the expense that will go completely out of control (heavily due to fraud) will be the cost of caring for older people where medical expenses are greatest, especially since Medicaid foots sometimes years of all  nursing home and medication costs.

    Elder abuse – Often the kin did it: Feds to collect data.---

    What kind of people cheat and financially abuse incapacitated older folks?

    Sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and lawyers – people who act as guardians for their relatives and clients.

    What can the federal government do about it?

    Currently not much, because elder abuse generally is considered a state and local problem. But at least the federal government can help with the important step of defining the problem. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to soon launch a data collection program that will assist experts combating elderly exploitation.

    “Unfortunately, the extent of elder abuse by guardians is relatively unknown to us due to the limited data that we have available,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said at a Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing last week.

    The title of the hearing gets to the point — “Trust Betrayed: Financial Abuse of Older Americans by Guardians and Others in Power.”

    “The amount of money lost through exploitation of elders is staggering and growing,” said Cathy “Cate” Boyko, Minnesota judicial branch conservator account auditing program manager. She cited a 2015 study indicating the estimated national annual financial loss at $36.5 billion. “There is no question these losses are increasing at an alarming rate.”

    Early next year, HHS will begin the National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System (NAMRS), which the department describes as “the first comprehensive national reporting system” for Adult Protective Service (APS) programs. The data collection will include information from investigations into the mistreatment of older adults and adults with disabilities. “The absence of data for research and best practice development has been cited by numerous entities, including the Government Accountability Office (GAO), as a significant barrier to improving APS programs,” says the HHS Administration for Community Living.

    Committee Chairwoman Susan Collins (R-Maine) agrees. “There is no doubt financial abuse against our seniors is a problem—and a very serious one made even more difficult by a lack of data that makes it difficult to quantify,” she told The Washington Post. “But I think this is only the tip of the iceberg.”

    Read on for examples of elder abuses

    Jensen Comment

    Although not intended as such, maybe this new government initiative will slightly discourage appropriation of grandma's estate so she qualifies for Medicaid to pay for her years in a nursing home.

    "How to Fix the Scandal of Medicaid and the Poor," by Scott W. Atlas, The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2016 ---

    Many doctors won’t take the insurance, and the care patients do receive is inferior. Here’s a solution.

    The two principal expenditures of the Affordable Care Act so far include $850 billion for insurance subsidies and a similar outlay for a massive Medicaid expansion. The truth is that Medicaid—a program costing $500 billion a year that rises to $890 billion in 2024—funnels low-income families into substandard coverage. Instead of providing a pathway to excellent health care for poor Americans, ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion doubles down on their second-class health-care status.

    Already 55% of doctors in major metropolitan areas refuse new Medicaid patients, according to the 2014 Merritt Hawkins annual survey. Even of those providers signed up with Medicaid, 56% of primary-care doctors and 43% of specialists are not available to new patients. Moreover, numerous studies have found that the quality of medical care is inferior under Medicaid, compared with private insurance. Lower quality means more in-hospital deaths, more complications from surgery, shorter survival after treatment, and longer hospital stays than similar patients with private insurance.

    The two principal expenditures of the Affordable Care Act so far include $850 billion for insurance subsidies and a similar outlay for a massive Medicaid expansion. The truth is that Medicaid—a program costing $500 billion a year that rises to $890 billion in 2024—funnels low-income families into substandard coverage. Instead of providing a pathway to excellent health care for poor Americans, ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion doubles down on their second-class health-care status.

    Already 55% of doctors in major metropolitan areas refuse new Medicaid patients, according to the 2014 Merritt Hawkins annual survey. Even of those providers signed up with Medicaid, 56% of primary-care doctors and 43% of specialists are not available to new patients. Moreover, numerous studies have found that the quality of medical care is inferior under Medicaid, compared with private insurance. Lower quality means more in-hospital deaths, more complications from surgery, shorter survival after treatment, and longer hospital stays than similar patients with private insurance.
    Legislation signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 transformed the federal welfare program into a pathway to self-sufficiency. In the same way, Medicaid should be redesigned as a bridge toward affordable private insurance. First, the new Medicaid should include a private-insurance option with catastrophic coverage but few coverage mandates for all enrollees.

    Second, new Medicaid should establish and put initial funds into health savings accounts using part of the current federal dollars already going into Medicaid. This will empower beneficiaries and give them incentives to follow healthy lifestyles to protect those new assets. With these reforms, doctors and hospitals would receive payments from the same insurance as from non-Medicaid patients. Because health providers receive the same payments whether they treat Medicaid or non-Medicaid patients, the limited access and substandard treatment options under Medicaid would be eliminated.

    To ensure availability of the same coverage to both Medicaid and non-Medicaid beneficiaries, federal funding would go only to eligible people in states that offer these same coverage choices to the entire state population. Federal money will be contingent on states meeting thresholds for the number of Medicaid enrollees moved into private coverage. Federal funds would go directly into beneficiary HSAs or to premium payments, rather than into state bureaucracies. States should want this new program because it will reduce the administrative costs of running a separate insurance program and, most important, provide access to quality health care for their residents.

    Ultimately, traditional Medicaid would be eliminated as new enrollees move into private coverage. These reforms would change the purpose and culture of Medicaid agency offices from running government-administered plans to establishing HSAs and finding private insurance for beneficiaries.

    Why focus on lower-cost, high-deductible health insurance coupled with HSAs? Published studies have shown that pairing HSAs with high-deductible coverage reduces health-care costs. Patient spending averages 15% lower in high-deductible plans, with even more savings when paired with HSAs—without any consequent increases in emergency visits or hospitalizations and without a harmful impact on low-income families. Secondarily, wellness programs that HSA holders more commonly use improve chronic illnesses, reduce health claims and save money.

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's universal health care messaging --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm


    Bob Jensen's health care messaging --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm 

    Bob Jensen's Home Page --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/