Showing posts from November 8, 2015

Ben Carson Defends Himself Against Allegations That He Never Attempted to Murder a Child

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[Actual Republican politics is indistinguishable from satire. For example, see this piece by the humorist Andy Borowitz: Carson Plummets in Polls Amid Reports He Did Not Stab Anyone*RON*]
By Eric Levitz, New York Magazine, 6 November 2015

Republican front-runner Ben Carson (god, that feels weird to type) is in hot water over allegations that he never actually tried to stab someone, despite his claims to the contrary in his best-selling memoir.

Carson’s 1990 autobiography Gifted Hands is a redemption narrative, in which the nadir of the brain surgeon’s troubled adolescence comes when he tries to stab a classmate to death in ninth grade. In Carson’s telling, he thrust the knife toward the boy’s belly with such force that, when, by the grace of God, he accidentally struck his boy’s belt buckle instead, the blade broke off its handle.

A View From the Losing Side of Health Care

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[I don't know if it's just this writer, but if she's typical, then American expectations around health care have dropped low. She doesn't even mention the possibility of single-payer. *RON*]
Jacqueline Dooley, Huffington Post, 7 November 2015 1:59 pm EST

For the last three hours I've been crunching numbers, trying to figure out how not to pay $600 to $800 a month for a health insurance policy that won't cover any medical expenses until I've paid anywhere from $7000 to $9000 in deductibles. Then, even if the deductible is met, I'd only get partial benefits until I pay an out of pocket maximum ranging from $11,000 to $14,000. I'd reach these totals only from a catastrophic health event - a hospitalization, emergency room visit, or devastating diagnosis.

I finally conclude that I have no choice. I'll be paying for the promise of a service that I'm not likely to use in 2016. I'll be responsible for all of…

The Hillary Clinton Doctrine

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[A lengthy but excellent read, especially if you do not know just how hawkish Clinton is on foreign policy, and how strongly she believes, by implication, that President Hillary would need to guide the world. "In June 2014, Robert Kagan, the foreign-policy analyst widely regarded as the leading voice of neoconservatism (he prefers the term 'liberal interventionism') told the New York Times that he feels 'comfortable' with Clinton’s foreign policy. 'If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue,' he said, 'it's something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that; they are going to call it something else.'" *RON*]

By James Traub, Foreign Policy, November 2015
On Jan. 13, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave what turned out to be a remarkably prescient speech in Doha, Qatar. "The region's foundations are sinking into the sand,&…

Chile admits Pablo Neruda might have been murdered by Pinochet regime

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[A sad thought. The government has acknowledged that the Nobel-prize winning love-poet may not have died from cancer but said experts were still examining the claims. *RON*]
Associated Press, The Guardian, 6 November 2015
Chile’s government has acknowledged that Nobel-prize winning poet Pablo Neruda might have been killed after the 1973 coup that brought General Augusto Pinochet to power.

The interior ministry released a statement on Thursday amid press reports that Neruda might not have died of cancer as previously believed.

Why Childcare Workers Are So Poor, Even Though Childcare Costs So Much

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[Childcare workers can't even afford daycare for their own kids. The economist here argues that daycares need to take advantage of economies of scale, which contradicts the values associated with "good" daycare. But she doesn't say what proportion of these businesses are corporate and what the profit margins are like. *RON*]
Gillian B. White, The Atlantic, 5 November 2015 
Childcare is really expensive. In some states the costs can top 15 percent of the median income for a married couple. And when looking at single-family households, that burden can easily pass 40 percent of the median income.

One place all that money is not going: the pockets of the workers doing all that childcare. On average, these women (it’s almost entirely women) are paid significantly less than the average American worker and are twice as likely to live in poverty, a new study released by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found. The median hourly wage fo…

Leaked Comcast Doc Admits: Data Caps Have Nothing To Do With Congestion

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[Just six days into this month I received an email from Telus, telling me: "You’re approaching your monthly Internet data allowance" Date: November 06, 2015 Account Number:  *****731 Dear RON Peters, We want you to know that you’ve used approximately 75% of your monthly internet data allowance." BTW, the cap described below is 250 GB/month; mine is 150. *RON*]
By Chris Morran, Consumerist, 6 November 2015
For years, as Comcast and others have rolled out data caps on home broadband usage, we’ve shown evidence that these artificial limitations on data are all about squeezing money out of consumers, and have nothing to do with congestion. Now, with Comcast prepping to make its first large-scale push of its “data thresholds,” we’re seeing how the company is telling its employees to spin the discussion.

In documents leaked online yesterday, Comcast explains to customer service staff the details of the data cap expansion we told you about e…

The TPP is the Most Brazen Corporate Power Grab in American History

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[Democracy versus corporatocracy. "It allows corporations to bypass our three branches of government to impose enforceable sanctions by secret tribunals. These tribunals can declare our labor, consumer and environmental protections [to be] unlawful, non-tariff barriers subject to fines for noncompliance... The agreements—filled with jargon, convoluted technical, trade and financial terms, legalese, fine print and obtuse phrasing—can be summed up in two words: corporate enslavement." *RON*]
By Chris HedgesTruthdig / AlterNet, 7 November 2015

The release Thursday of the 5,544-page text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership—a trade and investment agreement involving 12 countries comprising nearly 40 percent of global output—confirms what even its most apocalyptic critics feared.

“The TPP, along with the WTO [World Trade Organization] and NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement], is the most brazen corporate power grab in American history,” R…

It's official: The Harper Government’s approach to petro-diplomacy was a spectacular flop

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["The decision today underlines the need to improve our environmental record and reputation so that we can achieve our goal of building Canada’s energy infrastructure, including pipelines to new markets." Rachael Notley. I suppose Alberta will never be a shining beacon for alternative energy. It would be a great role for bringing the Maritimes back to life, though. See also: What we learned from Keystone XL. *RON*]
By David J. Climenhaga,, 7 November 2015

The office of the President of the United States may not be what it once was, but it's occupant remains the Most Powerful Person in the World.

Can we agree on just that much before we plunge ourselves into full-blown apocalyptic hysteria on the topic of the Keystone XL pipeline, of which the officeholder formerly known as the Most Powerful Man in the World yesterday said No, thank you, Canada, it will not be built?

Maybe, just maybe, telling the most powerful person on t…