July 8, 2017

Posted by orrinj at 5:51 PM


Posted by orrinj at 5:40 PM


G.O.P. Support of Senate Health Repeal Erodes During Break (JENNIFER STEINHAUER and ROBERT PEAR, JULY 7, 2017, NY Times)

Well short of the 50 votes needed to pass his bill, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, repeated his fears this week that his party may be stuck tweaking the Affordable Care Act with Democrats. He raised the prospects of a bipartisan fallback last week on the driveway of the White House, and again on Thursday in Glasgow, Ky.

If Republicans cannot pass a bill on their own, they may need to work with Democrats on short-term measures to stabilize insurance markets that, by their account, are on the verge of collapse in many states.

The original Republican opposition to the repeal bill was led mainly by senators from states that have expanded their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, providing coverage to millions of people who had been uninsured. Now senators from largely rural states, where hospitals stand to lose millions of dollars under the bill, are expressing concerns.

On Thursday, Mr. Moran faced constituents upset at the prospect that the health law might be repealed, and he reiterated his opposition to the bill as it stands now.

Earlier this week, Mr. Hoeven, after a round table with health care executives in North Dakota, said he did "not support the Senate health care bill in its current form."

Republican leaders may have worried most about Republican senators from states that expanded Medicaid and feared the loss of federal funds, but objections have also come from other places. Twenty Republican senators are from states that have expanded Medicaid; 32 are from states that have not.

McConnell says GOP must shore up ACA insurance markets if Senate bill dies (Juliet Eilperin and Amy Goldstein July 6, 2017, Washington Post)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that if his party fails to muster 50 votes for its plan to rewrite the Affordable Care Act, it will have no choice but to draft a more modest bill with Democrats to support the law's existing insurance markets.

This has only been obvious since 2009.
Posted by orrinj at 5:20 PM


Trump Team Met With Lawyer Linked to Kremlin During Campaign (JO BECKER, MATT APUZZO and ADAM GOLDMAN, JULY 8, 2017, NY Times)

Two weeks after Donald J. Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination last year, his eldest son arranged a meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan with a Russian lawyer who has connections to the Kremlin, according to confidential government records described to The New York Times.

The previously undisclosed meeting was also attended by Mr. Trump's campaign chairman at the time, Paul J. Manafort, as well as the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, according to interviews and the documents, which were outlined by people familiar with them.

While President Trump has been dogged by revelations of undisclosed meetings between his associates and Russians, this episode at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, is the first confirmed private meeting between a Russian national and members of Mr. Trump's inner circle during the campaign. It is also the first time that his son Donald J. Trump Jr. is known to have been involved in such a meeting.

Representatives of Donald J. Trump Jr. and Mr. Kushner confirmed the meeting after The Times approached them with information about it.

Posted by orrinj at 5:02 PM


Why Does Donald Trump Keep Dissing Jews? (Frank Bruni JULY 8, 2017, NY Times)

[F]irst, the record: He'd been in office just a week when International Holocaust Remembrance Day rolled round and his administration issued a statement that bizarrely omitted any specific mention of Jews. Administration officials made no apology, saying that millions of people who weren't Jewish died in the Holocaust and that by not singling out any one group of victims, the White House had taken a more "inclusive" approach.

Then there was an initial, strange silence from Trump and his aides about a rash of anti-Semitic vandalism and bomb threats around the country in January and February.

In May, in Israel, Trump insisted on a much shorter stop at Yad Vashem, an important Holocaust memorial and museum, than either Barack Obama or George W. Bush had made, and he stuck to that plan even as many Israelis and American Jews cried foul. The tone-deaf breeziness of his approach was accentuated by the message he left in the visitors' book: "It is a great honor to be here with all of my friends -- so amazing & will never forget!" As Yair Rosenberg of the Jewish magazine Tablet tweeted, it was "basically just what teenagers write in each other's high school yearbooks."

Ivanka Trump went to the Warsaw memorial in her father's stead, though Trump softened that blow somewhat by mentioning, in his big Warsaw speech, that "the Nazis systematically murdered millions of Poland's Jewish citizens."

Ivanka converted to Judaism to marry Jared Kushner, and the couple's key roles in the White House mean that Trump has observant Jews at the very core of his presidency -- and of his life.

But that didn't stop him from making remarks to Jewish Republican donors in December 2015 that seemed to play into an anti-Semitic stereotype. "I'm a negotiator -- like you folks," he said, later adding: "Is there anybody that doesn't renegotiate deals in this room? Perhaps more than any room I've ever spoken to."

During his presidential campaign, he embraced the favor of groups and people who trafficked in white supremacy. He re-tweeted material from proudly anti-Semitic Twitter feeds, and prompted a furor by promoting an image that placed Hillary Clinton's face atop a pile of cash and beside a six-pointed star on which "most corrupt candidate ever" was written.

The website PolitiFact concluded that it was "unlikely that the Trump campaign intended to put out a Star of David image. In fact, the campaign moved to replace the star with a circle when the image gained attention." Even so, PolitiFact noted, Trump had an unusual habit of "using social media to broadcast material that comes from sources with a history of spreading racism, anti-Semitism or white supremacy."

I'm not convinced that Trump is much of an anti-Semite, any more than I'm convinced that he's much of a homophobe. (Racism and sexism are another matter.) But I think he's so thirsty for, and intoxicated by, whatever love comes his way that he's loath to rebuff the sources of it.

A prominent Jewish Republican put it well. "I think Trump is such a pathological narcissist that the act of telling people who love you that you reject them -- he can't get around that," he told me, interpreting Trump's reasoning this way: "What can be wrong with them? They're for me!"

Trump is disinclined to denounce any constituency or tactics that elevate him to the throne, where he's sure that he belongs. 

Jews voted against him; bigots for.

Posted by orrinj at 12:02 PM


Posted by orrinj at 11:58 AM


Trump Aides on Podesta Tweet: 'No Idea What He Is Talking About' (LACHLAN MARKAY & ASAWIN SUEBSAENG, 07.07.17, Daily Beast)

The tweet baffled White House aides on the trip. "I have no idea what he's talking about," one messaged The Daily Beast. Officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not cleared to discuss the bizarre tweet.

According to those present, the only world leader at the summit who was actively bringing up Podesta and "the DNC server" was the U.S. president.

"Trump himself brought it up" randomly in person while talking to staff, a senior official on the trip told The Daily Beast. Puzzled advisers nodded politely or ignored him...

Posted by orrinj at 11:50 AM


Putin says Trump was 'satisfied' with his election meddling denials (Denis Dyomkin, 7/08/17, Reuters)

President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday he thought his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump had been satisfied with his assertions that Russia had not meddled in the U.S. presidential election.

Speaking at the end of a G20 summit in Germany where the two leaders met face-to-face for the first time, Putin said he believed he had been able to establish a personal relationship with Trump, and that the initial groundwork had been laid for an improvement in U.S.-Russian ties.

Posted by orrinj at 11:37 AM


Far Right Unites In 'Meme War' Against CNN (Media matters, 7/08/17)

Members of online forum boards dedicated to President Donald Trump and far-right ideologies have called for the "next meme war," this time against CNN. The call to arms is retaliation for allegations that the cable network blackmailed a Reddit user into publicly apologizing for creating a pro-Trump GIF that depicted Trump tackling a man who had a CNN logo superimposed on his face, and removing his hateful posts on these message boards. [...]

A post on 4chan explained what the latest meme war, titled "Operation: Autism Storm," would entail. The operation's primary focus, according to the post, would be to produce "as many anti-CNN memes as possible and spreading it" to high traffic websites beyond the fringe. The call to arms also urged participants to "discredit every journalist at CNN," and to target CNN's advertisers to stop them from advertising on the network.

In the days after the article was published and 4chan and Reddit users called for meme warfare, "#CNNBlackmail" was a top trending topic on Twitter. The contingent of pro-Trump internet wizards also overran numerous boards on Reddit and 4chan with images attacking CNN's credibility. Infowars editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson suggested that CNN may have reunited "the alt-right & the new right in a common cause" after a prior rift among the "alt-right" factions.

This potent group of like-minded internet campaigners repeatedly proved their ability to organize and operate extremely effective smear campaigns during the 2016 election. According to an entry on Encyclopedia Dramatica, one of the most notable moments in "The Great Meme War" was the group's viral portrayal of former presidential candidate Jeb Bush as a weak and sad "stinking turtle-lover with a guacamole fetish." This characterization of "low energy" Bush cast him as a man unable to withstand what meme creators referred to as "high-energy" Trump. The Encyclopedia Dramatica entry also credited the same organized effort to push "a stream of new and fearsome dank memes," featuring "Pepe the Frog" after the Anti-Defamation League classified the character as a hate symbol.

Fringe far-right media figures have also noticed the potency of these groups, and have used their platforms to encourage their followers to participate in the effort to spread the anti-CNN memes to larger audiences. Infowars' Alex Jones has even launched an anti-CNN meme contest, promising a $20,000 reward for the "best meme" he receives. Alternative right-wing media figures such as online personality KimDotcom, Infowars contributor and internet troll Mike Cernovich, and even the president's son Donald Trump Jr. have used their platforms to spread anti-CNN rhetoric and images alongside those leading the online meme brigades.

there's a reason all trolls sound the same.

Posted by orrinj at 11:04 AM


Trump Handed Putin a Stunning Victory : From his speech in Poland to his two-hour summit in Hamburg, the president seemed determined to promote Russia's dark and illiberal view of the world. (MOLLY K. MCKEW July 07, 2017, Politico)

President Donald Trump needed to accomplish two things this week during his visits to Poland and the G-20 Summit in Hamburg. First, he needed to reassure America's allies that he was committed to collective defense and the core set of values and principles that bind us together. Second, he needed to demonstrate that he understands that the greatest threat to that alliance, those values, and our security is the Kremlin.

Trump delivered neither of these. In very concrete terms, through speech and action, the president signaled a willingness to align the United States with Vladimir Putin's worldview, and took steps to advance this realignment. He endorsed, nearly in its totality, the narrative the Russian leader has worked so meticulously to construct.

Posted by orrinj at 10:56 AM


Ivanka Trump sits in for the president at G20 (AFP, July 8, 2017)

For a moment at the G20 summit on Saturday the United States was represented by another Trump, when the president's daughter Ivanka took a seat at the table of world leaders.

The 35-year-old former fashion model sat around the table with Xi Jinping, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Angela Merkel and Theresa May, diplomats and the White House confirmed.

On the one hand, no one thinks he has the stamina for this job and Mike Pence has put as much distance between him and Donald as humanly possible*, but, on the other, isn't it the Sabbath?

*He was probably at NASA to see if he could go on a three year mission.

Posted by orrinj at 8:32 AM


Why Single-Payer Health Care Saves Money (ROBERT H. FRANK, JULY 7, 2017, NY Times)

Total costs are lower under single-payer systems for several reasons. One is that administrative costs average only about 2 percent of total expenses under a single-payer program like Medicare, less than one-sixth the corresponding percentage for many private insurers. Single-payer systems also spend virtually nothing on competitive advertising, which can account for more than 15 percent of total expenses for private insurers.

The most important source of cost savings under single-payer is that large government entities are able to negotiate much more favorable terms with service providers. In 2012, for example, the average cost of coronary bypass surgery was more than $73,000 in the United States but less than $23,000 in France.

While both while save considerable money--measuring total health care costs as a percentage of GDP--the advantage of universal HSAs over single payer is that it affords less freedom.  Obviously by cutting health care costs in half you free up considerable money for productive investment, but single payer trusts that will happen spontaneously while HSAs force the investment upon individuals.

Posted by orrinj at 8:27 AM


Trump promises May a post-Brexit free trade deal with UK 'very, very quickly' (Adam Bienkov, 7/08/17, Business Insider)

Donald Trump has promised a post-Brexit free trade deal with Britain "very, very quickly" following his meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May at the G20 summit.

Trump said the US and UK would work closely together to produce a new free trade deal.

"No country could possibly be closer than our countries," he said.

The success of his presidency is completely dependent on doing the opposite of what he "believes."

Posted by orrinj at 8:19 AM


Resigning ethics director says Trump businesses appear to profit from presidency (JOSH DELK - 07/06/17, The Hill)

Walter Shaub, the leader of the federal government's ethics office who announced his resignation on Thursday, suggested that Trump-brand businesses are benefiting from Donald Trump's presidency.

When asked during a CBS News interview on Thursday whether Trump's businesses were benefiting from his time in office, Shaub said he "can't be sure."

"I can't know what their intention is. I know that the effect is that there is an appearance that the businesses are profiting from his occupying the presidency. And appearance matters as much as reality," Shaub said.

Posted by orrinj at 8:15 AM


What the stock market's rise under Trump should teach Democrats (Mike Konczal,  Jul 7, 2017, Vox)

Democrats have come to view themselves as neutral caretakers of the existing economic system

Stewardship conveys ideas of looking after and keeping order. Democrats now see their role as serving as a fair broker among the competing parts of the economy. They insist they can come up with an arrangement in which capital and labor are simultaneously better off, and that they are the ones who will make the hard decisions, in contrast with the feckless Republicans.

Think of the number of times Democrats have emphasized that they balance the budget while Republicans run giant deficits. Think of the balancing acts required to promote reform without naming business as an enemy -- as we saw in both the financial and health care arenas. Think of how President Obama tried to achieve a Grand Bargain with Republicans in 2011 that would have cut Social Security under the mantra of responsibility, only to be stopped by the fact that conservatives wouldn't budge an inch in raising taxes. [...]

One key question for Democrats is the old labor one: "Which side are you on?" The Democratic Party used to give the answer, as Harry Truman did in 1948, that it "is pledged to work for labor." In recent decades they've given an answer that was essentially "all sides, for the common good." After 2016, Democrats should pick a side again.

The answer, of course, is the same for both parties : they need to be on the side of shareholders and on the side of universalizing and extending shareholding.

Posted by orrinj at 8:09 AM


American farmers are facing a political paradox because of Republicans' hard line on immigration (Dana Varinsky , 7/07/17, Business Insiders)

The congressman who has represented northwest Iowa for 15 years once suggested that Mexican immigrants had "calves the size of cantaloupes" from smuggling drugs across the border. He has been seen with a Confederate flag on his desk (though Iowa supported the Union Army), and he tweeted in March that the US "can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies."

He even built a model of a border wall on the floor of Congress in 2006 -- nearly a decade before Donald Trump adopted the cause.

But on the farms that fill Steve King's district, his constituents have more nuanced, complicated politics than the Republican congressman's rhetoric might suggest.

Thousands of immigrants have moved to northwest Iowa in recent decades, attracted by farms and meat producers in need of workers willing to raise pigs, milk cows, or butcher animals. Between 2000 and 2015, the Latino population in Sioux Center, one of the larger cities in the district, more than tripled. According to the census, King's district is now home to nearly 50,000 people who consider themselves Hispanic or Latino -- about 6% of the area's population. 

That means that even some of King's supporters -- he took 61% of the vote in November -- are being forced to reconcile their conservative politics with a business reality that has taken on a moral weight. They rely on immigrants, and some will go to extraordinary lengths to support them.

Posted by orrinj at 8:06 AM


Donald Trump's speech could have been written by Poland's populists : In Warsaw, America's president barely mentions democracy (The Economist, Jul 7th 2017)

[W]ith its echoes of Samuel Huntington's clash of civilisations, it was a dramatic departure. Earlier American administrations defined "the West" with reference to values such as democracy, liberty and respect for human rights. Mr Trump and many of his advisers, including the speech's authors, Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller, apparently see it as rooted in ethnicity, culture and religion. When George W. Bush visited Poland for his first presidential visit, in 2001, he referred to democracy 13 times. When Barack Obama spoke in Warsaw in 2014, he mentioned democracy nine times. For Mr Trump, once sufficed.

The speech included some of the usual Trumpian improvisations. ("That's trouble. That's tough," Mr Trump said of the invasion of Poland in 1939 by Nazi Germany from the west and the Soviet Union from the east.) But for the most part, it was a disciplined repetition of familiar themes: the"dire threats" of Islamic extremism and immigration, "the steady creep of government bureaucracy", the dark forces conspiring "to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are." Mr Trump invoked the "blood of patriots", and the ties of family and God. The rhetoric sounded strikingly similar to that used by the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party that governs Poland, and its leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

The spectators, mainly conservative Catholics bused in from around the country and promised a free picnic at the defence ministry afterwards, lapped it up, chanting "Donald Trump! Donald Trump!" One 60-year-old restaurant worker from Warsaw, who joined PiS last year, applauded Mr Trump's appreciation of Polish heroism and Christian values. Islam, he says, "teaches people to kill". Beata Drozdz, who runs a far-right weekly in Piotrkow Trybunalski, a town in central Poland, said she had tears in her eyes during the speech: "It was unforgettable." The crowd hurled insults at opposition politicians, booing when Lech Walesa, the anti-communist hero and a critic of the current government, left the square.

Posted by orrinj at 8:02 AM


A new trade deal between the EU and Japan : Besides slashing tariffs on cheese and cars, it sends a message to Donald Trump (The Economist, Jul 8th 2017)

Average tariffs between the two sides are already low, but prizes are still there to be grasped. Exporters from the EU pay €1bn ($1.1bn) in export duties to Japan each year, and on agricultural products face average tariffs of 21%. JEEPA will slash Japanese tariffs on beef, pork and wine, eliminating 85% of the tariffs on agricultural food products going into Japan. European producers of Roquefort cheese or prosecco can cheer: their products become two of 205 protected "geographical indications". Similarly, only feta from Greece will be sold under that name.

Tariffs on European exports of textiles and clothing will also be cut. When the deal enters into force, Japanese tariffs on shoes will drop from 30% to 21%, and then to zero after ten years. The Japanese have won concessions, too. Tariffs on Japanese cars going into the EU are currently 10%, but will be lowered over seven years. An assessment of the impact of the deal (before the final details were agreed on) suggested that almost half of the benefit to Japan would be from these lower tariffs. It found the deal could raise the EU's exports to Japan by 34%, and Japan's to the EU by 29%.

Posted by orrinj at 7:41 AM


At G-20, world aligns against Trump policies ranging from free trade to climate change (Michael Birnbaum and Damian Paletta, July 7, 2017, Washington Post)

The growing international isolation of the United States under President Trump was starkly apparent Friday as the leaders of major world economies mounted a nearly united opposition front against Washington on issues ranging from climate to free trade.

At a gathering of the Group of 20 world economic powers -- normally a venue for drab displays of international comity -- there were tough clashes with the United States and even talk of a possible transatlantic trade war.

The tensions were a measure of Trump's sharp break with previous U.S. policies. They were also a warning signal of Washington's diminished clout, as the leaders of the other nations who gathered in Hamburg mulled whether to fix their signatures to statements that would exclude Trump or to find some sort of compromise. Two European officials said they were leaning toward a united front against Washington.

He's never been good at anything, but he's spectacularly bad at this whole presidency thing.

Posted by orrinj at 6:46 AM


On North Korea, Trump's on the Right Track (Bret Stephens JULY 7, 2017, NY Times)

The right answer is that we want the Kim regime out of North Korea. It isn't the nukes that ought mainly to worry us. It's the hands that hold them.

Critics of a regime-change strategy note that the only way it could be brought about -- short of war, coup or uprising -- is with China's acquiescence. Beijing could end the flow of diesel and gas to Pyongyang, invite Kim for a parley, and permanently ensconce him in the guesthouse that once housed Cambodia's deposed Prince Sihanouk. Instead, Beijing prefers to maintain the North as a buffer state, a diplomatic bargaining chip and a tool for indirectly threatening the United States.

Until recently, Beijing paid no price for this behavior. It went along with ineffectual United Nations sanctions but enforced them lackadaisically, if at all. That started to change only last year, when the Obama administration charged four Chinese individuals and a Chinese company with laundering funds for the North.

The good news is that the Trump administration has picked up the theme with a new round of sanctions on Chinese entities. It shouldn't stop there. As Anthony Ruggiero of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies notes, the goal should be to push Chinese banks and businesses to make a fundamental choice between trading with Pyongyang and having access to dollars. The market will reach its own verdict. Last month's billion-dollar United States arms sale to Taiwan, along with United States Navy challenges to Chinese maritime claims in the South China Sea, should also send the message that the administration will exact a price on Beijing for ignoring American security interests.

In other words -- gasp! -- the administration's on the right track. 

Actually, war is the right track, not least because it will destabilize the PRC too.  Happily, the regime is so paranoid that it has minimized the potential for collateral damage in Pyongyang itself. Only loyalists are allowed.
Posted by orrinj at 6:29 AM


Why Progressivism and Religion Don't Go Together : Leftists want government to do the work of God -- transform human beings into perfect creatures .(ALEXANDRA DESANCTIS, July 7, 2017, National Review)

While the problems afflicting the party must stem from some combination of these factors, Democrats' scorn for religion should be their biggest concern. That scorn is compounded by the party's sudden and dramatic swerve to the Left on key social issues -- abortion, contraception, religious liberty, and marriage, to name a few -- in a quest for votes from far-Left, progressive Americans. [...]

Progressivism has always been premised on the notion that man has a changeable nature and thus is able to achieve perfection during his time on earth. As a result, progressives consistently maintain that government is responsible for transforming men and women into perfect creatures. They develop programs and reforms suited not for man as he is, but for man as he ought to be (and, progressives would argue, for man as he could become, with the right societal structures).

Against that idea, most religious believers contend that man is flawed by his very nature and incapable of perfecting himself without the help of God, and that perfection is in fact unattainable during earthly life. While sects and denominations differ vastly, religion itself -- and indeed any dependence on a Creator -- is a direct contradiction to the progressive conception of man as changeable and perfectible.

In short, progressivism and religion -- understood as a fundamental reliance on God rather than on oneself or on other men -- are inherently incompatible. Where progressivism asserts that properly ordered government can and should transform man into a perfect being who lives in a man-made utopia, religion insists that God, not government, is responsible for changing men's hearts.

Orestes Brownson's Republican Remedies (Scott Yenor, June 28, 2017, Claremont Review of Books)

No one cringed at the younger Brownson's naive idealism--what Tocqueville called a faith in the "indefinite perfectibility of man"--more than the older Brownson, who converted to Catholicism in 1844. Though his zeal for social reform never wavered, Brownson changed his mind about the modern regime's ends.

Brownson developed a more nuanced understanding of the nature and conditions for religious freedom, and its relation to modern democracy. The mature Brownson equated religious freedom with "civil tolerance." Though error, he argued, has no rights before God, the erring and unerring stand as equals before the civil authority. Brownson's position opposed both traditional Catholic teaching, which insisted error had no rights before either God or the civil authority, and modern humanitarians, who doubted man could ever err before God. Within this civil space, thought Brownson, man must be left free to situate himself before God. Liberty of conscience must therefore extend to individuals and churches.

Brownson believed certain elements of the modern regime were inimical to human flourishing. Protestantism's embrace of individualism, modern democracy's assertion of indefinite human power over the moral and physical world, and consensual government's continual remaking of the civil order all combined to uproot the citizen, leaving him at the mercy of his own fallen nature.

Checking modernity's destructive tendencies required: reverence for restraints of the sort found in America's Constitution; informal and social checks on government's power; adherence to the inviolable liberty of the human person with respect to belief and property; and an understanding of the ends individual liberty serves. But ultimately, a widespread conversion to traditional Christianity, i.e., Catholicism, was necessary to counter the modernizing revolution.

The checks on modernity are unjustified absent the doctrines of traditional Christianity. Each check points to man's sinfulness or his thirst for community. The mature Brownson--in what seems a direct rebuke to his earlier self--held that "the mad effort to separate progress from religion...has rendered modern Liberalism everywhere destructive, and everywhere a failure." Though he retained his understanding of progress and civilization, he became convinced that they were inseparable from religious authority.

Such have been the terms of the struggle for centuries now, as the Anglosphere advanced from victory to victory.

Posted by orrinj at 6:24 AM


In Times Like These, Be Grateful We Have a "Deep State" (David Atkins July 8, 2017, New York)

I'll be the first to admit that I've not generally been a fan of what is colloquially known as the "deep state." The ponderous bureaucracy of economic, intelligence and military professionals in the nation's capital tends to be averse to change and deeply committed to Washington Consensus policy, which essentially means enforcing a loose Pax Americana along market-oriented lines, often via coercive military and economic aggression on behalf of corporate interests. 

Also known as Americanism.

Posted by orrinj at 6:20 AM


AUDIO : How Do You Make Bread? (JANE LINDHOLM & MELODY BODETTE, 7/07/17, VPR: But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids

How is bread made? Who made the first cake? Why shouldn't you touch raw eggs? On this episode of But Why, we're talking about baking. We get a lesson in bread making on a field trip to King Arthur Flour.

Posted by orrinj at 6:18 AM


Posted by orrinj at 6:07 AM


A diabetes medication that costs 6 cents a pill could be a key to living longer (Lydia Ramsey , 7/07/17, Business Insider)

Metformin has been around in one form or another for centuries -- Wired reports that it's actually a modified version of a compound found in the flower Galega officinalis, which you may know as French lilac. It was approved by the FDA for diabetes treatment of type 2 diabetes in 1994 (not type 1, which is the result of an autoimmune disorder) though it was available in other countries before then.

Today, metformin one of the most popular prescriptions in the US, according to GoodRx. The drug can cost as little as $4, or 6 cents a pill. 

Since metformin was approved for diabetes, it has started to be used off-label to treat conditions like pre-diabetes, gestational diabetes, and polycystic ovarian disease. Some retrospective studies and preclinical work have indicated that it might also lower a person's risk of cancer, though at least one clinical trial wasn't able to show that it had any protective effect on esophageal cancer.  

Some futurists like Ray Kurzweil are already taking metformin for their health. 

Using the drug as an anti-aging treatment makes sense, since it helps the body be more sensitive to insulin, which in turn lowers the amount of blood sugar in the body and helps things run more smoothly. That may mean the drug could simply help people feel healthier for longer than they might have otherwise -- a phenomenon known as increasing the "healthspan."

A number of studies have linked metformin to an extended, healthier life in non-human settings. Experiments in nematodes and male mice have found that the drug can increase the lifespans (and in some cases healthspans) of the organisms. 

A 2014 retrospective analysis of an earlier study involving roughly 180,000 people also found that those with type 2 diabetes who took metformin lived longer than those in the non-diabetic control group.

Posted by orrinj at 5:58 AM


Trump Caves to Putin (STEPHEN F. HAYES, 7/07/17, Weekly Standard)

The Trump administration has touted its approach to the world as "principled realism." But what are the principles that lead to a naive embrace of an adversary? And what kind of realism requires a willful ignorance of reality?

Tillerson summarized the Trump-Putin meeting this way: "The two leaders, I would say, connected very quickly. There was a very clear positive chemistry between the two."

Yes. And that's the problem.