Thursday, October 8, 2015

Pope Met With People Who Refuse to Do Jobs

Pope Francis. (photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Pope Francis. (photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

By Andy Borowitz, New Yorker
03 October 15

he Vatican has confirmed that while Pope Francis was in Washington, he had meetings with people who refuse to do their jobs.

The Pope met privately with the Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, and also met at the U.S. Capitol with several hundred other people who have chosen not to perform their duties, the Vatican said.

“Reporting every day to a job that one has no intention of doing can only fill one with anguish,” the official Vatican statement read. “The Pope wanted to show these people compassion.”

While in Washington, the Pope had hoped to meet with thousands of additional people who do not do their jobs, but there “wasn’t enough time,” the Vatican said.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Apple leads pack in evading taxes

Apple CEO Tim Cook. (photo: KOMO News/AP)
Apple CEO Tim Cook. (photo: KOMO News/AP)

Big US Firms Hold $2.1 Trillion Overseas to Avoid Taxes: Study

By David Alexander and Eric Beech, Reuters
06 October 15
he 500 largest American companies hold more than $2.1 trillion in accumulated profits offshore to avoid U.S. taxes and would collectively owe an estimated $620 billion in U.S. taxes if they repatriated the funds, according to a study released on Tuesday.

The study, by two left-leaning non-profit groups, found that nearly three-quarters of the firms on the Fortune 500 list of biggest American companies by gross revenue operate tax haven subsidiaries in countries like Bermuda, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

The Citizens for Tax Justice and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund used the companies' own financial filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission to reach their conclusions.

Technology firm Apple (AAPL.O) was holding $181.1 billion offshore, more than any other U.S. company, and would owe an estimated $59.2 billion in U.S. taxes if it tried to bring the money back to the United States from its three overseas tax havens, the study said.

The conglomerate General Electric (GE.N) has booked $119 billion offshore in 18 tax havens, software firm Microsoft (MSFT.O) is holding $108.3 billion in five tax haven subsidiaries and drug company Pfizer (PFE.N) is holding $74 billion in 151 subsidiaries, the study said.

"At least 358 companies, nearly 72 percent of the Fortune 500, operate subsidiaries in tax haven jurisdictions as of the end of 2014," the study said. "All told these 358 companies maintain at least 7,622 tax haven subsidiaries."

Fortune 500 companies hold more than $2.1 trillion in accumulated profits offshore to avoid taxes, with just 30 of the firms accounting for $1.4 trillion of that amount, or 65 percent, the study found.

Fifty-seven of the companies disclosed that they would expect to pay a combined $184.4 billion in additional U.S. taxes if their profits were not held offshore. Their filings indicated they were paying about 6 percent in taxes overseas, compared to a 35 percent U.S. corporate tax rate, it said.

"Congress can and should take strong action to prevent corporations from using offshore tax havens, which in turn would restore basic fairness to the tax system, reduce the deficit and improve the functioning of markets," the study concluded.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

As caregivers age, experts warn of stress, isolation

One routine Ken Koch observes as caregiver to his wife, Mary, who suffered brain damage after surgery for a tumor on her brain stem, is unloading the dishwasher. (Photo by Ty Scholes/Cronkite News)

Ken Koch says caring for his wife, who suffered brain damage after surgery for a tumor on her brain stem, has been “life-changing, overwhelming and inspiring." (Photo by Jessi Schultz/Cronkite News)
TOP: One routine Ken Koch observes as caregiver to his wife, Mary, who suffered brain damage after surgery for a tumor on her brain stem, is unloading the dishwasher. (Photo by Ty Scholes/Cronkite News)

BOTTOM: Ken Koch says caring for his wife, who suffered brain damage after surgery for a tumor on her brain stem, has been “life-changing, overwhelming and inspiring.” (Photo by Jessi Schultz/Cronkite News)

Cronkite News 

Hand in hand, Ken Koch walks his wife, Mary, to the dishwasher and opens it for her. She pauses and looks at the dishes, then grabs a mug and taps it on the drying towel. Into the cupboard and back again, Mary takes her time unloading.

“Routine is a big part of our day,” Ken says, looking at his wife with a patient expression.

Their relationship changed completely the day seven years ago when doctors found a lemon-sized tumor near Mary’s brain stem. She was rushed into surgery that was followed by complications that left her with severe brain damage.

Mary no longer has short-term memory; her brain resets every 20 seconds.

“It was catastrophic, and I was overwhelmed,” said Ken, a 64-year-old retiree. “I just had to live minute to minute. I was still working at this time, so I had to go back and forth. It was survival at its very core.”

His situation is increasingly common. As America’s population ages, the number of older family caregivers has grown.

Research suggests that the pressure of caring for loved ones can be especially taxing for older people. A recent study by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving found that 55 percent of family caregivers reported feeling overwhelmed by stress, and an accompanying news release questioned whether enough is being done to support them.

“They typically focus all their attention on their loved ones, and we try to teach them that it’s very important to find ways to take care of themselves,” said David W. Coon, an Arizona State University professor who studies chronic mental health problems associated with aging. “If they go down, it’s not just themselves going down. It’s also the person they are providing assistance to.”

Not every caregiver reacts the same way, Coon said.

“Some people experience depression, some people experience frustration or anger, others experience worry,” he said.

Scott Hawthorthwaite, director of care coordination at the Area Agency on Aging for Maricopa County, suggests that physicians educate caregivers at the time of diagnosis on the possible struggles down the road.

“We see caregivers very late in the caregiving journey call us at the point when they absolutely need a break,” he said, adding that caregivers should reach out for help before they become overwhelmed.

His agency offers services like Adult Day Health Care, which provides care and supervised activities for seniors with disabilities.

“Not only is it a break for the caregiver, but the care receiver often enjoys getting out of the house,” Hawthorthwaite said.

He said caregiver support groups are also highly beneficial to family members feeling overwhelmed and isolated. When people visit these groups, he said, they tend not to feel so alone.

“They share their experience and learn caregiver tips, and meet new friends as well,” Hawthorthwaite said.

His organization offers a 24-hour Senior Help Line at 602-264-4357 (HELP).

Ken Koch said he tried to go it alone for three years before finally seeking help through individual and group therapy. That assistance relieved his anxiety, he said, and Mary responded as well, seeming more comfortable and smiling more.

“When I started getting support and help and giving myself a break mentally and emotionally, all the sudden Mary started to improve in little subtle ways,” he said.

While his journey has been difficult, Ken also calls it “life-changing, overwhelming and inspiring.”

“I’ve learned so much about loving another human being. I’ve also learned to love myself a bit better,” he said. “I don’t have that little critic on my shoulder all the time, and I’m grateful for the small things.”

Ken’s advice for others in his situation: Get support.

“There’s a lot of us out there, more than you’d know. And there’s going to be a lot more,” he said. “The resources are not numerous, but they’re out there.”

Monday, October 5, 2015

Second Amendment Is a Gun-Control Amendment

Participants consoling each other during a candlelight vigil for the nine people who were killed in a shooting at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Oregon, on Thursday. The gunman also was killed. (photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP)
Participants consoling each other during a candlelight vigil for the nine people who were killed in a shooting at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Oregon, on Thursday. The gunman also was killed. (photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

By Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker
04 October 15
he tragedy happens—yesterday at a school in Oregon, and then as it will again—exactly as predicted, and uniquely here. It hardly seems worth the energy to once again make the same essential point that the President—his growing exasperation and disbelief moving, if not effective, as he serves as national mourner—has now made again: we know how to fix this. Gun control ends gun violence as surely an antibiotics end bacterial infections, as surely as vaccines end childhood measles—not perfectly and in every case, but overwhelmingly and everywhere that it’s been taken seriously and tried at length. These lives can be saved. Kids continue to die en masse because one political party won’t allow that to change, and the party won’t allow it to change because of the irrational and often paranoid fixations that make the massacre of students and children an acceptable cost of fetishizing guns.

In the course of today’s conversation, two issues may come up, treated in what is now called a trolling tone—pretending to show concern but actually standing in the way of real argument. One is the issue of mental health and this particular killer’s apparent religious bigotry. Everyone crazy enough to pick up a gun and kill many people is crazy enough to have an ideology to attach to the act. The point—the only point—is that, everywhere else, that person rants in isolation or on his keyboard; only in America do we cheerfully supply him with military-style weapons to express his rage. As the otherwise reliably Republican (but still Canadian-raised) David Frum wisely writes: “Every mass shooter has his own hateful motive. They all use the same tool.”

More standard, and seemingly more significant, is the claim—often made by those who say they recognize the tragedy of mass shootings and pretend, at least, that they would like to see gun sanity reign in America—that the Second Amendment acts as a barrier to anything like the gun laws, passed after mass shootings, that have saved so many lives in Canada and Australia. Like it or not, according to this argument, the Constitution limits our ability to control the number and kinds of guns in private hands. Even the great Jim Jeffries, in his memorable standup on American madness, says, “Why can’t you change the Second Amendment? It’s an amendment!”—as though further amending it were necessary to escape it.

In point of historical and constitutional fact, nothing could be further from the truth: the only amendment necessary for gun legislation, on the local or national level, is the Second Amendment itself, properly understood, as it was for two hundred years in its plain original sense. This sense can be summed up in a sentence: if the Founders hadn’t wanted guns to be regulated, and thoroughly, they would not have put the phrase “well regulated” in the amendment. (A quick thought experiment: What if those words were not in the preamble to the amendment and a gun-sanity group wanted to insert them? Would the National Rifle Association be for or against this change? It’s obvious, isn’t it?)

The confusion is contemporary. (And, let us hope, temporary.) It rises from the younger-than-springtime decision D.C. v. Heller, from 2008, when Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for a 5–4 majority, insisted that, whether he wanted it to or not, the Second Amendment protected an individual right to own a weapon. (A certain disingenuous show of disinterestedness is typical of his opinions.)

This was an astounding constitutional reading, or misreading, as original as Citizens United, and as idiosyncratic as the reasoning in Bush v. Gore, which found a conclusive principle designed to be instantly discarded—or, for that matter, as the readiness among the court’s right wing to overturn a health-care law passed by a supermajority of the legislature over a typo. Anyone who wants to both grasp that decision’s radicalism and get a calm, instructive view of what the Second Amendment does say, and was intended to say, and was always before been understood to say, should read Justice John Paul Stevens’s brilliant, persuasive dissent in that case. Every person who despairs of the sanity of the country should read it, at least once, not just for its calm and irrefutable case-making but as a reminder of what sanity sounds like.

Stevens, a Republican judge appointed by a Republican President, brilliantly analyzes the history of the amendment, making it plain that for Scalia, et al., to arrive at their view, they have to reference not the deliberations that produced the amendment but, rather, bring in British common law and lean on interpretations that arose long after the amendment was passed. Both “keep arms” and “bear arms,” he demonstrates, were, in the writers’ day, military terms used in military contexts. (Gary Wills has usefully illuminated this truth in the New York Review of Books.) The intent of the Second Amendment, Stevens explains, was obviously to secure “to the people a right to use and possess arms in conjunction with service in a well-regulated militia.” The one seemingly sound argument in the Scalia decision—that “the people” in the Second Amendment ought to be the same “people” referenced in the other amendments, that is, everybody—is exactly the interpretation that the preamble was meant to guard against. 

Stevens’s dissent should be read in full, but his conclusion in particular is clear and ringing:
The right the Court announces [in Heller] was not “enshrined” in the Second Amendment by the Framers; it is the product of today’s law-changing decision. . . . Until today, it has been understood that legislatures may regulate the civilian use and misuse of firearms so long as they do not interfere with the preservation of a well-regulated militia. The Court’s announcement of a new constitutional right to own and use firearms for private purposes upsets that settled understanding . . .
Justice Stevens and his colleagues were not saying, a mere seven years ago, that the gun-control legislation in dispute in Heller alone was constitutional within the confines of the Second Amendment. They were asserting that essentially every kind of legislation concerning guns in the hands of individuals was compatible with the Second Amendment—indeed, that regulating guns in individual hands was one of the purposes for which the amendment was offered.

So there is no need to amend the Constitution, or to alter the historical understanding of what the Second Amendment meant. No new reasoning or tortured rereading is needed to reconcile the Constitution with common sense. All that is necessary for sanity to rule again, on the question of guns, is to restore the amendment to its commonly understood meaning as it was articulated by this wise Republican judge a scant few years ago. And all you need for that is one saner and, in the true sense, conservative Supreme Court vote. One Presidential election could make that happen.


+23 # John Puma 2015-10-04 12:25
From an apparently little-noticed cranny of Scalia's Heller decision: "Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is NOT unlimited ... (N)OTHING in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or LAWS IMPOSING CONDITIONS AND QUALIFICATION ON THE COMMERCIAL SALE OF ARM" (my emphasis)

Note the reference in the BODY of the constitution
(that to which the 2nd Amendment is, you know, AMENDED) to "the Militia," it's purpose and mode of regulation:

1) Article One , Section 8, ¶'s 15&16:
"To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;"
"To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline
prescribed by Congress;"
2) Article Two, Section 2, paragraph one:
"The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States,"

In the Heller decision, Scalia destroyed this part of "the founding document" through virtuosic, if impeachable, mental contortion.


+28 # Doc Mary 2015-10-04 17:10
FINALLY somebody speaks up. Anyone who has read the correspondence around the 2nd Amendment is well aware that it was in the context of a militia - and that Washington, already nervous about militias rising up against a federal government, urged Madison to add "well-regulated ." An example of a not-well-regula ted militia, to Washington's mind, was Pennsylvania's, which had the audacity to elect their own officers. And five years after he first became president, Washington essentially got rid of the power of the militia to protest decisions made by a distant government (something they had always done during British rule) by leading an army greater than any he had commanded during the war, to end the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania. They turned to a political answer to their grievance - an tax on whiskey, their main export - and we were all probably better off.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sanders: We Need 'Sensible' Gun-Control

Senator Bernie Sanders. (photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
Senator Bernie Sanders. (photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

By Jordain Carney, The Hill
02 September 15
en. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is calling for "sensible gun-control legislation" in the wake of a mass shooting Thursday at a community college in Oregon.

"We need a comprehensive approach. We need sensible gun-control legislation which prevents guns from being used by people who should not have them," Sanders said in a statement. "We must greatly expand and improve our mental health capabilities so individuals and families can get the psychological help then need when they need it."

Sanders released his remarks after a gunman opened fire at Umpqua Community College on Thursday morning, killing 10 people.

The Vermont senator, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, added that the United State must also "tone down the incredibly high level of gratuitous violence" in the media.

"The shouting at each other must end. The hard work of developing good policy must begin," he said.

Sanders's comments echo remarks from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is also running for the Democratic nomination. Speaking after a campaign stop in Massachusetts, she called for "sensible gun control measures to save lives."

Any gun control legislation would face an uphill, if not impossible, battle in the Republican-controlled Congress.

A proposal to expand background checks from Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) failed to get the 60 votes needed in 2013 to overcome a procedural hurdle. A handful of the 54 yes votes were from Democratic senators who have since been replaced by Republicans.

Asked about taking up new gun control legislation earlier this year, Republican senators suggested instead that lawmakers should take time to reflect in the wake of a shooting, strengthen mental health services or crack down on cities that don't comply with federal immigration laws.

But Sanders suggested that Americans are "horrified by these never-ending mass shootings" and that Congress must try to "end this awful epidemic of senseless slaughter." 


+11 # tswhiskers 2015-10-02 13:56
I was glad to hear one of the parents at the shooting on Ore. blame the Republicans for the lack of gun control legislation in Congress. Also impressed to see the stats of the # of victims of guns arrayed alongside the # of victims of terrorism on the news. Al Quaeda has nothing on gunmakers and shooters. The question if course is when will Reps. regain the sense to abandon the NRA and gun sellers and again vote for responsible gun legislation.
+1 # Caliban 2015-10-02 15:34
Unfortunately, opponents of gun regulation have a theoretical foundation that is much more formidable than the NRA or gun sellers--the Second Amendment to the US Constitution (1791), which reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed".

This amendment has a history of varying judicial interpretations , but the simple text--unweakene d by recent Supreme Court decisions--is a powerful weapon in the hands of today's pro-gun lobbyists.
+26 # Dust 2015-10-02 18:34
Except I have never understood two things:

1) The introductory clause of that sentence, rendered in modern English, says "BECAUSE a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free State..." which means "We needed an army to withstand England and our army is not a dedicated standing army but primarily a civilian recruitment with their own firearms in time of need". So why have the courts essentially ignored the entire condition on which the f-ing thing is predicated???

2. Even allowing for the former, I have never heard anyone define the limits of the term "arms". I am assuming that most sane people would NOT advocate the right of every citizen to own a functional nuclear weapon. Why? Because some short-tempered brat could easily nuke San Francisco, killing millions of people simply because he or she was pissed off that day and had poor impulse-control . In other words, the general welfare takes precedence over the individual, in that instance. So WHERE is the dividing line between Goodman Farmer owning his muzzle-loader and Spaceman Spiff nuking San Francisco? I have never heard anyone draw a clear line between the two.
+12 # Moxa 2015-10-02 21:13
Good points, but you presuppose sanity. Actually it is just as insane that countries have weapons of mass destruction and use them to destroy other countries. It is the microcosm and the macrocosm. The world is insane, both individuals and society. Even those of us who don't go around shooting up our neighborhood school might well support a war in a distant land, sometimes for NOTHING--as in Iraq. George W. Bush reminds me of that short-tempered brat you speak of, but wasn't most of Congress behind him?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Socialism? Let's Cut to the Chase

The downfall of Detroit. Detroit's former Lee Plaza Hotel, closed in the 90s. (photo: Yves Marchand and Romaine Meffre/TIME)
The downfall of Detroit. Detroit's former Lee Plaza Hotel, closed in the 90s. (photo: Yves Marchand and Romaine Meffre/TIME)

By Marc Ash, Reader Supported News
22 September 15
“This country has socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the poor.” – The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“A basic principle of modern state capitalism is that costs and risks are socialized to the extent possible, while profit is privatized.”
– Noam Chomsky
ou are going to be hearing a lot about “Bernie Sanders, the Radical Socialist” in the coming months. So before that bandwagon rolls off down the great American highway let’s pin a little truth to its tail.

Socialism is nothing new in American politics or economics. Of course it’s not called “Socialism,” that would screw up the corporate 1% media’s branding. They call it good economic policy or bailouts or quantitative easing or free trade – but it’s Socialism.

You will also hear a great deal about “wealth redistribution.” You will be encouraged to fear that. You should. Yes, wealth redistribution is a reality and an American tradition, but it never goes from the top to the bottom, it goes from the bottom to the top. At this point the pace is rapacious. When Donald Trump talks about making America great again, he’s talking about the traditional bottom-to-top form of wealth redistribution. Yes that would make America great – for him, and those precious few who share his tax bracket.

Recent painful examples of the nation’s wealth being redistributed from working class Americans to the wealthiest include the Iraq war and the so-called housing bubble collapse.

The Iraq War transferred, by all accounts, trillions of US taxpayer dollars into the coffers of arms manufacturers and contractors. It was in all likelihood the largest and most rapid such transference in history.

The housing boom-to-bust “Recession of 2008,” arguably continuing today, turned American homes into Wall Street commodities. The result was that millions of Americans lost their homes. Wall Street investors got rich betting on the bust, and those who lost money recovered it from investment insurers, who were then bailed out by the American taxpayer. Wealth redistributed – big time.

The conflict isn’t over Socialism, it’s over who should be allowed to enjoy its benefits. The nation’s wealthiest 1% of individuals and corporations do. Everyone else does not, but certainly should.

What makes Sanders’ ideas radical is that he wants all Americans to enjoy the benefits of Socialism, not just the top 1%. So he will be labeled a “radical,” and the average American who would benefit most from his policies will be pressed to fear him. The most fertile breeding ground for that fear will be ignorance, ignorance of course being the anvil of oppression.

Wall Street cares nothing for “the economy.” Wall street is absolutely, categorically dedicated to profit, 1% profit foremost. Whoever gets hurt, gets hurt. In case you haven’t noticed, Wall Street is running the country. Sanders’ radical policies are very unpopular there.

So while your television or other corporate media outlet congers up visions of Joseph Stalin when describing Sanders’ “Socialist agenda,” remember, America has always had Socialism, working people have always paid for it, and the wealthiest Americans have always enjoyed it.

Socialism for working people, maybe not so radical. Want to really make America great again? Do it the way FDR did it in the 1930s. That is where Sanders is leading the 99%.

Marc Ash was formerly the founder and Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.


+111 # pappajohn15 2015-09-22 09:39
Very nice article. I sure hope someone asks Bernie about "income redistribution" and he gives your answer.

One thought:

"Sanders' radical policies"... ?

But they aren't radical at all. They are oh so reasonable! They aren't even new. They're old time, sensible and fair. The public has just been trained by the corporate media to fear them.
+50 # Citizen Mike 2015-09-22 10:13
To be "radical" does not mean unreasonable, but means advocating root (Radix) changes to a system. Today we have radicals on both left and right arguing for fundamental changes to our political and economic systems.
+15 # Radscal 2015-09-22 18:33
WOW! I'm impressed. You may be the second person with whom I've conversed who knew what "radical" really means.
+1 # JJS 2015-09-24 17:44
Do you remember Newt using the term "radical conservative" to describe his political philosophy? I thought my head would explode.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Why Washington Post's attack on Bernie is bunk

Robert Reich. (photo: Richard Morgenstein)
Robert Reich. (photo: Richard Morgenstein)

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog
02 October 15
he Washington Post just ran an attack on Bernie Sanders that distorts not only what he’s saying and seeking but also the basic choices that lie before the nation. Sanders, writes the Post’s David Fahrenthold, “is not just a big-spending liberal. And his agenda is not just about money. It’s also about control.”

Fahrenthold claims Sanders’s plan for paying for college with a tax on Wall Street trades would mean “colleges would run by government rules.”

Apparently Fahrenthold is unaware that three-quarters of college students today attend public universities financed largely by state governments. And even those who attend elite private universities benefit from federal tax subsidies flowing to wealthy donors. (Meg Whitman’s recent $30 million donation to Princeton, for example, is really $20 million from her plus an estimated $10 million she deducted from her taxable income.) Notwithstanding all this government largesse, colleges aren’t “run by government rules.”

The real problem is too many young people still can’t afford a college education. The move toward free public higher education that began in the 1950s with the G.I. Bill and was extended in the 1960s by leading public universities was reversed starting in the 1980s because of shrinking state budgets. Tuition has skyrocketed in recent years as states slashed education spending. It’s time to resurrect that earlier goal.

Besides, the biggest threats to academic freedom these days aren’t coming from government. They’re coming as conditions attached to funding from billionaires and big corporations that’s increasing as public funding drops.

When the Charles Koch Foundation pledged $1.5 million to Florida State University’s economics department, for example, it stipulated that a Koch-appointed advisory committee would select professors and undertake annual evaluations. The Koch brothers now fund 350 programs at over 250 colleges and universities across America. You can bet that funding doesn’t underwrite research on inequality and environmental justice.

Fahrenthold similarly claims Sanders’s plan for a single-payer system would put healthcare under the “control” of government.

But health care is already largely financed through government subsidies – only they’re flowing to private for-profit health insurers that are now busily consolidating into corporate laviathans. Anthem purchase of giant insurer Cigna will make it the largest health insurer in America; Aetna is buying Humana, creating the second-largest, with 33 million members.

Why should anyone suppose these for-profit corporate giants will be less “controlling” than government?

What we do know is they’re far more expensive than a single-payer system.

Fahrenthold repeats the charge that Sanders’s healthcare plan would cost $15 trillion over ten years. But single-payer systems in other rich nations have proven cheaper than private for-profit health insurers because they don’t spend huge sums on advertising, marketing, executive pay, and billing.

So even if the Sanders single-payer plan would cost $15 trillion over ten years, Americans as a whole would save more than that.

Fahrenthold trusts the “market” more than he does the government but he overlooks the fact that government sets the rules by which the market runs (such as whether health insurers should be allowed to consolidate even further, or how much of a “charitable” tax deduction wealthy donors to private universities should receive, and whether they should get the deduction if they attach partisan conditions to their donations).

The real choice isn’t between government and the “market.” It’s between a system responsive to the needs of most Americans, or one more responsive to the demands of the super-rich, big business, and Wall Street – whose economic and political power have grown dramatically over the last three decades.

This is why the logic of Sanders’s ideas depends on the political changes he seeks. Fahrenthold says a President Sanders couldn’t get any of his ideas implemented anyway because Congress would reject them. But if Bernie Sanders is elected president, American politics will have been altered, reducing the moneyed interests’ chokehold over the public agenda.

Fahrenthold may not see the populism that’s fueling Bernie’s campaign, but it is gaining strength and conviction. Other politicians, as well as political reporters, ignore this upsurge at their peril.
+40 # Billsy 2015-10-02 13:18
The once great WaPo is a pathetic shadow of its former self, now like the NYT, a propaganda machine overflowing with failed neo-con policies, weighted by diminishing credibility. The mere fact that it's new owner is the ruthless mercenary Founder/CEO of is sufficient to make its editorial choices highly suspect.
+21 # NAVYVET 2015-10-02 13:36
Good article, especially when it emphasized that universities and colleges now dance to the Mephistophelian tune set by the Koch Brothers and other thieves of democratic government. I grew up in Florida, didn't attend FSU but I used to respect their biology department for its ocean studies in the Gulf. Probably wrecked by now, since all rational research contributed to the conclusion of global scorching.

Do you subscribe online to the Wash Post? I don't, but if I did I'd de-subscribe and tell them I don't want to read sludge written by the puppets of traitors. And we do need to send letters to the editors.
+10 # Caliban 2015-10-02 14:16
NAVYVET--Comple tely agree that "we do need to send letters to the editors', but to do that effectively, we have to read the Post first. So maybe it is time grit our teeth and do just that--with sharply worded letters critiquing the "sludge" found there.

The days of Woodward and Bernstein and Editor Ben Bradlee are sadly dead and gone and not to be resurrected by Jeff Bezos, it appears.
+18 # suzyskier 2015-10-02 13:49
So the Koch brothers pledged 1.5 million as long as they can have control? Why did the University ever agree to this? 1.5 million doesn't seem nearly enough to bend over and take it. What is wrong with that University that they would sell their souls for this? Doesn't sound like a very worthy institution at all. Very hard to respect them after this.
+16 # tomwalker8 2015-10-02 13:51
I'm feeling the Bern, Robert. The corporate wing of the democratic party may want Hillary to run unopposed, but I (and many others) aren't signing up for her coronation. The "liberal" media ought to stop treating his candidacy as a hopeless and ill advised tilt to the left, and start recognizing that his popularity, which grows every day, is due to his support of "we the people" as opposed to corporate "people" - you know the ones that plead guilty to massive collusion or automotive safety hazards without having a single "person" charged with a crime.