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Established 1973 — Last updated: Thursday, August 28, 2014, 5:56 PM
Policy & Practice News by 10am
Permanent Editorial?
The U.S. wastes $1.6 Trillion/yr on bloated health care spending as compared with the 2011 OECD per capita average, which becomes extra overhead on everything U.S. workers make—resulting in offshoring manufacturing and jobs. Let's adopt more efficient practices instead of cutting Medicare and Medicaid coverage as part of some "Grand Bargain"
2011 US per capita health care spending was $4390 more per person than in France (acclaimed as having the best healthcare) and $5169 above the OECD average without better results. (Ref. 2009, 2007, selected 2007 with avg. doctor visits showing we're least cared for for the money, 2003 and 1998.)

Lastly and importantly, health worker pay is NOT the problem.

[Sorry I didn't date this, which has been updated over time, my anger unrelenting. It was posted in early 2010. A similar editorial re. triple-play communication services is also much deserved, since all OECD countries pay much less.]
A 127-page draft report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change describes what can be done about it
Associated Press via The Guardian
To sidestep Senate approval, President Obama’s negotiators are devising what they call a “politically binding” deal to “name and shame” countries into cutting their emissions.
CORAL DAVENPORT in The New York Times
As if you didn’t already think Doctors Without Borders had its hands full with the Ebola crisis unfolding in West Africa, the organization recently released a series of videos and photographs covering the group’s work in and around Syria.
ANNA ALTMAN in The New York Times
Greenpeace energy analyst Jimmy Aldridge said: “The expansion of lignite mining in Europe is today the most serious symptom of the continent’s chronic addiction to dangerous fossil fuels, and a massive threat to its efforts to tackle climate change. The companies involved will continue for as long as they can – we need our political leaders to act in order to stop this situation from getting worse. [Barack] Obama has taken decisive action against coal in the US, it’s time European leaders did the same.”
Karl Mathiesen in The Guardian
A senior federal nuclear expert is urging regulators to shut down California's last operating nuclear plant until they can determine whether the facility's twin reactors can withstand powerful shaking from any one of several nearby earthquake faults.
MICHAEL R. BLOOD for the Associated Press via The Sacramento Bee
Climate change and chemicals like pesticides are driving the crisis.
“The wild card for birds, the biggest risk of them all, is the high-carbon world humans have created through the burning of fossil fuels for energy.”

Climate Change: Lines of Evidence [play chapters or all 28 minutes]
The National Research Council via YouTube | Ref.
A.C. THOMPSON and JONATHAN JONES in ProPublica | Ref.
Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us [long, print & study; 3:38 video]
Looking at real bills for real patients cuts through the ideological debate over health care policy.
STEVEN BRILL in Time Magazine | Ref.
Econ4 on Health Care [10:00 video]
the USA ranks first in the world in health care spending, but only 45th in life expectancy....
YVES SMITH comments in Naked Capitalism | Ref.
Climate change inaction is a leading global cause of death.
DARA | Ref.
If we had the per-person costs of any other OECD country, America’s deficits would vanish....
EZRA KLEIN in the Washington Post | Ref.
How Industry Money Reaches (aka 'bribes') Physicians
Special Report in Pro Publica | Ref.
To remove your appendix in one California hospital costs $180,000, at a different facility the bill is $1,500. [Who has time to shop?]
RYAN FLINN in Bloomberg | Ref.
SOURCE: Public Broadcasting System & ABC News | Ref.
SOURCE: The White House | Ref.
SOURCE: Slate Mag. | Ref.
SOURCE: The American Medical Student Association | Ref.
SOURCE: Readers | Ref.
Charter schools divert public monies to pay their six-figure salaries; hire uncertified, transient, non-unionized teachers on the cheap; and do not admit (or fail to appropriately serve) students who are costly, such as those with disabilities.'
RUTH CONNIFF in In These Times
In his new book, Patrick Cockburn writes that America's failed strategy will only make ISIS stronger.
Patrick Cockburn in Mother Jones
The current debate over corporate inversions, in which American companies like Burger King consider renouncing their citizenship for tax-reduction purposes, is only the latest reminder that the United States corporate tax code has deep problems. [It means relinquishing SuperPower Powers.]
The crowds gathered in Ferguson’s streets see little of themselves in their city’s political system.
Jelani Cobb for The New Yorker
The ‘savage’ of history has become the ‘thug’ of 2014. Injustice is so banal that we hardly notice it happening
Isabel Wilkerson in The Guardian
A roundup of the best stories on cities and urbanism we've come across in the last seven days.
LEX BERKO in CityLab
Spokeswoman denies media links to hate groups while senior police officer leads NAACP march in Ferguson
None of the other potential 2016 GOP candidates is nearly as good at working the media. [But] he's never written a law, let alone an important one that improved people's lives.
PAUL WALDMAN for The American Prospect
Unprofessional journalists are critiqued.
BOB SOMERBY in The Daily Howler | EVERY DAY

Letters to the Editor
Readers | Ongoing

In recognition of the dangers inherent in the consolidation of mainstream corporate media The Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel (formerly a newspaper) advances awareness of important suppressed news and opinion.
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Apartment building that Israeli military said housed a Hamas operations room is one of two multi-storey complexes destroyed
A 12-storey apartment building in Gaza City was brought down on Saturday evening and a seven-floor office building in Rafah was razed early on Sunday.

In total around 100,000 Gazans have become homeless, with more than 17,000 homes destroyed or damaged beyond repair, according to UN figures. However Saturday’s strike marked the first time an entire apartment highrise was destroyed. [Passing out warning leaflets in advance does not exempt it being a war crime]

Harriet Sherwood and agencies via The Guardian
US effort to build an international coalition against Isis advanced, as Britain and six other nations agreed to arm the Kurdish peshmerga
President Obama is nearing a decision to authorize airstrikes and airdrops around Amerli, an Iraqi town that has been under siege by militants for more than two months.
Striking the jihadists in Syria is reckless without allies on the ground.
bombing can pulverize an enemy, but only allies on the ground can seize its territory. In Iraq, it’s easier to grasp who those allies are: the Kurdish Peshmerga and perhaps the Iraqi Army. But if we bomb ISIS in Syria, who will we be fighting for?
Peter Beinart in The Atlantic
Strikes said to be from planes flying out of Egyptian airbases signal step towards direct action in conflict by other Arab states
Patrick Kingsley, Chris Stephen and Dan Roberts in The Guardian
The lobbying group AIPAC has consistently fought the Obama Administration on policy. Is it now losing influence?
CONNIE BRUCK for The New Yorker
State says no payment for Peter Theo Curtis, whose family asked Qatar for assistance
Operation Dawn captures airport in fierce fighting against pro-government militias after five-week siege in the capital
Chris Stephen, and Anne Penketh in The Guardian
Manuel Valls told to form new government after crisis triggered by minister calling for end to austerity policies imposed by Germany
Anne Penketh in The Guardian
Sensata Technologies Holding NV (ST) is one of at least 14 firms that have left the U.S. tax system through a sale to an investment fund, according to a tally by Bloomberg News. Although these companies have a combined market value of about $75 billion, this tax-avoidance strategy has gotten less attention in Washington than inversions and may be harder to discourage.

These buyouts mean profits for the U.S. private equity firms like Boston-based Bain Capital LLC that orchestrated them. Bain earned more than $3 billion after it took Sensata public as a Dutch company in 2010, with an effective tax rate about one-tenth of some competing manufacturers.

Zachary R. Mider in Bloomberg News
Unions are a part of the cultural fabric in Germany. For Amazon, that poses a persistent challenge as thousands of its German warehouse workers fight for union recognition, striking occasionally to demonstrate their commitment.
Jay Greene in The Seattle Times
“If Argentina were in a high-stakes chess match, the country’s actions this week would be the equivalent of flipping over all the pieces on the board.”
– David Dayen, Fiscal Times, August 22, 2014   
Ellen Brown in Web of Debt
Steve Kroft investigates the multibillion-dollar industry that collects, analyzes and sells the personal information of millions of Americans with virtually no oversight
When Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web 24 years ago he thought he'd created an egalitarian tool that would share information for the greater good. But it hasn't quite worked out like that. What went wrong?
Stuart Jeffries in The Guardian
With the 15% nominal rate in Canada, this is absolutely a move about taxes. As WSJ points out, a 2010 merger between Valeant Pharmaceuticals International and Biovail Corp, which led to a redomiciling in Canada, produced a company that “now has a tax rate less than 5%.” So this move would clearly save Burger King billions of dollars. [This race to the bottom re. corporate taxes at the national level won't end well, calling into question why we have nation-states at all]
David Dayen in Naked Capitalism
Thanks to a combination of cheap sensors and computer vision, machines are capable of more freely navigating and performing other complex tasks. The tech uses a combination of infrared sensors and stereoscopic cameras to drive autonomous telepresence robots in hospitals and allow advanced industrial bots to recognize, differentiate, and pick irregular shapes like haphazardly stacked boxes. (Computer vision is also behind Google’s Project Tango 3D-seeing smartphone and tablet.)
Jason Dorrier in Singularity Hub

We're tracking where taxpayer money has gone in the ongoing bailout of the financial system. Our database accounts for both the broader $700 billion bill and the separate bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
ProPublica | Ref.
SARAH ANDERSON in CounterPunch | Ref.
ANDREW HACKER in The New York Review of Books | Ref.
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