Completely Evil Institute

revere reports

The for-profit publishers don’t like BMC or Public Library of Science (PLoS) or any of the other open access publishers and are determined to crush them. So they hired the PR firm of Eric Dezenhall, who also worked for convicted Enron execs and others of that ilk, to do “media messaging.” We know this because someone on the inside squealed and provided emails and memos to Nature who spilled the beans in this news article.

When you want to attack scientists, who you gonna call?

Dezenhall also recommended joining forces with groups that may be ideologically opposed to government-mandated projects such as PubMed Central, including organizations that have angered scientists. One suggestion was the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank based in Washington DC, which has used oil-industry money to promote sceptical views on climate change. Dezenhall estimated his fee for the campaign at $300,000-500,000.

Comments

  1. #1 Thom
    January 27, 2007

    This story is bouncing all across the internet. Scientific American has a nice take on the whole thing that can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/2aeye7

    Besides hiring sheit P.R. firm Dezenhall, the American Chemical Society has spent almost half a million dollars of membership money hiring two lobby shops — Hicks Partners LLC and Wexler & Walker Public Policy Association.

    And there’s this grand quote from Rudy Baum, ACS top editor, who wrote, “Open access, in fact, equates with socialized science.”

    http://pubs.acs.org/cen/editor/8238edit.html

    What an idiot.

  2. #2 Pablo Stafforini
    January 27, 2007

    Peter Suber’s excellent Open Access News blog is closely following the story. Check it out.

  3. #3 romunov
    January 27, 2007

    Socialism is good, mmmkay? Science should be shared, not sold like mules, or candy.

  4. #4 Thom
    January 27, 2007

    Here’s a linky to the American Chemical Society’s lobby records.

    http://tinyurl.com/24dzud

  5. #5 Steve Bloom
    January 27, 2007

    Let’s not forget that another ACS publication is ES&T, which less than a year ago got rid of investigative journalist Paul Thacker.

  6. #6 Thom
    January 27, 2007

    Steve brings up a good point. I found the PBS documentary on Thacker’s work. He got fired for writing a story for Salon that showed that the White House was keeping scientists from speaking up about global warming.
    http://www.thirteen.org/air/111/latest.html

    You can watch the episode, which is titled “Science Fiction.”
    http://www.thirteen.org/air/watch.html

  7. #7 Eli Rabett
    January 27, 2007

    The reason for ACS’s position is Chemical Abstracts, a huge enterprise.

  8. #8 Robert
    January 28, 2007

    Here’s the best line from the [Nature](http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070122/full/445347a.html) article:

    [Dezenhall] advised them to focus on simple messages, such as “Public access equals government censorship”.

  9. #9 nanny_govt_sucks
    January 28, 2007

    Socialism is good, mmmkay?

    Yeah, good for human suffering, but what else?

  10. #10 Aureola Nominee, FCD
    January 28, 2007

    nanny_sucks:

    Sorry, dear, but the amount of human suffering in the “enlightened” U.S. of A. is far, far greater than in “Socialist” Canada or even more Socialist European Union.

    It’s not the fault of the rest of the world if your once-great democracy is now split almost evenly between a far-right-wing party and a moderate right-wing party.

  11. #11 Thom
    January 28, 2007

    Peter Suber has been tracking this story throughout the weekend. This story is really taking off. See his blog: http://tinyurl.com/2sqpvw

    The American Chemical Society has not responded and dodgeg Dave Biello at Scientific American, but the AAP released a statement.
    https://mx2.arl.org/Lists/SPARC-OAForum/Message/3570.html

    “We and many others have legitimate concerns that government mandated open access could have unintended consequences for the scientific community – and anyone who relies on sound science.”

    Gotta’ love that “sound science.” Looks like they’ve been reading off the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s playbook.

  12. #12 Ben
    January 28, 2007

    “Sorry, dear, but the amount of human suffering in the “enlightened” U.S. of A. is far, far greater than in “Socialist” Canada…”

    I half my life in Canada and the other half in the USA, over several intervals. You are wrong. I left that place for good. I’ll take liberty over “equality” any day.

  13. #13 Ian Gould
    January 28, 2007

    It always amused me that the same breed of American who bridle at “anti-Americanism” are only to happy to denounce other developed liberal countries as immoral, tyrannical and populated by servile brain-washed slaves.

    Then they wonder why some of the governments of those immoral, tyrannical states are less than eager to send their soldiers to die at the whim of the American President.

  14. #14 Graculus
    January 28, 2007

    I’ll take liberty over “equality” any day.

    I believe that you still retain the right not to have troops quartered in your house.

  15. #15 Aureola Nominee, FCD
    January 28, 2007

    Ben:

    Any country lacking universal health coverage should think hard and long about what “liberty” really means. You know, that word that comes right next to “life” and “pursuit of happiness” in an old document that you should have some knowledge of. Try arguing that human beings have a right to life when lifesaving drugs and therapies are kept out of their reach. We were talking of “human suffering”, weren’t we?

    The liberty to die of neglect is no liberty.

  16. #16 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2007

    The media in Australia and most other countries is subject to much less censorship than is that of the US.

    Some people might interpret that as a form of liberty but I’m sure Ben and Nanny will be only too happy to explain to us that it’s really just further evidence of our degeneracy and amorality.

    Much like the recognition of gay marriage or civil unions.

  17. #17 ben
    January 29, 2007

    Any country lacking universal health coverage should think hard and long about what “liberty” really means.

    Don’t make me puke. That was the primary reason why I left. That and the draconian firearms laws.

    Try arguing that human beings have a right to life when lifesaving drugs and therapies are kept out of their reach.

    Uh-huh. Who exactly makes these lifesaving drugs etc? Who will make them when the profit motive is gone?

    The liberty to die of neglect is no liberty.

    That’s fine for Canada, I had a choice, I left. Anyone who thinks it is a good idea is free to move there. I’d prefer to not wait a month for an MRI, or cancer surgery, thanks.

    The Canadian system is not the answer, and most of our problems were created by the government, so adding more of the same is unlikely to help. I think someone once asked LBJ why he was interferring with a system that worked pretty well, one in which he admitted that docs/hospitals just took care of those who could not afford it, had them pay what they could afford… he answered that he didn’t want to leave it in private hands. What a dip.

  18. #18 ben
    January 29, 2007

    Sorry, that was unclear. By “make” I meant “invent”.

  19. #19 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2007

    Ben “Who exactly makes these lifesaving drugs etc? Who will make them when the profit motive is gone?’

    You mean besides GlaxoSmithKline; Aventis; Bayer; Novartis; Hoffman-Larouche; AstraZeneca all of whicn have somehow mysterious survived to date in the face of the roaming government death-squads that are currently liquidating the European middle and upper classes?

  20. #20 mndean
    January 29, 2007

    Wow, many of those corporations don’t even *sound* American!

  21. #21 Aureola Nominee, FCD
    January 29, 2007

    So, instead of relying on the rule of law to assist everybody, you prefer to rely on the big, good heart of corporations. Glad you’ve cleared that up for me, Ben.

    Unfortunately, I don’t believe in Santa Claus in a power suit.

    As to your other incredibly naive allegations: one, universal health coverage has never implied removing the motive of profit. Two, waiting a month for an MRI sure beats waiting forever for an MRI, like so many Americans are forced to do. Three, the busloads of American seniors crossing the border to come buy their drugs here are not an invention of Bolshevik propaganda, no matter how much you would like them to be.

  22. #22 Graculus
    January 29, 2007

    Hey Ben. Enjoying turning over your personal information to purchase OTC drugs? Having your library recrods available to the .gov on their whim? The RIAA snooping through your HDD? Your online activity tracked? Your non-US calls tapped without warrant? Peeing in a cup to get a job as a janitor? If you were a woman I’d have to ask about the state of your womb. Etc. etc.

    Of course, once a country suspends the Great Writ, it’s all kind of moot, isn’t it?

  23. #23 Eli Rabett
    January 29, 2007
  24. #24 Tom Rees
    January 29, 2007

    The question is: who should pay for the publication of scientific work. Should it be the reader, or should it be the funding body that paid for the work. Both models have benefits and drawbacks, but it seems to me that much of the debate is missing this basic point.

    The conventional model is that the readership pays, via subscriptions etc. This works well because it encourages publishers to compete to publish the work that is of most interest to the readership. If you assume the readership wants to see high quality, challenging science, then this will work well.

    The problem is, of course, is that readers who cannot afford to pay (or don’t want to) are excluded. But the model that sees funders paying is also problematic – because access to data dissemination will be greatest for those with deepest pockets.

    There are other business models out there (e.g. advertising), but they all rely on someone, somewhere, footing the bill.

  25. #25 Harald Korneliussen
    January 29, 2007

    “Uh-huh. Who exactly makes these lifesaving drugs etc? Who will make them when the profit motive is gone?”

    A ha! It’s the Randian Movers and Shakers like Ben, not us leeches!

  26. #26 ben
    January 29, 2007

    Many things are cheaper in Canada than in the USA. Mostly this is because Canadians can’t afford to spend as much as Americans.

    I do not want “single payer” health care for myself, ever. I don’t mind the notion of coverage for children and those unable to help themselves. I draw the line at people who simply make bad decision after bad decision throughout their lives. Why should there be no consequences?

    Whether you like it or not, it bothers me when people in dire poverty and broken homes keep having more and more children. Poverty in America would not be a problem if people who couldn’t afford to have kids didn’t. If they would simply wait to have kids until they could afford it, or abstain if they can’t ever, well, that would help.

  27. #27 Thom
    January 29, 2007

    There’s a really lame response from Brian Crawford at the American Chemical Society trying to defend themselves against their actions.

    https://mx2.arl.org/Lists/SPARC-OAForum/Message/3572.html

    Great quote: “Regrettably, the news reports above were somehow stimulated by reporters gaining access to internal emails and background information…The inappropriate disclosure of this information is very disturbing to me personally, and I regret that it has led to such a gross misinterpretation of our motives and methods.”

    Right!

  28. #28 Aureola Nominee, FCD
    January 29, 2007

    Ben:

    That, in a nutshell, is why your “free for all” scenario cannot work. You essentially blame the victims; and yet…

    and yet, if you want to curtail the endless stream of unaffordable children, the only way to do so is to improve education. But these guys and gals CANNOT afford private education… so you’re back to square one, the “nanny state”. Is it a coincidence that Canada and Europe do not see as many teen pregnancies (just to mention one parameter) as the fabulous land of milk and honey?

    And the last time I checked, the per capita income of these nations was not that lower than in the United States, so you’d better shelve that hilarious swagger (“We’re filthy rich, that’s why our seniors buy essential drugs in Canada!”).

    Of course Bill Gates or Dick Cheney will never need to come up here for their drugs. But what about the rest of Americans… you know, the bunch of losers who cannot make ends meet even with a full-time job? If you cut their healthcare, won’t they fall ill? If you starve them, won’t they die?

  29. #29 John Cross
    January 29, 2007

    Ben: I am the opposite of yourself. I have spent a small amount of time in the US but have lived most of my life in Canada (several different Provinces). Apart from the people in the US who are great I much prefer Canada as a place to live.

    I must say that my family and I have been fortunate in regards to health and have never needed anything major, but during the birth of our children it was something of a relief to not have to worry about what was covered and what wasn’t (my wife had to have a section both times). With small things like colds etc, our wait time to see our doctor was maybe 3 days at the most. I realize that there is a wait time for some equipment and procedures in Canada, however I will note that it does not apply under emergency conditions.

    The system isn’t perfect but I bet I could match you story for story about problems with wait times vs problems with no or insufficient coverage. I am also willing to bet that we are making much better progress with out wait time problems than the US is with the problems with coverage.

    In regards to draconian firearms laws, sorry – can’t comment – I don’t own a gun. However I do have a large yellow lab who is liable to lick any intruder into a stupor until help can arrive. I will note as an interesting statistic up until about 5 or so years ago our police force did not carry guns.

  30. #30 Robert
    January 29, 2007

    Thom wrote:

    There’s a really lame response from Brian Crawford at the American Chemical Society trying to defend themselves against their actions.

    Shorter Brian Crawford: “Sure it looks bad, but that’s only because you found out about it.”

  31. #31 ben
    January 29, 2007

    Your local police force? Every city and town in Canada I’ve ever lived in, all in BC, had armed police. I hope you lab at least drinks out of the toilet for a minute before licking the bad guys.

    The three anecdotes I have personally for Canadian health care are:

    1. my best friend’s girlfriend waiting a month for an MRI that was for something significantly more serious than mine (we got them within two months of each other). I waited for 3 days and they apologized for the wait, she waited 6 weeks.

    2. my roommate’s girlfriend (seems women have healthcare issues) had cancer in her neck and waited over a month for surgery. Compare this to when I was 12 years old and living in Oregon. My nose was broken while playing, we did NOT have insurance, and I had serious complications, but not life threatening. I had surgery the next day.

    3. Good friend of the family had bad knees that caused her TREMENDOUS pain. The government said that she couldn’t have replacement surgery because she wasn’t old enough and would just have to get by. After about five painful years, they finally relented.

    No thanks. The American system isn’t perfect, but most of our problems are caused by idiotic attempts made by the .gov to “do something about it”.

    The especially bad thing about the Canadian system is the evil outlawing of all private medicine for essential services. But this will change as it is the Canadian sacred cow, and when you even try to discuss changing the system they shout their mantra of “No two tier health care system!” They forget to add “except for the very rich who can afford to go to the USA!”

    With the private option, you have PETS who get better treatment and shorter waits, because veterinary medicine is private. No two tier health care system except for our dogs and cats! Screw the children! At least you know your lab will have a healthy tongue for the bad guys.

    And lastly, about the dog, read this.

  32. #32 Aureola Nominee, FCD
    January 29, 2007

    Ben:

    Finally, something we can agree on! “The American system isn’t perfect”. Had you stopped right there, instead of throwing anecdotes at the rest of us, you would have quit while behind, but not TOO far behind.

    Instead of anecdotes, why don’t you quote figures? You know, little things like life expectancy, teen pregnancies, violent crime… AND cost of healthcare per capita, since we are at it! It might come as a shock to you, but the U.S. of A. are not world leaders in any of those categories. And I have a hard time figuring out what the heck “human suffering” might mean, if not these things! Maybe “the human suffering of not being allowed to screw the rest of humankind for profit”?

    Sorry: “your liberty to swing your fist ends where my nose begins”, and much in the same way, “your liberty to accumulate wealth ends where my right to conduct a decent life begins.”

  33. #33 ben
    January 29, 2007

    Aureola, the USA is not perfect. In my opinion, it is better than any alternative as a place to live for what I want. If it wasn’t I’d go somewhere else.

    I am of the opinion that most of our problems are caused by the government, not solved by it. Why else is Camden NJ such a hell hole in probably the most liberal state in the union?

    “your liberty to accumulate wealth ends where my right to conduct a decent life begins.”

    I know what you are trying to say, and it is bunk. It is this “entitlement” attitude that drove me away from Canada. What exactly is a “right to conduct a decent life” anyway, and how does someone else accumulating wealth interfere with that right? You statement demonstrates an attitude of envy, where if any persona appears to “have it better” than anyone else, you have to tear them down, make them pay “their fair share” and all that. No thanks.

  34. #34 ben
    January 29, 2007

    Also, to get back on topic, why is the AEI evil and the Joyce Foundation or the Soros group not?

  35. #35 Aureola Nominee, FCD
    January 29, 2007

    Ben:

    No, you have no idea what I am trying to say. You have an ideology that blinds you. For instance, the right to conduct a decent life is to receive healthcare and education regardless of income. The fact that the accumulation of wealth can interfere with this is so evident that nobody should need explanation, but here it is: for-profit healthcare, in the absence of a national healthcare system to spread the burden, will cater preferentially to the wealthy. Private education, in the absence of a national education system to spread the burden, will cater preferentially to the wealthy. Now, was that so difficult to understand?

    Mind you, if there WAS a social safety net, the wealthy could always get something more; it is a strawman to say that in Canada anyone gets damaged by everyone receiving a decent standard of care.

    I feel no envy for you or anybody else. Usually, envy and greed go hand in hand, and I’m not the one claiming that greed is good. I feel pity, instead, for those you so casually dismiss.

    And you STILL haven’t explained why those basic indicators of “human suffering” see the United States BEHIND Canada and the European Union.

  36. #36 ben
    January 29, 2007

    I repeat, why else is Camden NJ such a hell hole in probably the most liberal state in the union?

    The states are at their liberty to enact all sorts of social programs.

    Secondly, of those indicators of yours, there remains the fact that among Caucasian Americans, we match up to Canadian and European standards quite well. The teenage pregnancy rate among black teenage girls is two to three times higher than among their white counterparts.

    Now, we can disagree about why this is, you’ll say it has something to do with racism and slavery, which certainly are parts of how we got to this situation, but I’ll claim that government intervention in the form of the welfare state was more detrimental to the situation than helpful.

  37. #37 Greg
    January 29, 2007

    I suppose it is only a coincidence that this topic was hijacked by a mud-wrestling match over medicare.

  38. #38 Geoff
    January 29, 2007

    So much for trying to get back on topic.

  39. #39 Eli Rabett
    January 29, 2007

    Tim has ben on retainer to stir up the crowd.

  40. #40 ben
    January 29, 2007

    Heh! I did try to get back on topic. Just look six posts back.

  41. #41 Geoff
    January 29, 2007

    They’re arguing about Global Warming on the universal healthcare blog.

  42. #42 ben
    January 29, 2007

    Oh yeah? Well, that figures. Remember this? And note that It wasn’t even me who got us off track.

  43. #43 Aureola Nominee, FCD
    January 29, 2007

    Ben:

    Teen pregnancies in Canada, Britain and France ALSO include black teenagers, mostly descendants of slaves, yet apparently those welfare systems, so intrusive and liberticide in your strange misperception, somehow do not push those numbers as high as they are in the U.S. Maybe SexEd in public schools and easily available contraception could play a role in this, don’t you think?

    I won’t respond any further: feel free to snipe back at will.

  44. #44 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2007

    “Also, to get back on topic, why is the AEI evil and the Joyce Foundation or the Soros group not?”

    Because they’re spending the money given to them by their founders to promote causes they believe in whereas the CEI is accepting money from anyone to argue absolute anything.

    I’m waiting for NAMBLA to pay them to argue that Stranger Danger classes should be more balanced and “teach the controversy”.

  45. #45 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2007

    Ben “Whether you like it or not, it bothers me when people in dire poverty and broken homes keep having more and more children. Poverty in America would not be a problem if people who couldn’t afford to have kids didn’t. If they would simply wait to have kids until they could afford it, or abstain if they can’t ever, well, that would help.”

    You know Ben generally peaking I like you. You’ll remember recently on the gun thread I objected to what I felt were unwarranted personal attacks on you.

    Having said that, as the youngest of six kids who grew up in extreme poverty (and as the son of a man who was 15th out of 17 kids) – go to hell.

  46. #46 Pinko Punko
    January 29, 2007

    I will say that since governments pay for a majority of the research, it is in their benefit to both pay less for the publication of the research, to make publication less restrictive and to widen the possible audience for said publications. Government money is what pays for these subscriptions in general, so why should they prop up publishers that make a profit from scientists, editors and reviewers, many of whom are not paid and are charged exorbitant sums? Since governments are ultimately the consumer (via their pocketbook) why should they not leverage the market? Or can they not exert their invisible hand?

    ACS, for a professional society does seem to be quite conservative. You’ll note that many other professional societies are pushing for open access.

  47. #47 ben
    January 29, 2007

    “Teen pregnancies in Canada, Britain and France ALSO include black teenagers, mostly descendants of slaves, yet apparently those welfare systems…”

    You are kidding, right? How much of each population is composed of same?

    Ian, I don’t mean any disrespect. I grew up with a single mom earning minimum wage and going to school full time with the subsidized housing and food stamps. Been there, done that. I’m definitely not talking from a removed position of privilege. I’m about to finish my Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering with a $150k student loan debt.

    We were lucky that it was only my sister and I whom my mother had to support. I don’t think she could have done it with more kids. And I still don’t think the government owed us anything, even what we got, although I am thankful for it. I just hate the entitlement attitude. The fact remains that when you are very poor, having kids is tough, and why should everyone else be responsible to chip in?

    When used as a lifestyle, welfare is a disaster. When used temporarily to get back on your feet when unexpected circumstances arise, it’s not so bad, maybe even helpful. You wouldn’t have found me admitting that 10 years ago, but I’m softening up. I just worry about the consequences of rampant welfare etc.

  48. #48 Graculus
    January 29, 2007

    Liberty… in the US you have the right to bear arms, in Canada you have the right to bare breasts. Where would you rather live?

  49. #49 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2007

    “The fact remains that when you are very poor, having kids is tough, and why should everyone else be responsible to chip in?”

    Because in the long term everyone benefits.

    People are the ultimate example of positive externalities.

    Let’s take a specific example: a friend of mine is of mixed Aboriginal and Pacific Islander heritage. He grew up in extreme poverty in a broken home with several siblings. As an adult, he served two terms of active duty with the Australian Defence Force (including in overseas missions); then went back to university (taking advantage of the Abstudy government funding program)and became a nurse.

    He spent about a decade in a first-responder medical role before leaving nursing to become an alcohol and dug counselor.

    Whatever money the government may have contributed to his upbrining and education has been repaid ten times over.

  50. #50 ben
    January 29, 2007

    But I don’t have breasts, Graculus. So where’s the liberty? In Canada I’m just at the mercy of persons with breasts.

    Ian, exactly. What I am against is the lifestyle of being on the dole, with no intentions nor motivation to ever leave. I grew up around many of those sorts and it was depressing.

    On the other hand, I’m quite happy with the state of welfare in the USA at this moment, where there is a time limit for people who should be able to do better.

    I’m also in favor of subsidizing medical care for children. But I DO NOT EVER want a “single payer” system as in Canada. I want choice. When I graduate, I’d prefer to simply have a system in which I have catastrophic medical coverage and then pay out of pocket for routine medical services. We have a network of doctors set up here in Washington for just such a thing, and they are very happy with it. They outright refuse to bill insurance, and they save a fortune on paperwork. They also blacklist patients who abuse their right to sue.

    That is one of our major problems, lawsuits in the medical industry.

  51. #51 Graculus
    January 29, 2007

    But I don’t have breasts, Graculus. So where’s the liberty?

    The US suspended habeus corpus. Where’s the liberty?

    Just cuddle your illusion of freedom closer, it won’t help in the long run, but you’ll feel better during the handbasket ride.

  52. #52 SG
    January 29, 2007

    Back on Topic… does it seem strange to anyone else here that organisations like the ACS, who (I presume) like most other for-profit journal publishers get their peer review services for free from scientists, should be concerned about the negative effects of socialised science? I have never been paid to review a journal article – presumably the for-profit publishers factor this lack of cost into their business model. Oh the terrible price they have paid for all that socialised science!

  53. #53 Anton Mates
    January 29, 2007

    In Canada I’m just at the mercy of persons with breasts.

    Heavens.

  54. #54 Pinko Punko
    January 29, 2007

    Was it Eli who mentioned that ACS is all about Chemical Abstracts? I believe that there are proposals for a public database of compounds, and that this is not favored by ACS.

  55. #55 Ben
    January 29, 2007

    The US suspended habeus corpus.

    Huh? Maybe for non-citizens, but not for citizens. That would be grounds to start shootin’.

  56. #56 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2007

    “Ian, exactly. What I am against is the lifestyle of being on the dole, with no intentions nor motivation to ever leave. I grew up around many of those sorts and it was depressing.

    On the other hand, I’m quite happy with the state of welfare in the USA at this moment, where there is a time limit for people who should be able to do better.”

    You can either penalise everyone one welfare (the American approach) or you can work on increasing the opportunities and incentives for people to move from welfare into the workforce (wehich is the Australian and Danish model).

    That model produces similar levels of unemployment to the US model but with a lot less unnecessary and undeserved suffering.

  57. #57 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2007

    “The especially bad thing about the Canadian system is the evil outlawing of all private medicine for essential services. But this will change as it is the Canadian sacred cow, and when you even try to discuss changing the system they shout their mantra of “No two tier health care system!” They forget to add “except for the very rich who can afford to go to the USA!” ”

    This is not an essential characteristic of universal health-care.

    Australia combines universal cover with consumer choice of service provider and competition between both doctors and hospitals.

  58. #58 Ian Gould
    January 30, 2007

    Ben: Huh? Maybe for non-citizens, but not for citizens. That would be grounds to start shootin’.

    I’m sure Jose Padilla will be glad to hear that.

    Have fun in the revolution Ben.

  59. #59 Ben
    January 30, 2007

    Ian, it sounds like Australia has things figured out. I’ll have to learn more about it. Canada is not a good model for health care. Their entire social services structure is too expensive, and their taxes are too high.

    I think that if the USA could accomplish what it needs to with current levels of spending and taxation, that would be great. I’m sure the money is there, but the gov is a great waster. If they could figure out how to quit spending on general corruption and all that, that would be good.

    That, and if we could end our pathetic “war on drugs” there’d be a lot of extra money around, and less profit motive for crime.

  60. #60 Graculus
    January 30, 2007

    Huh? Maybe for non-citizens, but not for citizens. That would be grounds to start shootin’.

    Tell me, without the writ, how do you demonstrate that you are a citizen?

    Of course, the US constitution makes no such distinction (“all persons”) it also means that corporations retain the right but human beings don’t.

    Quite frankly the fact that you even make that argument marks you out as a fairly repulsive individual.

  61. #61 SG
    January 30, 2007

    Ben, everything you say seems to be along the lines of “now that I have got my welfare hit from the government and am ready to stand on my own two feet, I don`t want anyone else coming along to take my taxes.”

    You had subsidized housing, food stamps, someone loaned you the money to go to university, and now you want to eliminate all those things and you blame them for high crime. This ignores the fact that if they didn`t make you take up crime, they won`t make anyone else. Unless those people are different to you…

    but anyway, now that you are free of the burden of your parents` poverty and earning decent money, you want to slam the door in the face of all the other people who might benefit from the same services at your expense. This seems a little cheap to me, or at the very least ungrateful.

  62. #62 ben
    January 30, 2007

    “You had subsidized housing, food stamps, someone loaned you the money to go to university, and now you want to eliminate all those things…”

    I asked for no such thing. I said I’d like to see things stay pretty much the way they are. The only thing I asked to eliminate was the “war on drugs”.

    Earning decent money? Not yet. I make $20k per year with a family of 4. What I’d like to do is earn my way out of my $150k debt.

  63. #63 Ian Gould
    January 30, 2007

    Ben: I think that if the USA could accomplish what it needs to with current levels of spending and taxation, that would be great. I’m sure the money is there, but the gov is a great waster.

    Ben, the current US healthcare system is hugely wasteful in large part that’s because the US government already foots much of the bill (e.g. through medicare and through tax concessions for employer-funded private insurance).

    US consumers actually have very little incentive to contain costs – the government has the incentive but Bill Frist and his cronies have ensured that they’re barred from doing so.

    Iy’ll be very interesting to see what happens mow that the Democrats want to negotiate to let Medicare negotiate drug costs.

    I’m betting drug costs for medicare patients will come down significantly.

  64. #64 Harald Korneliussen
    January 30, 2007

    Ben, I suggest looking up the Open Society foundation, as well as the book that inspired it, Popper’s “The Open Society and its Enemies”. Soros has put a lot of his money into fighting against totalitarianism, particularly the Soviet Union. You may disagree with some of what he believes (I do, particularly on narcotics), but that doesn’t mean so much, because promoting those personal views is a very small part of what he does.

    Comparing that with the AEI, corporate prostitutes of the cheapest kind, who will defend any political position as long as you pay, is just not right. There are right-wing think tanks which don’t take bribes, it seems to me the Mises folks and the Rocky Mountain institute for instance are way, way better than the AEI when it comes to integrity.

  65. #65 richard
    January 30, 2007

    Ben: “What I’d like to do is earn my way out of my $150k debt.”
    Well, you could start by selling your guns; seems to be a needless expense.

  66. #66 stewart
    January 30, 2007

    I wonder how much of the publishing issue (sorry for trying to derail the conversation back to the topic – commentors might want to check out Brad Delong’s blog on economics including healthcare, or the british medical journal e-edition for health related topics from a non-US perspective) has to do with the loss of the profits from reprints, etc. Authors and institutions used to routinely spend money on 50-100 reprints. Now, it’s .pdf files, downloaded and emailed for free. Journals and publishers have compensated for this by raising subscription prices, electronic access prices, etc. When reprints were cheaper than photocopies, it was worth it, but that’s a lost profit stream now.
    As was pointed out, these publishers who are incidentally attacking community-funded science rely on the community-minded scientists who do the peer reviews, sit on the editorial boards, etc, all for the good of the community. Perhaps reviewers for ACS publications should start asking to be paid, to dispel any socialist taint from their actions.

  67. #67 ben
    January 30, 2007

    Richard, guns are actually assets. And my pistol and hunting rifle aren’t going to make a dent anyway.

    Harald, among my problems with OSI is their ridiculous support for gun control, especially the phony “assault weapons” ban, which even the VPC admits couldn’t logically have had any affect on crime, so that it’s only purpose was to get another foot in the door for general gun control.

  68. #68 pow
    January 30, 2007

    Ben: “Poverty in America would not be a problem if people who couldn’t afford to have kids didn’t. If they would simply wait to have kids until they could afford it, or abstain if they can’t ever, well, that would help.”

    Ben: “I make $20k per year with a family of 4.”

    Is that irony or hypocrisy?

  69. #69 ben
    January 30, 2007

    Well, pow, it’s a post on a blog. Having a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering, and being good at what I do, is part of the equation. I can get a good paying job at the drop of a hat, but I’m in school in the meantime.

    You have to take everything into account. I can afford to have kids, two at least, for the time being. Yeah, I’m getting student loans, but I have to pay them back with interest. It’s not nearly as black and white as my original statement made it out to be.

    Basically, if you have no earning potential, you should wait until you do to have kids. You should plan. I’m not saying it should be law, but folks ought to think about and plan their futures.

    On the other hand, about $50k of my loan debt is due to me being an idiot in my youth. Lesson learned. I’m not trying to be critical of people who have goofed up, because Lord knows I have. The people around me who did a better job planning things out don’t owe as much money as I do, and they’re younger than I am. I wish I would have had more people smack me around when I was young and foolish.

  70. #70 Hank Roberts
    January 30, 2007

    A “Belief-Tank”
    A Bush innovation: it’s like a think-tank, but without the doubt.

    Doonesbury, 1/28/2007

  71. #71 Dano
    January 31, 2007

    Basically, if you have no earning potential, you should wait until you do to have kids. You should plan. I’m not saying it should be law, but folks ought to think about and plan their futures.

    But they don’t. Welcome to the planet Earth, ben. It’s crowded, but having an advanced degree, you should be able to separate yourself from the unwashed masses. Get yourself a house in a gated community and have the wife drive the kids to soccer in a Land Rover and you won’t notice all the people not planning.

    Best,

    D

  72. #72 ben
    January 31, 2007

    Or maybe we could just line up all the non-planners and shoot them. Soilent Green is made of people, you know.

  73. #73 Aussie Citizen
    January 31, 2007

    Australia is a mere parasite on a globe, siphoning nearby neighboring lands’ resources into pockets of her English masters of London predominantly,while taking a share in.

    Established as a penal colony, this protectorate is continuing being a prison under the blue sky for the most of inhabitants trapped with personal reasons and lack of possibility to move to the States.

    Colonial Anglo-xenophobia and racist both paid by masters providing factually unlimited loans for paying shares’ dividends-making an image of prosperity under national-liberal pro-foreign monarchy rule,- and initiated a wild response by growing majority of non-Anglo non-Christian population, Muslims in dangerously unreasonable numbers taking in by greedy for underpaid slave-style labor and own benefits: it is not only as understood from media dangerous walking somewhere in rapist-infested areas of Sydney’s parks, even particular public transport Melbourne bus routes might reasonably be avoided for treatment non-Muslims subjected to by predominantly Muslim drivers in a broad day light.

    The USA is a land of free where still existing racism and division does not prevent ALL citizens be proud of being Americans as so-called Australians are arrogant Anglos-es, even with no Australian citizenship, only, of whom all good is playing English on levels of belonging to particular clans substituting a privileged inheritance.

  74. #74 Ian Gould
    January 31, 2007

    I recognise most of the individual words but can someone tell me what language the previous post was in?

  75. #75 ben
    February 1, 2007

    No clue. Possibly Rantonese?

  76. #76 SG
    February 1, 2007

    English cricket fan?

  77. #77 One more Aussie Citizen
    February 1, 2007

    To Ian GOLD and similar Jewish-surname bearers/self-proclaimed experts in English and what-so-ever: improve your English if a context of messages was beyond your comprehension anyway.

    As to me, it is utterly clear, that an author is at least a few grades higher professionally than too many of native-Australian-English-speaking trash paid at Australia’s
    academia and other for-Anglos only places.

  78. #78 guthrie
    February 1, 2007

    Anti-semitic sock-puppet alert!

  79. #79 llewelly
    February 1, 2007

    It’s parody.

    Intentional, I hope.

  80. #80 guthrie
    February 1, 2007

    Yes, might be. It can be so hard to tell sometimes.

  81. #81 David Marjanović
    April 14, 2007

    Ian, exactly. What I am against is the lifestyle of being on the dole, with no intentions nor motivation to ever leave.

    Eh, but that depends on the minimum wage — in other words, again on the parliament.

    It goes without saying that the US minimum wage is, even after the recent raise, still laughable by First World standards. In western Europe it is more like 10 $ per hour, and Austria’s biggest political party has proposed raising it to 10 €.

    That model produces similar levels of unemployment to the US model but with a lot less unnecessary and undeserved suffering.

    And with much lower numbers of working poor and of people who have 3 jobs (and thus take away jobs from 2 other people). The existence of working poor is a great embarrassment for the USA.

    Iy’ll be very interesting to see what happens mow that the Democrats want to negotiate to let Medicare negotiate drug costs.

    As the rest of the world does already.

    BTW, the question mark at the end of my name is supposed to be a c with an accent. Unavailable in the font used in the comments here.

  82. #82 David Marjanović
    April 14, 2007

    Wow, it shows up! Seems to have more to do with the submission method than the font.

  83. #83 Ray C.
    October 22, 2007

    #26 ben: Poverty in America would not be a problem if people who couldn’t afford to have kids didn’t. If they would simply wait to have kids until they could afford it, or abstain if they can’t ever, well, that would help.

    What is your position on birth control and abortion?

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