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Misplaced American Healthcare Exceptionalism - WhoWhatWhy
A popular myth perpetuated about the US healthcare system is that it is “the best in the world” and the “envy” of other nations.
The people saying these things are absolutely right. The US healthcare system is the best … for the richest of the rich, pharmaceutical companies, specialist doctors and the insurance industry. And it is the envy of other nations … but only impoverished countries such as Sudan, Haiti and Syria.
However, if the US system is compared to the rest of the industrialized world, Uncle Sam gets only a participation trophy. And if Americans had any idea of what healthcare systems in other countries offer — and at what cost — they would rightfully revolt.
health  insurance  comparo  politics  gov2.0  big_pharma  lobbying 
2 days ago by rgl7194
Equifax Lobbied For Easier Regulation Before Data Breach - Slashdot
WSJ reports:
Equifax was lobbying lawmakers and federal agencies to ease up on regulation of credit-reporting companies in the months before its massive data breach. Equifax spent at least $500,000 on lobbying Congress and federal regulators in the first half of 2017, according to its congressional lobbying-disclosure reports. Among the issues on which it lobbied was limiting the legal liability of credit-reporting companies. That issue is the subject of a bill that a panel of the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees the industry, discussed the same day Equifax disclosed the cyberattack that exposed personal financial data of as many as 143 million Americans. Equifax has also lobbied Congress and regulatory agencies on issues around "data security and breach notification" and "cybersecurity threat information sharing," according to its lobbying disclosures. The amount Equifax spent in the first half of this year appears to be in line with previous spending. In 2016 and 2015, the company's reports show it spent $1.1 million and $1.02 million, respectively, on lobbying activities. While the company had broadly similar lobbying issues in those years, the liability matter was new in 2017.
breach  credit_report  data  equifax  identity_theft  privacy  security  lobbying  gov2.0  politics 
6 days ago by rgl7194
Significant Digits For Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017 | FiveThirtyEight
$500,000
Minimum amount that Equifax spent on lobbying Congress and regulators in the first half of 2017, including pursuing legislation that would limit the liability of credit reporting companies in the courts. Given that Equifax oversaw the personal financial data of 143 million Americans that was hacked in a cyberattack, that sure would be a useful law to have on the books so they wouldn’t have to pay victims all that much. [The Wall Street Journal]
breach  credit_report  data  equifax  identity_theft  privacy  security  lobbying  gov2.0  politics 
6 days ago by rgl7194
Etude anglaise sur les retombées économiques positives de la librairie
Bookshops contribute £1.9bn to the UK economy every year and pay 11 times more corporation tax than Amazon, according to statistics published in a new report commissioned by the Booksellers Association.

Presented at the BA Annual Conference this morning (11th September), findings from a report evaluating the economic contribution of British bookshops revealed that bookshops contribute an estimated £1.9bn to the UK economy annually, support 46,000 jobs, and contribute £416m in wages and staff costs.

The report, from economics consultancy the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), also revealed that UK bookshops pay £131m in tax (including £12m in corporation tax), equating to 91p per £100 of turnover, which is 11 times the amount of tax paid by online retailer Amazon, which contributes 8p per £100 of turnover.

Tim Godfray, c.e.o. at the Booksellers Association, said that the report is “irrefutable proof” of the “significant economic value of bookshops to the UK’s economy”.

“Bookshops are making an incredible contribution to the UK despite the many obstacles that they currently, and increasingly, face”, Godfray said. “However, this is not sustainable unless decisive action is taken by the Government to protect them from closure. Bookshops are currently closing at a rate of three per cent per year, and 275 towns across the UK can expect to lose their bookshop completely due to changes to business rates if nothing is done.”

“We hope that Cebr’s report encourages our Government to act to protect the nation’s bookshops, and enable them to flourish”, he added.

The report highlights numerous factors that currently threaten the existence and continued success of bookshops in the UK, including Amazon’s market power and ability to undercut RRPs, business rates, corporate tax, and rising overheads.

It also suggests that retail bookstores offer additional impacts that would not be realised through platforms such as Amazon, including a physical interface that can trigger “different and unpredictable exploration of themes and topics beyond what was intended”, events and activities that produce an interaction of ideas and inspiration that “go beyond what is possible in an online forum” and interactive involvement with more reluctant readers, helping them to find books they might enjoy.

Oliver Hogan, director at Cebr, said that the report highlights the “significant” impact that bookshops have on the UK economy, despite “facing numerous challenges”. He added: “The benefits to UK communities of local booksellers stretch beyond these monetary impacts, encompassing education, literacy and the provision of an informational and cultural conduit to society at large.”

BA president Rosamund de la Hey said that the report provides “hard economic evidence of the contribution that Bookselling Britain makes to the industry, to the economy and to the nation”, and added that the report will go “hand-in-glove” with the representations the BA is making about unfair competition.

De la Hey said: “The BA is making the case strongly for improved business rates for booksellers; arguing in general that in 2017 the business rate system is no longer fit for purpose as well as pointing out the most egregious rate rises for booksellers for booksellers following the most recent review”.

The full report will be published in October. https://www.thebookseller.com/news/bookshops-contribute-19bn-economy-635356
GB  etude  proximité  lobbying 
8 days ago by SophieStM
When the truth is messy and hard • Context: By New America
Anne-Marie Slaughter, chief executive of New America, which ...let go Barry Flynn and the Open Markets team after Flynn praised the EC's fine of Google:
<p>We tell all of our donors that they cannot control the results of what they fund; we do not do contract research. But we also develop and maintain relationships with our donors as does any nonprofit institution.

So there’s the tension. In practice, with an employee who had already surprised his colleagues unpleasantly — and many would say dishonestly — in the past, it meant that I wanted to see a press release before it went out. That is the reason that the Open Markets statement went up and then was taken down. It was posted before I had a chance to give it a final review. Indeed, I was talking to Barry about it on the phone when it went up. I have never — nor would I ever — censor anything, but I might ask questions about accuracy or tone.

And, in this case, I wanted to give the funder a heads up that it was coming and send it over ourselves. That seems like a defensible minimum courtesy that an institution can offer its funders: we’re about to do something you are really not going to like, but at least we are telling you about it. I recognize that the best journalists operate on a different principle — notice seems to imply interference. But we are not a newspaper, yet we try to uphold the best journalistic standards in our writing.</p>


She's wrong about the "notice seems to imply interference". Journalists are generally obliged to put accusations or claims to organisations which are accused of things in news reports. (Hence how Slaughter was quoted in the NYT article about Lynn being dumped.) In opinion pieces, like Flynn's, that's not the case. That's <em>because they're opinions</em>. News organisations don't send people who are about to be criticised in opinion pieces a copy seeking a response. Slaughter has it exactly backwards.
newamerica  google  lobbying 
13 days ago by charlesarthur
A furious think-tank boss, Google, and an academic 'fired' for criticizing ads giant • The Register
Kieren McCarthy takes the above post to the ethical cleaners:
<p>Slaughter defends her right to see and sign off on public statements from employees before she defends their independence. And she paints Lynn's failure to give her advance notice of his critical statement as a sign that he has breached loyalty.

She even makes it plain that she was prepared to insist on changes to Lynn's statement before giving approval for publication – which no doubt is precisely why Lynn felt he needed to "publish and be damned," knowing that any strong claim that the US authorities need to dig into Google's businesses was liable to meet interference from Slaughter.

And that is almost the textbook definition of how soft power works: by ensuring self-censorship.

The fact is that if the financial relationship with Google and Schmidt wasn't there, and if Slaughter wasn't an old friend of Schmidt's, there would not have been any concern over Lynn's statement in the first place. It was, after all, a personal statement from a think tank: hardly draft legislation or anti-trust charges.

That Lynn felt the need to push his statement out without going through Slaughter, and the fact that she had such a strong reaction when he didn't, combined with the virtual certainty that Schmidt called soon after to express his annoyance, is as clear an example of soft money influence as you will ever find.</p>
google  newamerica  lobbying 
13 days ago by charlesarthur

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