back to article Latest loon for Trump's cabinet: Young-blood-loving, kidney-market advocate Jim O'Neill

Having chosen a climate-change denier to head the US government's environment agency, an opponent of minimum wage for the Labor Department, a creationist for Education Secretary, a mine-owner for Commerce, and a wrestling exec to oversee small businesses – president-elect Donald Trump is now considering putting a man with very …

  1. redpawn

    Free Market Protect Us

    May Jim O'Niel be the first victim of free markets in kidneys. A real human might be the one to benefit.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby
      Boffin

      Re: Free Market Protect Us

      Well in 20 years, you'll be able to buy a printed kidney from some biotech company initially grown from cloned cells.

      While the reporter is in a tizzy, I believe that O'Neil doesn't deny global climate change, but that its due to man. The main stream media press seems to conflate 'Global Warming / Climate Change' and 'Man Made Global Warming / Climate Change' in to the same thing.

      I guess this is what happens when people listen to Leonardo DiCaprio, a high school drop out, claiming that man made climate change is a fact.

      Climate change is real. Its a fact that has been shown to happen long before Man hit the Industrial period. But claiming that Man is responsible for the global warming... that's bunk. Personally I'd love to see a lot more electric cars on the road, and more nuclear plants providing energy and more money for research in to fusion. But that's because I don't think we should pollute the environment. I don't need junk science to motivate me.

      Do you?

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Free Market Protect Us

        Lets go through that paragraph by paragraph:

        1: Bloody unlikely, but we'll have to wait and see I guess.

        2: That's because they are the same thing.

        3: I don't know who listens to Leo, but more people listen to scientists.

        4: Nope, there's a very clear correlation between humans pumping CO2 into the atmosphere and global temperatures rising.

        5: Apparently O'Neil does.

        1. Robert Helpmann??
          Unhappy

          Re: Free Market Protect Us

          3: I don't know who listens to Leo, but more people listen to scientists.

          Alas, results from our recent election would seem to contradict this statement.

        2. Paul 129
          Mushroom

          Re: Free Market Protect Us

          Oi! You lot!

          Too many people playing the man and ignoring the solution!

          "Personally I'd love to see a lot more electric cars on the road, and more nuclear plants providing energy and more money for research in to fusion. But that's because I don't think we should pollute the environment. I don't need junk science to motivate me"

          Too many Greenies drive big 4WD tanks and don't give a feck about the poor, well anyone apart from themselves.

          The Nanny state needs to bloody grow a pair and step in.

          Tell them to take their medicine, cause everyone knows its good for them, and just move us all to nuclear.

          Leave it to the Greens and Santa will drown!

          1. ecofeco Silver badge

            Re: Free Market Protect Us

            Wha.... what?!

      2. Tom Paine

        Re: Free Market Protect Us

        But claiming that Man is responsible for the global warming... that's bunk.

        Fascinating! That's a massive breakthrough you've made there, son, overturning the entire Standard Model of physics. Where's your paper published? Can't wait to read it!

      3. Hollerithevo

        Re: Free Market Protect Us

        That it is man-made is not junk science. Climate change has happened all through time. It is a natural phenomenon. Human beings are also a natural phenomenon and do not sit outside the biosphere. Many animals have big impacts on the environment. You should see what imported beavers are doing to the slow-growth forests in Tierra del Fuego. Not pretty. Given humanity's inventiveness and ever-increasing numbers, why is it so hard to accept that we, a component of Nature, have quite a big impact? There's no moral inference to be made. The only question is: do we want to try to reverse our impact, or do we want to see how we'll survive if we keep on doing what we're doing? It seems that humanity has chosen the latter. And that is, I believe, because it is our nature not to take the future very seriously. We are an 'eat now' species.

        1. td97402

          Re: Free Market Protect Us

          They don't actually disbelieve in man-made global warming. It is just they have investments in carbon burning industries or patrons that do.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Global Warming Science

        Ok... Let's recap the science:

        (1) It is known that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases the temperature of planets.

        (2) We have been measuring an increase in carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere over 50 years.

        (3) We know that burning fossil fuels creates carbon dioxide in known quantities.

        Put those facts together in any way you see suitable for your political argument.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Free Market Protect Us

        Kieran seems to be in a permanent tizzy now Trump is cancelling his favourite Social Justice causes one by one. Maybe we didn't need him to save the internet after all. Or the planet.

      6. streaky

        Re: Free Market Protect Us

        I believe that O'Neil doesn't deny global climate change, but that its due to man

        They're equivalent concepts like believing that the dinosaurs were around 3000 years ago and the belief in the existence of god. If you believe one you must therefore believe the other; basic logic. It aint the fish causing measurable change at key points that fits with models and theory.

        I personally (as somebody who has no problem with the idea of climate change being a thing) think that science and education is failing when it comes to certain aspects (for one that we still use the term global warming quite liberally when it isn't just warming that happens) - and I also get concerned with the argument that change = warming = planet death; which absolutely might not be the case and frankly probably isn't.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kieren your left bias is showing again. We know you don't like Trump but please try and be a bit more balanced in your reporting.

    Now I assume the thumb down brigade will jump in on this.

    1. redpawn

      The swamp drains into the White House

      No thumb down from me, but all of Trump's picks so far have positions opposed to the post for which they are nominated with the exception of defense. Wouldn't want clean air or a strong public education system, just makes the peons uppity.

      1. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: The swamp drains into the White House

        "...all of Trump's picks so far have positions" which exactly reflect what Trump always said he was going to do. Why does everyone sound so surprised?

        1. Hero Protagonist

          Re: The swamp drains into the White House

          "Why does everyone sound so surprised?"

          We're not surprised at all. Appalled, but not surprised. We knew what a clusterfuck a Trump administration would be, and so far he is performing as expected.

      2. Yesnomaybe

        Re: The swamp drains into the White House

        "The Emergent" are firmly in power.

        Both in the US and the UK.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The swamp drains into the White House

        Wouldn't want clean air or a strong public education system, just makes the peons uppity.

        Trump has always prioritised clean air as a better choice than fighting climate change. It helps him be a weasel.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The swamp drains into the White House

        "Wouldn't want clean air or a strong public education system..."

        You're missing the point. By getting rid of those things, all those pesky Mexicans and other foreigners will want to go to Canada where the air is clean and the the education system is free even for illegals.

        Immigration policy at it's best!!

    2. kierenmccarthy

      Your bias?

      I will admit I am biased against people with wild and dangerous ideas being given the full backing of the government.

      I'm also biased against people being chosen to run government departments when they have an ideological opposition to those department’s key tasks or a complete lack of the necessary expertise and experience.

      The fact that Trump - a very recent convert to Republicanism - was chosen by the Republican Party does not make opposition to his terrible decisions left wing. If it did, there’s been a hell of a lot of Republicans suddenly branded left wing.

      1. Faux Science Slayer

        DC is a swamp....full of weaponized Feral government Zombies....

        Monopolists control the UNIPARTY puppet show and the zombie bureaucracy.

        "Spencer Sorcery on Magic Gas" at FauxScienceSlayer(.)com has real CO2 science.

        KellyBroganMD(.)com/article/CDC > the CDC/FDA fraud on MMR poison....typical....

      2. ToddR

        Re: Your bias?

        Kieran,

        It's the "denier" part which shows your bias. Just report facts please, e.g. "sceptic" works

        1. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Your bias?

          Denier is accurate, sceptic is not.

          The basic chemistry & physics of warming effects of CO2, CH4 etc. in the atmosphere is nice & straightforward (feel free to add your own Scotty quote at this point)

          It's only the long lag between changes in levels of warming agents to seeing "major effects" that allows "sceptics" any attention (yes we have plenty of glacier loss, ice thinning / loss etc, but for "sceptics" their idea of a major effect is Antarctica looking like Hawaii)

          We need to start doing space shots to Venus and sent the "sceptics" there to see a nice example of runaway greenhouse effect.

          1. tom dial Silver badge

            Re: Your bias?

            The basic physics and chemistry around the atmospheric contaminants may be well understood, but the quantitative effect may be less well understood and subject to doubt, at least as to the amount of change, both if nothing is done and in response to proposed corrective action. And although there is no room for doubt about the proposition that human activities contribute contaminants that tend to raise the average world temperature, there is some uncertainty about the importance of that compared to other sources, and there is considerable reason to question whether, when it comes down to the point where 2700 million people in China and India (and the 322 million in the US) will accept the costs associated with proposed reductions. I do not see the evidence that they will, and unlike physics and chemistry, which are hard, politics is really hard.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Your bias?

            There's also the extroversion/introversion effect to take into account (for full details see teh boolk 'Quiet' by Susan Cain). The world of business and politics tends to select for extraverts, and they tend to need a lot of sensory input to be moved by it at all - hence their tendency to risk-taking activities. It also makes them harder to persuade away from their stances once they get an idee fixee about something. Whereas introverts are more likely tocalmly assess the evidence and look at the possible consequences and adjust accordingly.

            Given that, I fully expecty Mr Trump and co to lead the US to a trainwreck of some kind or other that will last until American voters see just how stupid and wrong-headed he is. However, until humaniy comes up with a system that is biased more toward introvert policy-makers, I doubt we'll see much sensible advance in either politics or economics.

            1. tom dial Silver badge

              Re: Your bias?

              I think we are about to finish up a couple of terms with an introvert president, and there is plenty of evidence that it didn't work out all that well. The main rejected candidate in the immediate past election also seems to be more an introvert than an extrovert, suggesting that a large fraction of the population in a large part of the country might, for now, prefer an extrovert. For now. It remains to be seen whether it works out well or ill.

        2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          @ToddR

          "It's the "denier" part which shows your bias. Just report facts please, e.g. "sceptic" works"

          Awww, you're triggered by reality! It would be cute if it weren't so fucking horrifying. Maybe you should join Ivan in his safe space.

          1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: @ToddR

            Please do some research. Perhaps elsewhere than HuffPo and RealClimate.

            Amongst people who have actually gone over the papers that purport to prove devastating AGW, there is considerable doubt about "the consensus".

            When you read the story behind Mann el al 1998 (The "Hockystick" paper) you will be quite horrified.

            It's not fraud (at least, not at its source) it's "noble cause corruption". Which is a shame when it bends the science, and impoverishes nearly everybody else.

        3. Hollerithevo

          Re: Your bias?

          Round-earth Skeptic.

          Moon Landing Skeptic.

          Nope, you try the word 'skeptic' out against things that are facts and you realise that 'skeptic', when used beside facts, gives no actual meaning. It is thereas a euphemism for 'denial' and suggests an intellectual dignity about the non-belief.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Your bias?

        Kieren, those are your opinions a vast number of people in the US have the opposite opinions, hence my call for balanced reporting. If you can not rise above your belief and honestly look at both sides of any debate you are demeaning your position as a journalist.

        We see the bias in all the MSM which is why most people take what is said with a spoonful of salt because it is almost impossible to get the actual facts about anything that is classed as 'newsworthy' something that is very sad in this information age (maybe it should be called the disinformation age).

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: Your bias?

          @ivan4 false balance is not the job of the journalist. Truth is. And truth isn't determined by opinion, no matter how many people hold it.

          I'm sorry the you find reality having a "bias" you don't agree with, but that's what happens when you come out of your safe space.

          1. Nick Ryan Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Your bias?

            Yummy popcorn time! :)

            It's Friday m'kay?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Your bias?

            Trevor, I've been out of my safe place for over 60 years. Yes, TRUTH is what matters, the problem is that too many reporters/journalists allow their politics and opinions to colour what they perceive as the truth. Is that perceived truth not bias?

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              Re: Your bias?

              "Perceived truth" is only bias if the journalist's perception is incorrect. Where the journalist is correctly perceiving reality, but you (along with umpteen others) prefer to believe in a different reality the journalist isn't being "biased" to call things like they are.

              In fact, when society enters one of those phases where a powerful minority demands that the truth be censored, "washed", or otherwise altered in order to make that powerful minority feel more comfortable...it is in exactly that moment that speaking the unbiased, unfiltered truth matters most.

              The fact that you feel a need to demand that people outside your safe space add false balance to the blunt truth so that you don't have your illusions shattered means that shattering your illusions is critically important.

              The author isn't in the wrong here. You are.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Your bias?

                The word "denier" was designed to close down debate. It is intended to stigmatise people by associating them with Holocaust Denial.

                Nasty stuff you seem to be happy with. But hey. So long as they agree with you.

                1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                  @anonymous coward

                  The word "denier' is accurate.

                  Sorry (not sorry) that you don't like reality. Reality, however, doesn't give a rat fuck what you do or do not like.

          3. maffski

            Re: Your bias?

            @Trevor_Pott - OK, fancy telling us which of these is more truth?

            '... an opponent of minimum wage for the Labor Department..' - from the article

            '...[I'm] not opposed to raising the minimum wage rationally; I’m opposed to raising it to the point where lower-skilled workers, working-class Americans, young people, minorities, are losing the jobs they need to get on the ladder of success.' - from an interview given by the man in question.

            Raise the minimum wage higher than the value of the activity and it either will not get done or be automated.

            And global warming, if you hadn't noticed it's already solved. Best solar is on parity with thermal generation if you factor in some carbon tax/pollution levy (which you should do as a market doesn't reflect externalised costs). A few more years of development and production efficiency and a few decades of rollout and the age of thermal power is over. It doesn't matter if you believe in man made global warming or not - renewables are just going to be cheaper.

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              @Maffski

              Reality: a reasonable higher minimum wage doesn't result in fewer living wage jobs. And non-living wage jobs are a huge problem because they trap the impoverished in a nasty cycle with no escape. And here we could get into debates about the structuring of employment insurance for the underemployed, and realities of beign able to "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" when you're working 3-4 non-living-wage jobs just to stay alive.

              The weasel words given during the interview are just bullshit bafflegab designed to hide the fact that, overall, the man doesn't want to raise the minimum wage. He believes (as i deeply suspect so do you) in the stick: berate, belittle, chasten and punish people enough and they'll magically solve all their problems.

              Reality doesn't work like that.

              As for "global warming is solved": you're wrong. And you demonstrate that you not only don't understand science, but engineer and economics as well. Solar is nowhere near ready to take over for thermal. At a grid level, maybe, if you build enough of it, but it actually brings it's own problems when used at that scale.

              At an individual level (for individual or commercial transport, for example), solar simply can't replace energy-dense fuels. Especially if we keep insisting on living such energy-intensive lives and structuring the very physical layout of our nations to be require ever increasingly energy expenditure per person.

              Capitalism doesn't solve everything. In fact, it doesn't, ultimately, solve a lot of things. For the very same reason that pure communism didn't work: it completely ignores the reality of human nature.

              In reality, the pure form of any economic, political or social system never works. Compromise and constant adjustment to new evidence is required. And this is the problem with people. They don't like change. Or learning. They prefer to have learned their "facts" about the world whilst young, and then never be required to ever reexamine those ever again.

              Worse: people prefer to learn their "facts" from authority figures who, by and large, tell them what they want to hear. They align who they believe based upon how the information those people disburse makes them feel. So we not only end up with a bunch of people clinging to decades old "facts" with the death grip of eternity, but those "facts" were very likely demonstrably wrong even when they were internalized.

              Look, it's a very, very rare person who wants climate change to be real. It's a very rare person who wants to pay more for a bagel because minimum wage was pegged at a living wage. Despite this, those individuals who are capable of objective analysis of evidence understand the science of climate change, no matter how upset it makes them.

              Individuals capable of objective analysis understand the long term benefits of higher minimum wage, and the criticality of lowering income disparity within a nation, even though we too emotionally desire a better car than our neighbor, a more attractive mate and a larger domicile.

              Using terms like "climate change denier" is correct, because there is no debate to be had about climate change. No more than there is debate to be had about "humans need to breathe oxygen of a given partial pressure in order to survive". Trying to create a debate is denying the truth.

              And climate change is objective, scientifically verifiable truth, no matter how many people feel otherwise.

              That's the key. That's the job of the journalist. To tell the truth even when it feels uncomfortable. Even when their entire nation would raise a cry against it, because it disrupts the illusion they've build for themselves.

              The job of the journalist is to seek that truth, expose it, repeat it, and do so unapologetically. And at the end of the day, the truth flows from evidence. Not from some guy on Twitter guy with a Pepe avatar screeching "stop crying pussy libtard".

              All opinions may be equal under the law, but they are not all equally informed or equally valid. And as regards the truth, your feelings count for absolutely fucking nothing.

              1. maffski

                Re: @Trevor_Pott

                "He believes (as i deeply suspect so do you) in the stick: berate, belittle, chasten and punish people enough and they'll magically solve all their problems."

                I can't say what he believes, I've never met him. I can certainly say that's not what I believe. Mostly I believe in leaving people alone. That the more bureaucracy you can take away the more efficiently the system runs. I believe a minimum wage is a blunt hammer, and it hurts those least able to work. I quite like the idea of Universal Basic Income. Oh, and I don't believe people can solve all their problems. I know I can't.

                Whilst I have no problem with the idea that a Bagel seller will be earning more I believe the minimum wage means there will be fewer Bagel sellers. And, as Marx knew, full employment is what really boosts wages - supply and demand, every time.

                "Individuals capable of objective analysis understand the long term benefits of higher minimum wage, and the criticality of lowering income disparity within a nation, even though we too emotionally desire a better car than our neighbor, a more attractive mate and a larger domicile."

                I believe I'm capable of objective analysis, but disagree, a minimum wage destroys pricing information. It doesn't mater if it's the minimum wage, rent control, government mandated food pricing, whatever. It destroys information. If you want to adjust it, adjust it after the market has set the price - tax credits for example.

                I like the idea of reducing income disparity - but why over the nation? Put a Vietnamese child through school - buy some socks.

                And I don't care about how good your car is - it isn't a zero sum game, for me to do better doesn't require you to do worse.

                "And as regards the truth, your feelings count for absolutely fucking nothing."

                Just to check. It was belittling you didn't like, yes?

            2. Sam 15

              Re: Your bias?

              (Maffski) "And global warming, if you hadn't noticed it's already solved. "

              You live in one of those states where marijuana is legal now, right?

              Don't go overboard with that stuff.

              1. maffski

                Re: You live in one of those states where marijuana is legal now, right?

                I wish.

                However I do live in a state of inertia. Just because we haven't finished the job doesn't mean we haven't already committed ourselves to it.

                IEA - Projected costs of electricity 2015 - for OECD nations the most efficient of current PV is about on par with average CCGT (based on LCOE).

                IRENA - The power to change: Solar and wind cost reduction potential to 2025 - estimates for improvements to large scale solar PV (based solved on production scaling and the refining of existing technology) - give a reduction of at least 60% in LCOE over the next decade.

                That makes it cheaper than CCGT or coal, so it's simple economics, you don't build CCGT or coal (except perhaps for special cases).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Your bias?

          @Ivan4 - trouble is, that in terms of science there is no debate, with regard to the clkimate. (a) it is changing and (b) humans are having a significant impact on it. When one considers that the population has more than doubled since I was born, and the amount of energy used by those extra 4 thousand million people, and work out the heat input into the biosphere, it;d be surprising if we had no noticable effect on things.

          Then look at our effect on biodiversity, and the unpredicatble effects that will have on the flora and fauna as a whole - which have important effects on the climate as part of the feedback loops involved. Then look at the various data about ice changes, albedo changes, airborne particulates, coud cover, etc... - then consider the effect on human society if the climate gets too unpredictable or changes too fast for the biosphere and human farming to adapt. On crop-growing, our very ability to feed so many people.

          If one looks into all that as a whole, rather than just 'whats the effect on some companies bottom line for the next few years?' it's frankly scary. But ill-educated extroverts like Trump and his cronies wont believe it becuase they dont want to believe it. I don;t want to believe it, either, but the factual evidence compels. But then - I'm an introvert, and more likely to take a thoughtful look at evidence rather than uninformed opinion.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Your bias?

        The fact that Trump - a very recent convert to Republicanism - was chosen by the Republican Party does not make opposition to his terrible decisions left wing. If it did, there’s been a hell of a lot of Republicans suddenly branded left wing.

        Well, Trump used not to be so conservative. But Trump is 70, and you know what they say, you become more conservative as you get older (or is that senile?)

      5. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: Your bias?

        There is a good to be made in favor of having the head of a government department skeptical, if not necessarily opposed, to the department's mission.

        It is well known that over time government agencies tend to be staffed by employees having a bias toward the presumed agency mission and a clear incentive to extend its scope and authority. One fairly obvious current example is to be found in the number of agencies jostling for position in defining and establishing rules over "cybersecurity." Another is the recent attempt by the FCC to elbow its way onto the FTC turf in protecting personal privacy, while both of them attempt to increase government authority over at least the US part of the Internet.

        It also is well known that regulating agencies like the EPA, FTC, and FCC, and others that hand out goodies like DOD, HEW, and HUD, come to be surrounded by client groups, which bring to bear a good deal of carefully tailored advocacy intended to channel the regulation in their preferred direction or bring them direct or indirect benefits from agency activities. Client/supplicant groups also are training grounds for future agency employees and employers of former agency employees. The laws and regulations intended to control such revolving door employment actions are not necessarily effective. I recall one instance in which a DOD agency IT director issued a directive that Oracle DBMS would be the agency standard. He retired a few months later and the following week began work as an executive at Oracle, but not in a division that dealt with DOD procurements. He was followed shortly after by his former deputy.

        Competition within the government, properly managed by the President and Cabinet officers, might bring some of the benefits that it does in the private sector. Department or agency heads who are skeptical of or oppose the commonly understood organization mission and its implementation can contribute to that and might exert some control over excessive collaboration between agencies and their clients.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Geoffrey W

      Ivan, your right bias is showing again. We know Trump is the second coming and America is going to be simply exquisite for rich white men in the coming years, but please try and be a bit more balanced in your commenting.

      Pointing out nonsense, and repulsive Ballardian nonsense at that, which exists in Trumps choices is not always left bias; sometimes its just reporting, albeit in a snarky tone. Unfortunately this stuff is NOT made up, unlike Clinton's child abuse ring in the pizza joint.

    4. MrDamage Silver badge

      Bias?

      How can you call it bias when he is honestly reporting how Trump is draining the swamp, and replacing it with a cesspool?

    5. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Trollface

      He is not biased actually.

      Having chosen a climate-change denier.

      The climate change issue is THE LEAST of the problems with the candidate EPA head. He denies and wants to remove controls on arsenic, mercury and heavy metal water and air contamination.

      While the rest of Trump appointments was bog standard golfocracy - draining the swampy bog on the golf course into the cabinet this one is a straight Darwin Award for all those agricultural regions which elected him. I want to see exactly how they will sell and export arsenic contaminated wheat and corn. It is also literal Darwin Award for the industrial regions which elected him too. Poor? Not enough money to live in a dedicated clean area away from the plants. DIE. NOW. How does that sound for free market democracy. It sounds lovely to me.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: We have vays to make you

          OTOH, it has been observed the FDA is so bureaucratic

          The underlying problem is the "sue you vs do not get sued mentality". This makes both the EPA and the FDA considerably cautious than their Eu counterparts, because the governing legislation does NOT fully absolve them from legal responsibility (everywhere else in the world that is the case). So it is a constant sue you, sue me with the current appointee being one of the most prolific filers.

          The golfocracy appointments do little or nothing to change this particular aspect of the problem. They simply ensure that people who live in a dedicated clear air zone in the Capitol next to a Dear Leader Golf Course have clean water and air.

          The ones living in the Districts - not so much.

          1. tom dial Silver badge

            Re: We have vays to make you

            From a slightly different angle, the first paragraph seems like it might be an argument for autonomous, possibly unaccountable, agencies or ones subject only to political control by those in charge of the government. The latter seems to be what so many, here and elsewhere, worry about with the upcoming Trump administration.

            1. Denarius Silver badge

              Re: We have vays to make you

              Tom, true enough. I cant get <sarcasm> </sarcasm> tags working. Sorry. As for the rest of your comment, IMHO you have just described many of the publicly funded busybodies plaguing most remnants of western democracies already. Like most here, I regard civilised discourse as essential to any policy making, especially when strong claims and opinions are made. IMNSHO, ad-hominem attacks are an indicator of a rigid world view restricting rational thought, even if it is fun to use in satire. Problem is most users of satire these days use strawman arguments rendering their satire as verbal noise. BTW, I am not suggesting you have done this.

              So far, Trump is behaving exactly as any other recently elected monarch president. Loading all offices with friends and allies, just as the nominal opponents do. Just this time the prevailing world view of general media did not expect their lot to lose.

      2. Denarius Silver badge

        Ve haff vays to make you

        buy our dodgy foodstuffs or else. VRH need not fear. Trump Co or more accurately, the United States of Oligarchy, will set up an even better TPA which the luvvies in multiple governments will sign up to in hope of post politics cushy jobs in corporate corridors. Said TPA will have more secret courts that means minor matters like death and Minamata Disease will be illegal to complain about, let alone stop. Like the recently reported secret corporate trials in Asia about dubious drugs being sold after their lawyers sued governments arguing profits come before government policies.. Oz had a corporate challenge to Federal advertising rules over an addictive substance. Case was lost fortunately, but the TPA and its successors would strip that power from governments.

        OTOH, it has been observed the FDA is so bureaucratic it is actively stopping new treatments being tested, so drugs are being sent to Europe which is, amazingly, less difficult to get new treatments assessed and approved. The EPA has made environmental disasters worse if assertions about European oil spill equipment being rejected at Deepwater Horizon event are true because offered emergency equipment only cleaned up 99.5% of oil, not 99.9% as required. So 100% of oil was left in ocean. But I digress. Given the figures about unrepeatable results now being endemic in most sciences, to use the word loosely, suggests Trump and Co are too late. Evidence based decision making is long gone so any appointments made are only a minor sideshow in the tidal wave of cultural incompetence in all spheres of government.

    6. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      @Ivan4

      Aw. diddums, did the mean man expressing his opinion trigger you? Do you need a safe space? Is the tantrum going to last long? We can try soothing music to calm you...

    7. streaky

      "Left bias" assumes that there's two or more possible positions to take on the issue. Trump is filling his cabinet with nutties and swamp dwellers. Some of these guys literally are the swamp and own the trademark to it that he claimed he was going to drain. Left or right a child can see he's making it worse. One can't balance the unbalanceable else you end up contorting like the BBC does.

      His secdef choice might be the smartest thing he's ever done though..

  3. GrumpyKiwi
    Facepalm

    Organ payments

    Gosh yes what a terrible idea of allowing people to be paid for organ donation. As opposed to the current system of waiting for someone to die or greasing up to relatives which is working oh so well.

    (Median wait time for a kidney in the US is currently 3.6 years)

    https://www.kidney.org/news/newsroom/factsheets/Organ-Donation-and-Transplantation-Stats

    1. kierenmccarthy

      Re: Organ payments

      Ok...

      And who do you imagine would be donating their organs for money? Would it be billionaires overcome with a sense of philanthropy who would use the $5,000 on a new bedside table for their yacht? Or would it be people desperate for money who are their behind on their rent and their kids are going hungry?

      Last time I checked, kidneys don't grow back.

      1. Mark 85

        Re: Organ payments

        Or would it be people desperate for money who are their behind on their rent and their kids are going hungry?

        Or it's the same group that at least try to sell their blood.. the drug addicts.

        1. GrumpyKiwi

          Re: Organ payments

          Yeah all you guys who downvoted me, did you look at the link I included at all with the official stats on how long it takes to get a transplant? I seriously doubt it.

          If you were told you'd be waiting at least 4 years for a kidney transplant while slowly dying as your kidneys killed you, I doubt your moral upstanding stance would last longer than an icecream in hell.

          You're identical to all the other puritan moralists that sneers at "sinners" and "solo mothers".

          1. Geoffrey W
            Thumb Up

            Re: Organ payments

            Hey ho, hey ho, its off to dig a big hole we go.

            With a shovel and a pick...

          2. John Gamble

            Re: Organ payments

            Yes, I did. The situation need improvement.

            Now, how does setting up a kidney market improve things? Can you demonstrate that there'd be an uptick in donations, beyond a money-solves-everything wish fulfillment? And how will your market will treat the people who aren't wealthy who need kidneys?

            Convince us without resorting to libertarian fantasies.

          3. Faux Science Slayer

            Chinese....PRISONER Organ Donation Program

            Wealthy can provide DNA info, China will find a donor match, frame the for crime....

            then extract organs for the ruling elite....sorry....UK is also a police state....

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              extract organs for the ruling elite

              ... coming to a newly privatised NHS near you soon.

          4. Mark 85

            Re: Organ payments

            I didn't downvote you but maybe I should have.

            The problem is "viable organs". Most people don't die under the conditions needed to keep organs viable, and then there are those that eliminated... certain diseases, drug addiction, etc. As one commenter said.. "cut up everyone who dies"(paraphrased).. Well that's just impossible. People die in accidents, shootings, at home. Their organs aren't considered viable after the first 30 minutes, if I recall correctly.

            Legalized selling will make matters worse as only the rich will be able to afford it. It will be a seller's market as such.. sell to the highest bidder. It may be already... look at how fast certain celebs (millionaires and billionaires) get to the top of the list rather quickly. Steve Jobs and David Cosby come to mind here.

            Insurers won't want to pay for them just as they don't like it now. The cost of the surgeries, the anti-rejection drugs can run into the millions over a lifetime (or what's left of the lifetime). To pay for it, premiums would have to one helluva lot higher than they are now. Tax based coverage... taxes will have to go a lot higher also.

            It's a sad, pathetic situation but until we can figure out how to get dying people to a hospital and/or keep the organs viable, I don't see a real solution anytime soon.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Organ payments

              Legalized selling will make matters worse as only the rich will be able to afford it. It will be a seller's market as such.. sell to the highest bidder

              Yes and No.

              Yes - only the Rich will be able to afford it, but .... it's hard to say what the supply would be.

              Some people would sell a kidney for $100 or $1000. A lot more for $10,000. If the price was $100K,

              I imagine there would be a larger supply. For $500,000 I'd sell one of mine.

              Drats. I just convinced myself that no matter how bad morally it seems, economically it's not a bad idea.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Organ payments

                I saw a sci fi once where capital punishment came with compulsory organ donation.

                As the last civilised nation with the former...

                (AC because, of course, it is a terrible idea though not one I would be surprised to see implemented)

                1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                  Re: Organ payments

                  "I saw a sci fi once where capital punishment came with compulsory organ donation."

                  For one possible course of events, see Larry Nivens "Known Space" universe. Organ banks. Running low on stocks? Introduce the death penalty for ever more minor crimes. Lots of people been frozen in the hopes of an eventual cure? Update the legislation so those with smaller trust funds get thawed and harvested for organs. Still not enough? Lower the thresholds again.

                  And since Kosovo has already been mentioned, criminal gangs kidnapping people off the street for yet more organs.

          5. Tom Paine

            Re: Organ payments

            Firstly, there is this thing called "dialysis".

            Secondly, you completely miss the point. Please read the other responses.

          6. Hollerithevo

            Re: Organ payments

            Your focus is on the recipient. "If you were told you;d be waiting for at least 4 years" yes, that is tough, but you are kept alive through that period. I have a friend who waited a LONG time.

            But to want to live at the cost of endangering someone else's health and life and thinking that is OK, well, no one's life is worth more than another's. Someone needing a kidney is not worth more that someone who has two working ones. Thinking that it is OK to trade off someone's desperation of stupidity is to say that there are 'grades. of people, and that leads to many greater evils.

    2. Geoffrey W

      Re: Organ payments

      Its a morally repulsive idea and if you're unable to see that or understand why then I doubt you're possessed of a full set of either thinking or emotional equipment. You must be a Tech Bro'

    3. MrDamage Silver badge

      Re: Organ payments

      Easy solution: Legislate that once dead, all carcasses are to be carved up for spare parts and divvied out to those who need them.

      If any religions oppose that idea, then simply add to the legislation that they can only receive if they are willing to give. No more "we prayed for a miracle, and God granted it*"

      * refusing to admit that the "miracle" in question was their God killing someone else so their loved one could live

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        we prayed for a miracle

        we paid for a miracle, surely ?

      2. Denarius Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Organ payments

        @MrDamage. I believe that is the French law. I agree with it. In Oz there is the ridiculous situation of people who have their drivers licences marked as organ donors have their wished not complied with because of some hysterical relative. So people who have made their wishes clear still have their wishes ignored when it would save lives. Just making the donor declaration final and not over-ridable would ease organ donor situation. Some Oz pollies are rabbitting on about doing something about it sometime, but yeah, right.

      3. Tom Paine

        Re: Organ payments

        Broadly speaking, that's the approach in an increasing number of jurisdictions. In the UK, Wales has adopted "opt out", presumed consent, for organ transplants a year or two back, and it's working very well. Not certain but pretty sure that's the approach in much of the rest of Europe, at least.

    4. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Organ payments

      Gosh yes what a terrible idea of allowing people to be paid for organ donation.

      That is the norm in some parts of the world (Middle East, North Africa, etc). The more interesting factor is the supply part.

      I suggest you introduce yourself to an experiment in exactly what this gentlemen is proposing (organized, sponsored and trained by "our" advisors).

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organ_theft_in_Kosovo

      This is the INEVITABLE consequence of making the organ donation a form of free market. So how would you feel if your daughter disappears off the street without a trace to be disassembled for the highest payer. That by the way is happening elsewhere around the Balkans today - the jinn released from the bottle in Kosovo is categorically refusing to bottle itself back into it long after the war is over. The organized criminal network established to disassemble people and ship them to same countries which sponsored that war (hint - most of them in the Middle East) is alive, active and kicking. So it is not an empty question. Not at all.

    5. streaky

      Re: Organ payments

      Speaking as somebody who had a kidney removed as a child for health reasons and still has only one but potentially might need one in future and frankly probably could afford to buy one, don't be a clown grumpy.

      There's a very long list of reasons why buying organs should never be a thing and why it's illegal in the civilised world.

      Aside from that all the effort/money that would go on setting up an even close to safe system would be better spent on getting people to donate when they die. Tax breaks of inheritance and the like is something I've talked about before, but there's many levers that can be pulled to fixing the lack of donations - making it a legal default position for starters. If you're not a donor and aren't otherwise medically disqualified you shouldn't be eligible to receive them either; or at least should be put low down in the list.

  4. Geoffrey W

    People are saying, I don't know, that Trump has a farm in a small South American country where he breeds hair donors in battery conditions and that periodically he harvests a new rug to be transplanted onto his own head when his old one is rejected by his not quite human body and dies. I'm told that when a rug dies the stench is horrendous and he goes off to his fortress of solitude in Florida and sits in a gold plated room for a month accepting food and champagne through a slot until his personal physician, Dr. Elegnem, can return with a fresh new scalp. The remains of the hair donor are ground up and fed to the remaining donors to save money and to hide the waste. I don't know. <Shrugs> You tell me...

  5. cantankerous swineherd

    The US is a laughing stock. if they carry on like this for long enough they'll be the new Somalia.

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch

      the US will be the new Somalia

      Not if the MPAA and RIAA have their way. A lot of lobby dollars says that won't happen.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bias or not

    Trump will be a destroyer.

    1. Notas Badoff

      Re: Bias or not

      Friend of a friend has a friend that insisted everyone must vote for Trump to bring on the Apocalypse. Because, y'no, the Trumpets of Doom. It was foretold! No, really. And it wasn't her idea to begin with.

      (As much as possible I hide even the tenuous connection I have with Alabama.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Trump will be a destroyer

      Geldendämmerung

  7. Jim84

    Small Correction

    Jim O'Neill didn't say (his words) "One thing that surprised me is that the actual human beings at the Food and Drug Administration like science; they like curing disease and they actually like approving drugs and devices and biologics." to support the point that (your words) "when he entered the real world, he found out that insane ideologies dreamt up by rich white men were not all they are cracked up to be." He said that to make the point that people at the FDA are not indifferent cost inflating bureaucrats, but are actually interested in getting new treatments to the public to help them, they just have the wrong incentives at present, and that people respond to incentives.

    Link to the speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Y7oazjaSyE

    He also made the fairly uncontroversial observation that one of the reasons the FDA has no incentive to apply a risk benefit analysis to drug approval is that "everytime someone dies from an FDA approved drug, the director of the FDA is hauled before a senate committee and forced to testify under oath".

    If you set up a regulator who is only punished for mistakes and not rewarded for keeping the cost of new research down, they'll end up demanding endless data to cover their arses, which has the unfortunate side effect of driving up the cost of research.

    I do think Trump and Jim O'Neill will go to far the other way in terms of no regulation, but it would have been interesting if this news article was on how to perhaps improve the regulation of drug development. Perhaps you could give FDA regulators their own individual portfolios and assess their performance on lives saved due to speed of approval versus lives lost due to hasty approval of a new drug that turns out to be dangerous?

    I do understand that this article was written largely to entertain, not to inform, but it would be interesting to hear some of the Reg's economics desk viewpoints on this issue.

    1. Eric Olson

      Re: Small Correction

      O'Neill's comments are the same kind of malarkey that non-politicians peddle when they don't understand things. The FDA is bound by law to ensure certain steps are carried out. Regardless of one's personal feelings, the FDA is legally obligated to evaluate new medical technologies (those that are being marketed for the treatment or cure of an accepted medical malady) using generally accepted metrics used by the medical community to evaluate efficacy and harm. The FDA doesn't do this as a CYA play, nor does politics play into their decisions (even during the Bush administration's abstinence is the only acceptable birth control schtick, the FDA approved Plan B as an OTC, albeit still "behind-the-counter".)

      What O'Neill's was trying to do with his statement was make an emotional play to other non-experts and politicians that if only the poor, beaten spirit of Liberty was uncaged and allowed to frolic free from government interference, we could have those brave and noble bureaucrats re-homed and the free market unleashed upon the drug market to cure us of all those things that the FDA was law-bound to keep us dying from.

      Of course, that the FDA was a direct result of the atrocities that were visited upon the masses by snake oil salesmen and "physicians" looking to make a quick buck by creating elixirs of opium, cocaine, and other addictive or deadly substances is lost on people like him who apparently never bothered to learn why the various government agencies and laws exist in the first place. They just want to watch the world burn and probably assume they'll survive and can pick through the ashes.

      1. Jim84

        Re: Small Correction

        @Eric Olson - Yeah but you're making it sound like a bit of a black or white issue - either we have regulation and its costs, or we have no regulation and snake oil salesmen and an opoid crisis. There could in fact be an approach more in the middle.

        Japan's approach to the regulation of new cellular treatments is one approach that could perhaps be adopted by the US.

        1. Eric Olson

          Re: Small Correction

          Except O'Neill made it black and white, and I was responding to your thesis that the larger context of his thought made it less so. But if you want to be pedantic about it, it's pretty binary. Light touch regulation is still regulation, and the government still has a legal obligation to evaluate efficacy and harm. Without getting into the weeds, he also incorrectly states that the Fda doesn't apply a cost benefit analysis to their decision. That is wrong. That is why you see drugs or treatments approved for very narrow cases, including prescriber instructions that indicate other treatments shod be tried first. The drug companies themselves even point them out in their ads (a completely different discussion).

          O'Neill is not an expert. His resume regarding medicine is limited to being an underling in the HHS department. Without trolling through public records, his bios don't provide much detail as to what he did, and should probably be taken with truckload of salt.

          In short, his comments are the same kind of concern-trolling you find among other "outsiders" who claim they are only coming from a position of love... While hiding a WMD behind their back.

        2. Eric Olson

          Re: Small Correction

          Alternatively, you can look at the "light" regulation of the supplement markets. That is the new quackery, and even assuming that the supplement contains the ingredients it claims to, rather than grass and undeclared allergens, the presumption the FDA is required to take is "safe until people start dying." And even then, it takes a long time for the supplement to be pulled, and it's often "reformulated" and sold to another white label lab to produce.

          But sure, O'Neill knows what he's talking about.

      2. Hollerithevo

        Re: Small Correction

        Yes, read 'The Golden Age of Quackery' by Stewart Holbrook to see why the FDA came into existence and what the free market gave free rein to before it.

  8. DV Henkel-Wallace

    Oh, about that kidney thing...

    turns out a recent analysis showed that kidney donor don't live as long as non-donors and most people regret donating 10 years later. Oops!

  9. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    The FDA does kill people

    While not wishing to go all Trump the FDA is a problem

    Apart from the normal Washington revolving door - the application process is so complex you have to employ specialist Washington law firms to help you, all of which advertise how many former directors of the FDA they employ.

    The process is slow and expensive beyond reason. We sell a surgical device around the world treating real patients, but after two years of reviews, including changes of director, re-classifications, transfers to different divisions, the FDA has decided that we need to re-start animal trials from scratch before we can be considered for use in the USA.

    They only recently allowed re-use of toxicity data on drugs, so that you didn't have to re-test how many 1000x of times the standard dose killed 50% of rabbits, everytime you changed the name or sold a drug already approved for a different source of pain.

    For rare diseases it is becoming technically impossible, not just financially non-viable, to meet the FDA requirements. One recent case would require a clinical trial consisting of >300% of the actual cases.

    We want drugs and procedures to be safe. But we also want ambulances and fire engines to be safe. Suppose every ambulance had to be built, maintained and operated to the same safety standards as a Space Shuttle - and each state could only afford to operate one vehicle. Would people be safer?

  10. jake Silver badge

    I've figured it out ...

    ... It's a plot for the sequel to "Animal House" ... Blutowski's made it to President Elect, much hilarity ensues.

    1. Harry the Bastard

      Re: I've figured it out ...

      i'm sure bluto would be a great success as president,

      trump is not bluto, he's neidermeyer

    2. Geoffrey W

      Re: I've figured it out ...

      The humour is a bit strained at the moment, as with most sequels. Lets hope its not too much of a Pyrrhic victory for the tea bags amongst us.

  11. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Christ America, you're even more fucked than the UK

    End of observation.

  12. Milton

    It's perfectly consistent

    The administration is filling with people who are already brain donors. Why not kidneys?

    That said ("I've figured it out") I'd prefer Blutarski as Prez: he may have been fairly bonkers, but he was good-natured. His character didn't have that simmering, spiteful, always-on malice that Trump nurtures in his gamy little nugget of a heart. If there's anything worse than a stupid man, it's a nasty, stupid man.

  13. Jonathan Richards 1
    Stop

    Market forces

    If Mr Trump was in need of a kidney, he might buy one of mine... Only he can't afford it.

  14. Elmer Phud

    We could never do anything as stupid as that

    We are far more sensible over here and would never putting someone le Boris (the unfeasibly useless) Johnson in a posy such as Foreign Secretary would we?

    Captain Flasheart without the funny bits.

    1. Geoffrey W

      Re: We could never do anything as stupid as that

      Boris is still something of an actual intellectual. Some of the people discussed here make the real Elmer Phud (no offense meant) look like an intellectual. Occasionally I even find myself agreeing with Boris (eg the Saudi comments). Trouble is, he's been given a job requiring diplomacy which is in short supply in the Boris head. His instincts are in conflict with his requirements and his control absent without permission. Not sure he should be in any kind of political job really. Journalist and entertaining speaker is where he's best suited. TV and radio comedy news shows too. Diplomat? Not in a month of Sundays. Best reason I can come up with for Theresa appointing him thus is to punish him for what he did during the brexit thingy. Foreign secretary is a job he probably enjoys the prestige of but we all know he's going to make a pigs ear of it. May is allowing him to hang himself and seal his fate forever. Best I can come up with, though its going to hurt her too. Politics, hey? More involved with itself than those its attempting to rule.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Comment

    I find the "old white men" comment to be ageist, racist, and sexist. Why should somebody be less important just because they have life experience, have a low level of melanin, and happen to have a Y chromosome?

    BTW, you DO realize that the majority of rich people in the US are Deomcrats, right?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Comment

      Kieren is actually young gifted and black. Didn't you know?

      1. Denarius Silver badge

        Re: Comment

        so its OK then ?

  16. Mike 16

    Mithril Investments

    Do the lawyers of the Tolkien estate know about this?

  17. Florida1920

    No medical or scientific experience.

    A perfect fit for this administration. The incoming CEO and Commander in Chief has no successful business experience, no experience in government, and used his white privilege to avoid serving in the military. A guy like that, who more than once bragged about his "good brain," isn't going to surround himself with smart people. Look how he reacts whenever anyone points out what a(n) [insert epithet or noun describing despicable behavior] he is.

    That's okay. In a year or so I'm going to become fabulously wealthy, selling bumper stickers saying AREN'T YOU SORRY NOW?

    1. Denarius Silver badge

      Re: No medical or scientific experience.

      is this unusual for most leadership in remnants of western democracies ? Most seem to be party hacks, ex-academics, (although a few have been very competent, (take a bow ,Professor Fells), union droids and business cronies. BTW, could this be an indicator that the outbreak of internal violence in MerkinLand predicted by a statistician mentioned here and on New Scientist be not far away. just sayin'

  18. SVV

    Well, if he keeps this up....

    "Having chosen a climate-change denier to head the US government's environment agency, an opponent of minimum wage for the Labor Department, a creationist for Education Secretary, a mine-owner for Commerce......"

    He might at least appoint a pacifist at the Defence department. The flat earther at NASA might be fun too.

  19. ecofeco Silver badge

    A ghoul and a vampire are in charge of public health

    Seriously, you can't make this shit up. Who would believe you?!

    Yet here we are.

    I'm trying real hard to think of any time in history when the ruling class was so anti-progressive that it set the new standard for evil. Pol Pot? Idi Amin? Stalin? The Spanish Inquisition?

    Anyone got any historical comparisons?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A ghoul and a vampire are in charge of public health

      "Anyone got any historical comparisons?"

      Hitler?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A ghoul and a vampire are in charge of public health

        Jeremy Hunt?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Comparative Influence

    What's the difference between Italy under Berlusconi and the USA under Trump.

    - Military might

    - Economic clout.

    I'm more worried about Trump than I have been about Berlusconi to put it mildly.

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