Links 7/24/2017

July 24, 2017

Links 7/24/2017

Top cat: Alaska mourns Stubbs, feline mayor of Talkeetna Deutsche Welle

U.S. Foresaw Better Return in Seizing Fannie and Freddie Profits Gretchen Morgenson, NYT

Collapse of ‘safe-haven asset’ bubble looms Nikkei Asian Review

Two top Wall Street chiefs celebrate $314m share bonanza FT. “Dimon and Blankfein lead way with stock gains boosted by Trump effect on markets.” Ka-ching.

Going Cashless? Bad for Tax Cheats, Privacy, Poor Bloomberg. Correction: Bad for the sort of tax cheat who doesn’t have an acountant or tax lawyer.

Uber-rival Grab rakes in $2.5bn in fresh investment FT. Grab is in Southeast Asia. Are the economics different from Uber’s, for any reason?

The balanced budget paradox Real World Economics Review (MT).

Yes, ancient civilizations on Mars sounds crazy. And yet… Ars Technica. Well, Podesta believes in UFOs….


Trump pulls plug on CIA’s Syrian “revolution” WSWS (MT). “Preparations for a wider war.”

Say Goodbye to Regime Change in Syria Scott Ritter, The American Conservative

Syria Summary – Consolidating The West – Marching East Moon of Alabama

It’s Time To Raise the Level of Public Debate about Syria Tim Hayward. Must-read on the “intermedia.”

The Unending Failure of the Afghan War Consortium News


Do UK readers agree with Cheung’s tweet? And who is Damian Green?

Frankfurt Is the Big Winner in Battle for Brexit Bankers Bloomberg

Macron’s Francafrique Al Jazeera (MT).


In China, Herd of ‘Gray Rhinos’ Threatens Economy NYT

My journey to a Ugandan ghost town The Economist

VPN crackdown ‘unthinkable’ trial by firewall for China’s research world CNBC

Lost your phone in Japan? You’ll probably get it back Al Jazeera

New Cold War

White House Signals Support for Bill on Russia Sanctions WSJ

EU ready to retaliate against US sanctions on Russia FT

* * *

Collins tells Trump to “step back” and not comment on special counsel’s investigation CBS

Donald Trump’s Defenders on the Left Peter Beinart, The Atlantic. Blumenthal and Greenwald, so pass the popcorn.

What Watergate and Whitewater tell us about Trump’s drip, drip, drip CNN

Trump’s Businesses Have A History Of Money Laundering Charges International Business Times

Trump Transition

Donald Trump will ‘dial back’ his Twitter use, says Anthony Scaramucci Sky News

New comms director Anthony Scaramucci says he wants briefings back on-camera as he compliments White House makeup artist and tells Jake Tapper he looks ‘tan and refreshed’ Daily Mail

Trump’s ‘Great National Infrastructure Program’? Stalled NYT

Trump’s Special Ops Pick Says Terror Drones Might Soon Reach the US from Africa. How Worried Should We Be? Defense One (Re Silc). I can see the gaslights flickering all the way across the Atlantic…

The voter-fraud commission relies on some really dodgy studies Economist

Health Care

5 reasons why health care bill would fail, 3 why it may not WaPo

Obamacare vote short on details: ‘I don’t even know what we’re proceeding to next week’ Chicago Tribune

Trump to visit WV for Boy Scout Jamboree Williamson Daily News. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va, BCRA defector: “‘I’m thrilled President Trump will be making his first trip to West Virginia as president on Monday,’ Capito said in a release. ‘At the Jamboree, the president will have an opportunity to see the future leaders of our country. I look forward to welcoming him to the Mountain State.’” It’s a private event, but so if Trump wishes to bring pressure to beat on Capito, it’s unlikely to be in front of the Boy Scouts…

How Behavioral Economics Can Produce Better Health Care NYT. Of course! [slaps forehead]

Our Famously Free Press

Google’s New News Feed Is Scary-Good at Personalization Slate

Leftwing Breitbart? Chapo Trap House is strong new voice in resistance to Trump Guardian

Democrats in Disarray

Dems to announce ‘A better deal’ economic agenda on Monday: report The Hill. Right as the health care battle swells to a crescendo…

Dems want to rebrand as the economic party Axios (Re Silc). Re Silc: “Dump the war party part too, please.” Lambert: “Show me the money.”

‘This Week’ Transcript 7-23-17: Jay Sekulow, Sarah Sanders, and Sen. Chuck Schumer ABC. Dayen: “There is something happening in the Democratic Party.” Maybe:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Some may wonder [if the new Democrat “Better Deal” agenda is] going to be bold enough. I mean even your New York colleague, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, talking about health care, says if you really want to get prices down, you have to go to single payer health care.

Will Democrats unify behind single payer health care?

SCHUMER: Well, our economic agenda — we’ve talked so much about health care that we are not going to address that in this agenda.

Or maybe not.

SCHUMER: Then we’re going to look at broader things — single payer is one of them…

STEPHANOPOULOS: So that is…SCHUMER: — Medicare…

STEPHANOPOULOS: — on the table?

SCHUMER: — well, a — sure. Many things are on the table. Medicare for people above 55 is on the table. A buy-in to Medicare is on the table. A buy-in to Medicaid is on the table.

“Many things are on the table.”

Democrats Want a Socialist to Lead Their Party More Than a Capitalist Newsweek. Change vs. more of the same…

The Millennials are the American Earthquake Corey Robin (MR). Must-read. Note that both Sanders proposals for free college and Medicare for All enable voters to avoid getting into debt, but totally write off the already indebted. A debt jubilee would accomplish that, but that’s not “on the table,” or anywhere near it.

When student debt payoff becomes complicated by identity theft LA Times

Oh, Jeremy Corbyn Medium. Same issue as in this country; college debt.

In the state with the highest medical debt, it’s the middle class who carries the burden STAT

Wisconsin Company First In US To Microchip Employees Mankato Times (DC Blogger).

Herointown, N.J.: The dead, 5,217 and counting Newark Star-Ledger (Re Silc). Jackpot…

Class Warfare

Brazilians funneled as “slaves” by US church, ex-members say AP

San Antonio death toll in ‘horrific’ human trafficking reaches 9 San Antonio Express-News

* * *

National Weather Service cancels its union contract AP

The GOP debate over a minimum wage for cops and deputies Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Next Leap for Robots: Picking Out and Boxing Your Online Order WSJ (Re Silc). Re Silc: “Zero jobs except prison guards and cops soon.”

* * *

America’s hidden philosophy Aeon (MT)

Distributism Isn’t Outdated The American Conservative. “For Chesterton, ownership is a self-evident good, which therefore shouldn’t be abolished but widely distributed.”

General Equilibrium Effects of (Improving) Public Employment Programs: Experimental Evidence from India (PDF) Karthik Muralidharan, Paul Niehaus, Sandip Sukhtankar.

Forty mayors go back to school The Economist. “The school for mayors is not about promoting any particular policy… Instead, the programme is more about how to think like a CEO.”

For Whom the Wall Fell? A Balance Sheet of the Transition to Capitalism Branko Milanovic, The Globalist

Competence to Stand Trial Evaluations of Sovereign Citizens: A Case Series and Primer of Odd Political and Legal Beliefs Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. Surprisingly good background on “sovereign citizens,” and well worth a read.

The Mystery of Why Japanese People Are Having So Few Babies The Atlantic

Cleveland doulas fight infant mortality in their neighborhoods, one birth at a time: Saving the Smallest Cleveland Plain-Dealer

Wonder Woman Is Propaganda TNE

The artificial glacier growing in the desert CNN. Not really glaciers: ice stupas.

Live-tweeting the #Detroit67 riots, 50 years ago today Detroit Free Press

‘Game of Thrones’ recap: In ‘Stormborn,’ the battle for the Seven Kingdoms truly begins WaPo

Antidote du jour (via):

Fiona and Bibi.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered.

To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


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