Links 10/1/17

October 1, 2017

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Tropical forests may be carbon sources, not sinks Nature. “[A] growing consensus: that tropical forests are drying out or being cleared, burned and logged so fast that they now spew out a lot more carbon than they squirrel away.”

The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data The Economist

Welcome To The Age Of Cheap Overseas Information Buzzfeed (Furzy Mouse).

Inside the New Proposal That Exacerbated Uber’s Board Divisions NYT

Dara Khosrowshahi has called Travis Kalanick’s board move “disappointing” and “unusual” to Uber staff Recode

AIG freed from ‘too big to fail’ regulation FT

Exclusive: Blackstone, Apollo team up for Westinghouse bid – sources Reuters (Richard Smith). Just what we want: Private equity in charge of nuclear plants.

STD rates hit another record high, with California near the top LA Times

What Does the Sale of Venezuelan Oil in Currencies Other Than the US Dollar Mean? Venezuelanalysis

Puerto Rico

DoD Accelerates Hurricane Relief, Response Efforts in Puerto Rico Department of Defense and Factbox: Relief efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria Reuters. Normally I wouldn’t link to a DoD press release, but at least these two posts provide a baseline of facts to check. The ratio of advocacy to reporting on Hurricane Maria is frustratingly high.

Thousands of Puerto Ricans evacuated as dam threatens to breach New Scientist

Report from Puerto Rico: Death Toll Higher Than Reported Amid Water Shortage & Health Crisis Democracy Now

Machete, origami and reading: life in San Juan a week after Maria France24. “[M]iddle class residents of Puerto Rico’s capital San Juan’s outskirts are afraid, and straining to keep up hope.”

Teamsters organize truckers to move supplies in Puerto Rico CNN. This is not an easy logistics problem.

As Wall Street Vultures Circle, Demands for Immediate Puerto Rico Debt Relief Common Dreams

Memento Mori: a Requiem for Puerto Rico Counterpunch (Re Silc).

Lost weekend: How Trump’s time at his golf club hurt the response to Maria WaPo


China’s mortgage debt bubble raises spectre of 2007 US crisis South China Morning Post. I’m not seeing anything about leverage, though.

What’s Behind China’s Unquenchable Thirst for Bubble Tea? Caixin

Rice and Banchan – a Love Affair Ask a Korean

North Korea

U.S. in Direct Communication With North Korea, Says Tillerson NYT

North Korean companies in China ordered to close FT

Thinking the unthinkable in China: Abandoning North Korea The Economic Times

Modi Faces Limited Options to Reverse India’s Slowing Growth Bloomberg


Queen’s fury with May: Palace aides claim PM misled monarch by claiming DUP deal was finalised weeks before it was actually signed leaving courtiers ‘alarmed’ at breach of protocol Daily Mail

Newspaper headlines: May targets young voters to see off ‘coup’ BBC. Let me know how that works out…

Jeremy Corbyn: neoliberalism is broken and we are now the centre ground Guardian (SS).

Crunch time as Catalonia holds independence vote AFP

New Cold War

Latest Fake News Panic Appears to Be Fake News Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone. Today’s panic, not yesterday’s.

The “Russian Influence” Stories Promote Russia’s Might – Is Putin Paying For Them? Moon of Alabama

The MSM’s Anti-Russia Bias Consortium News

Robert Mueller Is Facing His Biggest Question Yet: Should He Prosecute the Cover-Up Before He’s Certain There’s a Crime? Vanity Fair. Seems a little meta…

Trump Administration

Trump’s tax plan is a potential turning point for markets FT

Good Riddance, Tom Price. But What About the Other Grifters? The Nation (Re Silc). Re Silc: “Like Obama and Clinton on Wall Street?”

The Media Needs To Stop Rationalizing President Trump’s Behavior FiveThirtyEight

Most Americans Desperate for Third Major Political Party in Trump Era Newsweek

Democrats in Disarray

What Democrats Must Do Jacobin. Grab a cup of coffee. Probably harshes the Democrat mellow less than it needs to be harshed. (For example, dropping the so-called public option from ObamaCare is mentioned, but Democrat suppression of single payer advocacy is not.) Nevertheless, worth a read to the end.

Homework Assignment Clusterf*ck Nation

The Unlikely Alliance That Could Stop Keystone and Transform the Democratic Party In These Times

Former Nobel chief: Obama Peace Prize a failure USA Today

Police State Watch

Bound to Pay Texas Monthly (CL). For-profit ankle monitors.

How Bad Apples Spoil the Whole Bunch The Marshall Project. Time for the “good cops” to speak up…. ‘

Health Care

Intentionally Or Not, Administration’s Actions Will Limit Number Of Healthy People Bolstering Exchanges Kaiser Health News. Nice wrap-up.

Washington state’s health-exchange rates to jump 24 percent Seattle Times

California Scrambles To Contain ‘Unprecedented’ Hepatitis A Outbreaks Kaiser Health News

Sports Desk

How the Pentagon Paid for NFL Displays of Patriotism TruthDig (CL).

Burning questions about the NCAA basketball corruption scandal Daily News

Bribery and kickbacks: the FBI’s college basketball sting has only just begun Guardian

Entire Notion of NCAA ‘Amateurism’ May Be on the Line in FBI’s Corruption Case Sports Illustrated

Class Warfare

Who’s Left Out of 401(k) Nation Bloomberg

Rich people in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania are to blame for dangerous anti-vaxx surge Boing Boing (original).

What Will Replace Outdated Left and Right Economic Thinking? The Commons Paradigm. Evonomics

America’s 8-Step Program for Opioid Addiction Editorial Board, NYT. Now that we’ve safely medicalized that portion of Case-Deaton’s “deaths of despair” from which pharma and medical professionals can profit, it’s OK for the very serious people to talk about it (and not about all the other causes of excess mortality and declining life expectancy in deindustrialized America).

Tough-Love Urbanism: On Jeremiah Moss’s “Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul” Los Angeles Review of Books

The War on General-Purpose Computing Turns on the Streaming Media Box Community EFF (CL). CL: “I bought a Raspberry Pi to serve as a Kodi box a few weeks ago. Still working on getting all the features I need loaded and working.”

Welcome to the Romance Resistance Salon

The Repressive, Authoritarian Soul of “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends” The New Yorker

Antidote du jour (via):

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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