Links 10/12/17

October 12, 2017

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Wild Sand Kittens Have Just Been Caught On Film For The First Time Ever And They’re Too Adorable Bored Panda (Furzy Mouse).

Scientists Can Read a Bird’s Brain and Predict Its Next Song MIT Technology Review

Central bankers face a crisis of confidence as models fail FT

How the world’s greatest financial experiment enriched the rich New Statesman

Why You Should Care About An Aluminum Supply Scandal In Japan Consumerist. Kobe Steel.

Junk Bond Boom Reaches Far Corners of the World WSJ

So You Want to Buy a Stake in a Private Equity Manager? The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation

Hurricane Alley

Displaced by the Storm: Texas Evacuees Without Options Texas Monthly

A Month After Hurricane Irma, Florida Cities Are Still Struggling to Clean Up Governing

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico: US officials privately acknowledge serious food shortage Guardian

The Growing Puerto Rico Disaster Ian Welsh (Furzy Mouse).

On-the-Ground Reports Destroy Trump’s Sunny Portrayal of Puerto Rico Recovery Common Dreams

Why many didn’t get cellphone warnings before Northern California wildfires swept through Los Angeles Times. Issues with Wireless Emergency Alerts.


Spain gives Catalan leader eight days to drop independence Reuters

Can Spain keep it together? Madrid ponders direct rule in Catalonia France24

Catalan referendum stirs up Balkan nationalists’ hopes Japan Times

Catalonia on the Brink NYRB


Brexit talks are at a standstill, warn diplomats FT

Peering over the cliff-edge: why Dominic Cummings fears Brexit will fail Prospect Magazine (Richard Smith). Richard Smith: “Major rat sighting” (and in short form).

The legal ins and outs of implementation periods: avoiding the negotiation noose Brexit Central

UK logistics sector cautions over ‘no-deal Brexit’ Lloyd’s Loading List

Britain Reportedly Considering Joining NAFTA Right as Trump Hopes to Burn It Down Foreign Policy


Saudi Arabia’s Revolution From the Top Has No Place for Critics Bloomberg

Hamas says reached deal with Palestinian rival Fatah Reuters

Underground in Raqqa LRB

North Korea

Your Apocalyptic Fantasies Aren’t Helping the North Korea Crisis Foreign Policy

Jimmy Carter offers to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un The Hill


China’s richest control combined wealth of US$2.6 trillion: Hurun Report South China Morning Post

China’s `Financial Statecraft’ Takes Shape in Risk for Investors Bloomberg

A new front opens in Asia’s water wars Asia Times (Re Silc).

Growing complexities threaten ASEAN consensus politics Nikkei Asian Review

New Cold War

Ex-NATO chief urges allies to boost help for Ukraine AFP

Armed Ground Robots Could Join the Ukrainian Conflict Next Year Defense One

Spy Spin Fuels Anti-Kaspersky Campaign Moon of Alabama. “If one believes all the now made claims then Israel hacked Kaspersky, which was hacking an NSA employee who had stolen NSA hacks, while being hacked by Russia which was hacked by the NSA, while the NSA was warned by Israel about Russian hacks. Makes sense?”

Leading Lawmakers Wonder Why Trump Is Dragging Feet on Russia Sanctions Foreign Policy

Trump Transition

Triumph of the Shill Corey Robin, n+1. “The political theory of Trumpism.”

The Infantilization of the President The Atlantic

The Adults in the Room NYRB

‘He’s better than this,’ says Thomas Barrack, Trump’s loyal whisperer WaPo

* * *

Pledge to Impeach Trump, a Key Donor Demands of Democrats NYT

Democrat Unveils, Then Shelves, Articles of Impeachment Against Trump NBC

Faster, Steve Bannon. Kill! Kill! Robert Kagan, WaPo. “The rest of Republican voters should leave the party until it earns back the right to their support. They should change their registration and start voting for Democratic moderates and centrists, as some Republicans did in Virginia recently, to give them a leg up in their fight against the party’s left wing.”

Is Washington bungling the Census? Politico

Groundhog Day at the IRS Federal News Radio

Democrats in Disarray

The Democrats cannot ignore their Harvey Weinstein problem The Week. Sure they can.

Gov. Cuomo Could Oust DA Vance But They Share A Party — And Donors Business Insider

Health Care

Trump healthcare order could face strong legal objections Reuters. See NC on “association plans.”

Zombie Care Robert Laszewski (interview), Sinclair

“I recently gave birth in Japan. Here is some of the hospital food I ate” Hahahah1111111, Imgur. For example:

I checked with Clive to make sure this wasn’t some kinda fancy private suite, and he replied: “No, that’s just your standard Japanese hospital room.” Sigh.

There are 3 types of single-payer ‘concern trolls’ — and they all want to undermine universal healthcare Los Angeles Times

Imperial Collapse Watch

Nearly Half the Pentagon Budget Goes To Contractors The American Conservative

Class Warfare

Germany’s largest trade union pushes for shorter working hours for 3.9 million workers Independent

Column Bad news: Your 401(k) won’t give you a decent retirement Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times. A successful long con.

The people GoFundMe leaves behind The Outline

Is There a Constitutional Right to Cash in on the Poor? The Marshall. Appalling.

Post-racial rhetoric, racial health disparities, and health disparity consequences of stigma, stress, and racism Washington Center for Equitable Growth

How Norms Change 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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