Links 10/13/17

October 13, 2017

This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 1460 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in the financial realm. Please join us and participate via our donation page, which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we’re doing this fundraiser,what we’ve accomplished in the last year and our current goal, more original reporting.

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Lambert here: I’m a little concerned about the anemic state of the thermometer at right. If, in keeping with today’s foodie links, you think of Naked Capitalism as a restaurant, so far with your help we’ve built out the stoves, the plumbing, and the electric (infrastructure), arranged for the people we need in the front and back of the house (guest bloggers, burnout prevention), and continued to build a community (meetups and travel). We have now arrived at the point of the entire exercise, which is devising the menu and serving delicious meals: That is, our original reporting. We can have the crispest linens and shiniest cutlery and subtlest track lighting, but we want to put more on your plate than dry crusts or canned goods! So please, in this final phase of the fundraiser, dig deep! The Tip Jar is to your right.

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A mountain like no other Jakarta Post. Lot of volcanism in the news these days…

Yellowstone supervolcano could produce cataclysmic eruption much faster than we thought International Business Times.

Will Italy’s Ominous Supervolcano Erupt Soon? Scientific American

Tech Giants, Once Seen as Saviors, Are Now Viewed as Threats NYT

Exclusive interview with Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg Axios. Not a transcript, but a summary. “Facebook owes the American people an apology — ‘Not just an apology, but determination’ for our role in enabling Russian interference during the election.”

How Facebook’s Ad System Works NYT. Interesting discussion of ads on mobile as opposed to the desktop. Includes a sample of a “Russian” ad. It looks like the $100K “the Russians” spent was worth every penny…

Puerto Rico

Trump Warns Storm-Ravaged Puerto Rico That Aid Won’t Last ‘Forever’ NYT

House passes big disaster aid bill but there’s political trouble ahead McClatchy

The Insufficiency Of Medicaid Block Grants: The Example Of Puerto Rico Health Affairs

Hurricane Alley

FACTBOX-Insurers and reinsurers count the costs of recent hurricanes, quakes Reuters

Distressed Investors Are Already Buying Houston Homes for 40 Cents on the Dollar Bloomberg


Spain considers change to constitution as way out of crisis FT

Spanish Defence Minister: “Almost” Completely Certain Armed Forces Won’t Be Needed In Catalonia The Spain Report

Why Catalonia’s Independence Bid Is Failing Project Syndicate

Barcelona is now Europe’s capital of confusion Yahoo News

The Ghost of Franco Still Haunts Catalonia Foreign Policy


Michel Barnier says talks on Brexit bill in ‘deadlock’ Politico

European drug regulation at risk of stalling as agency prepares to leave London Nature

Reveal Secret Brexit Reports or We’ll Sue You, U.K. Is Warned Bloomberg

Brexit talks: A tragicomedy in 5 acts Politico

North Korea

US, S. Korea to launch major navy drill next week AFP

US bombers conduct unprecedented drill as Trump briefed on options on NK Korea Herald

China’s Trade With North Korea Slumps as Nuclear Sanctions Bite Bloomberg


Yemen’s cholera outbreak now the worst in history as millionth case looms Guardian

Isis is facing near total defeat in Iraq and Syria – but it has been beaten and come back before Independent (Re Silc). Real men go to Riyadh…

Israel to join US in quitting Unesco BBC

Iran nuclear deal: Trump poised to withdraw support BBC


World stocks hits fresh highs as Chinese imports surge – business live Guardian

US demands World Bank overhaul of lending to China FT

What has derailed peace talks with the Philippine Communist rebels? Asian Correspondent

Duterte falsely claims CIA funds Rappler The Rappler. Both Russia and China have recently given guns to the Philippines. For some reason.

New Cold War

People are hyperventilating over a study of Russian propaganda on Facebook. Just breathe deeply WaPo and Facebook takes down data and thousands of posts, obscuring reach of Russian disinformation WaPo. “Thousands.”

Germany Says ‘No Evidence’ Russia Hacked Kaspersky to Steal U.S. Intel Haaretz (YY).

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Top brass says US used hype over Zapad-2017 drills to deploy armored division to Poland TASS

Trump Transition

Ryan Threatens to Keep Members in for Christmas to Finish Tax Overhaul Roll Call

Lost in the Tax Debate: Would Growth Benefit? WSJ

Pelosi Wants ‘Urgent’ Update on President’s Nuclear Weapons Authority Roll Call. “[T]he minority leader said the proposal is not about Trump; it’s about presidential powers.” That’s just silly, but the legislative outcome could be happy, regardless of what motivates it.

The U.S. solar industry’s new growth region: Trump country Reuters

Health Care

Trump Executive Order Expands Opportunities For Healthier People To Exit ACA Timothy Jost, Health Affairs. Accelerating the death spiral. Must-read.

Association Health Plans: A Favorite GOP Approach To Coverage Poised For Comeback KHN

Trump’s salvo on Obamacare unlikely to result in quick changes Politico

Trump scraps Obamacare subsidies in surprise late-night announcement Guardian

With Signature, Trump Tries to Chip Away at Obamacare Roll Call. “The health care order is merely the latest in a string of moves Trump has taken to erode much of what Obama put in place.” Allow me to express my exasperation: Organizations headed by impulsive, erratic, crazy, and senile people are unlikely to be able to act strategically, let alone put together a “string of moves” extending over many months. It would be helpful — at least to the American people, if not to click-driven liberal Democrat organizations — if the knobs on Trump’s character defects could be turned down from 11 so we all could focus, in detail, on what his administration is doing rather than what he is saying. More consideration of the material, less of personality, please.

Can the U.S. Repair Its Health Care While Keeping Its Innovation Edge? NYT. How about everybody gets dental? That would be “innovation.”

Police State Watch

“Cooking Them to Death”: The Lethal Toll of Hot Prisons The Marshall Project (ER). More Third World stuff.

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Donald Trump-Kaiser Wilhelm Parallels Are Getting Scary Foreign Policy. Interesting and not hysterical. An unmentioned similarity between Wilhelmine Germany and today’s United States is that both could be termed “imperial democracies.” On the one hand, the democratic impulse and institutions, leading (for example) to Bismarck introducing social security, to steal the Social Democrats’ clothes. On the other, an empire to run with an autocrat at the top (and at least in foreign policy and war powers, the American President might was well be an autocrat. Fine, I suppose, if you have an Augustus; not so fine if you have a Caligula). I suppose I could compare The Blob to the Prussian bureaucracy, but that’s probably going too far. Readers please correct!

When Big Data went to war — and lost Politico

Whap! Pow! Fans Boot Defense Contractor Out of Marvel Comics The American Conservative

Class Warfare

Bank of England Governor Takes a Crack at the Inflation Mystery Bloomberg. “What matters isn’t what the person living next door to you can command for his labor; it’s what the person across the ocean can get. ”

How the VA Fueled the National Opioid Crisis and Is Killing Thousands of Veterans Newsweek. With plenty of help from Purdue Pharma. And, of course, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The little red pill being pushed on the elderly CNN. “The maker of a little red pill intended to treat a rare condition is raking in hundreds of millions of dollars a year as it aggressively targets frail and elderly nursing home residents for whom the drug may be unnecessary or even unsafe.”

Want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness: are Beveridge’s five evils back? Guardian

Scientists discover the secret of durian’s pungent smell CNN

The Grain That Tastes Like Wheat, but Grows Like a Prairie Grass The Nation (Re Silc). Kernza, a perennial.

Climate Change Is Making It Harder to Grow Rice Vice

I spent three days as a hunter-gatherer to see if it would improve my gut health The Week

Noma The Point (RH). La cuisine bourgeoise

Antidote du jour:

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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