Links 7/19/18

Collapse of civilizations worldwide defines youngest unit of the Geologic Time Scale International Commission on Stratigraphy. News you can use!

Lawmaker Questions U.S. Trustee Over McKinsey’s Conflict Disclosures Gretchen Morgenson and Tom Corrigan, WSJ

Senators Want to Sneak Safety Exemptions for Self-Driving Cars Into Law StreetsBlog USA

Can we remove a trillion tons of carbon from the atmosphere? Ecologist

The myth of clean natural gas The Week

Penalty for poisoning Lake Michigan ‘unjustifiably low,’ surfers say as they seek to restart lawsuit vs. U.S. Steel Chicago Reader

People Are Literally Being Poisoned’: How Sewage Problems in Alabama Got So Bad — and Why Other States Should Worry Governing


Brexit: closing in EU Referendum. Yikes.

EU calms Varadkar’s fears of physical Border checks after Brexit Irish Times

Luxury London homes being sold in bulk as demand drops FT

Fast Food Nation: Inside India’s Growing Crisis Der Spiegel


Balding Out Balding’s World (MsExpat). “I am leaving China…” Well worth a read.

Xi Jinping ‘doesn’t intend to follow through’ on trade war talks and local Chinese officials are ‘like mafioso dons’, says top Donald Trump adviser Larry Kudlow South China Morning Post

Trump’s Trade War May Spark a Chinese Debt Crisis Bloomberg

China admits to revising padded corporate profits Nikkei Asian Review

Blood Pressure Medicine Is Recalled NYT. “‘It’s not just valsartan,’ [Dr. Harry Lever, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic] said. ‘It’s becoming very difficult for me to write prescriptions at all. There are so many drugs that are coming in from India and China and companies are buying and selling each other and you don’t know what’s what.’”

AI arms race: the Chinese Communist party entangles big tech FT

AI can be sexist and racist — it’s time to make it fair Nature

New Cold War

Tales of the New Cold War: 1 of 2: Trump & Putin speak of war and treason. Stephen F. Cohen @NYU @Princeton (podcast) The John Batchelor Show. Part 2. Normally, I would never say a podcast with no transcript is a must-listen. But this is refreshingly sane, so grab a cup of coffee.

Helsinki Talks – How Trump Tries To Rebalance The Global Triangle Moon of Alabama

BAR Book Forum: Jeremy Kuzmarov’s and John Marciano’s “The Russians are Coming, Again” Black Agenda Report

A walk on the wild side as Trump meets Putin at Finland station Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

Climb Down From the Summit of Hostile Propaganda Consortium News. Oddly, no coverage of the open letter mentioned in the artiicle.

Why Trump Is Getting Away With Foreign-Policy Insanity Foreign Policy. “Although ‘the Blob’ has reined Trump in to some degree, the relentless drumbeat of criticism from angry liberal interventionists and equally vehement ‘never Trump’ neoconservatives hasn’t had much impact on Trump’s support or on the president’s own convictions. The question is, why?” Because they’ve lost legitimacy. And for good reason.

Democrats want Trump’s interpreter to testify before Congress CNN. I don’t think the Norms Fairy would like that…

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Mueller Reveals Russia Investigation Just Elaborate Sting To Nail Clinton Child Sex-Slavery Ring The Onion

From the Start, Trump Has Muddied a Clear Message: Putin Interfered NYT

What Mueller’s Latest Indictment Reveals About Russian and U.S. Spycraft The Intercept. Surely the more sophisticated our techniques are revealed to be, the greater attribution issues become?

Uncomfortable Questions in the Wake of Russia Indictment 2.0 and Trump’s Press Conference With Putin Lawfare

In recording, Netanyahu boasts Israel convinced Trump to quit Iran nuclear deal Times of Israel

Imperial Collapse Watch

War Doesn’t Make Sense Anymore The American Conservative

Special Operations Forces Continue to Expand Across the World—Without Congressional Oversight The Nation

Democrats in Disarray

Democrats’ 2018 slogan: “For the People” Axios. Please kill me now.

Measure to break California into 3 states removed from November ballot after court ruling CNN


Want Gun Control? Arm the Left (It Worked Before) Counterpunch

Health Care

Exclusive: Over 60 House Democrats are forming a Medicare for All Caucus Vice. So long as they don’t water it down. Start with making “free at the point of care” a non-negotiable demand, which would make that pretty hard.

Health Insurers Are Vacuuming Up Details About You — And It Could Raise Your Rates Pro Publica (MV).

Class Warfare

CEOs vs. Workers Jacobin

Huge Increase in Large Work Stoppages Seen in 2018 Medium

Sisters in Arms NYRB

Lula’s party weighs Brazil northeast vote in search for stand-in: sources Reuters

Former Brazilian President’s Kafkaesque Imprisonment: Defense Lawyer Valeska Martins Speaks Out TruthDig

Getting by in Venezuela: Chronicles of Survival and Hope Venezuelanalysis

Dispatches From Mexico’s Southern Border: First in a Series Lawfare

Thai boys recount cave rescue: Voices in dark, then ‘hello’ Associated Press

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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