Links 8/31/17

Photos: Two Adorable New Mountain Lion Kittens Were Found In The Santa Monica Mountains LAist

The songs of Saturn: Astrophysicists convert the gas giant’s moons and rings into music Daily Mail

We Said Google Was Dangerously Powerful, Then Google Proved Us Right. Matt Stoller, Buzzfeed

Google-Funded Think Tank Fired Google Critics After They Dared Criticize Google The Intercept. We need real “scholars,” with academic tenure, precisely to avoid this sort of situation.

A leading Google critic’s firing from a Google-funded think tank, explained Matthew Yglesias, Vox. “[T]he case sheds light on the growing tendency of companies to use think tanks as essentially stealth lobbyists.” “Growing.” Really?

The Dumb Fact of Google Money The Atlantic

Barnum Presidents and Benevolent Monopolists: Mark Twain, Amazon, and the Futility of Antitrust LA Review of Books

Inside the Massive 711 Million Record Onliner Spambot Dump Troy Hunt

New Uber chief aims for IPO within 18-36 months FT

Ex-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was key in picking his replacement USA Today. Or so he says. “Khosrowshahi, who initially was not interested in the Uber post, describes how his mind ultimately was changed by the power of Kalanick’s pitch.” For more on “the pitch,” see NC here.

This letter from an angry Uber investor reads like a piece of modernist poetry Quartz. So Quartz formatted it that way. Hilarity ensues!

New Worry in ‘Repo’: Just One Bank for $3.5 Trillion Market FOX Business


Minimal talks progress as Brexit sides play cards close FT

Get out, and go quick: Brexit heartland stays defiant Euractive

French Bike Couriers Give Macron’s Economy a One-Star Rating Bloomberg (Re Silc).


Emirati Ambassador: Qatar Is a Destructive Force in the Region The Atlantic (Re Silc). Yousef Al Otaiba.

The Sordid Double Life of Washington’s Most Powerful Ambassador The Intercept. Yousef Al Otaiba (!)


The Saudi Trillions LRB (Re Silc).

* * *

U.S. has more troops in Afghanistan than previously disclosed, Pentagon reveals Los Angeles Times

The Empire Stopper NYT

What the West Got Wrong in Syria Foreign Policy


China’s Big Banks Beat Profit Estimates as Bad Loans Curbed Bloomberg

Sharable luxury cars the latest sharing craze in China People’s Daily

Doklam: Who won? Lowy Interpreter

India demonetisation failed to purge black money FT

Hurricane Harvey

Another Harvey Catastrophe: Extreme Flood Emergency in Port Arthur Weather Underground

The Red Cross Won’t Save Houston. Texas Residents Are Launching Community Relief Efforts Instead Democracy Now! (See also How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti — and Built Six Homes Pro Publica (2015), and this thread from Pro Publica too.)

Harvey Has Many Asking: How Hard Is It to Evacuate a Major City? Governing

The Legal Crises to Follow in Hurricane Harvey’s Wake The Atlantic

Now Comes the Uncomfortable Question: Who Gets to Rebuild After Harvey? The Intercept

Best Buy Apologizes After Picture Spreads Online of TX Store Selling Cases of Water Bottles for $42 Mediaite. Looting!

Arkema expects chemical fire at flooded Texas plant Reuters

As Historic Flooding Grips Texas, Groups Demand Nuclear Plant Be Shut Down Common Dreams

Early signs of ‘incompetence at every level’ went unheeded as South Carolina rushed toward ‘sexy’ nuclear future Post and Courier. Appalling.

A New Citizen’s Revolution? COHA (MT). Ecuador.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Army planners solve Korea tensions with proposal to move Seoul 300 miles south Duffel Blog

Is the US Navy a hazard to Asian commercial shipping? Lloyd’s List

Maybe today’s Navy is just not very good at driving ships Military Times

Erik Prince: Contractors, Not Troops, Will Save Afghanistan NYT

Our Famously Free Press

Opinion: Trolling is not opinion The Outline. From the URL, we infer the author’s title: “the-nyt-opinion-section-is-bad.”

New Cold War

New Russian ambassador to U.S. calls for resumed military contacts Reuters

Trump Transition

How to Get Rich in Trump’s Washington Nicholas Confessore, NYT

The incredible shrinking president Axios

What Happened to Making America Great Again? The National Interest (Re Silc).

With a drama-filled White House, Mattis has shown deft political touch WaPo

Mattis’ transgender policy review is just ‘following orders’ Federal News Radio

Opinion: The deep, deep cynicism of ‘tax reform’ Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Furzy Mouse).

Trump admin reportedly hires a former for-profit college dean for fraud enforcement MarketWatch. Seems legit.

The FDA’s Consumer Protection Warnings Are Falling Under Trump Bloomberg

AFL-CIO president: Trump White House split between ‘racists’ and ‘Wall Streeters’ USA Today

Health Care

Letter to Senator Sanders from Physicians for a National Health Program (PDF) PNHP. “While we would welcome the proposed reform as a useful step forward in advancing health justice, the persistence of copayments would unacceptably compromise the legislation’s ability to improve health and foster equality in care. We urge you to reconsider the inclusion of copayments.” Here is contact information for Senator Sanders (phone numbers at bottom).

Kamala Harris announces she will co-sponsor single-payer healthcare The Hill. I certainly hope Harris is not to the single payer bill as Cuomo was to tuition-free college.

NHS ‘leaking millions’ in PFI contracts BBC. That’s not a bug…

5 Outside-The-Box Ideas For Fixing The Individual Insurance Market KHN (MT). It’s still a pretty small box.

A history of why the US is the only rich country without universal health care Quartz

9 Solutions to Secure America’s Elections CAP. Not including, naturally, hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public.

Free to Choose? Violent vs. Nonviolent Resistance and the Limits of Choice Political Violence at a Glance (MT).

Class Warfare

After decades of pushing bachelor’s degrees, U.S. needs more tradespeople The Hechinger Report

Not at That Price n+1. DACA.

America’s lucrative new weed industry should compensate the black victims of the country’s war on drugs Guardian

Rural America Is Building Its Own Internet Because No One Else Will Vice

The Internet of Hate Slate. “The movement’s goal is to own its own servers and run its own web hosting, domain registrar, DDoS protection software, cloud storage services, and encryption technology, not to mention social networks like Gab and other ‘free-speech’–centric alternatives.”

Terry Pratchett’s unfinished novels destroyed by steamroller Guardian

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.