Derailed US train lacked automatic safety system BBC. Only in America…
Bitcoin: The Most Impressive Speculative Bubble In Modern History American Conservative (Marshall). Note Whalen is a hard core libertarian. Key sentence: “Bitcoin is an old fashioned fraud clothed in the new age wonder of technology.”
The bitcoin premonition Ed Chancellor, Breaking Views (Scott)
Restoring research that could make deadly viruses more transmissible NPR. Chuck L: “Criminal”.
China shows its green roots on road to contradictions Pepe Escobar, Asia Times (J-LS)
U.S. Blames North Korea for Massive Cyberattack in May Wall Street Journal
H.R. McMaster, Threat Inflation Advisor American Conservative
ECB sued over decision to freeze help to Greek banks during crisis Reuters. As I said at via e-mail to Chuck L:
Not gonna go anywhere.
As we wrote at the time, the ECB was violating its own rules in supporting the Greek banks. The facility it was using was ONLY a two week facility, to be used ONLY for solvent banks on a short term basis, and was reapproved every 2 weeks by the ECB board.
The ECB stopping doing the Greek banks a favor they never should have done is not illegal.And I dimly recall that they did have justification for deeming the banks not to be solvent when they had pretended that they had been solvent. The hard part the ECB has legally is defending its former position of keeping the Greek banks on life support for so long, not for cutting them off.
Gibraltar becomes latest sticking point in Brexit talks Financial Times. Rajoy is taking lessons from Ireland.
Theresa May rebukes EU’s Barnier over ‘bespoke’ Brexit trade deal Sky News. There needs to be a new vocabulary to describe the stupidity and lunacy in the Government and UK press. It is an order of magnitude or two worse than anything you see out of responsible (or even irresponsible) adults. It’s as if one is dealing with badly spoiled three year olds who believe in magic and also believe that if they have a temper tantrum, the grownups will capitulate. What does May think she is accomplishing with this sort of thing? So she extends her time in office by weeks or months to create an even bigger train wreck? Or is she really just utterly incompetent and incapable of listening?
More of the sort of thing above: Theresa May says we can have a special deal for Britain’s banks after Michel Barnier declares war on the City Sun
And even more: David Davis to warn EU it cannot cherrypick in Brexit trade deal talks Guardian (vlade). How do you people in the UK not hang your heads in shame? At least we in the US know that Trump is an embarrassment. Brits present themselves as smarter than that.
It isn't. "Canada+" plays the role in Brexit thinking that "I Got You Babe" does in Groundhog Day. We keep coming back to it until we learn. https://t.co/ucyjULEGvh
— Dan Davies (@dsquareddigest) December 19, 2017
An update on a tweet from yesterday, courtesy Joel:
— John Rogan (@JRogan3000) December 19, 2017
Who Wants War With Iran—and Why? American Conservative
Chinese companies poised to help rebuild war-torn Syria Asia Times (resilc)
Imperial Collapse Watch
The New National Security Strategy Paves A Path To Isolation Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)
Avoiding Nuclear War Is Our First Priority Paul Craig Roberts. Chuck L: “10+ days old but still pertinent.”
The G.O.P. Tax Bill Is Unworkable New Yorker (furzy). Hate to tell you, but this is normal for tax overhauls in the US. The 1986 Tax Reform Act required a big tidying-up bill in the next year. If Cassidy had established that the inconsistencies were way worse than in the 1986 bill, he might have something, but he appears not to have even considered the question. And he’s not objecting to inconsistencies, he’s objecting to the way it allows even more creative ways to avoid paying taxes, which is a feature, not a bug.
Tax Bill That Will Further Enrich the Wealthy Is Close to Becoming Law Rolling Stone (resilc)
Trump Plan Sees National Security As a Zero-Sum Game New York Magazine (resilc)
The GOP’s Tax Bill Kicks Puerto Rico When It’s Down Huffington Post (marym)
Will Passing The Tax Bill Help The GOP In 2018? Probably Not. FiveThirtyEight (resilc)
U.N. Special Rapporteur Says Tax Bill Will Make the U.S. “World Champion of Extreme Inequality” Democracy Now! (Glenn F)
Tax bill is nothing short of wholesale looting Economic Policy Institute
The Misguided GOP Attack on Government Bureaucrats Washington Monthly
Koch Brothers Are Cities’ New Obstacle to Building Broadband Wired (resilc)
Democrats Tie Virginia House After Recount Decided by Single Vote Daily Beast (resilc). After this, you can never say an individual vote doesn’t matter.
Sex in Politics…Not!
TKO by Cornel West…https://t.co/XGkRooOkFZ
— Jeffrey St. Clair (@JSCCounterPunch) December 19, 2017
How Basel rule changes could trump tax reform as driver of US bank payouts Risky Finance (Richard Smith)
The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of the U.S. Antitrust Movement Harvard Business Review (resilc)
Uber dealt blow by EU court ruling that it is transport service Reuters (Richard Smith). SoftBank’s investment, assuming it closed, is already in the red, although Uber is trying to claim the economic impact isn’t large because it is already following locak taxis regs in lots of places. Really?
Uber’s trying to manage the optics is priceless “yeah, well, we never said that we weren’t regulated as a taxi service in a lot of markets so nothing to see here, move one” — of course the whole reason they fought this all the way to the ECJ was as a test case to try to escape registration requirements and regulations being imposed imposed on them at a city/country level by any jurisdiction.
Here is the press release, with a link to the ruling in it: According to Advocate General Szpunar, the Uber electronic platform, whilst innovative, falls within the field of transport: Uber can thus be required to obtain the necessary licences and authorisations under national law
Drug and Alcohol Deaths at U.S. Workplaces Soar Wall Street Journal
Hard Times in Trump Country Intercept (resilc)
The Ghost of the Mechanical Turk Jacobin (resilc). Ugh.
First vending machine for homeless people launches in UK Guardian (JTM)
Cultural Appropriation, Cultural Exploitation, Cultural Genocide: Problems of Neoliberal Diversity Management Zero Anthropology. UserFriendly: “Bullzeye”.
Antidote du jour. From the National Geographic wildlife photographs of the year winners, this by Melissa Stevens (hat tip Lawrence R):
See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here