Links 8/20/17

Golden retriever discovers $85,000 worth of black tar heroin in backyard KATU (Re Silc). Good boy!

Thieves steal 20 tons of chocolate in German town Deutsche Welle

Supernova’s messy birth casts doubt on reliability of astronomical yardstick Nature

Cashing Out of Unicorns Gets Hard Wolf Street. I’m playing the world’s smallest violin.

Jeff Immelt has emerged as the frontrunner to become Uber’s CEO Recode (Hubert Horan). Hubert comments:

One flashing red signal in Swisher’s piece is that Immelt hasn’t even agreed to move to San Francisco full time. When Jack Dorsey refused to treat the Twitter CEO position as a challenge requiring full-time attention, lots of people throughout Silicon Valley (correctly) predicted Dorsey wouldn’t work out, and Uber’s problems are order-of-magnitude larger than Twitter’s were.

It is possible that Immelt sees this as a short-term gig–quickly perfume the pig and get the IPO done, cash out big time, and leave the real problems to the next team. This would get Benchmark to sign on the Great Compromise, and I’m sure it will become clear whether his compensation is tied to the IPO. Problem of course is there is no IPO without first releasing audited financial results and profit forecasts, which will never support a meaningful valuation.

It’s become almost impossible to figure out what Tesla is actually worth Business Insider. Hmm. Reminds me of something….

Silicon Valley is selling an ancient dream of immortality FT

The Imaginary Debt Crisis Is Here to Stay Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg

Just Released: More Credit Cards, Higher Limits, and . . . an Uptick in Delinquency Liberty Street Economics

CIBC divorce from PC Financial shines light on bruised loyalty card industry National Post

North Korea

Let Calm and Cool Trump ‘Fire and Fury’ Peggy Noonan, WSJ

The North Korean nuclear threat isn’t deterring Chinese tourists from Guam SCMP


In charts: The rise and rise of China’s tech trinity FT

The Hong Kong government’s all-out attack on Demosistō and League of Social Democrats Medium (MsExPat). MsExPat: “Here’s another key article on the HK situation by one of the best independent chroniclers of legal and human rights in the city, Kong Tsung-gan. It’s the best ‘big picture’ piece I’ve seen so far. The subhead says it all. “How do you destroy your political adversary in a society that supposedly has rule of law and protects civil and political rights (some at least, to some degree)? The HK government’s post-Umbrella Movement attacks on Demosisto and LSD are a case study.”

Beyond the pale: China’s cheerful racists The Spectator

Trade Traitors

Rebranding Nafta Bloomberg

U.S. did not detail request for auto rules of origin at NAFTA talks: source Reuters

U.S. signals Trump’s Buy American agenda non-negotiable in NAFTA talks Hamiton Spectator

What Would a Better NAFTA Look Like? The Atlantic


Obituary: Heather Heyer died on August 12th The Economist

Mother of Charlottesville Victim Will Not Be Speaking to President Trump New York Magazine

Buchanan’s Shameful Defense Of White Supremacy The American Conservative

Protesters Try To Surrender In Solidarity With Confederate Statue Topplers NPR. “I am Spartacus.”

Durham’s Anti-Klan Block Party The Atlantic. Better than the headline.

Tens of thousands march for unity, overwhelming ‘free speech’ rally Boston Globe. The tight-focus photo accompanying the article is deceptive (as, I would urge, most tight-focus photos are). The line of protesters stretched for two miles, and that would tell the more appropriate story. (Dunno what “unity” means, though. Editors write the headlines…).

Boston ‘free speech’ rally ends early amid flood of counterprotesters; 27 people arrested WaPo and Trump applauds Boston protesters for ‘speaking out against bigotry and hate’ CNN. Tweets support for the Boston Police Department.

Armed Militias Won’t Stop After Charlottesville, and That Worries Law Enforcement Defense One

New Cold War

Large-scale Russian military exercises in Belarus feared to be set-up for Putin’s next conquest CNBC. Hoo boy.

Sweden is raising its military budget and reintroducing the draft amid Russia fears Business Insider

Trump Transition

1 big thing: Bannon plots Fox rival, global expansion Axios

Ship Rudderless After Trump Drops Its Pilot Moon of Alabama. So I’m not the only one to be reminded of Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Steve Bannon to target Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner as he pledges to ‘go nuclear’ on ‘West Wing Democrats’ Telegraph. Pass the popcorn.

Trump’s Populism Isn’t Popular — But That’s On Him, Not Bannon FiveThirtyEight

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Mnuchin rebuffs calls from former Yale classmates to resign, defends Trump ABC

Interior senior executives left in the dark amid reorg, reassignments Federal News Radio

Wave of resignations hits Commerce Department’s board of ‘digital economy’ advisers Politico

Mark Cuban offers to serve as Trump’s ‘entrepreneurial czar’ The Hill

Trump’s evangelical panel remains intact as others disband. Here are his religious cheerleaders Guardian

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US triggers trade investigation of China FT

How Trump is doing at cutting regs The Hill

Trump Approves Plan to Create Independent Cyber Command US News

Who Is Lobbying Mike Pence And Why? Health Insurers and Big Oil Seek To Influence Vice President David Sirota, Business Insider

U.S. Court curbs power of police to seize cellphones Reuters

Democrats in Disarray

Rahm Emanuel rehabs his national profile Politico. You’d think after Charlottesville the mayor who operated a black site (both senses) at Homan Square would be run out of the Democrat Party on a rail even if he was Obama’s chief of staff, but “big tent,” I guess…

DCCC & Kings Landing Consultants Are Instructing Candidates How To Deceive Democratic Primary Voters On Healthcare Down with Tyranny. Must-read, if you’re following health care. So-called “public option” advocates are once more acting in bad faith. Knock me over with a feather. So if your candidate says “Medicare for All,” be sure to ask them specifically what legislation they support (in the House, H.R. 676).

The Myth of the Alt-Left Politico. “The alt-left is, first and foremost, a figment of centrist Democrats.” When you’ve lost Politico…

How activists of color lose battles against Facebook’s moderator army Reveal News

The agonizing, 8-page memo on how to chauffeur a congressman Politico. This just looks like good advance work, to me. Electoral politics is hard work.

Health Care

A new survey says doctors are warming up to single-payer health care STAT

Class Warfare

Workers May Have Just Killed Missouri’s Right to Work Law In These Times

How Women Got Crowded Out of the Computing Revolution Bloomberg. The comments are discouraging.

The neoliberal road to autocracy Ann Pettifor, International Politics and Society

The United States Can Reduce Socioeconomic Disparities By Focusing On Chronic Diseases Health Affairs

Globalization tore through my city and this is how we survived Quartz. Monterrey, Mexico.

Are the Socialists Here to Ruin Everything? The Stranger. Another report on the DSA Chicago convention.

The construction industry has a productivity problem Treehugger

13 Ways to Strengthen America’s Economy Bloomberg

Beauty, Cooperation, and the Hadza Hunter-Gatherers The D&S Blog. Lysistratic non-action is #57 on Gene Sharp’s list of non-violent methods of protest and persuasion.

Dick Gregory, 84, Dies; Found Humor in the Civil Rights Struggle NYT. The jokes are better than the headline.

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.