Links 8/23/17

The blue dogs of Mumbai: industrial waste blamed for colourful canines Guardian (DK).

Greenland: how rapid climate change on world’s largest island will affect us all The Conversation (J-LS).

Climate Change May Shrink the World’s Fish National Geographic

New Orleans is now planning to evacuate the city if a heavy rainstorm comes. Grist

Mutual funds slash valuation estimates for Uber FT

Uber driver ditches app, plans new taxi business Chilkat Valley News (Hana M).

Hackers Are the Real Obstacle for Self-Driving Vehicles MIT Technology Review (DL). Subject matter experts and NC readers who have followed this story know this headline is not news.

Identity Thieves Hijack Cellphone Accounts to Go After Virtual Currency NYT. Wait, now. Silicon Valley brainiacs forced me to give them my phone number for “two-factor identification,” and now hackers have stolen it?! To be fair, the phone was a dumb burner, but still….

Police find illegal Bitcoin farm at Ukrainian state institute Kyiv Post

Booming Metals Rally Signals Optimism on Global Growth WSJ

It’s Hard to Keep Up With All That Lithium Demand Bloomberg. For batteries.

Imperial Collapse Watch

How Trump swallowed a bitter Afghanistan pill Politico. “A spoonful for lithium makes the medicine go down, the medicine go down… ” [whistles].

The generals rolled him, as they rolled Obama … Sic Semper Tyrannis (GlennF). Musical interlude; the cover art seems strangely appropriate….

Trump Surrenders To The Generals The American Conservative

Back to Nation-Building in Afghanistan. Good. Max Boot, NYT

Mike Pence: Donald Trump’s new American strategy for Afghanistan will undo past failures USA Today

$8.5 Billion U.S. Counter Narcotics Effort in Afghanistan Boosts Opium Production Judicial Watch. From February, still relevant.

The U.S. is Fanning the Flames of Violence in Mexico Counterpunch (MT).

Colorado: No online oil, gas pipeline map after fatal blast AP


Turkey’s Unit International, Russia’s Zarubezhneft and Iran’s Ghadir sign drilling deal Reuters

Saudi Arabia’s attempt at a Qatari coup backfired – now wait for the blowback Middle East Eye

North Korea

Tillerson praises Pyongyang’s ‘restraint’ and says talks could be possible Japan Times

Donald Trump sanctions Russian and Chinese companies over North Korea FT

Pyongyang missile footage is a dagger to Xi’s throat Nikkei Asian Review. Harshing the mellow, there, dude.

North Korea’s dangerously rudimentary nuclear command-and-control systems Lowy Interpreter


First T10 since 2012: Highest warning signal raised as Typhoon Hato set to batter Hong Kong Hong Kong Free Press

China’s Robot Revolution May Affect the Global Economy Bloomberg

“I often dream of you beating me”: A Chinese fourth grader’s heartbreaking essay to her abusive teacher Quartz

Hi-tech hired muscle: Chinese firm launches rent-a-bodyguard app South China Morning Post (J-LS). Uber for goons!

In Chinese community, one-night stands are getting old AFP


The BBC should never have bigged up a ridiculous study saying a hard Brexit would be good for the UK economy Independent

Scotland holds the key to forming a Labour government, Corbyn says Labour List

Grenfell Tower: Council asks survivors to ‘bid’ against each other for permanent homes Independent. “How typical of a Harkonnen fief, the Duke thought. Every degradation of the spirit that can be conceived.”

Trump Transition

With alumni in the White House, Goldman sees an opening FT

Tracking how many key positions Trump has filled so far WaPo. Of 591 key positions requiring Senate confirmation, 368 have no nominee.

McConnell, in Private, Doubts if Trump Can Save Presidency NYT

Trump Threatens Shutdown, Attacks GOP Senators During Angry Rally Roll Call. Perhaps Trump, Truman-like, will run against a “Do Nothing Congress.” And Trump would have a point. How is it even possible that the Congressional Republicans, after eight years in opposition, did not have legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare already teed up?

* * *

Trump’s team and lawmakers making strides on tax reform plan Politico

GOP Eyes Budget Maneuver to Allow $450 Billion More in Tax Cuts Bloomberg

Repatriation Tax Holiday Would Lose Revenue And Is a Proven Policy Failure Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (2014). Still relevant.

* * *

Renegotiating NAFTA Is Putting Lipstick on a Pig In These Times (MT).

Trump aides plot a big immigration deal — that breaks a campaign promise McClatchy. Interesting, though I tend to avoid court gossip about what the administration might do.

How Not to Handle the Opioid Crisis Foreign Policy

Democrats in Disarray

The Democratic National Committee’s abysmal fundraising WaPo. I can’t imagine what the trouble is….

There’s No Simple Way to Unite the Democratic Party Kevin Drum, Mother Jones. Wrong. There’s no easy way.

Can Democrats overcome the left wing? Dallas Morning News. Betteridge’s Law…

The Very Strange Indictment of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s IT Scammers National Review

Health Care

Bernie Sanders: Why Medicare-for-All Is Good for Business Fortune

Can Medicare for All Succeed? The Nation

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

AccuWeather caught sending user location data, even when location sharing is off ZDNet

Science shouldn’t stop at the border Institute of Physics Blog

Defending​ ​Internet​ ​Freedom​ ​through​ ​Decentralization: Back​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Future? (PDF) MIT​ ​Media​ ​Lab. Via Nieman Lab. Important.

Police State Watch

A 911 plea for help, a Taser shot, a death – and the mounting toll of stun guns Reuters


Maine Gov. Paul LePage: Civil War was initially fought over land, not slavery CNN. The Maine Democrats could be doing some soul-searching on how they could possibly lose to this guy, but n-o-o-o-o-o….

The Book that Explains Charlottesville Boston Review. Or rather, the University of Virginia.

Class Warfare

Ambrosia: the startup harvesting the blood of the young Guardian (altandmain).

Industrial hack can turn powerful machines into killer robots TechCrunch. Headline is accurate.

Chill: Robots Won’t Take All Our Jobs WIRED. URL: “robots-will-not-take-your-job.”

Americans are still haunted by the recession. These 4 charts show why World Economic Forum (altandmain).

Revisiting the Meidner Plan Jacobin

Social Security: Still The Most Efficient Way To Provide Retirement Income Dean Baker, HuffPo (GlennF). GlennF: “Topic needs to be paid attention to occasionally in order to keep privatizers at bay.”

Old Dog, New Spliffs: Senior Citizens Get Schooled on Cannabis WestWorld. As if!

Could the Marijuana Industry Bring Public Banking to California? Shareable

MIC’s Drop The Outline. “How exploited social justice for clicks, and then abandoned a staff that believed in it.”

‘The leading edge of a much larger iceberg’: New Jersey high school disbands football team WaPo (Re Silc). Head injuries, among other things.

The Rise of Market Power and the Macroeconomic Implication (PDF) Jan De Loecker and Jan Eeckhout. Important. From the abstract:

We document the evolution of markups based on firm-level data for the US economy since 1950. Initially, markups are stable, even slightly decreasing. In 1980, average markups start to rise from 18% above marginal cost to 67% now….

We then evaluate the macroeconomic implications of an increase in average market power, which can account for a number of secular trends in the last 3 decades: 1. decrease in labor share; 2. increase in capital share; 3. decrease in low skill wages; 4. decrease in labor force participation; 5. decrease in labor flows; 6. decrease in migration rates; 7. slowdown in aggregate output

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.