Links 8/24/17

Bear breaks into Colorado house, plays the piano but not very well Alaska Dispatch News

New Home Sales Plunge to Lowest Annualized Pace in Three Years MishTalk. It’s a volatile series, but read all the way to the end.

Vanguard Group is America’s new landlord Philadelphia Inquirer

The great Silicon Valley land grab FT

Exclusive: Inside Uber’s financials Axios. Interesting if true.

The $199 billion problem: Ten US companies that could devastate Silicon Valley Pando. Uber isn’t the only unicorn with valuation problems.

Silicon Valley is using H-1B visas to crowd out American minorities St Louis Post-Dispatch (UserFriendly).

Investors pour back into crisis-era credit product FT (Kokuanani). “Bespoke tranches.”

Wall Street Banks Warn Downturn Is Coming Bloomberg (Re Silc).

What happened to the ‘too big to fail’ banks? FT

Governments Are Turning to Banks for Easy Money Governing. What could go wrong?


‘It’s a Slow Death’: The World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis NYT. Yemen.

Soldier Excited To Take Over Father’s Old Afghanistan Patrol Route The Onion. “Afghanistan is a permanent live fire exercise for the US Military to blood and battle harden troops” (Jehu).

Trump plans to force Taliban to negotiating table by January 2025 DuffelBlog

After 16 Years of War, Afghanistan Still World’s Heroin Supplier The American Conservative

Emmanuel Macron’s Waning Support Shakes Bid to Overhaul French Economy WSJ

France’s Macron, seeking to re-shape Europe, heads east Reuters

Italy’s economy could soar with a parallel currency MarketWatch

Uneasy Stalemate in Postelection Kenya Council on Foreign Relations


The U.S. Can Not Be Trusted – Case XXXIV: Trump Cheats On China Sanction Deal Moon of Alabama

“Merchants of War and Peace: British knowledge of China in the making of the Opium War” by Song-Chuan Chen Asian Review of Books

Chinese cities are saying “enough already” to bike-sharing services run rampant Quartz

Imperial Collapse Watch

Korea, Afghanistan and the Never Ending War trap Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

Pentagon makes a 20-year plan, while Washington outsources its color revolution The Saker (MT). Interesting if true…

Three Questions Arising From Recent U.S. Navy Collisions RealClearDefense


Why those Confederate soldier statues look a lot like their Union counterparts WaPo. Because this is America:

Many of the South’s Silent Sentinels turn out to be identical to the statues of Union soldiers that decorate hundreds of public spaces across the North. Identical, but for one detail: On the soldier’s belt buckle, the “U.S.” is replaced by a “C.S.” for “Confederate States.”

It turns out that a campaign in the late 19th century to memorialize the Civil War by erecting monuments was not only an attempt to honor Southern soldiers or white supremacy. It was also a remarkably successful bit of marketing sleight of hand in which New England monument companies sold the same statues to towns and citizens groups on both sides of the Civil War divide.


Police State Watch

Another staged body cam leads to 43 more dropped Baltimore prosecutions Ars Technica

Boston Police Protected Far-Right Rally-Goers, Clashed with Black Counterprotesters The Intercept

Beyond the ‘Bernie bro’: Socialism’s diverse new youth brigade Chicago Reader

A strong opinion: Stop counter-protesting Salon

An Intimate History of Antifa The New Yorker

The Public Face of Antifa Slate

the kind of sacrifice required in nonviolence Peter Levine

How Undercover Activists Cost Breitbart, White Nationalist Sites, Their Advertising And Platforms International Business Times

Trump Transition

Polls Show Trump Cratering? Not So Fast CNBC. Important. Read the whole thing.

4 Thoughts About Trump’s Phoenix Speech And The Media Infowarzel

‘I don’t know how it got this bad’: Trump supporters and protesters meet in Phoenix WaPo

* * *

McConnell says he and Trump are united on ‘shared goals’ AP

Paul Ryan Dismisses Trump’s Shutdown Threat New York Magazine

State Department employees frustrated over looming budget, workforce cuts Federal News Radio

Why the Scariest Nuclear Threat May Be Coming from Inside the White House Michael Lewis, Vanity Fair (Kokuanani). Normally, I skip clickbait headines that include “terrifying” (and its synonyms), but this is interesting. An administration has to administer, after all.

The Republican Party Is Enabling an Increasingly Dangerous Demagogue James Fallows, The Atlantic (JH). JH: “I don’t recognize the country that I have lived in for eighty years. Where will all this end?”

Trump Isn’t a Threat to Our Democracy. Hysteria Is. NYT

2016 Post Mortem

Here Are the First Excerpts From Hillary Clinton’s New Book The Cut (Re Silc).

This County Was a Democratic Stronghold. Then Came Trump. Washington Monthly (Re Silc). Readers will recognize Luzerne County as a county that flipped from Obama to Trump, as descibed six months ago at NC here.

Former FBI Director Comey Joins Howard University For Lecture Series NPR. Life’s little ironies…

Lawsuit: Indiana’s Method of Purging Voters Violates Federal Law Brennan Center for Justice

Federal Judge Bars Enforcement Of Texas’ Voter ID Laws Buzzfeed

Democrats in Disarray

Don’t Coddle Liberal Politicians Like Kamala Harris—History Shows They Should Be Pressured In These Times (MT).

Just Try and Silence Symone Sanders The Cut

Our Famously Free Press

Are alt-weeklies dying or just moving online? Poynter Institute

Wall Street Journal Editor Admonishes Reporters Over Trump Coverage NYT

Health Care

Uninsured Americans may be one broken bone from bankruptcy Des Moines Register

Iowa’s ACA waiver plan would redistribute subsidies from the poor to wealthier people Modern Health Care

The IRS Is Still Enforcing The Individual Mandate, Despite What Many Taxpayers Believe Health Affairs

A Texas-size flood threatens the Gulf Coast, and we’re so not ready Grist

MAP: How Much Climate Change Will Cost Each U.S. County Governing

Harvard researchers say Exxon misled public on climate science Reuters

Green finance for dirty ships The Economist. “By burning heavy fuel oil, just 15 of the biggest ships emit more of the noxious oxides of nitrogen and sulphur than all the world’s cars put together.”

California pollution permits sell at highest price ever Laredo Morning Times (GlennF). Cap-and-trade may be working?

Class Warfare

Fran works six days a week in fast food, and yet she’s homeless: ‘It’s economic slavery’ Guardian

Three years ago, this boss set a $70,000 minimum wage for his employees — and the move is still paying off. LinkedIn

Reclaim the Discourse on White Privilege Counterpunch

Octogenarians Rule the Rich Bloomberg (Re Silc).

The Corruption of the Law Common Dreams (OregonCharles).

Condition of the workplace in the United States Real-World Economics Review (original RAND Corporation report).

Therapist Fired for Being ‘Too Cute’ May Proceed With Gender-Bias Claim New York Law Journal

I was hacked TechCrunch

The Intellectual Achievement of Creating Questions Daily Nous (MT).

Scientists Figured Out the Optimal Length of Time to Dunk an Oreo Grub Street

How New York City became the capital of the Jim Crow North WaPo

Review: “Cities and the Wealth of Nations” by Jane Jacobs Ian Welsh (MR).

Antidote du jour (EM):

That’s a happy dog, but I also like the slightly surreal paraphernalia: The umbrella, the watermelon…

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.