Zack Beauchamp on 40 maps that explain North Korea. Why it seems like North Korea is launching missiles all the time now. This missile could reach California — but can North Korea use it with a nuclear weapon? Why most misread North Korea’s Guam threat: North Korea is experimenting with new types of coercive bargaining. Why Kim Jong-un is keeping tensions high with Trump. Talk of “preventive war” rises in White House over North Korea. What game theory tells us about nuclear war with North Korea. The big problem with the North Koreans isn’t that we can’t trust them — it’s that they can’t trust us. Bannon is right: There is no real military solution to the North Korea problem. We won’t go to war with North Korea on purpose — but we might by accident.

Trump thinks about nuclear annihilation a lot, but doesn’t know much about it. Fire, fury, and America’s failure to learn from the past: David L. Ulin on revisiting Hiroshima, and the dark, empty rhetoric of the president. Here are 5 takeaways from Trump’s startling nuclear threats against North Korea. President Trump is making the North Korea crisis worse. Mattis responds to Trump: US “never out of diplomatic solutions” on North Korea. In handling North Korea, restraint is Donald Trump’s only option. Can anyone stop Trump from launching nuclear weapons? Probably not — unless there’s a “full-scale mutiny”. Tell Congress, stop Trump from starting nuclear war. Jeffrey Lewis: “I’m a nuclear weapons expert. Trump’s presidency is my personal nightmare”.


From New York, the GOP health-care bill was a mess — the GOP’s tax plans are messier (and more); Trump lavishes praise on Reagan tax reform he once called a “catastrophe”; and Trump doesn’t have tax plan, does have plan to lie about it. With Houston underwater, Trump turns a policy speech into a taxpayer-funded campaign rally. Republicans want to stop talking about white supremacists so they can cut taxes for rich people. Trump tries to make tax cuts for rich people sound populist (and more). Joseph Stiglitz on why tax cuts for the rich solve nothing. Did the rich really pay much higher taxes in the 1950s? The answer is a little complicated.

Ryan J. Clements (Duke): Trump’s “Big-League” Tax Reform: Assessing the Impact and Constitutionality of the President’s Proposed Changes. It’s a myth that corporate tax cuts mean more jobs. Gary Cohn: Only “morons” pay the estate tax. Paul Ryan’s postcard tax return is really dumb. Are Republicans actually too incompetent to cut taxes? Republicans embrace tax hikes targeting Democratic states. How Democrats can get Trump to enact a carbon tax. Eduardo Porter on the tax reform America needs (and probably won’t get). Trump’s outrageous tax hoax: With tax reform next up on the agenda, how much will the president try to cut his own taxes, and why did he lie to Americans about his returns?

The Obama-era deficit scolds want big tax cuts now. Trump’s tax cuts delight Wall Street as debt worries fade. Republicans learn to love debt: Their concern about balancing budgets was really all about politics.


Sebastien Chauvin (Lausanne), Yannick Coenders (Northwestern), and Timo Koren (Southampton): Never Having Been Racist: Explaining the Blackness of Blackface in the Netherlands. Texas isn’t alone — South Asia is also suffering the horrors of climate change. From Public Seminar, Jeffrey Goldfarb on the new authoritarianism and the structural transformation of the mediated public sphere: Reviewing the work of Jurgen Habermas and Hannah Arendt with an assist from Nancy Fraser (and part 2 and part 3 and part 4). Erin Gloria Ryan: “I read Sheriff Clarke’s ‘Black Lies Matter’ book so you don’t have to” — it’s all high-octane garbage. The New York Times' Blackwater op-ed is a disgrace.

Presidential pardons might not end Russia prosecutions. Ten legal experts on why Trump can’t pardon his way out of the Russia investigation: “It may prove to be one of the stupidest things he has yet done”. Mueller teams up with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in Manafort probe. Trump’s biggest source of leverage over Mueller just disappeared.


Rebecca Elliott (LSE): Who Pays for the Next Wave? The American Welfare State and Responsibility for Flood Risk. Republicans in Congress are reportedly moving to slash funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency just as FEMA goes to work rebuilding Houston and the Texas coast from Hurricane Harvey. On disaster relief, Republicans go beyond hypocrisy. Everyone’s a socialist after a natural disaster: Ted Cruz’s hypocrisy won’t stop government from helping in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, but Texas will be needing help for a long time. Trump team politicizes superstorm Harvey by attacking scientists for doing their job. Harvey is part of a pattern of extreme weather scientists saw coming — they’re still shocked.

Harvey’s hidden side effect: 74 incidents of excess air pollution have been reported since the hurricane hit, totaling more than one million pounds of emissions. Houston: what are the long-term consequences? ProPublica: “1/ #Harvey has devastated Texas. In time of devastation, people give to disaster relief. And so let’s talk about the @RedCross for a second”.


From LRB, you are the product: John Lanchester reviews The Attention Merchants: From the Daily Newspaper to Social Media, How Our Time and Attention is Harvested and Sold by Tim Wu; and Chaos Monkeys: Inside the Silicon Valley Money Machine by Antonio Garcia Martinez. What Big Tech’s monopoly powers mean for our culture: Elizabeth Kolbert reviews Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google and Amazon have Cornered Culture and What It Means for All of Us by Jonathan Taplin; and World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech by Franklin Foer. Will Amazon take over the world? Frank Pasquale reviews Platform Capitalism by Nick Srnicek and Ours to Hack and to Own by Trebor Scholz and Nathan Schneider.

Lina Khan: “1. My team at Open Markets and I are leaving New America” (and more). The dumb fact of Google money: Tech has too much money. The key sources of policy ideas are increasingly beholden to big funders, who very often have their own financial interests. Being a generous funder of think tanks can pay big dividends in the policy world in a way that likely has a far, far higher rate of return on investment than what we narrowly call “lobbying”. Google is coming after critics in academia and journalism — it’s time to stop them. Citizens against monopoly: As Google aims to consolidate complete power over discussion and free expression, it is time to heighten public urgency and pushback.

We need to nationalise Google, Facebook and Amazon: These monopoly platforms hoovering up our data have no competition — they’re too big to serve the public interest. Should America’s tech giants be broken up? Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook may be contributing to the U.S. economy’s most persistent ailments. Trump damaged democracy, Silicon Valley will finish it off: Donald Trump’s rise is, in a sense, just one symptom of the damage the tech oligarchs are doing to America.


Are we becoming more moral faster than we’re becoming more dangerous? Mankind is facing an apocalyptic moral test, Robert Wright says. Is the world slouching toward a grave systemic crisis? History is punctuated by catalytic episodes — events that can become guideposts toward a more open and civilized world. Is the world really better than ever? The headlines have never been worse, but an increasingly influential group of thinkers insists that humankind has never had it so good — and only our pessimism is holding us back. The fifth beginning: Though world events may seem depressing in 2017, we are in the midst of a new age that will usher in global peace and cooperation.


Why did Sebastian Gorka attract so much ire from the foreign policy community? Gorka’s overdue exit still leaves numerous figures to haunt the White House. The Gorka that matters isn’t leaving the Trump administration. Controversial culture warrior Wade Horn lands mystery job in the Trump administration. Trump appointee William C. Bradford says it was hackers, not him, who called Obama’s mom a “w@!re”. Top State Department officials step down in “Black Friday” exodus. Trump cybersecurity advisors resign, citing his “insufficient attention” to threats. At least 69 people have now quit Trump’s White House advisory groups. Is it still possible to serve honorably in the Trump administration? Serving in the Trump White House may require a horcrux or two.


Ted Lechterman (Stanford): The Effective Altruist’s Political Problem. Sharon N. Tran (UCLA): Between Asian Girls: Minor Feminisms and Sideways Critique. Turkish democracy might be dead — and things could soon get a lot worse. Oxford University professor Bo Rothstein quits Blavatnik school in Donald Trump protest. ICE plans to start destroying records of immigrant abuse, including sexual assault and deaths in custody. Must democracy, sovereignty and economic integration remain incompatible today? Jonathan Derbyshire reviews After Europe by Ivan Krastev and The Rise of the Outsiders: How Mainstream Politics Lost Its Way by Steve Richards. The future called: We’re disgusting and barbaric.


Nancy McCormack (Queen’s): When Canadian Courts Cite the Major Philosophers: Who Cites Whom in Canadian Caselaw. Joe Humphreys on Paul Ricoeur, the philosopher behind Emmanuel Macron. Why is a little-known Yale professor’s book on death a best seller in South Korea? One of Descartes’ most famous ideas was first articulated by a woman. The pale philosopher king: Money — and with it whiteness — can be found running underneath the philosophy programs of most colleges like groundwater. German philosophy has finally gone viral — will that be its undoing? Don’t be so sure: Peter Adamson on skepticism in the history of philosophy. This simple philosophical puzzle shows how difficult it is to know something. Hanging ten with Kant and Sartre: Working less can save the world (and other philosophies of surfing).


The National Flood Insurance Program was already $24 billion in debt before Harvey. How Washington made Harvey worse: A federal insurance program made Harvey far more costly — and Congress could have known it was coming. This is what flood denialism looks like: After Hurricane Harvey, lawmakers could keep shoveling money into stopgap programs — or they could admit that warming seas won’t fix themselves. Walter Shapiro on how a big-spending liberal is a conservative who has been flooded: Hurricane Harvey challenges Republican party. Christian Caryl on the political lessons Americans should learn from Hurricane Harvey.

Trump uses natural disaster to promote his hats. “At his first briefing in Texas, Trump thanks FEMA Director William Brock Long and says he’s come ‘very famous on television’ due to Harvey”. Trump visits hurricane-ravaged Texas: “We’ll congratulate each other when it's all finished”. Trump has showed the absolute minimum amount of empathy for Houston victims. Thread: “So there's been lots of pundit speculation whether if needed, Donald Trump could rise to the occasion as ‘comforter in chief.’ Clearly not”. Will Hurricane Harvey prompt a Trump “reset”? People will do anything for a unifying Daddy in the White House: There is so much wrong with this sentence in the New York Times. To the mainstream media: Stop politicizing a natural disaster.

“Father of environmental justice” Robert Bullard: Houston’s “unrestrained capitalism” made Harvey “catastrophe waiting to happen”. Houston flooding always hits poor, non-white neighborhoods hardest. Houston, take heed from us Katrina survivors — this is what lies ahead of you. Insurance companies are preparing fleets of drones to assess the damage of Harvey.

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