1. Trump’s policy agenda is on a knife edge. US Senate Republicans have delayed a vote on their healthcare bill while John McCain recovers from surgery. The bill’s fate hangs in the balance, as two GOP senators are already planning to vote against it and a third is wavering. If they lose another vote, the bill could be dead in the water and signal widespread problems for the entire White House policy agenda, which was so central to driving the reflation trade in the early part of this year. Here’s a full summary.
2. Back in Australia, Peter Dutton looks set to take charge of a vast new national security super-ministry. Senior colleagues in cabinet have concerns, however, about the reach of Dutton’s power.
3. To markets, and Chinese markets had a bit of a wobble yesterday, with more than a thousand stocks falling 7% and around 500 hitting their 10% daily down limit. The benchmark index, the Shanghai Composite, was down only 1.4% — although the jitters in smaller companies will mean trade in China will be watched closely today. Iron ore futures, however, are going the other direction, up almost 5% overnight. The iron ore spot price recovery starting to look bullish now:
Elsewhere, the Australian dollar failed to make a break above its key resistance level. ASX futures are marginally lower after another quiet night on Wall Street.
4. Ethereum has made a big comeback. After getting smoked over the weekend, it rallied all the way through Monday and this morning was trading around $US185, up 25%. Here is the ridiculous chart showing the last couple of days’ trading.
Despite the falls from its 2017 highs, it’s still up around 2000% this year.
5. Small-l liberals have a burger problem. Josh Barro outlines in a lengthy column today a challenge for the liberal left, which has a great deal of application to Australia. Here’s the key point:
Suppose you’re a middle-income man with a full-time job, a wife who also works outside the home, and some children. Suppose it’s a Sunday in the early fall, and your plan for today is to relax, have a burger and watch a football game.
Conservatives will say, go ahead, that sounds like a nice Sunday. … But you may find that liberals have a few points of concern they want to raise about what you mistakenly thought was your fundamentally non-political plan for the day.
Liberals want you to know that you should eat less meat so as to contribute less to global warming. They’re concerned that your diet is too high in sodium and saturated fat. They’re upset that the beef in your hamburger was factory-farmed.
It goes on, with Barro arguing the left has supplanted the right on the moral high ground.
6. Some perspective on Amazon. Jeff Bezos’ company is currently seen as threatening all manner of industry categories. But John Manley, chief US equity strategist for Wells Fargo Funds, explains that “one of the good things about being old” is recognising that what might seem new and dangerous or exciting is really just part of a longer-term pattern. In the case of Amazon, it’s about new technologies making previous things obsolete, which ultimately unlocks value and wealth.
The transcript’s here.
7. Game of Thrones is back, and fans are raving about the opening episode of the season. Some Foxtel subscribers, however, are not: the company had to apologise after its platform crashed last night as everyone tried to watch.
8. James Murdoch is joining the board of Elon Musk’s Tesla.
9. Australia’s hospitality industry is in shock at the death of Jeremy Strode, who died yesterday in Sydney. He was about to turn 54. BI’s Simon Thomsen, who in his time as a restaurant critic declared one of Strode’s restaurants the best bistro in Sydney, talks about Strode’s life and the tragedy of his death here.
10. Today in robots taking jobs: finance industry professionals are worried about automation coming for them, according to a large new survey by LinkedIn. And this robot was supposed to protect people, but it fell in a fountain and couldn’t get up.
BONUS ITEM: High tech medicine meets music in this video of an operation to alleviate a neurological ailment in his hand known as musician’s dystonia that was ruining his co-ordination. Remarkable.
By unknown BRAIN CIRCUITS SURGERY This is a young gentleman who had developed progressively worsening GUITARIST OR MUSICIANS DYSTONIA of his left hand – mainly of the 3/4/5th fingers for the past 20 months. He was training to be a professional guitarist and had to abandon the use because of this disability. This is his preop video . Watch the last 3 finger movements of his left hand. He underwent a MRI guided awake stereotactic right Vo (ventralis oralis) thalamotomy – RF (radio frequency) ablation. He had 100% relief of his symptoms on the operating table! These are the videos of him playing the guitar before and during the brain surgery! Watch how coordinated movements of the same 3 fingers of his left hand. This is probably for the first time in India that a Vo thalamotomy has been done for a musicians dystonia!! #talentedmusicians #guitar #guitarist #respect Via Sharan Srinivasan