By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
“The participation of countries in the TPP has less to do with enthusiasm for importing the US economic model than a grudging acceptance that yet more tribute has to be paid in order to retain access to the US market” [Financial Times, “The flaws in the geopolitical case for the TPP “].
“The secretive TPP scam” [Jim Hightower, Stillwater News]:
The real deal is in the 24 other chapters that create a supranational scheme of secretive, private tribunals that corporations from any TPP nation can use to challenge and overturn our local, state and national laws. All a corporate power has to do to win in these closed proceedings is to show that a particular law or regulation might reduce its future profits.
This is big stuff, amounting to the enthronement of a global corporate oligarchy over us. Yet it’s been negotiated among trade officials of the 12 countries in strict secrecy. Even members of Congress have been shut out – but some 500 corporate executives have been allowed inside to shape the “partnership.”
Now that President Obama and his corporate team intend to spring it on us and start ramming TPP through Congress. He recently arranged a briefing of two House Democrats to support it – but he even classified the briefing as a secret session, meaning the lawmakers are not allowed to tell you, me or anyone else anything about what they were told.
A gag order on Congress? Holy Thomas Paine!
Australia: “[T]he TPP is shaping up as an unmitigated disaster, and Trade Minister, Andrew Robb, should run a mile, rather than seeking to sell Australians out” [Macrobusiness]. Abbott is, naturally, for it.
The Philip Morris suit, under ISDS, against Australian tobacco regulation “perfectly encapsulates the problem described by David Graeber in his new collection of essays, The Utopia of Rules. He argues that globalization now isn’t about technology leveling distances or speeding trade, but about piling private bureaucracies on top of public ones” [The Nation].
“The best justification for investment protection and ISDS would be evidence that it helps increase investment flows. The problem is, that evidence that it helps investment is decidedly mixed” [WaPo].
“How Liberals Hope to Nudge Hillary Clinton to the Left” [Time]. Reads like a PCCC press release. Which is sort of remarkable in the pages of Time.
“The basic idea [of the data-selling plan] involves allies of the former Florida governor using an existing, for-profit entity to sell data to his eventual campaign and the political action committee and “super PAC” that will support his candidacy” [New York Times]. The plan “could increase the efficiency of the super PAC and the campaign to target voters in a parallel way, without breaking laws about coordination between campaigns and outside groups.”
“Can [Bush’s] quiet faith, and quiet support from some religious leaders, carry the day against a field full of outspoken Christian warriors?” [Politico]. Faith so quiet it merits an article in National Journal about Bush’s “spiritual journey” [cough. spew]. Thou shalt not steal doesn’t apply to elections, then?
Walker’s position on immigration is evolving [Wall Street Journal, “Scott Walker Adjusts Stance on Immigration at Private Dinner”]. Doens’t matter. He stomps Democrats.
Santorum: “We will never have the elite, smart people on our side” [Buzzfeed]. Plays right into the Democrats “party of stupid” riff. Which has been working so well, right?
Trump outdraws Cruz and Christie in New Hampshire [Philadelphia Inquirer]. Bush, Walker, and Paul top the field.
“This election season, nearly every word uttered by presidential candidates during stump speeches will be piped directly into the offices of their opponents in real time” via live-streaming [CNN].
“The House on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a measure to reformulate how Medicare reimburses physicians and other providers” [Wall Street Journal, “House Passes Medicare ‘Doc Fix’ Bill”]. (Pause here for bipartisangasm.)
“[L]abor costs make up 56 percent of the $2.6 trillion we spend on health care annually — so it’s at least worth examining how much we pay those who deliver our health care” [Sarah Kliff, Vox].
“Under the bipartisan plan, Medigap plans would no longer cover the annual Part B deductible for new enrollees.… The goal would be to make seniors put more ‘skin in the game'” [CNN]. Ever notice how people who use the phrase “skin in the game” never have their skins in the game?
Harry Reid will not seek re-election, due in part to an eye injury [Politico].
Will Chuck Schumer succeed Reid? [Business Insider].
“[T]he left will use this occasion to try to pull the debate at the center of the battle to succeed Reid to the left on a range of issues” [Greg Sargent, WaPo].
Administration uses “state secrets” privilege to protect shadowy neocon front group [The Intercept].
Herd on the Street
Personalization replacing logos in luxury branding? [The Fashion Law].
GDP, fourth quarter 2014: The economy grew 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter, below expecations [Bloomberg]. ” Growth, however, is still soft.”
Corporate Profits, fourth quarter 2014: Profits in the fourth quarter fell an annualized 11.5 percent after an 11.9 percent gain in the third quarter [Bloomberg].
Consumer Sentiment, March 2015: “[R]ebounding back up in late March” [Bloomberg]. Current conditions and expectations both gained.
Rahm’s not the only one who drops the F-bomb; his troops do, too [Chicago Reader]. “Watching the whole thing was my neighbor and her ten-year-old son.”
Mayor 37-cents: Rahm once tipped 37 cents on a seven dollar shake. And that’s not all [In These Times]. Read the whole thing, it’s a gold mine.
Big Brother Is Watching You Watch
“EXCLUSIVE: StingRay Maker Asked FCC to Block Release of Spy Gear Manual” [The Blot].
Black Injustice Tipping Point
White dude sucker punches Curt
Flood Ford in a gas station, tells him to “get back to Ferguson” [St Louis Post Dispatch]. Classy.
According to a new report published on Monday by the US Department of Justice, Philadelphia cops shoot and kill people at 6 times the rate of the NYPD, and the violence disproportionately affects Philadelphia’s blacks [Mother Jones].
“The numbers show that the Chicago Police are making huge numbers of stops — at a far greater rate than the police in New York — with African-Americans being stopped much more often than whites or Latinos” [Editorial, Chicago Sun-Times]. Chuy?
“[T]axation by citation” [HuffPo]. Excellent long-form piece. What a horror show.
“Help! My boys were stopped three times by police for being outside unsupervised” [Salon]. Interesting interchange between “free range” advocate and parent. ” My concern is that I don’t want to irrevocably create an adversarial relationship with our town’s leaders.”
“Jobs where Americans get killed at a much higher rate than police officers include loggers, fishermen, aircraft pilots, roofers, steel workers, refuse collectors, power-line workers, truck drivers, agricultural workers, and construction laborers” [The Atlantic].
Dramatic ice shelf loss in West Antarctica [New Scientist].
As the ice sheets melt, the earth rises [Bloomberg].
Charles Munger: “We should all be prepared for adjusting to a world that is harder” [Bloomberg]. Whaddya mean, “we”?
Amazon demanding its warehouse workers sign non-compete clauses [Pando]. For warehouse work? These people are nuts.
Collective houses in Philly [Talking Points Memo].
Occupying the Maagdenhuis at the University of Amsterdam [N+1]. Seems like Dutch university administrations are undergoing a neoliberal infestation as well.
Marriage across class boundaries [WaPo]. But “today, the opportunity to marry — or even meet — someone of a different class is disappearing.”
News of the Wired
- “Germanwings crash: report that co-pilot Lubitz had suffered ‘personal life crisis’ – rolling updates” [Guardian]. Strangely, the press is rushing to humanize Lubitz which isn’t true for all (alleged) perps, oddly enough. Not that depression isn’t a serious illness. But still.
- Wealthy Texan to shoot one of 5000 black rhinos left on earth, ship the carcass back to the US for stuffing and mounting [WaPo].
- The sharing dystopia [Medium]. What a bunch of creeps.
- “Studies have linked empathy to greater patient satisfaction, better outcomes, decreased physician burnout and a lower risk of malpractice suits and errors” [CNN].
- “Dorazio said he chose this lifestyle, and calls it living ‘home-free’ instead of homeless” [Ithaca Voice]. Remarkable story; read it all. Dorazio reminds me of a “forest monk.”
Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant, the fifth of “I Wish It Were Spring!” week two (KS):
A camellia, WA state. Of course, I forget that there are some places where it is already spring. Anybody out there been doing any planting?
If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. It’s the heating season!
Talk amongst yourselves!
‘Will Chuck Schumer succeed Reid?’
Chuck’s moving to Nevada? It’s a great day for New York. :-)
p.s. WordPress is stuck on italic, even with the tags removed. It is really broke today.
In five years he’ll be completely legitimate.
LOL – comment of the day~
Reid was supposedly the model for the corrupt government official played by Dick Smothers in Casino
Just more confirmation that The Godfather is the essential cultural deep background text for understanding America.
Well, Harry, since last session wasn’t, maybe now’s the “right time” for TPA, now that you will never have to be bothered to face your electoral constitutents again?
What will Chuck do with all of Harry Reid’s dry powder?
Don’t mistunderestimate Chuck.
He’s more of a corporatistt whore and war-monger than Reid.
The Wall Street Dems squandered their majorities from 2008 in spectacular fashion…yet their talons are sunk deeper than ever into the corpse of the party.
That’s festering corpse.
Exactly. Schumer is the biggest Wall Street Whore among the Dems. When I saw the Dems trotted out Schumer to cry Crocodile Tears over TPP, my first thought was that Dems are gonna fast track it. Dems love to say “See we tried to stop it. But they made us do it.”
‘What will Chuck do with all of Harry Reid’s dry powder?’
Prolly sprinkle it in his shoes and underwear to suppress fungal infections.
What if he is a fungal infection>
Then we need to be genetically modified, so that the most powerful cure will kill the fungi, but not you.
For those who came in late, “In The Vaults Where The Dry Powder Is Stored” is the best — the only necessary? — post at Daily Kos ever.
It must have been published on a day when Kos had the flu. I’m sure that such disrespect for the Democratic Party was never allowed again.
Meanwhile, even though it is now classified, and I’m not allowed to say so, I suspect that Obama has added significantly to the stocks of dry powder. But I’m not allowed to say so.
Early 2007. Not the flu, just assuming the W pose, with Lucy Van Pelosi setting up for the customary biennial field goal attempt and putting on her winningest smile. (The L pose is mock-reluctant acquiescence to the Party’s alleged necessity to perform personal services for the elite.)
Actually, the diary was recommended by Daily Kos eminence grise, Meteor Blades, and over 200 other readers. A lot of DK natives are getting restless.
The author was indeed at last banned it seems in 2013, some six years after the linked post, I realized upon further examination. Such brilliance banned, that is just fucking sad.
My guess is it would be worse, but I’m pretty certain there was a major exodus in 2009 and 2010 from blogs that went full Team Blue from the pre-2008 cycle readers.
…leaving a bunch of single issue cheerleaders to their idees fixe and comforting illusions. “We need a wider coalition!”…
Italic fixed, thank you.
Wealthy Texan to shoot one of 5000 black rhinos left on earth, ship the carcass back to the US for stuffing and mounting [WaPo].
Obviously they are rare. Should be worth the big bucks on an ebay auction.
How about we go out and hunt the wealthy Texan bastard instead – perhaps the police can assist with this – the guy is sick in the head and requires sectioning – no excuses, he deserves to die and not a poor, defenceless animal on the verge or extinction from buggers like this – very disturbing and an international crime by any standard.
I hope he catches an incurable disease.
Same here. What a creep. Shame on him and anyone enabling this.
He doesn’t even have the deer hunters’ excuse that the herd needs culling. Which reminds me:
hahaha. Deer must be scared to death of the size of the human population.
A maintenance guy here feeds them corn and apples, and then he assassinates ( that’s what I tell him to get a rise) them w/ his bow. I will freely admit, they are delicious, lean and organic. His butcher makes an incredibly good beer sausage.
Humans having killed off most of their natural predators, many places have a deer population beyond the natural carrying capacity. They roam my town of 28,000 as freely as squirrels or pigeons, but with a much bigger appetite.
Re; “Curt Flood”
It was actually Curt Ford that was involved in this incident:
Curt Flood passed away in 1997
Charlie Munger of Warren Buffett partnership fame? “We,” indeed. charlie, baby, show me your hard times.
Amazon’s abuse of non-competition agreements by requiring them for its warehouse employees is shocking, but completely predictable, considering Amazon’s past behavior. So far, I have never purchased anything from that company, and I hope I’m never debased to the point that I do buy anything from them. But I’ve bought clothing and electronic devices from sweatshops around the world (mostly Asia, probably), and I’ve bought chocolate, which may have been grown or harvested by slaves in the Ivory Coast. It’s difficult to boycott everyone who deserves to be boycotted.
It’s difficult as you say.
For me, I try to hang on to things as long as possible (mono no aware), delaying purchases (priority #1 – the postponing, not the buying), even from local sources, while supporting them (priority #2).
fair trade chocolate.
“Mayor 37-cents: Rahm once tipped 37 cents on a seven dollar shake. And that’s not all [In These Times]. Read the whole thing, it’s a gold mine.”
wow, doesn’t seem to matter how big a d-bag Rahm is, Chuy isn’t winning them over. Scary. Depressing.
Rahm is a class a d-bag, if it were only a refernduum on that it would be lopsided. But Chuy is not exactly making a case for himself from what I see. He offers little insight/detail on policy. It may be that people really dislike RE, but Chuy is not exactly coughing up much more than platitudes “I’ll reveal my plan after the election” hardly engenders confidence. Devil you know vs devil you don’t time.
Quite the “Cooler” today Lambert. Makes me want to pack up and head for the wilderness. Soon, real soon.
I hope I’m not the only one who found that story on Salon about the “free-range kids” a bit bizarre. According to the offended mother, she and her family live on a street with only two other houses and the husband is a stay-at-home dad. Presumably, there isn’t a whole lot of car traffic on a street with only three houses, so the “concerned citizen” who called the police when the kid was riding his bicycle up and down the sidewalk had to be a neighbor. How is it that this couple doesn’t know their neighbors well enough to avoid these sort of incidents? What kind of stay-at-home parent–or anyone, for that matter–doesn’t know the neighbors, just in case a favor is needed from time to time? The woman seems to know other people in the community, so why is she writing some sort of “Dear Abby” letter to a magazine rather than talking about the incidents with some of her acquaintances in the community? Something doesn’t sound right here.
Never underestimate the urge to meddle, especially in our grand new world of instant communications. (This might have come from a grown up version of the kids who were encouraged to “help” mommy and daddy by telling Officer Friendly about their peculiar cigarettes. Just saying. Socialization and all that.)
Neighbors are like that, nowadays. Pure evil. Life was better in Detroit during the riot than it is here in elitist Ann Arbor, 48 years later…..Neighbors find YOU to be criminal for existing, let alone having anything like a life. I have several such neighbors. They are so busy minding my business, while their own life is going to hell in a hand basket, and the community might as well be dead. Conformity, conformity, conformity: just no nobody is having a pleasant life!
The Puritans are winning…but these aren’t even Puritans: they are Calvinists or worse.
Much worse: Democrats. I have maybe one true friend left in A2 — the rest of my circle have become bobos or limousine liberals and I have little to no use for them or their pro-corporate, anti-commons political sophistry.
There are some places where one really is better off NOT knowing one’s neighbors, and any places with those sorts of neighbors are among them. Thanks for supporting tradition as best you can against the corporate Democratic onslaught.
What’s a bobo?
“Bohemian bourgieosie” (spelling?) from an amusing little book by David Brooks called Bobos In Paradise. I can’t remember that much of what was in it, just that it was fun to scan the words with my skull-mounted ocular text-readerheads at the time.
I always liked this definition best-
“Yes, it’s time someone said it outright: Manhattanites are the new hicks. The mall kids are generations ahead of them.”
I really wondered if there was a concerned neighbour at all or whether that’s the standard phrase the cops use for a situation like that and that they were actively monitoring kids on their beat in that town, as part of the police state’s mission to continue to scare the bejesus out of society. You know, get em while they’re young…. just a theory… unless it’s the grumpy old man across the road!
re As the ice sheets melt, the earth rises [Bloomberg]:
Then is a vacuum being created in the Earth’s interior or is the ocean bottom DROPPING to compensate? Something to consider, no? When calculating future sea levels?
Pressure. The land masses rise because ice is so heavy.
But it only happens in northern lats they say. So ocean flooding increases in southern lats – because rising land contains the water in the ocean at northern lats.
Right but the mass of that previously frozen water on land is now in the ocean, increasing the pressure on the ocean floor, thereby tending to push it DOWN and thereby DECREASE sea level rise.
Yeah, but land rise in the previously ice depressed polar regions will displace more ocean water and cause a sea level rise elsewhere. Isostatism is an insidious and pernicious doctrine. See:
Excellent read. The ‘duh’ moment when you realize you forgot about how gravity works.
And yes, I do know from personal experience…
“Around the periphery of where the glaciers sat, by contrast — places like Chesapeake Bay and the south of England — the land was actually squeezed upward during the Ice Age by the downward pressure nearby. The resulting “glacial forebulge” has been sinking back ever since, also at an average rate of a few millimeters a year, … “ via Ambrit [bold added]
Ok, maybe a seafloor drop isn’t necessary to avoid a vacuum.
But 2/3rds surface area of the planet is ocean….
Greenwald, Intercept, UANI: Joe Lieberman? “Fighting Joe” Lieberman? And a question comes up: Do these decisions about suborning the judiciary come from Holder or Higher Up? And is our constitutional scholar as president wicked, venal, or plain stupid? (You don’t have to answer.)
Let’s make that “or” “and.”
…. skin .. the game[?????], once again now, with feeling: the [FRICKING MEDIGAP] GAME [?????].
Words have meaning. The adjective, barbarism, applied to the above two words, skin and game, and the context in which they were used, doesn’t even begin to encompass the casual malevolence and stench of that above stated goal.
Oh wait, I get it, it’s that second definition of game: prey; quarry, victim, target, kill. (Thesaurus Per Master Bill Gate’s servants.)
The elimination of coverage for the Part B deductible is a a first step in cost shifting. There are roughly 50mm people on Medicare; the Part B annual deductible is $147.00 (or 4 Advil and 3 Band Aids at the ER). Maybe 2mm new people per year — so 2mm x $147 = $294mm.
Estimated annual heath care spending was 2.9 trillion in 2013.
This is all about the beginning of the end of Medicare.
You’d think that people who are elderly and SICK automatically have skin in the game. Just ask my mom who has suddenly developed a hole in her back the siz of a quarter……. Skin. I hate those sh*t-heads.
Remember. The “game” of capitalism is totally psychopathic!!
So at what point does the government actively have to work at killing you before revolution is a proportionate response? C’mon, “civilized” people. Where is that line, and why have you been cowardly moving it in retreat?
Just chuckling at the many references to the “Left”. LOL.
The “Vichy Left” has acquiesced to the broadest possible mix of policies that the Real Left would be apoplectic about, from warrantless wiretapping to illegal pre-crime drone murder to prosecution immunity for Wall St to toxic corporo-fascist “trade” deals. All delivered in mellifluous tones by our Manchurian Basketballer-in-Chief.
The “Left”. What a joke.
Left vs Right. How bouts a new direction? The left is so far right it’s not even center.
“A gag order on Congress? Holy Thomas Paine!”
Who were they? I keep wondering why Congress puts up with this – they write the rules, after all. But I guess that’s naive.
Wyden and Udall appealed to the same excuse when they were making noise about the NSA and the torture report. Of course, they all have complete Congressional immunity, so it’s all fake. In the above case, inspired by partisan loyalty.
Collective housing articles interest me because I live in a similar environment. It’s a 3-floor, 3-apartment house. The owner lives in the building and we pay rent in the traditional fashion, but everyone knows each other very well, and the living rooms of each apartment are pretty openly shared by everyone else who lives here. There’s no meetings, but there is an email list. I think having a kitchen on each floor takes a lot of the pressure and stress away from living together. It’s a nice combination of privacy and community.
IIRC single-family homes are the least efficient in terms of energy and material use per person, so eventually they may move out of reach for all but the wealthiest. I live in Hawaii in a groundfloor townhome, which inside is more like an apartment except the door opens onto a small lanai/yard. Probably relatively efficient in terms of energy and material, but the neighbors are a bit close and even so I don’t know them much better.
Re. the “sharing” type jobs…
For those of you who use Uber or Lyft, here’s something to think about: The personal auto insurance policy form used in all states specifically excludes coverage when the insured vehicle is being used as a vehicle for hire i.e transportation/delivery of goods or persons for a fee.
Commercial insurance is available for chauffeured or or delivery vehicles but it is very expensive; so expensive that I would think it would be unaffordable to someone using their own vehicle for delivery or taxi services on a part-time basis.
This coverage restriction not only puts the paid passenger at risk but also other drivers as the restriction applies to the vehicle’s liability coverage. If the kid delivering the pizza or driving for Uber rear-ends your car & that car does not have the proper type of commercial insurance in place, your claim against the negligent taxi/delivery driver is not covered by their insurance – you will have to collect any damages due from the pocket of the driver or vehicle owner.
I always wonder about claims that these drivers are properly insured. Anybody here know about just how these drivers obtain insurance that is not prohibitively expensive?
This article was from 12 months ago — rules require Uber to have insurance when drivers are “in transit to or during trips arranged through the Uber app,” the rules don’t clarify whether other job-related activities like checking on fares are included,.
“…rules require Uber to have insurance…”
Rules/laws require that every licensed vehicle on public roads have a minimum level of liability coverage in place for property damage & bodily injury, at least in all the states where I have been licensed as an insurance agent. (Exceptions are allowed for companies that have large fleets that can show they have the financial means to “self insure”- even then a bond is required). Even so, in my home state & bordering states it is estimated that 20-25% of the personal vehicles on the road are uninsured.
So, how does it work? Is the coverage provided through Uber with the cost of insurance figured into Uber’s cut on each fare?
I think most don’t have it. That would be my guess, as you stated, regular insurance that doesn’t cover anything “commercial”.
I’ve seen all different sorts of numbers out of uber and their insurance requirements.
I also think they are getting into the business of offering their own insurance and financing for the car. I just don’t see how these “independent contractors” are independent at all. Especially considering that if you sign up for uber, you can’t pick up any fares but through uber.
Laws? Numbers? Truth? It’s all PR now. Don’t believe a word you read.
The issue of taxi cab company insurance has been problematic in Philadelphia for the established regulated taxi industry. For over 6 years, an Alliance of Taxi drivers have sought proper licensing from the authority that issues taxi permits and has now officially been granted the legal standing for its Taxi Cooperative. The above link covers the formation of 50 driver/owners and with links to theirs and other cooperative organizations in the city. What I find amazing is the brazen entry of Uber into Philadelphia with no legal standing, but was more than prepared to pay any fine until the legal niceties had been worked out. Taxis have been highly regulated, subject to a limit to the number allowed to operate, with many years going by in some instances with no increase in the number of new permits for taxis allowed on the street. Along comes Uber and Lyft, totally ignoring the law which can get illegal taxi drivers arrested, fined and even jailed, and the regard for the rule of law goes out the window. The insurance issue was addressed by Uber, but I know of no independent verification of extremely hard to come by taxi cab insurance coverage. Especially if they are operating outside the law.
“The secretive TPP scam” [Jim Hightower, Stillwater News]:
“…..private tribunals that corporations from any TPP nation…”
Uh, won’t they ALL be doing the will of US corporations (I mean, for the sake of proprietary, the US corps will have “beards” for their shilling of cigarettes, booze, online gambling, and porn…. and anything that will appear unpatriotic.
re: Personalization replacing logos in luxury branding? [The Fashion Law].
Well, really, everyone wants something all their own, that reflects them in some significant way. It’s too bad these people think they’re going to get that through shoes and handbags.
On another note, it could be that all the personal branding that the networking hoi polloi are having to engage in in order to stay employed or otherwise in business is now appearing in the marketing of things.
I’ll leave it to wiser heads than mine to figure that one out.
“Nudging Hillary to the Left” I can’t even type this with a straight face.
You are either Left, or you aren’t. It can’t be faked, or painted on like makeup. You either believe in the sanctity of all people, or you are firmly in the Classist column. Hillary is not capable of even faking a left.