By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
— deray mckesson (@deray) August 21, 2015
Hot take: Demands! Encouraging! I note the call for an end to law enforcement for profit; that’s going to break some rice bowls. Ditto demilitarization. I’ll need to understand more about the program’s provenance to see how it fits into the horse race, but it’s great to have something on the table. UPDATE I forgot to say that I really like the slogan along the bottom: “We can live in a world where systems and structures do good, not harm.” In a way, that’s what today’s post on complex systems is all about, and it ties in to other themes often taken up at NC.
“The manifesto was published by McKesson, Packnett, Johnetta Elzie and Samuel Sinyangwe. The four are co-founders of We The Protesters, a prominent section of a wider protest movement that is frequently referred to, in general terms, as Black Lives Matter” [Guardian].
“#BlackLivesMatter Performs a Self-Humiliation at Hillary Clinton’s Hands” [Black Agenda Report]. “The #BLM set out on a path that leads inevitably to cooptation, and quickly arrived at public humiliation.” Ya know, I’m not the only one, here…
“In the small fraction of emails made public so far, Reuters has found at least 30 email threads from 2009, representing scores of individual emails, that include what the State Department’s own “Classified” stamps now identify as so-called ‘foreign government information.’ The U.S. government defines this as any information, written or spoken, provided in confidence to U.S. officials by their foreign counterparts…. This sort of information, which the department says Clinton both sent and received in her emails, is the only kind that must be “presumed” classified, in part to protect national security and the integrity of diplomatic interactions, according to U.S. regulations examined by Reuters” [Reuters]. In other words, for a decision maker at Clinton’s (former) lever, it’s the content that makes for classification, not the stamp (as a Republican operative correctly (!) pointed out yesterday). Note, however, that if your dynasty is running a ginormous influence peddling racket called a foundation, your foreign counterparties will most definitely wish to write to you “in confidence,” as the 409 scammers say. So it’s all good.
“Douglas Cox, a professor at the City University of New York School of Law who studies records preservation laws [says] we shouldn’t expect to see Clinton charged with violating federal records laws. ‘The problem is that those laws do not have sharp teeth, and it is only in severe cases that relevant criminal provisions are implicated,’ he said” [New York Magazine]. “Severe cases….”
“More than 80,000 people have signed an online petition calling for comedian and former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart to moderate one of the 2016 presidential debates” [The Hill].
“It’s difficult to know how much risk Trump is taking with his money today, because it’s not clear how much he’s got” [Business Insider]. Doing oppo on Trump is like doing oppo on Caligula or the Marquis de Sade. I mean, what don’t we know? That said, I can see two approaches, one inside, the other outside. Inside: Prove Trump isn’t rich. Outside: Make fun of the guy. He’s got the thinnest skin in the world. Where was the guy with the toy helicopter and the gold wig at the Iowa State Fair? Let’s get serious, here, people!
“Speaking to CNN’s Don Lemon, [Cornel] West endorsed Sanders as the best choice in the interest of minority voters” [Inquistor]. More here. Oddly, or not, there’s no mainstream coverage of this that I can find. Readers?
“Now, the Vermont senator’s first appearance in the Lowcountry as a candidate for president has been moved again — to the Charleston Convention Center in North Charleston, where organizers are hoping for a capacity crowd of 3,000” [Post and Courier].
“Here is a summary of Bernie’s actions to win the Black vote” [Blavity].
Jebbie’s brother and dad pitch in on the fundraising [Wonkette]. Because that’s what dynasties are for.
“Clinton has done one national interview since her shift to national interviews. It was over six weeks ago” [@maggieNYT]. At some point, the campaign has to unwrap the tissue paper…
Nuisance Obama lawsuit might be more than a nuisance [Los Angeles Times]. The House is tetchy about its Constitutional budget prerogatives, and rightly.
PMI Manufacturing Index Flash, August 2015: “growth in Markit’s manufacturing PMI sample is at its slowest since October 2013, at a much lower-than-expected 52.9 in the flash for August” [Bloomberg]. “This report follows mixed signals from yesterday’s Philly Fed, which was solid, and Monday’s Empire State which was a disaster.” Next Tuesday: The Richmond Fed.
“China factory data fuels slowdown fears” [BBC]. “Friday’s factory output reading was the lowest since March 2009, during the depths of the global financial crisis, and the sixth consecutive below the 50-point level” (which signals contraction). “China Manufacturing PMI Plummets to 6-Year Low” [Econintersect].
The Fed: “Stock markets, particularly the U.S. stock market, view deflation as the worst possible of all economic outcomes as it is difficult to create purchasing demand when consumers believe that delaying a purchase will mean they can buy it at a cheaper price in the future because of deflationary forces. The central bank of the U.S., the Federal Reserve, has already been in the zero-bound range of interest rates since December 2008 and has no bullets left in its monetary policy gun to lower rates further should deflation set in” [Wall Street on Parade].
The Fed: “The addition of Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer to the Jackson Hole agenda – next Saturday – spurred some hope there could be some smoke signals above the barbecue pits after all, despite the absence of Chair Janet Yellen” [Market News]. Honestly, it’s just like Kremlinogy, back in the day when ham-faced be-medalled bureaucrats in fur hats reviewed the tanks going by in Red Square. Wait! That guy changed his hat from last year! What does that mean?
The Fed: “[T]he Fed may have waited too long to back away from its crisis-era policies, and it now has ceded control to the next default cycle and the whims of other global central banks” [Bloomberg].
The Fed: “5 Reasons the Fed May Not Raise Rates in September” [Fiscal Times]. “1. Low inflation; 2. China; 3. Government shutdown; 4. August employment report; 5. Strong dollar.” 6. The 1% like having lots of capital sloshing about that doesn’t cost them anything. And things are working so well. Why change?
“More existing home are turning over, however look at the downward revisions in the last chart. And while prices may be up, they still haven’t reached replacement value as evidenced by the lack of new construction and most recently the sharp decline in permits after the run up in front of NY’s tax break that expired June 15. It is also likely some buying has been accelerated out of fear of rates going higher” [Mosler].
“Trucking activity rose to its second-highest level on record in July, as a strengthening economy increased the amount of freight on the road” [Wall Street Journal, “Truck Freight Demand Surges at Fastest Rate Since November 2013”]. “The ATA pointed to improved retail sales, factory output and housing starts, all of which raised demand for freight transportation.”
“Major container-shipping lines are slashing sailings on the world’s busiest shipping route between Asia and Europe as lower growth in China and a sluggish eurozone economy hurt container volumes” [Wall Street Journal, “Shipping Giants Reduce Sailings on World’s Busiest Route”].
“[F]lat stock prices in 2015 mask what came before: a remarkable run-up in stock prices in the preceding half-decade. From mid-2009 to mid-2014, stock prices rose much faster than corporate earnings, or gross domestic product, or pretty much anything else you might think of as fundamentals” [New York Times, “This Week’s Market Sell-Off May Not Be Such a Bad Thing”].
“As one anonymous Twitter wag put it, ‘Unwinding all your [interest rate] swaps right before the Fed starts to raise rates’ is the ‘most State Treasurer trade ever'” [Across the Curve]. And what New Jersey just did.
“Dominated by Western Union, MoneyGram and Ria, the market for cross-border money transfers is absolutely enormous” [Econintersect]. “$583 billion was remitted globally last year. The United States accounted for the highest portion, approximately $131 billion. Saudi Arabia’s large migrant workforce saw it send $45 billion in remittances in 2014 while the UAE remitted $29 billion.”
“American economy blues: Everything you need to worry about” [Fortune]. This is a fun read. I’d be interested to see what readers think about it.
Black Injustice Tipping Point
“Stephen King calls him “the 20th century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale,” and yet Lovecraft was also unarguably racist—two distinct labels that those studying and enjoying his works today have had to reconcile” [The Atlantic]. When you think about it, “othering” is what Lovecraft is all about…
“When Black Lives Matter Met Clinton: Activists Speak Out on Challenging Candidate Over Crime Record ” [Truth-out]. This is a version of the Democracy Now transcript (as opposed to the transscript of the Clinton conversation itself that we quoted from yesterday).
“The Movement is calling for a change of hearts and minds. Its call is rooted in the recognition that we don’t just live within systems; systems live within us, and those systems determine how we make meaning and value out of the world and people around us” [Salon]. Fair enough. I mean, where else would these systems live? That said, I’m a believer in Jeremiah 17:9; concrete material benefits are what I look for. And those change hearts, too.
“An autopsy on Mansur Ball-Bey, whose death from police gunfire this week stirred protests, showed that he died from a single wound in the back, police officials said” [St Louis Today]. Stay classy, SLPD.
“Racial Critiques of Mass Incarceration: Beyond the New Jim Crow” [James Forman, Jr., Yale Law School]. A classic.
TPP, TTIP, TiSA
“TPP talks to resume in September” [Vietnam.net]. “Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh, chief negotiator of Vietnam, said on Saturday that all the parties concerned wanted to wrap up TPP talks within this year. Otherwise, the TPP accord could not reach U.S. Congress before the presidential election campaign begins in 2016. President Barack Obama wants the deal done before he leaves office. Therefore, Vietnam and 11 other countries expect talks to resume in September, according to Deputy Minister Khanh, who is in America to work with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative over bilateral issues related to the TPP.” Well, it looks like Abe’s August 29 deadline is gonna slip. So that “therefore… expect….” looks a tad squishy, to me. Almost like wishful thinking.
Ag: “Canada isn’t the only thorn in negotiations for [TPP]. Japan’s hesitancy to open its rice market and U.S. reluctance to changes in its sugar program also contributed to talks last month grinding to a halt short of a deal” [Bloomberg]. And then there’s Kentucky’s McConnell and tobacco.
New Zealand: “[D]octors joined trade unionists yesterday to refute PM John Key’s claims that mass opposition to a shady free trade deal was ‘misinformed'” [Morning Star].
ISDS: “The Irish Cancer Society is not surprised, then, that Japan Tobacco International has taken a case to the Commercial Court here challenging the introduction of plain cigarette packs, a measure designed to protect young people from the marketing tactics of the tobacco industry and reduce smoking levels” [Irish Independent].
“[I]t’s no accident that you haven’t heard more about the Waco biker debacle” [Above The Law]. The judge issued a gag order.
“New data collected by Stericycle, a company that handles recalls for businesses, shows a sharp jump in the number of recalls of organic food products” [New York Times]. Crapfication.
How much worse the climate change make California’s drought? “How much worse? Likely somewhere between 15 and 20 percent” [Salon].
War for Drugs
Oxycontin for pediatric patients [NASDAQ]. What would go wrong?
“Malaysia’s attorney-general has formed a new task force to investigate state fund 1MDB but it excludes the country’s anti-corruption body” [Channel News Asia]. Well, I hope they get the “right” answer this time. Just so long as they don’t have to set the records department in KL’s police headquarters on fire again.
“Stop calling it the “Sharing Economy.” That isn’t what it is.” [Olivier Blanchard (MR)].
If, like me, you spend quite a bit of time interfacing with tech companies and digital business professionals, you can actually feel the peer pressure pushing you to support companies like Uber, Lyft and AirBnb. … If you really believe that a “ride-sharing” or room-booking service that deliberately attempts to avoid a country, state or city’s laws regarding licensing, insurance, fees and rate limits is somehow “competing” with legitimate taxis, hired cars and hotels, you’ve probably also rationalized that scoring your music and TV shows for free from pirating websites is somehow an example of legitimate market competition too. Well, it isn’t. Two sets of rules for “competitors” usually doesn’t end in fair competition – not in sports, and certainly not in business. Tip: There’s a reason Lance Armstrong was stripped of his 7 Tour de France victories, and it wasn’t because his training model was “disruptive” or “innovative.”
It was because he was a crook. Just like glibertarian squillionaire weenie Travis Kalanick is a crook. And just like the funders who fund this crook are crooks.
“New UN report finds almost no industry profitable if environmental costs were included” [Exposing the Truth]. Not quite current, but not dated.
“Finland considers basic income to reform welfare system” [BBC].
Q&A from Jodi Kantor, author of the Amazon exposé [Parlio]. ” I was very surprised that Amazon public relations– and Bezos personally– circulated a response that was so full of errors.”
News of the Wired
“The Secret of Airbnb’s Pricing Algorithm” [IEEE Spectrum]. “We think our latest tool, Aerosolve, will eventually do a lot more than just price home rentals. That’s why we’re releasing it into the open-source community.”
“STAGEFRIGHT: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED?” [Exodus Intelligence]. 950 million Android users still vulnerable…
“Amazon joins in on killing Flash, stops accepting Flash ads” [Geek].
“Microsoft can killswitch your unauthorized hardware and pirate games” [Boing Boing].
Programming cheerleaders [Trending in China].
“Knuth & Plass line-breaking Revisited” [Folio]. A classic. Geek out, typographers!
“Your Toner Is No Good Here: Region-Coding Ink Cartridges… For The Customers” [Techdirt].
“Small worlds and the clash of civilizations: New data on the dimensions of a globalized world” [Journalist’s Resource]. Another visualization.
“Where the population of Europe is growing – and where it’s declining” [Morgenpost]. Revealing visualization.
“US troops mobilise in South Korea as Kim Jong-un declares ‘quasi-state of war’: live” [Telegraph]. Just what we need!
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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 (Optimader):
Gorgeous! This is very much the theory of a “Grandmother’s garden” (like mine): Masses of color!
If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. This is turning into a tough month, and I need to buy a new shirt (or two), food for the relatives, and keep my server up!