By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
“Walker said in an interview that aired Sunday that building a wall along the country’s northern border with Canada is a legitimate issue that merits further review” [Chicago Tribune]. This conservative obsession with sphincter control has gone far enough. Perhaps even too far.
“Situating Sanders’s leftism in the proper historical frame is key to understanding the myopia that shapes some Black Lives Matter activists’ criticism of him. The Sanders program—Medicare for all, a living wage, the right to collective bargaining, fair trade policies, free public higher education, etc.—sounds a lot less like the dictatorship of the proletariat than New Deal labor-liberalism” [The New Republic].
Interesting comparison of the Republican Party’s platform with Trump’s policy proposals (albeit as expressed in Trumpese, and granting, arguendo, that Trump is actually making proposals) [WaPo].
“Behind a velvet rope and a set of double doors on the fifth floor of Trump Tower, glossy marble gives way to a cavernous, raw, unfinished space of drywall and exposed ductwork. This is Donald Trump’s campaign headquarters… in a space that used to house parts of The Apprentice set” [Bloomberg]. Doesn’t seem like Trump is laying out a lot of cash, does it?
“The small donors carrying the Sanders campaign are a refreshing break from the egregious money bundlers. Gone missing, however, is the post-Watergate system of matching funds that leveled the playing field for less affluent candidates and worked well until Congress failed to update it, even though it was embraced for two decades by the major presidential candidates. George W. Bush broke with the system for more deep-pocket support in his 2000 primary victory, while President Obama was the first to turn away from it in a general election in 2008” [Editorial, New York Times]. Yet again, we see Obama normalizing what Bush began.
“Campaigns don’t start until the first commercial appears on television” [Wall Street Journal, “Campaigns don’t start until the first commercial appears on television”]. “TV remains far and away the dominant platform for groups trying to reach the biggest-possible audience of voters,” even if digital spending is up 700% from 2012.
At this point in 2004 (D): Lieberman +10; 2008 (D): Clinton +16.6 (R): Giuliani +11; 2012 (R): Perry +5 [WaPo]. 434 days is a long time in politics.
“People who have a mix of answers on the left and the right average out to the middle — and so they’re labeled as moderate. But when you drill down into those individual answers you find a lot of opinions that are far from the political center. … The kinds of voters Trump could appeal to: voters who hold a basket of opinions that aren’t quite represented by either party. Voters who want to deport all unauthorized immigrants while also spending more money on Social Security, or voters who are skeptical of free-trade agreements even as they’re virulently anti-abortion” [Ezra Klein, Vox]. “This speaks to the problem with Washington’s fetishization of moderate voters, which is more often a projection of what political elites wish nonaffiliated voters wanted than a serious engagement with what people ill-served by the two parties actually want.” Average is over….
“When your intention is persuasion, you need to know when to drop a huge anchor that redirects everyone’s attention to one point and when to do the opposite and create a vague suggestion so people can fill in the blanks on their own” [Scott Adams, Dilbert]. This is important; I don’t like Adams’ politics much, but he’s great on technique (here, Trump’s).
“[T]he various movements that have arisen in reaction to those failures — the antiwar left, the Tea Party right, Occupy Wall Street – have yet to even unseat an incumbent president, let alone change the basic lines along which the two parties debate. Which is where Trump comes in: [Ross Douthat, New York Times]. “In an unhealthy system, the kind I suspect we inhabit, the Republicans will find a way to crush Trump without adapting to his message. In which case the pressure the Donald has tapped will continue to build — and when it bursts, the G.O.P. as we know it may go with it.”
“Trump’s critics misunderstand his political appeal just as they fail to comprehend his business appeal. Indeed, Trump is almost certainly not as rich as he claims he is, nor is his record as glittering as others’, nor is his a rags-to-riches story. What he offers instead is a portrait of business as a fully human struggle filled with almost romantic jousting competitions” [The Weekly Standard]. Oh.
Sanders at DNC: “In my view, Democrats will not retain the White House, will not regain the Senate, will not gain the House and will not be successful in dozens of governor’s races unless we run a campaign which generates excitement and momentum and which produces a huge voter turnout” [HuffPo].
Sanders at DNC: “‘I do,’ Sanders reportedly responded when asked Friday whether he agrees with former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s assertion that the debate system is ‘rigged'” [The Hill]. Such a shock.
“On top of that, many [Democratic leaders] say, [Clinton’s] repeated jokes and dismissive remarks on the email controversy suggest that she is not treating it seriously enough” [New York Times]. “Interviews with more than 75 Democratic governors, lawmakers, candidates and party members have laid bare a widespread bewilderment that Mrs. Clinton has allowed a cloud to settle over her candidacy — by using a private email server in the first place.” Again, Clinton is being Clinton. She gives zero (0) f*cks about this.
“‘Extreme views about women? We expect that from some of the terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world,’ Clinton said. ‘But it’s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States'” [New York Times]. And: “The fundamental claim is that Republicans aren’t respectful of women’s access to health care — that they are treating women like second-class citizens. That, Clinton argued, is reminiscent of terrorist groups that repress and abuse women in their own societies” [Vox]. Somebody should ask Clinton her views on Executive Order 13535.
“The case for Joe Biden to run in 2016” [Ruth Marcus, WaPo]. I read this thing twice. I didn’t see Marcus make a case (though she quotes or imagines others who might or might not make a case). That’s because there is no case to be made.
“Why Rank-and-File Democrats Are Hoping Biden Runs” [Bloomberg]. That is, “rank and file” loyalists who attend DNC meetings. “The word of the day, for Biden and for Hillary Clinton supporters, seemed to be ‘electability’.” Vote for me! I’m electable! Gad.
“Party officials most of all want a winner and are open to a Biden bid” [McClatchy]. Oh, so that’s the reason!
Chicago PMI, August 2015: “The headline for August looks solid, at 54.4 for the Chicago PMI, but the details look weak” [Bloomberg]. “New orders and production both slowed and order backlogs fell into deeper contraction. Lifting the composite index are delays in shipments which point to tight conditions in the supply chain. Inventories rose sharply in the month.” And: “Steady as she goes” [Econintersect].
Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey, August 2015: “No where are the effects of the oil-patch rout more evident than in the Dallas Fed manufacturing report” [Bloomberg]. “It really doesn’t get any worse than this report which points to increasing drag from the energy sector.”
“Unemployment is still down around its pre-recession levels, the housing market is still improving with more being built and increasing values, consumer confidence is very healthy, and gross domestic product is still growing” [Business Insider].
“Judging from just about every major indicator — including job growth, construction permits and auto sales — California’s economy is churning at one of the fastest clips of any state over the last few years. After being one of the hardest-hit by the housing bust and the Great Recession, the state has come roaring back, outperforming the nation in job and gross domestic product growth for much of the last three years” [Los Angeles].
“Energy-rich Qatar’s exports plunged more than 40 percent in value in the year up until July 2015, on the back of a slump in petrol and hydrocarbon sales, official figures showed Sunday” [France24].
“The most important driver this week will be whether the global capital markets will continue to move toward stability after the huge drama over the past week or two” [Across the Curve].
“TEXT: ECB Amends General Documentation on Monetary Policy” [Market News]. So, with a headline like that… “[A] new class of eligible assets, namely the “non-marketable debt instruments backed by eligible credit claims (DECCs)”, has been introduced in the Eurosystem collateral framework. DECCs are debt instruments that: (a) are backed by credit claims that are also eligible as collateral with the Eurosystem on an individual basis; and (b) that have a dual recourse feature, namely to: (i) the credit institution that is the originator of the underlying credit claims; and to (ii) the underlying credit claims themselves. It should be noted that, in the initial stage, only the domestic use of DECCs is envisaged.” Introducing a new sort of collateral should be more exciting. Can readers parse?
ISIS sovereign in its own currency? [Bloomberg]. The coins are said to he coins, which come in several denominations made of gold, silver and copper. In its video, “[ISIS] didn’t explain where the coins were being minted, nor how they’ll be distributed or replace currencies circulating in the territory the group occupies in parts of Iraq and Syria.”
“Discounting the Long Run” [Liberty Street Economics].
“The stash of previously-secret correspondence about the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA) that EFF obtained and published this week speaks volumes about the extent to which technology companies such as IBM and Google, and trade lobby groups such as the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and Internet Digital Economy Alliance (IDEA), have bought into the dangerous idea that trade agreements should be used to govern the Internet” [EFF].
Black Injustice Tipping Point
“Analysis: Blacks in Madison arrested at more than 10 times rate of whites” [Baltimore Sun].
“Echoes of Occupy HK in Malaysia as up to 250,000 pro-democracy protesters hit the streets” [Hong Kong Free Press]. Caveating that the cry of “corruption!” is protean in its appeal; used by one faction in Thailand to overthrow another; used in Brazil to deflect a populist movement to middle-class concerns; and pervasive in the United States but almost never named for what it is. Further, there are unusually few clean hands to be found in Malaysia, even for Southeast Asia. That said, when $700 million appears in a Prime Minister’s personal bank account, with no indication of where it came from, questions might well be raised even in a normally corrupt polity; and many thousands of Malaysians appear to agree.
Dear Old Blighty
“Jeremy Corbyn has hit straight back at criticism from Tony Blair, saying the former Labour Prime Minister’s “big problem” is the ongoing delay in the publication of the Iraq Inquiry” [The Independent]. And, if there were any justice in the world, Blair’s pending arraignment at the Hague Tribunal. Why is this war criminal allowed to make international flights?
Our Famously Free Press
“Rebekah Brooks Said to Be Returning to News Corp. in Britain” [New York Times]. Wowsers.
“With its shares now trading below the price they fetched when it floated on the stock exchange, Twitter is seen by some analysts as a likely target for takeover – either by Google or Facebook” [Guardian]. Both of whom will ruin it, of course.
“[T]he number of unique users sending those tweets appears to have leveled off in April 2013, remaining stagnant through the end of 2014. This suggests that the 100 million additional users that Twitter has added in the past two years are largely listeners instead of contributors” [The Atlantic].
“Hollywood talent is finding an innovative new use for Twitter: as a tool in high-stakes negotiations” [Los Angeles Times]. For example, friend of the blog Harry Shearer.
“Why NASA’s so worried that Greenland’s melting could speed up” [WaPo].
Imperial Collapse Watch
“Even at the time, the Iraq War seemed like a very bad idea. Twelve years on, it has developed into a wretched curse on the civilizations whose foundations were laid in places like Palmyra and Mosul” [The New Yorker].
“This [Burning Man] will spew a minimum of 49,000 tons of greenhouse gases. How much is that? About the same that the nation of Swaziland (population 1.2 million) produces in a week. [That] does seems like a lot just to get naked in the desert and talk about your chakras. Ironically, Burning Man’s single most important tenet, according to every Burner ever, is leave no trace” [Grist].
“Single, Unemployed Mother Leeching Off Government” [The Onion].
Study: “Social spending in the United States is 40 percent lower than it would be if policymakers didn’t disproportionately respond to the rich” [Salon].
Michael Hudson’s new book, Killing the Host: “Hudson writes: ‘A parasite’s toolkit includes behavior-modifying enzymes to make the host protect and nurture it. Financial intruders into a host economy use Junk Economics to rationalize rentier parasitism as if it makes a productive contribution, as if the tumor they create is part of the host’s own body, not an overgrowth living off the economy'” [Wall Street on Parade].
“Escaping the tragedy of the commons through targeted punishment” [Royal Society Open Science].
News of the Wired
“French investigators are no closer to confirming that the [flaperon] came from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. In fact, leaks from within the investigation suggest that the part might not have come from the plane at all” [New York Magazine]. “What was holding things up, it turned out, was that the ID plate that should have been attached to the inboard edge of the flaperon was missing. And that was not the only problem. According to the New York Times, Boeing and the National Transportation Safety Board found that the object did not match Malaysia Airlines’ maintenance records.” Wait, though. I thought there was only one Boeing 777 that ever went missing over water?
“Perhaps it’s not digital technology that hindered my handwriting, but the technology that I was holding as I put pen to paper. Fountain pens want to connect letters. Ballpoint pens need to be convinced to write, need to be pushed into the paper rather than merely touch it” [The Atlantic].
“[Neal] Stephenson’s negotiation with traditional morality can be illustrated by reference to two of Stephenson’s stock figures that hover around the action of his novels and provide contrasting moral color. One is the armed WASP. … The armed WASP’s opposite is the corrosive subjectivist, often but not always a humanities scholar.” [Los Angeles Review of Books]. “Readers can always fall back on the perspective we open with: Stephenson — big writer with big ideas. One might actually decide he’s a small writer: Even in his grandest and most otherworldly books, petty earthly grudges abound.”
“Although gun homicides (like all homicides) are on the decline, there are still dozens of deadly shootings every day in the US. In 2013, there were more than 32,000 gun-related deaths — and over 11,000 of those deaths were homicides” [Vox].
“Uber will eventually build a centrally-controlled, all-electric, autonomous vehicle fleet” [TechCrunch]. I’d say great, if it weren’t for neo-liberalism’s ability to turn literally everything into a crapified dystopia.
“Paris is hoping to best everyone next month by closing a large, contained portion of its urban core to all cars for a day” [Gizmodo].
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):
If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. This is turning into a tough month, and I need to keep my server up!