By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
List of traitors in House and Senate, with phone numbers. Hat tip, reader Vatch. Be sure to visit them when they return to the district this week. If a traitor is mentioned in Water Cooler, their name is in bold.
Australia: “The last second stumble at the finish line in Hawaii over the weekend should be celebrated. Who knows, it may even steel the resolve of our politicians at the next round to resist any move to extend patents and oppose any push by multinational corporations to further undermine Australian sovereignty” [The Drum]. Smarting from the Philip Morris ISDS lawsuit in Singapore.
New Zealand: “Asked whether TPP had the luxury of waiting until after the Canadian elections, Key said: ‘No. I don’t think so'” [Scoop].
“Final negotiations over the trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, are not like a checkers game with Congress, pitting two branches of government and two parties against each other. Rather, all 12 nations are asserting their particular economic and political interests in a multiple-dimension chess match, with one problem often setting off another” [New York Times]. “Economic, that is, political….” Fixed it for ya.
“Six key policy issues in the Republican primary election” [Telegraph].
The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds dropping support among primary voters for the former Florida governor and the former U.S. secretary of state. And among the electorate at large, views of the two candidates are increasingly negative” [Wall Street Journal, “Troubling Trends: Where Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush Are Weakening”].
“Anti-‘oligarch’ Gingrich questions legality of Jeb super PAC [Politico]. ““I think it’s very frightening. I don’t think the Founding Fathers intended for the U.S. to be an oligarchy,” said Gingrich – himself the recipient of an estimated $20 million contribution from billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife in 2012.”
“A wealthy oligarchy of donors is dominating the 2016 election” [Editorial Board, WaPo]. As with Gingrich, there has to be a word for people who wring their hands over a situation they worked tirelessly to bring about. Probably the Germans have it, like they have schadenfreude. But I don’t know what it is.
“56 individuals and companies gave at least $1 million to 30 candidate-specific super PACs. Those donations totaled $115 million, or nearly half of the money raised by all the super PACs, and nearly a third raised by all the super PACS and actual presidential campaigns put together” [National Journal]. I could have filed this under Class Warfare, too…
“[Bush’s] campaign earlier released his tax returns and said his net worth is about $19 million to $22 million. That’s more than 14 times what it was when he left office in early 2007. Bush hasn’t disclosed all of his consulting clients” [Bloomberg].
The former Florida governor has LLCs all over the place, including one that applied for a trademark for his campaign logo, “JEB!”
And others for
money launderingbook deals.
“Bush earned over $9 million from business, speaking gigs” in the last 17 months [AP].
“Bernie Sanders Clearly In Pocket Of High-Rolling Teacher Who Donated $300 To His Campaign” [The Onion].
“[The rally in Wausa, WI] was just one of 3,725 rallies nationwide hosted by volunteers to support Sanders. Even in central Wisconsin, this is one of many rallies, with events in Stevens Point, Plover, Wisconsin Rapids and Westboro” [Wausau Daily Herald]. That really is impressive.
New Hampshire: “WMUR poll: Clinton leads by 6 percentage points as Sanders edges closer,” within poll’s 5.9 percent margin of error [WMUR].
Trump on debates: “If I’m attacked I have to, you know, do something back, but I’d like it to be very civil” [ABC]. Not merely “civil,” mind you. For the operational definition of “do something back,” see video here, at “Trump the Kayfabe Master.” Readers, I’ve been scratching my head about whether oppo on Trump is even possible, and no doubt the pros with hair are tearing it out. Are there any professional wrestling fans out there? Does anyone know of a WWF wrestler, say, who was drummed out of the profession for some infraction once he was on the circuit? (Hulk Hogan has had a recent racism eruption, but with exceptionally bad timing, and isn’t Hogan past his sell-by date anyhow? And Latino eruptions haven’t held Trump back, either.)
“Biden has little rationale to enter the race this late except as a break-glass-in-case-of-Clinton-emergency candidate” [Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight].
“Biden pulls proportionally from all the Democratic candidates, [and] does not have an obvious camp of support right now” [FiveThirtyEight].
“How Donald Trump Can Win” [Washington Free Beacon]. Awesome. But I think for most hardworking American families, Trump is already a winner.
Jade Helm: “Texans, in particular, lost their minds. They worried that the drill was in fact a furtive plot to seize their guns and appeared in droves at community meetings with operational planners to none-too-gently express their disapproval” [Rolling Stones]. Crazy stuff. You’d think the government had grabbed everybody’s digital papers and effects, or that the Feds had executed U.S. citizens with drone strikes and no due process, or those same U.S. citizens were being whacked by cops on a daily basis with impunity. Oh, wait…. All that happened, and not a peep from these guys. I don’t understand right wing politics at all. Did they not notice these things? What was the trigger with Jade Helm?
Our Nation’s Capital
Obama’s speech on Iran nukes deal [WaPo]. Give credit, I think Obama’s actually managed to do the right thing here, and IMNSHO anything that reduces the corrosive and corrupting Israeli influence on the American foreign policy establishment is a good thing. We’re bad enough all on our own, mkay?
“Fed not yet decided whether to hike rates in Sept – Powell” [Reuters].
“Stubbornly low yields on long-term bonds suggest investors are worried about the economic outlook” [Wall Street Journal, ”The Federal Reserve Is Ready for Rate Increases, but Bond Market Is Skeptical “].
ADP Employment Report, July 2015: “Friday’s employment report will be a flop, based on ADP’s estimate for private payrolls which it sees rising only 185,000,” although “ADP has a spotty record” [Bloomberg]. Below the low estimate. And: “Employment is a rear view indicator, and looking at this ADP data – the overall trend for the year-over-year rate of growth has been flat since mid-2010” [Econintersect].
Gallup U.S. Job Creation Index, July 2015: “maintained its record high” [Bloomberg]. “43 percent of workers saying their employer is hiring.”
International Trade, June 2015: “A rise in imports made for a slightly wider-than-expected trade gap in June of $43.8 billion. Imports rose 1.2 percent reflecting a rise in petroleum imports” [Bloomberg]. “[A]nother strong surplus for services,” continued weakness in manufacturing. And: “Econintersect is most concerned with imports as there is a clear recession link to import contraction” [Econintersect]. Bulls, rejoice?
PMI Services Index, July 2015: “Service sector growth is accelerating” [Bloomberg]. “With gains in orders come gains in hiring which the report describes as ‘robust.’ But optimism in the 12-month outlook, perhaps rattled by the outlook for the global economy, is down for a second straight month to a 3-year low.”
ISM Non-Manufacturing Index, July 2015: “ISM’s non-manufacturing sample reports a giant surge of strength, to 60.3 for the July index and the highest reading in 10 years. The result far surpasses expectations” [Bloomberg]. (“This index covers services, construction, mining, agriculture, forestry, and fishing and hunting.”)
MBA Mortgage Applications, week of July 31, 2015: “A drop in rates helped boost mortgage activity” [Bloomberg]. Purchase applications up 23% year-on-year. And: “While still historically very low, purchase apps are now way up over last year’s particularly depressed levels. Some are replacing all cash buyers, but the increase is also in line with increased existing home sales” [Mosler Economics]. “While new home sales were soft, turnover of existing homes has been increasing, and while not directly increasing GDP, existing home sales are generally associated with purchases of furniture, appliances, and other home improvements, and of course real estate commissions.”
“MBS investors need to ‘keep a close watch on repo’ as Fed initiates O/N RRP; will be ‘on-the-job training’ for everyone and may increase funding costs, tighten financing” [Across the Curve].
“I track the daily real time Federal Withholding Tax data [here]. The year to year growth rate in withholding taxes in real time is now running +2.9% in nominal terms. Over the past week the growth rate has dropped sharply after being remarkably consistent around +5-6% since April” [Econintersect]. Readers?
“For the second straight year, an enormous algae bloom has settled upon Lake Erie, generating nasty toxins right where the city of 400,000 draws its tap water” [Mother Jones]. “Toledo’s fertilizer-haunted water supply is hardly an isolated case. Similar situations persist throughout the Corn Belt, from Ohio in the east to Nebraska in the west.”
“A deepening drought in Puerto Rico that has affected 2.5 million people forced the government on Wednesday to extend severe water rationing measures to more communities that are already struggling with an economic crisis” [New York Times].
“Across [California], 12 million trees died over the past year due to lack of water, according to the U.S. Forest Service. While the bulk of those deaths occurred outside urban areas, conservationists and officials are now focusing on cities, where mandated water reductions are becoming visible in drying limbs and scorched leaves” [San Jose Mercury News].
“California’s drought police, slapped down in court just a few weeks ago, have been cleared to go after water districts accused of illegally diverting water” [Sacramento Bee].
“In July, a key [California] index of delta smelt abundance hit zero for the first time since the survey began in 1959. Researchers found a handful of smelt, but the number was too small to register on the population gauge” [CBS]. “The delta smelt has been at the center of vicious water fights between farmers, fishermen, cities and environmentalists ever since it was listed as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 1993. It was listed as an endangered under state law in 2010.”
“How does a drought form? Simply put, a consistent lack of rain over a long period of time will eventually lead to drought conditions. Here in the [North Carolina] Triad, we’ve had eight months in a row where we’ve been drier than average” [WFMY].
Dear Old Blighty
“So you want to sell off the NHS? The 67-year old behemoth has radically improved people’s quality of life for nearly a century, so it won’t be easy. Here’s a handy step-by-step guide to privatising the health service” [Guardian]. Seems familiar.
Black Injustice Tipping Point
“Charles Koch, left, and Michael Lomax, president and chief executive of the United Negro College Fund, speak during an interview at the Freedom Partners Summit on Aug. 3, 2015” [WaPo]. “The conversation took place in Koch’s private suite at the St. Regis Monarch Beach, where he greeted Lomax as “my buddy” when the college fund president arrived at the door.”
Traffic stop. Needless police escalation. Motorist reacts out of fear, defense. Motorist shot. Lather. Rinse. Repeat [New Orleans Advocate].
“White Americans who live in more diverse communities — where census data show at least 25 percent of the population is non-white — were more likely than other whites to say police in their communities mistreat minorities, 58 percent to 42 percent. And they’re more likely to see the police as too quick to use deadly force, 42 percent to 29 percent” [AP].
“Despite earlier denials, Sarawak Report has now accessed documents and emails, which detail how Jho Low [see this New York Times story] has provided payments for millions of dollars worth of diamonds purchased by Prime Minister [Najib]’s wife” [Sarawak Report]. How cozy. The $700 million that somehow ended up in Najib’s personal bank account in the 1MDB scandal struck me as so large that a state actor should be considered as a source, but now that we see military dictator- or Wall Street banker-levels of looting, $700 million seems more like business as usual. Just more loose cash floating around and ending up where fingers are stickiest.
“Adding further to concerns that the four-year old CFPB, created under Dodd-Frank to stop these serial bank abuses of unsophisticated customers, is more lite-touch regulation, is the fact that as the CFPB was applying the wrist-slap of the $35 million penalty to Citigroup, which had $7.3 billion in profits last year, the CFPB was opening a new investigation into Citigroup’s abuse of student loans held by struggling college students” [Wall Street on Parade]. Recidivism.
“Evidence from the prosecution of Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow potentially implicates a wide array of city and state leaders, including Mayor Ed Lee, in alleged bribery schemes, pay-to-play plots, campaign fund laundering and state construction contract rigging” [San Francisco Examiner]. This keeps happening in Democratic jurisdictions…
ACLU on The South Texas Family Residential Center, an immigrant detention center: “We have a name for locking people up and forcing them to do real work without wages. It’s called slavery” [Los Angeles Times]. Of course, it’s privatized and “run by Geo Group, the country’s second-largest prison company.” Ka-ching.
“People’s choice: Eleanor Roosevelt for the $10 bill” [McClatchy]. Eighty years later, and the brand of that President and that kind of Democrat still has plenty of good will on the asset side. Does anybody think for a minute that Obama or today’s Democrats will achieve anything remotely similar?
“Can we reverse the ageing process by putting young blood into older people?” [Guardian]. No doubt the first results will only be available to the very rich, and the blood come from the very poor. But cue the intergenerational warfare metaphors. Count! 10… 9…. 8….
News of the Wired
“Disclosure Disrupts the Zero-Day Market” [Another Word For It].
“Hacker shows he can locate, unlock and remote start GM vehicles” [Computerworld].
“The Web of Relationships We Have To Save” [Medium]. Perspective from Tahrir Square.
Mapping 400 hundred years of history for one New York City block on Greene Street [Wired].
Japan’s WWII atom bomb project [Los Angeles Times]. “Chieko Takeuchi, widow of the atomic scientist, recalled her husband saying, ‘If we’d built the bomb first, of course we would have used it. I’m glad, in some ways, that our facilities were destroyed.'”
If you sense a lot of free-floating anger about, this close analysis of a “road rage” video is for you [Vice]. Spoiler: Bicyclist for the win.
And speaking of free-floating anger: “Two arrested after parts of meth lab found in Taco Bell” [KWWL]. In Cedar Rapids. That’s Iowa nice?
A search engine that operates under Swiss privacy law [Hulbee]. Claims to be innovative and semantic; it gave me a good hit on how to kill cucumber beetles (which I don’t really need to all that much, thank you!) I’d welcome a Google replacement; ever since Google decided they wanted to be Facebook, their results have gotten worse and worse. I don’t want you to optimize for me, because I want to be able to find what I don’t already know! Sheesh.