By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
In 2006, under the Bush administration, Sanders, along with six other states, made a deal with Venezuela for cheap heating oil [HuffPo].For the sadly hackish David Brock at
Media MattersClinton PAC-funded “Correct the Record,” that’s a problem. To be fair, Brock is from the Beltway; he’s never faced the prospect of running out of fuel in a Northeast winter..
Josh Marshall: “Even if Trump collapses over the next few weeks, when we look back on this race, I think it will be clear that in various ways over several weeks, Donald Trump destroyed Bush’s candidacy. If that’s true it’s a big, big deal because in Republican primaries the establishment guy with the money always wins. And Jeb’s that guy. If he’s out, the whole contest has no clear structure and it has to be one of the other candidates, each of whom have basic weaknesses as general election candidates. All bets are off” [Talking Points Memo]. I don’t often agree with Democratic operatives. But I think Marshall has this right.
Jebbie wants to put Maggie Thatcher on the $10 bill [WaPo]. Wowsers. Could have been Bibi, I guess. And to think I thought W was the stupid one.
“Jeb Bush and his arch rival Donald Trump exchanged an awkward high five during the second Republican presidential debate, after Mr Bush managed to turn a tricky question into a rebuke of the billionaire’s jibes” [Telegraph]. Neat piece of manipulation there by Trump, eh?
Asked for his (hypothetical) Secret Service code name: “Mr Trump then smiled, leant close to his microphone, and said his name would be ‘Humble’ [Telegraph]. So awesome!
Fiorina zinger: “A fish swims in water, it doesn’t know it’s water. It’s not that politicians are bad people, it’s that they’ve been in that system forever” [Time].
Fiorina zinger, on “Look at that face”: “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said” [Time]. Ouch!
On Fiorina: “She’s a woman, from California, and a ‘wet’ on immigration. And now MSM is touting her. Totally wrong profile for fighting Trump” [@billmon]. And that’s before every H-P alum in the Valley starts feeding the campaigns oppo and sharing the stories in the press.
UPDATE “I Guess Jeff Sent A Memo” [Eschaton]. Ha. Seattle isn’t Silicon Vally, it seems.
“TRUMP DOMINATES DEBATE POLL; FIORINA JUMPS; CRUZ, RUBIO HAVE PULSE” [Drudge Report].
“How many times has Trump continued climbing in polls after pundits confidently concluded Trump-ism has burned out?” [Greg Sargent].
“One of the lessons of the first debate is to avoid jumping to conclusions in the minutes immediately following the melee. Nearly all of us in the political analysis racket knocked Ben Carson’s performance in Cleveland, but the verdict delivered by Republican primary voters was vastly different” [Bloomberg].
“23 million watched GOP debate, a record for CNN” [CNN].
[Since the FOMC meeting announcement is at 2:00PM, I’ll add some links and hot takes shortly, if needed.]
UPDATE “Uncertainties tied to China sealed the fate of the September FOMC where, despite this week’s loud calls from the hawks, policy remained unchanged. . Improvement in the labor market is described as solid with inflation expected to remain near recent lows before gradually moving to 2 percent in the medium term. But the statement warns that global events may “restrain” economic activity. The vote went nine to one with one hawk, Atlanta’s Lacker, voting for a 25 basis point hike” [Econoday]. Ha. Taking away free money from the 1% is like trying to take away a bone from a dog. “The vote went nine to one with one hawk, Atlanta’s Lacker, voting for a 25 basis point hike.” Not even close. Looks like the “one and done” crowd were way too radical!
“[T]he central bank maintained its bias towards a rate hike sometime this year, while lowering its long-term outlook for the economy. Fresh economic projections showed 13 of 17 Fed policymakers still foresee raising rates at least once in 2015, down from 15 at the last meeting in June. Four policymakers now believe rates should not be raised until at least 2016, compared to two who felt that way in June” [Reuters]. I can’t imagine there will be a rate hike in the Holiday Season, which now begins before Halloween. The 1% need to do their bit for aggregate demand by purchasing their stocking stuffers: Hermès yacht covers and barrels of caviar, and so forth…
“WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve announced on Thursday that it would keep interest rates near zero as officials assessed the impact of tighter financial conditions and slower global growth on the domestic economy” [New York Times]. So Mr. Market’s brow was slightly creased with anxiety. And that was enough!
“The Federal Reserve has lowered its estimate of the economy’s potential growth rate. In the latest projections, the members of the Fed said the economy can grow at 1.8% to 2.2% over the long term, down from a central tendency estimate of 2% to 2.3% in the June forecasts” [Marketwatch]. “The lower growth potential is a function of slowing in the growth of the labor force in years to come, as well as a recognition that productivity increases have softened considerably. A slower potential growth rate means the economy has less slack than the Fed thought a few months ago.” Hearty congratulations to the Obama administration for permanently shrinking the labor force, though it must be conceded that business leaders, by crapifying the jobs, played their part. Bring on the robots.
“The new dot plot shows a much more dovish view of future rates than the last release in June. The median FOMC member sees rates staying between just 0.25% and 0.5% at the end of 2015, suggesting at most one rate hike by the end of the year. This is also lower than in June, when the median member saw rates between 0.5% and 0.75%. Interestingly, one member actually sees slightly negative rates at the end of 2015 and 2016” [Business Insider].
— BI Markets (@themoneygame) September 17, 2015
Housing starts, August 2015: “Housing starts fell back in August but not permits which gained and point to strength for starts ahead. ” [Econoday].
Jobless Claims, week of September 12, 2015: “Claims fell 11,000 to a 264,000 level that is one of the very lowest of the last 40 years” [Econoday]. “The September 12th week may have been a shortened week for the Labor Day holiday but it is still the sampling week.”
Current Account, Q2 2015: “came in at the low end of expectations” [Econoday]. “The narrowing is concentrated in the trade gap which narrowed $4.3 billion in the quarter on improvement in the goods deficit and continuing gains in the service surplus. Balances on income also improved.”
Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of September 13, 2015: Down 1.2% [Econoday]. “[S]howing some cracks as did last week’s consumer sentiment report.”
Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, September 2015: “There may very well be something wrong with the manufacturing sector, at least in the Northeast where the Empire State index has been in deep negative ground for the last two months followed now by a minus 6.0 headline for the Philly Fed index. This is the first negative reading since February 2014” [Econoday].
The Fed: “Fed continues to fail to sustain enough aggregate demand to meet it’s 2% inflation target” [Mosler Economics]. FOMC decision at 2:00PM today!
The Fed: Janet Yellen’s husband, George Akerlof, has published professionally on procrastination [American Economic Review].
The Fed: Why is this rate hike different from all others? Handy charts [Bloomberg].
“A Charleston police officer is expected to resign after he threw a homeless man’s backpack into the Elk River during a confrontation in August, according to several sources close to the investigation. The man’s backpack contained a laptop that had the only photographs he had of his late wife, the sources said” [Charleston Gazette].
“The [1MDB] fund, which was founded by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, has amassed $11 billion in debt it is struggling to repay. The Wall Street Journal reported in July that Malaysian investigators had traced almost $700 million of deposits into what they believed were Mr. Najib’s personal bank accounts after the movement of cash among agencies, banks and companies linked to 1MDB” [Wall Street Journal, “Malaysia to Allow Swiss to Question Witnesses in 1MDB Probe”]. This is ka-ching on an imperial scale! Meanwhile, the Najib government ratchets up Malay vs. Chinese ethnic tensions. And preferences for Malays are not only the basis of Malaysia’s political economy, they are, by definition, barriers to trade (and are the Straits of Malacca sufficient reason for other TPP signatories to let Malaysia get away with what they cannot?). Again, I don’t see how the Najib government signs TPP.
“Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was a favorite of Obama’s, a White House visitor and January golfing partner” [Asia Sentinel]. “Najib’s international reputation was severely tarnished again this week with a report on the Al Jazeera news network raising questions anew over the notorious 2006 murder of Mongolian translator and party girl Altantuya Shaariibuu.” Obama will be visiting Malaysia in November. And if Obama wants to bribe Najib, we already know the price: $700 million. So, again, how does TPP get signed?
“Sheldon Silver, Former Assembly Speaker, Helped Developer Block Methadone Clinic’s Relocation, U.S. Says” [New York Times]. “Helped,” that is, after receiving “thousands of dollars in illegal payments disguised as referral fees.” Ka-ching.
Our Famously Free Press
“One of Canada’s largest newspapers, Montreal’s La Presse, will pull the plug on its daily print edition next year, its publisher said Wednesday” [Phys.org].
“The Drudge Report is one of the best designed sites on the web” [Medium]. It’s certainly better than that Bloomberg redesign!
“Welcome to hell: Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook and the slow death of the web” [The Verge].
“Hawaii Taps the Ocean to Generate Carbon-Free Power” [Yahoo News].
Since 1980, total grapefruit consumption has tumbled by almost 80 percent. [WaPo].
“Bats face a variety of threats globally, but their relevance as predators of insects in ubiquitous corn-dominated landscapes underlines the economic and ecological importance of conserving biodiversity” [Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists].
Diet causes 17.5% of global deaths (interactive chart) [HealthData.org].
“Most top U.S. restaurant chains have no publicly available policy to limit regular use of antibiotics in their meat and poultry supply chains” [Big Country].
“[T]he studies done in The Gambia certainly provide compelling evidence that these so-called “epigenetic changes” may also happen in humans in response to a change in diet. That if, during very early development, a mother eats a diet rich in leafy green vegetables, then this will change forever just how active some of her child’s genes are” [BBC].
Dear Old Blighty
In Parliament’s Question Time, Corbyn “broke with convention and selected his six questions from the public having ‘crowd sourced’ ideas online” [France24].
“[T]he anti-democratic virulence of Britain’s tax-dodging media monopolists still has the capacity to take the breath away” [Guardian]. “The media and political establishment has proved incapable of managing the intrusion of Corbyn’s democratic insurgency into what had seemed a well-insulated elite order. Media organisations that have for years called every major issue wrongly, from the war on terror to the economy, find themselves unable to deal with a movement that has overturned the rules of the game.” But Corbyn needs more than a Karl Rove; he needs his supporters to flood the local Labour Party apparatus and take it over.
Corbyn: “I think Abraham Lincoln made a point … He said, ‘with malice toward none and charity towards all’ we will go forward. I am sure that is the right way to do things” [Guardian]. Maybe. The quote is from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural address in 1865; that is, when the slave power was near defeat, but not defeated. I like that Corbyn seems to realize that he’s at war; but it seems to me that Cooper Union, in 1860, would be the more appropriate source: “You will rule or ruin in all events.”
“The main reason people at the top are so much richer these days than they once were (and so much richer than everyone else) is not that they own so much more capital: it’s that they get paid much more for their work than they once did, while everyone else gets paid about the same, or less” [New York Review of Books] (review of several works by Stiglitz).
“Can Applied Economics Save Homeless Puppies?” [Working Knowledge]. I had no idea there as an academic discipline called “market design,” but when you think about it, there would have to be!
“The [Social Structure of Accumulation (SSA)] theory [developed in the 1980a] posits that each institutional form, or SSA, initially promotes profit-making and stable economic expansion. However, eventually an SSA turns from a promoter of stable expansion into an obstacle to it, ushering in a long period of economic stagnation, referred to as a ‘structural crisis’ in this literature” [London School of Economics].
News of the Wired
Christianist consulting racket in Irving, TX [Salon]. School system pays for 72-page report on the Islamic threat to the curriculum, triggered by a chain email. No wonder Ahmed’s leaving.
“The Struggle to Save (or Close) Lakewood Hospital Is a Circus Act with No Signs of Ending ” [Cleveland Scene].
“You’re not irrational, you’re just quantum probabilistic” [Science Daily].
“Google Is 2 Billion Lines of Code—And It’s All in One Place” [Wired]. The concrete material basis for… what, exactly?
Tracking Abbott’s wreckage [Union. Politics. And Stuff]. It’s quite a list. And now Abbott is gone!