By Lambert Strether of Corrente
UPDATE See below for PDF updates.
“What To Look For When the Trans-Pacific Partnership Text Is Released” [Dave Johnson, Campaign for America’s Future]. Nice round-up.
“New Zealand has put the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) online, offering the first detailed look at the world’s largest free trade deal, the most ambitious effort in years to remove barriers to commerce” [Guardian]. Here is the site. Unfortunately, when I try to download the zip file of the text, I get this message:
“In other words, the TPP means that America will write the rules of the road in the 21st century. When it comes to Asia, one of the world’s fastest-growing regions, the rulebook is up for grabs. And if we don’t pass this agreement — if America doesn’t write those rules — then countries like China will. And that would only threaten American jobs and workers and undermine American leadership around the world” [Barack Obama, Medium]. Here’s the trade dress:
Party like it’s 2008, and “Obey Giant” was still a thing. Obama continues: “That’s why I am posting the text of this agreement here for you to read and explore” [link]. Which is a brilliant promise of transparency without performance, since (a) the text is not available for download, and (b) Medium’s search function is abysmal:
The full text is also available online at the USTR [United States Trade Representative]. Unfortunately, (a) the text is not available for download, and (b) The USTR’s search function is broken:
Yes, the three browsers I tried all support TLS Server Name Indication. So, the text has indeed been released because transparency, except in such a way that nobody can process it. Well played, global post- and transnational elites!
So, readers, if any of you can figure out how to download the text, please post in comments. (You can use the contact form to send any zip files to me.) And if you find a site that has a reasonable search function, please post.
Where the sausage was made: in the “Party Specific” annexes to each chapter:
These were not downloadable, at least from the New Zealand site, so that’s another blow to transparency.
And speaking of sausage, here’s the list of Democrat trade traitors who voted for TPP.
“The White House is likely to formally notify U.S. lawmakers on Thursday that the president intends to sign deal, a senior Obama administration official said” [US News]. “The earliest the TPP could come before Congress is March, just as the U.S. presidential primary season is heating up, creating the risk that the deal becomes a campaign issue.” Risk?
“‘Enactment of TPP is going to require the administration to fully explain the benefits of this agreement and what it will mean for American families,’ Ryan said. ‘I continue to reserve judgement on the path ahead. But I remain hopeful that our negotiators reached an agreement that the House can support because a successful TPP would mean more good jobs for American workers and greater U.S. influence in the world'” [Market News].
“The nations also pledged to abide by International Monetary Fund commitments that bar countries from artificially depreciating their currencies for competitive purposes, and they agreed to meet for annual consultations on the issue” [Wall Street Journal, “Details of Pacific Trade Pact to Fuel Debate”]. Hmm. In a fantasy world where Greece had left the Euro for the drachma and then devalued it, would that be “artificial”?
“Chevron’s Star Witness Admits to Lying in the Amazon Pollution Case” [Vice]. And Chevron had used ISDS to get a ruling favorable to them.
Alert reader synoia grabbed the PDFs and zipped them. They are here.
Here’s the directory of files in the zip, which as you can see, includes the Annexes:
Hopefully people will find this useful…
Readers, TPP threw me back a little; I’ll update this section shortly.
UPDATE “Republicans are openly feuding over whether to seek drastic changes to Medicare, Social Security and other entitlement programs, risking a potentially damaging intraparty battle ahead of the 2016 elections” [WaPo]. “The rift was exemplified this week by the GOP stars of the moment. Newly installed House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said he plans to pursue a ‘bold alternative agenda’ that would include major revisions in entitlements. At the same time, leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump railed against proposals to end or significantly change Medicare.” So, Ryan signals help with a “Grand Bargain” in exchange for TPP support?
UPDATE “A new Iowa survey from Public Policy Polling (PPP) puts Jindal in the top five, ahead of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and businesswoman Carly Fiorina” [The Hill].
UPDATE “The share of Republican primary voters who said they are open to supporting Mr. Bush has dropped 10 percentage points since September. The drop has been twice as steep among self-described tea-party Republicans, with just 36% now saying they would be open to voting for him” [Wall Street Journal, ” GOP Voters Find Jeb Bush Likable, But His Challenges Run Deep “].
Democratic (2015) Debacle
UPDATE The usual alibis, #1: The other faction is teh suxx0r:
Before I rest for the night, let me explain the election results. When you run away from the President of your party, you lose. Period.
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) November 4, 2015
UPDATE The usual alibis, #2: The voters are stupid: “400,000 People Could Lose Their Health Care Because No One Turned Out To Vote” [Think Progress].
UPDATE On Kentucky: “But the loss challenges Democrats’ assumption — one also touted on this blog — that they can win on hostile political turf by successfully demonstrating how government programs can help people and pointing out that Republicans will take all that away from them” [Greg Sargent, WaPo].
But “demonstrating how government programs can help people” via ObamaCare is not what happened in Kentucky. Yes, some were helped by Medicaid expansion. I’m happy for them (at least the ones who won’t lose the family home to Medicaid Estate Recovery.) And the others? Besides failing co-ops, rate hikes (“13.8% likely, 15.2% maximum”), and the rather unhelpful advice to “SHOP AROUND, FOLKS”, how were they helped?
Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of those Kentucky voters: They go through a complex, time-consuming, and risky “shopping” process to get a narrow network, high-deductible, high co-pay product. Then, assuming those voters weren’t among the two-thirds of ObamaCare shoppers who had to pay the Feds back at tax time, they’re asked to pay a big rate increase — as usual — and told to “shop around” if they don’t like a higher price for a lousy product. A party that tries to frame that process as “how government programs can help people” will fail. In fact, it will deserve to fail.
UPDATE More on Kentucky via [Daily Kos (!)].
Let’s start with this: Barack Obama has never been here. OK, he’s been to Louisville because that’s where all the votes are. And maybe he flew out of the airport in Northern Kentucky, across the river from Cincinnati. The point is he’s never been to Appalachia, and I can speak only for Kentucky but I’m confident it’s true of much of the region.
Not once that I can remember.
Not just Obama. Major candidates don’t come here. Not at all. Not ever.
Why does this matter? The Tea Party has an energized base. They appear to be winning (surely they won last night), and so their base is growing. We Democrats…we don’t count. The national apparatus has looked at our region and said, “Yeah, not enough votes, and we can’t win there.” And so they don’t spend their resources here. I mean, sure, they spend money, just to piss off Mitch McConnell and friends.
But they don’t send serious national candidates our way. They spend no time in this region. They make it clear they simply don’t care. There aren’t enough of us, we don’t donate enough money, we’re not important.
C’mon, let’s be reasonable. The Acela doesn’t go through Kentucky. And you can’t get a good latté there. More to the point, these Kentucky voters are the voters the Democrats (including Donna Brazile) threw under the bus in 2008. And why should they vote for the guy if he never shows up in their state?
“How I Would Reaffirm Unbreakable Bond With Israel — and Benjamin Netanyahu” [Hillary Clinton, Forward]. Idea: Why not give Bibi the “King for a Day” treatment in the chair behind the Oval Office desk? None of this penny ante stuff, like letting him direct US foreign policy from the floor of Congress. And on the anniversary of Rabin’s assassination, too. Meanwhile, Bibi picks the guy who called Obama an anti-Semite his chief of diplomacy [New York Times]. Oh, and Clinton’s head fake to the left lasted about thirty seconds, didn’t it?
Sanders: “People should be suspect of candidates who receive large sums of money from Wall Street and then go out and say, ‘Trust me, I’m going to really regulate Wall Street,'” [Wall Street Journal, “Bernie Sanders Takes Gloves Off Against Hillary Clinton in Interview”]. The last paragraph (!) of the story.
“New Hampshire official is coy about whether lifelong [Sanders] independent will make ballot” [Wall Street Journal, “Questions Loom About Bernie Sanders Qualifying for First Democratic Primary “].
“Marco Rubio to Release Records for Controversial Card Charges in a ‘Few Weeks'” [ABC]. Chump change, when compared to an entire foundation peddling influence while laundering money.
UPDATE “It has become legend in Florida political circles, a missing chapter in Marco Rubio’s convoluted financial story: two years of credit card transactions from his time in the state House, when he and other Republican leaders freely spent party money” [Tampa Bay Times]. “Details about the spending, which included repairs for Rubio’s family minivan, emerged in his 2010 U.S. Senate race. But voters got only half the story because the candidate refused to disclose additional records.” So did the Mittster know what was in the other half?
Turns out reporters can’t verify Carson’s heartwarming bio when they talk to people who knew him at the time [CNN]. I’m shocked.
Productivity and Costs, Q3 2015: “Lower output pulled down productivity growth and pushed up unit labor costs in the third quarter” [Econoday]. “A look at year-on-year rates shows how soft productivity growth is, at plus 0.4 percent in the quarter vs plus 0.8 percent in the second quarter and vs a post-war average of plus 2.2 percent. Labor costs are up a year-on-year 2.0 percent vs the second quarter’s plus 1.6 percent. Low productivity is consistent with full employment and an aging economic cycle.”
Challenger Job-Cut Report, October 2015: Layoff announcements fell [Econoday]. “Challenger estimates that just a little more than 1/4 of October’s announcements were tied to oil prices.”
Jobless Claims, week of October 31: “Initial claims shot 16,000 higher in the October 31 week but still remain very low” [Econoday]. “The rise for initial claims is unexpected but would have to be repeated in subsequent weeks before downgrading what is still a very favorable outlook for the unemployment side of the labor market.”‘
“This month’s employment proxies are nearly evenly split with 7 positive vs. 6 negative. However, the positive data points are especially relevant, namely Initial Claims, ISM non-manufacturing, and ADP. On the other hand, the negative anecdotes include ISM and Empire State. It’s worth noting that at just +182k the bar for an upside surprise is lower than it’s been since February 2014″ [Across the Curve].
Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of November 1, 2015: “The consumer comfort index fell a steep 1.7 points in the November 1 week to 41.1 for the seventh straight decline” [Econoday].
Chain Store Sales, October 2015: “Chain stores are reporting weaker rates of year-on-year sales in October, a month when unseasonably warm weather held down sales of seasonal goods” [Econoday].
“A survey of over 1,000 online U.S.-based shoppers by and JDA Software Group Inc. shows that, of 35% who opted to buy online and pick up goods in a store in the past year, 50% encountered problems getting their purchases” [Wall Street Journal, “Retailers Struggle Getting E-Commerce Goods to Customers, Study Says”].
The Fed, headline: ” Fed May Proceed With December Hike If Payrolls Rise as Projected ” [Bloomberg]. No pressure on the Labor Department, though!
The Fed: “The last time the Fed flagged its next meeting for possible action was in 1999, as JPMorgan economist Michael Feroli pointed out. It resorted to calendar-based commitments of ultra-easy policy during the global financial crisis and recession, but ended that practice three years ago” [Yahoo Finance]. “Yet Fed Chair Janet Yellen and her deputies got so frustrated that investors virtually ignored their message that a rate rise before the year end was probable that they decided last month it was a risk worth taking, the interviews show.”
The Fed: ” Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday pointed to a possible December interest rate “liftoff” but said rates would rise only slowly from then on to nurture the U.S. economic recovery” [Reuters]. Nurture?
The Fed: “Fed Officials Are Attending Big Bank Board Meetings?” [Wall Street On Parade]. Asked this question at the House Financial Services Committee, Yellen said she’d have to “get back to” them on that (!).
The Fed: “Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., told Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday she should hold off on raising rates next month as it would go against “God’s plan” [CNBC]. “‘As I argued … back in the summer, God’s plan is not for things to go rise in the autumn. As a matter of fact, that’s why we call it fall. Nor is it God’s plan for things to rise in the winter through the snow,’ he said.” This Maine bear agrees!
Ag: “Food prices recorded their biggest rise in three years, led by the biggest surge in sugar values since 2010, the United Nations said, even as it raised further expectations for wheat inventories” [Agrimoney]. What could go wrong?
Honey for the Bears: “Web Summit Dublin: Start-ups give 10 second pitches” [BBC]. Froth.
Honey for the Bears: “Shunning outside capital meant that Everlane could pursue a strategy outside the standard venture-backed playbook” [New York Times]. But wait. The VC playbook is the best playbook EVAH! So why is this news?
“Tesla’s showing all the signs of a company in trouble: bleeding cash, securitized assets, and mounting inventory. It’s the trifecta of doom for any automaker, and anyone paying attention probably saw this coming a mile away” [Bob Lutz, Car and Track].
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 72 (-2); Greed [CNN]. Last week: 71 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed)
“Although Issue 3 was handily defeated, the debate and conversations about the issue have convinced [Ohio] House Speaker Cliff Rosenberg, R-Clarksville, and other state lawmakers who were staunchly opposed to legalization to now say it may be time to move ahead with medical marijuana” [Columbus Dispatch].
“Ohio’s failure to legalize marijuana tells us little about reform, and less about the future” [Brookings]. “The forces of defeat had more to do with timing, referendum language, demographics, and other ballot initiatives than it did with public opinion on the issue.”
“Experts ‘amazed’ by tapeworm that spread tumors to man” [France24]. No, not the FIRE sector!
“It turns out it’s impossible to block Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook” [Short List].
“Always aim for a monopoly,” says Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder and billionaire venture capitalist. The drive for monopoly has become the de facto goal for most venture-backed tech companies, which, because they largely give away their products for free, must scale relentlessly, attracting as many users and as much data as possible” [New Republic]. And, as we saw Peter Thiel say yesterday, it’s all the money sloshing about from QE that’s inflating the venture bubble. Take a bow, Janet!
“[Facebook’s] ad business now generates $9.86 for every user in the US. That’s a sharp jump from the $6.64 average revenue per US user that the ad business generated at this time one year ago” [Facebook].
News of the Wired
“Salt handgun is designed for non-lethal defense” [Gizmag]. Like Tito’s gun in Spook Country?
The history of the color blue in oil painting [Zocalo Public Square].
Twitter’s stupid new heart for favoriting is red, which doesn’t work for the color blind (8% of men) [Tech Insider]. Another sign this change didn’t come from the engineers, or any study of the audience, but from stupid money and/or stupid executives at the top.
Existential comics [Existential Comics].
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 (Stephen):
We might get our first frost this weekend: 3 weeks late! like most everybody else I suspect.
Find attached a pic of my last ripe figs picked today…
If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. Winter has come, I need to buy fuel, and I need to keep my server up, too. And thanks so much for the donations during the annual fundraiser. They are much appreciated, both practically, since I immediately socked them in to infrastructure, and as signs that you enjoy the work.