By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
“In all areas assessed, the [health impact assessment] found that proposed TPP provisions were likely to adversely affect health. These provisions are also likely to more adversely affect the health of vulnerable populations” [British Medical Journal].
Australia: “Campaign to stop the TPP in 2016” [Chris White]. Round-up of the (very many) Australian organizations campaigning against the TPP.
“[I]f the concern is drug prices and spending, the current evidence suggests that the pharmaceutical provisions in U.S. trade deals may not justify the large claims made for or against their inclusion” [Council on Foreign Relations]. (Related article here, but paywalled.)
“From Yemen to Somalia, the White House has gone back to bombing men [sic] it can’t confirm are militants — potentially leaving innocents trapped in the crossfire” [Foreign Policy]. “[T]he next president will inherit Obama’s drone war policies, including the signature strikes. Even Sen. Bernie Sanders, the avowed democratic socialist and presidential candidate, has given his blessing to the ‘targeted killings.'”
“These are sadly typical stories of those disempowered at work, with all the risks put on their shoulders. “Angry” voters may simply be angry workers tossed into the Darwinian world of the modern economy, operating without any fallback support from their employers or their government. This was bound to find its way into our politics, but though solutions for these workers exist, nobody is talking about them” [David Dayen, The New Republic]. “The fact that this shift toward the 1099 economy occurred mostly during a terrible labor market suggests it was never a matter of worker choice, but an exercise of employer power.” Compare “What “Hope” (and Change) Look Like in the Labor Market, According to the New York Times.”
Wisconsin exit polls (Democratic) [CNN].
Wisconsin instant analysis (Democratic) [ABC].
“Clinton, who left Wisconsin over the weekend to focus on winning the Empire State [that is, to hold a fundraiser], did not hold a public appearance Tuesday night” [Seven Days]. She really needs to get out on the trail more.
Readers, I should have more on Cruz vs. Trump, but… I’m b-o-o-o-o-r-r-r-e-d. It’s like some Beltway strategist got to Trump and told him he needed to stop being an entertainer and start being a serious candidate. (I mean, come on. An interview with MoDo? What was that about? Roger Stone can’t do it all!) So his ratings are falling. Trump needs to remember that Cleveland is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and act accordingly.
UPDATE “NY Election Boards Inundated With Calls From Voters “Pissed Off” About Registration Issues” [Gothamist]. Funny how the Democratic Establishment isn’t able to run basic voting infrastructure competently, and yet its very incompetence — I’m being charitable, here — rebounds to its own benefit. It would be beautiful, if it weren’t so sick.
“The [Daily News] has twisted an interview its editorial board conducted with Sanders on April 1 into a pretzel to come up with a headline screaming that Sanders “callously defends gunmakers” against the relatives of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting” [Wall Street on Parade].
“Yes, Bernie Sanders Knows Something About Breaking Up Banks” [New York Times]. Despite a fool’s chorus of wonks clutching their pearls. It’s like all the pundits want the President to be somebody from their social circle. They want a President who’s the world’s best Democratic strategist (and to be fair, so does Clinton); or a President who crafts legislation, like a staffer; or a President who is the master of detail, like the Acting Under Assistant Deputy Secretary of Something or Other. Heaven forfend we have an energetic executive with a unifying vision and high goals!
“Homo Politicus ≠ Homo Wonkus” [Corey Robin]. “Bernie Sanders really didn’t botch that interview with Daily News, which has prompted this latest wave of policy tut-tutting in the media. And his answers about Dodd-Frank and banking regulation were basically right. ”
It seems Clinton will shortly argue that Vermont guns cause New York crimes; Vermont Governor and Clinton Superdelegate Shumlin makes a pre-emptive response [YouTube].
“Clinton just blasted Sanders for not being a Democrat. Here’s why.” [Greg Sargent, WaPo]. Closed primaries are coming up. This is interesting:
Sanders genuinely believes the Democratic Party’s achievements during the Obama era are far less impressive, relative to what might have been accomplished, than Clinton does. Sanders believes that Obama advances on health care, Wall Street reform, and climate change fall well short of the scale of our challenges. But more to the point, he faults the Democratic establishment’s complicity in this: Dem politicians are part of the problem, because they remain in thrall to plutocratic money and weren’t genuinely interested in mobilizing the grassroots to break Congressional gridlock.
Clinton, by contrast, is more sympathetic to the view that structural constraints genuinely limited the scale of what was possible. She believes building incrementally on Obama’s achievements is probably the best we can hope for in the near future. She also thinks the most formidable obstacle to any future progressive change — whether incremental or ambitious — remains the Republican Party and its structural and ideological entrenchment, as opposed to the plutocracy’s grip on the bipartisan elite establishment.
Sargent may be right. I have never seen a Democratic loyalist take responsibility for anything. “The Democratic Party can never fail. It can only be failed.” Of course, a party apparatus that completely lacks the capacity for self-criticism will, at some point, implode; the only question is when. “I can think of nothing more poisonous than to rot in the stink of your own reflections,” as Jessica remarks somewhere in Dune.
“The case against Bernie Sanders, according to Barney Frank” [WaPo]. No doubt a room-mate of negotiable affection helped Frank in his future career as a banker. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Let’s just say that the standards for “collegiality” on The Hill seem… odd.
“Puerto Rico Invites Chaos as Debt Moratorium Upends Progress” [Bloomberg].
“Clinton has ‘had enough’ of Bernie Sanders” [Politico]. Also, young people are stupid:
— David Beard (@dabeard) April 6, 2016
“Stop lying about my record” didn’t work for Bob Dole either.
Reuters/Ipsos poll: Cruz has 35.2 percent support among Republicans to Trump’s 39.5 percent, according to the survey taken from April 1-5, putting the two within the poll’s credibility interval of 4.8 percentage points [Reuters]. I’m sure Clinton would rather run against Trump than Cruz. She’d better help out The Donald!
MBA Mortgage Applications, April 2016: “Purchase applications for home mortgages declined by 2.0 percent in the April 1 week, but refinancing, boosted by lower rates, increased by 7 percent” [Econoday]. “The weekly report fails to support certain isolated evidence of revival in the housing market.”
Gallup U.S. Job Creation Index, March 2016: “The March job creation index climbed to plus 32, matching the highest level of its eight-year history. The increase from February’s plus 29 reading is the first upward movement since May of last year” [Econoday]. “Job creation indexes for all four major regions — East, Midwest, South and West — showed gains in March.”
Shipping: “The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) has climbed by 13 points from Tuesday and was assessed at 500 points today, its highest level since December 14” [Splash247].
Concentration: “The US Government is set to take legal action this week to block a proposed merger of the world’s second and third largest oilfield services firms Halliburton and Baker Hughes” [Splash247]. “It was originally valued as a $35bn merger but market conditions and falling share prices have seen that valuation drop to $25bn.”
Honey for the Bears: “U.S. gasoline demand, one of the strongest pillars supporting oil consumption, fell in January for the first time in 14 months, U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed” [Mosler Economics].
Honey for the Bears: “But what if large-scale economic slumps can be traced to declines in relatively narrow industrial sectors? A newly published study co-authored by an MIT economist provides evidence that economic problems may often have smaller points of origin and then spread as part of a network effect” [MIT News]. So the aggregate statistics are drunks looking under the lamppost?
Honey for the Bears: “If the government thinks the private market is failing to provide enough of something, such as college education, the right response is to subsidize it directly. Instead, Congress invariably chooses to subsidize borrowing for that activity” [Narayana Kocherlakota, “Who’s Responsible for the Next Crisis,” Bloomberg].
Honey for the Bears: “Losses on bonds from defaulted companies are likely to be higher than in previous cycles, because U.S. issuers have more debt relative to their assets, according to Bank of America Corp. strategists. Those high levels of borrowings mean that if a company liquidates, the proceeds have to cover more liabilities” [Bloomberg].
“The ECB Explains Why Central Banks Can’t Go Bankrupt in a Footnote” [Bloomberg]. “They cannot run out of that which they create.” Who knew?
“Also weird is the disconnect between what’s supposedly happened in the private markets and what we know happened in the public equity markets. The aggregate value of small energy companies with publicly-traded shares is about half what it was in 2011-2012, yet the implied value of private equity energy assets, which should be broadly similar, has been flat for many funds, or even gone up” [FT Alphaville, “Private equity’s mark-to-make-believe problem” (RS)]. It’s not “weird.” Teach private equity to phish, and they can phish for a lifetime. Part of the global bezzle!
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 75, Extreme Greed (previous close: 69, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 6 at 12:16pm. Big swing to Extreme Greed!
“Hedge funds waiting for the final exit from Iceland’s capital controls have a lot riding on the survival of the current government coalition” [Bloomberg].
“Panama Papers: the revelations so far” [Guardian].
UPDATE Here’s the quote; I think it’s self-explanatory.
[The Jackpot] was androgenic, he said, and she knew from Ciencia Loca and National Geographic that meant because of people. Not that they’d known what they were doing, had meant to make problems, but they’d caused it anyway. And in fact the actual climate, the weather, caused by there being too much carbon, had been the driver for a lot of other things. How that got worse and never better, and was just expected to, ongoing. Because people in the past, clueless as to how that worked, had fucked it all up, then not been able to get it together to do anything about it, even after they knew, and now it was too late.
So now, in her day, he said, they were headed into androgenic, systemic, multiplex, seriously bad shit, like she sort of already knew, figured everybody did, except for people who still said it wasn’t happening, and those people were mostly expecting the Second Coming anyway. She’d looked across the silver lawn, that Leon had cut with the push-mower whose cast-iron frame was held together with actual baling wire, to where moon shadows lay, past stunted boxwoods and the stump of a concrete birdbath they’d pretened was a dragon’s castle, while Wilf told her it killed 80 percent of every last person alive, over about forty years. …
No comets crashing, nothing you could really call a nuclear war. Just everything else, tangled in the changing climate: droughts, water shortages, crop failures, honeybees gone like they almost were now, collapse of other keystone species, every last alpha predator gone, antibiotics doing even less than they already did, diseases that were never quite the one big pandemic but big enough to be historic events in themselves. And all of it around people: how people were, how many of them there were, how they’d changed things just by being there. …
But science, he said, had been the wild card, the twist. With everything stumbling deeper into a ditch of shit, history itself become a slaughterhouse, science had started popping. Not all at once, no one big heroic thing, but there were cleaner, cheaper energy sources, more effective ways to get carbon out of the air, new drugs that did what antibiotics had done before…. Ways to print food that required much less in the way of actual food to begin with. So everything, however deeply fucked in general, was lit increasingly by the new, by things that made people blink and sit up, but then the rest of it would just go on, deeper into the ditch. A progress accompanied by constant violence, he said, by sufferings unimaginable. …
None of that, he said, had necessarily been as bad for very rich people. The richest had gotten richer, there being fewer to own whatever there was. Constant crisis bad provided constant opportunity. That was where his world had come from, he said. At the deepest point of everything going to shit, population radically reduced, the survivors saw less carbon being dumped into the system, with what was still being produced being eaten by those towers they’d built… And seeing that, for them, the survivors, was like seeing the bullet dodged.
“The bullet was the eighty percent, who died?”
“The nutritional value of agriculturally important food crops, such as wheat and rice, will decrease as rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide continue to reduce the concentrations of protein and essential minerals in most plant species” [U.S. Global Change Research Program]. Finding 54…
“State officials warn that Southern California could face as many as 14 days of scheduled blackouts this summer because of depleted reserves of natural gas caused by the massive leak in Aliso Canyon” [Los Angeles Times]. Welcome to the Third World…
“Stone Age humans brought deer to Scotland by sea: study” [Agence France Presse].
“But what does ‘intergenerational fairness’ (or its opposite) mean? And how would we know if it is ‘rising’? In practice, this discussion is bedevilled by confusion, both conceptual and empirical” [Sage]. The conclusion: “The simple story of coddled pensioners and struggling youth does not really add up: both inequality and redistribution within generations remains much greater than that between generations – and its impact is growing – while the impact of recent policy decisions on intergenerational equity is more ambiguous than is immediately apparent.”
“After nearly a decade of crisis, bailout, and reform in the United States and European Union, we have a financial system—both in those countries and globally—that is remarkably like what we had in 2006” [Democracy Journal]. Mission accomplished!
“Thin political markets are processes wherein technical, esoteric rules that underlie the basic institutions of capitalism are determined” [Pro-Market]. “[T]hin political markets could extend to other esoteric regulatory areas such as bank governance regulation, actuarial standards, auditing standards, insurance standards—things that are essential for modern complex capital markets to work but are largely outside the attention of the general public. In my studies on the political economy of accounting rule-making, I encountered a number of instances where a small group of informed special interests with deep experiential expertise were able to shape the rules of the game in self-serving ways.” TPP is a classic example of this idea, and a powergrab for global corporate governance to boot.
“Giulio and the Italians of Egypt” [Mada Masr]. “Prior to the Arab uprisings in 2011, Italian activists’ interest in the Middle East was primarily focused on the Palestinian struggle. But after the uprisings, after Tahrir Square exported an invigorating theatrical protest that made many on the Italian peninsula turn their faces to the south, many Italian intellectuals became preoccupied with south Mediterranean countries, especially Egypt. Soon enough, the names of Egyptian revolutionaries, such as Alaa Abd El Fattah and Mina Daniel, were becoming known throughout Italian university campuses and activist communities.” Interesting long read. (And remember that Tahrir Square was part of a continuous strong of occupations, starting in Tunisia and ending in the United States.)
“Nearly Half of Job Switchers Earn Less in Their New Roles” [Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis]. Yikes! Puts JOLTS data in a new light…
News of the Wired
“Why the Awl and the Hairpin (and a Bunch of Other Websites) Are Migrating to Medium” [New York Magazine].
“Brian Bilston: the Poet Laureate of Twitter” [The Irish Times]. See the poem “Refugees” at the end.
“Why Are Humans Afraid to Touch Robot Butts?” [Motherboard].
“Funk legend Bernie Worrell is sick, buy this David Byrne remix to help pay his medical bills” [Boing Boing]. Since this is a finance blog:
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Readers, I still need to fix my fershuggeneh contact form! Hopefully noting that fact publicly will serve a lash and a spur to my endeavors. (Meanwhile, thanks to readers, who already have my email address, who sent in images of plants!)
See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (Mark K):
Mark K wrote:
Hi, Lambert I took this picture in April of 2014 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. I didn’t know what kind of tree it was, but from looking at photos on the Web, I think it is a jacaranda.
Flowers coming right out of the trunk?!
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