By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Readers, a little scheduling blip. I’ll add a bit more shortly. –lambert
“OBAMA NEVER GONNA GIVE TPP UP” [Politico]. “Treasury Secretary Jack Lew used an appearance at the SelectUSA summit in Washington to urge lawmakers to approve both TPP and President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Export-Import Bank’s board of directors. Lew told the audience of international delegates and investors that Obama is firmly committed to TPP and ‘is intent on seeing it approved as soon as possible this year.'” Jack, any progress on that “draft statement of administrative action”?
“Democrats on Wednesday staged a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives over a lack of gun laws following the Orlando massacre” [MarketWatch]. Given that the Senate bill the Dems were pushing was, in gun control terms, a Band-Aid, and would have enabled FBI “watch lists” to be used that had no due process protection at all, I’m less than enthused. Still, all the kidz these days are doing sit-ins, so here we are. And John Lewis played the leading role! And oddly, or not, at the same time as a Trump speech….
UPDATE “Hillary Clinton’s Likely Pentagon Chief Already Advocating for More Bombing and Intervention” [The Intercept]. Where gun control really really needs to happen…
UPDATE Over to you, MMTers:
— David Dayen (@ddayen) June 21, 2016
(Big fail by Sanders campaign — and possibly, movement — in not injecting MMT into the mainstream.)
UPDATE And while you’re at it:
Sen. Mark Warner just now on CNN: Wants HRC to pick Tim Kaine for VP so they can forge a "bipartisan coalition on debt and deficits."
— Stephanie Kelton (@StephanieKelton) June 21, 2016
Is there no champion to slay this zombie?
“DNC Platform Committee Members Offended By Key Single-Payer Healthcare Advocate” [ShadowProof]. No doubt.
“The decisive factor in Hillary Clinton’s victory over Bernie Sanders was her rock-solid support from upscale liberals voting primarily on culture-war issues. White Democrats, in other words, largely voted along class lines” [The American Conservative]. And this is fun:
It may be extremely sobering that Hillary Clinton’s only challenger for the Democratic nomination was both a lifelong independent and a representative of the aging Jewish cohort that is perhaps the last surviving segment of voters with a serious attachment to the class-solidarity appeal of the New Deal Democrats. But it is at least as revealing that only such a man as Bernie Sanders could have rallied the economically hard-pressed youth of America behind a future they could believe in, just as it is now clear that only a human wrecking ball such as Donald Trump could have finally dislodged and buried the rotting corpse of the historic conservative movement.
Many longstanding assumptions about the future of American politics are likely to be exploded over the next several months. Polls have been showing Clinton and Trump running about evenly among millennials, and Nate Cohn of the New York Times has laid out data undermining the assumption of a declining white electorate. Meanwhile, a millennial supermajority that rejects its politically correct mouthpieces, not unlike the boomer supermajority that rejected the New Left, is coming into view.
To be sure, that majority is firmly committed to social and economic policies that are far closer to those of Bernie Sanders than to those of Ronald Reagan. But it is precisely because the liberal culture-war catechism is so totally losing resonance with them—not to mention the slaying of the Reagan policy paradigm by Trump—that the liberal pundit class is invoking that catechism with increasing hysteria. This election will do much to determine how the millennial majority ultimately takes shape.
Trump to CBS’s Norah O’Donnell: “I don’t want to devote the rest of my life to raising money from people. All of the money [Clinton] is raising is blood money” (interview) [CBS]. UPDATE Expanded quotes from the same interview: “[TRUMP:] And you know when she raises this money, every time she raises this money, she is making deals. They’re saying, ‘Can I be the ambassador to this? Can I do that? Make sure my business is being taken care of.’ I mean, give me a break. All of the money she is raising is blood money.” He added: “Look, she is getting tremendous amounts from Wall Street. She is going to take care of Wall Street.” [Business Insider].
“Trump’s wealth has indeed appeared to complicate and even hamper his fundraising efforts. As he asks for financial support from wealthy donors, Trump has continued to suggest he could independently bankroll his general election operations — leaving many donors to wonder why they need to invest in his campaign” [RealClearPolitics]. “‘If need be, there could be unlimited ‘cash on hand,’ as I would put up my own money, as I have already done through the primaries, spending over $50 million,’ Trump said in a statement Tuesday.” And then: “‘There is no reason why Trump cannot replicate the Sanders model,’ said Eric Fehrnstrom, a former senior adviser to Mitt Romney. ‘That needs to be Trump’s focus — not the skeptical donors on Wall Street, but the millions of ordinary folks who want to see him win.'”
UPDATE “New Super-PAC Launches for Donors Who Won’t Back Trump But Loathe Clinton” [Bloomberg]. Squillionaire Robert Mercer, and orchestrated by Ivanka.
Trump speech “On the Stakes of the Election” (as prepared, not a transcript) [Politico]. Delivered from the Trump SoHo Hotel — Trump really ought to launder his billing through a foundation — and carried on FOX (so all is forgiven?). Scorps complain the room is too hot, and that the mike picked up Trump inhaling before he delivers a line; points off for sloppy advance work. Here’s a live blog from the Guardian (interspersed with other material). My hot take on reading the speech is that it wasn’t focused solely on the “Crooked Hillary,” and her crookedness, and should have been. Trump put a big bet on Clinton Cash. For example:
The book Clinton Cash, by Peter Schweitzer, documents how Bill and Hillary used the State Department to enrich their family at America’s expense.
She gets rich making you poor.
Here is a quote from the book: “At the center of US policy toward China was Hillary Clinton…at this critical time for US-china relations, Bill Clinton gave a number of speeches that were underwritten by the Chinese government and its supporters.”
These funds were paid to the Clinton bank account while Hillary was negotiating with China on behalf of the United States.
She sold out our workers, and our country, for Beijing.
Hillary Clinton has also been the biggest promoter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will ship millions more of our jobs overseas – and give up Congressional power to an international foreign commission.
Now, because I have pointed out why it would be such a disastrous deal, she is pretending that she is against it. She has even deleted this record of total support from her book – deletion is something she is very good at — (at least 30,000 emails are missing.)
Clinton Cash was a New York Times best-seller, and it will be interesting to see if its sales spike again. And despite having been turned into a movie by Breitbart, the book also generated stories in Wapo and the Times, and behavior changes by the Clinton Foundation (see WikiPedia here). So despite the efforts of Clintonites to frame the book as CT, there’s clearly more to it than that. Trump mentions nothing that seemed Guccifer 2.0 derived, and it will be interesting to see if vetted Guccifer documents reinforce Clinton Cash. I would bet they do. And as usual, much of what Trump says has the merit of being (broadly) true: His comment on the TPP, for example. Kudos for reviving Clinton’s ridiculous Bosnian sniper fire story!
UPDATE Report from Trump rally (1): “A journalist went to a Donald Trump rally yesterday and came back shocked. Here are his tweets” [Political Scrapbook].
UPDATE Report from Trump rally (2): “I went to a Trump rally, and it was nothing like what I expected” [Business Insider]. The two reports are wildly at variance. This is is from @GSelevator, whose jokes I laughed at a lot more when he was anonymous.
Trump edits the jokes for his Comedy Central roast” [New York Times]. “The only constructive edits Mr. Trump did give the writers, according to Mr. Joyce, were in service of making himself look better, richer, even larger than life. One joke’s premise was that Donald Trump lived in a 150,000-square-foot marble penthouse orbiting the earth. ‘He crossed out ‘150,000’ and he put ‘300,000,” Mr. Joyce said. ‘He needed people to know that his fictitious space station was bigger.'” Well, it’s a two-fer: 300,000 has five syllables and the first syllable can be stressed; 150,000 has seven, and I dunno where the stress falls; somewhere in the middle. So in this tiny instance, Trump was canny.
“The plan that Clinton began to execute this week is a 20-year strategy to create a new vision for America. To fulfill it, she is dispatching staff to all 50 states and is working to identify and organize supporters in each one” [Howard Dean, CNN]. “There are a lot of reasons why adopting a 50-state strategy is both the right thing and the smart thing for Clinton to do. For one, voters deserve it. When candidates write off entire states or regions for being too blue or too red, they also write off the people who call those places home.” Of course, Dean invented and executed the 50-state strategy, which worked in 2006, when the Democrats took back the House and the Senate, right before Nancy Pelosi took impeaching Bush off the table, and the Democrats threw Dean and his strategy under the bus, handed control of strategy to lizards like Steve israel, and set about turning themselves into Republicans in the form of Blue Dogs, initiating a decade of #FAIL. But come back, Ho-Ho! All is forgiven!
UPDATE “Sanders’ New York delegates say they were denied vote for state chairman” [New York Post]. “Sanders delegate Moumit Ahmed of Jamaica, Queens, even filed a police complaint after a Hillary Clinton delegate, an elderly, bearded man with a cane, hit her from behind, she said. When she confronted him, he allegedly hit her with his cane again.” It’s worth noting that for all the pearl-clutching by liberals about “ZOMG!!!! violence,” the only instances of violence where an arrest took place (Wendell Pierce) or a complaint was filed (this case) involved Clinton supporters assaulting Sanders supporters.
UPDATE “A June 14th Bloomberg Politics national poll of likely voters in November’s election found that barely half of those who favored Sanders — 55 percent — plan to vote for Clinton. Instead, 22 percent say they’ll vote for Trump, while 18 percent favor Libertarian Gary Johnson” [Bloomberg]. So, unity? And a Clinton supporter striking a Sanders supporter with his cane is all over my Twitter feed; if that goes viral, it’s not a good look.
UPDATE Extended play version of “Who would you rather have a beer with?” in Ohio from Quinnipiac:
— J.D. Smith (@killerandfiller) June 22, 2016
UPDATE “CrowdStrike and Fidelis say all evidence for intrusions at DNC points to Russian-backed groups” [Information Week]. Fidelis Cybersecurity agrees. “Phil Burdette, senior security researcher at the Counter Threat Unit at SecureWorks, says it is possible that a lone wolf was able to breach the DNC, as Guccifer 2.0 has claimed. However, it is also feasible that Guccifer 2.0’s claims are a misinformation campaign to divert attention away from Russia’s role in the attacks, Burdette says.” Good roundup of the competing reports.
UPDATE “The hackers in fact sought data from at least 4,000 individuals associated with U.S. politics — party aides, advisers, lawyers and foundations — for about seven months through mid-May, according to another person familiar with the investigations” [Bloomberg]. That doesn’t seem like much, but remember there are 20K people involved in what the BLS classifies “political organizations industry,” in peak election years.
UPDATE Best Freudian subhead typo ever: “Hacker ‘Guccifer 2.0’ released his biggest cash of Democratic National Committee documents today” [Daily Mail].
As for the DNC data, most of Tuesday’s ‘Guccifer 2.0’ document dump was a garden-variety mixture of the kinds of materials seasoned election operatives would expect to find on a political party’s network.
Included are copies of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s tax returns and Federal Election Commission financial disclosures, speaking engagement contracts for the former secretary of state, travel records and inventories of speeches.
Most of the files consist of endless summaries of news articles, categorized for easy access during a rapid-response fight. …
The DNC religiously tracked news stories covering apparent conflicts of interest in Clinton’s diplomatic office, including foundation donations coming from governments and moneyed interests in Germany, Bahrain, Venezuela and Canada [and not Saudi Arabia?].
The party was also aware, according to its dossier, that the Clinton Health Access Initiative, a project of the foundation, ‘did not disclose donors or submit foreign donations for State Department review’ during Clinton’s time in office.
The project, the DNC noted, was ‘bound by a disclosure agreement with the Obama administration’ at the time.
UPDATE I could only find one mention of Jeremy Brinster, flagged yesterday by alert NC readers as the author of a DNC-held spreadsheet of Clinton Foundation donors: from Breitbart. Maybe it’s just me, but I could use a little less reporting on the views of duelling security firms, and a little more like “Jeremy, did you create this? How? And why? Who else read it?” And so on for everything else juicy.
MBA Mortgage Applications, week of June 17, 2016: “Despite another fall in rates, the purchase index is not pointing to acceleration for home sales” [Econoday].
FHFA House Price Index, April 2016: “Breaking a string of strong housing data, the FHFA house price index rose a much lower-than-expected 0.2 percent in April for the lowest reading since June last year. The result, however, does follow outsized strength in March which is now revised upward to plus 0.8 percent” [Econoday].
Existing Home Sales, May 2016: “The housing sector may not be on fire but it is showing strength. Existing home sales rose 1.8 percent in May to an annualized 5.530 million which, though only modestly above recent readings, is still the best rate of the cycle, since back in February 2007” [Econonday]. “The year-on-year rate, in line with a long run of flat sales, is soft at only plus 4.5 percent.”
Supply Chain: “Sean Monahan of A.T. Kearney, an author of the report for the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, says he expects the inventory growth rate to scale back to roughly match broader economic growth…. That’s a deep change from past practice, where stocks generally grew 5% or better each year, well ahead of gross domestic product. The greater caution comes amid greater uncertainty about demand” [Wall Street Journal].
Shipping: “FedEx’s economy service continued to display some aggressive pricing suggesting that regular/standard/economy LTL services may be under some pressure” [James Sands, Seeking Alpha]. LTL: Less than truckload, the small box to my house, not the trailer to the big box store.
Shipping: “[B]oth truckload operators [Werner and Covenant] pointed to faltering demand, rising costs and plummeting rates in a tough spot market. The falling prices may be the biggest concern for investors: the biggest trucking companies had appeared to be somewhat isolated from the biggest gyrations in the daily marketplace. The new warnings suggest the country’s largest truckers now are growing more exposed to a buyer’s market” [Wall Street Journal].
Shipping: “Late last year, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced that a project to raise the Bayonne Bridge, an 83-year-old arch that spans the channel between Bayonne, N.J., and New York’s Staten Island, would be delayed until the end of 2017 because of engineering miscalculations [!!] and construction work slowed by inclement weather” [Wall Street Journal, “As Expanded Panama Canal Prepares to Open, New York Isn’t Ready “]. “Until the project is completed, larger ships passing through the Panama Canal will be unable to visit the three largest terminals at the Port of New York and New Jersey, located beyond the bridge in Newark and Elizabeth, N.J.” Being bearish, I hope hysteresis and corruption don’t mean we can’t complete infrastructure projects successfully even if we fund them.
Banking: “Many consumers either don’t believe that the mobile banking channel is safe or they don’t understand the security features that are part of the mobile technology… A decrease of only two percentage points (42 percent in 2015 compared to a high of 44 percent in 2014) in those who believe their personal information is ‘somewhat unsafe’ or ‘very unsafe’ doesn’t signify much advancement in the safety education efforts for these folks” [Retail Payments Risk Forum, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta]. “On a positive note,” and completely without irony, consumers are using passwords more frequently and protecting their phones against malware, and “recognizing the need for improved authentication.” Next stop, biometrics!
Fodder for the Bulls: “Currently CAB [Chemical Activity Barometer] has increased over the last three months, and this suggests an increase in Industrial Production over the next year” [Calculated Risk].
Honey for the Bears: “IMF downgrades outlook for US economy” [US News]. “The International Monetary Fund downgraded its forecast for the U.S. economy this year and said America should raise the minimum wage to help the poor, offer paid maternity leave to encourage more women to work and overhaul the corporate tax system to boost productivity.”
Honey for the Bears: “The next recession is already here—and there isn’t much the Fed can do” [CNBC]. Charts of “Dr. Copper,” Baltic Dry Index, Spread between 2- and 10-year Treasury notes, Industrial production, U.S. nonfarm payrolls. Of course, the author has a book….
The Fed: “Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said the chances of recession this year are ‘quite low'” [Wall Street Journal, “Yellen: Recession Unlikely, but Long-Run Growth Could Be Slow”]. “‘The U.S. economy is doing well,’ she said Tuesday, kicking off two days of testimony to Congress on the economic outlook and monetary policy. ‘My expectation is that the U.S. economy will continue to grow.’ ‘We cannot rule out the possibility expressed by some prominent economists [***cough*** Larry Summers ***cough***] that slow productivity growth seen in recent years will continue into the future,’ she said.” And: “Democrats prodded the Fed leader to foster more diversity among the directors and presidents of the 12 regional Fed banks.”
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 64, Greed (previous close: 66, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 51 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 22 at 11:54am. Calm before the storm…
“THE LONG-TERM DECLINE IN PRIME-AGE MALE LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION ” [White House].
Conventional economic theory posits that more “flexible” labor markets—where it is easier to hire and fire workers—facilitate matches between employers and individuals who want to work. Yet despite having among the most flexible labor markets in the OECD—with low levels of labor market regulation and employment protections, a low minimum cost of labor, and low rates of collective bargaining coverage—the United States has one of the lowest prime-age male labor force participation rates of OECD member countries.
“[A] growing body of evidence suggests the economic expansion since the 2007-2009 financial crisis has enriched a much larger swath of the upper middle class, and that a deeper income divide is developing between that top quarter or so of the population and everyone else” [Wall Street Journal, “Not Just the 1%: The Upper Middle Class Is Larger and Richer Than Ever”]. “Mr. Rose’s new paper is part of a broader body of research reappraising and seeking to measure the upper middle class. This reappraisal does not fit comfortably in the left or the right’s political narratives. While it underscores the growth of American economic inequality, it undermines the idea of lower and upper-middle class voters being in the same boat. It suggests that the majority of Americans have indeed struggled but that a large minority has thrived.” This is the new Urban Institute study from Stephen Rose. The “not in the same boat” takeaway is similar to Thomas Frank’s in Listen, Liberal — that is, these guys got a lifeboat — but Frank focuses on a 10% “professional” class, and Rose on a more vaguely defined 30% “upper middle class.”
“The Trump takeaway is that no one really knows. Let your willingness and need to take risk be your guide in setting your asset allocation. If you don’t have time to recover from a plunge, take risk off the table” [ETF]. This is investment advice. Now consider what working people can do to “recover from a plunge” and “take risk off the table.”
News of the Wired
“New Life Found That Lives Off Electricity” (although the work is not yet published) [Quanta]. “The [lithoautotrophs] microbes’ apparent ability to ingest electrons — known as direct electron transfer — is particularly intriguing because it seems to defy the basic rules of biophysics.” I’m imagining a dystopian science fiction novel involving computer chips, here…
“Modern archeologists, excavating ancient Egyptian tombs, have often found something unexpected amongst the tombs’ artifacts: pots of honey, thousands of years old, and yet still preserved. Through millennia, the archeologists discover, the food remains unspoiled, an unmistakable testament to the eternal shelf-life of honey” [Smithsonian]. OK, 2013. But neat!
“I bought some awful WiFi lightbulbs a few months ago. The short version: they introduced terrible vulnerabilities on your network, they violated the GPL and they were also just bad at being lightbulbs. Since then I’ve bought some other Internet of Things devices, and since people seem to have a bizarre level of fascination with figuring out just what kind of fractal of poor design choices these things frequently embody, I thought I’d oblige” [Matthew Garrett]. And oblige Garrett does. From the first comment: “We have hardware solutions installed here. This consists of a special device on each electric socket called an ‘on/off switch’.”
* * *
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 (ChiGal):
Readers, if you want to send me some videos of plants in whole systems (bees and blossoms, for example, or running streams) — I can use them to practice with FFmpeg and hopefully post them. Because of download times, they’ll have to be measured in seconds, rather than minutes. Thank you!
Adding, thank you readers for last week’s rapid and successful Water Cooler Mini-Fundraiser. I’m still writing thank you notes!
* * *
Readers, if you enjoyed what you read today, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your regular support.