By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
“[House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady] said while he’s convinced the deal can be approved this year, ‘it all hinges on an awful lot of work being done right now.’ The financial services issue could be resolved as lawmakers ‘get more explanation’ of what USTR is proposing, Brady said, adding that a fix there would help build momentum for the pact. He also said while USTR has engaged on the biologics issue, ‘it’s too early to tell if those proposals meet our members’ needs’ [Politico]. In other words, both party establishments are ready to deal, despite vehement rejections of the pacts by most voters, in both parties. Clinton, of course, is simulating a game of playing hard to get, but if she were serious, the DNC platform committee, which she owns, would have accepted the Sanders TPP plank.
Jeff Sessions: “Some of us, like I have in the past, supported these trade agreements and an honest evaluation of how they played out produces clear evidence they haven’t worked well and in fact not come close to the promises made,” the Alabama Republican told POLITICO. “So I think what we need to do now is slow down. We absolutely don’t need an international commission, it’s like a nascent European Union, and we should focus on bilateral agreements with countries we feel like we can do business with” [Politico]. “‘Sessions said Trump’s position on trade has contributed to his popularity. “I think his opposition to TPP and his questioning of conventional wisdom on trade has been appreciated by average working Americans and their votes reflected that,’ he said.” Another septuagenarian who actually gets it…
“In an unexpected move, the European Commission has announced that national parliaments will be given the chance to vote on the CETA trade deal with Canada” [Ars Technica]. Belated realization of the democratic deficit?
“Compliance with [TTIP] would make it impossible to reverse privatization decisions or profit-caps for multinationals. This is because the so-called “investor state dispute settlement mechanism” (ISDS) that would resolve disputes between businesses and states through a private “international arbitral tribunal” would be activated when companies claim economic compensation for decisions that affect patents, generics or price controls that reduce business and claiming millions in compensation on the basis of “loss of profits” (money that they stop receiving on several very lucrative deals)” [Bilaterals.org].
Clinton Email Hairball
For the record:
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) July 5, 2016
“Clinton stepped down as secretary of state in 2013 to run for president. But newly released emails from 2012 show that she and Clinton Foundation consultant, Sidney Blumenthal, shared classified information about how German leadership viewed the prospects for a Greek bailout. Clinton also shared ‘protected’ State Department information about Greek bonds with her husband at the same time that her son-in-law [Mezvinsky] aimed his hedge fund at Greece” [Defend Democracy]. The lawyers who looked through Clinton’s privatized email server, and separated Clinton’s putatively private email, which they deleted, from Clinton’s public email, which they turned over, only looked at email metadata (said Comey in his statement; see point 3 here). We don’t know the precise sorting procedure Clinton’s lawyers used. If they determined that all communications between family members were private by definition, then any email to Mezvinsky would have been deleted. Generalizing: Given that corruption is the use of public office for private purpose, any system that throws private communcations into the delete bucket before proceeding further will delete any nexus of corruption. That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.
“Five panels to grill FBI on Clinton” [The Hill]. Just watch the Republicans screw up the biggest political opportunity handed to them in twenty years. This is, after all, the Republican Establishment that Donald Trump sliced through like a hot knife through butter; the Clintons are lucky in their enemies
“The FBI’s harsh criticism of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email system as U.S. secretary of state could make it difficult for some of her closest aides to keep or renew government security clearances, but it would not affect Clinton herself if she is elected president, experts said.” [Reuters].
“[T]he IBTimes, through the work of David Sirota, has been all over an interesting story of crony capitalism involving a massive $54-billion proposed merger negotiated between Cigna and Anthem, two giant healthcare insurance companies, and the involvement in that merger of a good chunk of Connecticut’s political elite, including Democratic Governor Dan Malloy” [Charles Pierce, Esquire]. “This kind of consolidation needs to be regulated very carefully, and all indications from the IBTimes series are that the merger was being hustled through without even the minimal concerns for obvious conflicts of interest.” It’s excellent to see Sirota get a shout-out like this. But speaking of “obvious conflicts of interest,” Pierce somehow neglects to mention that corrupt weasel Malloy is co-chair of the Rules Committee for the Democrat National Convention.
“Clinton Borrows From Bernie” [Inside Higher Ed]. She should borrow from Sanders on TPP, too. What has she done for him lately? Anyhow:
[T]he presumptive Democratic nominee proposed that all public colleges and universities be made tuition-free for students from families with incomes of up to $85,000 initially, rising to $125,000 by 2021.
According to her campaign, 80 percent of American families would be able to avoid tuition at public colleges and universities under the plan.
So it’s means-tested, not universal. And as we dig deeper, I’m sure we’ll find plenty more fine print (and jobs for the credentialed sorting the worthy from the unworthy).
Lambert here: This material is like Rashomon; I’ll sum up at the end.
At the Trump rally:
At a rally in Ohio, Donald Trump is listing off the Jewish people he knows: Dan's wife, Jared, Ivanka, his grandkids…
— Jenna Johnson (@wpjenna) July 6, 2016
After the Trump rally:
The front pages of the Cincinnati Enquirer after Clinton and Trump's big recent rallies there pic.twitter.com/fbP8v4yzjh
— Gabriel Debenedetti (@gdebenedetti) July 7, 2016
Lambert again: One obvious reading of those two tweets is that the Clinton campaign has gotten inside Trump’s head, and he can’t quit responding to the mud they’re slinging. The other is that Trump’s discursive speaking style allows the press — which has, in essence, declared for Clinton and is acting as a branch of her campaign — to cherrypick the narrative it wanted, and that Trump hammered on the Clinton Email Hairball and it simply wasn’t reported. Manafort and Stone need to figure this out, because that’s not Trump’s job. I’d welcome reader input on this point, especially from attendees or Ohio readers.
“A fairly compact narrative of the evolution of hate in a particular society might go along these lines, represented in the diagram above. Most individuals have a psychology that is capable of both tolerance and hate. This psychology can be activated in one direction or the other by intentional political actors. Large-scale shift of attitudes requires some external threat that can be exploited by the party of hate. Economic crisis and terrorism can play this role. Hateful messages can be constructed by leaders through a variety of avenues, including public media, covert organizations, and political parties. Skill at framing messages of division and suspicion has the potential of activating latent grievances into active grievances. A few provocative incidents have the potential to create a widening cycle of suspicion, mistrust, and hate” [Understanding Society]. “It seems clear that these processes could be modeled using an agent-based model if we liked; they have much in common with the mechanisms of pandemic disease. The cognitive and emotional processes influencing social trust and social suspicion could be modeled fairly simply as well.” But here’s the kicker:
So it seems as though a contemporary sociology of hate, nativism, and nationalism remains to be written. And it is urgent that we turn to that task, given the assaults on liberal, inclusive cosmopolitan communities currently underway in Britain, Western Europe, India, and the United States.
Come on. Does anybody really believe the “liberal, inclusive cosmopolitan” political class doesn’t hate working people? That said, the concept of “strategic hate management” is a useful umbrella.
“Why Hillary Clinton is doomed, even if she wins” [Felix Salmon, Fusion]. (I have a soft spot for Salmon because he was outraged on how Cooper Union’s board vandalized its free tuition policy.) “Clinton is Davos Woman incarnate, the very epitome of the protean competence and sophistication associated with a degree from Yale Law School, eight years as First Lady, eight more as a U.S. Senator, and a term as Secretary of State. She also elicits an astonishing degree of hatred among a vocal minority of the U.S. electorate. That hatred is only going to grow stronger once she becomes the leader of the free world. It’s going to be directed not only at Clinton personally, but at the entire neoliberal agenda. And the anti-elite movement will have its day.”
“While Trump is outperforming your run-of-the-mill Republican among whites without a college degree, he’s underperforming among white voters with a college degree. In fact, he is on a track to lose white college graduates” [FiveThirtyEight]. The credentialed vote for stability. No surprise here!
“Voters Are Making a Mess of Democracy” [Justin Fox, Bloomberg]. “What This One Acela Rider Says About Democracy Will Amaze You.” More: “I’m torn about this. I think there’s value in “one person, one vote” beyond its efficacy. That is, there is something at least a little bit sacred about it.” Touching.
“The public’s growing conviction that “equal treatment” is a farce is the heart of both Bernie Sanders’ and Donald Trump’s campaigns. From different sides, they are saying the top 1 percent get special deals and insider treatment. Voters know it in their guts” [RealClearPolitics]. Which is why Clinton’s privatized email server and why she used it for will be, as we say, a continuing concern.
“‘That’s a process we’re working on that could lead to an endorsement before the convention,’ Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs told Bloomberg Politics. Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon declined to comment” [Bloomberg]. Seems a little guarded….
“What’s the matter with Sanders? Every Democrat not fully in thrall to him wants to know. Clinton officials privately seethe at his continued criticism” [Bloomberg]. Concern trolling. Even Greg Sargent gets what’s going on: “But if Sanders is squandering his movement, it is odd that he continues to rack up meaningful victories in the battle to transform the Democratic agenda, if not the country” [Greg Sargent, WaPo]. Call me crazy, but if Sanders is driven by issues and the possibility of a political revolution, maybe Clinton’s campaign tactics aren’t his number one priority?
“Why Bernie Sanders Still Isn’t Endorsing Clinton” [New York Magazine]. This article is reasonably nuanced. “The senator will come to the convention with no small number of die-hard delegates ready and willing to provide a hungry media with the stories of intra-party conflict it craves. Beyond that, Sanders still has his grip on one of the most coveted email lists in modern politics…. And like Warren, Sanders has recently focused his advocacy around a policy goal that a Democratic president could unilaterally realize: tearing up the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” So, excellent. Improvements in the Democratic platform, Clinton at least proposed an overly complex, means-tested, neoliberal-suck version of Sanders free college plan, whereupon Sanders moved the goal posts and said he wants a revised plank in the platform killing TPP . What’s not to like, here? And its all more important than Clinton’s email which, at the end of the day, tells us nothing about Clinton we don’t already know, so would be a poor use of a campaign’s most precious resource: The candidate’s time.)
“‘What I say to those people who booed, you can boo me all you want,’ [Sanders] said. ‘I’m going to continue to fight to make sure that we transform this country. That’s what our campaign was about. That’s what 13 million voters wanted to see happen.'” [USA Today].
Final California tally [California Slow Bern]. 7% margin for Clinton.
“Feel the Bern: An Adult Coloring Contest!” [Seven Days].
A lamentation that the Gary Johnson/William Weld ticket has failed to seize “the libertarian moment” [The American Conservative].
ADP Employment Report, June 2016: “June payrolls may indeed pop back to trend, based at least on ADP’s private payroll estimate of 172,000 which is well above the Econoday consensus for 150,000. But ADP’s sample never did pick up the weakness during May in the government data as the ADP call for the month stands nearly unchanged” [Econoday]. “The bottom line here is that the ADP report, like other indications on the labor market including jobless claims, is continuing to signal healthy conditions.” However: The headline is above expectations, but “the rate of growth continues in a downtrend” [Econintersect].
Challenger Job-Cut Report, June 2016: “Jobless claims are very low and so are layoff announcements” [Econoday]. “The energy and industrial sectors are usually at the top of sector layoffs but not in June, replaced by an outsized jump in the financial sector.”
Jobless Claims, week of July 2, 2016: “Layoffs are on the decline, indicated earlier this morning by trends in the Challenger report and confirmed by yet another set of very low readings for jobless claims [Econoday]. “A lack of layoffs doesn’t necessarily equate to a rise in employment — but it is a strongly favorable signal. The Labor Department is not citing any special factors in today’s report though temporary layoffs and related adjustments for auto-retooling is always a background factor this time of year.” And: “Anyone looking for evidence in the initial unemployment claims data that the labor market has softened is out of luck” [Amherst Pierpont Securities, Across the Curve]. “I can’t think of a single labor market indicator that has been released over the past month that supports the abrupt slowdown in hiring signaled by the May payroll figures. I look for a return to normalcy tomorrow.” And: “Anyone looking for evidence in the initial unemployment claims data that the labor market has softened is out of luck.” And: Rolling averages improve [Econintersect].
Gallup Good Jobs Rate, July 2016: “Gallup’s measure of underemployment in June was 13.6 percent, almost the same as May’s (13.7 percent) yet also the lowest Gallup has recorded since 2010. June’s rate also marks the fourth straight month of declining underemployment” [Econoday].
Chain Store Sales, June 2016: “[M]ixed results for June with some posting improvement” [Econoday]. “[U]ncertain indications for the ex-auto ex-gas reading of the June retail sales report, a reading that has been solid this year and has underscored the general strength in consumer spending.”
Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of July 3, 2016: “All the uncertainty and volatility of Brexit have had no substantial effect on the consumer comfort index” [Econoday]. That’s a shocker. “Honey, I think we ought to buy the cheaper brand of propane for the grill. That Andrea Leadsom is sure a nice lady, but she’s no Maggie Thatcher.”
Factory Orders (from Tuesday): “Core capital goods new orders decreased by -0.4%. The previous month showed a -0.9% decrease. Core capital goods are capital or business investment goods and excludes defense and aircraft. This is indicating slower future economic growth” [Economic Populist]. Underlining that.
Shipping: “DHL Express opens “walking courier” facility in Manhattan financial district” [DC Velocity]. Great new job category, eh? Reminds me of the “bang bang army” of porters in Chongqing, who carry packages on bamboo poles over their shoulders. But they’re aging out, because nobody in the third world wants to do that kind of work anymore. Perhaps we could import some on H1B visas to redress global income inequality?
Political Risk: “Here are the U.S. funds with significant U.K. real-estate exposure” [Francine McKenna, MarketWatch]. “According to data provided by Morningstar, Inc., the mutual fund research firm, 280 U.S. open-ended mutual funds hold investments in U.K. REITs, and nine of those funds hold more than 10% of their portfolio market value in U.K. REITs.”
“Mispricing Drives Value Premium” [ETF.com]. “The authors noted that ‘acting faster upon the new arrival of information leads to much higher annualized returns. However, the higher rebalancing frequency is detrimental to the returns due to elevated transaction costs. Liquidity constraints that render the strategy feasible also render it unprofitable.'”Practically Zen.
“Amazon set to rival NYC’s bookstores with Hudson Yards spot” [New York Post]. Great. Amazon kills off the small, independent brick-and-mortar stores and then opens its own. Oh well. I guess the former booksellers can get jobs in the warehouses. Until the robots take over.
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 69, Greed (previous close: 69, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 62 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 7 at 11:50am. Cruise control.
Black Injustice Tipping Point
Lambert here: Two public executions, just heart-sickening. It’s like Ferguson and #BlackLivesMatter never happened (which was, after all, swiftly decapitated by Democrats). My Twitter list has a lot of reactions like “I’m so tired,” and “It’s hard to go into work today.”
“Minnesota’s governor called on Thursday for a federal investigation into the shooting of [Philando Castile] by a police officer during a traffic stop near St. Paul, after millions of people watched the bloody, dying man in a grisly video recorded by his girlfriend and streamed live moments after the shooting” [New York Times].
“The video posted Wednesday night on Facebook Live appears to show the aftermath of a shooting like that described by Mangseth. It shows the woman in a car next to a bloodied man quietly slumped in a seat. The woman describes being pulled over for a “busted taillight” and her boyfriend being shot as he told the officer that he was carrying a pistol for which he was licensed. An armed person who appears to be a police officer stands at the car’s window, and sounds distraught as he tells the woman to keep her hands where they are and intermittently swears” [Los Angeles Times].
“The public execution of No. 558” [Will Bunch, Philadelphia Daily News]. Alton Sterling.
I doubt very much that cop cameras will work as a reform, given that both these shootings were filmed. But:
One of those uses the street finds for technology is smartphones finally showing us all how US cops just straight-up murder black people.
— William Gibson (@GreatDismal) July 7, 2016
“Facebook has denied intentionally taking down a Facebook Live video that showed the aftermath of a fatal shooting by police in Minnesota” [Business Insider].
“Will Apple’s New Patent Push Delete on Ability to Record Police?” [ACLU].
“Nonprofit hospitals and clinics took it upon themselves to pay for the costs of enrolling more of the state’s residents in Medicaid. They will pay, in fact, for the state workers who will do this job. Not only will this action prevent a bottleneck that would have harmed newly eligible Medicaid recipients, it will also speed Medicaid reimbursement dollars to the nonprofit healthcare organizations providing services” [Nonprofit Quarterly]. “Many of these are already embedded in the nonprofit sites.”
“Furious owner says his $20m Hamptons mansion was trashed in wild Wolf of Wall Street-style ‘Sprayathon’ pool party with bikini babes and gun-toting dwarfs” [Daily Mail]. Oh, the humanity!
“Proposal to cut Social Security undermines retirement security” [MarketWatch]. They’re still at it. I’m picturing a Grand Bargain in Clinton’s first 100 days.
“Specifically, ownership and control of agronomic and equipment data is understood to have dramatic escalating value. Which seed varieties were the most successful and where? Which plant populations performed best? Whose recommendations (e.g. nitrogen programs) outperformed their peers?” [TechCrunch]. “Regrettably, those who least understand the true value of the data produced are farmers themselves. Our neighbors around the country give their data away for a pittance, or worse. Yet, data is one of the most valuable things farmers harvest.”
News of the Wired
“Email, as it turns out, is a harder problem than people tend to assume. It’s an unforgiving space – competitors abound, users expect you to be free or nearly free, and from a technical standpoint email protocols are not pleasant to work with. But email is still an unsolved problem” [Medium]. A review of email software. It all sucks, at least on the Mac and iOS. Frankly, I liked Pine, back in the stone age. Maybe I should just revert to it. I’ve got like 10K unread mails to delete; perhaps I could do that from the command line easily!
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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 (John Beech):
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, I got another one today! Please keep sending them; they will ultimately appear!
Adding, thank you so much, readers, for last month’s rapid and successful Water Cooler Mini-Fundraiser. I have finally finished all the email thank you notes so yours should be coming, as will notes to those who send contributions via physical mail. Adding, to me, a reader’s reality is their handle, and even more their actual comments. I don’t mentally connect handle to email, let alone to contribution. So if I’ve snarled at you, take comfort that all are snarled at without fear or favor!
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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.