By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
“September 15, 2016 Publication” [Wikileaks]. Hub page for a TISA document dump.
“Analysis TiSA Core Text” [Professor Jane Kelsey, Wikileaks] . Kelsey has been a leader of the fight against TPP in New Zealand.
Governments cannot restrict cross-border movements of capital that are essential to a service, or inflows of capital that relate to foreign investment, where they have made commitments in those services. There are very limited options for governments to impose capital controls, even in situations of an actual or threatened balance of payments emergency. If they manage to meet those circumstances, the kinds of controls they can adopt are severely limited and would face a high risk of being challenged.
“TiSA Annex on Movement of Natural Persons” [Wikileaks]. Pertains mostly to immigration, but this caught my eye:
That reads to me like an international blacklist of labor organizers is fine, but I’m not an expert in tradespeak. Readers?
“Canada’s Parliament reconvenes next week and the trade committee’s formal study will continue its fact-finding mission [on TPP] that includes travel around the country to meet with people and groups on the issue” [Politico].
“U.S. Agricultural Exports Lag under Past Trade Deals, Belying Empty Promises Now Being Recycled for the TPP” (PDF) [Public Citizen].
“The outlook for finishing negotiations this year on a free-trade agreement between the United States and European Union appears increasingly bleak ahead of a key meeting in Brussels today” [Politico]. “”Personally, I have no hope,’ said Robert Vastine, a senior industry fellow at the Center for Business and Public Policy at Georgetown University. ‘The distances are too wide. The political will is flagging on both sides.'”
“A gathering in Germany of SPD members next week at a special congress could force the left-of-centre party’s leadership to reverse its support for CETA, and trigger widespread revolt across the continent against the deal and its cousin TTIP” [Guardian].
“The Congressional Budget Office is working on an analysis of the TPP that will include a dynamic scoring evaluation, CBO Director Keith Hall said Wednesday. Under dynamic scoring, the economic effects of a proposal are included as the non-partisan agency tallies up the costs or savings to the federal government” [Politico].
“More Details On How Corporate Sovereignty Provisions, Like Those In TPP & TTIP, Are Dangerous” [TechDirt]. Excellent summary of Buzzfeeds TPP series, well worth a read. This jumped out: “Part III of Hamby’s report goes on to detail how some giant Wall St banks basically bled Sri Lanka dry, selling it complicated derivatives, and then going ballistic — via ISDS corporate sovereignty provisions — when the government stepped in to investigate the deals and whether they were legit or just a scam.”
DCCC, back with the suicide note headlines pic.twitter.com/ghPOqcq6p9
— Jonathan Cohn (@JonathanCohn) September 14, 2016
I imagine the Democrats have run testing on their mailing, so this must work, but it’s not a good look.
“State Department Delays Records Request About Clinton-Linked Firm Until After The 2016 Election” [International Business Times]. “Beacon Global Strategies is a shadowy consulting firm that’s stacked with former Obama administration officials, high profile Republicans and a number of Hillary Clinton’s closest foreign policy advisers. But beyond its billing as a firm that works with the defense industry, it is unclear for whom specifically the company works, exactly what it does, and if Beacon employees have tried to influence national security policy since the firm’s founding in 2013.
UPDATE “New York-based Teneo, with 575 employees, markets itself as a one-stop shop for CEOs to get advice on a wide range of issues, including mergers and acquisitions, handling crises and managing public relations. For its services, it generally charges clients monthly retainer fees of $100,000 to $300,000.” [Wall Street Journal, “Teneo, Consulting Firm with Clinton Ties, Eyes $1 Billion IPO”]. Founder Douglas Band was Bill Clinton’s body man. One can only wonder what a body man does to become worth $1 billion to, well, the people who made him worth a billion.
“[I]n many of these [Clinton Foundation] episodes you can see expectations operating like an electrical circuit. The donors expect that their support of the Clinton Foundation will help them get access to the State Department, [Doug] Band see above] expects that he can count on [Huma] Abedin to help, and Abedin seems to understand that she needs to be responsive to Band. This would be a lot of effort for powerful people to expend, if it led to nothing at all. There are two obvious possibilities. One is that the State Department actually was granting important favors to Clinton Foundation donors that the many sustained investigations have somehow failed to detect. The other, which is more likely, is that someone, somewhere along the line, was getting played” [The New Yorker]. Surely those two possiblities are not mutually exclusive? And public office is being used for private gain in either case?
UPDATE “Even as the Clintons are touting plans to distance themselves from their foundation and limit its fundraising if Hillary Clinton is elected president, they’re planning one last glitzy fundraising bash on Friday to belatedly celebrate Bill Clinton’s 70th birthday” [Politico]. “Plans called for performances by Wynton Marsalis, Jon Bon Jovi and Barbra Streisand, according to people briefed on the planning. They said that major donors are being asked to give $250,000 to be listed as a chair for the party, $100,000 to be listed a co-chair and $50,000 to be listed as a vice-chair.” Sounds lovely! How I wish I could go…
UPDATE I hate it when Trump’s right:
I was never a fan of Colin Powell after his weak understanding of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq = disaster. We can do much better!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2016
And I don’t see many other figures on the national stage calling out those responsible for the WMDs debacle, most especially not Clinton, or the foreign policy “blob” that likes her so much. (Of course, this is Trump instantly punching back at Powell for various anti-Trump commments in his leaked email, but so what?
“Inside Hillary Clinton’s Stump Speech, Annotated” [NPR]. Not the level of granularity that NC readers are used to in annotation [lambert blushes modestly] but interesting nonetheless. “In a way you could see her stump speech as a series of lists tied together by anecdotes.” And I’ve gotta say: Everytime I hear “love trumps hate” I throw up a little in my mouth. A politician–any politician–running on love? Really? One might also add that Clinton’s concept of “irredeemables” is utterly incompatible with, well, the teachings of Christ, who said “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). From Democrats, of course, we get the lawyerly parsing: “Who then is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29).
“Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on Thursday requested a formal investigation into why the Obama administration did not bring criminal charges individuals and corporation involved in the 2007-2008 financial crisis” [International Business Times]. Why now? Liz edging her hat toward the ring if Clinton comes up lame?
“You can adjust the demographic vote shares on the FiveThirtyEight interactive map to see various speculative scenarios. In order to create a Trump victory, the smallest voter shift required is moving Republican support among “non-college educated white people” from 62% to 69%” [Business Insider].
“[T]his race feels like one of those movies where escaping prisoners desperately try to stay in the shadows as a huge spotlight arcs across the yard” [Cook Political Report]. “As we’ve seen throughout this year, the spotlight has not been [Trump or Clinton’s] friend. When it hits them it exposes their flaws instead of highlighting their strengths. Their poll numbers and their favorability numbers sink. The question going forward is where the spotlight will be shining in October and early November. The more it lingers on Trump, the better for Clinton. The more it shines on Clinton, the better opportunity for Trump to close the gap.”
“Something very interesting has happened over the past two weeks in the presidential campaign: Donald Trump has seized the momentum from Hillary Clinton and is climbing back into contention in both national and key swing state polling” [Chris Cilizza, WaPo]. “New polls released over the past 24 hours confirm this momentum.” Cilizza, at least on my Twitter feed, was the first to call the turn. Of course, the press loves a horse race, and Trump was never as bad a candidate as he seemed, post-Convention. Republican voters are coming home. It remains to be seen if Democrats will. But: “The electoral map still heavily favors Clinton unless Trump can find a way to make Pennsylvania competitive, a task that has so far proved elusive. Trump still must win states like Ohio, Florida and North Carolina, which, even with his recent surge factored in, remain no better than toss-ups today.” IMNSHO, Trump “appealing to black voters” wasn’t that, at all; the Democrat ridicule was both easy and misplaced. It was about giving suburban voters — most especially suburban Philadelphia voters — permission to vote for Trump by showing he wasn’t a bigot.
“How did the proud trade consensus crumble so quickly?” [Thomas Frank, Politico]. “But part of the answer lies in something Americans have a hard time talking about: class. Trade is a class issue. The trade agreements we have entered into over the past few decades have consistently harmed some Americans (manufacturing workers) while just as consistently benefiting others (owners and professionals). … To understand “free trade” in such a way has made it difficult for people in the bubble of the consensus to acknowledge the actual consequences of the agreements we have negotiated over the years.” Incidentally, I have yet to see the “Always racism, never economics” crowd give an account of trade.
“For decades conservatives have castigated liberals for abandoning the language of personal responsibility and turning their constituents into helpless victims. Now, led by Donald Trump, populist conservatives are doing just that” [Wall Steet Journal, “Hard Truths for Trump’s America”]. And now conservatives have a book, Hillbilly Elegy, to help them fight back! “Real economic recovery in Appalachia—the heart of Red America—requires facing some hard truths.” The time for the “hard truths” was when the Rust Belt was sold off for parts twenty, thirty, and forty years ago, very much as part of industrial policy, led by both parties with a big assist from private equity. WSJ very much in “Beat my teeth out, then kick me in the stomach for mumbling” mode here.
About Democrats coming home:
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) September 15, 2016
“[E]ven though roughly three-fourths of all battleground-state Millennials expressed these disparaging views of Trump, the survey found Clinton drawing just 43 percent against him in a four-way race that included libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. While Trump attracted only 24 percent, nearly as many picked Johnson or Stein, and the rest said they were either undecided or wouldn’t vote. By comparison, Obama carried two-thirds of Millennials in 2008 and three-fifths in 2012” [Ron Brownstein, The Atlantic].
“Clinton’s far-reaching campaign organization, which boasts 33 offices in North Carolina, is another source of optimism for Democrats” [RealClearPolitics]. “Still, the RealClearPolitics polling average shows a tight race there, with Clinton maintaining an advantage of 0.8 percentage points over Trump,” when Trump hasn’t spent any money on advertising and has no organization. It takes immense effort to keep Clinton in contention; but the Democrats have the money to make such an effort, and control the commanding heights in the political class. “‘In a tight election with many competitive statewide races, a lot of the outcome is going to come down to suburban voters in Charlotte and Raleigh,’ [Rebecca Tippett, director of Carolina Demography at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Carolina Population Center] said. “That’s probably a college-educated professional.” And the same logic that applies to suburban voters in Philly applies here.
“Republicans currently hold a four-seat advantage, but Democrats are expected to pick up GOP-held seats in Illinois and Wisconsin, meaning they would need to flip just two other seats to gain the majority if Clinton wins the election – though they would need to win a fifth race if Clinton loses the presidency or Republicans flip the Democratic-controlled seat in Nevada” [RealClearPolitics]. Since I want gridlock and a crippled President, if a Democratic Senate win looks likely, I’ll have to vote for Trump. And conversely! Ugh. And ugh.
Jobless Claims, week of September 10, 2016: “Historic lows” [Econoday]. But: “The trend of the 4 week moving average is now marginally trending down. The trend of year-over-year improvement of initial unemployment claims is moderating – and this trend historically indicates a weakening GDP” [Econintersect].
Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of September 11, 2016: Declined [Econoday]. “Readings on consumer confidence, including this one, are remain at solid levels and point to optimism over the jobs outlook. ”
Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, September 2016: “The headline and the details of the Philly Fed report continue to take their own paths, once again showing strength at the headline level, at plus 12.8 in September, and weakness elsewhere” [Econoday]. “[N]ew orders and backlog orders contracted at their steepest rate of the year in August with employment sinking to its lowest reading of the whole cycle, since July 2009.” However: “There was significant strength in this survey – and stands in stark contrast to the New York Fed’s survey which remained in contraction. But the trend in both surveys was improvement. This survey was well above expectation” [Econoday]. “This is a very noisy index which readers should be reminded is sentiment based.”
Business Inventories, July 2016: Unchanged “in lagging data for July” [Econoday]. “An outright drop in inventory investment subtracted almost 1.3 percentage points from second quarter GDP growth — the largest drag in more than two years. Inventories have weighed on GDP growth since the second quarter of 2015. Expectations are for inventory accumulation to rebound in the third quarter adding to GDP growth.” But: ” So far the expected boost to GDP from inventory building isn’t happening. Probably because, as previously discussed, sales are falling just about as fast as inventories, as the inventory to sales ratio remains elevated” [Moster Economics].
Empire State Manufacturing Survey, September 2016: “The Empire State report, like the bulk of this morning’s Philly Fed report, points to continuing trouble for a factory sector that is being held down by weakness in exports and weakness in business investment” [Econoday].
Industrial Production, August 2016: “There was some life in the factory sector during July but it proved brief” [Econoday]. Manufacturing down, motor vehicles up, mining up. “Total capacity utilization edged 4 tenths lower to 75.5 percent.” AndL “A decline was expected this month in industrial production. The manufacturing surveys have been weak – and employment growth has evaporated. This sector remains slightly in a recession” [Econintersect].
Producer Price Index Final Demand August, 2016: “Producer prices show only limited life in what is still a price-neutral economy” [Econoday]. “This report isn’t on fire to say the very least but it could hint at a marginally upward surprise for tomorrow’s CPI report but still isn’t enough to raise the odds much for a rate hike at next week’s FOMC.” And: “There remains deflation in the supply chain, but this deflation is slowly moderating” [Econintersect].
Retail Sales, August 2016: “Retail sales, after inching up a revised 0.1 percent in July, fell 0.3 percent in August and do not just reflect expected weakness in auto sales” [Retail Sales]. “Details show special weakness for building materials and garden equipment, down 1.4 percent for what is also a second straight decline. This specific reading will lower estimates for the residential investment component of the third quarter GDP report. This report puts the backs of the policy hawks at the Fed to the wall…” However: “Using the unadjusted data and the three month rolling averages – this was not a bad report with growth up 2.5 % year-over-year” [Econintersect].
Current Account, Q2 2016: “[N]arrowed in the second quarter to minus $119.9 billion vs a revised minus $131.8 billion in the first quarter” [Econoday]. “Marginal weakness in goods exports was offset by strength in service exports. The gap relative to GDP came in at 2.6 percent, noticeably lower than the prior quarter’s 2.9 percent.”
Shipping: Hanjin Shipping Co. ‘s creditors are growing more concerned that their collateral will disappear over the horizon. A group of creditors is asking a U.S. bankruptcy judge to keep the foundering South Korean carrier’s ships that are nearby from leaving U.S. waters” [Wall Street Journal]. ” Dozens of ships remain stranded at sea with billions of dollars’ worth of goods on board, and its unclear whether those shipments would be released and pushed into distribution channels if the vessels are locked down by creditors.”
Shipping: “Diana Containerships has amended its $148m loan agreement with The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which will block the boxship company from buying new ships and paying dividends to shareholders until late 2018” [Splash247]. $148 million isn’t a big number, but RBS is an old friend. Stupid money? Stupid, corrupt money?
Shipping: “UPS Inc. said today it plans to hire about 95,000 seasonal employees to work the upcoming peak holiday shipping season—a level that, if it holds, will have kept the company’s peak staffing needs constant for the third straight year” [DC Velocity].
Shipping: “Airport cargo figures for July “inspired some cause for optimism” even though demand over the first seven months still lags behind last year” [Air Cargo News].
Agriculture: “[T]he sale of [Monsanto,] an icon of American agriculture also spotlights a sagging farm economy that shows few signs of rebounding as U.S. farmers prepare to reap another record corn and soybean crop this autumn. Declining prices have roiled the agriculture market, from farm-equipment makers to grocery stores, even as the strong production provides a boon to transport companies feeding off the heavy volume” [Wall Street Journal].
The Bezzle: “It isn’t clear when [Uber’s] fully autonomous vehicles will roam city streets, though Ford has a five-year goal and is trying not to be left behind” [Wall Street Journal]. Now, it’s not clear, is it? It’s almost like the current rash of stories on self-driving cars is the result of a public relations push by Silicon Valley, isn’t it?
Honey for the Bears: “The slow motion train wreck that began in late 2014 with the collapse of oil capex continues unabated, with no sign of reversal that I can detect, and the annual rate of growth is consistent with prior recessions” (charts) [Mosler Economics]. Mosler’s view of the day’s releases.
Honey for the Bears; “[G]rowth in world trade has slowed sharply since the 1990s and early 00s. This has nothing to do with nativists like Trump, Le Pen and Brexiters. It’s because of factors largely endogenous to capitalism” [Stumbling and Mumbling]. “Whatever the reason, the fact is that, as Michael Roberts says, globalization has “ground to a halt.” Granted, this might change: we’ve seen globalization falter and recover in history. But it might not, at least soon.” Not sure why all the investment in bigger and bigger ships, then. Did I mention stupid money?
The Fed: “Federal Reserve officials have gone out of their way to push for interest rate hikes sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, they have continued to be data dependent, and the underlying economic data is hardly strong enough to merit much on the tightening front. Stay tuned” [247 Wall Street].
” The new heavyweight macro critics” [Noahpinion]. Many more besides (the very scathing and entertaining) Paul Romer, who we looked at yesterday.
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 39 Fear (previous close: 34, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 69 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed).Last updated Sep 15 at 12:05pm. A bit less fear…
“Variability of work hours being strongly associated with a host of physical and mental health issues as well as financial instability” [Washington Center for Equitable Growth]. “The researchers use data collected from a national sample of hourly retail workers at eight brick-and-morter companies, all of which are among the largest 15 retail employers in the United States.” Readers will remember our recent post on sleep here.
News of the Wired
“How the sugar industry has distorted health science for more than 50 years” [Vox].
“Big bad modifier order” [Language Log]. Claim (Forsyth’s template): “[A]djectives in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose Noun.” Maybe not: “Presumably Forsyth’s template would do quite a bit worse [than an alternative algorithm[, though of course people like that don’t actually check their predictions.” Ouch.
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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 (AM):
AM writes: “My mother in law says that Sedum is also called “Autumn Joy” – it isn’t quite Autumn yet, but this color is a joy to behold!”
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