By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
TTP, TTIP, TISA
“‘This is indeed a hard balance to strike, since we don’t want to invite mockery for being too enthusiastically opposed to a deal she once championed, or overclaiming how bad it is, since it’s a very close call on merits,’ wrote chief speechwriter Dan Schwerin in an Oct. 6, 2015, email [released via Wikileaks] seeking input on a draft of Clinton’s statement coming out against the trade deal. Clinton announced her opposition to the deal one day later when asked about it during an appearance on the PBS NewsHour” [Politico]. Seems legit.
“Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey came out against the TPP earlier this summer with an op-ed in a Pittsburgh newspaper that said the deal ‘falls short,’ but he made it clear then and again on Tuesday that he’s willing to revisit that stance” [Politico]. “‘I’m open to reconsidering the agreement at some point in the future,’ if Pennsylvania’s concerns are addressed, Toomey said in an interview with the editorial board of The Philadelphia Inquirer.”
Days until: 26.
Until a second Hunter Thompson comes along, the appropriately jaded Jeffrey St. Clair will have to do [Counterpunch].
+A large part of the uproar over the Trump tapes is driven not by the fact that Trump’s comments are shocking but because they are so familiar. We’ve heard similar, perhaps even more rancid, things from our fathers, uncles, brothers, coaches, teachers, pastors, teammates, and friends. Perhaps we’ve even made similar comments ourselves. Now the public wants to project its own shame onto Trump. His humiliation serves as a kind catharsis for the nation’s own systemic sexism. Perhaps NOW will give him a medal one day for his “sacrifice”…
Cf. Luke 18:11.
“My Vision for Universal, Quality, Affordable Health Care” [Hillary Clinton, New England Journal of Medicine]. Missed this one; at least NEJM, unlike JAMA, adhered to its own style guide and categorized this as an opinion piece (“Sounding Board”). The piece — and I know this will come as a shock to you — is dreck; it makes no pretence to present “universal” health care. If the piece was actually edited, as opposed to being thrown over the transom and printed, shouldn’t somebody have checked to see that the headline and the text had some rough correspondence?
“WASHINGTON—The White House vowed to hit Russia with a “proportional” response after the conclusion by U.S. intelligence officials that Moscow hacked into emails from the Democratic National Committee and other organizations, then leaked thousands of files to interfere with the outcome of the presidential election” [Wall Street Journal, “White House Vows ‘Proportional’ Response for Russian DNC Hack”]. Proportional like what? Funding more Femen events? Nuclear weapons? What?
Straw in the wind (1): Scott Adams endorses Johnson [Scott Adams]. “I now endorse Gary Johnson. He’s allegedly a stoner who doesn’t know much about Aleppo. I call that relatable. A vote for Clinton or Trump is support for an alleged abuser of women. I don’t need that on my brand.”
Straw in the wind (2): “It’s pretty clear the election is over, but that was clear after the first debate” [MishTalk]. “It is Trump who destroyed Trump. The man finally imploded. Heading into the first debate, it was Trump’s election to lose, and he lost it with an amazing set of gaffes.”
“For or Against Trump, GOP Fears Intensifying Civil War If He Loses” [Bloomberg]. “One number may help answer those questions: the percentage of Republicans who vote for Trump on Election Day. Mitt Romney won 93 percent of Republican voters in 2012. John McCain received 90 percent in 2008. Trump is in the ballpark, consolidating the support of 89 percent of Republican voters since the debate Sunday, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.”
“Fear sells, and it stimulates. Trump and his cronies constantly tell us, without actual facts, how bad crime is and how evil all foreigners are — especially if they dress funny — and they repeat over and over the false information that the economy is on the verge of collapse and you better build that bunker and stock up, because if you don’t, all you’ll have for protection from the certain rise of crazed liberals is harsh language” [Texas Observer]. From the title, “Why My East Texas Neighbors are Voting for Trump,” I expected another in the genre of quasi-anthropolical studies of that alien being, the Trump voter. It isn’t, as the peroration which I have quoted shows. “Fear sells, and it stimulates.” As indeed it does, all the way into a shooting war with Russia. Eh?
“In this disgusting election, dominated by the personal and the petty, the importance of the nation’s economic geography has been widely ignored. Yet if you look at the Electoral College map, the correlation between politics and economics is quite stark, with one economy tilting decisively toward Trump and more generally to Republicans, the other toward Hillary Clinton and her Democratic allies” [RealClearPolitics]. Interesting:
This reflects an increasingly stark conflict between two very different American economies. One, the “Ephemeral Zone” concentrated on the coasts, runs largely on digits and images, the movement of software, media and financial transactions. It produces increasingly little in the way of food, fiber, energy and fewer and fewer manufactured goods. The Ephemeral sectors dominate ultra-blue states such as New York, California, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Connecticut.
The other America constitutes, as economic historian Michael Lind notes in a forthcoming paper for the Center for Opportunity Urbanism, the “New Heartland.” Extending from the Appalachians to the Rockies, this heartland economy relies on tangible goods production. It now encompasses both the traditional Midwest manufacturing regions, and the new industrial areas of Texas, the Southeast and the Intermountain West.
Contrary to the notions of the Ephemerals, the New Heartland is not populated by Neanderthals. This region employs much of the nation’s engineering talent, but does so in conjunction with the creation of real goods rather than clicks. Its industries have achieved generally more rapid productivity gains than their rivals in the services sector. To some extent, energy and food producers may have outdone themselves and, since they operate in a globally competitive market, their prices and profits are suffering.
Despite deep misgivings about the character of Donald Trump, these economic interests have led most Heartland voters somewhat toward the New York poseur, and they are aligning themselves even more to down-ticket GOP candidates. In generally purple states like Missouri, Ohio and Iowa, where manufacturing is key, Trump still leads—at least he was before the latest spate of Trump crudeness was revealed, this time regarding women.
“Solving the Riddle of the Slovenian Sphinx and the Pussy Bow” [Maureen Dowd, New York Times]. I told [André Leon Talley] we needed to solve the mystery of the feline wife and the pussy bow. Was it a feminist signal, using a throwback style, to women upset by her husband’s reprehensible riff on the bus with Billy Bush? (Remember President Clinton sent Monica Lewinsky a signal on TV by wearing a Zegna tie she had given him?) André thinks not. ‘I’m inclined to think that Melania is supportive of him,” he said. ‘I don’t think she’s a disrupter. If anything, it was a signal of support for him, using the mot du jour and taking it to the next level with fashion.'” So that’s sorted.
“WikiLeaks pumps out Clinton emails” [The Hill]. Greenwald points out on the Twitter that the ongoing Democrat effort to discredit Wikileaks as a news organization is also an attempt to open them to criminal charges.
JOLTS, August 2016: “In downbeat indications on the labor market, job openings fell a sharp 7.3 percent in August to 5.443 million at the same time that hiring, instead of rising, slowed by 0.9 percent to 5.210 million” [Econoday]. “Though readings in this report remain healthy, the drop in openings and the lack of hiring are consistent with slowing jobs growth, as seen in both the August and September employment reports.” And: “The BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) can be used as a predictor of future jobs growth, and the predictive elements show that the year-over-year growth rate of unadjusted private non-farm job openings were insignificantly changed from last month. In addition, the growth rate trends declined using the 3 month averages” [Econintersect]. But: ” Even with the decline in Job Openings, this is another solid report” [Calculated Risk]. And: “There was a significant decline in openings in the manufacturing and construction sectors, while openings were little changed in the retail sector. There was an increase in the leisure sector, while openings in government declined. More positively, there was an increase in hires in the manufacturing and construction sectors: [Economic Calendar]. “The number of hires for the month still exceeded separations by over 250,000, which still indicates very solid employment growth for the month, and no underlying deterioration.:”
MBA Mortgage Applications, week of October 7, 2016: “Mortgage activity slowed in in the October 7 week, with seasonally adjusted purchase applications for home mortgages falling” [Econoday]. “Versus the comparable week a year ago, however, unadjusted purchase applications were 27 percent higher, a sharp reversal of the 14 percent year-on-year decline seen in the prior week.” But: ” Don’t read too much into the year-over-year increase – remember last year there was a sharp increase in applications the week prior to the TILA-RESPA regulatory change, and the following week applications plunged 28%. Since this is a comparison to the week following the regulatory change, applications are up year-over-year. This will smooth out soon” [Calculated Risk].
Fodder for the Bulls: “Eurozone Industrial Production Rebounds 1.6% In August” [Economic Calendar]. “There will certainly be caution over the data for August given the risks of faulty seasonal adjustments as August is a peak holiday season. Any renewed downturn for September would trigger fresh concerns, although the data overall should boost confidence in the outlook slightly.”
Shipping: ” Hanjin Shipping Co. is stepping in to help resolve the logistics mess created by the carrier’s thousands of empty containers” [Wall Street Journal]. “The confusion over boxes is part of the supply-chain mess that’s followed the South Korean carrier’s declaration of bankruptcy in August. Questions over shipping payments and fees remain, however, and those may take longer to resolve than it will take to clear away Hanjin’s empty containers.”
Shipping: “General Average is a legal principle of Maritime Law under which, all parties who are involved in that voyage, shall be asked to proportionally share the losses resulting from such sacrifice” [Shipping and Freight Resource]. “Say for example the ship is a container ship and there are 100 containers on board with 100 customers.. One of the containers caught fire on board which spread to 9 other containers and all 10 containers had to be thrown overboard in order to save the balance 90 containers, the ship and the crew. Since the ship, the cargo and the crew were saved due to this action, the whole burden of the loss will be shared among the 100 customers and not just the 10 customers whose cargo was thrown overboard.” Interestingly, the principle of “general average” was used to justify fraud in the case of the ship Zong, whose captain and crew threw its slaves (cargo) overboard to collect on the insurance money.
Supply Chain: “Samsung’s botched recall of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone is putting a spotlight on supply-chain oversight and raising questions about the ability of today’s technology and management tools to help companies maintain quality control in giant complex networks of suppliers—as when products are being built and upgraded more swiftly. [Wall Street Journal, “Samsung Recall Puts Supply-Chain Oversight in Spotlight”]. Various technical solutions are presented. This is the best: “This is an example of where Internet of Things will make a difference,’ [ Richard Soley, chairman and CEO of technology standards consortium Object Management Group] said.’When you maintain a connection to all the devices, you know where they are and can do something about it.'” See the first link in the WIred section.
The Fed: “New York Fed President Dudley stated on Wednesday that the Federal Reserve can be gentle in raising rates, maintaining expectations of a December rate increase” [Economic Calendar]. Please be gentle!
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 45 Neutral (previous close: 47, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 49 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 12 at 12:44pm.
“To drive real health care reform, look to what employers are doing” [Stat News]. A bit more interesting than the anodyne headline:
This research spotlights one of the biggest but least discussed economic effects of runaway health care costs. As health care expenses drain more of employers’ compensation budgets, less money is available to put into people’s paychecks. Flat wages widen economic inequality — one of the things fanning voter anger and frustration. The current benefits system encourages waste and does little to improve health.
It’s almost like there’s some sort of parasite doing the draining…
Imperial Collapse Watch
Take a bow, elites:
Mind blowing. The children of soldiers that fought in Iraq are now fighting the war in Iraq. pic.twitter.com/gSBjGXRDNU
— T. Christian Miller (@txtianmiller) October 10, 2016
This is dumb. The troops shouldn’t still be fighting in Iraq. They should be fighting in Syria. Or Russia.
“How Freelancers Are Reinventing Work Through New Collective Enterprises” [Shareable]. “As the gig economy proliferates, growing numbers are breaking away and creating their own work communities, based on a mix of autonomy and interdependence. Combating precarious economics and social isolation, freelancers are using new open-source technology and old-fashioned shoe leather organizing to create new ways to work and to work together.” Sounds great, sorta. Is there the “gig economy” equivalent of a “theory of the firm,” which shows why these organizations have a competitive advantage over other forms of organzing work?
“[T]here is a fair amount of data to support the argument that union workers in manufacturing have suffered as a result of open borders, bad trade deals and overzealous environmental regulations” [Forbes]. “Then why have union leaders endorsed and funded the politicians who made these policies?” This being Forbes, there’s a plug for
free-riderright to work laws at the end, but it’s still a good question.
News of the Wired
“In which an English technologist livetweets 11 hours of trying to make tea with a ‘smart’ kettle” [Boing Boing]. This is awesome. And there’s that word “smart” again.
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Bag o’ cukes!
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