By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
“John Kasich: Refusing to ratify TPP risks America’s role as the world leader” [WaPo]. “In the event of our inaction and loss of resolve, the United States will surrender global leadership to our most aggressive rivals, dictators who have the most to gain: Vladimir Putin, Russia’s latter-day Stalin; and Xi Jinping, the most repressive Communist Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.” Nutso. In a tripolar world, you play the other two poles off against each other. You don’t attack both of them.
Our Famously Free Press
“Swat Team: The media’s extermination of Bernie Sanders, and real reform” [Thomas Frank, Harpers]. Go read it, because Harpers and Frank should have the hits. Because I’m pressed temporally, I’ll supply this summary [New York Post].
Frank went through every one of hundreds of opinion pieces published in the Washington Post on Sanders and Hillary Clinton, his rival for the Democratic nomination for president, during primary season, from January to May 2016, and found a stark disparity in coverage. Sanders pieces took a negative tone by a ratio of 5 to 1, whereas opinion pieces on Clinton were about evenly split between favorable and unfavorable.
UPDATE “New WikiLeaks emails show influence of Univision chairman in Clinton campaign” [Miami Herald]. “‘She needs to differentiate herself from Obama on Israel,’ Saban wrote to top campaign officials on June 20, 2015.”
“Bridgegate official misconduct complaint against Christie can move forward” [Star-Ledger].
UPDATE “In Haiti, a Factory Where Big Money, State Department and the Clintons Meet” [ABC].
But the garment factory has underdelivered on projected jobs. Haitian workers have accused managers of bullying and sexual harassment. And an ABC News investigation has found that after opening its factory in the Haitian industrial park — built with $400 million of global aid — the Korean firm became a Clinton Foundation donor and its owner invested in a startup company owned by Hillary Clinton’s former chief of staff.
UPDATE “Donald Trump Is Accusing the Clintons of Cashing In on Haiti’s 2010 Earthquake” [Fortune]. Should have been done long ago.
UPDATE “WikiLeaks emails reveal Bill Clinton’s $1M ‘birthday’ present from Qatar” [Washington Times].
“[Qatar] would like to see WJC ‘for five minutes’ in NYC, to present $1 million check that Qatar promised for WJC’s birthday in 2011,” an employee at The Clinton Foundation said to numerous aides, including Doug Brand [isc]. “Qatar would welcome our suggestions for investments in Haiti — particularly on education and health. They have allocated most of their $20 million but are happy to consider projects we suggest. I’m collecting input from CF Haiti team.”
No doubt! The Clintons sure were working the Haiti angle any way that they could. I wonder how that’s playing in Florida?
“[A]lmost half of the S&P 500 disclose, or restrict to non-election purposes, their payments to trade associations, and almost a third disclose or restrict payments to 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations” [The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation]. The 2016 CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure….
UPDATE “Trump’s path to the presidency now hinges on these four states” [McClatchy]. “Trump is essentially focused on four states: North Carolina, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Based of RealClearPolitics’ electoral map, that means Trump will almost certainly need to win all four in order to reach 270 electoral votes. According to the latest polls, he trails Clinton in all four of those states, though often within the margin of error.”
UPDATE “Over 500,000 Votes Have Already Been Cast in 2016 Presidential Election” [NBC]. “In the seven battleground states below [four of which are listed above]–where campaigns are especially focused on mobilizing voters– 330,980 early votes have now been cast.” Hmm. The Democrats were encouraging early voting, IIRC.
Wisconsin: “Trump needs more Republican voters, particularly in Waukesha County, a heavily Republican suburb just west of Milwaukee. Waukesha delivered 161,567 votes to Mitt Romney in 2012, a 35-point margin of victory over Obama. Trump isn’t anywhere near that right now” [RealClearPolitics]. Recall we awarded WI to Trump in last week’s path to victory exercise, based on institutional factors. Meanwhile: “‘Clinton is getting about 55 percent in Dane County,’ said [Charles Franklin, professor of law and public policy and director of the Marquette Law School Poll], ‘and she should be getting 65 to 70 percent. So that’s the effect of young people who are not attracted to her, or who are pining away for Sanders or gravitating to [Gary] Johnson and, to a lesser extent, [Jill] Stein.”
Ohio: “How Republican Rob Portman May Derail the Trump Train in Ohio” [Bloomberg]. “Portman had long ago quietly placed a bet against his party’s presidential prospects. Over the past year and a half, he has assiduously assembled an organization that would keep him from being reliant on the Ohio Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, or its presidential nominee to identify and mobilize his supporters. As a result he finds himself today with a broader coalition, often motivated by local issues, and much less dependent on Trump’s supporters—and on the RNC’s largesse—than other Republican senators on the ballot this season. Portman had quietly grown so self-sufficient that, in an inversion of the natural order, by the time he rescinded his support, he already controlled Trump’s fate.” Sounds to me like the left could learn from this.
“Technocratic for the people: What Hillary Clinton gets wrong about Bernie Sanders’ political revolution” [Conor Lynch, Salon]. “But what exactly has modern technocratic liberalism achieved? Some of the Democratic [sic] Party’s most important achievements — most notably the Affordable Care Act — are also some of the most jumbled, bureaucratic and corporate-friendly pieces of legislation in modern history… A fine example of the technocratic liberal is MIT professor and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber, who said in 2014 that ‘Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,’ and that ‘the stupidity of the American voter’ was critical for ACA to pass.”
“Bernie Sanders Just Asked President Obama to Halt the Dakota Access Pipeline” [Mother Jones]. Already opening up space between himself and the Democrat leadership. And not a moment too soon, either.
“How Hillary Clinton should go in for the kill” [Ryan Cooper, The Week]. “Every Republican candidate should be walloped with the deranged nominee, every minute of every day, and every Republican base voter should be either applauding their local nominee’s support of bile and hatred, or hanging their head in despair at yet another RINO giving in to political correctness. ” With great power comes great responsibility…
“Not even Republicans who denounced Trump this weekend following the release of the catastrophic video are safe from the ads. The DCCC says it also plans to knock vulnerable candidates who withdrew support or endorsements for Trump or asked him to step aside after the video, ‘which everybody [who is anybody] is seeing as too little too late,’ the DCCC’s Kelly said” [Politico]. If Trump succeeds in making the DCCC look good… that would be quite remarkable.
“Trump has made up larger gaps in similar time periods in the past. If you look at the RCP Average, Clinton hasn’t so much surged as Trump has lost support since the beginning of the month, which suggests those voters are still gettable for him” [RealClearPolitics]. “That is because the fundamentals of this race indicate it will be close. The second-term president with middling approval ratings, the modest growth, and the historic unfavorability of the two candidates continually exert gravity on the contest downward to a tie. When Trump is ‘best behavior’ Trump, the race is competitive. When he isn’t, Clinton pulls to a lead. If Trump were to be ‘best behavior’ Trump for the remaining four weeks and conduct himself in the third debate as he did in the second, he might close the gap again. Indeed, the NBC/WSJ poll released over the weekend actually suggests Trump made up some ground in the aftermath of the debate. But I don’t think that will happen.”
“[A] simple rule is that a 90 percent or higher win probability allows Clinton to run a ‘some’ campaign and forces Trump to run an ‘and’ campaign. I’ll explain” [RealClearPolitics]. “Right now, Clinton’s lead (6.2 points in the Trump vs. Clinton RealClearPolitics average and 4.8 points when third parties are included) is safe enough that she can take some hits. If Clinton were to take some damage from newly released emails, perform well in the final debate and slightly underperform her polling, she would probably still win. Or if Clinton didn’t perform well at the final debate, endured a few bad news cycles but managed to stave off most other negative news, she would probably still have a lead heading into Election Day. I think of this as a “some” campaign because she only needs to get some things right to maintain her lead… Trump, on the other hand, would have to have an extremely good run of luck and/or series of great strategic moves to catch up to Clinton. For example, if news shifted back to a prolonged focus on Clinton’s emails and she had another health issue and polls underestimated Trump’s support, then he might win the election. In that way, he has to run an “and” campaign.”
“‘Total Fabrication’: Trump denies multiple accusers’ abuse claims” [USA Today].
“Miss Washington 2013 claims Donald Trump groped her, invited her to hotel room” [McClatchy].
Clinton Email Hairballs
“George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words in Podesta Emails – Discovered 981 Unindexed Documents” [Another Word For It]. Wikileaks finding aids and search functionality are less than stellar.
UPDATE “Hacked 80-page roundup of paid speeches shows Clinton ‘praising Wall Street'” [Politico]. Politico is only getting around to this now? Hmm. I wonder if the word “Sanders” appears in the story, as in “Sanders voters were right.” What do you think?
Jobless Claims, week of October 8, 2016: “Unemployment claims remain at or near historic lows, indicating a lack of layoffs and quick turnaround for those who do lose their jobs” [Econoday]. Or that claims are harder to get. And: “Initial jobless claims continued to surprise to the downside, plumbing depths not seen in a very long time” [Amherst Pierpont, Across the Curve]. “Not that we should be shocked. When the labor market gets very tight, firms do not want to lay off anyone that they suspect they might want to re-hire at some point because chances are, they will not be available when the firm tries to call them back…. here may be 3 or 4 doves on the FOMC who still believe that there is substantial slack in the labor market, but the more compelling argument in my view is that we are moving/have moved into clearly tight territory, which is why wage hikes are (finally) accelerating to a pace in excess of what productivity growth and cost-of-living adjustments would dictate.” Time to screw the workers? I mean, a better time than usual?
Import and Export Prices, September 2016: “Progress is the theme in September’s import & export price report where emerging pressures may be appearing. Import prices rose 0.1 percent in the month with export prices up 0.3 percent. And year-on-year rates are finally coming up for air, at only minus 1.1 percent for import prices which is the best showing since August 2014. The year-on-year rate for export prices is minus 1.5 percent for their best showing since October 2014” [Econoday]. And: “The month-over-month figures given in the headlines only confuse. At the current rate of moderation of deflation (trend line) – both imports and export prices should start inflating by the end of the year” [Econintersect].
Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of October 9, 2016: “[A] tough month for the consumer comfort index which drifted in the 41 range, well down from the prior trend at 44” [Econoday].
Real Estate: “The U.S. industrial property market is on track for another record year in 2016, and the market could expand well into 2018 despite the possibility of higher interest rates that would increase the costs of carrying inventory, according to a leading industrial real estate and logistics firm” [DC Velocity]. “Richard H. Thompson, JLL’s international director, supply chain and logistics solutions, said demand will be powered by the dramatic growth of e-commerce and the fulfillment networks developed and expanded to support it.” Can’t we just turn the malls into warehouses?
Supply Chain: “The collapse of Hanjin Shipping has brought into sharp relief the vulnerability of intercontinental supply chains, the spectre of further bankruptcies among ocean shipping lines, and the likelihood of an acceleration of nearshoring trends” [Lloyd’s List].
Shipping: “Bankrupt Hanjin Shipping has redelivered the majority of its chartered-in vessels with more to follow, which is swelling the global fleet of idled containerships, according to research by Alphaliner” [Splash 247]. “These redeliveries [of 67 vessels] have caused the fleet of idle containerships of over 500 teu to surge to 371 vessels (1.33m teu total), as of October 3, Alphaliner said in its latest weekly report.”
Shipping: “For the fourth time in as many months, U.S. aviation safety regulators have proposed a fine on Amazon.com Inc.” [Wall Street Journal, “Safety Regulators Fine Amazon Again Over Hazardous Air Shipments”]. “According to the Federal Aviation Administration, in August 2015 FedEx Corp. workers at a sorting facility in Cary, Ill., discovered a leaking package that held two 14-ounce bottles of a flammable, ethanol-based hair tonic. The shipment, which was flown from Ruskin, Fla., to Algonquin, Ill., wasn’t packaged or marked properly to show it contained hazardous material, the FAA alleges, and shipping papers didn’t provide required details, including emergency response information.” Amazon’s response is priceless: “[Amazon] has developed sophisticated technologies to detect potential shipping hazards and use any defects as an opportunity for continuous improvement.” I guess when a plane falls out of the sky that will come under the heading of “continuous improvement” too?
Shipping: “Amazon.com Inc. plans to hire 20% more seasonal workers for its U.S. warehouses this holiday season as some competitors have kept hiring steady.” [Wall Street Journal, “Amazon to Add 120,000 Workers for Holidays”]. “The company said 14,000 seasonal employees were hired full time last year, and the company plans to bring on more full-time workers this year.”
Rail: “It does appear that the downward slide in the one year rolling averages will pause shortly as the rate of increase in the rate of decline is continuing to be smaller. But this movement is like watching snails race. Based on the current trends – rail year-over-year rate of contraction should start improving by year end” [Econintersect]. “Still I am grappling with what this contraction actually means as the USA economy is not being pulled into a recession.”
Rail: “[Railroad] tie production plunged 12.9 percent in July to 2.21 million units, while purchases dropped 11.8 percent to 2.2 million units from June levels, according to [the Railway Tie Association]. Compared with July 2015 data, production fell 7.6 percent, while purchases slipped 8.4 percent” [Progressive Railroading].
Commodities: “One of the more eye-catching trends for tanker markets this quarter is the slowing fuel demand in China, as indicated by multiple indicators and analysts” [Lloyd’s List].
Political Risk: “Economists in The Wall Street Journal’s latest monthly survey of economists put the odds of the next downturn happening within the next four years at nearly 60%” [Wall Street Journal, “Economists Believe a Recession Is Likely Within Next Four Years”]. Obama decreasing the deficit should leave Clinton II holding the bag, exactly as Clinton I reducing the deficit left Bush holding the bag.
Political Risk: “Hard Brexit could turn EU to Ukraine for wheat, rather than UK” [Agrimoney]. “For both wheat, of which the EU buyers accounted for 80% of UK exports last season, and barley, for which the bloc took 63% of UK sales, the [import levies] would represent more than half the value of supplies, at 2015 prices, and would probably render such shipments ‘uneconomic’.”
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 32, Fear (previous close: 45, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 53 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 13 at 11:43am. Mr. Market finally decides he doesn’t like Clinton all that much after all? War is bad for business, after all.
Black Injustice Tipping Point
“I Loved My Bigoted Uncle, and He Loved Us” [The Daily Beast]. “My late Uncle Buster, a barrel-chested white man raised in the woody bowels of Louisiana and a self-professed bigot, opened his life, his home and his heart to me. Wendell ‘Buster’ Carson was ours by marriage but, even as he rests in his grave, our bond remains as indelible as the etchings on his marble tombstone.” Must-read.
“When asked by Couric how she feels about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and others athletes, refusing to stand for the anthem, Ginsburg replied: “I think it’s dumb and disrespectful” [ABC]
“Meet the Ferguson activist moving the fight for justice inside the political system” [Guardian]. “[Bruce] Franks, who supported Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination, last month won a landslide victory in a rerun of his primary race against incumbent representative Penny Hubbard. The do-over was ordered by a judge who found serious irregularities with the absentee ballots that initially clinched victory for Hubbard, who sits on Clinton’s Missouri leadership council.”
[MATTHEW KARP:] The European and American working classes of the 1850s needed not only shirts to wear but coffee in the morning and sugar to go in it. The demand for all these things rose spectacularly with the Industrial Revolution. Southerners looked at how the world economy was working in the mid-19th century and believed these key staples all had to be grown either by slaves or in coercive labor systems that resembled slavery.
Beyond specific global markets, everywhere in the 1850s there was this muscular spread of a Euro-American imperialism that relied on extractive, coercive labor from the people it dominated — from the British in India to the Dutch in Indonesia. Southerners said over and over again that the “dark races” of the world were either going to disappear or they’re going to have to be dragooned into labor. In a world of empire, racial domination and coercive labor, they thought, why couldn’t slavery have a part in the system?
The final element is the rise of racialized science, which was also gaining a lot of steam at this time in Northern and European universities. The 1850s are a moment where a lot of ideas about the biological capacity of the races were gaining momentum.
Southerners were saying, if you look at this economically, if you look at this politically, geopolitically, intellectually, all of the global trends of the 1850s actually favor our system, which is based on inequality and coercion. Today, we have a sense that slavery was on its way out — and it was, because the South lost the war — but I really don’t think slaveholders had that sense.
“One-third of all public schools in the United States could be contaminated with toxic PCBs, according to a new report from Sen. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat” [Reveal News]. “It found that up to 14 million American children could be exposed to PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls. The report estimated that it could cost upward of $52 billion to rid schools of this cancer-causing chemical.”
“Amid Media Blackout over Climate Change Links to Hurricane Matthew, Top Scientist Speaks Out” [Democracy Now!]. “[Michae Mann:] You know, it’s unfortunate that some in the weather community are not providing that critical context for understanding this trend towards increasingly devastating tropical storms and hurricanes. Matthew is a very good example of a storm that was unique, unprecedented, in certain respects. It intensified far more quickly than any other storm that we’ve seen in modern history, basically going from not even a tropical depression to a near-hurricane-strength storm over the course of, you know, less than half a day, and then, the next day, of course, strengthening into a major hurricane, a Category 5 hurricane.”
“You Bought a Vineyard. Now, Meet Your Staff” [Wall Street Journal]. “Another touch that boosted a sense of community: Earlier this year they hosted an Easter party with workers and their children, which included a hunt for chocolates around the property. Denise Adams says she enjoyed putting on the event, but may have made a bit of a mistake with the menu, which included U.S. staples such as lemonade and carrot-cake cupcakes with cream-cheese frosting. When some of the children, not used to the flavors, tried the items, they started crying, she says. ‘I guess it was one of those mistakes that Americans make in France,’ she says. ‘Everybody had a wonderful time, and we laughed hysterically.'” Sounds like American food is even more horrid than anybody could possibly have imagined.
“The Skills Delusion” [Adair Turner, Project Syndicate]. “Everybody agrees that better education and improved skills, for as many people as possible, is crucial to increasing productivity and living standards and to tackling rising inequality. But what if everybody is wrong?… As for inequality, we may need to offset it through overt redistribution, with higher minimum wages or income support unrelated to people’s price in the job market, and through generous provision of high-quality public goods.” Of course, Clinton has already foreclosed this possibility; after all, some of the redistribution would go to “irredeemables.”
“A new exposition of assemblage theory” [Understanding Society]. “[B]oth ‘the Market’ and ‘the State’ can be eliminated from a realist ontology by a nested set of individual emergent wholes operating at different scales” (and see subseqent critique of “emergence”). Anybody who quotes Deleuze gets my attention, but I did find this article a little hard to penetrate.
“The Battle of Hastings: What’s Behind the Netflix CEO’s Fight to Charterize Public Schools?” [Capital and Main]. A hatred for public goods? Why, yes! “Hastings, at a 2014 CCSA meeting, asserted that public schools are hobbled by having elected schoolboards.” Another squillionaire with bright ideas. They can’t all leave for Mars soon enough, for me.
News of the Wired
Excellent headline: “Romanian villagers decry police investigation into vampire slaying” [McClatchy]. Best ever lead: “Before Toma Petre’s relatives pulled his body from the grave, ripped out his heart, burned it to ashes, mixed it with water and drank it, he hadn’t been in the news much.”
“To deal with their miserable lives, naked mole rats have evolved to feel no pain” [Ars Technica]. I think we’ve learned an important lesson here today…
“‘Poetry for the ear’: Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize in literature” [WaPo].
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: