By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
“The U.S. Coalition for TPP on Wednesday highlighted the first anniversary of the beleaguered Pacific Rim trade deal being completed and used the milestone to once again call on Congress to approve the deal before the end of the year. In a press release, the coalition argued that the deal would benefit U.S. industry, workers and the economy while also advancing “core American values” including transparency and non-discrimination” [Politico]. FWIW, I listen to a sociopathic podcast from the heart of the blob called “The Editor’s Roundtable,” because the Beltway voices are soothing and help me fall asleep. The participants universally believe that TPP is dead, dead, dead. But then they hate Obama and love Clinton.
“U.S. and EU trade officials huddled in New York City this week for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks say they’re in full-on negotiating mode, but any progress they make in the next couple of days likely isn’t enough to move the deal to completion before the end of the year” [Politico]. “More than three years after the negotiations began, the 15th round of discussions this week remains focused on the micro level: completing work on legal text, resolving technical differences on regulatory cooperation provisions, and tinkering with tariff phase-out periods for those products that would see duties eliminated. At this point, negotiators may wind up just preparing the deal for hibernation until the next president takes over — but it could be a deal that Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump might be able to support.”
Days until: 32.
Latest state polls: MI: Clinton 43%, Trump 32%, Johnson 10% (Detroit Free Press); AZ: Clinton 44%, Trump 42%, Johnson 9% (Emerson); FL: Trump 45%, Clinton 44%, Johnson 4% (Emerson); NV: Clinton 43%, Trump 43%, Johnson 9% (Emerson); FL: Clinton 41%, Trump 38%, Johnson 6% (University of North Florida); NH: Clinton 44%, Trump 42%, Johnson 5% (Suffolk) [Political Wire].
UPDATE The Times has a neat interactive, titled “The 1,024 Ways Clinton or Trump Can Win the Election”; it shows the “paths to victory” in tree form. Try it yourself! [New York Times]. So I took the state polls above, and plugged them in: I gave FL, NC, OH to Trump. Then I gave VA, PA to Clinton. At that point, Clinton had 11 ways to win, and Trump 19, with the states remaining being WI, CO, IA, NV, NH. I gave WI to Trump (Walker, even if Clinton is up in the polls). I gave NV to Clinton (Reid, even though the race is tight). I gave CO to Clinton. That brought it down to Iowa. Based on polling, IA leans Trump. So I gave IA to Trump, and he won. Of course, this is just light-hearted punditry, it’s not a serious prediction. But the moral of the story is that despite the usual inevitability tropes from Democrats — and how they combine that with flop-sweat anxiety, I’ll never understand — it’s still a race.
“A close look at the race, gender, age and education of the people surveyed by major polling organizations gives a more detailed picture of the voters behind the numbers—and which candidate is winning them over” [Bloomberg].
And then there’s this:
GOP lead has shrunk (and disappeared with women) among college-educated white voters
But it's exploded among non-college-educated whites… pic.twitter.com/SUTpcerXUM
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) October 6, 2016
Dunno if Trump can get the turnout he needs from “his” voters. Maybe he should offer a “Make America Great” hat to everyone who sends him a selfie from a polling station. Announce it at the next debate. I mean, who much could that cost, especially compared to normal GOTV?
“Small business says Trump is their pick for president” [CNBC].
“The Developing World Thinks Hitler Is Underrated” [Foreign Policy]. So it’s no wonder, as the country outside the Acela Corridor approaches Third World status, that the same thinking emerges here.
“Own up to NAFTA, Democrats: Trump is right that the terrible trade pact was Bill Clinton’s baby” [Salon]. “The usually whip-smart Rachel Maddow made a mind-boggling error the day after the Clinton-Trump debate. Her first 14 minutes were fine, but when she turned to fact-checking Trump, the first of the ‘untrue things’ she chose to correct was not untrue at all. ‘Bill Clinton did not sign NAFTA,’ Maddow said. ‘George H.W. Bush signed NAFTA.’ Actually, it was both.” I’m not sure about the idiom “whip smart.” It makes the role of the credentialed 10% witih respect to the rest of us uncomfortably evident.
“Why Did the Obamas Fail to Take On Corporate Agriculture?” [Michael Pollan, New York Times]. Let me guess….
Our Famously Free Press
The headline: “Against Donald Trump” [The Atlantic]. Contrast the URL: “the-case-for-hillary-clinton-and-against-donald-trump.” I imagine the number of votes shifted by this editorial will be in the single digits, naturally.
“The Daily 202: How Rob Portman pulled away in Ohio” [WaPo]. One thing leaped out at me: Portman got leglslation passed on the opioid epidemic, and Strickland had no policy response. Of course, since the opioid epidemic affects the (white) working class, the AIDS-level excess deaths are not a Democrat priority.
“In battle for the Senate, Democrats now have a narrow edge” [WaPo]. I might have to vote for Trump!
The Obama administration is moving to dismiss charges against an arms dealer it had accused of selling weapons that were destined for Libyan rebels. Lawyers for the Justice Department on Monday filed a motion in federal court in Phoenix to drop the case against the arms dealer, an American named Marc Turi, whose lawyers also signed the motion” [Politico]. “The deal averts a trial that threatened to cast additional scrutiny on Hillary Clinton’s private emails as Secretary of State, and to expose reported Central Intelligence Agency attempts to arm rebels fighting Libyan leader Moammar Qadhafi.” “Justice” Department does Clinton another solid.
Democrat Email Hairballs
“Guccifer 2.0’s October 3rd 2016 Data Drop – Old News? (7 Duplicates out of 2085 files” [Another Word for It]. Based on file names, the latest Guccifer dump is new (only seven file names are dupes).
There seems to be a news blackout on the latest Clinton email dump. From McClatchy:
[On Wednesday,] the conservative group Citizens United released a new batch of emails that show the close relationship between the Clinton State Department and the Clinton Foundation. It obtained them through a lawsuit filed against the State Department after its Freedom of Information Act request went unanswered.
“New emails show intersection of Clinton Foundation, State Dept., paid speeches” [Washington Examiner].
Emails showed Clinton’s aides teamed up with the [Clinton Foundation] to perform donor maintenance, craft messaging on key policies and put together guest lists for both diplomatic and philanthropic events. State Department staffers were often asked to advise Clinton’s husband on how to handle politically-fraught speaking engagements or foundation events, such as an effort to bring the new Libyan president to a Clinton Global Initiative meeting that was held less than two weeks after the 2012 Benghazi attacks.
The trove of roughly 200 pages of records made public Wednesday was just the latest and most convincing indication that, rather than operate as an independent organization, the Clinton Foundation leaned heavily on the State Department to expand its global reach.
But authorities are unlikely to take any action against Clinton or her staff, despite the fact that they violated a Memorandum of Understanding with the White House in which they had pledged to avoid the appearance of conflicts with the foundation….
Huma Abedin, then Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, had the most contact with employees of the Clinton Foundation. Her cozy relationship with the charity earned her a paycheck in 2012, when the State Department approved an unusual personnel arrangement that allowed her to accept employment at the State Department and a controversial consulting firm called Teneo Strategies without leaving her agency position.
In Sept. 2009, for example, Abedin and Doug Band, then a foundation employee who went on to found Teneo, discussed who would make contact with a handful of top donors and insiders at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting in New York City.
Those donors included John Kao, a former advisor to Clinton, John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, and Jan Piercy, a “good friend” of Clinton’s, according to Abedin.
Abedin proposed splitting up “pull asides” among herself, Clinton and Band at the end of the Clinton Global Initiative meeting.
And plenty more on the Clinton Dynasty’s use of public office for private gain.
Chain Store Sales, September 2016: “The handful of retailers that continue to report monthly sales are mostly reporting much weaker sales rates in September” [Econoday].
Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of October 2, 2016: “[C]ontinues to trend below other readings on consumer confidence” [Econoday].
Jobless Claims, week of October 1, 2016: “Jobless claims keep moving lower and lower in what is definitive evidence of labor market strength” [Econoday]. Or evidence that it’s harder to make claims: “This low, and not adjusted for population- tell me it’s not because they are much harder to get, thanks!” [Mosler Economics]. But: “The trend of the 4 week moving average is continuing to marginally trend down. On the other hand, the trend of year-over-year improvement of initial unemployment claims is moderating – and this trend historically indicates a weakening GDP” [Econintersect].
Challenger Job-Cut Report, September 2016: “Layoff announcements rose 44,324 in September, up from August’s very low 32,188 [Econoday]. “Education is at the top of September’s layoff list, at 8,671 and reflecting the bankruptcy of ITT Technical Institute which had 130 campuses spread across the country. Retail is second.”
Gallup Good Jobs Rate, September 2016: “Down from the 46.5 percent measured in August but still higher than any other September rate recorded” [Econoday]. “GGJ typically peaks in June and July with summer employment and falls through autumn, so the decline from the record 47.1 percent in July is in line with typical seasonal patterns.” Summer jobs are good jobs?
Labor: “Anecdotes for this month’s employment report are biased stronger with 8 positive anecdotes vs. 3 negative ones” [Ian Lyngen, Across the Curve]. “In fact, we’d argue the details are even more positive as the negative proxies include the historical NFP [Non-Farm Payroll] bias and Empire State. On the other hand, this month’s positive anecdotes are the more relevant ones including ISM non-manufacturing, ISM manufacturing, the Labor Differential and claims – with several employment gauges as recent highs.”
Labor: “A fresh report from the Freelancers Union now shows that nearly 55 million Americans are freelancing. If you tally this up against the Labor Department data it means that 35% of the work force is made up of freelancers” [247 Wall Street]. Yikes!
Labor: “The proposed class-action lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Seattle by drivers for Amazon.com and Amazon Logistics Inc., alleges the company violated federal labor law by classifying them as contractors rather than employees. The drivers are seeking back wages, overtime pay and compensation for fuel, car maintenance and other expenses” [Wall Street Journal, “Delivery Drivers Sue Amazon, Alleging Violation of Labor Laws”]. Surely an artificial distinction in these days of the precariat? Why shouldn’t everyone get overtime, for example?
Shipping: “Heaps of Hanjin Containers Clog SoCal Docks” [Sourcing Journal]. “Once terminals finally started releasing Hanjin goods for pick up, many weren’t allowing truckers to return the empty containers after unloading and truckers didn’t want to get stuck with them—though many have them piled up in their storage yards. Many of those containers have stayed at the ports and are starting to pile up. According to the Orange County Register, as many as 15,000 cargo containers either owned or leased by Hanjin have nowhere to go…. Chassis shortage could soon be an even bigger problem also brought on by the Hanjin bankruptcy. Because the containers are idle in storage yards and many truckers don’t have the special trailer used to transport ocean containers, the containers haven’t been removed from the chassis and are essentially being held hostage.” The effects of the longshoreman’s strike took a solid year to work themselves through the system. My guess is that Hanjin knock-in effects will be smaller, but boy, is this messed up!
Shipping: “The shipping industry’s consolidation wave is extending to China’s sprawling shipyards. The country’s biggest state-owned shipping companies plan to merge 11 shipbuilding yards into a single entity as they cope with collapsing vessel orders” [Wall Street Journal].
Shipping: “Optimism returning to dry bulk” [Lloyd’s List]. “Dry bulk owners are seeing the light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel.At a Capital Link event in London on Wednesday, executives from six companies said they were expecting better rates next year, as supply-demand fundamentals were showing signs of improvement.”
Retail: ” Wal-Mart Stores Inc. wants to make a big pivot: instead of building more massive supercenters to drive growth, the retailer hopes to become an e-commerce powerhouse that draws more shoppers to existing stores” [Wall Street Journal, “Wal-Mart to Pull Back on Store Openings”]. “New store growth will slow significantly. The retailer expects to build 35 new supercenters in fiscal 2018, down from 69 last year. Even growth of the company’s smaller format Neighborhood Markets will slow, down to 20 new stores in fiscal 2018 from 161 built last year.”
Honey for the Bears: ” 5 signs point to cycle’s grand finale in mid-2017″ [Hotel News Notes]. “I don’t prescribe to the falling-off-the-steep-cliff theory for this cycle (insert obligatory ‘unless there’s a black swan event’ here). But the end of the cycle, which for purposes of this article is defined as revenue-per-available-room growth, is coming. Here are five takeaways from recent conferences that lead me to that conclusion.”
Canada: “Canadian building permits increased in value by 10.4% in August, which was a much higher than expected increase” [Economic Calendar]. “The data is inevitably volatile on a monthly view, but there will be some net boost to confidence.”
Germany: “German factory orders rose a seasonally and price-adjusted 1.0% for August following a revised 0.3% gain the previous month. The increase was above market expectations” [Economic Calendar]. “The data will help underpin confidence in the domestic economy with expectations of stronger consumer demand and the increase in orders from elsewhere in the Eurozone.”
The Bezzle: “A painting sold by Sotheby’s as the work of Dutch artist Frans Hals for £8.4m has been reassessed by the auction house as fake, triggering fears that more multimillion dollar Old Master works will be exposed as the work of a highly skilled forger” [Financial Times, “Old Master market reels from Sotheby’s fake assessment”]. “Bendor Grosvenor, an art historian, said the ‘master faker’ who created the forgery was in his opinion ‘the best ever’. The repercussions for the Old Master market were hard to overestimate, he said, since it relied on judgments of authenticity provided by a host of experts, academics and museums.” I blame Putin.
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 50 Neutral (previous close: 49, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 38 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 6 at 12:41pm.
Dear Old Blighty
“The Great British Bake Off: how a ‘millennium wheel of lard’ stole the show – plus the rest of the action from Dessert Week” [Telegraph]. There’ll always be an England.
“Scottish nationalist fury at ‘arrogant’ May government” [Politico Europe (J-LS)].
“The proposal by Amber Rudd, home secretary, at this week’s Conservative party conference would force UK companies to disclose the proportion of overseas staff they employ to ensure jobs are not being taken from local workers. Ms Rudd denied this was a racist policy, saying it was merely aimed at ‘nudging’ employers towards “better behaviour'” Financial Times, “World leaders dismayed at UK plans to curb foreign workers”]. Will Cass Sunstein please pick up the white courtesy phone? And meanwhile:
— James Ball (@jamesrbuk) October 5, 2016
” ‘I’d do it all over again’: last hurrah for the veterans of Cable Street ” [Guardian]. “It was a day that shaped Willie Myers’s life. A few weeks before his 15th birthday, the Jewish lad from the East End of London joined thousands to block the passage of fascists through their community.” There’s a Cable Street in Ankh-Morpork, I believe.
“California Keeps On Farming, With or Without Water” [Bloomberg]. “A closer look at the 2015 crop statistics for California’s top farm counties still leaves an observer (me) astounded at how little impact the drought had on production…. [T[hey can’t just keep pumping and pumping…. Barring a series of very wet years, the state’s farming counties are going to keep getting less surface water than they want and pumping from the ground to make ends meet. Until, one of these years, the wells run dry.”
“Lake Baikal: The world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake, in pictures” [International Business Times].
“ObamaCare exchange buyers will have only one option in nearly a third of American counties, according to an August report from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. That’s a 300% increase in single-option counties from last year. Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia have approved rates leading to average premium increases next year of over 26%” [Wall Street Journal, “ObamaCare’s Meltdown Has Arrived”].
“A previously unmapped fault has been discovered running parallel to the famous San Andreas Fault line, scientists have announced. Named the Salton Trough Fault, researchers believe it could shed light on why the area is far overdue a large earthquake” [International Business Times].
“Planet in star system nearest our Sun ‘may have oceans'” [Agence France Presse]. “‘In both cases, a thin, gassy atmosphere could surround the planet, like on Earth, rendering Proxima b potentially habitable,’ [France’s CNRS research institute] concluded.” Of course, to get there, we’d have to break the galactic quarantine of the solar system.
Imperial Collapse Watch
“A Pentagon investigation has concluded that Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s former senior military aide [who was fired a year ago] used his government credit card at strip clubs or gentlemen’s clubs in Rome and Seoul, drank in excess and had ‘improper interactions’ with women” [AP]. We’re running an empire and Europe and South Korea are our military protectorates. I don’t know why anyone is surprised at what goes on outside the garrison gates.
“For the last two years, [Uber] has sponsored initiatives to encourage teachers to moonlight as chauffeurs. The campaigns differ from city to city and from year to year. In 2014, the Uber campaign’s discomfiting motto was ‘Teachers: Driving Our Future.’ In 2015, Uber offered teachers in Chicago a summer job; to sweeten the deal, the ride-share company gave a $250 bonus to any teacher who signed up to drive by a certain date and completed 10 car trips. In Oregon, Uber notifies riders when their driver is a teacher and trumpets the fact that three percent of each fare goes back to the driver’s classroom. The company also offers a $5,000 bonus to the school with the most active drivers” [Capital and Main]. ‘”Teachers are killing themselves,” [Barry, a teacher] says. ‘I shouldn’t be having to drive Uber 8 o’clock on a weekday. I just shut down from the mental toll: grading papers in between rides, thinking of what I could be doing instead of driving—like creating a curriculum.'”
“Roughly half of U.S. adults believe there will be less job security over the next 20 or 30 yeas, and 44% believe employee benefits will not be as good over that time period, according to a [Pew Research] survey in a major new report” [Market Watch] (original). The answer [drumroll please]: Credentials!
News of the Wired
On Open Whisper, et al [Pando].
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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:
From the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.
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