By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Readers, because it took me fifteen minutes of router-wrangling to get going this morning, I didn’t get to all the political news, if news is the word I want, that I wanted to cover. I’ll have some UPDATEs shortly. –lambert
UPDATE The UPDATE’s are done; now for “Obama’s Secret Struggle…”
“Even as President Donald Trump is on the cusp of potentially taking major action against imports of steel and aluminum on the basis of protecting national security, lawmakers continued to urge caution against any move that might spark a trade war” [Politico]. “”My advice continues to be don’t rush this,’ House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said after a hearing with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Thursday. ‘Take your time and get it right.'”
CETA: “Canada ratification upsets Macron’s promises on CETA” [Euractiv]. “A ruling is due this summer. And Belgium, whose calls for additional guarantees had led to a confrontation with Brussels, has promised to take its concerns to the Court of Justice of the European Union in the coming weeks. Most recently, it is France’s new President Emmanuel Macron who has put the issue back on the negotiating table, promising in the last days of his presidential campaign to set up an expert committee to examine the CETA agreement before ratification.”
“OPINION 2/15: ADDING SOME SPICE TO THE TRADE & ENVIRONMENT DEBATE” [European Law Blog]. “In its Opinion 2/15, the Court, unlike AG Sharpston, found that the entire sustainable development chapter (Chapter 13) in the EUSFTA fell within the scope of the common commercial policy…. For the Court, therefore, non-compliance with provisions in this chapter could constitute a material breach of the agreement.” Super-geeky post, so any European trade law experts please chime in!
“For congressional Republicans in the new norm of the Trump presidency, nothing is easy, and everything is hard. Raising the debt ceiling in order to keep the government from defaulting on its debt is normally easy; now it is hard. Passing an omnibus budget bill to simply keep the government operating (forget the idea of passing the full battery of 12 appropriations bills) is going to be hard. Coming up with a health care bill in the Senate that could be passed by a simple majority through the budget-reconciliation process usually would be easy with a 52-48 vote edge and a vice president in place to break a tie. But this time, it will be hard. Spending money to fix our nation’s increasingly dilapidated infrastructure—that’s hard too. And then there are things that would be hard under any set of circumstances, such as tax reform. That’s even harder” [Charles Cook, Cook Political Report]. And not because of powerless Democrats, but contradictions within the Republican Party itself. “The Republican majorities in the House (55 percent to 45 percent) and Senate are relatively thin, and the House and Senate GOP conferences are anything but monolithic. Each has members that span the political spectrum, from those who are somewhat conservative and may need the votes of independents and maybe even a few Democrats to win reelection, all the way to members who are to the right of Genghis Khan and can easily win with no independent or Democratic votes—just as Democrats range from somewhat liberal all the way to the left of Karl Marx.” That’s silly. If Sanders were to the left of Marx, he’d have called for the collective ownership of the means of production (not to say that crowdsourcing capital allocation on Twitter, Boaty McBoatface-style, would be worse at capital allocation than the Silicon Valley
croniesVenture Capitalists who shovelled $60+ billion into the black hole of Travis Kalanick’s deeply unprofitable id).
“Meet the Man Behind the Ossoff Campaign — He’s Just Getting Started” [Roll Call]. Please kill me now. “But holed up in the campaign’s boiler room in , [Keenan] Pontoni, Ossoff’s 30-year-old campaign manager, still saw a path to victory, through outstanding mail-in votes.” The Westin, eh? Pretty nice. I wonder if all Ossoff’s consultants stayed there. I think this is the worst election night coverage I’ve ever read; it presents the obvoius (early voting, mail-in ballots) as dramatic events. More: “Pontoni has a complicated relationship with his craft.” This is what we’ve come to; hagiography for a losing Democratic strategist. That is where we are.
“Mitch McConnell: Replacing failed Obamacare” [USA Today]. “Next week, we expect the Congressional Budget Office to release a score. After that, we will proceed with a robust debate and an open amendment process here on the Senate floor.” Interestingly, McConnell lays out a set of requirements that “We agree on” (nice use of anaphora in the piece) without saying how the AHCA will meet the requirements. Granted, the Republican plan we have now (ACA/ObamaCare) doesn’t meet those requirements either, but for every single requirement, the way forward is #MedicareForAll. Too bad all that funding for “the resistance” went to a push to #SaveTheACA, and not to a program that would actually meet McConnell’s requirements. But, Democrats.
UPDATE “There are not currently the 50 votes necessary to advance the legislation that Mitch McConnell unveiled Thursday. There will need to be concessions and compromises, and there are several ways the push could still fall apart in the coming days” [WaPo]. “But pretty much every Republican, including the current holdouts, wants to pass something. And no GOP senator wants to bear the brunt of the blame from the base for inaction. That factor must not be discounted.” What I find interesting is that Susan Collins didn’t shake down the administration for a destroyer at Bath Iron Works, which is the obvious concession to her. I’m reluctant to make a call either way, things are poised on such a knife edge. I don’t think it makes sense to underestimate how feral Republicans can be, with regard to their agenda, to screwing the Democrats, and to screwing their social inferiors. Finally, another obvious concession is to have the pain kick in slowly, like after 2018. “We can always fix it later.” If their opponents were anybody but the Clintonite Democrats, I’d say the Republicans are hosed, but the Democrats can make anybody look good.
“The New Senate Republican Bill Will Transform American Health Care” [Avik Roy, Forbes]. Tax credit wonkery.
Warren on the AHCA:
I’ve read the Republican “health care” bill. This is blood money. They’re paying for tax cuts with American lives. pic.twitter.com/298DLguNiM
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) June 22, 2017
So where are you on #MedicareForAll, Liz? And where were you in 2016, when it mattered?
New Cold War
“Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault” [WaPo]. For my “hermeneutic of suspicion” on stories in this ongoing narrative, see yesterday’s Water Cooler. So far as I can tell, the sourcing is Obama and three “senior” aides, which immediately raises the question: If all this was happening in August, why was the story kept under wraps? (For example, this sentence: “With Obama still determined to avoid any appearance of politics, the statement would not carry his signature.” Dear Lord. I think immediately of Obama standing up Perez to defeat Ellison and screw Sanders when he was no longer President. Obama has no problem with appearing political at all.) I’ll have more on this in a bit.
* * *
UPDATE More on “Obama’s Secret Struggle.” As the “hermeneutic of suspicion” above would suggest, I’m just going to look at this as a narrative. For all I know, the story is “true,” though that would be a welcome change of form from the torturers in the CIA, the perjurers at the NSA, and the entrapment artists at the FBI who form the bulk of the sources for this story. (And then there is Obama: “The Source of Barack Obama’s Power to Trick Us Comes from Our Willingness to Be Tricked.”)
So, considering the story only as a narrative, then, and performing a media critique:
First, consider the lead:
Early last August, arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.
I believe I called this on May 18:
So, if [theatre critic Frank] Rich’s view of the world is correct, and Russian hysteria/gaslighting/what you will (not using “-Gate”!) is like a well-made play, . In fact, we’re seeing it already with Comey’s notes*, but perhaps there are more documents to be discovered — or “discovered,” as the case may be. See Whitaker Chambers v. Alger Hiss, from our previous McCarthyite period….
The “envelope” is, very precisely, the document in a well-made play that drives a plot turn; a “reveal,” in contemporary terms.
Second, consider the “drip drip drip” aspect. Today’s story can be viewed as the exposition following the reveal which “connects the dots” for previous events in the play, some mysterious. As we linked to the Tablet on March 23:
[T]he steady sound of drip-drip-drip is the telltale sign of a political campaign, where items are leaked bit by bit to paralyze the target. Journalists, on the other hand, have to get their story out there as quickly, and as fully, as possible because they’re always worried the competition is going to beat them to it.
In other words, some may be under the illusion that WaPo is practicing investigative journalism here, but they’re not. They’re practicing access journalism, and the reveals are coming at the pace, in the order, and with the content and the framing that the sources want.
Third, consider those sources:
This account of the Obama administration’s response to Russia’s interference is based on interviews with more than three dozen current and former U.S. officials in senior positions in government, including at the White House, the State, Defense and Homeland Security departments, and U.S. intelligence services. Most agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the issue.
In other words, we have what we’ve had from the beginning: Anonymous torturers, perjurers, and entrapment artists telling a story based on evidence that we can’t see. And these torturers, perjurers, and entrapment artists are playing for enormous stakes, and have interests in the outcome — as do the access journalists purveying the story. (Jeff Bezos, for example, has an enormous contract with the “intelligence community” for Amazon Web Services.) Why do we accept their, and WaPo’s, argument from authority?
Fourth, consider the timing. The “envelope” arrived in August. And here’s how Democrat house organ Talking Points Memo summarizes impact today: “WaPo: CIA Intel Showed Putin Directly Ordered Operation To Get Trump Elected.” Interesting, if true, eh? And it would have been even more interesting before Election Day, surely? So what kind of sense does it make that information that could delegitimize a Presidential election was never made public until after the election? If making sure voters were making an informed choice was the priority, that is. Are we saying that the greatest orator of our time couldn’t frame the issue properly? (I’m not saying that the administration had “connected the dots” completely, but given the risks, doesn’t it make sense to have the reveal when it would have made a difference, rather than later? Remember all the furor about handing Trump the nuclear codes, which Obama (presumably) did, knowing what he knew?)
Fifth, consider a key omission:
At that point, the outlines of the Russian assault on the U.S. election were increasingly apparent…. And on July 22, nearly 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee online by WikiLeaks.
Note that WaPo carefully avoids explicitly saying who stole the DNC emails, although the way the paragraph begins (“outlines of the Russian assault”) implies the Russians did. In other words, the reporters erase the possibility of insider threats, for which there is at least prima facie evidence. (I said “prima facie,” not “proven.”) It’s almost as if the reporters are pushing a particular narrative, isn’t it? And airbrushing inconvenient possibilities away?
Now, just because WaPo’s story exhibits formal characteristics of a carefully crafted work of fiction — in this case, serialized in the press — doesn’t mean it is fiction. I’m doing a media critique, here, nothing more. However, if we’re going to depose a President who took the oath of office after getting a majority of the votes in the electoral college — and that has been the goal of the torturers, perjurers, and entrapment artists who are the sources for this story since the “faithless electors” effort after November 8, 2016 — we need to demand evidence, not claims about evidence. And I think anybody who remembers the Iraq WMD debacle should give consideration to making the same demand.
NOTE  Michael Glennon writes in Harpers of “A de facto directorate of several hundred managers sitting atop dozens of military, diplomatic, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies, from the Department of Homeland Security to the National Reconnaissance Office, has come to dominate national security policy, displacing the authority not only of Congress but of the courts and the presidency as well.” This seems to overlap conceptually with The Blob, and three dozen interviewees is an appreciable fraction of that class.
NOTE If anybody wants to prevent the election from being hacked, the policy solution is hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public. I can’t think why this isn’t on the agenda.
* * *
“Now that President Trump has tweeted that he didn’t tape James Comey, the anti-Trump zealots are accusing him of witness intimidation” [Alan Dershowitz, The Hill]. “This is most the absurd of the many absurd charges leveled against Trump by those out to get him without regard to the law. Trump’s bluff was calculated to get Comey to tell the truth. How can that be witness intimidation? If it were, Abraham Lincoln would have gone to prison rather than the White House. As a young lawyer, he, too, bluffed a witness into telling the truth.” I hate to agree with Dershowitz on anything, but it seems that 2017 is going to be as rich with irony as 2016 was!
Realignment and Legitimacy
“Where are all the missing leftist voters?” [The Week]. “The most recent bit of such evidence is an important study based on a survey of voters in the 2016 election. It shows that while a good number of people who voted for Trump may well be reachable by progressives on economic issues, many of them are also likely to be put off by the left’s uniform hostility to any kind of cultural conservatism, whether on social/religious issues or immigration. Apparently, the overwhelming majority of voters on the left combine economic progressivism with strong support for open borders and no-questions-asked abortion-on-demand — a mixture of positions that is likely to remain a deal-breaker for many middle-of-the-road Americans who don’t already vote for liberals.”
UPDATE This excellent tweet storm answers the question above:
— Michael Graham (@BLUpfront) June 23, 2017
“Clearly, the energy and fire are on the Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren left. Moreover, the crudity of party chair Tom Perez’s attacks on Trump and the GOP, being echoed now by Democratic members of Congress, suggest that the new stridency to rally the angry left is gaining converts” [Patrick Buchanan, RealClearPolitics]. I think Buchanan, as conservatives will do, conflates liberals and the left. Warren went all in for Clintonite Trump-baiting. Sanders did not. Liberals are “We’re not Trump.” The Left is #MedicareForAll. And so on.
UPDATE “Johnny Depp: ‘When was the last time an actor assassinated a President?'” [CNN].
UPDATE “Nebraska Democratic official ousted for allegedly wishing Steve Scalise dead” [Des Moines Register].
UPDATE “Prominent Democratic Fundraisers Realign to Lobby for Trump’s Agenda” [The Intercept]. “After President Donald Trump’s upset election victory, Democratic insiders who worked on Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential bid weren’t necessarily relegated to the sidelines. Many, in fact, are cashing in as lobbyists — by working to advance Trump’s agenda. Lobbying records show that some Democratic fundraisers, who raised record amounts of campaign cash for Clinton, are now retained by top telecom interests to help repeal the strong net neutrality protections established during the Obama administration. Others are working on behalf of for-profit prisons on detention issues, while others still are paid to help corporate interests pushing alongside Trump to weaken financial regulations. At least one prominent Clinton backer is working for a health insurance company on a provision that was included in the House Republican bill to gut the Affordable Care Act. While Republican lobbyists are more in demand, liberal lobbyists are doing brisk business that has them reaching out to fellow Democrats to endorse — or at least tamp down vocal opposition to — Trump agenda items.” Ka-ching.
Purchasing Managers’ Index Composite Flash, June 2017: “The economy is solid, at least the service sector, but on the whole is losing momentum, based on Markit’s flash data for June” [Econoday]. “The service strength in this report keeps it from being downbeat, though the weakness in manufacturing, which has been struggling this quarter, is not welcome.” And: “According to Markit the data is consistent with GDP growth rates of around 2.0% and monthly payroll increases of around 170,000” [Economic Calendar]. “The data suggests solid growth in the economy with potential acceleration in growth over the second half while the increase in services-sector inflation is potentially important and should boost Fed confidence in higher inflation levels.” But: We’ll have to see if real data bears out this survey data!
New Home Sales, May 2017: “Housing is back on track following Wednesday’s strength in existing home sales and today’s very solid gain for new home sales” [Econoday]. “The real surprise in the report is enormous strength in selling prices. The median surged 11.5 percent in the month to $345,800. The year-on-year increase is 16.8 percent which, however, is nearly double the 8.9 percent gain in actual sales. This price traction is related not only to demand but also to supply of new homes which is very tight.” And: “US new home sales increased 2.9% in May to an annualised rate of 610,000 from a revised 593,000 in April which was adjusted sharply from the original estimate of 569,000. This was slightly above consensus estimates of a 600,000 rate and also represented an 8.9% annual increase” [Economic Calendar]. “Sales increased in the South and West, although there were declines in the North-east and Mid-West.” And: “This was above expectations of 590,000 sales SAAR, and the previous months were revised up. A solid report” [Calcuated Risk]. But: “This month the backward revisions were significantly up (partially improving last months terrible data), but still the rolling averages significantly declined. Because of weather and other factors, the rolling averages are the way to view this series – and the rolling averages were within the levels seen in 2017” [Econintersect]. “The sales prices were significantly up – so much so that the number looks suspicious. This data series is suffering from methodology issues which manifest as significant backward revision – and this month the revisions were up.”
Housing: “The current median price for a home in San Francisco is now $1.5 million. This is for your standard crap shack flavored box” [Dr. Housing Bubble]. “This is how a mania looks like in the form of home prices. People seem to think just because we don’t have NINJA loans or no-doc products that somehow no bubble can ever occur again. Have you been to Las Vegas? People routinely put actual cash on the table and lose it. This isn’t a shock. Just because you use cash or have a sizable down payment doesn’t mean a correction can’t happen.” I wonder what will happen to the Bay Area housing market if the Uber bezzle pops (or whatever bezzles do).
NAFTA: “United States trade with its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico increased 0.8% annually to $91.1 billion in April, the most recent month for which data is available, according to the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS)” [Logistlics Management].
Debt: “Farmers Take Out Millions In Loans To Raise Chickens For Big-Box Retailers” [NPR]. “As pork and poultry production grows in the U.S., this is an increasingly common arrangement. Farmers sign multi-million dollar deals to do business with big corporations [like CostCo]. The company provides animals and feed. The farmer builds the barns and cares for the animals. It requires a major investment from the farmers who enter into the agreement.” Just because it’s done on a multi-million dollar scale doesn’t mean it isn’t sharecropping. (Hey, maybe if they start dealing with Amazon, they’ll get a break at
the company store Whole Foods!
Shipping: “The shipping industry is no longer a newcomer in capital markets. Yet, despite almost 50 publicly traded international shipping companies on the two major exchanges in New York, only eight of them have current market capitalisations over $1bn” [Lloyd’s List]. “No real barriers exist to companies merging their shipping activities. Commercial and technical functions are scalable, debt is typically rolled over, and there exist no regulatory barriers, except perhaps in the container sector. The impetus to merge should be there given that the bar of getting financing, particularly equity financing, has gotten much higher. Only company executives resist to acknowledge the obvious.” Moar concentration!
Supply Chain: “Asset-light e-marketplaces and other nontraditional shopping channels, combined with shifting demographics, are upending industrial distributors’ inventory-heavy model more rapidly than previously thought” [Supply Chain]. “According to the UPS Industrial Buying Dynamics Study: Buyers Raise the Bar for Suppliers, the biggest shift comes from millennials (defined for this study as those currently ages 21-34) who grew up in a digital era and are bringing their tech-savvy and nontraditional purchasing habits – for example, bypassing the middle man and working directly with the manufacturer – with them into the workplace.”
Supply Chain: “Electronics supply chains in the U.S. are about to get a big boost. Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group is preparing to decide on seven states where it plans to spend some $10 billion to expand its contract manufacturing operations” [Wall Street Journal].
UPDATE The Bezzle: “When the Bitcoin Bubble Bursts” [Bloomberg]. “If bonds are the old world’s safe haven, Bitcoin is the millennial generation’s apocalypse insurance. Crypto-currencies are marketed as a direct expression of opposition to central-bank and government policy, far more so than gold.”
The Bezzle: “3.6 Billion Mobile Ad Clicks Are Fraudulent” [247 Wall Street]. “According to a recent report from Tune, a provider of mobile analytics and performance software, the firm combed through 24.3 billion clicks on more than 700 mobile ad networks and found that eight of the ad networks were totally fraudulent and another 35 were at least 50% fraudulent. The average fraud rate across all ad networks is about 15.2%, or 3.6 billion of the 24.3 billion clicks analyzed.”
The Bezzle: “The resignation of Uber Technologies Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick may help bring back customers disillusioned by his leadership of the company. But the factor that might prompt a return of riders is if the ride-hailing service lowers its costs, according to a survey from Morning Consult, a media and technology company that provides research and data on trends in business and policy” [247 Wall Street]. Idea: Enhance Uber’s lease-to-own program so that when drivers sleep in their cars, they pay an overnight rate. I know that’s on the revenue side, not the cost side, but why leave money on the table?
The Bezzle: “The coup that brought Travis Kalanick down at Uber has left open an intriguing and problematic throne” [DealBreaker]. “[W}e’ve thought this over and it would be almost irresponsible for Uber not to offer the CEO job to [JP Morgan’s] Matt Zames… [A]ny concern that Zames might not be able to handle the perpetual crisis mode that plagues Uber, we’d like to remind you that when The London Whale scandal blew up it was Zames who King Jamie dispatched to fix it. If Zames dealt with the one of the most embarrassing and public risk management clusterf*cks in financial history, it stands to reason that he can manage Uber through implementation of The Holder Report and prevent any more “Miami Letters” from being passed around on company email. Zames is also a financier who understands how public companies behave. As we’ve said ad nauseum, what hurt Uber the most was Kalanick’s seemingly willful lack of care towards Uber’s high-wire financing or the importance of an eventual IPO.” It would be irresponsible not to speculate…
Political Risk: “The Arab states embargo on trade with Qatar is triggering a business boom for logistics companies in Turkey. Transport demand through the Turkish capital of Ankara is already soaring” [Wall Street Journal]. “The blossoming trade is a vivid illustration of how business and profits are moving ahead …. even as diplomatic relations in the region remain fractured.”
Political Risk: “The Dow’s tumultuous 120-year history, in one chart” [MarketWatch]. “At its simplest, the chart proves once again that over the long term, the stock market always rises because ‘intelligence, creativity, and innovation always trump fear,’ according to [Chris Kacher, managing director of MoKa Investors]…. As his 120-year chart clearly demonstrates, the market always recovers. But sometimes, it just takes a little longer.”
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 53 Neutral (previous close: 50, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 50 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Jun 23 at 12:09pm.
“Iowa insurance market collapse could ground young entrepreneurs’ dreams, early retirees’ plans” [Des Moines Register]. The answer not being the broken ACA, but #MedicareForAll.
Trump: “So, somebody said, ‘Why did you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy?’ … I said, ‘because that’s the kind of thinking we want'” [DealBreaker]. Obama did exactly the same thing, but on the down-low, as Democrats do.
“The Wrong Kind of Entrepreneurs Flourish in America” [Noah Smith, Bloomberg]. “Crony capitalists seek to generate profits without producing anything of value.” Exhibit A: Uber. (The article is a primer on rent-seeking.)
“Report: The World’s 10 Worst Countries for Workers [Sourcing Journal] (original report). “And according to the 2017 International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)) Global Rights Index, quite a few of those countries are key to sourcing…. In assessing workers’ rights violations around the world, like trade union rights in particular, the index found the 10 worst countries in the world for workers are: Qatar, the UAE, Egypt, the Philippines, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Korea, Guatemala, Turkey and Bangladesh. And while Myanmar didn’t make the top 10 on the naughty list, its ranking went from bad to worst.”
“[J]ust a couple days ago Bob Murray and his company Murray Energy were threatening John Oliver with a SLAPP suit if Oliver’s satirical report about the coal industry was used to ‘defame, harass, or otherwise injure Mr. Murray or Murray Energy'” [TechDirt]. Now Murray has filed suit. ” [Oliver’s report] falls into a variety of clearly protected categories, including . The idea that there were materially false and defamatory statements that were put forth knowing they were false (or with reckless disregard for the truth) is laughable. There is no way that this lawsuit succeeds — but, as we’ve been pointing out — that’s not really the point of most of these kinds of lawsuits. SLAPP lawsuits are designed to create a chill on free speech, by making that speech costly.” I know I linked to Monty Python’s Piranha Brothers sketch the other day, but I cannot forbear from doing so again:
VERCOTTI: [They told me I had to see] Doug (takes a drink) Well, I was terrified. Everyone was terrified of Doug. I’ve seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than see Doug. Even Dinsdale was frightened of Doug.
2nd INTERVIEWER: What did he do?
VERCOTTI: He used… sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, pathos, puns, parody, litotes and… satire. He was vicious.
Ludicrously, coal boss Bob Murray stands in for the terrified Vercotti, and comedian John Oliver for the vicious gangster “Doug.” Grow a pair, Bob, my advice.
“A Dive Into the World of Academic Publishing” [Copybuzz]. This is very good:
today “just four large commercial firms each publish more than 2,000 journals: Springer Nature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, and Taylor & Francis”, and according to the paper “this ‘oligopoly’ of big commercial firms has most influence in the social sciences, where they publish 70% of articles globally”. The authors note that “their profitability has become so reliable that they are regarded as sound investments” (p. 10).
[T}he list of publications became the standard way of demonstrating disciplinary expertise
In other words, if you want academic credentials, these four oligopolies are one set of gatekeepers (especially in “the social sciences”).
“THE DEVELOPMENT EFFECTS OF THE EXTRACTIVE COLONIAL ECONOMY,” M. DELL & B. OLKEN (2017) [A Fine Theorem]. This is fascinating, methodologically and historically, and relevant today if you frame the flyover states as colonies of the (“BlueSecessionist”) metropolis. From the conclusion:
I continue to await Suresh Naidu’s book on labor coercion – it is astounding the extent to which labor markets were distorted historically (see, e.g., Eric Foner on Reconstruction), and in some cases still today, by legal and extralegal restrictions on how workers could move on up.
“Were”? Here is the full PDF of Dell and Olken’s paper.
News of the Wired
“Practical waterholing through DNS typosquatting” [0 Day]. Fun stuff, if this is your sort of fun.
“A new law allowing the German police to hack into mobile phones for even minor crimes, is expected to be passed by the German parliament this week [update: the law has now been passed]. Currently, the use of a “Staatstrojaner” – government trojan – is only permitted in order to prevent future terrorist attacks. Under the new law, the authorities will be allowed to implant surveillance malware to help secure convictions for over 70 types of crime. These include serious ones such as genocide, treason and murder, but also less serious crimes such as money counterfeiting, vehicle theft, computer fraud, rigged sports betting and tax evasion. Two kinds of trojans will be available. The first allows the authorities to eavesdrop on calls made with the mobile phone, whether using standard telephony or VoIP, while the second gives access to all information held on the device” [Private Internet Access].
“The latest version of ‘Mark and Mandy’s Relationship Contract,’ a four-page, single-spaced document that we sign and date, will last for exactly 12 months, after which we have the option to revise and renew it, as we’ve done twice before. The contract spells out everything from sex to chores to finances to our expectations for the future. And I love it” [New York Times]. Marriage as a service-level agreement for young professionals. And indeed, why not?
And here’s today’s plant (KR):
Ragwort. KR writes:
These are all from back yard or beside the house. I keep trying to get up close despite the limitations of the camera, because I’m so fascinated by the power of these ostensibly fragile beings.
Readers, Water Cooler is a standalone entity, not supported by the Naked Capitalism fundraisers. 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 continued help.