By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, this is a temporarily abbreviated Water Cooler. I’ll finish my post on “Fracking, the Water Cycle, and Sacrifice Zones,” and then circle back. In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves! –lambert UPDATE 5:30PM Finished, and a bit unbalanced, sad to say. Plus, I got the date wrong again! I’m going to go eat, feed the cat, and have a nap.
“US-China trade negotiations end with little progress” [Financial Times]. “Even as the officials met at the Treasury department, $16bn in new tariffs on Chinese imports were enacted by the Trump administration — a move that was immediately matched by Beijing with retaliatory measures of the same scale… Eswar Prasad, a professor of trade policy at Cornell University, said the trade dispute had become a ‘very complicated game of chicken’, adding: ‘The Chinese see an opening to restart negotiations but the difficulty they face is an inflexible and unpredictable US trade policy.'”
“Latest US-China trade talks end not with a bang but a whimper, if heard at all” [South China Morning Post]. “At the invitation of the US, a Chinese delegation led by the for commerce, Wang Shouwen, travelled to Washington for two days of talks starting on Wednesday. The discussions were hosted on the US side by Treasury for International Affairs David Malpass…. This week also saw the USTR hold an unprecedented six-day public hearing ahead of further tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods, expected to go into effect in September. Initially proposed at 10 per cent, the duties could be raised to as much as 25 per cent, at Trump’s direction…. The additional tariffs would effectively slap levies on half of all Chinese exports to the US, or roughly double what China imports from the US.”
UPDATE “Trump’s Tariffs Are Paying Off for Century Aluminum” [New York Times]. “Century has faced years of layoffs and its smelter here has several times been on the brink of shutting down. In 2015, it slowed production to 40 percent of its maximum capacity, cutting about 300 jobs. It was not until Mr. Trump decided this year to impose tariffs of 10 percent on aluminum and 25 percent on steel — saying that foreign metals posed a national security risk — that the company received the lifeline it was looking for…. [Coy Zuelly, a process technician at Century], who voted for President Barack Obama, said he supported Mr. Trump because of his commitment to protecting American manufacturing jobs with tariffs.”
“Biden’s midterm strategy has a presidential feel” [The Hill]. “Biden is seen as a strong surrogate for Democrats, particularly in places where they are seeking to win back territory lost to President Trump in 2016…. ‘You can kind of see what his strategy is not just in terms of 2018 but in terms of 2020,’ said one Democratic strategist who has worked on presidential campaigns. ‘He’s essentially going to the places Democrats need desperately if they want to win in the midterms and the presidential election. This is very much a pre-presidential campaign campaign.'” • Feh. If the Democrats were really desperate, they’d fire all their strategists and stop running Blue Dogs.
UPDATE “Biden wades into Delaware primary on behalf of Carper” [NBC]. “The move also pits Biden against the ascendant progressive wing of the Democratic Party, in his own backyard. Carper faces Kerri Harris, an Air Force veteran who is seeking to marshal the same forces who helped Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her upset victory over New York Rep. Joseph Crowley, one of the top Democrats in the House. Harris is endorsed by Justice Democrats and the Working Family Party.” • See, e.g., “Coons, Carper vote for controversial banking reform bill” [Delaware Business Now].
UPDATE “4 things Michael Avenatti said in Des Moines (and 4 things Iowans said about him)” [Des Moines Register]. Mike Carberry, Iowa City: “I’ve seen him on television (as) the type of person that understands media and understands how to use media and social media just as good as our current president. And he can fight tit for tat. I expected that he would be a little bit shallow and more of a showman. But I asked him a question that was a combo question on climate change, renewable energy and the Koch brothers and Citizens United and he answered it all. I was happy with his answer. So he’s progressive enough for me.” • Interesting…
UPDATE “Republicans Are Talking About Impeachment Way More Than Democrats” [FiveThirtyEight]. “[O]ur data suggests that a Democratic majority in the House in 2019 is unlikely to include a lot of new members who campaigned on impeachment and are clamoring to try to push Trump out of office. Would Democrats downplay impeachment during the campaign and then flip to aggressively pursue it once they had control? I doubt it…. [T]he talk of impeachment looks more like a Republican strategy to excite the party’s base ahead of the November elections than a realistic assessment of what will happen next January.”
UPDATE “‘Pay a living wage’: Bernie Sanders accuses Disney of dodging fair pay” [Guardian]. “The Walt Disney Company came under heavy fire on Thursday for a decision to walk away from hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies and tax breaks for its southern California theme parks, a move critics are characterizing as an extraordinary last-ditch effort to avoid paying a living wage to thousands of workers… ‘Disney is so nervous that the living wage ballot initiative in Anaheim is going to pass,’ [Sanders] charged, ‘it would rather end some of the corporate welfare it receives from local taxpayers than pay all 30,000 of its workers decent wages.'”
73 days until Election Day. 73 days is a long time in politics.
“In Many Close Races for GOP Seats, Democrats Have More Money” [WRAL]. “As primary elections draw to a close, Democratic candidates have outraised their Republican competitors in 22 of 47 competitive House seats that Republicans must defend in the general election in November…. Nationally, however, Republicans still have a huge fundraising advantage. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC endorsed by the House Republican leadership, had $73 million in cash as of July 17, with large donations by the deep-pocketed casino owners Sheldon and Miriam Adelson. Super PACs can raise unlimited amounts of money and spend it on ads supporting or opposing candidates. The Democratic counterpart, House Majority PAC, had just under $23 million.” • I’m not sure when Republican big donors think the election begins, but my guess is not ’til after Labor Day. Then we should start seeing pallets of cash dropped from the sky…
“How online money is reshaping the Democratic Party” [McClatchy]. “[ActBlue] reached a significant milestone this month, when it crossed $1 billion in online fundraising since the current election cycle began. It’s a huge number on its own, made more remarkable by the fact the group has processed only about $2.4 billion total since its 2004 founding. That means more than 40 percent of its total take has come in the last 20 months. ActBlue processed just $780 million in donations during the last election cycle, even though online contributions usually spike amid presidential races. The surge certainly reflects grassroots enthusiasm among Democrats that has made small, online donations a priority. It’s in 2004, the original White House contender to benefit from online money and enthusiasm, and continued with Barack Obama in 2008 and Bernie Sanders in 2016. And no candidate raised more online than Donald Trump during his presidential campaign.” • I think, however, that the GoFundMe successes of intelligence community and #Resistance grifters like Comey, Brennan, and Cohen shows that neither “grassroots enthusiasm” or “small, online donations” are automatically progressive. Presumably, gaslighting can drive donations just as much as the Dean Bat did, back in the day.
UPDATE “Democratic unity disrupted by battle over Bernie Sanders-backed superdelegate plan” [NBC]. “The Democratic National Committee is set to vote this weekend on a Bernie Sanders-backed plan to weaken the influence of superdelegates in what has become a contentious showdown between factions at a time when the party is trying to project unity. After two years of work on the controversial issue, a delicate compromise that emerged from a labyrinthine reform process has encountered last-minute opposition before the crucial vote here Saturday at the party organization’s summer gathering. The proposed change would not abolish superdelegates, but would potentially greatly diminish their influence by preventing them from voting for the presidential nominee at the party’s convention — unless the convention deadlocks, which hasn’t happened since 1952, or the outcome of the vote is already a done deal…. Not surprisingly, many superdelegates are not thrilled about losing their influence.” • Priceless picture of Perez in the article; he looks like he smelled something bad.
NY Governor: “Gaffe Aside, New York’s Cuomo Rides High in His Bid for Re-Election” [Bloomberg]. “Cuomo’s $24 million campaign treasury dwarfs the $442,000 Nixon had as of Aug. 13. He’s spent $7.9 million this year, much of it on market research, polling and television advertising. His target has been not Nixon, but Trump, as last week’s misfired remark demonstrated. He’s touted himself as ‘a progressive who gets things done.’ As early as March, Cuomo conducted ‘a robust research project on what would the turnout be like and who the voters would be — if the turnout was traditional or if it was a massive surge,’ said campaign manager Maggie Moran. ‘Our internal polls are consistent with public polls. This race has settled in.'”
New Cold War
“Manafort juror says 1 holdout prevented 18-count conviction” [Associated Press]. “Jurors repeatedly tried to persuade the holdout to ‘look at the paper trail’ but she insisted there was reasonable doubt, juror Paula Duncan told Fox News. ‘We didn’t want it to be hung, so we tried for an extended period of time to convince her,’ Duncan said, adding that the four days of deliberations were so heated that there were ‘tears’ among the 12 jurors. ‘But in the end, she held out and that’s why we have 10 counts that did not get a verdict.'”
So, “never mind” on the whole Russia thing?
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) August 24, 2018
The Liberals Have Lost Their Minds
I’m so old I remember when “What are the drums, saying, Booker?” didn’t apply to Deray. Anyhow:
The Russians were in everything. https://t.co/l3kGH2AVbr
— deray (@deray) August 23, 2018
Holy moley. The antivax lunacy didn’t start with Russian trolls, and don’t @ me. And then there’s this: “It turns out that many anti-vaccine tweets come from accounts .” Following which, the article seamlessly transitions back to Russian trolls ZOMG, without ever giving the provenance! Since attribution is hard, that may have been wise. Worse is the general tenor of the article: “These trolls seem to be… promoting discord in American society” [puts head in heads]. Discord?! Quelle horreur! In the country of the Civil War, the Haymarket Massacre, the Palmer Raids, the Bonus Marchers, the sitdown strikes, McCarthyism, the Edmund Pettis Bridge, school shootings, and Obama’s 17-city DHS-coordinated paramilitary crackdown on Occupy? Discord? Discord?!?! [clutches pearls, heads toward fainting couch]. The whole “promote discord,” “sowing division” reminds me of nothing so much as the Jim Crow power structure whining about “outside agitators.”
Realignment and Legitimacy
“Elections consultant fired over proposal to close Georgia precincts” [Politically Georgia]. • Good.
UPDATE “Proposal to close rural Georgia precincts soundly defeated” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. • Even better!
“DHS chief calls on officials in all 50 states to have ‘verifiable’ ballots by 2020 election” [The Hill]. “Nielsen listed three ways states could audit their ballots: By using paper ballots, machines that print out an individual’s vote so it can be verified that the machine correctly tabulated their choice, or using machines that send a duplication transmission when someone votes. ” • JFC. Any system that’s digital is hackable. Get digital out of the equation entirely. Hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public.
UPDATE “Tech Companies Are Gathering For A Secret Meeting To Prepare A 2018 Election Strategy” [Buzzfeed]. “Representatives from a host of the biggest US tech companies, including Facebook and Twitter, have scheduled a private meeting for Friday to share their tactics in preparation for the 2018 midterm elections.” • Simple. Start by not accepting revenues from political campaigns. Then kill the algos by converting all timelines to chronological lists of posts only from subscribed accounts. If you want to get more brutal, turn reposts from more than one degree of separation wat off by default, which would destroy virality. I said simple. I didn’t say profitable. Maybe social media should be a commons and not profitable.s
UPDATE A good question:
If your DSA chapter isn't talking to farmers, *why not*? Y'all here to organize with the poor and working class or what?https://t.co/xzJRuBiLub
— 🌹Comrade Shepherd🏴 (@NeolithicSheep) August 24, 2018
Especially since Democrats have shown over and over again they don’t want those votes.
< Stats Watch
Durable Goods Orders, July 2018: “A stunning showing for core capital goods orders steals the show in what looks on the surface, based on the 1.7 percent headline drop, to be a weak durable goods report” [Econoday]. “Turning back to core capital goods, the surge in orders will feed into shipments which is what the GDP account for business investment specifically tracks… Other details include a very large 1.3 percent build in durable inventories which had looked too lean going into the third quarter. Large builds for commercial aircraft equipment as well as continuing builds for primary metals and fabrications, both affected by tariffs, gave inventories a boost, one that will also be a plus for third-quarter GDP… Durable goods are one of the most volatile indicators on the economic calendar and today’s results further cement this reputation. But looking past the headline and at the strength of computers and machinery and vehicles, the factory sector continues to be the headline strength of the 2018 economy.” • What you want to see in a functional capitalist system (as opposed to stock buybacks).
UPDATE The Bezzle: “Uber has finally hired a CFO — who has his work cut out for him” [Recode]. “Now, after a series of fits and starts in the search for a viable candidate, the company has finally hired a CFO. Nelson Chai, most recently the CEO of insurance firm The Warranty Group, will be tasked with stewarding the company’s initial public offering Uber executives have slated for late 2019. Finding someone to take on the coveted albeit demanding role over the last year or so has been challenging. Before The Warranty Group, Chai served as the president and CEO of CIT Bank and EVP and CFO of Merrill Lynch.”
UPDATE The Bezzle: “Join me and I will be your silent guide into a world of horror.” Tesla IT thread
A former Tesla employee, who worked on their IT infrastructure, is posting in a subforum of a subforum, a little-known place for funy computer forgotten by time. His NDA has expired.
He has such sights to show us. Join me and I will be your silent guide into a world of horror. pic.twitter.com/uFDOj0x5Zy
— ato̧̕m̀͡i̴̷̛c̨͝t͝҉͡h̷҉u̵̶m͜͞b͏͝s̀́ (@atomicthumbs) August 24, 2018
I can’t assess this, but perhaps some readers can (via HC). It’s certainly plausible as an instance of Everything Is Like CalPERS.
UPDATE The Bezzle: “After the Bitcoin Boom: Hard Lessons for Cryptocurrency Investors” [New York Times]. “After the latest round of big price drops, many cryptocurrencies have given back all of the enormous gains they experienced last winter. The value of all outstanding digital tokens has fallen by about $600 billion, or 75 percent, since the peak in January…. this bust could have a more lasting impact on the technology’s adoption because of the sheer number of ordinary people who invested in digital tokens over the last year, and who are likely to associate cryptocurrencies with financial ruin for a very long time.” • Good thing cryptocurrencies weren’t levered…
Oh, rats. Thread:
what… what happened in Alberta pic.twitter.com/R71DnuLObA
— gains, rat whisperer (@gains_tweets) August 21, 2018
“The Next Big Bet in Fracking: Water” [Wall Street Journal]. “Fledgling companies, many backed by private equity, are rushing to help shale drillers deal with one of their trickiest problems: what to do with the vast volumes of wastewater that are a byproduct of fracking wells…. Sensing a chance for a big return, private-equity firms have invested more than $500 million into wastewater-disposal companies such as Solaris Water Midstream LLC, WaterBridge Resources LLC, Goodnight Midstream LLC and Oilfield Water Logistics LLC. There are roughly a dozen of these water-focused companies that analysts said could each be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.” • Ka-ching. Looks like the WSJ read the same studies I just did…
“Drought In Central Europe Reveals Cautionary ‘Hunger Stones’ In Czech River” [NPR]. “A lengthy drought in Europe has exposed carved boulders, known as “hunger stones,” that have been used for centuries to commemorate historic droughts — and warn of their consequences…. Over a dozen of the hunger stones, chosen to record low water levels, can now be seen in and near the northern Czech town of Decin near the German border… One of the stones on the banks of the Elbe is carved with the words ‘Wenn du mich siehst, dann weine’: ‘If you see me, weep.'”
“What would it take for drillers to drill Denver?” [Denverite]. “[F]or now, extraction remains far outside the city proper. But the continued evolution of drilling technology is opening wider and wider swaths. A single eight-acre site, [geologist Ronald Pritchett] said, could allow drillers access to a two-mile radius of minerals, assuming they have the rights.”
FedEx doesn’t have a union:
Surveillance footage captures delivery driver throwing boxes from his van into a driveway, attempting to get the parcels to their intended recipient without ever leaving his vehicle. https://t.co/NrkYTXPO08 pic.twitter.com/dF93CJDaQ3
— ABC News (@ABC) August 23, 2018
News of The Wired
Library library? Huh?
The new LIBRARY library of Congress logo is not great. pic.twitter.com/5xxmQQz3Zx
— Joe Kane (@thejoekane) August 22, 2018
Urban planning, if planning is the word I want:
— Irène DB (@UrbanFoxxxx) August 23, 2018
Charles and Ray Eames, architects of light:
— Co.Design (@FastCoDesign) August 23, 2018
— Linda Xie (@ljxie) August 23, 2018
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