By Lambert Strether of Corrente
TPP: “Agreement in Principle Reached on TPP but Entry into Force Far From Certain” [Kyodo News]. Excellent review of the bidding from a Japanese perspective.
CETA: “The Free Trade agreement between the EU and Canada threatens water management” [European Water]. “The article ‘Rights and Obligations Relating to Water’ is written in fuzzy legal terms, sometimes even in contradiction with EU and national legislation. No doubt the vagueness and loopholes in this article will facilitate a corporate capture of water by multinational companies in Europe and Canada.”
“Opponents of Obamacare have done a good job of making the policy a political issue. It seems likely, especially given the new premiums, that this will continue into 2016” [WaPo].
“Overall, more Americans now identify as politically liberal than did so when the Religious Landscape Study was first conducted, while fewer U.S. adults identify themselves as political moderates” [Pew Resarch]. If only there were a political party that reflected their views.
Reuters/IPSOS: Trump 31%, Carson 18%. NBC/Wall Street Journal: Carson 29%, Trump 23% [Bloomberg].
Charles Koch: “But I’m kind of like Martin Luther when he was on trial and ‘He said, here I stand, I can do no other.'” [Politico].
“Four pro-Cruz super PACs are sitting on huge sums of money, but have run virtually no TV ads so far” [Politico]. And unfortunately the PACs can’t communicate with the campaign, and the campaign can’t communicate with the PACs. Oh, wait…
“Republican defensiveness about debates reveals a fragile conservative bubble” (storify) [@billmon]. “3) The belief system of “movement conservatism” is now so a) whacky, b) self-contained, c) factually barren & c) intolerant of dissent… 4) …that even the purely notional challenge that a primary debate hosted by CNBC (!) presents is intolerable.” Also, the post that originally applied “epistemic closure” to movement conservatism.
“Donald Trump Leads Republican Scabs Across Their Own Debate Picket Line” [Wonkette].
“Just 24 hours after the Republican campaigns declared they were seizing debate negotiating power from the Republican National Committee — and empower themselves to deal with networks — the advisers said they were beginning to consider handing it back” [Politico].
“Despite Clinton’s early edge and Sanders’s surge through the summer months, the race in New Hampshire is now just where smart observers expected it to be: close, and likely to remain that way right up until the Feb. 9 primary” [Bloomberg]. With Sanders relying on volunteers, and Clinton building an organization.
“In the new poll, conducted October 25-29, 62 percent of Democrats chose Clinton as their top choice to win their party’s presidential nomination, while 31 percent picked Sanders. Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley received just three percent support” [NBC]. ” That’s up from Clinton’s 25-point lead earlier in October, 58 percent to 33 percent.”
“Is President Obama Launching an Illegal War?” [National Journal]. No. If the President does it, it is not illegal.
Gallup US Economic Confidence Indicator, October 2015: “Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index averaged minus 13 in October. This is essentially the same as the minus 14 average for September. The index has declined since peaking at plus 3 in January 2015, and has remained below minus 10 for four months” [Econoday]. “In October, 24 percent of Americans described current economic conditions as ‘excellent’ or ‘good,’ while 31 percent rated them ‘poor.’ This resulted in a current conditions average of minus 7. The economic outlook average was minus 19 for this same period. This was the result of 38 percent of Americans saying the economy is ‘getting better’ and 57 percent saying it is ‘getting worse.'” I’d love to see these figures broken out geographically. But what’s wrong with these people? This is the greatest recovery in the greatest economy ever!
Factory Orders, September 2015: “New orders for the export-hit factory sector fell 1.0 percent in September for the 11th decline in 14 months with August revised 4 tenths lower to minus 2.1 percent” [Econoday]. “Primary metals were down in the month as were both machinery and computers. Orders for core capital goods, despite the decline for machinery, were flat though shipments improved from an especially weak August. Industries showing gains for orders in the month include fabricated metals and electrical equipment, both getting a lift from what are strong gains in construction spending. Orders for vehicles were also up.” And: “The health of manufacturing is gauged by the growth of unfilled orders. The 3 month rolling average rate of growth is currently decelerating” [Econintersect].
Motor Vehicle Sales, October 2015: With 2/3 of October’s data in, North American-made vehicles sold at a 14.4 million annual rate in the month which is at the top end of the Econoday consensus but still down slightly from September’s outsized 14.7 million rate” [Econoday]. “A decrease for sales, despite the prior strength, would lower estimates for household spending and in turn lower the chances of a December FOMC rate hike.”
Ag: “The floodgates may break early next year on crops that farmers are hoarding in hope of higher prices, said [Soren Schroder, the Bunge chief executive], flagging the potential for presidential elections to provoke a particular pick-up in Argentine sales” [Agrimoney]. “‘I would say that the biggest overall surprise is probably the amount of farmer retention we have globally,’ Mr Schroder said. ‘It’s not just North America. It is pretty predominant throughout most of the world,’ with the exception of Brazil, where a weaker real has protected growers from declines in dollar-denominated crops values.”
Shipping: “Japan’s three largest container lines saw their group revenues miss forecasts and remain almost flat in the first half of the current fiscal year, while Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) slipped into the red” [Longshore & Shipping News].
Honey for the Bears: “Investors just got two huge wake-up calls,’ says one veteran debt banker, in reaction to the drop in prices for VW and Glencore debt. ‘It’s a timely reminder that in the extr’emely low-risk world of quantitative easing asset values are all over the place'” [Across the Curve]. “So for those who remember previous scandals, such as the collapse of Enron and WorldCom more than a decade ago, corporate problems are just an indication that the credit cycle is starting to turn.”
Honey for the Bears: “It’s not every week that the regulator of the biggest banks in the U.S. and one of those biggest banks are both warning of growing financial risks” [Wall Street on Parade]. (Michael Hartnett, Bank of America’s Chief Investment Strategist and his team, and Thomas Curry, head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.)
Honey for the Bears: “You Too Can Now Invest in Startups! What Could Go Wrong?” [Wired]. Sounds like froth, to me.
Honey for the Bears: “The ‘McCulley indicator’ — which measures ‘core’ capex orders, or orders of capital goods excluding military orders and planes — is now at its lowest level since 2009” [Business Insider].
Honey for the Bears: “‘The Fed’s latest Senior Loan Officer Survey suggests that growth in business investment in equipment will remain muted over the remainder of this year,’ Capital Economics’ Paul Ashworth said” [Business Insider].
The Fed: “Absent from any of the commentary is that apart from a blip in mid-1985, which was soon followed by rate cuts, you have to go back to the late 1970s to find a time when the Fed thought it prudent to raise rates with the ISM at or below 50” [Reuters]. My priors are those of a Maine bear, but and so I don’t think this is complicated. For the best part of a decade, the Fed has been in the business of giving free money to rich people through QE. They won’t like having that taken away by a rate rise, any more than a dog likes having its dish taken away while there’s still food in it that he’s eating. If there’s no reason to avoid “lift off” now, therefore, one will be seen to have arisen — the dog will snarl — by the time December rolls around. So, I’m long Hermes stocking stuffers.
“Money is flooding out of Canada at the fastest pace in the developed world as the nation’s decade-long oil boom comes to an end and little else looks ready to take the industry’s place as an economic driver” [Bloomberg]. Looks like Harper left Trudeau holding the bag….
“While there is much more work to be done, I believe that, as of right now, the right presumption is in favor of hysteresis effects, despite their exclusion from the standard models used in almost all central banks” [Larry Summers, Wonkblog, WaPo]. And by “despite” we mean “especially because of.” Fixed it for ya.
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 74 (+1); Greed [CNN]. Last week: 63 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed)
Black Injustice Tipping Point
“The Drug War: A Brilliant Strategy to Divide People Along Racial Lines When All Boats are Sinking” [LA Progressive].
“Ferguson in Focus” [Common Reader]. The text doesn’t really live up to the subhead, but this is an important post nonethelesss.
“Chris Christie: Law Firm Of Longtime Aide Supplies Campaign Cash, Gets New Jersey Government Business” [David Sirota, Business Insider].
“Tom Hayes schooled brokers and traders on how to downplay requests to manipulate Libor as scrutiny of the benchmark rate intensified in 2010 after he joined Citigroup Inc., according to e-mails and messages at a trial in London” [Bloomberg]. Apparently, we pay executives the big bucks to remain ignorant.
“Humans created a new top predator that’s taking over the Northeast — but that’s just one example of the evolution we’re driving” [Business Insider].
“The High-Class Chaos Engulfing One of London’s Wealthiest Neighborhoods” [Vanity Fair]. “Bobby is a board member; he’s supposed to increase shareholder value [wrong]. It’s going to be very hard for Sotheby’s to earn out that guarantee. And they are so greedy that they were willing to do business with the people responsible for sending their father to jail.” Stupid, entitled, and up to their eyeballs in a cesspit they can’t even see.
“Activists with Moral Mondays Illinois protested at the Chicago Board of Trade to demand a tax on financial trading in Chicago. According to Chicago police, 41 protesters were arrested and one has been cited” [ABC7]. “The protest comes less than a week after the City Council approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget, which includes a $588 million property tax increase.”
“You and I will soon pay 10.25 percent sales tax at the store,” said Toby Chow of Fair Economy Illinois. “Right now, big banks and corporations buying stocks and futures in Chicago don’t pay a cent. A tiny sales tax amounting to less than .002 percent of the average contract value would scarcely be noticed by the big corporations, but it would generate billions of dollars for vital resources that we need in our communities.”
“Some traders and other workers at the Board of Trade were noticeably agitated by the demonstration, with some banging on the doors, others shouting at the demonstrators, and even one man throwing a handful of change at them” [Chicagoist]. I like the change-throwing; maybe I should file this under Guillotine Watch. At this point we might remember that the rant from CNBC’s Rick Santelli which gave the rhetorical spark to the Tea Party — and, by blaming the foreclosure crisis on mortage-holders, took the heat off CEOs for accounting control fraud — took place on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. So there is no shortage of reactionary nitwit blowhards in that venue. Tax them heavily, say I.
“[Japan] is a country that uses people to do the work of traffic lights and where big-name companies running 10-year-old software is the norm. There are even tape cassettes for sale in the ubiquitous convenience stores for office use, along with fax machines – remember them? Even tech visionaries like Sony still use a fax.” [BBC]. Reminds me of the Archdruid’s Lakeland Republic. “SMEs account for 99.7% of Japan’s 4.2 million companies, according to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. So the world’s third biggest economy is driven by minor establishments, not the giants everybody knows outside of Japan.”
“The Art of Getting Opponents to ‘We'” [New York Times]. Whenever you hear the word “conversation,” look out. Somebody doesn’t want to talk about power relationships. Democrats are very fond of that word.
News of the Wired
“Our Logo Looks Like Underpants: A Case Study in Internationalization” [Medium]. From 2013, but still interesting.
“Why Static Website Generators Are The Next Big Thing” [Smashing Magazine].
An appreciation of Sheldon Wolin [Corey Robin, Jacobin]. ” At each step, Wolin was attentive to how the location in time and space alters the vocabulary, the questions, the categories of theoretical inquiry.” More books to read….
Arvo Part: “I apologise, but I cannot help you with words. I am a composer and express myself with sounds” [Guardian].
“Man wakes up after a big night out with Ray Bans tattooed on his face” [The Age]. Just… Wow.
“What Happens When a Famous Instagram Teen Stops Being Polite and Starts Getting Real” [New York Magazine]. Good for her!
“The Case for Bad Coffee” [Serious Eats]. No hipsters at the IHOP!
“The Decay of Twitter” [The Atlantic]. Great platform — 340 million users aren’t chopped liver — with lousy management backed by stupid money. For example, Twitter has just changed the favorite icon from a gold star to a heart:
— Twitter (@twitter) November 3, 2015
Reaction was, well, what you would expect. Friend of the blog Harry Shearer:
@twitter Where’s the spleen icon?
— Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) November 3, 2015
But this tweet gets to the [coughs gently] heart of the matter:
Glad other people are bothered by the change from "Favorite" to "Like" and a heart icon. Don't force feelings on me, Twitter! #letmelive
— Kelley MacEwen (@kelleyroflz) November 3, 2015
I remember favoriting a tweet storm from a guy laying low in an alley while he covered an assault by a SWAT team. A star works for that, not a heart. Save the squee for Facebook, please.