Linking ≠ endorsement.
⇧ ‘Today Marks the End of TTIP’: Greenpeace Leak Exposes Corporate Takeover | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community
… in the absence of transparency, “hard won environmental progress is being bartered away behind closed doors,” said Faiza Oulahsen, campaigner for Greenpeace Netherlands.
“… TTIP [Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership] is about a huge transfer of democratic power from people to big business. We call on all elected representatives and other concerned parties to read these documents and engage in the debate.”
“… this toxic trade deal is essentially an enormous corporate power grab,” said Global Justice Now trade campaigner Guy Taylor on Monday.
“Total secrecy was the only way the European Commission could keep the European people from learning the truth about these appalling negotiations, and now the cat is out of the bag.”
“We have long warned that TTIP is a danger to democracy, food safety, jobs and public services,” Hilary continued. “Now we see it is even worse than we feared. Today’s leak shows the European Commission preparing to sell us down the river, doing deals behind closed doors that will change the face of European society for ever. It is simply unacceptable that a group of unelected officials should be allowed to contemplate such a thing without any public scrutiny.”
I watched for the mainstream news on this yesterday (May 2, 2016), but it never came up that I saw.
⇧ Fort McMurray fire: ‘It’s apocalyptic. No way out but north’ | National Observer
I tweeted, etc., this one separately but also include it here because it’s worth watching also to see what role the tar sands played or plays in it
It’s the largest fire evacuation in Alberta’s history.
⇧ The Daily Shot; May 3 – Global Macro Currents
… a weaker US dollar eases disinflationary pressures. That’s why we see significant inflows into TIPS (inflation-linked treasuries) funds.
⇧ Bernie’s Bad End – The New York Times
What’s the matter with Paul Krugman? Does he never even attempt to comprehend or to check the facts? Consider this from Kshama Sawant, “The (un)Democratic Primary: Why We Need a New Party of the 99%”: https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/21/the-undemocratic-primary-why-we-need-a-new-party-of-the-99/
Look, I think Bernie has made clear that he’s going to back Hillary if she’s the nominee. He’d lose huge creds were he to bolt the Party “prematurely” now.
Yes, there are plenty of people who believe he can’t win on the inside and that the Party and Hillary have already burned the bridge to Bernie; but Bernie is not a wishy-washy person. He has to be convinced. It will take the Party and Hillary doing more against him than they have done to do that.
Why do many believe Hillary has already crossed the line? Well for one among many: “State Party Officials Reportedly Displeased with Clinton-DNC ‘Laundering’ Scheme”: https://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/05/02/state-party-officials-reportedly-displeased-clinton-dnc-laundering-scheme
What does Paul Krugman do but ignore all of this?
I knew he wasn’t a socialist, but I hadn’t realized how truly anti-inspirational he can be (and I consider myself a realist).
⇧ Dominoes fall: Vanishing Arctic ice shifts jet stream, which melts Greenland glaciers – The Washington Post
… two new studies have suggested that there’s been a recent increase in the frequency of melt-triggering blocking events over Greenland — and that it’s likely been fueled by climate change-driven losses of Arctic sea ice.
“When there’s less sea ice, obviously it’s a much darker surface that’s exposed to the sunshine — and especially in the late spring, early summer when the sun is really strong, that open water that would normally have ice on it absorbs a lot more of the sun’s heat,” she said. “And so the surface of the ocean in this case warms up quite a bit, and that extra heat then is also transferred into the atmosphere.”
If the Arctic warms more quickly than the rest of the earth, however, the downhill slope between the equator and the poles becomes less steep — and this can weaken the jetstream’s flow, making it more susceptible to twists and turns. So as sea ice disappears and the atmosphere in the Arctic warms and expands, it can make airflow in the jetstream more likely to loop and bulge, causing the kinds of swirling eddies that result in blocking events.
… climate-induced changes in Greenland are not just causing problems locally — they’re creating mayhem throughout the North Atlantic, an example of the far-reaching influences of climate change and the interconnected nature of oceanic and atmospheric conditions around the world.
Stop the carbon burning.
⇧ How Great Leaders Keep Top Performers Happy and Productive | Inc.com
Not my typical link, but I like it.
Difference makers are the ones who ask the right questions, see the whole picture, and go outside of their networks to gather ideas from a variety of perspectives. Difference makers know that good enough is never good enough. And since they get great pleasure from a sense of accomplishment, they take ownership of every project they touch.
⇧ As U.S. Oil Rigs Shut Down, Job Pain Spreads Across Cities – Real Time Economics – WSJ
In more than a quarter of the nation’s metropolitan areas, the jobless rate is higher than it was a year ago as the fallout from the fracking downturn drifts outward.
“… significant employment losses in places across Louisiana, Texas, Wyoming, and North Dakota, and it’s a pretty large number of metro areas,” ….
Mr. Muro said the job loss was likely to continue. He pointed to research showing the correlation between actively operating oil rigs and employment. One study found that removing an active rig eliminates 28 jobs in the near-term, followed by another 171 jobs over the long run.
⇧ It’s official: Wells Fargo reaches largest settlement in FHA history | HousingWire
“This Administration remains committed to holding lenders accountable for their lending practices,” said Secretary Julián Castro for HUD. “The $1.2 billion settlement with Wells Fargo is the largest recovery for loan origination violations in FHA’s history. Yet, this monetary figure can never truly make up for the countless families that lost homes as a result of poor lending practices.”
Who made the decision at Wells Fargo to do what Wells Fargo did?
The settlement is simply a cost of doing business (may very well not have even stripped Wells Fargo of all the profits it made doing with the Administration claims Wells Fargo did).
If so, the settlement serves to increase moral hazard.
⇧ How Real Estate Adds to Retirement Income | US News
… investing in real estate isn’t like writing a check to a mutual fund company. This one requires legwork, maintenance and perhaps a few headaches along the way. Think broken pipes, bad tenants or vacant rental units.
Investors willing to pull up their sleeves and invest time along with money may find real estate could be another pipeline toward the multiple streams of income that we all desire. Real estate can be another form of diversification.
“Rental properties can be an excellent way to balance an investment portfolio, since real estate does not correlate highly with stock market fluctuations. Real estate, if purchased correctly and managed properly, can provide a steady stream of income regardless of economic conditions, and can appreciate in value over time, leaving a nice nest egg for retirement,” says Lukas Krause, CEO of Real Property Management in Salt Lake City.
⇧ Colorado Supreme Court rules state law trumps local bans on fracking – The Denver Post
The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday blocked a push by Front Range cities to limit oil and gas development near people, ruling state power to promote industry trumps local bans, which the court deemed “invalid and unenforceable.”
We’re trying to ensure they understand the significance of having wells drilled within 1,000 feet of your home, in some cases two well pads within 1,000 feet. It is loud. It is dirty. It is pollution — potentially hazardous to our health.
I disagree with the court’s ruling.
To use their logic, there can be no laws below the state level that differ from state law. However, there are plenty of laws on the books that are enforced that are not state laws but go beyond them in protecting the citizens of counties, cities, and towns, etc.
The show provides enlightening industry intel on the U.S. apartment market. Experts take a look at the performance of the market in the first quarter of 2016, and share what to expect moving forward. Plus
* Property level performance trends and forecast
* Location and demographic analytic strategies
* Asset and property management tips
* Investment strategies for 2016 and beyond
⇧ United States ADP Employment Change
This is not the source used by the Fed, but it is nevertheless watched and respected by top professionals and academics.
Private businesses in the United States hired 156 thousand workers in April of 2016 compared to a downwardly revised 194 thousand in March and much below market expectations of 196 thousand. It is the lowest figure since April of 2013.
⇧ mainly macro: Ben Bernanke and Democratic Helicopter Money
Oh, I strongly disagree with Simon Wren-Lewis on this one.
If the central bank initiates this and decides how much money to create, it is definitely not democratic. It is anti-democratic.
The issue of central-bank independence is a red herring.
We had colonies in the US truly democratically (relative to Simon’s idea) issuing their own script and without inflationary problems. It can be, should be, and, in my view, will be done again.
⇧ EconoSpeak: Joan Robinson and Beggar Thy Neighbor Policies
Ben Bernanke is correct, but the quotation is limited to monetary policy, leaving fiscal expansion out of the discussion here. Ben is in favor of fiscal expansion. Joan Robinson would be too.
As for “protectionism,” fair trade versus free trade is a very real progressive issue. I’m confident that Joan would be a fair-trade advocate today and not a free-trade one.
Bernie Sanders is a fair trader and not a “protectionist,” per se.
So let’s keep the definitions and connotations in mind when discussing all of these issues.
Lastly, the multiplier Ben points to concerning monetary policy is exactly why he is for fiscal stimulus even more, and Narayana Kocherlakota even agrees with Gerald Friedman.
⇧ AEP: US dollar plunges as world plays dangerous game of pass the parcel
This is all very interesting from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, but recent labor data suggest the Fed will hold.
BTW, why did the “The Telegraph” remove AEP’s rss feed?
⇧ Americans Worse Off Today Than 1970s, Says Liberal Think Tank
While Federal Reserve officials acknowledged the 1Q softness in their policy statement last Wednesday, they also suggested that strong hiring and recent tepid income gains have the potential to reignite consumer spending and propel economic growth stronger later this year… but they almost always point to something positive.
With a worsening labor situation and slowing growth, I can’t see them raising rates.
The rest of the article is interesting, but I disagree regarding regulations. Stupid deregulations caused the crash/recession.
⇧ How the Kleptocrats’ $12 Trillion Heist Helps Keep Most of the World Impoverished – The Daily Beast
I’m not a fan of The Daily Beast, but David Cay Johnston is quite often right on.
“We need fundamental reform of banking,” he [Jim Henry] says, “so the kleptocrats do not sleep well at night.”
⇧ Doubts rise over TTIP as France threatens to block EU-US deal | Business | The Guardian
Doubts about the controversial EU-US trade pact are mounting after the French president threatened to block the deal.
François Hollande said on Tuesday he would reject the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership “at this stage” because France was opposed to unregulated free trade.
Good. We need fair trade, not free trade. “Free trade” is foolish for the People.
⇧ Leaked TTIP documents cast doubt on EU-US trade deal | Business | The Guardian
You see, it’s really about fair trade versus free (wild, pro-kleptocrat) trade.
We should never have done a deal where the environment, worker rights, safety, and health were put on the back burner (actually completely removed from the stove) so the superrich could further enrich themselves at everyone else’s expense.
So, when you hear “protectionist,” make sure you consider the source.
⇧ The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie? – YouTube
Capitalism may not be much in fashion among younger Americans these days, but renowned University of Illinois at Chicago economist Deirdre McCloskey believes the system holds the key to expanded prosperity and human liberation.
This is great with one exception. The idea or suggestion that democratic cooperation/communal ownership can’t be as, or even more, innovative is just wrong.
Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.
⇧ Ashanti Hamilton launches effort to fight blighted properties
Prostitution. Drug use. Students waiting at nearby bus stops dodging gunshots.
An abandoned plant near the corner of N. 27th and W, Capitol Drive in Milwaukee has festered for more than a decade, becoming a magnet for all kinds of crimes.
But new Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton announced Wednesday the plant and other problem properties are being targeted for demolition as part of a new blight-fighting initiative dubbed “Out of Harm’s Way.”
⇧ Fort McMurray Wildfire, Alberta | ALERT™ :: Event Summary
The fire began in a mobile home park ….
Extreme winds always hinder wildfire firefighting. The already inherent difficulties that extreme winds cause are greatly aggravated when the direction of those winds changes frequently and erratically. Simplifying somewhat, when the wind direction is predictable and constant, firefighters can focus their efforts downwind, where the most rapid expansion of the fire is likely to occur; when the wind changes unpredictably, those suppression efforts must encircle the fire entirely, stretching resources significantly. The Fort McMurray wildfire has been very much aggravated by such strong and erratic winds.
… The major oil sands facilities in the area are not currently threatened by the fire, but several of the oil companies active in the area shut down pipelines ….
⇧ Omega block behind searing heat inflaming Fort McMurray wildfire – The Washington Post
Freedman notes that the warmth present in western Canada is part and parcel of the long-term climate-warming trend. “Climate data shows that Fort McMurray has seen an increase in the number of days with high temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius, or 77 degrees Fahrenheit, since 1950,” he reports. “This number has jumped from an average of 21 such days in 1950 to an average of 35 such days in 2010.”
⇧ Bass Says Investors Would Avoid China If They Knew Bank Risk – Bloomberg
Bass said investors putting money in Asia should ask if they can handle 30 to 40 percent writedowns in Chinese investments.
Sounds about right to me.
BTW, “The minimum investment with Hayman is $5 million.” https://www.haymancapitalmanagement.com/contact.htm
⇧ Let the TTIP trade pact die if it threatens Parliamentary democracy
I disagree about the “scientific infantilism” and “savings glut”; but otherwise, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has penned a worthy piece here.blockquote>The paramount issue at hand is to conserve the vitality of our core democracies at a time when they are under multiple pin-prick attacks, from the European Court, or trade tribunals, or from any one of the proliferating supra-national bodies run by lawyers and technocrats on the margins of accountability. If TTIP whithers on the vine, so be it.
“…whithers…” and dies!
⇧ El Paso, Texas Has the Greatest Percentage of Millennials Living with Mom | Zillow Porchlight
Grown adults won’t have to go far to celebrate Mother’s Day in El Paso, TX this year. Zillow’s latest analysis found that El Paso has the greatest percentage of millennials age 24 to 34 living with their moms. Other places with a large percentage of millennials living at home with Mom are Miami, Philadelphia, and Riverside, CA.
The percentage of 24-34 year olds who live with Mom has been steadily increasing in the U.S. for the past several years. In 2005, 13 percent of millennials were living with their mothers. That number is now up to 21 percent.
⇧ The White House attacks the spread of abusive non-compete agreements | Economic Policy Institute
… Treasury has done more than analyze the problem and presents a menu of steps governments can take to limit non-competes and prevent the worst abuses. They include prohibiting non-competes for low-paid employees or for particular occupations, requiring transparency and disclosure of non-competes in employment contracts and fair consideration like severance pay, or voiding them unless a legitimate business interest can be established.
Frankly, such non-competes are likely not enforceable if properly challenged.
In the insurance industry, if they aren’t worded correctly and are overreaching, it’s been clearly shown that they don’t hold up in court.
⇧ macroblog – Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
The stats cannot properly account for those who will change their minds or responses as the economy improves.
⇧ Understanding Society: Hofstadter on the American right
With all due respect, …
Wouldn’t it be interesting if large numbers of young and poor voters in the United States became active in support of their longterm economic interests.
What an ironic ending that is. After all, wouldn’t the young and poor be rising up against the plutocrat conspirators?
Please, you don’t really believe they don’t get together to make further plans on how to continue keeping the masses “in line” for the sake of those plutocrats’ increasing private wealth, power, and control?
There’s no conspiracy except when there is.
⇧ Alberta wildfire set to be Canada’s costliest natural disaster | Reuters
Experts say in Fort McMurray insurance policies would likely cover all damage to property and belongings damaged by the wildfire.
Kentucky State Police say they are investigating three house fires that occurred after the homes were burglarized.
⇧ Shore Towns Resist Christie’s Sand-Dune Buffers as Storms Gather – Bloomberg
Governor Chris Christie’s warning of Hurricane Sandy-like destruction of the New Jersey shore will be tested as the worst storm season in three years approaches and beachfront homeowners delay his building protective dunes along all 127 miles of the state’s coast.
The governor in January called the easement holdouts “extraordinarily selfish.”
If the holdout areas suffer and those areas that allowed the dunes don’t (or at least significantly less), Christie will obviously be proven right. Why gamble on such a thing?
The department is considering the tie-ups of four of the biggest U.S. health insurers — Aetna Inc. with Humana Inc., and Anthem Inc. with Cigna Corp. — two mergers that would leave the country with only three major insurers, down from five.
⇧ China Evicts Investment Firms Amid Fears of Unrest – Bloomberg
China’s authorities, seeking to forestall potential social unrest due to growing failures of investment firms and online lenders, are ordering many to break leases and close their storefronts on busy streets — lest they become magnets for protesters.
… with almost 1,000 online lenders having collapsed in the past year and fraud becoming more prevalent at China’s countless wealth management firms, authorities are acting to curb their growth and head off potential instability.
… Now all those finance startups are gone, leaving massive vacant space and the rent plummeting, Tao said.
Investigations by the police, as opposed to financial regulators, are an indicator that authorities now fear demonstrations against investment firms could turn into anti-government sentiment. …
Chinese consumers are more susceptible to fraud as only one-third of formal savers in the nation are financially literate and 48 percent don’t understand the concept of interest payments, according to a December survey by S&P Global Ratings.
“Who in the world can generate 24 percent? It’s impossible,” said Soul Htite, founder and chief executive officer of Shanghai-based online lender Dianrong.com, who foresees only about 20 P2Ps ultimately becoming successful, based on his experience in Silicon Valley and co-founding the LendingClub Corp. in the U.S. “Companies disappear for multiple reasons. One of them is they’re criminals, and they’re caught. For others, they have a non-realistic business model.”
⇧ At Conference of Elites, the Distress of Others Is an Investment Opportunity
There wasn’t really a partisan edge to the proceedings. On a panel with four state governors, Democrats Terry McAuliffe and John Hickenlooper parroted the same bromides about workforce development and support for trade deals as Republicans Scott Walker and Rick Scott. “Everyone in this room can admire these people,” said the moderator, Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google-parent Alphabet.
Most Milken conference attendees exist in the same center-right, business-friendly space, far above those meddling populists with their earthy concerns. In this world, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders represent exactly the same thing — a threat to the established order.
“At least you have a party,” a resigned Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham lamented to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, apparently unaware that left-wing forces led by Jeremy Corbyn had taken over Blair’s Labour Party. “Um, right,” Blair responded, to knowing laughter.
⇧ Fed’s structure is broken and needs overhaul, former insider says – MarketWatch
What’s next, life tenure?
Maybe we could go with making them all subject to national elections.
Maybe we could go with doing away with the Fed altogether?
“Monetary-and-Banking-Reform Platform for The United States”: Here
Let the light in.
Lift the bottom first.
Leave absolutely nobody behind for any reason.
Invest in what we need most in a prioritized manner.
… after almost any financial crisis, ruling governments became substantially weaker, while opposition coalitions grew stronger. This increased overall political partisanship and fragmentation, often leading to gridlock and ineffectual policy making, just when bold moves and major financial reforms might have been particularly beneficial.
It’s a catch-22 that could in turn lead to further disaffection and polarization among the electorate, prolonging the impact of a crisis. It takes a charismatic leader to break the stalemate, someone who can implement good policies and manage the polarization. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was one such leader. Using fireside chats and a lot of effort, he managed to form a coalition large enough to pass legislation that helped pull the US out of the Great Depression.
Though the Occupy movement probably had less direct political impact than the Tea Party did, the two movements uncannily illustrate the debtor-creditor split after financial crises, with the Tea Party siding against debtors and the Occupy movement with them.
… Trump’s presidential campaign in particular exploits an underlying angst that the government is representing well-organized special interests at the general public’s expense. Ironically, much of the support for the Sanders campaign also reflects the same angst. This, rather than the classic debtor-creditor conflict that emerged with the Tea Party and the Occupy movement, is behind much of their backing. But the candidacies thrive in a hyperpartisan political environment that is the financial crisis’s true legacy. Trump and Sanders may be the indirect by-products of that crisis, but they are nonetheless its legitimate heirs.
⇧ Stanley Druckenmiller Laments ‘Reckless’ Corporate Financial Behavior
… since the financial crisis, [Stanley] Druckenmiller said, capital spending has increased $250 billion while buybacks and M&A have grown three times faster, by $750 billion.
That represents extremely poor vision and very bad planning that will definitely come back to haunt the US economy.
⇧ Stubborn Shanghai residents hold a line drawn in rubble | Reuters
… who owns the land?
In the US, eminent domain.
There are other countries such as the People’s Republic of China that practice eminent domain whenever it is convenient to make space for new communities and government structures. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eminent_domain#Other_countries )
Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.
Chinese officials including Internet czar Lu Wei have played down concerns over what critics have described as China’s expanding Web censorship, saying that it is the Chinese government’s sovereign prerogative and a necessary measure to maintain domestic order.
“…domestic order…” is code for the dictatorship of the Communist Chinese Party and especially its leader, the dictator, Xi.
⇧ Scientist says the San Andreas fault is “locked, loaded, and ready to roll”
“We are fortunate that seismic activity in California has been relatively low over the past century,” Jordan explained last year. “But we know that tectonic forces are continually tightening the springs of the San Andreas fault system, making big quakes inevitable.”
⇧ GOP states benefiting from shift to wind and solar energy – The Washington Post [source updated]
Leading the way in new wind projects are GOP strongholds Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, home to some of the leading critics of climate science and renewable energy incentives in Congress. Republican-dominated North Carolina trails only California in new solar farms, thanks largely to pro-renewables policies enacted years ago under a Democratic legislature.
For Republicans from areas benefiting from renewable energy, the political calculus can be complicated. An increasing number of them try to balance criticizing Obama’s environmental efforts with quietly supporting the federal tax incentives helping drive investment in renewables.
Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, among the earliest boosters of government support for wind power, points out that fossil fuels and nuclear plants have long benefited from tax credits. …
“We’ve seen the economic success story behind renewables up close and personal,” Grassley said …. “There are more than 6,000 good wind jobs in Iowa.”
⇧ SF suing Academy of Art over real estate empire – SFGate
According to the suit, Academy of Art President Elisa Stephens and her family, acting through subsidiary companies, have bought 22 commercial and residential buildings and “cavalierly” converted them to university use without obtaining the required city authorization. The buildings are among 40 buildings that the university owns in the city, many of them clustered in the South of Market and on Nob Hill.
⇧ Capital markets still look healthy — and that’s good for commercial real estate | The Charlotte Observer
Price increases for commercial real estate have slowed and deals appear to be slowing as well, but neither show signs of collapsing as they did following the peak of the market in 2007. And despite the frenzy of building in Charlotte and other cities throughout the U.S., supply isn’t exceeding demand for new space — with the possible exception of apartments, and even those are leasing well.
As a whole, markets certainly have recovered, though the degree and depth vary sharply among sectors and according to different metrics. In terms of property fundamentals, apartments were the first sector to recover, reaching new peak occupancy and rents in 2011 — five years ago — whereas industrial properties got back to peak occupancy in 2014 and hit new peak rents last year. The situation is more mixed for office and retail sectors: Office vacancies are coming down but are still elevated above the past peak levels, and retail is still really hurting, with little improvement in occupancy and almost no gains in rents overall since the recession.