It Lives! The TPP contains a clever little provision – the “living agreement” provision – which enables representatives of signatory nations to “update the agreement as appropriate to address trade issues that emerge in the future as well as new issues that arise with the expansion of the agreement to include new countries.” This commission would have the power to revise, extend and change the agreement without reference to such noisome bodies as Congress or the public. So much for the pig in the poke. Thankfully, neither the Dems or the GOP want the TPP to be mentioned during the presidential election process, so we may be safe until 2017. Then duck.
Sides: Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have captured a Turkish intelligence operative fighting alongside ISIS militants. Tell me again whose side Erdoğan is on?
Drumbeats: The world economy is disturbingly close to stall speed. The longer this soggy patch drags on, the greater the risk that the six-year old global recovery will sputter out. Global authorities have alarmingly few tools to combat the next crunch, given that interest rates are already zero across most of the developed world, debts levels are at or near record highs, and there is little scope for fiscal stimulus.
Bottomed Line: Kansas now prohibits welfare recipients from withdrawing more than $25 a day and limits them to ATMs to access welfare payments. And each $25 withdrawal costs $2.50, which is deducted from their welfare account. If an individual receives $250 a month in support, the banks will end up with at least 10% of that. It is simply stealing from the taxpayer to give to the banks, while pretending that the money is going to the poor.
Us and Them: Gambia is undertaking to reduce its contribution to global warming by reducing its carbon emissions. Gambia is responsible for 0.05% of the globe's emissions – about what you emit, daily. What is it that you're going to give up to help keep the planet habitable?
Memorial Day: “[A]nyone born in the past 13 years has never known an America that isn’t at war. Anyone born after 1984 has likely seen America at war for at least half of his or her life” [WaPo]. And we lost both Iraq and Afghanistan. The War on Terror is as sensible as a War on Flanking Maneuvers, since terror is a tactic, not an enemy. The War on Drugs is shuddering its way to an awful conclusion, with 4:20 today’s equivalent of “11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month.” In fact, over the course of my lifetime, I can’t think — let me pause here to chant U.S.A! U.S.A!, just to establish my bona fides — I can’t think, I say, of a war we’ve won. Except the War on Poverty, of course, a war we have to keep fighting over and over again, for some reason.” - Lambert Strether, at the Water Cooler.
Self Hoisting Petard: The latest miracle promised us is the self-driving truck, which in a few short years will haul stuff from sea to sea. The boosters don't mention that this will put 3.5 million long-haul drivers out of work, along with the waitresses, restaurants, and motels they support.
Definition: The Vatican says Ireland's gay marriage vote is a “defeat for humanity.” I think they've once again confused ”humanity” with “the church”.