Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Tuesday, November 8, Morning Global Market Roundup: Global Stocks Up As Nervous Markets Wager On Clinton Winning White House Race

By Nichola Saminather 
Reuters
November 8, 2016

Asian stocks rose on Tuesday as world markets braced for the outcome of one of the most contentious U.S. presidential elections in history, with most investors cautiously optimistic of a win by Democrat Hillary Clinton.

European markets are set to begin the session little changed, with financial spreadbetter CMC Markets expecting Britain's FTSE 100 and France's CAC 40 to open flat and Germany's DAX to start the day up 0.1 percent.

The Mexican peso, which strengthened as the perceived chances of an election victory by Republican Donald Trump has ebbed, retained its solid gains from Monday.

"As markets head into the U.S. election, a final recalibration of risk is in train," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, wrote in a note.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.4 percent. But Japan's Nikkei surrendered earlier gains to close flat, as the yen rose following Monday's losses.

The dollar, which also advanced on Monday, edged slightly lower.

Clinton's chances of winning got a boost on Sunday when the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said it stood by its July finding that the democratic candidate was not guilty of criminal wrongdoing in her use of a private email server.

That came after the FBI announced on Oct. 28 it was reviewing additional emails relating to the server while Clinton was secretary of state, triggering a selloff in global markets.

Clinton is seen by investors as offering greater certainty and stability, and, until last week's stumble, had been seen as the likely victor in Tuesday's presidential vote.

While polls last week showed Trump closing in on Clinton's lead, at least five major polls on Monday showed Clinton still ahead.

But investors remained wary, noting Britain's shock vote in June to leave the European Union had defied most polls and bookmakers' odds.

The election "is the largest 'known unknown' markets have had to contend with since the global financial crisis," even more than Brexit, Mixo Das, Asia equity strategist at Nomura, wrote in a note. "The higher likelihood there is still that Clinton prevails. Her slide in polling numbers appears to be stabilizing... and reports about a surge in early voting over the weekend are positive for her."

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index ticked up 0.3 percent.

China's CSI 300 index index added 0.4 percent, with relief over improving prospects of a Clinton win offsetting bigger-than-expected declines in both imports and exports and a smaller-than-forecast trade balance in October.

The MSCI World index advanced 0.1 percent, adding to Monday's 1.6 percent gain, its biggest single-day jump in almost 19 weeks.

On Wall Street overnight, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 2.1 and 2.2 percent respectively, recording their biggest one-day percentage gain since March 1.

The dollar, which recorded its biggest one-day increase against the yen in almost four months on Monday, surrendered 0.1 percent to trade at 104.35 yen on Tuesday.

The U.S. currency was little changed versus the Mexican peso at 18.5855, after sliding 2.3 percent on Monday, its biggest one-day drop in six weeks.

The Mexican currency is seen as a proxy for bets on the U.S. election because Mexico is considered most vulnerable to Trump's trade policies as 80 percent of its exports go to the United States.

The euro which retreated 0.9 percent on Monday, was flat at $1.10435.

Crude oil futures were mixed as concerns about the stronger dollar and doubts over OPEC's planned production cuts ate into the broad revival in risk appetite.

U.S. crude slipped 0.1 percent to $44.87 a barrel, after advancing 1.9 percent on Monday. Global benchmark Brent rose 0.2 percent to $46.25, extending Monday's 1.3 percent jump.

As some caution returned after Monday's exuberance, gold climbed 0.1 percent to $1,283 an ounce, erasing some of its 1.7 percent loss from the previous session.


Article Link To Reuters:

Triangulating Brexit

By Daniel Gros
Project Syndicate
November 8, 2016

More than 100 days after the United Kingdom voted narrowly to leave the European Union, it remains far from clear what arrangement will regulate cross-Channel trade after Brexit. Political discussions tend to revolve around three key issues: immigration controls, access to the single market, and passporting rights for financial services. Which balance should European leaders strike?

Many in Britain know exactly what they want: to impose controls on the movement of workers from the rest of the EU, thereby protecting the domestic labor market, but without losing access to the single market or passporting rights, which allow British firms to sell their financial services on the continent. That was, after all, the kind of deal many leaders of the “Leave” campaign promised before the June referendum.

But the Brexiteers’ promise remains wishful thinking. As German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has pointed out, access to the single market is inextricably linked to the free movement of people. Indeed, he has even offered to send Boris Johnson, the UK’s foreign secretary, a copy of the Treaty of Lisbon, where that link is established.

This may sound legalistic, and it certainly reflects political motivations. But basic economic principles imply that free movement is, indeed, at least as important as free trade.

Trade usually benefits both sides. It is thus clear that it is in the common interest of the UK and the EU to minimize the losses from the introduction of new barriers through Brexit. From the point of view of European welfare, it is the size of the trade barriers that matters, not which side is a net exporter or importer. Low barriers typically have low costs, unless very large volumes of trade are affected. But as barriers become higher, the negative impact on welfare grows disproportionately.

The good news for the UK is that it probably wouldn’t face substantially higher trade barriers even if it did leave the single market. After all, the EU has, in general, a liberal trade regime, with low external tariffs. That is why so many studies do not consider the economic benefits of tariff-free transatlantic trade as the primary reason for pursuing it.

Even if the UK faced some additional barriers – such as new customs requirements and certificates of origin – their impact would most likely be relatively small. The case of Switzerland – which is even more integrated into EU production chains than the UK – shows that efficient customs administrations on both sides are enough to keep such barriers to a minimum. In any case, exports of goods to the EU generate only about 6% of the UK’s GDP.

Yet another reason why the introduction of some low trade barriers is unlikely to produce large losses is that the differences in the cost of producing goods in one market or the other are small. Producing a car in Britain, for example, costs about the same as producing one in Germany.

Barriers to the free movement of labor are a different story. Productivity and income per worker in the UK remains significantly higher than in, say, Poland. A worker would get about €25 ($27.70) for an hour of work in the UK, but only €8.50 in Poland. In other words, not allowing a Polish worker to work in the UK would imply large economic costs for Europe. Moreover, if British Prime Minister Theresa May follows through on her stated goal of reducing annual net immigration to less than 100,000, the UK would have to implement drastic – potentially costly – measures to close off the UK labor market.

This means that the barriers that EU negotiators are in a position to impose – which largely affect trade in goods – are likely to have a much smaller impact than the UK-imposed barriers, such as quotas on EU workers. But there is one more issue that negotiators must consider: financial services.

While overall trade in services is unlikely to suffer enormously from Brexit – the internal market for services never worked all that well, anyway – finance constitutes a special case, largely because of the passporting arrangements for banks.

Economists are often ambivalent about the benefits of financial integration, not least because large flows of bank credit can have a serious impact on macroeconomic stability. Whereas securitization, for example, can help to reduce risk and increase the availability of credit for risky borrowers under the right framework, the 2008 global financial crisis starkly demonstrated that it can imply huge costs if it goes too far.

But steps can be taken to maximize the benefits of cross-Channel provision of financial services after Brexit. The key is to base decisions not on sustaining the City of London’s role as Europe’s financial hub, but on ensuring that the services provided strengthen Europe’s capital markets. That would require an emphasis on equity over debt instruments, and on market-based financing over bank credit.

From an economic standpoint, the priorities that should guide Brexit negotiations are clear. Negotiators must focus on minimizing new barriers to the free movement of labor; indeed, this should be an even higher priority than maintaining the free movement of goods. And British financial services should be welcomed in the EU, but only if they help it to move away from its bank-centric system and complete the capital market union.

But politics continues to distort discussions, driving leaders to draw red lines on free movement and adopt mercantilist stances on financial services. It will take some statesmanship on both sides to shift attention to the common good.


Article Link To Project Syndicate:

Why China Doesn't Understand Hong Kong

By Adam Minter
The Bloomberg View
November 8, 2016

Nobody would ever mistake the Chinese Communist Party for a fleet-footed, democratic organization responsive to public opinion. But over the decades it's shown a capacity to recognize when political winds are shifting and has been willing to accept outside advice and solutions. That's changing under President Xi Jinping. China's leadership has grown increasingly isolated and distant from citizens, calling into question whether it can truly identify with the needs of a young and dynamic population.

The political consequences are stark and not confined to the mainland. Monday's decision to bar two young Hong Kong pro-independence politicians from the autonomous city-state's legislative assembly is just the most recent example. The act precipitating the decision was juvenile, the equivalent of a high school prank: The newly elected legislators made a mockery of their oath-takings in mid-October. Rather than treat the incident as marginal behavior, leaders in Beijing misread the stunt as a threat to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Their intervention has sparked protests and a deepening political crisis. Had leaders paid closer attention to the split reaction to the oath-taking within Hong Kong, they might've acted more proportionally.

There are two reasons that China's leadership has become so isolated in its decision-making in recent years. The first is a problem identified as far back as the mid-1980s: a widening generation gap. Aging Chinese leaders pose a striking contrast to a youthful population braced by vast technological, demographic and economic changes.

In 1985, Deng Xiaoping spearheaded a campaign to convince China's elderly cadres to step aside for younger blood. Deng himself was 80 and the average age of the six-member, all-powerful Standing Committee was 76.5 years old. Some joked that due to age and infirmity, "Standing Committee" was a misnomer. Deng believed younger leaders were more likely to engineer the kind of changes he envisioned for China. "I was 45 at the time of liberation," he noted of the founding of modern China in 1949. "And many were even younger."

While Deng did his best to purge the elderly, it fell to Jiang Zemin in 2002 to assert what's now known as the "seven up, eight down" rule. Under it, any leader over the age of 68 was automatically excluded from membership on the seven-member Standing Committee.

The impact was notable. Between 1982 and 2002, the average age of Standing Committee members dropped from 72 to 60 years old. But since then, it's been ticking upward. Today, the average age of a Standing Committee member is 67.4 years -- more than a generation removed from anyone who grew up using the internet, struggling with China's spiraling housing prices or looking for a job in a stagnating economy.

Meanwhile, the gap continues to widen between the top echelon of leaders and their subordinates. Two steps down from the Politburo, the 205-member Central Committee's average age increased only slightly between 2002 and 2012 -- from 55.4 to 56.1 years old. Though the funnel to top power has always been narrow in China, age is clearly making it more so.

The second factor is even more crippling. Under Xi Jinping, China's Communist Party has become openly hostile to ideas and values perceived as threatening to the Party's grip on power, and has purged them (and the people who hold them) from government, universities and -- soon -- primary schools. Sources of information that might contribute to well-calibrated decision-making, such as social media, are limited on the mainland, while a free press -- long restricted in China -- is under attack in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Xi's ongoing centralization of power ensures that many policy experts who know better, or might have better ideas, are simply shut out.

Earlier generations of Chinese leadership weren't so closed off. In the 1980s, China's top leaders invited foreign economists to advise them on reforms (something that would be well-nigh impossible in today's xenophobic climate). And during the 1990s the regime slowly but surely expanded the scope of personal freedoms (from religious expression to sexual freedom) available to Chinese, in part as a response to the 1989 student protests in Tiananmen Square.

There's little evidence that Xi's government has the same capacity to recognize its limitations, much less to compensate for them with pragmatic policy. In fact, the evidence suggests just the opposite. Only last week, a senior party functionary claimed that Jiang's mandatory retirement rules were "folklore," strongly suggesting that China's current regime is soon to become more deeply entrenched, older and out-of-touch.

That's the wrong direction for China, and for Hong Kong. If Xi aspires to restore his government's damaged image among the city's youth, he needs to look back to earlier leaders like Deng, who were open to outside opinions and willing to shake up an aging gerontocracy. Only then will the Chinese government have the capacity to understand and respond to the concerns of the Chinese people, whether in Hong Kong or elsewhere.


Article Link To The Bloomberg View:

South Korea's Park Indicates Willingness To Relinquish Some Power Amid Crisis

By Jack Kim and Ju-min Park
Reuters
November 8, 2016

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said on Tuesday she will withdraw her nominee for prime minister if parliament recommends a candidate and is willing to let the new premier control the cabinet, seeking to defuse a crisis rocking her presidency.

Park's comments at a meeting with the speaker of parliament indicated she was willing to relinquish some control over state affairs - a key demand by opposition parties to resolve the scandal stemming from allegations that her friend improperly wielded influence using her ties to the president.

"If parliament recommends a good person with an agreement between the ruling and opposition parties, I will appoint that person as prime minister and allow him to essentially take control over the cabinet," Park told the speaker, Chung Sye-kyun.

The position of prime minister is usually a figurehead in South Korea, with most power concentrated in the presidential office.

Park has been severely bruised by the scandal involving her friend, Choi Soon-sil, who is alleged to have used her closeness to the president to meddle in state affairs and wield influence in the sports and cultural communities.

Choi has been charged with abuse of power and fraud while a former aide has been charged with abuse of power and extortion after they helped raise 77.4 billion won ($68 million) from dozens of the country's biggest conglomerates on behalf of two foundations.

Park nominated Kim Byong-joon, a former cabinet minister under a liberal ex-president, as premier last week but the move, which requires a parliamentary approval, drew anger from the opposition as a bid to divert attention from the crisis and yet another example of her heavy-handed approach.

Park's visit to parliament was brief and she did not meet the leaders of opposition parties despite news reports that said she had hoped to do so.

Instead she was met with some opposition members inside the building who held signs that said she should relinquish authority and even some that called on her to step down.

Park has publicly apologized twice for the scandal but her approval rating has plunged to 5 percent according to a Gallup poll released on Friday, the lowest since such polling began in 1988.

No South Korean president has failed to finish their five-year term, but Park has faced growing pressure from the public and some hardline political opponents to quit. Park's term is due to end in early 2018.

Samsung Raided

South Korean prosecutors raided the offices of Samsung Electronics earlier on Tuesday as part of a probe over the scandal involving Choi, a prosecution official told Reuters but declined to comment further.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported prosecutors are looking into whether Samsung improperly provided financial assistance to Choi's daughter.

Samsung Electronics, reeling from a $5.4 billion profit hit after it was forced to discontinue its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, said prosecutors visited its office but declined to comment further.

Prosecutors have been investigating an allegation that Samsung provided 2.8 million euros ($3.1 million) to a company co-owned by Choi and her daughter, who was previously a member of the South Korean national equestrian team, Yonhap reported.

Park Sang-jin, a Samsung Electronics president for corporate relations, is currently head of Korea Equestrian Federation. Yonhap said his office was part of the prosecutor's raid Tuesday morning. Park Sang-jin could not be reached for comment.

Prosecutors have already questioned a Samsung executive as part of the probe, according to a prosecution source.

Yonhap reported prosecutors were also raiding the offices of the Korea Equestrian Federation and the Korea Horse Affairs Association.

The Korea Equestrian Federation declined to comment on Yonhap report, and the Korea Horse Affairs Association did not immediately comment.


Article Link To Reuters:

How Blockchain Will Change Your Life

The technology’s potential goes way beyond finance.


By Ginni Rometty 
The Wall Street Journal
November 8, 2016

Until the mid-1990s, the internet was little more than an arcane set of technical standards used by academics. Few predicted the profound effect it would have on society. Today, blockchain—the technology behind the digital currency bitcoin—might seem like a trinket for computer geeks. But once widely adopted, it will transform the world.

Blockchain offers a way to track items or transactions using a shared digital “ledger.” Blocks of new transactions are added at the end of the chain, and encryption ensures that it remains unbroken—tamper-proof and error-free. This is significantly more efficient than the current methods for logging and sharing such information.

Consider the process of buying a house, a complex transaction involving banks, attorneys, title companies, insurers, regulators, tax agencies and inspectors. They all maintain separate records, and it’s costly to verify and record each step. That’s why the average closing takes roughly 50 days. Blockchain offers a solution: a trusted, immutable digital ledger, visible to all participants, that shows every element of the transaction.

Financial institutions are becoming early adopters: The World Economic Forum estimates that 80% of banks are working on blockchain projects. CLS, the world’s largest multicurrency cash-settlement system, is implementing blockchain in the foreign-exchange market. The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ has developed a smart-contract prototype for multiparty business transactions. China UnionPay is using blockchain for loyalty programs that operate across multiple banks.

But the potential goes beyond finance. We at IBM estimate that applying blockchain to global supply chains could generate more than $100 billion in annual efficiencies. Toyota and the U.S. Postal Service are exploring this already.

Visa and DocuSign are working on a blockchain system that enables a car buyer to sit in the driver’s seat, configure the aspects of a lease on the dashboard, and drive away immediately. La’Zooz, an Israel startup, has a blockchain ride-sharing app that allows drivers to connect directly with customers, without needing a middleman like Uber or Lyft.

All of this is promising. But for blockchain to go beyond pilots, the technology needs a system of transparent governance. Remember what guided the development of the internet: not-for-profit groups like the Internet Engineering Task Force and the World Wide Web Consortium. Their involvement gave businesses confidence that the internet would be stable and based on open standards.

The same must be true for blockchain. More than 80 leading finance and technology organizations, including IBM, have joined the Linux Foundation Hyperledger, a project aimed at creating an enterprise-grade blockchain framework. More than 600 additional firms have already applied to join the consortium.

There’s one more lesson to draw from the early days of the internet. If you had understood in 1995 the opportunities and threats it would ultimately present to your company or industry, what would you have done differently—to become the disrupter rather than the disrupted? That is where we are with blockchain today.


Article Link To The Wall Street Journal:

Oil Prices Steady Ahead Of U.S. Election, Weak China Data Weighs

By Henning Gloystein
Reuters
October 8, 2016

Oil prices were stable on Tuesday as financial investors and traders were cautiously positioning themselves for a win by Hillary Clinton in the U.S. presidential elections.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $44.97 at 0610 GMT, virtually flat from their previous settlement. The contract gained nearly 1.9 percent the previous session.

International Brent crude prices were up 8 cents at $46.23 per barrel.

"Investors piled back into the energy sector," ANZ bank said, with polls putting Clinton ahead of her Republican competitor Donald Trump in Tuesday's election. Clinton is seen by investors as offering greater certainty and stability.

In China, oil data released on Tuesday was weak, albeit coming down from high levels.

"Chinese oil imports ... eased slightly in October but remained at elevated levels (on year)," ANZ bank said on Tuesday following the data release.

China, which vies with the United States for top spot as the biggest crude importer, bought 6.78 million barrels of oil from abroad in October, down 12.9 percent from the previous month and one of the lowest volume this year on a daily basis.

The country's refined oil product exports jumped 24 percent on a year earlier, as the nation produced more fuel than it could absorb.

Crude prices were held back by lingering doubts over the ability of oil producers to agree on a planned output cut to prop up a market which has been dogged by two years of oversupply.

The chief executive of U.S. oil giant Exxon Mobil, Rex Tillerson said on Monday that global oil supplies have exceeded demand by 1 million to 2 million barrels per day since the start of 2015.

In physical oil markets, U.S. pipeline companies with operations at the heart of the country's commercial oil industry at Cushing, Oklahoma, restarted on Monday after an earthquake late on Sunday triggered safety shutdowns.


Article Link To Reuters:

Facebook Takes On LinkedIn With New Job Opening Features

By Arunima Banerjee
Reuters
November 8, 2016

Facebook Inc (FB.O) said on Monday, it was testing a feature that would let page administrators create job postings and receive applications from candidates, a move that could pressure LinkedIn Corp's (LNKD.N) recruiting business. "Based on behavior we've seen on Facebook, where many small businesses post about their job openings on their Page, we're running a test for Page admins to create job postings and receive applications from candidates," a company spokesman told Reuters.

LinkedIn makes most of its revenue from job hunters and recruiters who pay a monthly fee to post resumes and connect with people on what's often known as the social network for business.

Technology news website TechCrunch first reported the news on Monday. (tcrn.ch/2fwHLSB)

With Facebook's jobs features, companies could drive more traffic to their Facebook pages while allowing them to pay the social network to get their job openings in front of more candidates, TechCrunch said.

In October, Facebook launched Marketplace to allow people to buy and sell items locally as the social media network tries new ways to keep its users engaged.


Article Link To Reuters:

Dollar Steady, Markets Bet On Clinton Win In Looming U.S. Presidential Vote

Reuters
November 8, 2016

The dollar steadied in Asia on Tuesday, keeping previous session gains as markets wagered on a victory for Hillary Clinton in the U.S. presidential election after the FBI cleared her of any wrongdoing in its latest probe of her use of a private email server.

With hours to go before Americans vote, Democratic candidate Clinton has about a 90 percent chance of defeating Republican Donald Trump in the race for the White House, according to the final Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey said in a letter to Congress on Sunday that the agency's review of newly discovered emails did not find anything to warrant any criminal charges against Clinton.

The news prompted stock markets across the globe to rally on Monday, notching their biggest gains in weeks. Wall Street had closed lower for nine days in a row through Friday, its longest losing streak in more than 35 years.

The U.S. dollar also perked up from its recent slump and gained against rivals. The greenback was steady against the perceived safe-haven yen at 104.44 JPY=, well above a one-month low of 102.54 yen plumbed on Thursday.

"I think most people are expecting Clinton to be the U.S. president, as shown by the jump in the stock markets," said Kaneo Ogino, director at foreign exchange research firm Global-info Co in Tokyo.

"The dollar/yen is firm, but on the upside, around 105 there are still some Japanese exporter orders," he said.

Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Tuesday that Japan would need to respond to currency market moves if results of the U.S. presidential election were to cause a sudden spike in the yen, when asked about market speculation that the safe-haven currency might spike on a Trump victory.

"I won't comment on results of other country's elections. But if it were to affect currencies, we would need to watch and respond, as stability in currencies is always important," Aso told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

The euro EUR= was also steady against the dollar at $1.1040, well shy of its Friday peak of $1.1143, which was its highest since Oct. 11.

The dollar struck recent lows on signs of a tightening race between Clinton - viewed as the status quo candidate by most investors - and Trump, whose stated views on foreign policy, trade and immigration have raised fears about their potential impact on global growth.

The dollar index .DXY, which tracks the U.S. currency against a basket of six major currencies, stood at 97.753, well above Friday's low of 96.894, its lowest since Oct. 10.

The dollar was also steady against the Mexican peso MXN=D2 at 18.57. It tumbled 2.3 percent overnight against the peso, which is viewed as a proxy for U.S. election bets because Mexico is considered most vulnerable to Trump's pledged trade policies.

The Australian dollar AUD=D4 gave back some of its overnight gains after rising 0.7 percent on Monday, its biggest daily percentage gain since Oct. 19. It was last down 0.4 percent at $0.7699.

Undermining the Aussie were trade figures from China, Australia's biggest trading partner. Data showed China's exports and imports fell more than expected in October, adding to doubts about how long that country's recent pick-up in economic activity can be sustained.

"The China economy remains stagnant,"said Masashi Murata, senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in Tokyo.

"The renminbi is likely to continue to drop against the U.S. dollar and the euro due to capital outflows and the negative outlook for the Chinese economy," he said.

China's yuan eased on Tuesday after the central bank set another weaker midpoint to reflect global dollar strength, but trade was cautious ahead of the U.S. presidential election.


Article Link To Reuters:

The Last, Best Hope For A Good Trade Deal

By Ramesh Ponnuru
The Bloomberg View
November 8, 2016

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump say they oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal among 12 countries. The second-place finisher in each party’s presidential primaries -- Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz -- opposed it, too. These facts would seem to doom the Obama administration’s goal of getting Congress to approve the agreement between the election and the inauguration of the new president.

Michael Froman, the U.S. trade representative, is keeping hope alive. “We have to be careful not to overinterpret this election,” he tells me.

He’s right about that. For one thing, a lot of Clinton supporters seem to favor the trade deal, too: In an August Pew poll, 55 percent of them backed it while only 24 percent opposed it. And congressmen have plenty of reasons to support it.

First: The agreement is expected to expand our economy. The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that it will make the economy $57 billion bigger each year. The Peterson Institute for International Economics pegs the number at $78 billion. Either number is a small percentage of our $17 trillion economy, but it’s still a lot of money -- and there are not a lot of bipartisan ideas before Congress that are more promising.

Second: Agreeing to the TPP will increase American influence in Asia. Our allies there want Congress to approve it. The alternative is that the other countries in the partnership start making deals with one another, and with countries outside the TPP, such as China. These deals would divert some trade that would otherwise benefit us. They would be less favorable to us in other ways, too. The TPP, for example, restricts the ability of state-owned enterprises to undercut American companies. To the extent we do not participate in setting the rules that govern international trade, those rules will not reflect U.S. preferences.

Third: Polling suggests lukewarm support for the deal from the public, not the bitter opposition you might expect listening to the presidential campaign rhetoric. Pew found that 40 percent of Americans thought the TPP would be good for the country, while 35 percent thought it would be bad. A September poll by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs found 60 percent support for the deal. The large number of people with no opinion about TPP might also be swayable after the election, when pro-trade voices should be able to get more of a hearing.

Fourth: There’s a broad coalition behind the deal. Groups that have opposed many trade agreements in the past, like the National Council of Textile Organizations, are supporting it. Domestic footwear manufacturers and footwear importers are united in backing it. The tech industry and content providers are often at odds, but both are behind the TPP.

Fifth: Clinton, who used to say that the Trans-Pacific Partnership set the “gold standard” for trade agreements, may still privately hold that opinion. If she wins the election, she might well want congressional Democrats to help get the agreement passed before she takes office. She could signal her preferences by saying that she respects congressmen on both sides of the debate and that if the TPP goes into effect she will make sure its protections for American workers are strictly enforced.

Republican leaders may pose a bigger obstacle to the TPP, even though for decades their party has been more enthusiastic about free trade than the Democrats. House Speaker Paul Ryan is likely to have a smaller Republican majority if he has one at all. A few House Republicans oppose him because he is pro-immigration, has criticized Donald Trump and has generally been less hard line than they wish. Helping Barack Obama get a trade agreement through Congress in the president’s last weeks in office may increase the ranks of those opponents just enough to topple him.

But the best chance for the TPP would be action under Obama, since he is openly for it. If, as seems likely, the Trans-Pacific Partnership doesn’t pass in the next few weeks, it will represent the triumph of a vocal minority over the national interest.


Article Link To The Bloomberg View:

China October Exports, Imports Fall More Than Expected

By Elias Glenn
Reuters
November 8, 2016

China's exports and imports fell more than expected in October, adding to doubts about how long a recent pick-up in economic activity can be sustained.

October exports fell 7.3 percent from a year earlier, while imports shrank 1.4 percent, official data showed on Tuesday, raising fears that a broader recovery may be faltering.

That left the country with a trade surplus of $49.06 billion for the month, the General Administration of Customs said, versus forecasts of $51.70 billion, and September's $41.99 billion.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected October exports to have fallen 6 percent from a year earlier, compared to a 10 percent contraction in September. Imports had been expected to drop 1 percent, after falling 1.9 percent in September.

China's exports in the first 10 months of the year fell 7.7 percent from the same period a year earlier, while imports dropped 7.5 percent.

Exports have dragged on economic growth this year, forcing the government to rely on higher spending and record bank lending to support growth.

Trade data for September had also been weaker than expected, after imports rose in August for the first time in nearly two years, boosted by coal, iron ore and other commodities.

"The ongoing cyclical rebound in China's economy should support imports for another quarter or two but is unlikely to last much longer given that the boost to growth from earlier policy easing is set to fade before long," Capital Economics' China economist Julian Evans-Pritchard said in a note.

The commerce ministry said last week that China will face relatively large downward pressure on foreign trade in the fourth quarter, with uncertainties continuing into 2017.

The economy expanded at a steady 6.7 percent in the third quarter and looks set to hit Beijing's full-year target, fueled by stronger government spending, record bank lending and a red-hot property market that are adding to its growing pile of debt.

But stubbornly weak global demand is weighing on growth.

Weak exports knocked 7.8 percent off the country's GDP growth in the first three quarters of this year as weak external demand and higher costs squeeze China's massive factory sector.


Article Link To Reuters:

Mexicans On U.S. Border Fear Economic Catastrophe If Trump Wins

By Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein and David Alire Garcia 
Reuters
November 8, 2016

Mexicans on the U.S. border anxiously awaited the outcome of the U.S. presidential election on Tuesday, plagued by fears of economic disaster if Republican Donald Trump wins and tries to choke local industry, isolate the country and deport millions.

Trump's campaign has been one of the most unpopular in living memory in Mexico, ranging from stinging verbal attacks on its migrants, threats against its trade agreements, to his repeated vows to seal off the country behind a huge border wall that he insists Mexico will pay for.

Nowhere has the bad-tempered contest been felt more acutely than in the Mexican cities straddling the U.S. border, which hundreds of thousands of people cross for work every day, and acts as a bridge for $500 billion in annual bilateral trade.

Trump launched his bid accusing Mexico of sending rapists and drug peddlers across the border, prompting the government to accuse him of stirring up hatred and fanning concerns on the border that racial prejudice is becoming more acceptable.

The tycoon says he could scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement that took effect in Mexico, the United States and Canada in 1994, and he has threatened to impose tariffs of up to 35 percent on Mexican-made goods to help U.S. industry.

"We're very worried. We know what Donald Trump is looking to do, which is limit the imports, he wants to manufacture everything in the States," said Marcello Hinojosa, president in the border city of Tijuana of industry group Canacintra.

"But this has been analyzed by both the United States and by Mexico and it's suicide for both countries."

Mexican business leaders say about 40 percent of the average Mexican factory export is made of U.S. content and argue the two manufacturing sectors are so closely intertwined that it is impossible to take steps against one without damaging the other.

Trump, who polls show trailing Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in a tight race, says Mexico is "killing" the United States on trade. However, commerce between the two has grown much faster than their respective economies since NAFTA, World Bank and U.S. data show.

Mexico sends more than 80 percent of its exports to the United States, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says roughly 6 million American jobs depend on trade with Mexico.

Trump has also blasted U.S. companies for investing in Mexico, which houses billions of dollars worth of manufacturing plants, especially around Mexico's northern border. Trump blames the Mexican factories for jobs losses in the United States.

If protectionist policies gain ground, prices for products and services would go up, and jobs would eventually be lost in Mexico, putting pressure on people to migrate - or exposing them to the lure of violent crime, Hinojosa said.

Pride And Prejudice

Rarely have Mexicans expressed such strong views about U.S. presidential candidates as during the current campaign.

Mexicans favor Clinton in the race by 10 to 1, according to a poll published in Mexico in late September. But the tightening of polls in the last two weeks has rattled their confidence she will win.

"Personally, though I think I speak for many Mexicans, I hope Trump loses," said Rodolfo Monroy, 85, a restaurant owner in the border city of Nogales, opposite Nogales, Arizona. "Why? Because he's rude, because of what comes out of his mouth. He doesn't like us Mexicans," he said, with a flash of anger on his face. "We're going to be in real trouble (if he wins)."

Wadih Kuri, Chief Executive of ABC Aluminum Solutions, a local aluminum company, recalled being labeled "beaner" as a Mexican studying across the border, the sort of prejudice he said Trump's campaign was encouraging again.

"Are we still at the same place where kids need to be ridiculed because they're from Mexico? And that's all he's doing. So If I'm nervous, I'm nervous for the culture that he's inspiring," said Kuri, who now lives in San Diego.

Trump's threats to deport more than 11 million undocumented migrants living in the United States, roughly half of whom are Mexican, could also put Mexican authorities under strain, said Cuauhtemoc Galindo, the mayor of Nogales, Mexico.

Nor was it wise economic policy, he added.

"Having someone govern who feeds racism, hate, this sort of thing ... will also make a lot of Mexicans stop visiting (the United States) out of fear, out of a sense of pride, which will also hurt the U.S. economy," Galindo said.

Crossing into the United States from Tijuana, one of the busiest thoroughfares in the hemisphere, construction worker Alejandro Ortiz said "every aspect" of his life would be affected if Trump wins - which he fears will happen.

"This is going to affect me whenever I cross the border, they're going to investigate me more, just because of my color, because I speak Spanish," said Ortiz, 36, who was born in the United States but grew up in Mexico.


Article Link To Reuters:

UK Public Debt Won't Fall Until End Of Decade After Brexit

By William Schomberg
Reuters
November 8, 2016

Britain will only start to lower public debt as a share of GDP at the end of the decade due to a Brexit-related hit to the economy, a think tank said, underscoring finance minister Philip Hammond's challenge as he prepares his first budget statement.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies predicted Britain would run a budget deficit of nearly 15 billion pounds ($18.6 billion)in the 2019/20 financial year, rather than a surplus of 10 billion pounds as forecast in the government's existing budget projections.

That budget overshoot meant debt as a share of gross domestic product would hover around its current, historically high level of 84 percent until 2019/20 when it would start to fall again, the IFS said.

Finance minister Philip Hammond is expected to announce a much bleaker outlook for the economy and the public finances on Nov. 23 when he makes the country's first budget statement since the June 23 referendum decision to leave the European Union.

He has already signaled he is likely to loosen the purse strings and adopt budget rules that are more flexible than those of his predecessor George Osborne, who last year missed his target to bring down debt as a share of GDP each year.

Thomas Pope, an IFS research economist, said the think tank's deficit forecast might prove too low because it assumed the government would achieve all the tough spending cuts planned by Osborne and did not factor in promised income tax cuts.

"Given the levels of uncertainty (Hammond) might be wise to respond cautiously for now," Pope said in a statement.

"Any new fiscal targets should be reasonably flexible. Any decisions to increase spending or cut taxes in the short run should be taken in the knowledge that significant further austerity after 2020 looks to be on the cards," he said.

The IFS forecast for public finances in 2019/20 included expenditure savings from the end of British contributions to the EU budget and reduced debt servicing costs due to low yields on British government bonds.


Article Link To Reuters:

U.S. Banks Gird For Brexit-Style Tumult Following Tuesday's Election

By Olivia Oran
Reuters
November 8, 2016

U.S. banks, including Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Goldman Sachs Group Inc, are bracing for potential tumult on financial markets in the wake of Tuesday's U.S. election.

Bank preparations ahead of the election reflect their experience following Britain's shock vote to leave the European Union in June, when the S&P 500 fell 3.6 percent the day after the poll.

Morgan Stanley told staff to consider using stop-loss orders, an automated trading mechanism that sells an investor's position as soon as a stock hits a preset level, if the election result causes trading volumes and volatility to spike.

The bank also told advisers in its wealth management unit to prepare for election-related conversations with clients and pointed them to relevant pieces of research, according to a Nov. 7 memo reviewed by Reuters.

Traders expect U.S. stock prices to swing by about 2 percent in either direction on Wednesday, the day after the election, based on the price of S&P 500 index options. Options on the PowerShares QQQ Trust Russell 2000 ETF, are pricing similarly large swings before the week is out.

Some banks are projecting a more extreme drop in the event of a victory for Republican Donald Trump, with Citigroup Inc estimating that a Trump victory could trigger a 3 percent to 5 percent sell-off for the S&P 500.

U.S. stocks rose on Monday as Democrat Hillary Clinton’s prospects brightened after the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it would not press criminal charges related to her use of a private email server while secretary of state.

Investors have tended to see Clinton as a more status quo candidate, while Trump's stances on foreign policy, trade and immigration have unnerved the market.

The latest twist in the campaign and ensuing stock market rally appears to have quelled a broad push for banks to staff for an all-hands-on-deck event.

The "market pretty much told you who was going to win today," said one capital markets official at a major bank who was not planning any extraordinary staffing measures.

Another official at a rival bank said Monday's 2.2 percent rally in U.S. stocks had lowered Wall Street's collective angst over the election from "DEFCON 4 to DEFCON 2."

No U.S. stock exchange plans extraordinary measures to cope with potential market volatility, exchange officials told Reuters on Monday.

After the election, Morgan Stanley will hold a call for financial advisers and clients with Chief Investment Officer Mike Wilson on Wednesday morning.

Goldman Sachs is also hosting a call for its private wealth clients led by Chief Investment Officer Sharmin Mossavar-Rahmani and members of Washington lobbying groups Elmendorf Ryan and CGCN Group, according to an invitation sent to clients.

More than half of the stock and bond fund managers polled by Northern Trust in the third quarter said they expected the election to cause a large increase in market volatility.

On Tuesday night, when results begin to come in, JPMorgan will have additional traders on duty in New York to back up its Asian trading teams in case of surges in volume, said bank spokesman Brian Marchiony.

The extra staffing is similar to what the bank did during Britain's vote to leave the European Union, he said.

On Wednesday morning, JPMorgan will hold conference calls to discuss the election results and investment implications with customers, including private banking clients, investment managers and institutional clients.

A Citigroup spokeswoman described similar plans, including overnight staff in New York on the trading floor.

Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co are also hosting calls for members of their wealth management divisions.


Article Link To Reuters:

U.S. Banks Gird For Brexit-Style Tumult Following Tuesday's Election

The Election Ate Their Homework? CEOs Blame Campaign For Weakness

By Caroline Valetkevitch and Lewis Krauskopf 
Reuters
November 8, 2016

Apparently, Americans are too distracted or distraught by this year's wild presidential campaign to think about getting a dishwasher, buying an RV or opening a doughnut shop. And the topsy-turvy race could be crimping furniture sales, hotel bookings and even temporary help hiring.

At least that is the word from a clutch of corporate executives in recent weeks who have laid at least some blame for their companies' rocky performances or uneven consumer demand at the feet of constantly bickering White House contenders Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Since the start of October, executives from more than 80 U.S. companies have made some mention of the U.S. election during quarterly conference calls with Wall Street analysts and investors, based on a Reuters analysis of call transcripts.

In many cases, their remarks have come in response to specific questions from call participants about whether the long campaign season has had an impact on results. Some, though, have specifically pointed to the election as a factor in their earnings, including by damping consumer or business spending. For example, appliances maker Whirlpool (WHR.N) and coffee and doughnuts chain Dunkin' Brands (DNKN.O) have directly blamed the elections as a drag on their business. Shares of both companies fell after their reports.

In Whirlpool's case, CEO Jeff Fettig pointed to apparent "temporary softness in industry demand" in the United States in explaining why sales dipped around 0.5 percent from a year earlier, undershooting Wall Street's forecasts. "We believe this is due to consumer confidence weakening, primarily due to the focus around the U.S. elections," he told analysts on the appliance maker's conference call last month.

At Dunkin' Brands, CEO Nigel Travis cited a hesitance by franchise operators to open new stores until they get a grip on how the election outcome will affect regulations and minimum wage laws.

Executives at other companies, such as furniture chain Ethan Allen (ETH.N), staffing firm Robert Half International (RHI.N) and hotel operator Hilton Worldwide (HLT.N), have cited the election as a pressure point as they discussed the business climate.

The election "really has impacted customers and clients. It's taken a tremendous amount of attention from especially discretionary budgets," said Farooq Kathwari, chairman, president and CEO of Ethan Allen Interiors (ETH.N).

Dose Of Skepticism


But just as voters often take campaign promises with a healthy dose of skepticism, some investors and even a few executives themselves are not taking the talk of risks from the election season seriously.

"I think companies with underwhelming results are looking for convenient excuses, and the attention being paid by the American public to this election is certainly a timely and readily available excuse," said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

"Whether or not that's true is debatable. I'd be taking it with a grain of salt."

The vitriolic race between Republican Trump and Democrat Clinton has been tight, and some executives said consumers appeared to be waiting on decisions until Tuesday's Election Day passes.

"As we near an election date in early November, there's no doubt that I think consumers are, certainly with all discretionary purchases, maybe just taking a look at what's going to happen here in the next couple of months," said Winnebago Industries (WGO.N) CEO Michael Happe on the company's conference call last month. His observation came even as motorhome maker Winnebago's sales and earnings for the quarter ended in late August topped Wall Street estimates.

Hilton, meanwhile, cut its outlook for a key revenue metric, citing weak business travel.

"This cycle of election ... I think it's been an unusual cycle and as a consequence I think it has slowed down the economy probably more dramatically than I've seen certainly in my adult life," Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta said on a conference call last month.

Evercore ISI analyst Rich Hightower, who covers lodging companies including Hilton, said the election was a "relevant" point for executives to bring up, but he was not factoring any election impact into his financial forecasts.

U.S. consumer spending did fall in both August and September, the latest government data showed, and a key gauge of retail sales has posted a decline of around 0.1 percent on average over the three months through September.

Still, Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago, questioned whether the campaign was having an effect on consumer behavior.

"I can't imagine it's created a kind of catatonic state for consumers to stop buying," said Nolte.

And some C-suite denizens have no patience for such excuses.

Patrick McHale, CEO of pumps and spray equipment maker Graco (GGG.N), told his conference call listeners he had not heard of "a single customer" holding off on an investment because of the election.

McHale continued: "In fact, if I heard somebody at Graco tell me that they were going to make an investment in something but they weren't because they want to see what was going to happen with the election, I'd probably fire them."


Article Link To Reuters:

The Election Ate Their Homework? CEOs Blame Campaign For Weakness

Trump Cuts Loose On Final Night

By Jonathan Swan
The Hill
November 8, 2016

Donald Trump is finishing his campaign the way he began: Unplugged and unapologetic.

For the week or so following the bombshell announcement by FBI director James Comey regarding Hillary Clinton's email server, Trump handled himself with a greater level of sustained discipline than he exhibited during any other period in the race.

But on Monday, the final night of his campaign, Trump let it all out.

He veered from his TelePrompter remarks throughout his speech to a crowd in Manchester, N.H.

Trump complained about President Barack Obama’s golf playing, mocked Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas” one more time, and hammered Clinton for campaigning with musicians.

Clinton holds a narrow lead over Trump in New Hampshire, though polls have diverged significantly, according to RealClearPolitics.

Trump is trying to flip the state where President Obama handily beat Mitt Romney in 2012. It’s conceivable that New Hampshire’s four electoral votes could push Trump over 270 — if he over-performs his polls elsewhere.

On Monday night, Trump talked to some extent about his issues – the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, combatting drugs and illegal immigration, and rooting corruption out of Washington – but seemed more animated by the improvisational, often comic, riffs that served him so well during the GOP primaries.

At several points during the speech, Trump compared his crowd-pulling abilities to Clinton’s. He said the only reason she drew big crowds the past week – including a massive one Monday night in Philadelphia with Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen – was because she got rock stars to campaign for her.

“Hillary can’t fill a room,” Trump said. “Look, this is called, this is called filling a stadium. And I have no guitar and no piano, right?”

Trump got the crowd booing when he riffed about the “bad” language used by Clinton supporters Jay Z and Beyonce.

Then he got to Springsteen.

“Tonight she has Bruce Springsteen,” the GOP nominee said. “So they perform, actually in the case of Jay Z they were leaving because so many of these people never heard language like that, they started to leave.”

“So what happens,” Trump added, “they come in, listen to the musician, which I think is demeaning to the political process. Because she can’t fill a room.”

“She’d come here, I’m telling you, she’d have a hundred people sitting on the first row,” he said. “And we don’t have a guitar. What we do have is we all have together a great plan to make America great again.”

Later in the speech, Trump renewed his longtime feud with Warren, Massachusetts’ liberal Democratic senator.

“Massachusetts is represented by Pocahontas, right? Pocahontas. It’s represented by Pocahontas. Oh, she’s terrible,” Trump said.

“She is just a terrible person,” he added, crinkling his face in disgust. “You know Clinton thinks she’s doing herself a favor to use this woman as a surrogate. Everybody that watches her, they say she is a terrible human being.

“She is,” he added. “Terrible.”

Trump then effectively endorsed Curt Schilling, the former Boston Red Sox pitcher who said he’s planning to run against Warren in her 2018 Senate race.

“I hear a very great baseball pitcher is going to challenge her,” Trump said. “You know what, he’s a great guy. I don’t know if he’s going to do it, but he’s a great guy.”

Trump also got the crowd roaring when he told them about two endorsements from New England sports heroes.

The GOP nominee said he received a phone call from his friend, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. In Trump’s re-telling, Brady told him he’d voted for him and gave him permission to tell the New Hampshire crowd.

Trump then read out to the crowd a letter of lavish praise he said he received Monday from Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

Forecasters say Trump has only a narrow path to 270 electoral votes on Tuesday night. As of 10:30 p.m. Monday, FiveThirtyEight gave Trump a 28.5 percent chance of winning — a downward revision from several days ago.

Trump, however, told the crowd that the polls were wrong, that the blue state of Michigan was in play, and that “it’s going to be amazing.”

Citing the visual evidence of “long lines,” the GOP nominee told the New Hampshire crowd he was doing well with two demographic groups that polls have overwhelmingly supporting Clinton.

“If you look down in Florida, look at those long lines,” Trump said. “We have been doing very well with the African-American community and with the Hispanic community, and all of the dishonest press, they’re saying ‘what’s going on here?’”

“Among the world’s most dishonest people,” he added, before launching into his routine attacking the media and getting the crowd to boo louder than ever.

Trump brought his children and their spouses on stage to begin the event in New Hampshire. Seeming nostalgic, he thanked the state’s voters for giving him his first victory of the GOP primary season.

He also promised them he’d never let them down and that he’d fix the state’s heroin problem quickly and entirely upon taking office.

Trump finished his speech with a rallying call to every forgotten man, woman, and child; saying this was their last chance, their “one magnificent chance,” to beat a corrupt system.

He listed, briskly, all the conservative policies he’d implement if elected president. These included protecting religious liberty, rebuilding the military, taking care of veterans and “bringing education local.”

But before he got to that final pitch, he couldn’t resist throwing one final punch at Obama.

“I mean he’s played more golf than most people on the PGA Tour,” Trump said. “This guy. Like, is it over 300 rounds?”

“Golf is fine,” added Trump, himself a player of golf and owner of golf courses.

“But always play with leaders of countries and people who can help us. Don’t play with your friends all the time."


Article Link To The Hill:

Democrats Finally Regret Crying Wolf All Those Years

By Rich Lowry
The New York Post
November 8, 2016

The Republican nominee for president is a racist, sexist threat to American democracy — and this time, we really mean it.

In a nutshell, this is the Democratic argument against Donald Trump. In a wild, topsy-turvy political year, it’s the one exceedingly familiar piece of the political landscape — because it’s a version of the argument the left makes against every Republican nominee.

That this line of attack is so shop-worn, just when Democrats think we need it most, has led to self-reflection and regret from one of the harshest commentators on the left. HBO host Bill Maher said the other day that “liberals made a big mistake” when they attacked George W. Bush “like he was the end of the world,” and did the same to Mitt Romney and John McCain.

Maher himself was a prime offender, with no hesitation about resorting to Nazi analogies (he compared Mitt Romney’s aides to Hitler’s dead-end loyalists and Laura Bush to Hitler’s dog).

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been touring the country saying that Trump isn’t like past Republican nominees, even though they were attacked in exactly the same terms.

George W. Bush was a man of deep faith, who did all he could to reach out to minorities and soften conservatism’s edge. Yet, right out of the gate in 2000, the NAACP ran an ad accusing him of being all but complicit in a hideous racist murder in Texas. His botched handling of Hurricane Katrina wasn’t portrayed as a mistake in trying circumstances, but an indication of his disregard for black people. He was called a fascist, a war criminal and a would-be theocrat.

Obama now says Romney was only “wrong on certain policy issues.” This is rank revisionism. His campaign’s entire approach in 2012 was to disqualify Romney as a person, basically for being too cold-bloodedly rational and prim and proper (i.e., the opposite of Trump).

Romney was not, as an Obama ad put it, “one of us.” He basically killed people with his heartless lay-offs. He posed a real and present danger to Latinos with his policy of “self-deportation.” He was waging a “war on women.” One prominent piece of evidence for Romney’s unhinged sexism was his entirely anodyne, if awkward, comment that he asked for “binders full of women” when making appointments as governor of Massachusetts.

Harry Reid infamously alleged with no evidence whatsoever that Romney didn’t pay taxes for a decade. When the Republican candidate released his returns, it turned out he’d overpaid. And so it went.

It has always been the case that Republican leaders are retrospectively deemed statesmen by the left when they’re dead or retired. It has happened to Ronald Reagan, who went from a war-mongering right-wing radical to a statesmanlike moderate, and George H.W. Bush, who was an out-of-touch elitist and now is the epitome of class. George W. Bush, McCain and Romney are now all getting their revivals.

This isn’t about the softening passage of time so much as opportunistically using past GOP politicians as a bludgeon against contemporary Republican politicians.

Genuinely alarmed by Trump, Maher apparently realizes how tinny it sounds to lodge against him all the accusations routinely made against any other Republican. It was just a couple of years ago that Paul Ryan — an earnest policy wonk who operates in the inclusive-style of the late Jack Kemp — was attacked as a racist for commenting on men not working in troubled inner-city neighborhoods.

If this isn’t crying wolf, what is? Confronted with Trump, Democrats don’t have any radioactive denunciations in reserve. They have all been deployed against a couple of generations of Republicans whose politics and characters were starkly different than Trump’s. And will surely be deployed once again — the charges never change, just the target.


Article Link To The New York Post:

Donald Trump’s Lasting Damage To Our Communities

A final liberal plea to conservatives: If you care about saving our civic bonds of trust, don't vote for the man who's destroying them.


By Brian Beutler
The New Republic
November 8, 2016

Donald Trump’s conquest of the Republican Party has placed the civic health of the country under enormous strain in many obvious ways.

Hate crimes against Muslims have soared over the past year; Trump protesters have been attacked viciously, and with impunity, in public spaces; immigrants have spent the campaign in fear of what will become of their families and their safety in the event that Trump somehow wins. Last week, arsonists torched a black church in Greenville, Mississippi, after spraying “Vote Trump” on one of its exterior walls.

There are other, less obvious but just as troubling symptoms of this national tension. For instance, there is a very high probability that we will wake up Wednesday to find that president-elect Hillary Clinton will serve her first term without control over either chamber of Congress. In that event, it’ll be easy to imagine that Antonin Scalia’s vacant Supreme Court seat will remain empty for four additional years. If an elderly liberal justice departs the Court in that time, conservatives would reestablish control over it, effectively nullifying the voters’ will.

It is commonly said that the scenario facing us is unprecedented, but that isn’t quite so. There have been two times in the nearly 200 years since Congress set the number of seats on the Court at nine when our political system became so dysfunctional that the size of the Court came into question. The first was in 1866 when, as the legal scholar John Orth has written, “an ill-conceived and short-lived judiciary act reduced the number of justices … to seven,” to void President Andrew Johnson’s appointment power. The next was in 1937, at the end of the Lochner Era, when President Franklin Roosevelt proposed adding seats to a Supreme Court that was so ideologically hostile to economic regulation that it crippled his ability to respond to the Great Depression.

This kind of procedural extremism, in other words, seems to be the byproduct of a threadbare civic fabric. If we’re experiencing a crisis of civic wellbeing that rivals either the immediate aftermath of the Civil War or the nadir of the Great Depression—when the American way of life was beset on both sides by fascism and communism—it goes without saying we’re in some trouble.

Trump has frayed bonds of trust we depend upon to hold our communities and our entire political culture together. No small share of Trump’s supporters are reluctant—mortified by his behavior, aware of the toxic effect he’s had on our society. It is essential in the closing days of this election that they grapple with the ways their votes are contributing to the damage Trump is doing.

Last week, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat wrote a final plea to fellow conservatives, religious conservatives in particular, not to succumb to the temptation to vote for Trump—not to think about voting for Trump as an unfortunate evil needed to thwart the liberalization of America.

I wasn’t the target audience. His argument was directed at reluctant Trump voters, from one conservative to others, all of whom share premises I find mistaken. But the right thing for anti-Trump conservatives to do at this point is to convince shy Trump voters that they’re making a huge mistake, and this was an excellent attempt:

"It is a hard thing to accept that some elections should be lost, especially in a country as divided over basic moral premises as our own.... [T]oday’s conservatism has far more to gain from the defeat of Donald Trump, and the chance to oppose Clintonian progressivism unencumbered by his authoritarianism, bigotry, misogyny and incompetence, than it does from answering the progressive drift toward Caesarism with a populist Elagabalus.

Not because it is guaranteed long-term victory in that scenario or any other. But because the deepest conservative insight is that justice depends on order as much as order depends on justice. So when Loki or the Joker or some still-darker Person promises the righting of some grave wrong, the defeat of your hated enemies, if you will only take a chance on chaos and misrule, the wise and courageous response is to tell them to go to hell."


This got me thinking about what a parallel, liberal plea to these same voters would look like, and if such a plea could possibly break through a quickly thickening barrier of distrust between liberals and conservatives. What could an urbanite liberal possibly say to convince committed Republicans that this election is worth losing?

Maybe nothing. But it’s worth noting that as thick as that barrier now is, it is based on a number of inaccurate or irrelevant assumptions conservatives make about liberals, and vice versa. It can still be crossed. The one thing that would make it fully impenetrable is for people who understand that Trump is a dangerous man, and a stain on the country, to fail to empathize with people who will be harmed by his presidency, and vote for him anyhow.

All shy Trump voters will have their reasons. For many religious conservatives it will be the belief that Trump will restore conservative dominance of the judiciary. For supply siders, the expectation that Trump will sign Paul Ryan’s tax and spending bills. For suburban whites, perhaps, a Blue Lives Matter–inspired camaraderie with Trump and police, against an imagined plague of inner-city lawlessness.

Liberals disagree with all of these motivations, but can empathize with them to varying degrees. That empathy helps hold families and entire communities, riven by ideological differences, together at trying times. Most liberals don’t share Republican militarism, but many serve in the armed forces, or have friends and family who do. My great-grandparents fled here from Berlin to escape Nazis after their family members disappeared; they supported their adopted country’s decision to go to war with their native one. My grandfather, of the forgotten generation, was drafted as an officer into the Army during the Korean war. My first boss was a marine who served in Desert Storm; close friends of mine fought in Iraq and Afghanistan—some of their friends were killed. Many members of my family haven’t voted for Democrats in decades. They support lower taxes and take a dim view of welfare. They instinctively trust police and are ripe targets for Trump’s depiction of urban life.

These are ultimately the same views that motivated them and millions of people to vote for Mitt Romney, and when that election day arrived, it was taken for granted they would vote for the Republican nominee. Their votes didn’t suggest that their conception of citizenship had been corrupted. Nobody was under the illusion in 2013 that conservatives would stop fighting for their particular moral conception of government—and liberals were prepared to engage in that familiar fight, in good faith, all over again.

Whether Trump would be a reliable exponent of conservative ends or not, it can’t be said that tax reform or higher military spending would be the hallmarks of his administration.

Trump has already made his core supporters feel as if casual acts of racism are permissible; under his umbrella of protection, they menace members of the media with threats and anti-Semitic chants, in front of children and indifferent adults. Under Trump it is all too easy to imagine not just mass expulsion of illegal immigrants and heightened law enforcement scrutiny of Muslim communities, but a culture of impunity in which Mexicans and Muslims are subjected to violence and other routine violations of their constitutional rights and civil liberties.

Voting for Trump despite knowing all this about him, accepting it as collateral damage for others to cope with, is like crossing a civic Rubicon. It makes the notion of restoring any sense of community with liberals or ethnic minorities or women very difficult to entertain. There remains a basis for conservatives and liberals to see each other as less alien than we often do, but what’s left can be easily squandered.

And once it’s gone, there will be left no foundation of trust, however thin, for working through the impasses that will confront us politically and culturally, starting the day after the election. That’s why loose talk about leaving Supreme Court vacancies unfilled is so disconcerting. The GOP’s decision not to fill the open seat will be transformed from a partisan power grab to an irreversible statement of contempt for the majority of the country. Should Trump win with the help of conservatives who have extraordinary misgivings about him, he will fill the vacancy, and liberals will view the Court’s ensuing decisions as illegitimate or ill-gotten for years.

Republican resistance to the Obama agenda was extraordinary, but for a time at least Republicans benefited from the assumption that their obstruction stemmed from serious ideological commitments. That assumption will not hold in a Clinton presidency, when the people making the moral and ideological arguments against her agenda just tried to get Trump elected. It’s unclear whether Republicans will even bother seeking the benefit of the doubt, or if they’ll instead reject the legitimacy of her election openly.

Much of this acrimony is already baked into our near-term political future, but each vote for Trump will deepen it further. The closer he gets to the presidency, the more alienated people on different sides of the election will feel from one another. Just as it will be impossible to take official Republican appeals to Christian moralism or liberty seriously, liberals will be left wondering if the Trump voters in their midsts decided to vote for him because they share his bigotries, or because they viewed those bigotries and his recklessness as acceptable burdens others should bear for whatever they claim really defines their conservatism.

Those who are struggling to convince themselves that a vote for Trump is justifiable should imagine what their decision will communicate about them to the Trump opponents in their lives. The harm will be lasting.


Article Link To The New Republic:

2016’s Big Reveal

Donald Trump is a demagogue. Period. The right’s failure to see it is a disgrace.


By Bret Stephens
The Wall Street Journal
November 8, 2016

Someday, maybe, when I’m old and a child asks me what I remember about the awful election of 2016, I’ll say: It was the Big Reveal.

Revealed: That the guiding spirit of the modern conservative movement is neither Burke nor Lincoln. It’s Marx. “These are my principles,” Groucho once cracked, “and if you don’t like them, well, I have others.” Everything Republicans once claimed to advocate—entitlement reform, free trade, standing up to dictators, encouraging the march of freedom around the world—turns out to be negotiable and reversible, depending on Donald Trump’s whims and the furies of his base.

Revealed: That moral clarity and moral equivalence have become interchangeable concepts in today’s GOP. The same Republicans who pontificated throughout the 1990s about restoring honor and dignity to the Oval Office are now eager to rent that office to a man who boasts of his own sexual predations. Why? Because Bill Clinton already did it.

Revealed: That Mr. Trump’s unrelenting and apparently irrepressible bigotry, misogyny, bullying and conspiracy-mongering won’t keep Republican leaders from supporting him, provided he mouth pieties about appointing more Scalias to the court or cutting corporate tax rates. “More common ground than disagreement,” was how House Speaker Paul Ryan justified his June endorsement of the GOP nominee, right around the time he described Mr. Trump’s slander of “Mexican” judge Gonzalo Curiel as a “textbook definition of a racist comment.” A smarter response by the speaker might have been: “You lost me at hello.”

Also revealed: That conservatives who once took umbrage at being called racist or anti-Semitic are now happy to flirt with white nationalism. That a party of self-described strict constructionists sees nothing amiss in Mr. Trump’s call to rewrite the 14th Amendment. That the ability of Mr. Trump and his supporters to hurl insults at their critics is only exceeded by their exquisite sensitivity when they are insulted back. That a reset with Russia is a fiasco when executed by Hillary Clinton but evidence of fresh foreign-policy thinking when proposed by Mr. Trump.

The bill of particulars could fill the rest of the column. It’s normal that elections make fierce partisans of many of us. It’s normal that Mr. Trump would attract the usual right-wing buffoons to his banners. Normal, also, is that many voters may not be troubled by Mr. Trump’s cruder statements when they hear him addressing their deepest economic and social anxieties.

What isn’t normal is the ease with which so many conservative leaders, political and intellectual, have prostrated themselves before Mr. Trump simply because he won. In July, Dan Senor, a senior adviser to Mitt Romney in 2012, tweeted that he had once commiserated with a Midwestern governor about how unacceptable Mr. Trump was as the GOP nominee. That governor? Mike Pence.

As for conservative thought leaders, the book that comes to mind is Julien Benda’s 1927 classic, La Trahison des clercs, “The Treason of the Intellectuals.” Benda railed against a new class of European thinkers who specialized in “the intellectual organization of political hatreds,” the “desire to abase the values of knowledge before the values of action,” and above all “the cult of success,” based on “the teaching that says that when a will is successful that fact alone gives it a moral value, whereas the will which fails is for that reason alone deserving of contempt.”

Benda used to be a favorite among conservative thinkers who saw him as a prophetic voice against multiculturalism, postmodernism and other left-wing academic fads rooted in 19th century German Romanticism. Where are those thinkers now that Mr. Trump is using his own fetish for action and cult of success to dismiss his political opponents as losers, lowlifes and criminals? Where are they now that Mr. Trump’s Breitbart minions are organizing political hatreds against “globalists” and other new enemies of the people?

They are busy devising ever-more elaborate excuses for the Republican nominee. A flawed messenger for a worthy message. An agent of mass disruption in an era of secular stagnation. A hollow man who may yet take our good advice and stumble his way to greatness. A jerk who nonetheless compares favorably to Mrs. Clinton.

What all this shows is that most conservative intellectuals have proved incapable of self-examination or even simple observation. Donald Trump is a demagogue. Period. The fervor of his crowds recalls Nasser’s Egypt. His convictions are illiberal. His manners are disgusting. His temper is frightening. It ought to have been the job of thoughtful conservatives in this season to point this out, time and again. If they can’t do that, what good are they?

George Orwell said that “to see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” The Big Reveal of 2016 is that most conservatives failed the Orwell test. On Tuesday we’ll learn if American voters can do better.


Article Link To The Wall Street Journal:

Conservatism’s Last Line Of Defense

Dozens of Republican attorneys general may prove a powerful check on the next president.


By Kimberley A. Strassel 
The Wall Street Journal
November 8, 2016

Most Americans won’t have heard of Luther Strange, though that might be about to change. Next week the Alabaman ascends to the top of what by that point could be one of the most consequential GOP organizations in the country.

That would be the Republican Attorneys General Association, the umbrella group for the states’ conservative prosecutors—and a new force to reckon with in American politics. Attorney general races don’t get much national attention, but these days they should. Under a Hillary Clinton presidency in particular, Republican AGs may prove the most effective check on both an overweening federal government and growing abuses by liberal prosecutors.

“Health care, immigration, climate regulations—the AGs are acting as a last line of defense, but also in an agenda-setting capacity,” Mr. Strange told me at a recent meeting in Washington, D.C. “And we’ll be in an even stronger position to do this after Election Day.”

His words are a nod to the extraordinary transformation Republican AGs have undergone in the era of Barack Obama. Not many years ago, those AGs had little to do with each other and were focused on policing occasional state crime. But the combination of the president’s growing federal overreach, and a new generation of activist, conservative law dogs, has inspired a powerful and cohesive new AG movement.

Members include the likes of Florida AG Pam Bondi, who helped oversee a coalition of states that sued the federal government over the constitutionality of ObamaCare. Or Oklahoma’s Scott Pruitt, who has plowed the way in lawsuits against federal overreach in health care, water regulations and endangered species listings. Or Michigan’s Bill Schuette, whose state successfully challenged the feds on its costly rules on power-plant emissions. Or Texas AG Ken Paxton, whose legal efforts put a hold on President Obama’s immigration plan.

Republicans currently hold 27 AG seats, and they are likely to emerge from Tuesday with more. In Missouri, a young dynamo, the 36-year-old Josh Hawley, looks poised to beat Democrat Teresa Hensley. Mr. Hawley, a law professor and Becket Fund for Religious Liberty alumnus, has run on a promise to defend working Missouri families against “Washington bureaucrats.”

In North Carolina, state Sen. Buck Newton is in a tight race against Democrat Josh Stein, in a contest that may hinge on the upticket re-election fortunes of Donald Trump and Gov. Pat McCrory. Republicans are also feeling more confident they’ll hold on to West Virginia, where rebel AG Patrick Morrisey (the first GOP AG in the state since 1933) is defending against liberal activist Doug Reynolds.And in Indiana, Republicans expect to hold a seat with the election of Curtis Hill, who’d become the Hoosier state’s first African-American AG. If it’s a good night, RAGA could end up 29-strong, a record.

They’ll need that strength, particularly under a Clinton presidency. With Republicans near certain to hold the House, and potentially the Senate, Mrs. Clinton will undoubtedly build on Mr. Obama’s extralegal habit of ruling via executive order or regulation. The GOP AGs will be the primary way for conservatives to challenge those edicts, in court. Under a Trump presidency, they will be an invaluable tool in dismantling some of the Obama federal behemoth.

That job gets tougher, obviously, if Mrs. Clinton gets to pick a Supreme Court justice to replace Antonin Scalia, as well as to pack appeals courts with liberal nominees. A liberal judiciary likely robs the country of any legal recourse against lawless federal governance. But that’s also why there’s growing pressure on Senate Republicans to blockade Clinton nominees, to preserve the ability of state AGs to exercise some check on limitless federal power.

Even under a more liberal judiciary, the AGs would still prove vital to highlighting policy issues and differences with high-profile lawsuits. In the process, they’d remain the pre-eminent voices for federalism and states’ rights, in a dangerous time of federal government expansion.

A growing Republican AG force will also prove crucial in parrying a new era of liberal prosecutorial intimidation. Liberal state AGs are moving ever more toward bogus investigations and hardball tactics designed to strangle corporations and conservatives into settlements or silence. Mr. Strange has himself most recently been leading a coalition of colleagues in pushing back against a group of liberal AGs engaged in a witch hunt against Exxon Mobil and conservative think tanks over climate science.

Trump or Clinton, we still don’t know. What we do know is that an army of Republican legal fighters is standing by, ready to ride herd on the next Oval Office.


Article Link To The Wall Street Journal:

Trump-Clinton Hack Reveals Wall Street's Secrets

By Michael Lewis
The Bloomberg View
November 8, 2016

On the eve of our presidential election, Bloomberg News has come into possession of a massive trove of e-mails, written, it appears, by a Wall Street trader who enjoyed personal dealings with both major candidates. Unable to read, let alone make sense of them, we have nevertheless decided to imagine what’s in them, so that you might, too. We do this mainly to further confuse and unsettle the electorate, but also to attract attention to ourselves.

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Dear Donald:

Or "Big Swinging Hands," as we decided you should be dubbed, after your fundraiser. Me and my colleagues in the financial sector (anyway, the guys standing behind me while I shook your outsized appendage) totally understand how hard it is for you to get together in person before the election. But once you are president we’d love to discuss how we might help your administration. Art of the Comeback, baby! We totally agree with you on the importance of getting the government out of business. It’s like they want all guys to act like chicks now. Uniquely for a presidential candidate, you understand the importance for a risk-taker to be all guy and not, to put it politely, part wussy.

Your Bro,


XXXXX

PS. Your cool "Access Hollywood" campaign video just inspired our newest Trump bumper stickers: Better to grab one than to be one!

PPS. Ever notice that the donkey on the Democrats’ logo has no balls?

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Dear Secretary Clinton:

I was the quiet fellow at your recent fundraiser who stressed my desire to raise the profile of women on Wall Street. I greatly enjoyed our brief, if one-sided, chat. I completely get that if you were to acknowledge my presence and speak any words to me they might be construed as “a Wall Street speech.” And we totally understand your discomfort with our desire for a group picture. But what a terrific role model you have been! Not just for wives and daughters but also for our girlfriends. They, too, can now see that women can make it on Wall Street.

As to the question you passed on from Senator Warren: If Goldman isn’t violating the Dodd-Frank act, and trading for its own account, how does its junk-bond trader make $300 million last quarter? I thought long and hard about this. It’s hard to explain but I would like to try. LDL (maybe without Senator Warren?).

Your Fellow Concerned Democrat,

XXXXX

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Mr. Trump:

I apologize for having taken the liberty of addressing you by your first name. I agree that, when I asked for your e-mail, I was not entirely forthcoming with you about my employment situation. All of us on Wall Street now just assume that if people hear where we work they will pre-judge us. You must know how we feel -- I mean with all these women who don’t even know you having whipped themselves into their totally ridiculous hysteria because you just said what every guy thinks about 50 times a minute. Women are so sexist! You and I both know that if you got them alone they’d all be putty in your gargantuan mitts.

Anyway, I know I speak for a lot of Wall Street guys when I say you can grope me whenever and wherever you want. We know you are going to win, because you are not a loser.

Your Wingman,

XXXXX

P.S. About your expressed interest in our proposed campaign donation being made in the form of a personal loan: Can I get back to you later?

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Dear Secretary Clinton:

So sorry this check has been delayed. In the spirit of citizenship, might we open a dialogue on your proposal to tax high-frequency trading?

Your Devoted Public Servant,

XXXXX

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To Whom It May Concern:

For some reason the e-mails I send to Mr. Donald Trump now bounce back to me with a note which to me looks as it is written in some foreign language (Russian, maybe?). As we in the financial sector hope to remain his biggest financial supporters, maybe you can put us in touch with someone there who speaks English? Either way, please tell Mr. Trump we’d be happy to buy up all Trump-branded products currently unsold in U.S. department stores. Also that Ivanka is still like totally hot.

Your loyal comrade,

XXXXX

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Dear Secretary Clinton:

We put our heads together here and came up with an idea for stabilizing, if not our society, at least your personal financial situation. Here we are just days before an election that really could go either way. If you win, we can all rest easy. But if you lose, all hell breaks loose. In short, you are like a volatile stock, crying out to be hedged.

To that end our derivatives desk has designed a novel financial instrument. It works like this: If you win, you ignore the public outcry and give us five senior positions in your administration; if you lose, we give you a senior advisory position that guarantees you $5 million a year.

Our in-house counsel assures us that nothing in Dodd-Frank forbids this new risk-lowering financial instrument. For the last nights of this campaign it will allow you to sleep at night. It doesn’t even require you, metaphorically, to “sell yourself short.” Because you have already done it.

All the best. either way

XXXXX


Article Link To The Bloomberg View: