Denim and the decline of the West

Time to catch up with the Global Market Review of the Denim and Jeanswear Industries – Forecasts to 2006, which we foolishly missed on its publication in May.

The long-term future

* Looking ahead to 2016, the denim jeans market has a rosy future, the report says.

* Dollar growth will be 6.6% between 2012 and 2016, while unit growth will be 7.7%. This is a direct consequence of the shift in the market away from developed countries and towards the rest of the world.

* Even the more pessimistic long-term scenario sees North American consumption flat at 35%, a 5% rise in the jeans market value in Japan and South Korea, and a dramatic 23% jump in the US dollar value of the jeans market in the rest of the world.

* The only blip is a 2% drop in Europe’s share of world consumption to 35%.

There goes the West…

Thought US healthcare opposition was bad? Just wait for the climate bill

Thought the populist right wing opposition to healthcare reform was bad? Just wait til you see what’s in store on climate change…

A leaked memo sent by an oil industry group reveals a plan to create astroturf rallies at which industry employees posing as “citizens” will urge Congress to oppose climate change legislation. The memo — sent by the American Petroleum Institute and obtained by Greenpeace, which sent it to reporters — urges oil companies to recruit their employees for events that will “put a human face on the impacts of unsound energy policy,” and will urge senators to “avoid the mistakes embodied in the House climate bill.”

API [says] that the campaign is being funded by a coalition of corporate and conservative groups that includes the anti-health-care-reform group 60 Plus, FreedomWorks, and Grover Norquist’s Americans For Tax Reform.

That’s from TPM, who also have a copy of the full text of the API memo. Be in no doubt as to the potential impact of this kind of lobbying: news is just breaking in the US that the White House is “ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance as part of a new health care system”.

The “grassroots” opposition to healthcare reform in the US is a fascinating case study which climate nerds should study obsessively – noting not only that (a) battles of this kind are not won with facts, but also that (b) it’s not simply a case of corporate astroturf lobbying.

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On the web: Libyan relations, FEMA’s new head, the power of communication, and Afghanistan past and present…

- With the fortieth anniversary of Muammar Qaddafi’s rule fast approaching, Chatham House’s Molly Tarhuni takes a look (pdf) at Libya’s gradual reemergence onto the international stage. Four decades on, she suggests, and the basis of Anglo-Libyan relations remains much the same however.

- Over at Atlantic Monthly, Amanda Ripley profiles Craig Fugate, the new head of FEMA and a man with “a reputation for telling it like it is”. “Already”, she suggests, ”Fugate is factoring citizens into the agency’s models for catastrophic planning, thinking of them as rescuers and responders, not just victims”. Moreover, Ripley continues,

he has changed FEMA’s mission statement from the old, paternalistic (and fantastical) vow to ‘protect the Nation from all hazards’ to a more modest, collaborative pledge to ‘support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together’.

A far cry, it would seem, from Michael “Heckuva Job” Brown.

- Harvard academic Joseph Nye, meanwhile, explores the importance of good communication for effective leadership. Obama’s ability to convey a resonant narrative has succeeded in rebuilding some of the US’s soft power, he argues, though the jury is still out on whether actions can match the towering oratory.

- Elsewhere, Victor Sebestyen reflects on the Soviet experience in Afghanistan during the 1980s – “Defeat in the hills around Kabul”, he suggests, “led directly – and swiftly, within months – to the fall of the Berlin Wall”.

- Finally, fast-forward to next week’s Afghan elections and the NYT takes a look at the campaign of presidential hopeful Ashraf Ghani. Reuters has some of the key election details here. Stephen Colbert, meanwhile, jests with the “Ragin’ Cajun”, James Carville, former political consultant to Bill Clinton and who regular readers will know has been advising Ghani. Don’t miss the video.

Twitter accounts of political giants (Michael Ignatieff has had some nice fish!)

Twitter, eh?  Helps us relate to the great and good like never before.  In times past, I would have spent the day vexed by the impossibility of knowing if Michael Ignatieff had anything nice to eat recently.  No longer!

Just ate some of the best salmon I’ve ever tasted: Atkin salmon, a jewel of the region at l’Auberge Beausejour.

And I could not have known that Shashi Tharoor was feeling peeky…

battling a cold and cough so will call it a night. No reason to suspect swine flu, though! Media-led panic is unnecessary&disruptive

…though that doesn’t stop him feeling pretty good about his day’s work:

addressed an overflowing audience at St Stephen’s on Why Foreign Policy Matters. Impassioned plea to young to care about international relns

I bet it was!  Let’s hope they tweet about it…

Obama to woo world with massive poker tournament

Yesterday, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice gave a rather good speech at NYU on the Obama administration’s multilateral agenda.  The NYT has a good summary here.  But the prize for journalistic analysis goes too… Casino Gambling Web, “the top online casino gambling news reporting association” (there’s more than one?).

The Obama Administration has made it known that he does not want the US to be viewed as troublemakers anymore throughout the world. On Wednesday, Susan Rice, the US Ambassador to the United Nations made it know that the US will work with the UN.

That is a completely opposite stance than the Bush Administration had, one in which they spurned any UN global efforts. The announcement Wednesday has many people in the online gambling industry believing that the move is another step towards legalized Internet gambling in the US.

Already, the US is in hot water with the European Commission over their online gambling laws. The EC has done an investigation and found that the US is in violation of European Union trade laws. They have given the US a grace period to come into compliance or risk a problem with the World Trade Organization.

The US and EC have been in contact, and they have said they are attempting to resolve the dispute. Unlike his predecessor, President Obama has addressed problems that other countries have had with the US, as opposed to simply turning their back on these countries.

The desire of Obama to reach out is what has people believing that he will eventually oversee the changing of online gambling laws. There have been two proposals offered in regards to online gambling in the past several months.

Wednesday was a day of hope for anyone in the US who enjoys online casinos. There have been many of these days in the past six months, but with every clue that the US is trying to mend foreign relation ties, comes another wave of enthusiasm.

Um, yes, absolutely, I see your logic there. But hold it (or hold ‘em), there may be something to this after all. As the New Yorker revealed in February 2008, Barack Obama was known as one of the best poker players in the Senate:

Obama never played for high stakes. Only on a very bad night could a player drop two hundred dollars in these games, typical wins and losses being closer to twenty-five bucks. Obama was a “calculating” cardplayer, avoiding long-shot draws and patiently waiting for strong starting hands. “When Barack stayed in, you pretty much figured he’s got a good hand,” former Senator Larry Walsh once told a reporter, neglecting to note that maintaining that sort of rock-solid image made it easier for Obama to bluff.

So perhaps the President wants to lull other countries into a massive game of online poker… and take all their money. Recession over!

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