POLITICS

thelivyjr
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Re: POLITICS

Post by thelivyjr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:40 p

HUSSEIN OBAMA SOUNDS LIKE HE IS RUNNING FOR A THIRD TERM IN OFFICE HERE ...

AND WHEN HUSSEIN SAYS POLITICAL DIVISION IS MORE MANUFACTURED THAN REAL, HE KNOWS WHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT BECAUSE HE AND HILLARY CLINTON AND THE DEMOCRAT PARTY HAVE BEEN THE MANUFACTURERS OF THAT DIVISION ...

MARKETWATCH

"Obama claims ownership of U.S.’s economic recovery as he blasts Trump"


By Steve Goldstein

Published: Sept 7, 2018 3:05 p.m. ET

Former President Barack Obama on Friday used a speech at the University of Illinois to sharply criticize his successor as well as claim ownership of the U.S. economic recovery.

Speaking in Urbana, Ill., where he received an award for ethics in government, Obama recalled that the U.S. economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month when he entered office.

“We worked hard to end that crisis but also break some of these longer-term trends,” said Obama, who is planning a series of campaign trips ahead of the midterm elections in November.

“By the time I left office, household income was near its all-time high, and the uninsured rate had hit an all-time low and wages were rising,” he said.

“I mention all this so when you hear how great the economy is doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started."

“I’m glad it’s continued, but when you hear about this economic miracle that’s been going on ... I have to kind of remind them, actually those job numbers are kind of the same as they were in 2015 and 2016.”

On that, Obama is correct.

U.S. job growth averaged 226,000 per month in 2015, 195,000 in 2016, 182,000 in 2017 and, so far this year, 207,000.

Data also show a pickup in business and consumer confidence after Trump’s election.

The U.S. is on track to grow more than 3% in 2018, a rate of economic expansion not recorded over the course of a full calendar year since the second term of the George W. Bush administration.

At a North Dakota event, Trump responded.

“Obama was trying to take credit for this incredible thing that’s happening,” Trump said.

“I have to say this to President Obama - if the Dems got in with their agenda in November of almost 2 years ago, instead of having 4.2 up, I believe honestly we’d have 4.2 down,” he said, referring to GDP growth of 4.2% in the second quarter.

Obama meanwhile had a broader attack on Trump than just the economy.

Mentioning Trump by name, Obama said political division is more manufactured than real.


“Sometimes the backlash comes from people who are genuinely, if wrongly, fearful of change."

"More often it’s manufactured by the powerful and privileged who want to keep us divided and keep us angry and keep up cynical because it helps them maintain the status quo and keep their power and keep their privilege,” he said.

“And you happen to be coming of age during one of those moments."

"It did not start with Donald Trump."

"He is a symptom, not the cause,” Obama said to applause.

Obama went further in directly attacking Trump.

“We are supposed to stand up to discrimination."

"And we sure as heck are supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers,” he said to applause from the university audience.

“How hard can that be?"

"Saying that Nazis are bad?”

Obama added that he complained plenty about Fox News during his eight years in office, “but you never heard me threaten to shut them down or call them enemies of the people.”

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/obama ... ewer_click

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Re: POLITICS

Post by thelivyjr » Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:40 p

ASSOCIATED PRESS

"Gordon's heavy rains wash away rural Mississippi dam"


By JEFF AMY, Associated Press

8 SEPTEMBER 2018

JACKSON, Miss. — Officials said that a dam is breaching on the edge of Mississippi's Delta region after heavy rains during Tropical Storm Gordon.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for parts of Carroll County downstream from Murdock Lake, where water was eroding an earthen dam late Friday.

The area near Black Hawk, about 70 miles (115 kilometers) north of Jackson, received more than 12 inches (30 centimeters) of rain Wednesday during Gordon according to radar estimates, senior Weather Service forecaster Mike Edmonston said.


Carroll County saw widespread flash flooding with water entering some homes, and some farmers said their crops were significantly damaged.

Dusty Myers, chief of the dam safety division for the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, said there's one main breach where water is penetrating through the dam.

"It seems to be holding a lot better than I would expect," Myers said.

However, he said it was still likely that the dam would fully breach.

He said if it didn't wash away, officials would have to dig a trench to breach the dam themselves because it's unsafe.

"There's really not anything we can do as far as preventative action," Myers said.

Three houses have been evacuated in the rural area.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol is blocking off Mississippi 16 and other roads, as water is expected to rise up 8 to 10 feet (2.4 to 3 meters) on Abiaca Creek by Saturday.

Edmonston said the flash flood would likely dissipate by the time it reached the table-flat Delta, about 15 miles (25 kilometers) west.

The dam is one of more than 500 across the state built with federal aid to control flooding and erosion.

Myers said this one is owned by the Abiaca Creek Drainage District.


He said the Department of Environmental Quality had inspected the dam a few weeks ago.

The inspector noted vegetation on the dam, which can create voids that water can travel through.

But Myers said problems appeared minor, noting rain may have pushed water to a record high in the lake.

"Nothing was really a glaring problem that I was aware of that would have alerted us that this dam was going to fail," he said.

Myers said seven to eight dams fail each year in Mississippi, and said rural drainage districts can sometimes have trouble maintaining decades-old structures.

"This is one of the bigger ones in the last few years," Myers said of the 60-acre (24-hectare) lake.

A dam south of Jackson failed in February, sending water and debris rushing across a major four-lane highway.
___

Follow Jeff Amy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jeffamy . Read his work at https://www.apnews.com/search/By%20Jeff%20Amy .

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/gordon ... id=HPDHP17

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Re: POLITICS

Post by thelivyjr » Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:40 p

MARKETWATCH

"Want to delete Facebook? Read what happened to these people first"


By Maria LaMagna and Jacob Passy

Published: Sept 6, 2018 4:09 p.m. ET

In the past several months, some social-media users have threatened to #DeleteFacebook, but is anyone actually following through?

New data suggests the answer is yes.


Some 44% of users between the ages of 18 and 29 have deleted the Facebook app from their phone in the last year, and 74% of Facebook users of all ages have either taken a break from the social network, changed their privacy settings, or deleted it altogether, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center.

Pew asked 4,594 people about their Facebook habits in late May and June, about two months after the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed that millions of Facebook users had their personal information compromised.

Facebook in July reported a drop of 3 million daily users in Europe alone since the first quarter, when the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation first went into effect.

In the U.S. and Canada, user growth was flat.

That stoked concerns among analysts that Facebook, the world’s largest social network with some 2 billion users, may not be as attractive to users as it once was.


But an August report by Piper Jaffray said that two-thirds of users are just as active on the site as they were this time last year, before the privacy scandals that have dogged the site in recent months.

“While this raises questions around user growth rates and expenses necessary to improve security and screening, our survey of Facebook and Instagram users leaves us confident that most are unfazed by the negative news flow,” analyst Michael Olson wrote, according to CNBC.

When it was first revealed that the U.K.-based campaign strategy firm Cambridge Analytica used millions of Facebook users’ personal data without their permission, many consumers said they planned to deactivate their accounts.

Those who chose to delete Facebook told MarketWatch they felt relieved to be free from the pressure to always lead a happy life online.

But others said they had difficulty staying in touch with family and even difficulties dating.

(A spokesperson for Facebook said she had no additional comment, beyond the company’s earnings report.)

But what happens when you kiss Facebook goodbye?

Here is what former users had to say about what happened after they deleted or deactivated their account:

‘It’s like a crazy ex that never forgets about you’

Jax Austin, a travel video blogger who travels the U.S. in a converted school bus, made the decision to delete his Facebook after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

But when he tried to, it didn’t work.

“They make it so hard that it’s almost possible to delete it,” Austin said.


“It’s like a crazy ex that never forgets about you.”

Others had the same trouble Austin did in making a clean break.

Facebook is part of an ecosystem of apps.

That makes the decision to delete far more complicated.

Dating apps such as Tinder and Hinge, and services like Spotify can all use Facebook to create user profiles.

Austin’s Facebook account was connected with the free web service If This Then That, which posted YouTube videos to his Facebook profile automatically.

Austin settled for no longer logging into Facebook and turned his account into a fan page.

‘So much of social life is tied to Facebook’

When Allen Watson, 32, a freelance writer from South Carolina, deleted his Facebook account, his mother was the most disappointed of his Facebook friends.

“That’s how she kept in touch with me,” Watson said.

“She wants to show off the things that I do.”

Jillian Clemmons, an artist and astrologer from Los Angeles, mostly found that people were supportive of her choice.

But she did encounter some hostility.

“People react really defensively and almost see a decision like this as an attack on them,” she said.

“In a way, it’s like how meat-eaters constantly complain about people who are vegetarian."

"They feel guilty and counter-punch first.”

Anastasia Ashman, 53, an adviser for start-ups and investors who lives in San Francisco, said she quit Facebook when she became uncomfortable after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

One tweet, in particular, from national-security expert John Schindler convinced her to leave.

But the costs of leaving are “huge,” she said.

She has few people’s recent email addresses or phone numbers, and she can no longer rely on Facebook for contacting them.

“So much of social life is tied to Facebook I can’t even get the location information I need for an event I RSVP-ed to for next weekend, since it’s solely on Facebook,” she said.

‘I am really not interested in whether or not your child is potty trained’

Mark Maitland, a 44-year-old writer in Brighton, England, who quit Facebook last week, still uses Twitter and Instagram, but rarely.

He now spends more time reading and writing, “talking and listening to real people,” walking his dog and running in nature.

Some people gave up Facebook years ago.

Nick Vecore, a 28-year-old who works in public relations in Leonard, Mich., said he quit Facebook in 2012, because he was simply sick of seeing “nonsense.”

“I am really not interested in whether or not your child is potty trained,” he said.

“I could keep people up-to-date on my life by talking to them in person, by text or through a phone call.”

It’s not a total digital social-media detox, however.

He too still uses Instagram and uses Twitter for work.

It can make verifying prospective dates tricky

Watson, the freelance writer, used Facebook to verify the identities of people he had met through dating apps.

And while he can still do that if people have relatively public profiles, in most cases he can’t access their accounts because he no longer has one.

“I’ve had occasions where I had to call somebody up and ask them to check something out for me,” Watson said.

And while he has not yet encountered anyone who was turned off by his lack of a Facebook profile, he does bring it up when he meets someone new.

Some users only have Facebook on their desktop computer

Mae Turner, who lives in northeast Texas, initially deactivated her Facebook account in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, after being alarmed at how the company collected the call history information for her Android smartphone.

(Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress in April to answer for some of these issues, including misuse of consumer data. In a statement to the House panel, he said, “It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm …. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry.”)

But less than two weeks after deactivating her account, Turner revived it, because she felt isolated from friends and family.

In one particularly troubling instance, it took days before she found out about the death of a close friend’s wife who lived in another state.

The news had only been posted on Facebook.

Her brother, who still had his account, was the one who relayed it to her.

“I started to feel like I was being left out of the loop,” she said.

However, she is now a Facebook “light” user.

She only uses the desktop version and does not allow any third parties to access her account information.

And if she finds a social network that does not monetize user data?

“I’ll bid Facebook a not-so-fond farewell in a heartbeat,” she said.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/want- ... ewer_click

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Re: POLITICS

Post by thelivyjr » Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:40 p

MARKETWATCH

"Opinion: Joseph Stiglitz debunks the myth of secular stagnation"


By Joseph E. Stiglitz

Published: Sept 6, 2018 1:50 p.m. ET

NEW YORK (Project Syndicate) — In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, some economists argued that the United States, and perhaps the global economy, was suffering from “secular stagnation,” an idea first conceived in the aftermath of the Great Depression.

Economies had always recovered from downturns.

But the Great Depression had lasted an unprecedented length of time.

Many believed that the economy recovered only because of government spending on World War II, and many feared that with the end of the war, the economy would return to its doldrums.

Something, it was believed, had happened, such that even with low or zero interest rates, the economy would languish.

For reasons now well understood, these dire predictions fortunately turned out to be wrong.

Those responsible for managing the 2008 recovery (the same individuals bearing culpability for the under-regulation of the economy in its pre-crisis days, to whom President Barack Obama inexplicably turned to fix what they had helped break) found the idea of secular stagnation attractive, because it explained their failures to achieve a quick, robust recovery.

So, as the economy languished, the idea was revived: Don’t blame us, its promoters implied, we’re doing what we can.

The events of the past year have put the lie to this idea, which never seemed very plausible.

The sudden increase in the U.S. deficit, from around 3% to almost 6% of gross domestic product, owing to a poorly designed regressive tax bill and a bipartisan expenditure increase, has boosted growth to around 4% and brought unemployment down to a 18-year low.

These measures may be ill-conceived, but they show that with enough fiscal support, full employment can be attained, even as interest rates rise well above zero.

The Obama administration made a crucial mistake in 2009 in not pursuing a larger, longer, better-structured, and more flexible fiscal stimulus.


Had it done so, the economy’s rebound would have been stronger, and there would have been no talk of secular stagnation.

As it was, only those in the top 1% saw their incomes grow during the first three years of the so-called recovery.

Some of us warned at the time that the downturn was likely to be deep and long, and that what was needed was stronger and different from what Obama proposed.

I suspect that the main obstacle was the belief that the economy had just experienced a little “bump,” from which it would quickly recover.

Put the banks in the hospital, give them loving care (in other words, hold none of the bankers accountable or even scold them, but rather boost their morale by inviting them to consult on the way forward), and, most important, shower them with money, and soon all would be well.

But the economy’s travails were deeper than this diagnosis suggested.

The fallout from the financial crisis was more severe, and massive redistribution of income and wealth toward the top had weakened aggregate demand.

The economy was experiencing a transition from manufacturing to services, and market economies don’t manage such transitions well on their own.

What was needed was more than a massive bank bailout.

The U.S. needed a fundamental reform of its financial system.

The 2010 Dodd-Frank legislation went some way, though not far enough, in preventing banks from doing harm to the rest of us; but it did little to ensure that the banks actually do what they are supposed to do, focusing more, for example, on lending to small and medium-size enterprises.

More government spending was necessary, but so, too, were more active redistribution and pre-distribution programs — addressing the weakening of workers’ bargaining power, the agglomeration of market power by large corporations, and corporate and financial abuses.

Likewise, active labor-market and industrial policies might have helped those areas suffering from the consequences of deindustrialization.

Instead, policy makers failed to do enough even to prevent poor households from losing their homes.

The political consequences of these economic failures were predictable and predicted: it was clear that there was a risk that those who were so badly treated would turn to a demagogue.


No one could have predicted that the U.S. would get one as bad as Donald Trump: a racist misogynist bent on destroying the rule of law, both at home and abroad, and discrediting America’s truth-telling and assessing institutions, including the media.

A fiscal stimulus as large as that of December 2017 and January 2018 (and which the economy didn’t really need at the time) would have been all the more powerful a decade earlier when unemployment was so high.

The weak recovery was thus not the result of “secular stagnation”; the problem was inadequate government policies.

Here, a central question arises: Will growth rates in coming years be as strong as they were in the past?

That, of course, depends on the pace of technological change.

Investments in research and development, especially in basic research, are an important determinant, though with long lags; cutbacks proposed by the Trump administration do not bode well.

But even then, there is a lot of uncertainty.

Growth rates per capita have varied greatly over the past 50 years, from between 2% and 3% a year in the decades after World War II to 0.7% in the last decade.

But perhaps there’s been too much growth fetishism — especially when we think of the environmental costs, and even more so if that growth fails to bring much benefit to the vast majority of citizens.

There are many lessons to be learned as we reflect on the 2008 crisis, but the most important is that the challenge was — and remains — political, not economic: there is nothing that inherently prevents our economy from being run in a way that ensures full employment and shared prosperity.

Secular stagnation was just an excuse for flawed economic policies.

Unless and until the selfishness and myopia that define our politics — especially in the U.S. under Trump and his Republican enablers — is overcome, an economy that serves the many, rather than the few, will remain an impossible dream.


Even if GDP increases, the incomes of the majority of citizens will stagnate.

This article was published with permission of Project Syndicate — The Myth of Secular Stagnation.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/stigl ... ewer_click

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Re: POLITICS

Post by thelivyjr » Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:40 p

MARKETWATCH

"Opinion: Setting the record straight on secular stagnation"


By Lawrence H. Summers

Published: Sept 6, 2018 1:48 p.m. ET

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Project Syndicate) — Joseph Stiglitz recently dismissed the relevance of secular stagnation to the American economy, and in the process attacked (without naming me) my work in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

I am not a disinterested observer, but this is not the first time that I find Stiglitz’s policy commentary as weak as his academic theoretical work is strong.


Stiglitz echoes conservatives like John Taylor in suggesting that secular stagnation was a fatalistic doctrine invented to provide an excuse for poor economic performance during the Obama years.

This is simply not right.

The theory of secular stagnation, as advanced by Alvin Hansen and echoed by me, holds that, left to its own devices, the private economy may not find its way back to full employment following a sharp contraction, which makes public policy essential.

I think this is what Stiglitz believes, so I don’t understand his attacks.

In all of my accounts of secular stagnation, I stressed that it was an argument not for any kind of fatalism, but rather for policies to promote demand, especially through fiscal expansion.

In 2012, Brad DeLong and I argued that fiscal expansion would likely pay for itself.

I also highlighted the role of rising inequality in increasing saving and the role of structural changes toward the demassification of the economy in reducing demand.

What about the policy record?

Stiglitz condemns the Obama administration’s failure to implement a larger fiscal stimulus policy and suggests that this reflects a failure of economic understanding.

He was a signatory to a Nov. 19, 2008, letter also signed by noted progressives James K. Galbraith, Dean Baker, and Larry Mishel calling for a stimulus of $300 billion to $400 billion — less than half of what the Obama administration proposed.

So matters were less clear in prospect than in retrospect.

We on the Obama economic team believed that a stimulus of at least $800 billion — and likely more — was desirable, given the gravity of the economic situation.

We were told by those on the new president’s political team to generate as much validation as possible for a large stimulus because big numbers approaching $1 trillion would generate “sticker shock” in the political system.

So we worked to encourage a variety of economists, including Stiglitz, to offer larger estimates of what was appropriate, as reflected in the briefing memo I prepared for Obama.

Despite the incoming president’s popularity and an all-out political effort, the Recovery Act passed by the thinnest of margins, with doubts about its ultimate passage lingering until the last moment.

I cannot see the basis for the argument that a substantially larger fiscal stimulus was feasible.

And the effort to seek a much larger one certainly would have meant more delay at a time when the economy was collapsing — and could have led to the defeat of fiscal expansion.

While I wish the political climate had been different, I think Obama made the right choices in approaching fiscal stimulus.

It is of course also highly regrettable that after the initial Recovery Act, Congress refused to support a variety of Obama’s proposals for infrastructure and targeted tax credits.

Unrelated to the topic of secular stagnation, Stiglitz takes a swipe at me by saying that Obama turned to “the same individuals bearing culpability for the under-regulation of the economy in its pre-crisis days” and expected them “to fix what they had helped break.”

I find this a bit rich.

Under the auspices of the government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) Fannie Mae, Stiglitz published a paper in 2002 arguing that the chance that the mortgage lender’s capital would be depleted was less than one in 500,000, and in 2009 he called for nationalization of the U.S. banking system.

So I would expect Stiglitz to be well aware that hindsight is clearer than foresight.


What about the Clinton administration record on financial regulation?

With hindsight, it clearly would have been better if we had foreseen the need for legislation like the 2010 Dodd-Frank reforms and had a way to enact it with a Republican-controlled Congress.

And certainly we did not foresee the financial crisis that came eight years after we left office.

Nor did we anticipate the ways in which credit default swaps would mushroom after 2000.

We did, however, advocate for GSE reform and for measures to rein in predatory lending, which, if enacted by Congress, would have done much to forestall the accumulation of risks before 2008.

I have not seen a convincing causal argument linking the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and the financial crisis.

The observation that most of the institutions involved — Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, WaMu, and Wachovia — were not covered by Glass-Steagall calls into question its centrality.

Yes, Citi and Bank of America were centrally involved, but the activities that generated major losses were fully permissible under Glass-Steagall.

And, in important respects, the repeal of Glass-Steagall actually enabled the resolution of the crisis, by permitting the merger of Bear and JPMorgan Chase and by allowing the Federal Reserve to open its discount window for Morgan Stanley and Goldman when they otherwise could have been sources of systemic risk.

The other principal attack on the Clinton administration’s record targets the deregulation of derivatives in 2000.

With the benefit of hindsight, I wish we had not supported this legislation.


But, given the extreme deregulatory approach of President George W. Bush’s administration, it defies belief to suggest that it would have created major new rules regarding derivatives but for the 2000 act; so I am not sure how consequential our decisions were.

It is also important to recall that we pursued the 2000 legislation not because we wanted to deregulate for its own sake, but rather to remove what the career lawyers at the Treasury, the Fed, and the Securities and Exchange Commission saw as systemic risk arising from legal uncertainty surrounding derivatives contracts.

More important than litigating the past is thinking about the future.

Even if we disagree about past political judgements and about the use of the term “secular stagnation,” I am glad that an eminent theorist like Stiglitz agrees with what I intended to emphasize in resurrecting that theory: We cannot rely on interest-rate policies to ensure full employment.

We must think hard about fiscal policies and structural measures to support sustained and adequate aggregate demand.

Lawrence H. Summers, Secretary of the Treasury (1999-2001) and director of the National Economic Council (2009-2010), is a former president of Harvard University, where he is currently University Professor.

This article was published with permission of Project Syndicate — Setting the Record Straight on Secular Stagnation.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/setti ... 2018-09-06

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Re: POLITICS

Post by thelivyjr » Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:40 p

MARKETWATCH

"Mortgage rates tick up again as Fannie, Freddie start a second decade in limbo"


By Andrea Riquier

Published: Sept 8, 2018 7:55 a.m. ET

Mortgage rates rose for a second week, buoyed by a selloff in the bond market, even as housing faces a grim reminder of unfinished work in the mortgage market.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.54% in the Sept. 5 week, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey, up two basis points.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.99%, up from 3.97%.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.93%, up eight basis points.

Those rates don’t include fees associated with obtaining mortgage loans.

Mortgage rates follow the path of the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury note.

Bond prices have ticked down, pushing yields up, as the rosy economic data of the past week made safe-haven assets less attractive.

Thursday is an auspicious anniversary for Freddie and its counterpart, Fannie Mae.

It’s 10 years to the day since the United States government hustled the two companies, on the brink of a liquidity crisis, into state control.

That arrangement, known as conservatorship, was meant to be temporary, until Congress found a permanent, stable path forward.

But that hasn’t happened.

Still, many observers of the two enterprises have argued that over the past decade, they’ve reformed themselves into the staid, dependable guarantors that the American mortgage market has long needed, with no support from Washington.

Fannie and Freddie help the housing market by buying mortgages from banks and other lenders, enabling those financial institutions to free up their balance sheets for more lending.

The enterprises shed their own risk by, among other things, selling securities to investors. More certainty — and more capital — would help the two companies, and might in turn bolster the housing market, which is flagging.

In a release, Sam Khater, Freddie’s chief economist, noted that interest rate rises, even by just a few basis points, erode affordability in a market that’s already stretched thin.

“This weakening in affordability is hindering many interested buyers this fall, even as the robust economy brings them into the market,” Khater said.

“The good news is that purchase mortgage applications have recently rebounded to above year ago levels.”

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/mortg ... ewer_click

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Re: POLITICS

Post by thelivyjr » Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:40 p

MARKETWATCH

"Opinion: The first stages of grief for Trump’s benighted, absurdist presidency"


By Tim Mullaney

Published: Sept 6, 2018 11:17 a.m. ET

First, Denial.

OMG, The New York Times did not just run an op-ed in which an anonymous senior administration official described the president of the United States as plagued by “amorality” and needing “adults in the room” to control “parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”


Next, Humor.

This is — must be! — a movie comedy: “State Dinner for Schmucks” meets “Presidency!"

"Trump Picked the Wrong Week to Stop Sniffing Glue.”

Next comes Bargaining: That’s the part where Republicans prove they have learned nothing.

It will begin when Republican senators vote unanimously, probably next week, to confirm Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court — even though yesterday’s lowlights of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing included his telling senators he couldn’t say whether it would be illegal if Trump offered a presidential pardon as a bribe to keep witnesses like Trump lawyer Michael Cohen or campaign chair Paul Manafort from burying Trump.

And it will continue as Republicans keep pushing the ideas the author of the instantly infamous op-ed approves of — and even cites as a reason the “adults in the room” humor and tolerate Trump — less because they are Trumpian than because they are the lodestar of post-2000 Republicanism.

There’s the $1.4 trillion tax cut, aimed at corporations and currently subsidizing stock buybacks above all.

There’s the “deregulation” the piece cites as a reason why the White House staff protecting us from Trump tolerates him: That’s the widely unpopular effort to take health insurance away from 20 million-plus people and the equally unpopular decision to pull out of the Paris climate accords, the better to assuage a coal industry that employs all of about 50,000 workers.

Plus the law that protects “community banks” from over-regulation by dialing back oversight of institutions with $50 billion in assets.

And finally, there is the party’s long-running campaign to remake the courts in its own image, which has only become more urgent as demographic change closes in on a party that has lost the popular vote for president in six of the last seven elections.

Knowing it’s their last chance, the GOP will swallow Kavanaugh, even though his performance this week publicly reduces their poses of strict constructionism and adherence the rule of law to the quivering nakedness of would-be emperors that it has always been.

And that’s only the problems the party has in Washington.

The irreducible thing is that Trump didn’t come from nowhere — he came from the party’s base.

He didn’t stumble to the Republican nomination in 2016 — he tore it from 15 more-established pols (plus former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina) who sold the same economic and judicial policies.

Trump simply raised the ante on them by adding a steaming pile of racism and xenophobia, in the form of trade and immigration policies that the op-ed’s author disapproves of — but which were the whole reason Trump clubbed establishment Republicans like baby seals.

This is the party base that follows Trump blindly into misadventures like Roy Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate with an alleged taste for making passes at young girls.

That tolerates Rep. Jim Jordan, the former college wrestling coach currently pretending to have never heard the team doctor was molesting wrestlers at Ohio State, and who wants to be speaker of the House.

And that has reduced Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who last year warned that Trump was a “nut job,” a “disgrace” and a “kook,” to a quivering bowl of mush whose biggest daily decision is whether to praise Trump’s golf game or assure him it would be just peachy to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions in favor of an AG who will close the probe into whether Trump’s team conspired with Russia to rig the 2016 election.

One needn’t be a political consultant, or a shrink, to know Graham’s problem is fear of a primary challenge back home.

Yeah, that base.

And it will be here when, in the starkest words of the op-ed, Trump’s presidency is over — “one way or another.”

It’s a party that is rotten from the top down and the bottom up, all at once.

It’s a special double play, the corruption of the D.C. party married to the tribalism of its base.

Good luck with that.

Trump’s presidency is over, functionally at least, and has been since Michael Cohen named him as a de facto co-conspirator in an extremely tasteful scheme to pay off a porn actress and a Playboy model (and maybe others).

His last meaningful act as president, before taking the midterm-election whipping he deserves and whatever lies beyond, was nominating Kavanaugh.

Whom Graham said yesterday, not inaccurately, is certain to be confirmed by a unanimous Republican Senate caucus.

Two years ago, my now-17 year old began refining a dinner-table comedy routine, to my amusement and his mother’s horror, about the many splendors of his imaginary role as Donald Trump’s secret husband.

It’s not tasteful, but it’s less the opposite than, say, Stormy Daniels and her awful lawyer-who-thinks-he-should-be-president-himself.

As I tittered at it, little did I dream that Trump’s actual denouement would make my kid’s banter seem dignified by comparison.

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Re: POLITICS

Post by thelivyjr » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:40 p

THE CAPE CHARLES MIRROR September 9, 2018 at 11:59 am

Paul Plante says :

Indeed, according to the headlines, the U.S. did supposedly add 201,000 jobs, and if all one ever did was to go by headlines, one might think things were really going great.

However, according to the Marketwatch article “U.S. adds 201,000 jobs as worker wages accelerate to nine-year high” by Jeffry Bartash published Sept. 7, 2018, employment gains for July and June were revised down by a combined 50,000, the Labor Department said Friday, which gives us a real good idea of exactly how it is that this headline game is played – report something inflated and not true to gull the huge number of suckers in America who are easily misled by fake news from the federal government, and then, months later, when no one is looking, report the numbers as they actually were.

As to jobs “created” single-handedly by Trump, who is not only a magician, but an economic wonder-worker as well, white-collar professional firms filled 53,000 positions, which is good if you happen to be a white-collar professional.

Health-care providers hired 33,000 people, transport firms added 20,000 jobs and construction companies hired 23,000 workers.

However, and here one has to wonder how the MAGA-MAN Trump allowed this to happen, employment fell by 3,000 in manufacturing, the first decline in 13 months.

There is a number that should have been sky-rocketing, not declining, so in a few months when this data get revised, maybe we will see that number shoot up into the hundreds of thousands.

And retailers also cut jobs, so what is up with that?

As to that huge increase in pay, this is what that same Marketwatch article has to say, to wit:

Consumers are feeling more of the brunt of inflation.

Most if not all of the increase in pay over the past year has been eaten up by higher inflation.

The cost of living as measured by the consumer price index has also climbed 2.9% in the past year.

end quotes

Which is to say, the Trumpian economy is working exactly as he and “Kuddles” Kudlow designed it to work, which is to continue the upward transfer of wealth in America that feeds the ONE PERCENT who are Trump’s best friends and buddies.

Give with one hand and take back with the other.

On another note, since we are talking about the amazing miracle of the Trumpian economy here in America, according to the Marketwatch story “U.S. trade deficit soars nearly 10% on record imports” by Jeffry Bartash published Sept. 5, 2018, the trade deficit soared almost 10% in July after record imports and hit the highest level in five months, keeping the U.S. on pace to record the largest annual gap in a decade, climbing to $50.1 billion from a revised $45.7 billion in June, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

The U.S. trade deficit added up to almost $338 billion in the first seven months of 2018, compared to $316 billion in the same span in 2017, as imports rose 0.9% to a record $261.2 billion in July.

Meanwhile, under Trump’s firm guiding hand, exports fell 1% to $211.1 billion.

According to the Marketwatch article, President Trump’s tough line with key trading partners such as China and Canada hasn’t had much effect, either, so that the July goods deficit with China, for example, leaped to a record high of nearly $37 billion.

That should have the people in China cheering Trump’s name at least as loud as it is being cheered here in America, if not louder.

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Re: POLITICS

Post by thelivyjr » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:40 p

MARKETWATCH

"Factory orders slump 0.8% in July"


By Steve Goldstein

Published: Sept 6, 2018 10:07 a.m. ET

Factory orders fell 0.8% in July, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.'

The decline, coming after two monthly gains and a touch worse than the 0.6% decline that was expected, came as orders for durable goods fell 1.7%.

June's order growth was downwardly revised a tenth to 0.6%.

The inventories-to-shipments ratio was 1.35, up from 1.34 in June.

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Re: POLITICS

Post by thelivyjr » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:40 p

THE CAPE CHARLES MIRROR September 9, 2018 at 10:12 pm

Paul Plante says :

My dear friend and fellow American patriot Chas Cornweller, dude; let me say that the only thing better than opening the Cape Charles Mirror each Sunday is coming across a screed or polemic or rant written by yourself, and today was one of those days when I said to the world, “Hooray, Chas Cornweller is here to make our day,” and such it is, Chas Cornweller in spades, where you say Woodard’s book has created an avalanche of backlash and an earthquake whiplash with both the media and the public.

To which I respond, no, it hasn’t.

It’s not even a topic of conversation.

Outside of yourself, Chas Cornweller, people consider it a non-event.

In a few weeks, it will be in the remaindered bin along with that sniffly, crying and whining piece full of empty excuses that Hillary Clinton wrote after she got trounced by Trump in this last election.

Then you say “The picture painted of our present Commander-In-Chief is one of a paranoid, unprepared president who is out of touch with the reality of today’s America.”

Do you realize, Chas Cornweller, that that description applies as well to Lyndon Baines Johnson and fits Barack Hussein Obama to a tee, as does the reference to someone “who tape-loops over and over those political points that keep winning him favor with his base.”

Obama is also a master at deception because it is what he knows and has used for his entire life to manipulate the situation for the betterment of his personal gain and position.

And when you say Woodward shows us an administration reacting constantly to a child-man who knows neither the depth or scope of America’s responsibilities, nor has the wherewithal to deal with these responsibilities, an administration ramming through policies that enable the very rich and very powerful to maintain and solidify that power while the policies to protect the rest of us are daily eroded away, you are talking about as book that very well could have been about Obama, who is back on the political stump in America, perhaps looking to be drafted for a third term in office, who was quoted in the Marketwatch story “Obama claims ownership of U.S.’s economic recovery as he blasts Trump” by Steve Goldstein published Sept. 7, 2018 saying as follows:

“Political division is more manufactured than real.”

“More often it’s manufactured by the powerful and privileged who want to keep us divided and keep us angry and keep up cynical because it helps them maintain the status quo and keep their power and keep their privilege.”

“It did not start with Donald Trump.”

“He is a symptom, not the cause,” Obama said to applause.

end quotes

Pay heed to those words from Obama himself, Chas Cornweller, while there is still time to extricate yourself from the corner you are painting yourself into here – Trump is not the cause – he is merely the symptom.

The political division in America was manufactured by the elitist Obama himself beginning when he first ran for the presidency as we see from the Guardian article “Obama angers midwest voters with guns and religion remark” by Ed Pilkington in New York @edpilkington on 14 Apr. 2008, as follows:

Barack Obama was forced onto the defensive at the weekend over unguarded comments he made about small-town voters across the midwest.

Obama was caught in an uncharacteristic moment of loose language.

Referring to working-class voters in old industrial towns decimated by job losses, the presidential hopeful said:

“They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

The comments were seized on by his rival for the Democratic party candidacy, Hillary Clinton, who saw in them the hope of reviving her flagging campaign by turning voters in the important Pennsylvania primary on April 22 against what she classed as Obama’s revealed “elitism”.

“I was taken aback by the demeaning remarks Senator Obama made about people in small-town America,” she said on Saturday.

“His remarks are elitist and out of touch.” Clinton campaigners in North Carolina handed out stickers saying: “I’m not bitter.”

Obama’s comments are potentially incendiary in the Pennsylvania rust belt.

Analysts speculated that the remarks could give white working-class voters the excuse they needed not to vote for Obama, whose candidacy has been regarded with scepticism in the state but had shown some signs of growing momentum.

The comments came to light as a result of the Huffington Post’s groundbreaking experiment in citizen journalism, Off The Bus.

The website runs a network of about 1,800 unpaid researchers, interviewers and writers.

One of those writers, Mayhill Fowler, broke the story, despite being a paid-up supporter of Obama.

She attended a fundraising event in San Francisco on April 6 and recorded Obama’s speech.

Fowler sat on the material for days, conflicted about what to do with it.

She only published the comments last Friday.

“She had some real reservations about the story as an Obama supporter,” Amanda Michel, the director of Off The Bus, told the Guardian.

“But she thought as a citizen journalist she had a duty to report the event, despite her support for Barack Obama.”

Obama initially reacted to the resultant media firestorm over the weekend by trying to stand by his comments.

But he later apologised, saying: “If I worded things in a way that made people offended, I deeply regret that.”

Clinton will now hope the controversy will provide her with the break she desperately needs in Pennsylvania.

She requires a substantial win to sustain her campaign, but recent polls have suggested Obama had eroded some of her advantage.

end quotes

There, my dear friend, Chas Cornweller, is Obama creating the division and anger that put Trump in the white house.

But for Obama, Trump would never have been president.

And then Obama came back again and ran his mouth some further and divided America even further in the Washington Post article “Obama revives his ‘cling to guns or religion’ analysis — for Donald Trump supporters,” by Janell Ross on
December 21, 2015, as follows:

In April 2008, then-senator Barack Obama, a relative upstart Democrat from Illinois, was locked in a presidential primary with then-senator Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Pennsylvania’s important primary was less than two weeks away, making Pennsylvania the temporary center of the political universe.

Then, the candidate whom some reporters were already describing as almost preternaturally aware of the American voter psyche made what just about everyone considers a mistake.

At a San Francisco-area fundraiser, Obama took a shot at explaining the mostly white voters in those hard-scrabble and once-booming Pennsylvania industrial towns.

He was speaking to a largely wealthy and well-educated California audience, and these Pennsylvanians were people that, in the minds of many liberals living along the nation’s coasts, seemed to be voting against their own personal interests.

They seemed angry and politically confused, casting their votes with some regularity for conservatives who support, without modification, the trade deals, labor practices and shrinking wages that were making these voters’ lives so hard.

These are the people the 2004 book “What’s the Matter with Kansas” was talking about.

An unpaid “citizen-journalist” and Obama supporter following and writing about the Obama campaign for the Huffington Post — at her own expense — was at the fundraiser and, to her credit, reported precisely what Obama had said:

“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them.”

“And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.”

“And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Bam.

Obama had made not only the rookie political mistake of appearing to diminish or disparage Americans’ affection for guns and God; he had also displayed the temerity to talk about a group of Americans accustomed to viewing themselves simply as “regular Americans” or the American norm — not as if they were just one important segment of a rapidly changing American mosaic.

He had described these white, working-class Americans who do not have college degrees or access to the ever-expanding universe of tech- and thought-centered jobs as understandably frightened, struggling and politically misguided — or perhaps anesthetized into believing that more guns and more God would solve their problems.

Needless to say, Clinton pounced, calling Obama an “elitist.”

Soon, Obama was, according to the Clinton camp, a candidate who didn’t understand and couldn’t lay claim to the votes of “working, hard-working Americans, white Americans.”

Therefore, she was the better bet.

We all know how that turned out.

So here we are, seven years later, and a now President Obama has said some things about this same set of voters — white Americans, and specifically men with limited education who once had near-exclusive access to industrial jobs that paid family-sustaining wages — and the Republican candidate who so many of them seem to support, Donald Trump.

Here’s a portion of what Obama told NPR News in the interview airing Monday:

“I do think that when you combine that demographic change with all the economic stresses that people have been going through because of the financial crisis, because of technology, because of globalization, the fact that wages and incomes have been flatlining for some time, and that particularly blue-collar men have had a lot of trouble in this new economy, where they are no longer getting the same bargain that they got when they were going to a factory and able to support their families on a single paycheck.”

“You combine those things, and it means that there is going to be potential anger, frustration, fear.”

“Some of it justified, but just misdirected.”

“I think somebody like Mr. Trump is taking advantage of that.”

“That’s what he’s exploiting during the course of his campaign.

Sound at all familiar?

It should.

Obama just made largely the same, perhaps less-volcanically phrased argument that he did all the way back in 2008 about the psyche of economically struggling, largely white voters.

end quotes

There, my dear friend and fellow American patriot Chas Cornweller, is a prime example of political division in America manufactured by the powerful and privileged supporters of Barack Obama who want to keep us divided and keep us angry and keep us cynical because it helps them maintain the status quo and keep their power and keep their privilege.

That is what put Donald Trump in the white house.

As to the claim that “(Y)ou have two very capable administrators in White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis having to deal with what they “see” as an ‘unhinged idiot’ (Kelly) with the understanding of ‘a fifth or sixth grader’ (Mattis),” I believe that those claims are being denied by Kelly and Mattis, so right now, they are unsubstantiated gossip.

And thank you, Chas Cornweller, for bringing forth these points in here as you have done, so the record can be fleshed out fully, so as to show how it was that Obama and the Democrats are responsible for putting Donald Trump in the white house.

It is a story the American people need to understand so we can move forward as a nation, so a grateful nation thanks you, Chas Cornweller, for getting that ball rolling in here with your article above.

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