Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Today's links

1--Summers worried about shadow banking, politico

2---America’s Hottest Housing Market Has Suddenly Cooled Down , WSJ

(WSJ catches up with the news)

Prices could turn negative “if the current situation lasts much longer,” says Mr. Orr. Still, there are very few foreclosures waiting in the wings—completed foreclosures were down by more than 50% from a year earlier in December—any price declines “will be much more orderly,” says Mr. Orr. Traditional sellers are much slower to reduce prices than banks

3---The decision to hold rates at zero, Stephen Williamson

4---China’s raw materials bubble bursts, sober look
Steel, iron ore futures in China tanked on bloated (all-time high) inventories and apparent lending curbs by Chinese banks.

Source: CME

With banks cutting back lending in this sector and the yuan actually declining recently, that gravy train has stopped. Traders are being forced to dump inventory. That is sending prices lower and even pressuring some mills to close.

Lending curbs have also been extended to other sectors related to property development, such as cement. All this points to tighter credit, weaker demand, and slower industrial activity going forward

Exposing troubling ties in the U.S. to overt Nazi and fascist protesters in Ukraine.

7--Archive 2009---Krugman, Stiglitz, Roubini, Taleb, Baker Agree: Nationalize the banks, daily kos

The cost of financed homeownership is becoming dangerously disconnected with still-stagnant median incomes,” RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said in a statement.Higher mortgage rates and swift price gains widened that gap, Blomquist said, attributing the steep price increases to “investors and other cash buyers who are not tethered to the typical affordability constraints.”

11---How the Media Got Played ... again---The US Played Hardball Against Ukraine…and the EU, counterpunch

The Obama administration’s new-found affection for street riots to overthrow unfriendly elected government will get its next road test in Venezuela.  Caracas is starting to look like Kiev.  The conservative youth of the private universities are already on the street looking for trouble and the excuse to exercise righteous violence like their ultranationalist brothers in Ukraine.  If Carl Gibson’s article in Reader Supported News is quoting an authentic document, the USAID, with the help of consultants and Colombia, was already mapping out plans to destabilize the country through economic sabotage in late 2013 and, according to Gibson’s account, incite street confrontation:
“Whenever possible, the violence should cause deaths and injuries. Encourage hunger strikes of numerous days, massive mobilisations, problems in the universities and other sectors of society now identified with government institutions.”
I don’t think there’s any question that opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez is America’s man in Caracas.  Gibson’s article also adds the detail that a Wikileaks cable apparently links Lopez to CANVAS, the US-funded democracy-promotion cum regime-change outfit that Yanukovich banned from Kiev just prior to his downfall.
Venezuela seems to fracture along class lines (not ethnic Russian vs. Ukrainian, or regional/tribal/Cyrenic/Tripolitan like Libya, or confessional Sunni/Shi’ite like Syria) so the task of catapulting a pro-US elite group into power may be bloodier and more prolonged than the adventure in the Ukraine.  But I’m sure the United States has sufficient money and patience for a prolonged struggle, especially when the suffering is a thousand miles away from Washington.
As for the People’s Republic of China, I think the takeaway will be
1) active US political subversion of its enemies is not just one of those myths that target governments console or terrify themselves with
2) don’t let opposition parties form, let alone get on the ballot 2) don’t let anybody in the downtown square and
3) pre-emptively treat any activists with US or Western ties as de facto subversives and counter-revolutionaries.
It is doubtful that heightened PRC vigilance will translate into anything near the democratic liberalization which the West ostensibly craves for China’s benighted citizens.  Instead, the regime will land on dissidents early and like a ton of bricks.
It is rather ironic that Barack Obama, the progressive paragon, took a few hits from the Dick Cheney regime-change crack pipe, and now apparently finds it irresistible.
Maybe he feels that he might as well grab for a few cheap foreign policy wins, damn the consequences, because in two years he’s outta here and President Clinton can deal with the mess.
I imagine that Alfred Nobel’s image on President Obama’s Peace Prize medal is weeping blood tears by now 

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