Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Today's Links

1--Foreclosures may be driving the rise in suicides, WA Post

The foreclosure crisis increasingly looks like a public health crisis, too. Researchers have connected foreclosures to depression, stress-related illnesses and spikes in emergency room visits. Last week, The Washington Post's Dina elBoghdaddy wrote that it even appears foreclosures may raise the blood pressure of neighbors who simply live near these repossessed homes.

Worse yet: A new study in the American Journal of Public Health argues that foreclosures -- independent of other economic consequences of the financial crisis -- may have contributed to the rise in suicides since 2005. Data suggests, however, that this has been the case only among the age groups for whom the stakes of foreclosure have been arguably the highest.

2---The Slowdown in Existing Home Sales, SF Fed
Sales of existing homes slowed noticeably over the second half of 2013, reflecting a more drawn-out recovery than expected for housing markets. A main reason for the slowdown is higher mortgage rates that have made financing more costly nationwide. Sales appear to be slowing even more in distressed markets, where real estate investors had bought up single-family homes to convert into rental properties following the housing bust. Evidence suggests that investors may be retreating from these markets as housing valuations rise.

The analysis in this Economic Letter suggests that changes in fundamentals such as rising mortgage rates can account for much of the sluggishness in existing home sales over the past year. This drop-off in sales seems more pronounced in some markets where investors had previously been active, though these markets have been slowing for the past several years, even before mortgage rates began to rise. Further increases in future mortgage rates could dampen the recovery in existing home sales. It should be noted, however, that many other indicators of housing market activity—including housing starts and new home construction—remain significantly below what history would lead us to expect for this stage of the recovery. Thus, some other factors may be holding back home sales. For example, prospective homebuyers may have impaired access to credit, they may be underwater on their mortgages or have low home equity, or they may simply be reluctant to make large spending decisions when economic prospects are still somewhat uncertain. As the moderate recovery continues and these factors begin to dissipate, all forms of housing market activity, including existing home sales, should post more solid growth.

3---Fed's Dudley Explains Why Bond Yields Are (And Will Stay) Low, zero hedge

4---How should the ECB enact Quantitative Easing? A proposal, yanis varoufakis

Here is what the ECB could do to achieve its objective while overcoming both its ‘operational problem’ and the ‘macroeconomic concern’ above:
  1. The European Investment Bank (EIB) and its smaller offshoot the European Investment Fund (EIF) should be given by the European Council the green light to embark upon a Pan-Eurozone Investment-led Recovery Program to the tune of 8% of the Eurozone’s GDP, with the EIB concentrating on large scale infrastructural projects and the EIF on start-ups, SMEs, technologically innovative firms, green energy research etc.
  2. The EIB/EIF has been issuing bonds for decades to fund investments, covering thus 50% of the projects’ funding costs. They should now issue bonds to cover the funding of the Pan-Eurozone Investment-led Recovery Program to the full; i.e waving the convention that 50% of the funds come from national sources.
  3. To ensure that the EIB/EIF bonds do not suffer rising yields, as a result of these large issues, the ECB ought to step into the secondary market and purchase as many of these EIB/EIF bonds as are necessary to keep the EIB/EIF bond yields at their present, low levels.
5--CIA barred from using vaccinations as cover after dozens of doctors killed, RT

6--Multipolar order? RT video

7---Housing market manipulations give homebuilders false signals          
Artificially low interest rates and restricted inventory causes builders to focus on higher priced houses we don’t really need
8---Sales down 7.6% in April YoY, 9 markets down double digits, MReport

Compared to April 2013, last month’s sales fell 7.6 percent short, with nine markets posting double-digit annual declines.
Redfin blogger Tommy Unger attributed the yearly drop to continued constraints in inventory, which—though up both monthly and yearly—shrank in some of the most demand-heavy markets, such as Austin (-9.4 percent), Denver (-18.6 percent), and San Francisco (-16 percent), just as the spring season got into full swing.

“The number of homes for sale continues its slow recovery off of 2013 lows, but the inventory situation does not look great across many markets,” Unger said. “With half of all markets experiencing a year-over-year decline in homes for sale, things are still difficult. Buyers and potential sellers who want to trade up are asking, ‘Where is all the inventory?’”

9--9.7 Million Homeowners Underwater, ds news

10--Marsden: We are against the EU and if we were elected to the European Parliament, which is itself a completely undemocratic institution, we would use it as a platform to make our appeal to the working class in Britain and throughout the continent for a unified struggle against it.”.wsws..

 We are not in favour of the European Union at all. It is a bosses’ club, an instrument for imposing savage austerity everywhere throughout Europe. If you look at what is taking place in Greece, in Portugal, in Spain, they have imposed the most savage cuts outside of a wartime experience, which has led to 60 percent youth unemployment. We are for the United Socialist States of Europe, not simply British withdrawal.”....

Marsden said, “The Socialist Equality Party has its origins in the struggle of Leon Trotsky against the betrayal of the Russian Revolution by Joseph Stalin and the bureaucracy which he headed. We fight for world socialism, for a system based on production for need and not profit, and for an end to all racism, nationalism and war.”

Asked how the SEP’s struggle for an “end to all nationalism would work in the European Union”, Marsden answered, “The European Union purported to be a mechanism for lessening national divisions on the Continent, especially in the aftermath of the Second World War. But the reality is that the European Union is an instrument used by the major countries such as Germany, Britain and France to impoverish and destroy the economies of the smaller countries. If you look at what is happening in Greece and Portugal, for example, you have got 60 percent youth unemployment and the massive destruction of social conditions, services and jobs. The European Union at the same time is waging a campaign to provoke conflict with Russia over Ukraine, which threatens a terrible nightmare for the European peoples.

“The situation in Europe is absolutely appalling and degrading for millions and millions of people. If you look at Greece, it’s suffered an economic decline unprecedented outside of a wartime situation. The hospitals are without drugs, and food is being dished out by charities to families, where there is often just one or no people working. It’s a terrible, terrible crime that is being perpetrated, and the instrument through which it is being carried out is the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Parliament.”

Marsden answered, “Our position is this. The working class has throughout the continent, and indeed internationally, suffered an historic decline in its social position. Wages are going down in every country; it’s about a 15 percent drop. There’s a huge attack on jobs, wages and social conditions. All of which is being waged by a ruling class that is allowed to get away with everything because no one speaks for the working class. We are for an international struggle of the working class against companies which themselves operate on an international basis. We are against the European Union and for the United Socialist States of Europe.”
Asked why if the SEP was against the European Union, did the party want to be elected to it, Marsden said, “We are against it and if we were elected to the European Parliament, which is itself a completely undemocratic institution, we would use it as a platform to make our appeal to the working class in Britain and throughout the continent for a unified struggle against it.”...

We are in favour of anyone being able to live wherever they want, anywhere in the world, just as the major bourgeois parties are in favour of capitalists being able to exploit anybody, anywhere in the world. The problem with this country is not immigration. The problem with the world is not immigration. This is a very unified world. The problem with the world today is capitalism, and capitalism systematically impoverishes billions of people all over the world and creates massive movements of peoples because they are just looking for somewhere to get by.”

11--Japan-Russia pipeline plans crystallise post Fukushima, natural gas daily

China, Iran and Russia: Restructuring the global order

Powerful countries are alarmed by the threats against Russia as they see themselves as potential future targets.

, aljazeera

11--The Non-Disastrous Russia-China Alliance, MOA---

While the US are forming alliances with Jihardis and Fascists, the Russians are making allies with a neighboring country of 1.4 billion people whose economy is slated to be bigger than the US not far in the future, and thats not counting the other BRIC's. Also they will not be trading in dollars, as James say's @2 the Europeans have a problem [all their own making]. The moral of the story is, never underestimate the stupidity of the USA.
Posted by: harry law | May 20, 2014 1:44:14 PM |

Don't forget that China has 97% of the world's rare earths locked up and Japan has priority rights to Afghanistan's vast lithium deposits (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/20/japan-has-priority-on-rig_n_618545.html).

Chinese, Iranian, Russian alliance?
Posted by: Amar

The new silk road between China and Russia was signed several weeks ago with trade estimated at 17 trillion dollars. Unlike the us state department china and russia do not amplify their chess moves but simply make significant and historical actions. Russia for sometime has been constructing financial clearing houses which are independent of the us petro dollar and its financial monopolies.

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