Friday, May 23, 2014

Today's Links

1--Hot On The Heels Of Its China Breakthrough, Russia Set To Build Eight Nuclear Power Plants In Iran, zero hedge
(This should ruffle a few feathers in Washington)

2--More signs of froth in the market, naked capitalism

3--'Tide is Turning' as Oregon Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Ban of GE Crops, common dreams

Ronnie Cummins: "These victories make it clear to agribusiness giants like Monsanto and Dow that the day has come when they can no longer buy and lie their way to victory."
- Lauren McCauley, staff writer 

The unemployment rate in counties hit hardest by the housing crash is more than 3% higher in 2013 relative to 2006. The rise in the unemployment rate is twice as high as the rise in counties with the smallest decline in house prices. The housing crash has led to a large and persistent increase in unemployment. The evidence is undeniable.

This patterns is supported by evidence presented today by Steve Matthews and Jeanna Smialek of Bloomberg, who write:
“Residents of the U.S. states that suffered the steepest home price declines and record foreclosures face labor markets that remain impaired five years after the most severe recession since the 1930s ended.”

lending to an insolvent institution by itself does not put an end to its fragility. Ultimately, the institution must be liquidated or re-capitalized. Postponing this resolution is usually costly. ...
The real problem in 2008 was that there was no resolution regime in place that would allow ... big intermediaries to fail without disrupting the entire global financial system. ... Dodd-Frank ... created a new resolution mechanism... However, that regime ... remains untested...
Importantly, Dodd-Frank also narrowed the legal form of recipients eligible for Fed discount loans, contrary to the broad latitude suggested by Bagehot. ... Post Dodd-Frank, the discount window is for banks only. Others will have to seek liquidity elsewhere, even if they are solvent. 
7---Home sales above trend, Dean Baker

The continuing weakness of the housing market is a regular theme of the business media. They seem as eager to display their ignorance now as they were during the housing bubble years.
The Post gave us another item in this series in an AP article on existing home sales in April, which ran at 4.65 million annual rate, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. The fourth paragraph told readers:

"Nearly five years into the recovery from the Great Recession, real estate sales have yet to return to their historic averages."
If we go back to the pre-bubble years of the mid-1990s, we find that existing home sales averaged just over 3.4 million in the years from 1993-1995. Adjusting this figure upward by 20 percent for population growth would still get is to less than 4.2 million, well below the sales rate reported for April

8---Will weakness in housing prompt more stimulus? , oc housing

9---New York Times’ vision of Ukrainian “democracy”, wsws

The Times acknowledges that the election is a contest between “chocolate king” Petro Poroshenko, the recently released “gas princess” Yulia Tymoshenko and the banker Sergey Tigipko, all of whom are members of “the clique of very rich businessmen who have been at the root of the corruption of the Ukrainian government” and who “made their fortunes in the chaotic privatization of state assets” following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In other words, the Ukrainian people are being asked to choose between a trio of criminals and parasites who enriched themselves at their expense through the theft of state property.

The front-runner Poroshenko, according to the Times, “has political strengths” that include backing the coup that toppled President Viktor Yanukovych, supporting the turn to the European Union and having been “deeply involved in Ukrainian politics from the outset.” In other words, he is a deeply corrupt billionaire who appears prepared to subordinate himself to US policy aims....

Ninety-nine per cent of the workers are against the Kiev authorities,” Vladimir Sadovoy, the head of the factory workers’ union told the newspaper. “Some want to be part of Russia, others want to be part of Ukraine, others want to be independent. But everyone is against the Kiev authorities, absolutely.”

Once probed, the New York Times vision of “democracy” is revealed as so much smoke and mirrors. Behind the lies and state propaganda, however, the content of this vision is itself significant, consisting of a multi-billionaire oligarch ordering “his” workers to action, like some feudal lord sending his serfs into battle.
The newspaper’s turn to the Ukrainian oligarch’s as that country’s saviors is clearly connected to the Times’ orientation toward the financial oligarchy and the wealthy and privileged layers that surround it within the United States itself.

10---Big investors are betting against housing, marketwatch

Because the housing market is a cyclical driver of the economy, it tends to lead the way in the wake of a recession. But as growth picks up, it usually cedes its influence to other sectors. That handoff is an event investors are waiting for.
“Housing typically leads the economic recovery because it is the most durable of all expenditures that consumers make,” said Kirk Barneby, portfolio manager of the Centre Active U.S. Treasury Fund...

Sales of existing homes rose 1.3% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.65 million, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. The rate was slightly under forecasts. On Friday, the Commerce Department said sales of new single-family homes rose 6.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000 last month, topping expectations. Homebuilders including Toll Brothers /quotes/zigman/243733/delayed/quotes/nls/tol TOL +1.80%  and PulteGroup /quotes/zigman/129784/delayed/quotes/nls/phm PHM +1.98%  rose on the news

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