Sunday, December 4, 2016

Today's Links

1--The Pentagon’s “2015 Strategy” For Ruling the World

2--Five Key Takeaways from the New U.S. National Military Strategy CFR

U.S. forces must use forward presence to counter emerging threats, both state and non-state. The document observes that the tactics of “hybrid war” confer many new advantages on the aggressor; the best way to counter these is through forward positioning of military forces for deterrence, and failing that, to enable rapid reaction. Additionally, for hybrid actors like the self-declared Islamic State, defeating them requires “widely distributing U.S. military forces and leveraging globally integrated command and control processes” to disrupt their transregional networks

3--Obama's Big Sellout: The President has Packed His Economic Team with Wall Street Insiders (Now Trump is doing the same thing)

4--Bill Black talks "Liar's loans"

Black: Look at liar’s loans — these are the loans where you don’t verify the borrower’s income, and the industry’s own experts said that these loans were 90 percent fraudulent.

Study after study after study has shown that it was the lenders who put the lies in liar’s loans — the lenders and their agents — and nobody ever made a bank make a liar’s loan. It has nothing to do with the Community Reinvestment Act. Because the purpose of it is to inflate the borrower’s income, it takes you out of Community Reinvestment, and no entity — and this includes Fannie and Freddie — was ever required to purchase a liar’s loan. In fact, [liar’s loans] didn’t qualify as credit for affordable housing goals because you didn’t verify the borrower’s income.

So after all these warnings from the industry’s own anti-fraud experts about them being 90 percent fraudulent, and the fact that even the Bush Administration anti-regulators said, “Don’t do these things,” the industry, between 2003 and 2006, increased liar’s loans by over 500 percent. By 2006, 40 percent of all the home loans made that year and half of all the loans called “subprime” were liar’s loans. Remember, there’s a 90 percent fraud incidence in all of this. That means there were over two million fraudulent loans made in 2006 alone.

Now, that’s one way of looking at it, but even more stark is, in the year 2000 — we are talking about over 13 years ago — the group of associations of honest appraisers created a petition and circulated it widely throughout Washington, D.C. and the industry. They went to all the regulators and prosecutors in the industry — it was eventually signed by over 11,000 appraisers. And the appraisers, here’s what they said: ‘There is an epidemic of lenders who are extorting us to inflate the appraisal, and when we refuse to do so, they blacklist honest appraisers and refuse to use them in the future.’  Now, note the date again: 2000. This is over a year before Enron hits. In other words, we got a warning about this crisis before Enron failed.

5--4 december 2016 in Aleppo

6-- China welcomes Turkish bid for SCO membership

7--Goldman Says Trump's Presidency Will Benefit Stocks in Almost Every Sector

8--Turkey Proposes Trade With China, Russia And Iran In Local Currencies

9--Taxes Under Trump: Almost Everyone Pays Less and the Richest Pay a Lot Less-- Nearly half the benefits of the plan, and a higher proportion of savings, would go to the top 1

Steven Mnuchin, the likely next Treasury secretary, this week said rich U.S. taxpayers won’t get “an absolute tax cut” under President-elect Donald Trump. But that is not what Mr. Trump says in his taxation plan. In fact, under his approach the wealthy would receive an average tax cut of about $215,000 per household, experts say....

According to the Tax Policy Center’s analysis, nearly half the benefits of Mr. Trump’s tax plan would go to the top 1%, households earning more than about $700,000 annually....

For the lowest income group—those earning less than $24,800—the average tax cut would be $110.
The uneven benefits of the Trump plan reflect the difficult nature of tax changes for policy makers who, like Mr. Mnuchin, say they don’t want to benefit the wealthy disproportionately.
“Cutting tax rates for the middle class not only costs a great deal of revenue, it also lowers taxes for high earners because they benefit as well,” says Roberton Williams, an economist with the Tax Policy Center.
Another complication is that tax breaks for individuals are unevenly distributed. For example, high earners are often more able than lower earners to reap long-term capital-gain income, which is now taxed at a top rate of 23.8%. Under current law, 78% of long-term gains go to those in the top 1%.

10--Trump’s Carrier Coup and a Lesson From JFK   Kennedy took on U.S. Steel and won. But economic nationalism can lead to abuse of power

JFK: “My father always told me that all businessmen were sons-of-bitches, but I never believed it till now.” ...

Soon Bethlehem Steel raised its prices. Other companies followed.
Now Kennedy was enraged. Accepting Blough’s decision would undo all his wage-price guideposts. It would also constitute a blow to the prestige of the presidency. And labor would never trust him again.

So he went to war. At a news conference the next day he called the steel companies’ actions “a wholly unjustifiable and irresponsible defiance of the public interest” by “a tiny handful of steel executives whose pursuit of private power and profit exceeds their sense of public responsibility.” He implied they were unpatriotic in a time of national peril. Reeves quotes the poet Robert Frost on hearing the news conference: “Oh didn’t he do a good one! Didn’t he show the Irish, all right?”

Kennedy ordered the Defense Department to shift its steel purchases from U.S. Steel to companies that hadn’t raised prices. The Justice Department under Attorney General Robert Kennedy launched an antitrust investigation, summoned a federal grand jury, and sent FBI agents to the homes and offices of steel executives. There were rumors of threats of IRS investigations of expense accounts and hotel bills.

Bethlehem Steel was the first to back down. A week after informing the president of the price increase, Roger Blough returned to the White House to surrender.

11--Vote no on the Italian constitutional referendum!

12--CEOs, Wall Street to drive Trump economic policy

President-elect Donald Trump announced Friday that he was setting up a panel of top bankers, hedge fund bosses and corporate CEOs to advise him on economic policy once he takes office in January. He named Stephen A. Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone Group, as the chairman of the panel.
Schwarzman is worth upwards of $10 billion, derived from a Wall Street career that included becoming a partner at Lehman Brothers at age 31, then leaving with his boss Peter Peterson to found Blackstone Group in 1985, which specialized in mergers and acquisitions. In other words, the chairman of Trump’s “jobs panel” has made his fortune buying and selling companies, creating “shareholder value” by wiping out the jobs and living standards of tens of thousands of workers.

The other members of Trump’s economic policy panel are a Who’s Who of Wall Street and corporate America: Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase; Laurence Fink of BlackRock, another huge hedge fund; Mary Barra of General Motors; Doug McMillion, President and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores; Adebayo Ogunlesi, lead independent director of Goldman Sachs; Bob Iger of Walt Disney Co.; Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM; former Boeing CEO Jim McNerney; and former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, among others.

Trump appointed the forum only hours after appearing at a campaign-style rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he engaged in endless social demagogy, claiming to defend the “American worker” and vowing that “A shrinking workforce and flat wages are not going to be the new normal.”
His “jobs panel,” however, consists largely of CEOs and speculators whose personal wealth is bound up directly with slashing jobs and wages and imposing brutal conditions on the working class...

Trump has held up the supposed “saving” of the jobs of 1,100 workers at the Carrier plant in Indianapolis as the first victory of his new administration, touring the plant Thursday and citing it at the Cincinnati rally. But the core of the economic program he advanced during the election was a $6 trillion tax cut for the wealthy and big business.
He rejected criticism that he had appointed millionaires and billionaires to his cabinet, saying, “One of the networks said, why would he put on a billionaire at Commerce? Well, that’s because this guy knows how to make money, folks.” The billionaire in question, Wilbur Ross, made his fortune buying and closing steel mills, putting steelworkers out of work, and dumping the pensions of retired workers into the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, which pays only a fraction of what these workers actually earned in a lifetime in the mills.
The Trump cabinet will be the wealthiest in American history even if he fills the remaining vacancies with paupers. One published estimate is that those appointed so far have a combined fortune of $35 billion, including Trump himself, Ross, and Betsy DeVos of the Amway company fortune, named as secretary of education...

Transition aide Anthony Scaramucci, himself the founder and co-managing partner of investment firm SkyBridge Capital, denounced what he called the “demonization of success … If people in the United States have lived the American dream and have been able to amass that kind of wealth, well certainly they’re super talented, or in what the president-elect says, they're actually ‘killers.‘”
He continued, “I really want to push back very strongly on this whole billionaire criticism. Why is it so bad to be a billionaire, okay?”

13---12. Republicans saw last chance to save America. This apocalyptic view was held by a majority of Trump voters. “Six in ten (60%) Republicans and 66% of Trump voters believe the election represented the last opportunity to arrest America’s decline, while only 29% of Democrats and 22% of Clinton voters embrace this view,” the pollsters said. “More than two-thirds (68%) of Democrats and 76% of Clinton voters reject this idea. The views of political independents closely resemble those of the public overall.”

13. Working-class whites split on doomsday scenario. Not everybody who lacked a college degree thought America was facing a do-or-die moment, but many did. “Nearly half (49%) of white working-class Americans believe the election was the last chance to stop America’s decline, while about as many (50%) disagree,” PRRI said. “Fewer than three in ten (27%) white college-educated Americans believe the election was the last chance to stop America’s decline.”

14. Media bias was biggest problem seen by voters.That was seen as the biggest problem (33 percent) with the election, followed by the influence of wealthy Americans and corporations (24 percent), low-voter participation (16 percent), voter suppression (7 percent) and voter fraud concerns (6 percent). Republicans said media bias was the biggest problem, while Democrats said it was the undue influence of big money.

8. Working class whites most excited with results. This isn’t a new analysis, but PRRI found an intriguing twist. The most pleased people in 2016 were the ones most disappointed with Mitt Romney’s loss to President Obama in 2012. “A majority of white working-class Americans say they feel satisfied (26%) or excited (26%) about Trump’s electoral victory. In contrast, fewer than four in ten white college-educated Americans say they feel satisfied (20%) or excited (17%). In 2012, only about one in three white working-class Americans reported feeling either excited (12%) or satisfied (23%) about Obama’s reelection. More than six in ten said they were disappointed (29%), worried (29%), or angry (4%).”

14-- full speech Trump thank you tour

15--The 2016 Election: The Last Chance to Stop America’s Decline?

16--Is yellen trying to crash the market for Trump

17-- Goldman Sachs is the big Dow winner of the Trump rally

18--Trump's "chilling" speech

Trump boasted about his deal to keep about 1,100 Carrier jobs in Indiana, and also took aim at other companies who may be thinking about moving jobs out of the country.

"Companies are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences. Not going to happen. It's not going to happen, I'll tell you right now," Trump said on Thursday.

"We certainly don't want to take as our guide to creating jobs special tax breaks for a company that earned $7.5 billion in profits last year, got $6 billion in defense contracts, paid its top five executives $50 million, in order to preserve 1,000 out of 2,100 jobs," said Shapiro.

"It's essentially a transfer from the taxpayers of Indiana, who are providing these tax breaks, to the shareholders of United Technology plus those 1,000 workers. That's really not a model for creating jobs across America," he added.

19--Bill Black on Trump

DONALD TRUMP: The establishment has trillions of dollars at stake in this election. For those who control the levers of power in Washington and for the global special interests, they partner with these people that don’t have your good in mind....

BILL BLACK: Right. And this will be another one of those promises and such, and so these key appointees for Commerce and Treasury are folks that have worked closely in the past with the Paulsons of the world, and the George Soros of the world, who is the Great Demon, according to Trump, but these are allies of Soros.

IndyMac was one of the most notorious fraudulent lenders in America. It specialized in making liar’s loans – and again, I want to emphasize that there’s testimony in front of the Federal Reserve by the top attorney generals, state attorney generals, who investigated these kinds of frauds. And they said that overwhelmingly the frauds came from the lenders, as opposed to the borrowers. And the incidence of fraud in these liar’s loans, according to the industry’s own anti-fraud experts, was 90%. So, what did these and Goldman Sachs decide to do? Well, create a fund to buy this most-notorious fraudulent entity, and did they do it so they could provide recompense to the victims of the fraud, the borrowers? No, of course not. They did it so that they could start this aggressive wave of foreclosing on the fraudulently originated loans – double-victimizing the people that took out these loans.

And so they are probably the most notorious foreclosure in the United States and there are complaints saying that they did this disproportionately with regard to blacks and Latinos. But that would also follow naturally from being a specialist in liar’s loans, because they frequently, particularly in the last couple of years, 2006 and the first half of 2007, deliberately targeted blacks and Latinos for those kinds of loan fraud


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