Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Today's links

1--The ground cut out from under them--The Uneasy Politician: Janet Yellen Is Struggling to Fend Off the Fed’s Many Critics

Under fire from Republicans and President Trump, the chairwoman has struggled to win over skeptical members of Congress and fend off calls for greater oversight

Central bankers have long argued for independence from political pressure.....

“The Fed is in serious trouble, no question about it,” said Camden Fine, president of the Independent Community Bankers of America. Ms. Yellen “is going to have to kick into hyperdrive to try to mend fences and improve relations with both sides of the aisle.”...

The political landscape has eroded for the Fed in recent years, and Ms. Yellen has struggled to confront the challenge.
Once revered as the masterminds of the U.S. economy, Fed policy makers now face the most intense political scrutiny in a generation. The path of monetary policy, which is emerging from a decade of basement-level rates, is being debated in the political arena in a way not seen since the Paul Volcker era in the 1980s....

Proposals to more tightly oversee the Fed have been a staple since the financial crisis. Opposition from the Obama administration meant they had little chance of becoming law. That backstop is now gone.
To compensate, Ms. Yellen has tried to build alliances in the Republican-controlled Congress. But her closest relationships on Capitol Hill are with Democrats, including liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), with whom she has spoken more than any other lawmaker....

“Suddenly, everybody is looking around going, ‘Holy cow, maybe they’re serious,’ ” about Fed-related legislation, said Rep. Bill Huizenga (R., Mich.), the former chairman of the House Monetary Policy Subcommittee who has sponsored a measure to overhaul the Fed. “We are serious. We’ve been serious.”...

The financial crisis, however, battered the Fed’s credibility. Many lawmakers and some economists want more information about how the central bank operates and what it may do in the future....

“One of the problems the Fed has had…was breaking through and speaking to ordinary people and convincing them that what it’s been doing is in their interest as well,” said former Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn. “She needs to keep working on that.”

2--If  Americans Truly Cared About Muslims, They Would Stop Killing Them by the Millions

Donald Trump’s racist executive order directly affects about 20,000 people, according to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees. President Obama killed an estimated 50,000 Libyans in 2011, although the U.S. officially does not admit it snuffed out the life of a single civilian. The First Black President is responsible for each of the half-million Syrians that have died since he launched his jihadist-based war against that country, the same year. Total casualties inflicted on the populations of the seven targeted nations since the U.S. backed Iraq in its 1980s war against Iran number at least four million -- a bigger holocaust than the U.S. inflicted on Southeast Asia, two generations ago -- when the U.S. State Department first established its “dissent channel.”

But, where is the peace movement? Instead of demanding a halt to the carnage that creates tidal waves of refugees, self-styled “progressives” join in the macabre ritual of demonizing the “countries of concern” that have been targeted for attack, a process that U.S. history has color-coded with racism and Islamophobia. These imperial citizens then congratulate themselves on being the world’s one and only “exceptional” people, because they deign to accept the presence of a tiny portion of the populations the U.S. has mauled

3--Freedom Rider: Trump is the Less Effective Evil

The Trump team’s amateurishness turned the immigration ban into a public relations problem. They did not anticipate popular outcry, demonstrators converging on airports and lawsuits filed to protect people who just 24 hours earlier were legally able to enter the country.....The ham fisted Donald Trump did what others have done before him. He benefited from policies enacted by predecessors and gave himself wider latitude to carry out human rights abuses. Bush claimed a right to indefinitely detain anyone he considered a terror suspect. Obama took this doctrine one step further. He claimed and acted upon a right to kill anyone he deemed a terror suspect. The NSEERS policy which subjected men from 25 countries to travel restrictions and extra scrutiny began with Bush but was continued under Obama for two years. ...

The Democrats’ treachery and ineptitude which brought Trump to power has still not been discussed thoroughly and should be on the agenda for any and all discussions.

4--Trump's heartland voters shrug off global uproar over immigration ban

5--Reuters poll: Near-majority agrees with Trump’s travel ban, 49/41

6--Majority support for immigration ban before and after media blitz. Media blitz has no impact

JUDY WOODRUFF: A Pew poll out earlier this month showed, what, by 48 to 42 percent, people supported this. (immigration ban)

AMY WALTER: Yes, this is actually — this is a Quinnipiac poll that came out earlier this month.
And they said very specifically support or oppose suspending immigration from terror-prone areas, right, sounds very familiar, even if it means turning away refugees. So, they put that in there as well — 48 percent approved.

But, as you know, Judy, the world that we live in right now, not surprisingly, 72 percent of Republicans supported it. Only 24 percent of Democrats said they supported it, and independents closely divided. And such we have the world that we’re going to inhabit, it looks like, for the foreseeable future.

7--NATO buildup on Russia's border

8--Yemen: America’s Shame

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