Thursday, February 9, 2017

Today's Links

Donald Trump:

“Unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct. You cannot have a foreign policy without diplomacy. A superpower understands that caution and restraint are really truly signs of strength. Although not in government service, I was totally against the war in Iraq, very proudly, saying for many years that it would destabilize the Middle East. Sadly, I was correct…

“My goal is to establish a foreign policy that will endure for several generations. That’s why I also look and have to look for talented experts with approaches and practical ideas, rather than surrounding myself with those who have perfect résumés but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war. We have to look to new people.”

1--Recession in 2017?


Its official! The spectacular Obama/Fed “recovery” produced no increase in real medin household income in 2016 (the last year of Obama’s reign of [economic] error). In fact, real median annual household income in December 2016 ($57,827) was 0.9 percent lower than in December 2015 ($58,356).

2--Trump issues orders to roll back bank regulations


3--Republican deficit hawks abandon their religion, Smirking Chimp


“According to the analysis of the Tax Policy Center at the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, (Trump’s) tax plan will reduce revenue by more than $9 trillion (close to 4 percent of GDP) over the course of the next decade. This tax cut plan would effectively add close to $800 billion to the annual deficit when it first takes effect, with the amount increasing over time……
“According to the Tax Policy Center, more than half of Trump’s tax cuts will go to the richest one percent of the population. The richest 0.1 percent will get tax cuts that average almost $1.5 million annually. The Trump tax cut is consistent with the fundamental principle of the Republican Party, and unfortunately many Democrats, of putting as much money as possible in the pockets of the rich.” (Republican deficit hawks abandon their religion, Smirking Chimp)
As you can see, most of the benefits from the proposed tax cuts go to the extremely rich. How does that fit with Trump’s campaign promise:
“I am proposing an across-the-board income-tax reduction, especially for middle-income Americans…The tax relief will be concentrated on the working and middle-class taxpayer. They will receive the biggest benefit – it won’t even be close.”

4--Optimism Is a Casualty in Campaign 2016, Wall Street Journal 


“In a new survey by the Pew Research Council, half of the registered voters surveyed (51%) said they think the future for the next generation will be worse, while just 24% said life will be better for the next generation. The survey indicated this pessimistic sentiment is spread across racial and economic lines.”



5--Trump blurts out the truth about US killings and the media goes wild


Citing unnamed administration officials, the Wall Street Journal spelled this policy out on Monday: “The administration is exploring ways to break Russia’s military and diplomatic alliance with Iran... The emerging strategy seeks to reconcile President Donald Trump’s seemingly contradictory vows to improve relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and to aggressively challenge the military presence of Iran.”

Trump’s chief White House strategist and adviser, Stephen Bannon, a student and admirer of Adolf Hitler, no doubt views the administration’s pivot toward Moscow through the historical prism of the Stalin-Hitler pact, which set the stage for the Second World War, a war that ultimately claimed 20 million Soviet lives....

Within the US political establishment and Washington’s vast military and intelligence apparatus, there exists sharp opposition to Trump’s turn in foreign policy. Immense political, military and financial resources have been invested in the buildup against Russia, from the coup in Ukraine to the deployment of thousands of US and NATO troops on Russia’s western border. There are concerns within ruling circles that a shift in imperialist strategy is reckless and poses serious dangers.

While popular attention and outrage have been focused on Trump’s anti-democratic executive orders imposing a ban on Muslims and refugees, ordering a wall built on the southern border, and laying the groundwork for a mass dragnet against undocumented immigrant workers, within the ruling class a serious fight is being waged over global imperialist strategy.
This fight over policy is between two bands of cutthroats, each of which is committed to an escalation of US militarism to further the profit interests of the US-based banks and transnational corporations. Whichever one wins out, the threat of world war, rooted in the crisis of global capitalism, will only grow.

6--Putin Signs Law on Ratifying Deal With Ankara on Turkish Stream Gas Pipeline


7--Provoking Iran


8--“The last thing we need is a relaxation of regulation,” Mr Draghi said.


“The fact that we are not seeing....significant financial stability risk is the reward of the action of supervisors.... Nowadays financial intermediaries are strong. The idea of repeating the conditions of before the crisis is very worrisome.”


9--Obama's parting gift; Another effing recession Back Below “Stall Speed”: 2016 Economy Matches Worst Year since Great Recession



For the year 2016, the growth rate dropped to 1.6%. It was worse even than 2013, when GDP growth tottered along at 1.7%. And it matched the growth rate in 2011. Both 2016 and 2011 were the worst since 2009 when the US was in the middle of the Great Recession:

In fact, over the past 50 years, anytime the economy grew less than 2% in a year, it was either already in a recession for part of the year, or there’d be a recession the following year. Hence “stall speed” – a speed that is too slow to keep the economy from stalling altogether.

So stall speed for the year. But this time it’s different. This is the third year since the Great Recession when GDP growth dropped below 2%. The Fed’s policies of eight years of cheap credit have entailed soaring debt levels among companies, governments, and consumers – money borrowed from tomorrow that was spent today. Borrowing for productive investment is one thing. Borrowing for consumption is another: it boosts GDP but creates a debt overhang with no productive assets that generate income to service that debt in the future; that debt service for prior consumption then acts as a burden on future consumption.

And the Fed’s policies also created rampant asset price inflation, including house price inflation that supported a construction boom while gutting middle-class budgets. But spending on soaring rents and certain other housing costs also enters into GDP, and so it’s all for the good.
This weird condition – the magic world of QE and ZIRP – has blocked the essential process of economic and financial cleansing back in 2009, but has also kept the economy from taking off afterwards. And so it’s wobbling along, over-indebted and heavily encumbered, with nearly all assets overpriced, kept aloft below stall speed on a monetary wing and a prayer

10--The new normal?  Biderman


11--No stopping Nordstream


12--Trump more honest than media?

media loses monopoly over information

13--Why they hate us


14--Syria--The biggest lie of our time


15--Cage Match; Trump vs Yellen


16--At home and abroad, Obama’s trail of disasters


As a political leader, Obama has been a disaster for his party. Since his inauguration in 2009, roughly 1,100 elected Democrats nationwide have been ousted by Republicans. Democrats lost their majorities in the US House and Senate. They now hold just 18 of the 50 governorships, and only 31 of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers. After eight years under Obama, the GOP is stronger than at any time since the 1920s, and the outgoing president’s party is in tatters.


In almost every respect, Obama leaves behind a trail of failure and disappointment...

In 2010, two years after electing him president, voters trounced Obama’s party, handing Democrats the biggest midterm losses in 72 years. Obama was reelected in 2012, but by nearly 4 million fewer votes than in his first election, making him the only president ever to win a second term with shrunken margins in both the popular and electoral vote...
http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2017/02/07/trump-at-the-crossroads/

The economy. Obama took office during a painful recession and (with Congress’s help) made it even worse. Historically, the deeper a recession, the more robust the recovery that follows, but the economy’s rebound under Obama was the worst in seven decades. Annual GDP growth since the recession ended has averaged a feeble 2.1 percent, by far the puniest economic performance of any president since World War II. Obama spent more public funds on “stimulus” than all previous stimulus programs combined, with wretched, counterproductive results. On his watch, millions of additional Americans fell below the poverty line. The number of food stamp recipients soared. The national debt doubled to an incredible $20 trillion. According to the Pew Research Center, the share of young adults (18- to 34-year-olds) living in their parents’ homes is the highest it has been since the Great Depression.

In 2008, when Obama was first elected president, 63 percent of Americans considered themselves middle class. Seven years later, only 51 percent still felt the same way. Obama argues energetically that his economic policies have delivered prosperity and employment. Countless people disagree — including many who aren’t Republican.....

According to Gallup, Obama became the most polarizing president in modern history..

Obama’s accession in 2008 as the nation’s first elected black president was an achievement that even Republicans and conservatives could cheer. It marked a moment of hope and transformation; it genuinely did change America for the better.
It was also the high point of Obama’s presidency. What followed, alas, was eight long years of disenchantment and incompetence. Our world today is more dangerous, our country more divided, our national mood more toxic. In a few days, Donald Trump will become the 45th president of the United States. Behold the legacy of the 44th.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2017/01/08/home-and-abroad-obama-trail-disasters/YOaU1KuAT3hSHaGHkmGCeN/story.html

According to Gallup, Obama became the most polarizing president in modern history..

Obama’s accession in 2008 as the nation’s first elected black president was an achievement that even Republicans and conservatives could cheer. It marked a moment of hope and transformation; it genuinely did change America for the better.
It was also the high point of Obama’s presidency. What followed, alas, was eight long years of disenchantment and incompetence. Our world today is more dangerous, our country more divided, our national mood more toxic. In a few days, Donald Trump will become the 45th president of the United States. Behold the legacy of the 44th.

17--Corporate America Is Drowning in Debt


18--Obama continues to arm terrorists


Til the very end



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