Jul 182019
 


Mathew Brady Abe Lincoln 1864

 

Showdown With Trump Looms As House Votes To Block Arms Sale To Saudi Arabia (AP)
House Votes Down Democrat’s Bid To Impeach Trump Over Recent Tweets (AP)
Feds End Investigation Into Trump Org And Hush Money Payments (CNN)
Foreign Purchases Of US Homes Plunge 36%, Chinese Flee The Market (CNBC)
New Zealand’s Armour-Plated Housing Bubble (Hickey)
Extraordinary Collapse In Home Ownership In Sydney And Melbourne (SMH)
Paradigm Shifts (Ray Dalio)
Ray Dalio Says Gold Top Investment During Upcoming ‘Paradigm Shift’ (CNBC)
US Removes Turkey From F-35 Program After S-400 Purchase From Russia (R.)
Chelsea Manning’s Daily Fines for Grand Jury Resistance Increase to $1000 (SP)

 

 

It’s showdowns all the way down. It would be good if they can do this one with a bit more smart. But they’re losing everything so far, so no high hopes. Of course it’s beyond gross to be chanting “send her home” at a rally. But he’s winning it all and they are not. The Democrats need a plan, they need brains, they need to organize.

Showdown With Trump Looms As House Votes To Block Arms Sale To Saudi Arabia (AP)

Congress is heading for a showdown with President Donald Trump after the House voted to block his administration from selling weapons and aircraft maintenance support to Saudi Arabia. The Democratic-led House on Wednesday passed the first of three resolutions of disapproval, 238-190, with votes on the others to immediately follow. Trump has actively courted an alliance with Riyadh and has pledged to veto the resolutions. The Senate cleared the measures last month, although by margins well short of making them veto proof. Overturning a president’s veto requires a two-thirds majority. The arms package is worth an estimated $8.1 billion and includes precision guided munitions, other bombs, ammunition, and aircraft maintenance support.

Read more …

Very predictable and therefore very stupid. It’s no time to start fights you can’t possibly win.

House Votes Down Democrat’s Bid To Impeach Trump Over Recent Tweets (AP)

The House easily killed a maverick Democrat’s effort Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump for his recent racial insults against lawmakers of color, in a vote that provided an early snapshot of just how divided Democrats are over trying to oust him in the shadow of the 2020 elections. Democrats leaned against the resolution by Texas Rep. Al Green by about a 3-2 margin as the chamber killed the measure 332-95. The vote showed that so far, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been successful in her effort to prevent a Democratic stampede toward impeachment before additional evidence is developed that could win over a public that has so far been skeptical about ousting Trump.

Even so, the numbers also showed that the number of Democrats open to impeachment remains substantial. About two dozen more conversions would split the party’s caucus in half over an issue that could potentially dominate next year’s presidential and congressional campaigns. “There’s a lot of grief, from a lot of different quarters,” Green, speaking to reporters after the vote, said of the reaction he’s received from colleagues. “But sometimes you just have to take a stand.” Every voting Republican favored derailing Green’s measure.

Pelosi and other party leaders considered his resolution a premature exercise that needlessly forced vulnerable swing-district lawmakers to cast a perilous and divisive vote. It also risked deepening Democrats’ already raw rift over impeachment, dozens of the party’s most liberal lawmakers itching to oust Trump. Recent polling has shown solid majorities oppose impeachment. Even if the Democratic-run House would vote to impeach Trump, the equivalent of filing formal charges, a trial by the Republican-led Senate would all but certainly acquit him, keeping him in office.

Read more …

And here’s another loss. It doesn’t stop.

Feds End Investigation Into Trump Org And Hush Money Payments (CNN)

Federal prosecutors in New York have ended their investigation into the Trump Organization’s role in hush money payments made to women who alleged affairs with President Donald Trump and have been ordered by a judge to release additional information connected to their related probe of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, according to court documents filed Wednesday. CNN reported Friday that the Manhattan US Attorney’s office had approached the end of its investigation of the Trump Organization and wasn’t poised to charge any executives involved in the company’s effort to reimburse Cohen for money he paid to silence one of the women. That payment constituted an illegal campaign contribution, according to prosecutors. Trump has denied the affair allegations.

“The campaign finance violations discussed in the Materials are a matter of national importance,” US District Court Judge William Pauley wrote in his decision. “Now that the Government’s investigation into those violations has concluded, it is time that every American has an opportunity to scrutinize the Materials.” Pauley ordered a copy of the government’s July status report and copies of search warrant materials from the Cohen case to be filed publicly with very limited redactions by Thursday at 11 a.m. ET. The conclusion of federal prosecutors’ investigation of the Trump company’s role in the Cohen matter marks a significant victory for the President’s family business, although it likely doesn’t come as a complete surprise.

There had been no contact between the Manhattan US Attorney’s office and officials at the Trump Organization in more than five months, CNN reported Friday. A lawyer for Trump, Jay Sekulow, said: “We are pleased that the investigation surrounding these ridiculous campaign finance allegations is now closed. We have maintained from the outset that the President never engaged in any campaign finance violation.”

Read more …

I see many Chinese tourists here in Athens. And often think Beijing can’t let that trend continue, because these people can’t pay for their trips in yuan. But yes, it’s easier to start with halting the outflow of larger amounts.

Foreign Purchases Of US Homes Plunge 36%, Chinese Flee The Market (CNBC)

Challenging conditions in the U.S. housing market, along with tighter currency controls by the Chinese government, caused a stunning drop in foreign demand for American homes. The dollar volume of homes purchased by foreign buyers from April 2018 through March 2019 dropped 36% from the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtors. The decline was due to a drop in the number and average price of purchases. Foreigners bought 183,100 properties with a total value of about $77.9 billion, down from 266,800 valued at $121 billion in the previous period. They paid a median price of $280,600, which is higher than the median for all existing homebuyers ($259,600), but it was down from $290,400 the previous year.


“A confluence of many factors — slower economic growth abroad, tighter capital controls in China, a stronger U.S. dollar and a low inventory of homes for sale — contributed to the pullback of foreign buyers,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “However, the magnitude of the decline is quite striking, implying less confidence in owning a property in the U.S.” The Chinese were the leading buyers for the seventh consecutive year, purchasing an estimated $13.4 billion worth of residential property. Yet that was a 56% decline from the previous 12 months and comparatively the biggest percentage drop of all foreign buyers. Chinese economic growth slowed to 6.3% in 2019 compared with 6.9% in 2017, when the previous buyer survey began. The Chinese government also tightened its grip on the outflow of cash to purchase foreign property.

Read more …

New Zealand housing, like Australia and Vancouver, depends on the Chinese too.

New Zealand’s Armour-Plated Housing Bubble (Hickey)

New Zealanders usually welcome the praise when overseas authorities describe us as the best in the world. This time, not so much. In the past fortnight, global economic news authorities The Economist and Bloomberg Economics have both declared New Zealand houses to be vastly over-valued relative to both rents and incomes. They describe New Zealand as in bubble territory similar to those seen in other countries before the Global Financial Crisis and vulnerable to the sort of 30-40 percent price crash seen in the likes of Ireland and parts of the US through 2007 to 2010. The Economist’s long-running Global House Price Index was refreshed on June 27 with March quarter data for most countries and showed New Zealand top of the pops when it came to over-valuation relative to incomes and second most over-valued relative to rents behind Canada.

It found New Zealand prices in the December quarter of 2018 to be 57 percent over-valued relative to rents, just above Australia’s 42 percent overvalued in the March quarter. New Zealand was 113 percent over-valued relative to rents, just behind Canada’s 120 percent, The Economist found. New Zealand prices have more than trebled since 1990, while British and American prices are still less than double what they were 30 years ago. “On this basis, house prices appear to be on an unsustainable path in Australia, Canada and New Zealand,” The Economist wrote. “Ten years ago they reached similarly dizzying heights against rents and incomes in Spain, Ireland and some American cities, only to endure a brutal collapse,” it concluded.

[..] New Zealand’s housing market is now worth NZ$1.13 trillion, which is up by more than $1 trillion from NZ$123 billion in 1990. The increase is more than triple because there are more houses with more extras (decks/garages/rooms) added on. That’s $1 trillion in untaxed capital gains, which at the top marginal rate would have generated extra tax revenues of $330 billion, or enough to build nearly 700,000 new state houses or fund the next 14 years of New Zealand Superannuation payments. Our housing market is worth 3.9 times our GDP and more than 7.2 times the value of our stock market. For comparison sake, Australia’s housing market is worth A$6.6 trillion or 3.5 times Australia’s GDP and 3.3 times the value of its stock market. America’s housing market is worth US$33.3 trillion or 1.6 times US GDP and 1.5 times the value of the US stock market.

Read more …

Governments like bubbles.

Extraordinary Collapse In Home Ownership In Sydney And Melbourne (SMH)

The number of people owning their home outright has collapsed by a third as house prices have soared four-fold over the past two decades, leaving a growing number of older Australians shackled to mortgages as they head into retirement. In the mid-1990s, almost 44 per cent of people in NSW owned their home outright, but according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics this has now fallen to just 29.7 per cent. At the same time, the proportion of people in NSW with a mortgage has jumped by more than 30 per cent, with many of those heading towards their retirement years. The swing from ownership to mortgage has occurred over the past 20 years as the median house price in Sydney lifted by 460 per cent, even taking into account the recent market softening.

It’s a similar story in Victoria, where in the mid-1990s more than 45 per cent of people were mortgage-free, but now that figure has fallen to just 31 per cent. Victorians are among the most exposed to changing interest rates, with more than 37 per cent of people holding a mortgage. Two decades ago less than 30 per cent held a housing debt with their bank. Over the same period, the median house price in Melbourne has soared from $126,131 to $806,000. The Northern Territory has the smallest proportion of people who own their home outright, at just 17 per cent. Among the states, just 27 per cent of residents in Queensland and Western Australia enjoy life without a mortgage or rental payments.

Read more …

Dalio channels Minsky: stability leads to instability. He must be aware of that.

Paradigm Shifts (Ray Dalio)

There are always big unsustainable forces that drive the paradigm. They go on long enough for people to believe that they will never end even though they obviously must end. A classic one of those is an unsustainable rate of debt growth that supports the buying of investment assets; it drives asset prices up, which leads people to believe that borrowing and buying those investment assets is a good thing to do. But it can’t go on forever because the entities borrowing and buying those assets will run out of borrowing capacity while the debt service costs rise relative to their incomes by amounts that squeeze their cash flows. When these things happen, there is a paradigm shift.

Debtors get squeezed and credit problems emerge, so there is a retrenchment of lending and spending on goods, services, and investment assets so they go down in a self-reinforcing dynamic that looks more opposite than similar to the prior paradigm. This continues until it’s also overdone, which reverses in a certain way that I won’t digress into but is explained in my book Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises [..] Another classic example that comes to mind is that extended periods of low volatility tend to lead to high volatility because people adapt to that low volatility, which leads them to do things (like borrow more money than they would borrow if volatility was greater) that expose them to more volatility, which prompts a self-reinforcing pickup in volatility.

There are many classic examples like this that repeat over time that I won’t get into now. Still, I want to emphasize that understanding which types of paradigms exist and how they might shift is required to consistently invest well. That is because any single approach to investing—e.g., investing in any asset class, investing via any investment style (such as value, growth, distressed), investing in anything—will experience a time when it performs so terribly that it can ruin you.

Read more …

Think he means that for pension funds as well?

Ray Dalio Says Gold Top Investment During Upcoming ‘Paradigm Shift’ (CNBC)

Hedge fund kingpin Ray Dalio is seeing a case for gold as central banks get more aggressive with policies that devalue currencies and are about to cause a “paradigm shift” in investing. Dalio, founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, wrote in a LinkedIn post that investors have been pushed into stocks and other assets that have equity-like returns. As a result, too many people are holding these types of securities and likely to face diminishing returns. “I think these are unlikely to be good real returning investments and that those that will most likely do best will be those that do well when the value of money is being depreciated and domestic and international conflicts are significant, such as gold,” the Bridgewater Associates leader said.

“Additionally, for reasons I will explain in the near future, most investors are underweighted in such assets, meaning that if they just wanted to have a better balanced portfolio to reduce risk, they would have more of this sort of asset. For this reason, I believe that it would be both risk-reducing and return-enhancing to consider adding gold to one’s portfolio. I will soon send out an explanation of why I believe that gold is an effective portfolio diversifier.” [..] Dalio’s call comes two weeks before the Federal Reserve is expected to cut its benchmark interest rate by at least a quarter point. That move comes after a three-year cycle of raising rates from the historically accommodative near-zero levels implemented during the financial crisis.

The fresh trends are part of what he labeled a new “paradigm shift” that comes after the last one during the crisis. Investors, Dalio said, are going to need to change their mindset about what will work after the longest bull market run in Wall Street history. “In paradigm shifts, most people get caught overextended doing something overly popular and get really hurt,” he wrote. “On the other hand, if you’re astute enough to understand these shifts, you can navigate them well or at least protect yourself against them.”

Read more …

“Turkey makes more than 900 parts of the F-35..”

US Removes Turkey From F-35 Program After S-400 Purchase From Russia (R.)

The United States said on Wednesday that it was removing Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program, a move long threatened and expected after Ankara began accepting delivery of an advanced Russian missile defense system last week. The first parts of the S-400 air defense system were flown to the Murted military air base northwest of Ankara on Friday, sealing NATO ally Turkey’s deal with Russia, which Washington had struggled for months to prevent. “The U.S. and other F-35 partners are aligned in this decision to suspend Turkey from the program and initiate the process to formally remove Turkey from the program,” Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told a briefing.

Turkey’s foreign ministry said the move was unfair and could affect relations between the two countries. Lord said moving the supply chain for the advanced fighter jet would cost the United States between $500 million and $600 million in non-recurring engineering costs. Turkey makes more than 900 parts of the F-35, she said, adding the supply chain would transition from Turkish to mainly U.S. factories as Turkish suppliers are removed. “Turkey will certainly and regrettably lose jobs and future economic opportunities from this decision,” Lord said. “It will no longer receive more than $9 billion in projected work share related to the F-35 over the life of the program.”

The F-35 stealth fighter jet, the most advanced aircraft in the U.S. arsenal, is used by NATO and other U.S. allies. Washington is concerned that deploying the S-400 with the F-35 would allow Russia to gain too much inside information about the aircraft’s stealth system. “The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities,” the White House said in a statement earlier on Wednesday.

Read more …

One of my greatest heroes. She does what Muhammad Ali did.

Chelsea Manning’s Daily Fines for Grand Jury Resistance Increase to $1000 (SP)

Daily fines against Chelsea Manning for resisting a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks increased to $1000 on July 16. On May 16, Judge Anthony Trenga held Manning in civil contempt and ordered her to be sent back to the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria. The court also imposed a fine of $500 per day after 30 days, and then a fine of $1000 per day after 60 days. From June 16 to July 15, the court fined her $500/day. Those fines total $15,000. If Manning “persists in her refusal” for the next 15 months or until the grand jury’s term ends, her legal team says she will face a total amount of fines that is over $440,000. This excessive amount may violate her Eighth Amendment rights under the Constitution.


In May, Manning’s attorneys filed a motion challenging the harshness of the fines. The federal court has yet to rule on the motion or hold a hearing. The motion asserted there is no “appropriate coercive sanction” because Manning will never testify. She should be released from jail and relieved of all fines. “Ms. Manning has publicly articulated the moral basis for her refusal to comply with the grand jury subpoena, in statements to the press, in open court, and most recently, in a letter addressed to this court,” her attorneys stated. “She is suffering physically and psychologically, and is at the time of this writing in the process of losing her home as a result of her present confinement.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

Home Forums Debt Rattle July 18 2019

This topic contains 7 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  V. Arnold 2 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #48638

    Mathew Brady Abe Lincoln 1864   • Showdown With Trump Looms As House Votes To Block Arms Sale To Saudi Arabia (AP) • House Votes Down Democrat’s
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle July 18 2019]

    #48639

    V. Arnold
    Participant

    Mathew Brady Abe Lincoln 1864

    Lincoln; who was he? Surely not the one we were taught.
    Probably another we’ll probably never really know…

    #48641

    Dr. D
    Participant

    They hated Lincoln SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much. Everybody. His party, their party, the former party, slave owners, abolitionists, newpapers, the public, the Americans, the Irish, the bankers, generals, and insiders. Everybody. Familiar?

    Of course like MLK as soon as he was dead he was great, everybody loved him and everybody always had. That’s the honesty of men.

    #48642

    Dr. D
    Participant

    “Showdown with Trump Looms as House Votes to Block Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia (AP)”

    Pretty interesting and would be a pleasant change, especially to have Congress come about it for themselves, following only two men: Sanders and Paul. DJT as the CiC and put in by the military can’t really oppose the MiC more than he’s already doing by stopping 3 yummy, profitable, trillion dollar$$ war$. Noting that stopping S.A. is instantly ending the petrodollar the entire U.S. system is based on, and arguably causing a worldwide financial crisis worse than the Great Depression and WWII. But that is going to happen anyway, it’s just a matter of blame, if Congress wants to take it and be forever marked as the cause of a million (more) deaths. At the same time, Congress should try NOT to utterly ruin the U.S. economy by cutting off $8B in GDP. I’m sure they CAN do this by helping local industry, but they don’t care and WANT the U.S. economy to fail, as Bill Maher said last year. That’s not exactly a sell at the polls, in the rustbelt, and every. single. swing state, but it’s pretty clear they are opposing every possible attempt to help domestic business and create domestic jobs. Voting for peace and offsetting it with a $8B onshoring plan would go a long way to getting them in power, and I see no indication whatsoever that they care or want to do that. America is evilly evil with a side of evil and should be destroyed, along with all those evilly evil guys in Ohio still clinging to their Betsy Ross flag and outdated Constitution of dead white men. #NotWinning.

    “House Votes down Democrat’s Bid to Impeach Trump over Recent Tweets (AP)”

    What are they thinking? But worse, it was like 4:1 against. This CLEARLY signals Cheeto’s power and control to all outsiders who will now stop negotiating with you and start negotiating with HIM. Congratulations. And again, and again and again the lies: “Over recent tweets” Can you seriously tell me Green was not going to read this bill anyway after he had offered it like 5 times in the last two years? He had to have it planned beforehand since the tweets were like Friday. And again and again and again the lies: so what part of ridiculing opposition Congresswomen is a “High crime and misdemeanor?” AND you’d lose in the Senate, AND the people wouldn’t like it. It’s like Trump is paying them, and when they play out the script he’s writing, it AGAIN shows he has the power and they do not. If they were cohesive, Trump’s comments would have rolled off and their policy initiatives would have been in the news instead. Instead it shows they’re children throwing a tantrum and not in control of themselves, which is why black Congressman Emanuel Cleaver walked out on them in frustration for getting nothing done but symbolism.

    And again, no comments on how this was all a diversion from the 2nd nation asylum rule. Congratulations, worst. media. ever.

    “Feds End Investigation into Trump Org and Hush Money Payments (CNN)”

    Don’t worry: it will never, never end. Mueller’s grandchildren will investigate Eric’s great-grandchildren, forever and ever, amen. PS, if there were anything, they would have illegally leaked it.

    “Foreign Purchases of US Homes Plunge 36%, Chinese Flee the Market (CNBC)”

    Coincidentally NYC real estate down 30%. I don’t think they’re “fleeing”, I think they’d love to buy but can’t.

    “New Zealand’s Armour-Plated Housing Bubble (Hickey)”

    We will later have all these charts with the words “T u l i p s” overprinted on them. Houses are a dead loss in maintenance and taxes. The idea they are valuable above that constantly depreciating use is a ruinous fantasy. Ask the Millennials, they — your children — are the ones who have been ruined by it. But in human nature, later on everybody will always have known it was a bubble and none of us good people were ever fooled by it, except they all were and bought cars and paved every inch of farmland as proof.

    “Chelsea Manning’s Daily Fines for Grand Jury Resistance Increase to $1000 (SP)”

    So using the 5th Amendment costs you $1,000 now? That’s how rights only exist for rich people. Gee, I though King George couldn’t compel testimony anymore. Weird how “Shall not infringe” means whatever the government feels like, and never have to repeal any Amendments to make it legal.

    “The real power in America is held by a fast-emerging new Oligarchy of pimps and preachers who see no need for Democracy or fairness or even trees, except maybe the ones in their own yards, and they don’t mind admitting it. They worship money and power and death. Their ideal solution to all the nation’s problems would be another 100 Year War.” ― Hunter S. Thompson

    #48644

    John Day
    Participant

    http://www.johndayblog.com/2019/07/blabbing-secrets.html
    Travis sends this Veterans Today article, regarding Turkish decision to “purchase” (installment plan) S-400 missile system from Russia.
    Firstly, it is the best. Secondly, Turkish troops will control it, not a NATO crew, as would control Patriot missiles.
    Thirdly, Russian intelligence saved Erdogan from the military coup the US/NATO backed against him in 2016.
    This story has more specific details than I had seen before.

    NEO – S-400 undermines the global military cabal

    Iranian Foreign minister Zarif is at the UN in New York this week, and Rand Paul has never pushed for war with Iran.
    ​ ​Over a round of golf this past weekend, Sen. Rand Paul asked President Donald Trump’s blessing for a sensitive diplomatic mission.
    Paul proposed sitting down with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to extend a fresh olive branch on the president’s behalf, according to four U.S. officials. The aim: to reduce tensions between the two countries. Trump signed off on the idea.
    https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/17/rand-paul-iran-talks-donald-trump-1418075

    CBS found some video of a party at Mar a Lago from 1992, with Donald Trump, Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislane Maxwell and a host of drunk hostesses, who were sure not teenagers. Make of it what you will, but Trump sure looked friendly with Epstein back then.
    (I really want to know what is being secretly negotiated for the Clintons. Epstein is rumored to have been instrumental in setting up the Clinton Global Initiative, before he got busted.)
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7256805/Video-shows-Donald-Trump-partying-Jeffery-Epstein-dozens-young-models-Ghislaine-Maxwell.html

    Here is a good article on the influence of vitamin D on cancer incidence and survival.
    (Vitamin D is good. Deficiency is bad, weakening the immune system, bones and doubling risk of heart attack and stroke by making arterial linings more prone to inflammation and blood clots. Buy a bunch of 5000 unit pills and take one per day unless you are a surf lifeguard and get plenty of sun.)
    http://www.orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v15n12.shtml

    #48645

    seychelles
    Participant

    “…the House voted to block his administration from selling weapons and aircraft maintenance support to Saudi Arabia.”

    Even if the resolution ever passes, these days it would be no guarantee that the sales and maintenance would not proceed. If “Mr. ZioGlobal” can get away with FASAB Statement 56, he can get away with anything.

    #48647

    ezlxa1949
    Participant

    Extraordinary Collapse In Home Ownership In Sydney And Melbourne

    The state and federal governments have no idea how to keep the party going except by the endless importation of people and yet more people, who are meant to take out mortgages and loans for housing, and thereby constantly transfuse and stimulate the stumbling economy.

    This is a Ponzi scheme. It will succeed until it doesn’t.

    Sydney and Melbourne have become seething antheaps of overstressed humanity. They have a huge and permanent arrears of infrastructure. Governments constantly make promises to fix it but never do — because they can’t. The system works against itself but the politicians and their galaxy of lobbyists simply cannot see that.

    #48648

    V. Arnold
    Participant

    The last item, a picture, sure looks like Jabba the Hut.
    Surprised nobody got that…

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