By Lambert Strether of Corrente
“Canadian Ambassador to the United States David MacNaughton says officials in Ottawa are approaching a proposed renegotiation of NAFTA with a positive attitude rather than a confrontational one and are looking forward to modernizing the pact — but that doesn’t mean they’re going to let President Donald Trump and the new administration get everything they want” [Politico]. “As for their own demands, Canadian officials are focused less on issues of leverage and more on areas where both sides can benefit, MacNaughton said. ‘It’s not a matter of figuring out how one can get the better of the other, because our economies are so integrated that we’re focused in on things that will benefit us both, like freer movement of labor,’ [MacNaughton] said.” “[F]reer movement of labor”?
“Can Trump Match Xi Jinping’s Game?” [The New Yorker]. “Not in Beijing’s wildest dreams did they imagine a counterpart with Kushner’s characteristics: trusted by the President, overworked, and undertrained…. China has not assigned a novice to handle the world’s most complex bilateral relationship, but it will not object if America is inclined to do so.”
Trump should talk to this guy:
What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict? Obama needs Congressional approval.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2013
“America can’t save Syria. And it shouldn’t try” [The Week]. “[W]e know very little about what is actually happening in Syria. We are at the mercy of propagandists just to get basic information.”
“How Does Media Know What Happened In Syria Chemical Attack?” [ShadowProof]. A look at the sourcing. “The truth is hard to come by because both the Syrian regime and several of the militant groups involved in the opposition have records of spreading propaganda and manipulating facts. It is up to the press to be more careful in scrutinizing information so the country does not become further destroyed by the deployment of more military forces, even if those forces are supposedly humanitarian.”
“Washington’s Supreme Hypocrisy on Chemical Weapons and Civilian Deaths” [Informed Comment]. “The use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Army in Idlib is an atrocity and the pictures of dead children tug at the heart. But the outrage of American politicians inside the beltway about it draws on the myths of American exceptionalism and Alzheimer’s of the political memory. It is also very suspicious in that the loudest voices of sympathy are the ones closest to the US military industrial complex, which has been regretting the missed opportunity of a Syria War.” But in Yemen and Mosul and whereever drones strike, dead children are jake with the angels.
“WMDs In The UNSC – History Repeats Itself, First As Tragedy, Second As Farce” [Moon of Alabama]. It’s deja vu all over again…
“With each passing day our new president is discovering that every big problem he faces is like Obamacare — if there were a good, easy solution it would have been found already, and even the less good solutions are more than his own party is ready to pay for or the country is ready to tolerate” [Thomas Friedman, New York Times]. “Would have been found already…” Like single payer? Anyhow, lest we forget:
May 29, 2003. And Friedman still has a job!
New Cold War
“House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) temporarily recused himself Thursday from all matters related to the committee’s ongoing probe into Russian interference in the presidential election, as House investigators look into ethics charges against him” [WaPo].
“Senate Republicans go ‘nuclear,’ pave the way for Gorsuch confirmation to Supreme Court” [WaPo]. Of course, if the Democrats had used the “nuclear option” to pass Medicare for All in 2009, they’d have an FDR-style lock on the electorate right now. But n-o-o-o-o-o. It took Harry Reid until 2013 to touch the filibuster, and that was for judicial nominations, too. Use it or lose it, Democrats.
“Joe Biden Is Writing a Book About the Year His Son Beau Died” [Time].
2016 Post Mortem
“Hillary Clinton’s Fashion Model Nephew Knows How to Strike a Pose” [Time].
Realignment and Legitimacy
“Exclusive Interview: Nina Turner on the Ongoing Fight for the Populace” [Progressive Army].
UPDATE “Ignoring The People – Where The Left Of The Aisle Side Fails” [Moon of Alabama]. “Since the election the U.S. Democrats have been outraged over Trump and obsessed by “Putin did it” conspiracy theories. What they did not do was to assess why the Clinton campaign failed, why the party has lost seats all over the country over the last eight years and why the formerly core Democratic constituency voted for Trump. The reason for that are straightforward and simple. Trump promised jobs, less globalization, less war and less obsession with social matters of marginal interest. Stuff that workers outside of the coastal cities like. The Clinton campaign was mealy mouthed on policies except for some special peoples’ “right” of using the other genders toilet facilities. Her campaign was solely built on bashing Trump and it failed.”
“Democrats are still ignoring the people who could have helped them defeat Trump, Ohio party leaders say” [WaPo]. That’s not a bug, it’s a feature. More from Mahoning County.
“My Most Unpopular Idea: Be Nice to Trump Voters” [Nicholas Kristof, New York Times]. Plenty of eliminationist rhetoric from liberal goodthinkers. 2016 was wonderfully clarifying, as I keep saying.
“Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff Raises $8.3M: [Roll Call]. “95 percent of first quarter donations came from out of state.”
“The Resistance Didn’t Turn Out Many Votes in LA’s First Post-Trump Primary” [Fusion]. But apparently turnout was low across the board; nobody did well, including the Berniecrats.
“Greens, GOP team up to sue Democrats” [Metro (JE)]. Not a good look, IMNSHO. IIRC, PA Greens took Republican constributions, which New York’s Ursula Rozum was smart enough not to do.
“Paul Ryan Eager to Talk About Taxes, ‘Hillbilly Elegy'” [Roll Call]. Ryan needs to find his own woods to wander around in. And notice the J.D. Vance “Hillbilly Elegy” love. I don’t think Paul Ryan’s going to be name-checking Chris Arnade anytime soon.
Jobless Claims, week of April 1, 2017: Below consensus [Econoday]. “A last look at the labor market before tomorrow’s employment report is very positive.” And:
After two successive weeks above 250,000 which created some speculation that the jobs market could be cooling slightly, the latest data will reinforce confidence in the labour market. The evidence still suggests that companies are reluctant to shed staff, especially in view of skills shortages” [Economic Calendar]. And so: “Conclusion: None of the indicators alone is very good at predicting the initial BLS employment report. The ADP report suggests another strong report, however the ISM surveys suggest weaker job growth. Weekly unemployment claims suggest weaker job growth, and the weather impact appears to be negative. I’ll break with my recent ‘over’ picks, and take the ‘under’ for March” [Calculated Risk].
Challenger Job-Cut Report, March 2017: “in line with trend and points to stable conditions in the labor market ahead of tomorrow’s employment report” [Econoday]. And but: “Job cuts announced by US-based employers rose 17 percent from the February total of 36,957 to 43,310 in March” [Econintersect].
Gallup Good Jobs Rate, March 2017: “at its highest point since November 2016” [Econoday].
Chain Store Sales, March 2017: “Chain stores are reporting mostly weaker rates of year-on-year sales in March than in February which is a negative indication for the ex-auto ex-gas reading of the monthly retail sales report” [Econoday]. “Heavy weather and delays in this year’s tax refunds are negative factors for March.”
Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of April 2, 2017: “Recovered 5 tenths of the prior week’s 1.6 percentage point fall that followed the Trump administration’s unsuccessful effort to repeal Obamacare” [Econoday]. “The index is near the best levels of the 7-1/2 year expansion.” Expansion? Huh? Is that like a recovery?
Real Estate: “Black Knight Financial Services reported that in Q4 of 2016 44 percent of refinances were cash-outs” [Dr. Housing Bubble]. “This percentage was the highest level of cash-outs in the last eight years. What was happening eight years ago? The housing market was imploding in epic fashion and nearly 8 million people lost their homes to foreclosure.”
Retail: “Costco Wholesale Corp. COST +1.45% admits to being slow to embrace online sales, but anyone who has shipped a one-gallon jug of mayonnaise can understand why” [Wall Street Journal]. “The wholesaling giant is taking a contrarian stance on e-commerce… Costco’s measured stance is backed by strong store sales that come even as many brick-and-mortar chains falter, and by the tough financial equation that online sales bring to its business. Shipping the hefty-size goods that consumers buy from Costco in bulk could eat into profit margins that are already low for most household staples—particularly as carriers move to charge by dimension as well as weight.”
Retail: “In a filing that details steep losses and plans to close some 400 stores, the largest footwear chain in the U.S. says its troubles in a changing retail market worsened in 2015. It says the labor dispute that backed up cargo flows kept the company from stocking its shelves during the crucial Easter selling season. By the time delayed inventory arrived, Payless had to sell the shoes at a deep discount ‘in order to realign inventory and product mix.’ That left the company without the cash it needed to respond to the growing dominance of e-commerce in consumer market” [Wall Street Journal].
Commodities: “For example, the Financial Times reported that seaborne oil tanker traffic is down this year by 16 percent, a sign that the OPEC cuts are showing up at sea. Not all oil is traded at sea, obviously – some is shipped via pipeline or moved directly from the wellhead to refineries, processing facilities or storage. But such a drop off in the volume of oil moved at sea suggests that the supply cuts are being felt in the market” [OilPrice.com].
Shipping: “US authorities are warning shipowners to alter course in the North Atlantic due to an unseasonal peak in the number of icebergs spotted in the area” [Splash247]. “The US Coast Guard’s International Ice Patrol – established in the wake of the sinking of the Titanic – has warned the number of icebergs in the main shipping lanes of the North Atlantic has spiked from 37 last week to around 450 this week. Normally in early April there is an average of 80 icebergs in the region. Ships near the Newfoundland coast have had to slow down to 3 or 4 knots and many transatlantic vessels are rerouting, some adding an extra 36 hours detour in to their voyages to avoid the sudden spread of ice seen in the ocean.”
Shipping: “Container lines have come under fire from European shippers claiming the capacity crisis on eastbound exports has resulted in lost contracts and sales” [The Loadstar]. Again, consolidation (cartelization) plus the overcapacity from stupid money to the shipbreakers.
Supply Chain: “DHL Supply Chain, the contract logistics arm of Deutsche Post DHL Group, said today it will begin testing the use of so-called collaborative robots, designed to work with human warehouse and DC workers, for an unidentified customer in the life sciences sector” [DC Velocity]. “The 10 robots, called “LocusBots” after their creator, Wilmington, Mass.-based Locus Robotics, will be tested as a picker companion for piece-picking order fulfillment in the warehouse, located in Memphis. During the two-month test period, the so-called cobots will identify and transport pick items so DHL Supply Chain’s pickers don’t have to push carts or carry bins, said the company, which is based in Columbus, Ohio.” So even the warehouse jobs are going away?
Supply Chain: “[Amazon] is taking a big stake in fuel-cell maker Plug Power Inc. that could make it one of the largest shareholders in a company that helps power material-handling equipment” [Wall Street Journal]. “Plug Power is a relatively small operation, generating $85.9 million in revenue last year and no annual profits in its 20 years of existence… Plug Power’s biggest customer last year was Amazon’s top rival in the retail business, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.”
Honey for the Bears: “The International Chamber of Commerce 2016 Global Survey on Trade Finance, published in December, reports that a growing number of banks are concerned about their ability to finance international trade. In the survey, 61% of the 357 respondents – national, regional and global banks with trade finance functions from 109 countries – reported a global shortage of trade finance. This is a sharp change on earlier years and is connected to the collapse in commodity prices, but the health of the banks is a factor, too” [Splash 247]. “I don’t need to tell you – no Letter of Credit means no Bill of Lading. We last saw this back in the Asian crisis of 1997. This time – not just Southeast Asia.”
The Fed: “Overall, the minutes cast little light on the potential for a further rate hike at the June meeting which limited the overall impact. Clearly inflation indicators over the next two months will be a crucial factor in determining the balance of power within the FOMC” [Economic Calendar].
The Fed: “Lots To Chew On In The FOMC Minutes” [Tim Duy’s Fed Watch]. “Fed officials aren’t growing nervous about just equities. They are seeing high prices across a wide range of risky assets. If it was just one asset class, they might conclude that it doesn’t pose systemic risk for the US economy. Or they might conclude that macro prudential policies were sufficient to maintain financial stability. But a wide range of assets might require a more blunt tool – like higher rates. Another space to watch. Where this space gets messy is the tendency of equity prices to remain high even as the Fed tightens – a pattern which may induce the Fed to tighten much more aggressively than they should. Bottom Line: The Fed clearly anticipates more tightening, likely at a pace of one action per quarter between interest rates and balance sheet.”
The Fed: “It appears that the FOMC finally began to consider seriously how and when to begin working down the balance sheet in March. No final decisions were reached, but a number of things were discussed and debated. The Committee began by reaffirming the 2014 framework, namely that reductions in the Fed’s holdings should be “gradual and predictable,” and “accomplished primarily by phasing out reinvestments of principal received from those holdings.” In other words, no outright sales (at least not early on)” [Amherst Pierpont Morgan, Across the Curve].
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 46 Neutral (previous close: 47, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 29 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 3 at 5:30pm.
“Conyers: Medicare for All’s time has come” [Detroit Free Press]. Conyers: “For years, I’ve also watched as Democrats, , have avoided putting their name behind single payer by saying they’re focused on politically achievable short-term goals. Single payer is politically achievable.” Plus a nice shout-out to Jessi Bohan. It would sure be nice if conflicts between HR676 and Sanders’ forthcoming bill don’t turn into a trainwreck.
“[David Rockefeller} was proud to be part of the so-called “secret cabal” that wanted a more integrated global structure, with America at the head of it. This was both in the country’s interest, and its moral obligation. At the Council on Foreign Relations, at Bilderberg meetings, or on the Trilateral Commission which he founded in 1973, he relished discussing world affairs with people of equal quality and influence from North America, Europe and Asia. Their exclusiveness led many people to think these talking shops sinister, or an undisclosed tunnel to power. He found them just an invaluable way of linking the likeminded” [The Economist].
Programs do, importantly, often expand our collective notion of what's possible. Think the Panthers Free Breakfast Program. Charter Schools.
— deray mckesson (@deray) January 30, 2015
News of the Wired
“Apple iPad (2017) review: the best feature is the price” [The Verge]. Running gag: “It’s an iPad!” In other words, a device to consume content…
“Hieronymus Bosch action figures are the greatest thing from any dimension” [Ars Technica]. I probably should have filed this under Politics…
“F*ck You And Die: An Oral History of Something Awful” [Motherboard]. This too…
And then there’s the wonderful world of advertising:
PEPSI: we're gonna make the most offensive ad
NIVEA: lol nice try n00b. check this out
SONY: hold my beer, bitches pic.twitter.com/sK3QdfvTRL
— KRANG T. NELSON (@KrangTNelson) April 5, 2017
And I’ve got to give Yglesias kudos for this subtweet (courageous in today’s climate):
Here’s Brezhnev at the Soviet Pepsi factory. pic.twitter.com/DHXub77uUW
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) April 5, 2017
Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (via):
“Metrosideros polymorpha, or ʻōhiʻa lehua (sometimes simply the lehua tree or ʻōhiʻa), is the most abundant native tree species on the six largest Hawaiian islands.” And being attacked by a fungus, sadly.
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You can buy most COSCO goods on-line from Amazon or Jet.
Demodogs just installed a new supreme that will make still dead Joey S look like a lefty. They wonder why no one what to vote for them.
Costco as opposed to COSCO is not only quality food but it also is an “experience”. It is a “club” insofar as you need a membership. But as opposed to Walmart’s “Sam’s Club”, it really feels like a club. You meet neighbors there. And while you are at the sample tables, people talk to each other. People come up to you and ask if you’ve tried this wine or that cheese. The atmosphere is generated from the friendly card checkers at the door to the floor samplers (who also keep an eye out for thievery, I guess) to the checkout cashiers who know you. “Hi, how’s things in Big Timber? Lots of you folks in today”. “Yes, it’s the first break in the weather we’ve had.” And as you exit, this one lady always admires the bouquet of flowers I get.
And the wine selection is first rate. Their $8 Kirkland Chardonnay was recommended to me by a friend who is quite the connasiur.
Worked doing the samples. We never kept an eye for thievery. Also, we didn’t work for Costco but were subcontractors. While Costco treats their workers well, the company I worked for as a food demonstrator treated us like crap. The mentality was “if you quit, there will be someone to take your place.”. Even to the point where we were denied floor mats, or to be more accurate they were thrown out and not replaced leaving a shortage. Standing in one spot for 8 hours on concrete, not fun!
Doing so would support Amazon, which I refuse to do. Same brand of devil as WalMart. I hate ’em both.
We don’t know who is responsible for the Syrian poison gas attack. But we do know who is responsible for the use of poisonous substances in agriculture: Big Ag, Big Chem, and Scott Pruitt.
+++++ and it happens every single day.
Paging Seymour Hersh…
Don’t hold your breath… It’s damn dangerous to go after people with money and no oversight.
Read the link if you really want to understand Capitalism.
Fairly far down the thread of this SST posting are some comments addressing that “who diddit” issue.
And Colonel Lang sees the DC FedRegime Establishment working towards serious US attacks against Syria in the next few days unless somehow stopped.
Trump is being Clintonized even as we watch and is about to bring us the Clinton War which I voted against Clinton to avoid.
Tweet links to a CNN story too, but too slow to load. She was giving a speech.
How relaxing it must be for her to get exactly the policy prescriptions she wants without the bother doing the rest of the job.
If she and Bill can figure out a way to keep the grift going by delivering even without formal power, they are in like Flynn.
I am at a loss for how this helps the Democratic Party, though. If the general population gets the War Fever the media is promoting, won’t they back the Republicans as the war party in power? If the population resists war fever, why would they vote for the Democrats who have so ardently cheerleaded for it? Won’t they just sit out again, in greater numbers?
I iz confused.
“[F]reer movement of labor”?
Unlike the EU or even Mercosur in South America, NAFTA did not liberalize migration between the US, Canada and Mexico at all. Without sponsorship from a Canadian company for an employment visa, a USian can’t just accept a job in the Great North.
Why should that be? Imagine what a fractured mess the US economy would be if you had to apply for a residency permit to move from (say) New York to Florida.
Very oddly, the US unemployment benefit system does not treat Americans as being out of the country — and thus not looking for work, and not qualified for unemployment pay — when they are in Canada. The system monitors where you log on from, and will suspend your UI benefits for foreign [ex Canada] travel.
But in reality, bureaucratic immigration barriers make it quite unlikely for Americans to find jobs north of the border. Notoriously provincial and protective Canada will have to ease up, if their citizens expect to receive reciprocal employment privileges in the US. Plus a reciprocal US-Canadian social security crediting system would be needed.
You know they’re not even contemplating that.
“Free movement of labor” will mean that Canadians can take lower wages for work in America than an debt-burdened American can manage, while still getting their Canadian health care, which is good for multinational companies operating in the US. In return, the US will make sure its citizens can’t escape to Canada and burden the Canadian system. Win/win, from the companies’ point of view. They get cheap labor, and they aren’t paying anything for the other side of the deal.
What’s your wager against the first part proving out?
My own experience working for a US company via NAFTA labor provisions:
1. Get a job offer in a NAFTA-approved category (HR well aware of these in the US)
2. At the US border, declare that I’m going to the US to work on a NAFTA visa (no previous preparation needed)
3. Go to secondary screening, where the guy reads my job offer, gives me a visa, processing time about 5 minutes.
Integration with social security systems would be a big plus, but the system already works quite nicely on its own.
They’ll recycle the same stories, little variation needed for this war culture (from top to bottom), to go into Iran.
The Wise Moustache Speaks #1:
The World Trade Center was like a great pink wad of bubblegum. The Muslim community chewed it, chewed it like a solitary cow chews it’s cud in America’s Homeland, then blew and blew like a big bad wolf and the World Trade Center popped, like a bubble exploding into pink American mist.
The Wise Moustache Speaks #2:
When I try and think of a metaphor to describe then udder impossibility of “single payer” in America, Medicare most certainly does not come to mind.
The World Trade Center was like a great pink wad of bubblegum……
Don’t do the Brown Acid! Don’t do the Brown Acid!
With each passing day our new president is discovering that every big problem he faces is like Obamacare..
So am I reading he thinks Obamacare is a FUBAR big problem?
if there were a good, easy solution it would have been found already..
Let me finish that sentence.
“.. and promptly dispatched to a dark hole because our legislators prefer obscure, opaque & complicated solutions that offer the most opportunity for graft”
Like GWB looking for WMD in the oval office.
Except that Medicare For All was never considered, even halfheartedly, by Obama and the Democratic establishment. Putting a known medical insurance complex stooge like Montana’s Max Baucus in charge of the committee to craft Obamacare, and excluding single payer advocates from the discussion, heck, even having them arrested, pretty much sealed its fate.
Obama and the Democrats didn’t need the nuclear option. They could have used budget reconciliation, which Ryan was going to use to circumvent the filibuster to repeal Obamacare. Republicans always use budget reconciliation. It’s how Bush got his tax cuts. It’s why there is COBRA insurance for the newly unemployed. Clinton used it once for a lame economic program. Obama used it as a last resort to pass Obamacare after dithering for a year trying to get bipartisan support. Democrats generally don’t use budget reconciliation because they don’t have an agenda and it would contradict their cherished narrative of their own powerlessness.
They’re all mostly medical insurance complex stooges. Buying congress critters works. You get to write legislation and everything! Money is speech, SCOTUS says so.
My doctor consulted with Kucinich when K & Conyers were first drafting HR-676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.
“The bill was first introduced in 2003, when it had 25 cosponsors, and has been reintroduced in each Congress since. During the 2009 health care debates over the bill that became the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, H.R. 676 was expected to be debated and voted upon by the House in September 2009, but was never debated.” — Wikipedia
[The bill had 49 cosponsors in 2015. As of March 29, 2017,it has 76 cosponsors.]
93 co-sponsors as of April 6, 2017. All Democrats.
Pretty safe to co sponsor, no way reps would even allow a vote.
And yet neither Adam Schiff nor Brad Sherman, Democratic Congressmen for Southern Californian districts, have co-sponsored.
Or, Money is “An Entity”, which stalks the land, devouring……..
Not to mention that I imagine the insurance companies, pharma companies, and related companies vote D.
As .01% Nancy told us,
“We’re capitalists here.”
“The housing market was imploding in epic fashion and nearly 8 million people lost their homes to foreclosure.”
That’s not true. 8 Years ago was 2009. The stock market was imploding but housing bottomed that year.
2006-2007 was peak home price, so we need to know what the cash out refi rate was BEFORE then, if we want to draw parallels to what is going on now.
Calculated Risk and Brad Setzer’s blog were tracking it and it was pretty consistent at around $600 billion (new cash out refis) a year from the early aughts thru 2007.
And after that?
Not real sure, Brad went to work for Obama, and I didn’t see any updates on CR, tho I stopped following CR after the real estate bubble popped – it was his forte.
I think I read banks just stopped doing home equity loans, the most common way of leveraging your bubble equity and still live in a mortgaged house – assuming you can still make payments on all of it.
Post bubble, 1st mortgages went to 3.5 – 4%, so if you still had equity to cash out, it was/is still better to just get a brand new 1st mortgage. Just my guess. But I haven’t seen any data about what is really going on. They did regrow the bubble most places. Even bigger in CA.
This is as of 2015:
This time around it’s also margin debt, ATH yesterday.
We’ve decided that monopoly-issued price-fixed debt-based FAS 157 fantasy-reserved so-called “money” is really okey dokey, with equities as its last remaining distribution channel. Oops except velocity has dropped like a rock, maybe that’s because the main holders of this lovely equity-induced so-called scrip tend to pile it up in the Caymans and Panama and only rarely turn it back into the Benjamins that the serfs need in order to survive.
For those with a longer view may I suggest canned food, bottled water, a defensible perimeter, and plenty of ammo. Venezuela, only global this time.
Eights from Q4 of 2016 is Q4 of 2008. It makes sense to me — not an expert in either the crisis or being foreclosed on — that cashing out would happen after the peak? (To put this another way, only the smart or the lucky would have cashed out before the peak.)
Cashing out would likely go way down after the peak – you can’t take cash out if you’re suddenly underwater on your mortgage – but probably not immediately after. The housing market didn’t fail at the same time everywhere – quite likely that a good percentage of people still had some equity in late ’08 and drew on it realizing that the market in their area was likely to crater soon too.
Why not? If you know you’re going underwater anyway and are planning on walking away from your home, better to have some cash in hand when you do so.
Actually, if you have some 10s of thousands on hand from a refi, and didn’t spend it all on some other dumb purchase, you could survive being laid off for a couple years and still make your mortgage payment(s) and not lose your house. Then you have bought some time to get another job, or failing that, put the house up for sale in perhaps a firmer market, maybe.
So it wasn’t a bad emergency move, if you sensed your job may be at risk. Then, if all went well, you still can still just pay it back into your mortgage and reduce the principal back down, and the interest cost (over the life of the loan) goes down along with the reduction in principal. The transaction does cost fees and points, however. This is known as The 2nd Law of Banking – Entropy.
I seem to remember that in California you could only walk away from purchase money loans, not second mortgages.
Stopped in 2007. The subprime market shut for good in July 2007. Cash out refis last time were overwhelmingly subprime borrowers, either to pay off other debt or to refi to avoid resets (they’d get loans with 2 year teaser rates, forcing them to refi, which meant lots of fees every time to the originators).
To say I’m not surprised by this is a colossal understatement. Back in 2009, the Democrats wanted the excuse of “needing sixty votes” so they could justify not doing what we sent them there to do, which was to end the wars, fix the economy for those of us not involved in the finance industry, and provide universal health care. They knew that most of their voters would tolerate this nonsense, counting on them to wag their fingers at anyone who expected more and lecture them on the “realities” of the Senate. Not for a second did I think that the GOP would let those “realities” stop them from getting what they wanted.
Belaboring the obvious, again, but some recent comment threads I’ve been involved with here make me think the obvious is difficult for some to comprehend.
There is a moral issue. Everyone knows they are supposed to call their congressmen and senators because the took a civics class and watch “The West Wing,” but how many actually did? Imagine if the people who went to dopey Obama rallies crashed the White House switch board similar to Jon Oliver’s net neutrality efforts against net neutrality.
They know the obvious, but the obvious paints them as bad individuals not worthy of being called citizens.
Watching Michelle Obama dance on Fallon is a whole lot easier than demanding your local public schools stop paying a football coach so much money while cutting music classes. It takes a few minutes to be a better and more active citizen, but gosh, it’s work.
In the absence of collective action mobilization, who cares about individual citizen virtue? More hardened and desperate polities, just in the United States even, have tried and failed to overcome material conditions that empower the overclass — which, I’m sorry to say, would involve fighting a majority or even a supermajority of their fellow citizens. Scolding people for not spontaneously organizing into a political force capable of fighting these bastards is a waste of humanity’s time.
Please post this as a reminder weekly, if not daily.
I can already feel myself growing numb with horror. But no matter how futile it may look, we have to protest. We have to push back. We have no choice.
These moronic psychopaths are pushing us towards nuclear annihilation.
Didn’t take 60 votes to avoid invading Libya. Or bombing Yemen. Or spending 1t on new nukes.
There are two war parties. Ditto two protecting banks, pharma, fossil, insurance, etc.
There are no progressive parties, or any supporting the working class.
Go third party or accept Tina.
Re: Nick Kristoff “The Most Unpopular Idea: Be Nice To Trump Voter”
Click on the comments and select reader picks (lists comments that received the most agrrement among their commentariat).
Try not to laugh as they continue to say how Trump voters voted for a candidate who obviously is a liar.
I guess their reasoning is they prefer liars who aren’t so obvious?
The last time we had a president who told the truth at least half the time was Jimmy Carter. And that was part of the reason he wasn’t reelected.
The epic speech he gave on television about what was wrong with America as a culture!
Too bad he hung with a bad crowd.
RE: Senate Republicans go nuclear
If the Republicans do get rid of the filibuster so they can confirm Gorsuch, what is to stop them from simply reinstating it if/when they are about to become the minority party again? If Senate rules allow them to remove it, seems like they could simply put it back during the lame duck session the next time an election doesn’t go their way, playing the Democrat party for chumps once again.
Unless there’s something I’m unaware of that prevents this action, it would seem this isn’t as ‘nuclear’ as it being played up to be, More like a ‘tactical’ nuke – one of those magical ones that blows up just the right target with no collateral damage whatsoever.
The rules are voted on at the start of each new Congress because the body is too large to rely on ad hoc arrangements. The rules of the 103rd Congress have no effect on the rules of the 853rd Congress.
The Democrats voted for a filibuster process in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013. They did not have to.
The Constitutional threshold is 50+VP. They don’t need to sacrifice a virgin or have a secret handshake. They could meet on the moon. They don’t have to meet in the Senate Rotunda. 50+VP has as much authority as every Senator pinkie swearing and following every effin rule they ever made up. Rules and laws can not subvert the Constitutional order.
In fact, the filibuster was often ignored in the late 19th century because it serves to protect Jim Crow and prevent personal embarrassment (the President appoints a guy with a drinking problem from California. One of the Senators knows and asks the Senator from Florida from the other party to save everyone including the family of the nominee from embarrassment). When policies might affect Jim Crow, the filibuster was trotted out because the Democrats didn’t want to Southern Dems to join the GOP. The Republicans keep it to avoid passing their wackier promises and an understanding that a competent Democratic Party should be in the majority.
People with a greater tolerance for pain than I have might want to read this:
If I’m reading the WaPo article correctly, it seems like the Dems did not reverse their filibuster break from 2013 although they might be the weaker of the vampire parties:
“In 2013, Democrats — angered by years of GOP blockades on President Barack Obama’s nominees — opted to use the “nuclear option” and pushed through a rules change confirming all executive branch nominees and lower-court picks with a simple-majority vote. But Democrats did not include the Supreme Court in that change, believing that lifetime appointments to the nation’s highest court should be handled differently.”
“The change now means that all presidential nominees for executive branch positions and federal courts need only a simple-majority vote to be confirmed by senators.”
The pattern appears to be whittling away the filibuster at this point.
Unrelated thought: just how deliberative can a body of white, largely male millionaires be?
If the Republicans restore the filibuster just before they become the minority party in the Senate, then when the new majority party takes control, that majority party can re-remove the filibuster. This assumes that the new majority party actually wants to be effective. . . . .
When there is a will, there is a way.
When there is a will, there is a way.
Were there is a will there is away..
Where there is a way, a path (to victory), there a will emerges…
“Victory has a thousand fathers.”
This really isn’t an issue that needs nuanced discussion. The Democrats need the filibuster to exist so that when they accidentally get a majority in Congress, they can use the existence of the filibuster to explain why all the good, progressive legislation they really, really want can’t be passed, but all the bad corporate giveaways, surveillance, and warmongering can pass.
The Republicans are happy to play this little dance with the Democrats when the Democrats are pretending to lead. It’s only polite, after all, and it give their more recalcitrant members some pleasure, while exposing those traitors to the Republican base, so these squishy RINOs can’t gain national power. It serves to reinforce the TINA message that there’s no escape from Republican orthodoxy, no matter who you vote for. But the Republicans are the party that is SUPPOSED to be delivering for the corporations, so when they’re in power, they do stuff. It’s their job to keep dragging the government right, so they need to pass right wing legislation and — even more importantly — install pro-corporate, right wing justices, further right than what the Dems can get away with without destroying their brand identity. It’s really not a good idea to show your hand to the mark if you’re planning to run the game again with the same suckers. So the Democrats can only go so far on those increasingly rare occasions when they have the majority.
So if the Dems buckle under the pressure from their voters enough to filibuster Gorsuch, of course the Republicans will remove it. The object of the exercise of pressuring the Ds to filibuster is not to stop Gorsuch; that’s not possible. It’s to demonstrate to their base how useless the Democrats are, and how their excuses were always a lie, and make them uncomfortable enough to maybe consider going into direct lobbying. As far as I can tell, the main advantage for a Democratic Senator staying in Congress after a couple of terms is that it’s less work than lobbying. Let’s change that. (Every time a seat opens up, it’s going to be a tiny bit easier for the left to get it.)
The problem the Dems have in regards to the filibuster are in no particular order:
-the vaunted stored powder kegs of Harry Reid
This is from 2007. The story is wearing thin.
-Emotional appeals. When Dems abandoned policy as a campaign tactic, they made it clear only emotional responses will rule. Democratic Partisans even the most loyal ones won’t accept anything less than a filibuster.
-the Democrats who could be relied on to break and join the GOP are now largely gone. Many of the current office holders are so old they can be dumped easily or represent areas that went for Sanders. Bipartisanship with Trump won’t go over well.
“Ships near the Newfoundland coast have had to slow down to 3 or 4 knots and many transatlantic vessels are rerouting, some adding an extra 36 hours detour to their voyages to avoid the sudden spread of ice seen in the ocean.”
Sunspots are a distant memory, and now the coming Ice Age is breathing down our necks.
*goes out to collect more firewood*
jim i don’t think icebergs breaking off from melting glaciers is a sign of a coming ice age.
Heard somewhere that more icebergs break off glaciers when it’s warmer…
2016 Presidential campaign in 3 bumper-stickers:
I notice someone in the comments couldn’t resist hippie-punching those who didn’t “vote blue no matter who”.
Re: Ignoring the People: Where the Left Side of the Aisle Fails
People in the West are being heard. But you have the global elite who realize the world is hungering for change. So they’re trying to make sure the only escape route is to a more heavy handed authoritarianism.
It’s like they’re screaming, whining, and stamping their feet: “TINA, dammit,TINA!!!!”
Re: The Revolution will not be “Pepsitized”…
You really want to know how Pepsi feels about revolutions, read up on how they and a lot of other soft drink companies really respond to revolution in other countries. Cuba especially comes to mind.
Here’s Brezhnev at the Soviet Pepsi factory
Saying , “Svetlana, it’s past Noon, you got a Jack Daniels & Coke for me back there?”
Retail: “Costco Wholesale Corp. COST +1.45% admits to being slow to embrace online sales, but anyone who has shipped a one-gallon jug of mayonnaise can understand why”
or a ten 5ft Arborvitaes
I deliver to costco and they are always so fucking packed.
FWIW, that LA vote may not be much of a test of the Berniecrats’ strength. A few weeks ago there was a fairly explosive set of accusations, or revelations, about how Arturo Carmona, the Bernie-wing candidate, had behaved toward female staffers and volunteers during the 2016 campaign, along with calls for any person or organization that had endorsed him to rethink their position. The stories and people who spoke out had some credibility, and it looked like there was a certain sense of, We shouldn’t be in the business of trying to build a revolution by trying to get scumballs elected to office. So maybe let’s not do this.
I don’t know how different things might have been if there had been a less troubling candidate. Maybe it only mattered on the margins. But it must have gotten a reasonable amount of play in relevant circles: I saw it and I’m nowhere near either LA or the center of the movement.
“Accusations,” indeed. Character assassination is pretty cheap these days.
Two other Berniecrats who ran for office confirmed the accusations. Based on descriptions, it sounded like Carmona was failing upward. Carmona wasn’t the only Berniecrat running, but he was the one that (At least to me) had the most support from Bernie factions.
That said, it was obvious who was going to win this race (or get to the next stage). It came down to money. Establishment money flowed to the only career politician. I don’t think Berniecrats have the tools to compete in those type of matches- that includes both fiscally and strategically. From what I’ve witnessed, Berniecrats don’t necessarily have a strong ability to connect with Bernie voters. Voters aren’t motivated to go out and find the information on their own, so the inability to connect with voters is fatal. Granted, CD 34 was a mess with 16 Democrats running.
This is exactly where Our Revolution ought to come in, though. I know it’s early days in the grand scheme of things, but why wasn’t Carmona taken out months ago if everybody on the ground knew he was that bad? I knew there was something funky going on, but with the jungle primaries here, if the real left wants to win, they have to get behind ONE candidate, and then everybody push. Otherwise, you’ll keep getting this bad outcome, again and again and again.
There’s just no excuse for this. I get that OR and BNC aren’t established or funded well enough to chase people out of races or flood their preferred candidate with cash and resources. But they could have come out and said, we have concerns about Carmona, and we back X for CD34 while we investigate the allegations. Carmona’s whole campaign was that he worked for Bernie. OR throwing up a red flag would have mattered.
I’m not interested in backing a misogynist with a different ethnicity. If you want that game, the Democratic Party is available to play it.
Also, I have personally met a bunch of LA Berniecrats who are now inside the state party, and they are amazing. They connect with voters just fine. That’s how they beat the Clintonians fighting for AD seats. That’s not the problem.
Yes, I saw that too. Had I been a Californian, this would have mattered to me. I’m not going to vote for just anyone who supported Sanders regardless of their record or behavior. The accusations covered more than that too and seemed to go back to his former organization, Presente.
Any excuse to avoid actually delivering concrete material benefits, including this phrenology of the soul.
Re: Dr Housing Bubble….homes back in action as ATMs
“Compton is the new Newport Coast.”
Near Compton is an area of South Central LA called Liemert Park. The Metro Subway system is now expanding there and from there also connecting to LAX. By the time it’s complete, the great majority of the blacks will gone. Just think what that extention could have meant for South Central BEFFORE this round of gentrification? Guess you can’t have that.
Yeah, it’s dejavu all over. A co-worker of mine currently invested in a few housing properties gave me a blank stare when I told him, “The housing market is cyclical.”
Upper Valley/New England NCers: Cornel West is speaking at Dartmouth College on Thursday, April 27th at 5pm in Moore Hall-Filene Auditorium. It’s about “Intellectual Vocation and Political Struggle in the Trump Moment”. They are already planning to have an overflow room. Cheers.
Used to be, one who sold out his people was a “House N*gga”. Now some people aspire to be “Davos N*ggas”.
The “Devos” crowd got to them more than the “Davos” crowd.
A lot of blacks got into trouble with their homes refinancing to afford to send their kids to $$$ schools , to keep them out of “prison tract” public schools. Not all, but too many gave up the fight for public schools.
Housing troubles that make way for gentrification..
Tillerson is suddenly talking like Kerry. These new guys sure look like they’re being played.
“When asked if President Trump would be organizing an international coalition to remove Assad, Tillerson said, ‘Those steps are underway.'”
No blood for oil men.
Now would be a good time to call and write your congressmen. Flood the White House switchboard, and fire off a letter to the editor.
Re: the Democrats’ (and social democrats’ worldwide) pull-back from mainstream economic issues. I have this theory about hipsters. In my opinion, hipster ideology — the distaste for the mainstream; the performative interest in the obscure and the marginal as a form of personal branding — has gone viral. The 10% have spent the last couple of decades marinating in hipster culture. But it’s now moved way beyond music fandom. The attitudes hipsters once brought to culture — the obsession with curation; the embrace of the “marginal” as an end in itself; the contempt for the ordinary — now frame every aspect of the hipsterised 10%-er understanding of the world. Politics is now just another form of hipster posturing; the (small) ingroup in an outraged pose of contemptuous, eye-rolling rejection of the world at large.
Because they never move beyond their tiny bubbles, hipsterised liberals have no sense of how marginal this obsession with the margins now makes them. They wonder how anyone could possibly reject Clinton and identity issues, in the same way hipsters once sneered at anyone who hadn’t heard of The Replacements. They forget, though, that the “uncool” still get the vote. And their total lack of perspective causes them to wonder why a boutique, niche-interest mode of politics doesn’t win them large majorities.
Further to that — I mean, I’ve been reading a lot of Rita Felski lately, and while she’s talking specifically about the self-defeating and arid nature of the reigning orthodoxies in the academic humanities, so much of what she says here about “critique” could also be applied to current ways of thinking and perceiving the world on the liberal “left”: http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/431.
The Guardian madness of blaming the Sanders base continues.
Apparently there is now a book coming out on it.
If this continues, why should people vote for the Democratic Party in 2018 or 2020?
o “Washington’s Supreme Hypocrisy on Chemical Weapons and Civilian Deaths” [Informed Comment]. “The use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Army in Idlib is an atrocity…” — How seriously can one take a news outlet proudly calling itself “Informed Comment” yet omitting the crucial ‘alleged’ in its description of the alleged atrocities?
My thought exactly.
OK, so Nick Kristof says “Be nice to Trump voters.” Frank Rich says “we are free to loathe” Trump’s “most loyal supporters.”
Is there a point to any of this?
How anyone feels about those who voted for President Trump has nothing to do with policy, at least on the left side of things. People in McDowell County, West Virginia—almost all of whom voted for Trump—were cheering Bernie Sanders’ call for universal health care in this country. Do we have to sit around and be subjected to endless pontification on whether those voters are “hillbillies” or “deplorables”or whatever other pejorative label one wants to pin on them? And even if they were, against all evidence, deplorable hillbillies who happened to want universal health care, would it matter?
And let’s say, for the sake of argument, they hated what Sen. Sanders had to say. Everyone in Canada is in the Canadian health care system, whether they love it or hate it; everyone everywhere can get tuition-free education in Germany, whether they are for that or vehemently opposed. You don’t have to be “deserving”—you don’t have to get the policy right—to get those things. They’re by their nature universal. Yet Kristof and Rich wave their hands and want us to weigh Trump voters on some cosmic moral scale when, at the end of the day, none of that matters in terms of policy. And it doesn’t matter in terms of politics either. Most people—they could be Trump voters, Clinton voters, the registered voters who stayed home, or those who could register but do not—favor the policies that Sanders is espousing.
It all amounts to diversion, distraction, and deflection, of course. If we all engage in “conversations” about how we feel about Trump voters, we’re not talking about real policies, policies which most people—however we might feel about them—would want.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! This should be shouted from the rooftops a thousand times. “…diversion, distraction, and deflection…” Curing the sicknesses of U.S. society requires we organize our institutions to provide vital material benefits (like health care and education) universally to everyone. Everyone has to be in. All in. All this grousing about certain constituencies (the “deplorables” and “hillbillies”) being undeserving of sympathy is another manifestation of our society’s sickness. We don’t believe in the Common Good anymore. The pundits, intellectuals and politicians are failing us. They believe in providing “opportunity” to the worthy and successful (to become every more wealthy and successful), while the great majority of poor and working people will just get more punishment and discipline. They don’t believe in helping us or that we should be helped.
Single Payer on the horizon in NY State?
A woman with webbed toes identified herself as a mermaid named Joanna after she was found mostly naked and walking along a dark road in the middle of the night in Fresno County.
The young brunette was wearing only a black sports bra and had wet hair when cops found her near Millterton Road and Brighton Crest Drive in Friant around 3:15 a.m. Tuesday, the Fresno Bee reported.
She told cops she was a mermaid who’d just been in the water. But she answered “I don’t know” to most of their questions.
“She was wet. She said she had been in the lake, said she needed help and needed to be taken to the hospital,” Fresno Police Lt. Mark Hudson told YourCentralValley.com. “We did go through records after fingerprinting her and we still did not come up with her identity.”
another day in Fresno….the fresh water inland mermaids are much rarer than the Pacific coast varieties….
I think I will actually watch the local TV for film at 11…..
A true story.
My #1 reason for not voting for the Would-Be Queen:
She’s actually STILL calling for WAR.
and by god now trump is trying to deliver one.
Yes, 50 or so Tomahawk Cruise missiles at one Syrian airbase is how it’s going down. No links, the news is everywhere, just what to believe
I think they warned the russians, at least you would hope so.
This could escalate quickly. I hope calm heads win out
So this is in lieu of UN investigations nowadays?
Haven’t seen any explanatory Trump tweets yet.
I scanned zerohedge and a Drump reddit. They vary from outrage to pleas about 11th dimensional chess, but the Trump hopium addicts don’t seem to be buying that Trump is working one step ahead from the tone.
The stock market is a gamble, but when their finger sits on the buy button, then oligarchy know when it’s time to buy Lockheed Martin & Boeing stock. They will do a billion each on top of what they are already selling to Saudi Arabia. I expect Hillary and others will soon have many “paid” speaking engagements on the West Coast as a thank you.
Our Free Press… (further to early comment on Hersch and power of private industry to muzzle the press)
How dare you threaten our owners’ gravy train, congressman.
Peter AlexanderVerified account
BREAKING: US launches military air strikes in Syria.
sad news tonight
i guess we got a risk of war with russia either way, clinton or trump. fucking bloodythirsty idiots.
sings quietly to self “we’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when…”
I hope Xi just flies home now. There is no use pretending the U.S. can be treated as anything other than a war mongering state.
The entire US ….apparently unable to understand that if you continue to do what you have done you will continue to get what you have gotten.
Xi should call North Korea now to calm them down.
One hot spot at a time.
I think get Xi in a hotel room and have some russian hookers pee on him after eating large asparagus omelettes … oh wait…
This is bad. No public examination of the evidence, no process under international law, just bombs away again from the exceptional nation. Hopefully the evidence will eventually show Assad was behind the gas attacks–and there is really little reason or motive for him to be as he was winning in overwhelming fashion when the incident occurred–otherwise it’s just another in a long line of trigger-happy stupid cowboy moves by the US that result in a big bloody pile of brown skinned bodies for no reason. The unnecessary hurry to act before the evidence could be examined suggests the evidence wasn’t there. Trump has obviously been brought to heel by the deep state, Bannon sent packing, and now every deep stater’s dream come true, bloody, neocon adventurism, bombs exploding left and right, and general chaos in the region. The stupider Democrats have seemingly never seen a war they didn’t love, and Trump will now play them like the useful idiots they are to make them circle their wagons with him and neuter their strong criticisms under a barrage of tawdry pseudo-patriotic militaristic garbage that the flag drunk rubes and marks will eat up as they always do.]
Watch all the neocon, chickenhawk Democrats get dutifully into line behind Trump in a mad rush to war if he calls for a larger military offensive in Syria. Their insatiable bloodlust for killing brown, non-Christian people may be the only force strong enough to overcome their Trump Derangement Syndrome. It’s all too likely a Nigerian yellowcake, aluminum centrifuge tubes, mobile chemical weapons lab, and baby incubators fiasco all over again and the race is on to start the killing before the real facts can be determined, so we can begin the “we can’t stop now or the deaths of our boys were in vain” chorus. A few dead American soldiers and nobody will dare speak up.
how do i get back to my drab dystopia? “don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you got till it’s gone”.
I wonder if it was set in motion when Bannon left the National Security Council and the chairman of joint chiefs of staff was invited back.
but at least we get a new term, “cobot,” to make it all sound friendlier
Constributions? Is that a pun I didn’t get?