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05 February 2017

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Imagine

The Oded Yinon plan was to subvert America, get it to wipe out Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Iran, reducing them to hand-to-mouth constant civil-war failed states. It was somehow envisioned this would lead to more safety for Israel. This plan has succeeded beyond wildest dreams, except for the last grape. The Iraq war for Israel is costing the United States tens of thousands of PTSD ruined lives and an estimated $6T; the Syria war for Israel has created a tsunami of refugees that is threatening to founder Europe, the world's largest collective economy, and still it is being pushed. Israel has nuke-armed subs parked off Iran. Cooperation with Iran would create jobs and save billions over cooperation with Israel. None of this matters to Congress. Rationality is no longer relevant. Israel is willing to fight to the very last American to wipe out the wogs around it. Congress follows Israel's will. And the military, in the end, does what Congress and the President tell it to, even when it's suicidal.

Ante

Honestly, every single time, every single houthi ambush of a saudi coalition tank or uparmored truck video has the excited words. Anyone who's paid the slightest attention knows that.

They can try to lie their way into war with Iran, but it won't happen, only the Michael Weisses of the world can delude themselves into the idea that a good outcome would come from war with Iran. The semi lucid human beings will stop at sanctions and pointless posturing and rhetoric.

Ante

As for Trump targeting parts of Dodd-Frank, well you can't spell FIRE as in Finance Insurance Real Estate, without Real Estate, that part is played here by trump, and Finance, that part is played by the investment banks that want Dodd Frank dismantled.

They work hand in glove, "developers" like trump get huge loans to put up huge monstrosities and the bank makes their money as a portion of the rents of the big monstrosity's tenants for the next 40 or 50 years.

Finance might pouted at the intiial success of trump, because it already owned the political establishment, and was used to having its boots licked, but his personal interests lay in large part with theirs.

What will be interesting will be his actions when the commercial real estate market crashes (I'm sure you've all heard about Macys closing thousands of stores, multiply that square footage and the end result may be shaped like a wobbling domino). Much of his personal wealth is tied up in commercial real estate, we'll see if how much he acts in the interests of 1. citizens 2. the state 3. the industry 4. his own portfolio.

Freudenschade

Col.,

I will not shed a tear when Dodd-Frank is repealed, provided the much simpler and more effective (and shorter) Glass-Steagall is restored.

http://wallstreetonparade.com/2014/08/dodd-frank-versus-glass-steagall-how-do-they-compare/

English Outsider


I hope this comment is not too far off the point of this thread. It's about US policy in the Ukraine. This might give some confirmation of a genuine change in that policy:.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzcSC9LsTi0

The link given links in turn to other BBC articles on the recent Ukraine offensive.

I find these BBC reports miss out on most of what is happening in the area at present. However, they do indicate a change. It looks as if the BBC is retreating from blaming Russia entirely and is now moving towards giving us more of a "six of one and half a dozen of the other" view.

The BBC view is closely aligned with UK government foreign policy. It's now in effect a government information service as far as foreign policy is concerned. So does this shift indicate a shift in UK policy on the Ukraine? If so, it will be to accommodate a changed US policy. That would confirm that Trump does indeed intend to pull back from the previous US policy on the Ukraine.

English Outsider


Apologies. Wrong link entirely. This is the correct link:-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-38882444

David E. Solomon

Freudenschade,

If you think that the politicians will ever stand for the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall you are living in a fantasy world.

It was the repeal of Glass-Steagall (signed by our illustrious President Bill) that led to the 2008 financial crisis. From that event (which should have resulted in a large number of bankers behind bars with tin cups) we have progressed to the point that the one percenters control more of the wealth in this country than ever before.

I too wish to see the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall but it is not going to happen.

Regards,

David

Peter Reichard

The singular failure of Obama was his unwillingness to rein in the excesses of Wall Street. Buoyed by their understanding that they were considered to be not only too big to fail but also too big to jail the major players have for eight years doubled down on their reckless and criminal behavior and rebuilt the financial house of cards. Under Trump it is going to get even worse as Wall Street insiders have been appointed to critical oversight positions and as Presidential advisers so there will be even less restraint. This will not end well.

Valissa

Were those vitriolic comments for show? An article at SF by Alexander Mercouris in part addresses Haley's performance. Her full remarks are included, as well as an interpretation of them which I excerpt below.

Trump Administration Fails To Back Ukraine https://southfront.org/trump-administration-fails-to-back-ukraine/
This is a very different statement from the one which might have expected from someone like Samantha Power.

It says that the US wants better relations with Russia.  It does not say that Russia or the eastern Ukrainian militia started the latest fighting.  It calls for full implementation of the Minsk Accords, which (as everyone knows) Ukraine is not implementing.  Lastly it calls for heavy weapons to be removed from “both sides of the contact line”, when everyone knows it was Ukraine’s decision to violate this provision by moving heavy weapons into the buffer zone (which includes Avdeevka) which caused the latest fighting.

As for the criticisms of Russia, not only do these have a ritual quality – with Haley simply repeating what is still official US policy – but she actually says she regrets having to do it.  Moreover it is difficult to avoid reading Haley’s comment about her having to do it being “unfortunate because it is a replay of far too many instances over many years in which United States Representatives have needed to do that” as being anything other than a veiled reference to Samantha Power, with the clear implication being that Haley wants to be different from her.

... Immediately following the UN Security Council meeting on Thursday where Haley read out her statement, Churkin said that he had noted “a tangible change of tone”, and said that he found Haley “friendly enough, with the allowances for the circumstances and the subject.”

Churkin and Haley then met on the following day.  Interestingly, it was Haley who went to see Churkin, not the other way round.  
----------------

Yes, it is very interesting that Haley went to Churkin's residence for a private meeting. That strikes me as unusual, but I know little of UN politics and norms. But that's probably the only place she could have had enough privacy to have a serious discussion. That is, if the Russians have been able to keep the NSA or other intelligence agencies from bugging the place.

Given how much a big faction of the Borg wants a return to the Cold War, and how many members of congress are getting lobbying money from the military-industrial complex, it will be tricky to move towards better relations with Russia. I expect there will much kabuki in public ... or perhaps bunraku would be a better word https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunraku

Edward Amame

“The Dodd-Frank Act is a disastrous policy that’s hindering our markets, reducing the availability of credit and crippling our economy’s ability to grow and create jobs,” Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, said Friday.

Meanwhile the WaPo says that "the roughly 6,000 banks insured by the FDIC earned $168.8 billion in profits in the past four quarters, a record, and above the $146.2 billion they earned in the 12 months leading up to the 2007 housing bust."

Norbert M Salamon

Sir, in case of air war Kuwait, and the other gulfies better store some water, for all the desalination plants in the gulf would be in danger.
As an aside Saudi Arabia's sea water intake for oil production is approx. 1 barrel of desalinated water for every 2 barrels of oil production -- all in the Persian Gulf.
Perhaps the straight closure is not even necessary to cripple oil exports


Thirdeye

We've been consistently underestimating Russia's high tech capabilities. It seems to be a holdover from the late Cold War, when there was a significant lag and our estimates of Soviet systems were influenced by the performance of their export systems. The Donald Cook incident, where the destroyer in the Black Sea suddenly found itself a sitting duck under ECM, was a rude shock.

Tunde

I've seen this as a repudiation of D-F but indulge my imagination; A neophyte POTUS BHO stumbles into a global recession. Wall Street advises, print money or be responsible for a global financial catastrophe. The sop to those outraged by the financial recklessness of the bankers is D-F.
What should have BHO done, bearing in mind the exponential consequences on the international financial system ? I can accept you insisting that the rescue may not have been worthwhile in retrospect but I'd be interested in a real world response to a quickly deteriorating financial situation at the time.

different clue

Norbert M. Salamon,

Do I understand your comment to be saying that the Saudis desalinate the seawater they inject into some of their producing oil fields? I had thought they just injected it as seawater without any desalinating at all.

different clue

David E. Solomon,

What if some New Deal Revivalists were to start a political party and call it the New Deal Revival Party or New Deal Restoration Party or Newer Deal Party? And run people for offices on such things as specifically restoring Glass-Steagall ( and throwing certain 2-hatted banks over the Glass-Steagall cliff to let them hard-shatter back into their separated functional pieces)?

I think it might get some votes. I would like to see the experiment run.

Jack

David

While Glass Steagall was important legislation that separated commercial and investment banking it would not have prevented the 2008 mortgage credit crisis. Recall that Goldman Sachs only became a commercial bank in the teeth of the crisis to avail themselves of Fed largesse. Lehman would have failed just like Bear Stearns even if Glass Steagall was law.

The mortgage credit crisis was an entirely investment banking problem. Yes, there were some commercial banks with large investment banking and proprietary trading operations including Citi & Chase, but the vast majority of commercial regional banks in the thousands were not speculating in leveraged financial products.

The 2008 financial crisis is an excellent example of leveraged speculation taken to scale by short term funding and implicit backing of government. Risky bets were taken due to Fed policy (the Greenspan & Bernanke put) and government backing of mortgage credit through Fannie & Freddie growth of balance sheet. Then add all the insurance companies like AIG who got into the credit insurance business with credit default swaps. When the last marginal leveraged buyer left and subprime credit started going south, the extreme leverage worked its magic in the reverse direction. Just the opposite of when it was levitating. The implicit backing became explicit as the Fed and government guaranteed trillions of dollars in debt and effectively took Fannie & Freddie into receivership.

The privatization of profits and socialization of losses went full circle.

hans

All... It would not take too many small incidents around Hormuz to get a large rise in the price of crude; the current ~$50 bbl could go to $80~$100 bbl in a couple of weeks.

Such a rise would be enormously beneficial to U.S. shale producers from the Bakken to Texas' Wolfcamp. The Russians too will enjoy a bonanza, especially across the arctic fields that are rapidly coming into production; indeed, this past week saw a convoy of Korean tankers escorted by Russian icebreakers make the first deep winter transit of the high arctic via the Bering sea.

Seamus Padraig

"She went to Vasili Churkin's home in NY City yesterday to talk things over."

I think his name is Vitaly Churkin, not Vassili.

"President Trump wants to de-regulate banking?"

Major disappointment. Trump originally campaigned on restoring Glass-Steagall--he even had it put into the Republican Party's platform! Now this? How sad ...

turcopolier

Seamus Padraig

Thanks. pl

FkDahl

FBI is releasing information about its investigation into the Clinton closet servers
https://vault.fbi.gov/hillary-r.-clinton/hillary-r.-clinton-part-01-of-06/view

turcopolier

FKDahl

I will look at it to see if there is anything worth publishing. pl

Fred

Edward,

WAPO has figured out the no-strings-attached bank bailout is good for record bank profits? Shocking.If only there had been an Attorney General who would have jailed a banker or two.

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