Mainstream commentators display amnesia when they describe former FBI Directors Robert Mueller and James Comey as stellar and credible law enforcement figures. Perhaps if they included J. Edgar Hoover, such fulsome praise could be put into proper perspective……Although these Hoover successors, now occupying center stage in the investigation of President Trump, have been hailed for their impeccable character by much of Official Washington, the truth is, as top law enforcement officials of the George W. Bush Administration (Mueller as FBI Director and James Comey as Deputy Attorney General), both presided over post-9/11 cover-ups and secret abuses of the Constitution, enabled Bush-Cheney fabrications used to launch wrongful wars, and exhibited plain vanilla incompetence.
Last week’s leak to the Washington Post of an intelligence report about President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in early December to discuss a possible back channel to Moscow appears to represents the climax of the campaign of leaks against the Trump team regarding contacts between Trump associates and Russians…….But the Brennan-Clapper line insinuating that the Kushner request for contacts with the Russians was potentially treasonous collapses in light of the well-documented story of how President-elect Richard Nixon’s national security adviser-designate Henry Kissinger established his own personal backchannel to the Soviet leadership in 1968 using a known KGB operative with whom he had been meeting for years as his contact……Further, Oleg Kalugin, the head of the KGB’s station in Washington, surely boasted to his Kremlin bosses about having “forged a close back channel tie with Henry Kissinger” – as Kalugin put it in his own memoirs – that would be useful in influencing Nixon’s policy toward the Soviet Union.
Republican senators left their first decision-making meeting on overhauling the nation’s health-care system Tuesday deeply divided over the fate of Medicaid, a fissure that threatens to thwart their ambitions to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. The divide among Senate Republicans over Medicaid was wide enough that some GOP lawmakers and aides said they now believe it may be impossible to broker a deal to unwind the health law known as Obamacare. Some senators are already preparing to move to another goal, an overhaul of the tax code.
Stocks, bonds, gold and bitcoin—assets that rarely move in unison—have all been surging this spring, an everything rally that leaves investors confounded about how to play the plodding U.S. expansion and vulnerable to sharp reversals in fortune……..The simultaneous gains have begun to concern some investors. Many point to a wave of money that is driving up asset prices, tied in part to lower bond yields and a lower dollar—a confluence of events they say feels good while it lasts but can’t go on forever.
Commercial real estate’s eight-year boom reached such breath-taking levels that even the Fed has been pointing it out as one of the reasons for tightening monetary policy. The Fed is worried because of the size of the sector, its leverage, and what it did to the banks during the Financial Crisis. And now commercial real estate prices are heading south once again. Green Street’s Commercial Property Price Index, which tracks the value of property owned by real-estate investment trusts, fell 0.4% in May to the lowest level since May 2016……
We are left with no other choice, then, the inescapable conclusion that is derived from the deranged nature of these extreme levels of labor statistics. They have to be faulty and therefore highly misleading. It is not much of a stretch to claim they have been this way for all this time, just not so obviously unfounded as they are right now. The 4.3% unemployment rate does not compute properly as the denominator is beset by the participation problem (that does matter). The 6 million plus Job Openings are of a different statistical anomaly, but no less evident in its same implications.
However, as often happens, the official narrative is traditionally a convenient smokescreen from the real underlying tensions. The real reason behind the diplomatic fallout may be far simpler, and once again has to do with a long-running and controversial topic, namely Qatar’s regional natural gas dominance.
The seemingly unabated march upwards in stock prices occurring over the last eight years has had a mind-numbing effect on investors. The relentless grind higher is backed by weak fundamentals providing little to no justification for elevated prices. Indeed, if there was no justification for such valuations during the economically superior timeframe of the late 1990’s, how does coherent logic rationalize current circumstances? For example, feeble economic growth, stagnating corporate earnings, unstable levels of debt, income and wage inequality and a host of other economic ills typically do not command a steep premium and so little regard for risk. This time, however, is different, and investors have turned a blind eye to such inconvenient facts and instead bank on a rosy future. Thus far, they have been rewarded. But as is so often the case with superficial gratification, the rewards are very likely to prove fleeting and what’s left behind will be deep regret.
Say It’s Not True, Donald! Trump To Nominate Anti-Gold Advocate of Negative Rates And Abolishing Cash To Fed
The more shocking pick is Goodfriend, currently a professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University……In one paragraph of his speech, he managed to go full-Keynesian, anti-gold and in support of negative interest rates:The zero interest bound is an encumbrance on monetary policy to be removed, much as the gold standard and the fixed foreign exchange rate encumbrances were removed, to free the price level from the destabilizing influence of a relative price over which monetary policy has little control—in this case, so movements in the intertemporal terms of trade can be reflected fully in interest rate policy to stabilize employment and inflation over the business cycle.
Why aren’t teens working? Lots of theories have been offered: They’re being crowded out of the workforce by older Americans, now working past 65 at the highest rates in more than 50 years. Immigrants are competing with teens for jobs; a 2012 study found that less educated immigrants affected employment for U.S. native-born teenagers far more than for native-born adults. Parents are pushing kids to volunteer and sign up for extracurricular activities instead of working, to impress college admission counselors. College-bound teens aren’t looking for work because the money doesn’t go as far as it used to. “Teen earnings are low and pay little toward the costs of college,” the BLS noted this year. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Elite private universities charge tuition of more than $50,000.