US household debt has now hit levels back in 2008. More debt is good for the bankers not for the people. Loan demand is down and credit has recently crashed. Mortgage application have declined again during the hot season for real estate. Central bankers are continually trying to explain why the recovery has not taken off, this time it is because the older generation is hoarding their savings. US Government officials have said they have been calculating the GDP incorrectly and it should be at least .4% higher. They are trying everything to re-manipulate the numbers to make the economy look better than it really is. Bill Blain says the stock market is up and there is really no reason for it be this high, everyone is expecting a correction. The deep state continually pushes their agenda to remove Trump. There is a battle going on and it is being waged right out in the open. The deep state and corporate media are trying everything to remove Trump. Senators have now written a letter asking for the memo and all documentation from Trump, Obama and Clinton. Trump wants the pentagon audited. Russia and Italy boost cooperation. South Korea is talking about packing up the THAAD system and sending it back to the US. Nikki Haley speaks in deep state speak, either your with the US or your with NK. Russian Ambassador might have been killed because he could have worked out peace with NK .US admits that they Syrian building is not a crematorium. US and Syrian forces are moving military assets for an offensive.
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Current News – 05.17.2017
- Total debt held by US household reached $12.73 trillion in the first quarter of 2017, finally surpassing its $12.68 trillion peak reached during the recession in 2008 according to the NY Fed’s latest quarterly report on household debt. This marked a$479 billion increase from a year ago, and up $149 billion from Q4 2016 after 11 consecutive quarters of growth since the deleveraging period immediately following the Great Recession.
the biggest US mortgage lender – Wells Fargo – recently reported a historic collapse in new mortgage applications, which lead originations, in the first quarter.
- Perhaps the most troubling update in the Q1 credit update was that the number of credit inquiries within the past six months – an indicator of consumer credit demand – declined from the previous quarter, to 162 million. This confirms what the NY Fed reported in its latest Senior Loan Officers Survey which found an unexpected collapse in both credit and auto loan demand.
- It also helps explain the recent crash in both C&I and total loan issuance.
- All that said, we were somewhat shocked to come across a report from money manager United Income which effectively argues that American retirees are saving too much money rather than too little. To summarize the thesis, United Income argues that retirees become more conservative as they grow older which causes them to save more and allocate less to equities…which is, of course, a somewhat self-serving conclusion but never mind that.
- The only problem with the theory is that, intentional or otherwise, it’s based on a complete misinterpretation of data. Per the chart below, United Income referenced the growth in “Mean Net Wealth” as evidence that retirees are hoarding too much cash.
- Unfortunately, when combined with the fact that “Median Net Wealth” is actually shrinking, it’s easy to deduce that while the majority of American retirees are actually spending their retirement income (and then some), there is a group of super wealthy old folks who simply can’t spend enough money to offset annual investment income growth….which speaks more to the growing wealth gap than to some economic fear that is causing retirees to hoard cash.
- it’s not too difficult to understand why aggregate YoY spending trends collapse as old folks get older. The most wealthy retirees can only find so many ways to burn their massive nest eggs which means that, at least for these folks, YoY spending doesn’t grow but retirement balances do…
- But we’re sure the report from United Income, as misleading as it may be, will undoubtedly convince more retirees to allocate more money to equities… win’ deals.
- First we had China’s “overcooked” GDP data, then came Australia’s “technical issues with jobs data,” and now, with Jack Welch having questioned America’s jobs data in 2012, Bloomberg reports that top officials from two US government economic-statistics agencies said their measurement tools for growth and inflation are off.
- Economists for years have questioned whether statistical agencies are keeping up with changes, resulting from an increasingly digitized and innovation-based economy, that improve the quality of goods and services.
- Despite the BLS’s improvements in capturing changes in the economy, “our quality corrections are not as complete as they could be, so they are not taking into account some of the innovations that are actually going into the goods,” said Erica Groshen, one of the paper’s authors, who served a four-year term as BLS commissioner that ended in January.
- Looking at the personal consumption component of GDP, the authors find that price measures likely show an overstatement of 0.2 percentage point in 2000, rising to 0.26 percentage point in 2015.
- Combined with some mismeasurement of quality changes in computer and software investment, the total effects would mean GDP growth is understated by about 0.4 percentage point for 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015, according to the paper.
- Talking to accounts I was struck by a sense of resignation: stocks seem determined to go stratospheric despite the fact many people think a correction/reset is coming.
- For instance, I’m told stock market gains are due to “passive” investments like indices and ETFs rather than active management, and tight yields are unsustainable as and when Central Banks normalise and interest rates climb higher. (
- But, the bottom line is financial asset prices continue to rise despite our disbelief! Should you buy into the story at this stage in the game? The rule remains – don’t join the last 5% of a rally just so you can catch the first 25% of the subsequent crash!
- Update: Rep. Green has called for the impeachment of the president…
- it is unclear what Congressman Al Green’s reasoning is… apart from anonymously-sourced evidence-free reports from a clearly biased mainstream media perpetuating a narrative designed to ‘resist’. Apparently the argument is that Trump “obstructed justice”, although we hope Mr. Green has some evidence to back up his accusations.
- Justin Amash (R-Mich.) said the report that President Trump pressured ousted FBI Director James Comey to end an investigation would merit impeachment if true, becoming the first Republican lawmaker to break from the party and hint at impeachment.
- CNN’s Wolf Blitzer who brought up the possibility of impeaching President Trump in an interview with Independent Senator Angus King.
- “If these allegations, Senator, are true are we getting closer and closer to the possibility of yet another impeachment process?” Blitzer asked.
“Reluctantly, Wolf, I have to say yes simply because obstruction of justice is such a serious offense,” King responded.
- Putin said that Trump did not share any classified information or state secrets to foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, and to prove it he was ready to hand over a transcript of the talks between Putin and Lavrov to Congress if the White House requests it.
- “If the US administration deems it possible, we are ready to provide the Senate and Congress with the transcript of the conversation between Lavrov and Trump,”
- “I spoke to him (Lavrov) today,” said Putin with a smile. “I’ll be forced to issue him with a reprimand because he did not share these secrets with us. Not with me, nor with representatives of Russia’s intelligence services. It was very bad of him.”
- Republican South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy had a simple response Tuesday to The New York Times report that former FBI director James Comey left behind a memo about the Michael Flynn investigation: “I want to see the memo.”
- Gowdy responded. “Obviously I want to talk to Director Comey to determine how contemporaneous his recording of the conversation was.”
- “But also, importantly, not just what was said, but what did Director Comey hear? How did he take it?” Gowdy asked. “And with all due respect to the New York Times, that can only be done by looking at the memo and talking to Director Comey.”
- “We have a story — there’s a reason newspaper articles are not admissible in any court room in the United States…we’re a long ways from a conviction, that we simply have a headline in the New York Times.”
Former FBI Director Comey’s note of his conversation with President Trump is not evidence of obstruction of justice or even close.
Firstly, it is standard practice for lawyers and officials to make notes of all business related conversations they undertake and to distribute them to their colleagues. There is nothing unusual or surprising about Comey drafting a note of his conversation with the President and circulating it amongst the senior staff of the FBI. What would in fact have been extraordinary and alarming would have been if he had not do so. The mere fact that Comey made and circulating a note following a meeting with a President who had only just entered office and who Comey would therefore scarcely know is not therefore a sign he was being put under pressure.
It is highly likely the President or his staff made their own record of the meeting. We do not know the circumstances or location in which the meeting took place. However if the meeting took place in the Oval Office it is a virtual certainty that Presidential staffers were present, and that a note and quite possibly a full transcript of the meeting was made.
President Trump has hinted that his meetings with Comey were tape recorded. Whilst that is possible there is no confirmation of it and President Trump’s hint is actually rather ambiguous. U
Secondly the subject that was discussed during this conversation was not the FBI’s Russiagate counter-espionage investigation but the FBI’s investigation of General Flynn following upon General Flynn’s telephone conversation on 29th December 2016 with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Comey’s note has not been published and the New York Times does not claim to have seen it. However it was apparently read out to one of its reporters who recorded it saying the following
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey that Mr. Flynn had done nothing wrong, according to the memo.
Mr. Comey did not say anything to Mr. Trump about curtailing the investigation, replying only: “I agree he is a good guy.”
The note does not show Trump ordering Comey to drop the investigation, or even asking him to. It merely expresses the hope he would do so given Trump’s belief that Flynn had done “nothing wrong”.
- Plus back in January the FBI cleared Flynn
- The chairman of the House Oversight Committee demanded late Tuesday that the FBI turn over all documents relating to communications between former FBI Director James Comey and President Trump — after warning that he has his “subpoena pen ready.”
- Following Jason Chaffetz’ lead , the Senate Judiciary Committee has demanded that The FBI hand over all Comey’s memos “memorializing interactions” with Trump, Obama, Sessions, Lynch, Rosenstein, Boente, and Yates…
Charles Grasley, Dianne Feinstein, Lindsey Graham, and Shedon Whitehouse wrote to Acting FBI Director McCabe…
Dear Mr. McCabe
We are writing to request that the FBI provide the Committee with all such memos, if they exist, that Mr. Comey created memorializing interactions he had with Presidents Trump and Obama, Attorneys General Sessions and Lynch, and Deputy Attorneys General Rosenstein, Boente, and Yates regarding the investigations of Trump associates’ alleged connections with Russia or the Clinton email investigation. Please provide these documents by no later than May 24, 2017. . Please deliver any documents containing classified information to the Office of Senate Security and provide all unclassified documents directly to the Committee.
- Trump’s nominee to serve as comptroller for the Pentagon, David Norquist, testified at his Senate confirmation hearing that he would insist on one whether the department could pass it or not. “It is time to audit the Pentagon,” Norquist told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee in his opening statement.
- Source: defenseone.com
Nine people were injured, including one seriously, in a brutal fight between supporters and opponents of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, DC.
Footage from the scene shows men in suits viciously attacking a group of anti-Erdogan protesters, pushing them to the ground – men and women alike – and kicking some of them repeatedly in the head. The men in suits, according to media citing eyewitnesses, are members of the Turkish president’s security detail.
- Russia and Italy will expand energy cooperatioN,
- “We’ve discussed promising areas of cooperation, including energy,” Putin said, adding that Russia covers 43% of Italy’s demand for gas. According to President, the parties have agreed “to expand cooperation in the area further on.”
- Putin said Russia-Italy bilateral trade was up 28 per cent over the first two months of this year.
- The floor leader of the South Korean ruling Democratic Party, Woo Won-shik, said Wednesday Seoul would consider the possibility of uninstalling and sending the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system back to the United States.
- In comments in Beijing Russian President Putin blames US regime change policies for provoking North Korea into acquiring nuclear weapons. Says that dialogue between the US and North Korea not threats is the way to defuse the crisis.
Since North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programme is defensive, a political settlement of the Korean crisis should in theory also be possible. I have already discussed the outline of what such a settlement might be.
- South Korea’s unification ministry said on Wednesday its basic stance is that communication lines with North Korea should open, as new President Moon Jae-in seeks a two-track policy involving sanctions and dialog with Pyongyang.“Our most basic stance is that communication lines between South and North Korea should open.
- The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations urged other countries to do more to pressure North Korea over its weapons program, saying “You either support North Korea or you support us, you are either with North Korea or not.”
- “[Ambassador] Andrei Karlov was the person who had demonstrated that he could be the force for peace in the North-South relations, while also being a powerful and vocal advocate for the Russian influence on the Korean peninsula.
- [He] was one of the rare foreign friends of the reclusive North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-il. …, they spent many evenings with Kim and his closest associates (presumably also his son and successor Kim Jong-un), dining together and signing Russian/Soviet songs.”
- up until the day he was murdered, Karlov was still a very important diplomatic player in the Russian overt and covert dealings with North Korea.
- An Alternative Hypothesis?
- If there is in the West (in the U.S.-NATO leadership) a political-military-intelligence faction that wants to go to war against North Korea, then all those who could stop this war would need to be preemptively eliminated in one way or another. Andrei Karlov was the person who had demonstrated that he could be the force for peace in the North-South relations, while also being a powerful and vocal advocate for the Russian influence on the Korean peninsula.
- But strangely enough, the US has not designated the new organization a terrorist organization even as it warns off other groups seeking to join the newly branded al-Qaeda in Syria.
- Why is that?
- from the Canadian state news agency:
- The reasons for the reluctance to list the new al-Qaeda formation may have to do with one of its new members, the Nour ed-Dine Zenki Brigade, a jihadi group from the Aleppo governorate.
- The Zenki Brigade was an early and prominent recipient of US aid, weapons, and training. …
- For the US to designate HTS now would mean acknowledging that it supplied sophisticated weapons including TOW anti-tank missiles to “terrorists,” and draw attention to the fact that the U.S. continues to arm Islamist militias in Syria.
- : The reason the US cannot designate al-Qaeda in Syria as a terrorist group is because that would make the US legally responsible for having supplied a terrorist group with extremely sophisticated weapons and training. The US is arming and training terrorists in Syria, but instead of just getting out it is pretending that al-Qaeda is not a terrorist organization.
- The US military is deploying a new Marine Corps artillery unit to Syria, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, Army Maj. Josh T. Jacques,
- The unit is arriving in the country in order to support the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the ongoing operation against ISIS in the countryside of Raqqah and an expected storm of the ISIS self-proclaimed capital.
- The US State Demartment has officially admitted that the alleged crematorium near Damascus where the Assad government was burning dead bodies of thousands of killed prisoners may not be a crematorium at all.
- Answering questions during the press briefing, Stuart Jones, Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, has been pushed to admit that it could be just a warmer part of the building.
- Housing Minister Yoav Galant, has used the opportunity to issue an open call for the assassination of Syrian President Bashar Assad (see article below).