Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Last Call For Trump Trades Blows, Con't

As I keep saying, the one thing that would absolutely end Donald Trump in 2020 is an economic recession, and America got another market red alert today that indicates we're careening towards a nasty one right now.

Recession signals intensified Wednesday in the United States and in some of the world’s leading economies, as the damage from acrimonious trade wars is becoming increasingly apparent on multiple continents.

The U.S. stock market tumbled to its worst day of the year on Wednesday, after a reliable predictor of looming recessions flashed for the first time since the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 800 points, or about 3 percent, and has lost close to 7 percent over the past three weeks.

Two of the world’s largest economies, Germany and the United Kingdom, appear to be contracting even as the latter forges ahead with plans to leave the European Union. Growth also has slowed in China, which is in a bitter trade feud with the United States. Meanwhile, Argentina’s stock market fell nearly 50 percent earlier this week after its incumbent president was defeated by a left-wing opponent.

Whether the events presage an economic calamity or just an alarming spasm are unclear. But unlike during the Great Recession, global leaders are not working in unison to confront mounting problems and arrest the slowdown. Instead, they are increasingly at one another’s throats.

And President Trump has responded by both claiming the economy is still thriving while dramatically ramping up his attacks on Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome H. Powell, seeking to deflect blame.

Wednesday’s sharp sell-off was caused by an unusual development in the bond market, called an “inverted yield curve,” that often foreshadows a recession.

For the first time since the run-up to the Great Recession, the yields — or returns — on short-term U.S. bonds eclipsed those of long-term bonds. Normally, the government needs to pay out higher rates to attract investors for its long-term bonds. But with so many losing confidence in the near-term prospects of the economy and rushing to buy longer-term bonds, the U.S. government now is paying more to attract buyers to its 2-year bond than its 10-year note

That inverted yield curve usually precedes a recession by about a year, which would be lethal to Trump's reelection prospects if that holds true.  I say "usually" because the yield curve first inverted in December 2005 before the Great Recession, and it basically took two years for that to happen.

We'll see what happens, but with the Trump regime running things, I would expect that massive recession sooner rather than later.

Lowering The Barr, Con't

Attorney General Bill Barr gave a speech to the Fraternal Order of Police on Monday and it not only confirmed Barr has no interest in criminal justice reform and will absolutely roll it back by decades if given the option, but it also made it very clear that the nation's top cop wants a fascist police state, and that he wants the nation's law enforcement officers to help him establish it.

Attorney General William Barr delivered an emotionally charged speech defending law enforcement this week to the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) for its 64th Biennial Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. FOP is the US' largest fraternal police organization. 
"To my mind, there is no more noble profession than serving as a police officer," Barr said. "You put your own life and well-being on the line to protect your communities."
He added: "Your families spend anxious nights, so we can sleep in peace. You never know what your day may bring — what uncertainty, danger, or threat you might face. But you still get up, put on your uniform and badge, kiss your loved ones, and head out to face whatever risks might come your way." 
But Barr went on to say that police officers are "fighting a different type of war ... an unrelenting, never-ending fight against criminal predators in our society."

"Even in a healthy society, violence, lawlessness, and predation lie just below the surface," the attorney general said. "In the final analysis, what stands between chaos and carnage on the one hand, and the civilized and tranquil society we all yearn for is the thin blue line of law enforcement. You are the ones manning the ramparts — day in, and day out." 
After telling the crowd that "we need to get back to basics," Barr said that public figures in the media and elsewhere should "underscore the need to 'Comply first, and, if warranted, complain later.'" 
"This will make everyone safe — the police, suspects, and the community at large," he said. "And those who resist must be prosecuted for that crime. We must have zero tolerance for resisting police. This will save lives."

If a law enforcement official in any other country said these words in public, we would call it what it is: pure violent police state fascism.  But this what America's Attorney General is saying, that it is the responsibility of the media to tell people to comply with law enforcement, and that resistance will have zero tolerance.

That, along with Barr's lionization of police as "soldiers" who are "manning the ramparts" in a "never-ending fight" against the people they are supposed to serve and protect, should warrant his immediate dismissal.

Sadly, he has just given the nation's largest police union the green light for "zero-tolerance" to be used against the people.  But he was far from done in naming enemies of the police.

During his speech Monday, Barr singled out local prosecutors for being soft on crime and accused them of making police officers' jobs more difficult. 
"There is another development that is demoralizing to law enforcement and dangerous to public safety," he said. "That is the emergence in some of our large cities of district attorneys that style themselves as 'social justice' reformers, who spend their time undercutting the police, letting criminals off the hook, and refusing to enforce the law."

The Trump regime has made it clear that they have no respect for the judicial in any way if it ever criticizes the White House, and rule of law is what Donald Trump and Bill Barr says it is.  Getting hundreds of thousands of armed police on your side in a "different kind of war" is exactly as dangerous as it sounds.

Barr isn't just covering for Trump.  He's a dangerous fascist.  Period.

Climate Of Extremities, Con't

Global warming in the US has now exceeded two degrees Celsius average temperature increase over 1895 levels in dozens of US counties, and the cities involved: NYC, LA, Boston, Providence, Phoenix, and all of Long Island, are already having to deal with the infrastructure and system stress of growing temperatures.

Nationwide, trends are clear. Starting in the late 1800s, U.S. temperatures began to rise and continued slowly up through the 1930s. The nation then cooled slightly for several decades. But starting around 1970, temperatures rose steeply.

At the county level, the data reveals isolated 2-degree Celsius clusters: high-altitude deserts in Oregon; stretches of the western Rocky Mountains that feed the Colorado River; a clutch of counties along the northeastern shore of Lake Michigan — home to the famed Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore near Traverse City.

Along the Canadian border, a string of counties from eastern Montana to Minnesota are quickly heating up.

The topography of warming varies. It is intense at some high elevations, such as in Utah and Colorado, and along some highly populated coasts: Temperatures have risen by 2C in Los Angeles and three neighboring counties. New York City is also warming rapidly, and so are the very different areas around it, such as the beach resorts in the Hamptons and leafy Westchester County.

The smaller the area, the more difficult it is to pinpoint the cause of warming. Urban heat effects, changing air pollution levels, ocean currents, events like the Dust Bowl, and natural climate wobbles such as El NiƱo could all be playing some role, experts say.

The only part of the United States that has not warmed significantly since the late 1800s is the South, especially Mississippi and Alabama, where data in some cases shows modest cooling. Scientists have attributed this “warming hole” to atmospheric cycles driven by the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, along with particles of soot from smokestacks and tailpipes, which have damaging health effects but can block some of the sun’s intensity. Those types of pollutants were curtailed by environmental policies, while carbon dioxide remained unregulated for decades.

Since the 1960s, however, the region’s temperatures have been increasing along with the rest of the country’s.

The Northeast is warming especially fast.

Anthony Broccoli, a climate scientist at Rutgers, defines an unusually warm or cold month as ranking among the five most extreme in the record going back to the late 1800s. In the case of New Jersey, he says, “since 2000, we’ve had 39 months that were unusually warm and zero that were unusually cold.”

Scientists do not completely understand the Northeast hot spot. But fading winters and very warm water offshore are the most likely culprits, experts say. That’s because climate change is a cycle that feeds on itself.

Warmer winters mean less ice and snow cover. Normally, ice and snow reflect solar radiation back into space, keeping the planet relatively cool. But as the ice and snow retreat, the ground absorbs the solar radiation and warms.

With the exception of Phoenix, the areas that are heating up are seeing much milder winters, not much hotter summers.  But those are causing positive feedback loops that are starting to lead to much warmer summer months, too.

And all this will continue to get worse.  We're decades past the point of stopping global warming.

We're now at the point of mitigation for survival.


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