The Donald’s Done — The Deep State Wins Its War On America First; written by david stockman wednesday may 9, 2018


The Donald’s Done — The Deep State Wins Its War On America First
written by david stockman wednesday may 9, 2018
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/09/the-donalds-done-the-deep-state-wins-its-war-on-america-first/

The Donald’s action to ash-can the Iranian nuclear deal marks the War Party’s complete and baleful triumph. There is now nothing much left of America First.

Trump’s reckless, unwarranted and utterly irrational action will pull Washington ever deeper into an incendiary middle eastern vortex of political and religious conflict that has absolutely nothing to do with the safety and security of the America people.

To the contrary, picking a fight with Tehran is an exercise in unprovoked Imperial aggression. The Iranian regime has no means to attack America militarily and has never threatened to do so. Nor has it invaded any other country in the region where it was not invited by a sovereign government host.

Even Iran’s minor skirmishes with American forces in recent years have been owing to the happenstance of Washington’s far-flung imperial ventures.

For example, Washington destroyed Saddam’s Sunni/secular government in Iraq and installed a Shiite regime in Baghdad, thereby leaving the Sunni lands of western Iraq in chaos. Only then did Baghdad invite their shiite co-religionists from Iran to help excise the scourge of ISIS that formed from the remnants of Saddam’s army and government.

Likewise, Washington and its allies sent thousands of jihadist warriors and billions of aid and supplies into Syria to topple its dully elected government. Only then did the Alawite (Shiite) Assad regime invite help from its confessional compatriots in Tehran.

And you can’t find any more ludicrous example of the cat calling the kettle black than the Donald’s claim that Iran is a terrorist state because it is aligned with the Shiite population of Lebanon represented by Hezbollah.

For crying out loud. The War Party pretends Washington has turned much of the middle east into rubble and barbarism in order to spread democracy — whether they wanted it or not, and whether they were ready for it or not.

But Lebanon is a serviceable democracy and last weekend Hezbollah and its allies — including certain Sunni factions — won an overwhelming election victory. They now control a clear majority in its legislature, where Hezbollah will have the power to name a new Prime Minister (a Sunni) and Speaker of the Parliament (a Shiite) — both of whom will be pledged to work with the country’s Christian president.

That particular outcome of democracy the War Party can’t abide. But it fairly violates the english language itself to call it state sponsored terrorism.

In a similar vein, the Houthi tribe of Shiites have dominated much of northern and western Yemen for centuries. So when a Washington installed government in Sana’a was overthrown, the Houthi took power in northern Yemen — as had been the case during the long expanse from 1918-1990 when the two Yemens were finally unified.


But it is the Houthis who are the victims of aggression by the brutal Saudi bombing campaign that has left more than 10,000 civilians dead and the land plagued with famine, cholera, rubble, and economic collapse.

There is no telling which faction in Yemen’s fratricidal civil war and invasion by Saudi Arabia is the more barbaric, but the modest aid provided by Iran to its Shiite kinsman in northern Yemen is absolutely not a case of state sponsored terrorism.

In a word, the Donald has fallen hook, line and sinker for the War Party’s lie- and propaganda-filled demonization of the Iranian regime. We have debunked this false history elsewhere, but suffice to say that it boils down to two very imperialist propositions.

To wit, that Iran is not entitled to have its own foreign policy via alliances with Iraq, Syria, the dominant party of Lebanon, or the official government in Sana’a Yemen because Washington (and Israel) say so; and that it’s not allowed to have even intermediate and medium range missiles (that can’t reach either the US or most of Europe) to defend itself — even though Washington has armed its far wealthier Sunni rival across the Persian Gulf with upwards of $250 billion of America’s most advanced warplanes, attack helicopters, missiles, drones and sundry other accoutrements of war.

And that is to say nothing of a tiny residual capacity to enrich uranium to 3.5 percent purity (compared to 90 percent weapons grade) for civilian power reactors on fewer than one-fifth of the oldest and slowest centrifuges it had before the 2015 nuke deal.

Nor does it consider that all 17 US intelligence agencies certified in an official NIE (national intelligence estimate) in 2007 and again in 2011 that Iran only had a small weaponization research program between 1999 and 2003, which was then abandoned and never restarted.

Moreover, the documentary proof of that was thoroughly investigated by the IAEA after the 2015 deal, which then re-validated that the Iranian weapons program was indeed disbanded in 2003.

In short, the Donald has fallen for a pack of lies and distortions that are only remotely plausible if the aim is to find enemies and territories around the planet to police, occupy or otherwise hegemonize. And to thereby keep the Warfare State in business, its $800 billion budget funded, and the Imperial City’s vast beehive of think-tanks, contractors, NGOs, lobbyists, and racketeers in clover.

The invincible grip on power of the above — the Deep State for short-hand purposes — has now been proven. And that’s a full-on tragedy because the Donald’s inchoate notion of America First was an incipient challenge to its power — the only one since the end of the cold war.

To be sure, Donald Trump never had a coherent or articulated notion of America First. But all of his impulses were in the right direction.

Perhaps like renegade Sarah Palin before him, for example, he could see Russia from his airy on the 68th floor of Trump Tower and recognize that it is no threat whatsoever to America’s security.

That is, from his perch the Donald could gaze upon metro New York’s $1.6 trillion of GDP, which is greater than the entirety of Russia’s economy ($1.5 trillion GDP); and whether he knew the precise numbers or not, his impulse toward rapprochement with Putin was spot on.

Likewise, whether he had gotten George Bush’s folly in Iraq right on day one or not — he was loud and clear in his consistent denunciation years before Hillary sprouted her dawkish feathers.

Nor was he any less correct when he averred that NATO was obsolete. After all, the GDP of the EU-29 is 10X larger than Russia’s, and their combined military spending is 4X greater.

If you’re not a prisoner of Imperial Washington’s twisted group think you cannot possibly believe that Russia’s supremely rational leader — Cool Hand Vlad — intends to militarily assault his European neighbors. He’d like to supply their markets, not occupy their cities — something that anyone except the demented, self-serving bureaucrats of NATO can easily understand.

Ditto for Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia et. al. They aren’t cold war “dominoes” because the Soviet Union slithered off the pages of history 27 years ago; they don’t threaten America directly, either, because they don’t have two dimes to rub together economically or militarily; and whether they affiliate with the Saudi-Sunni axis or the Iran-Shiite crescent makes not one damn bit of difference for the safety and security of American citizens in Lincoln NE or Springfield MA.

In the case of the Korean Peninsula, the Donald also rightly questioned why we are still funding 29,000 US troops when the war there ended 65 years ago.

The truth is, it is a war that never should have been fought in the first place because the now open Soviet archives show both Stalin and Mao were against it. US national security was never at stake.

Rather than a domino, it originated purely as a civil war between the communist/nationalists under Kim II-sung, who had fought the Japanese occupiers to the death, and a puppet government in the South under Syngman Rhee.

The latter was an aristocratic dandy who moved to the US in 1904 and spent most of the next 40 years hob-knobbing in Washington. So doing, he promoted endless schemes to install himself in power back in Korea, which finally happened when Japan’s 35-year long occupation was ended in August 1945.

At length, the two Korean political rivals got into a war that the north would have handily won — and might well have turned itself into a cheap labor based export platform just as did Mao’s heirs on the mainland. It might even have become a darling of Wall Street — just as the Red Suzerains of Beijing are today.

That is to say, there was exactly nothing at stake in June 1950 — until the rabid cold warriors in Washington persuaded Truman to intervene.

So doing, the US military launched the most destructive and vicious bombing campaign in history under the blood-thirsty top Air Force general, Curtis LeMay. By the 1953 armistice, North Korea had become a bombed-out wasteland with hardly a city or town not reduced to rubble and with millions of civilians dead or starving.

But it was not merely a pointless war and waste of American blood and treasure; it also became forever embraced by the people of the north as the patriotic war of resistance that paved the way for six decades of the brutal Kim family dictatorship and a life of poverty and misery for its 25 million people, who could otherwise be working in Apple factories and auto plants today.

Needless to say, Imperial Washington has no regard for honest history — only its own self-serving narrative and imperative need for enemies and missions to justify nearly $800 billion per year for the machinery of war and empire. In the case of North Korea, in fact, its imperial pretensions and penchant for “regime change” under the neocons in recent decades, unleashed a veritable monster.

That is, a drive by the Kim family to obtain nuclear weapons, thereby hoping to avoid Saddam’s fate at the end of a rope or Khadafy’s bloody demise with a shive up his rectum.

Fortunately, the Donald has been blessed with a historic serendipity. His military bluster and name-calling apparently caused Kim Jong-un to stage so many nuclear bomb tests culminating in a huge (for N. Korea) 160 kiloton explosion last September that the Fat Boy of Pyongyang has literally destroyed the mountains which house his Punggye-ri test site.

A recent authoritative study actually warns that if North Korea were to use the same area for another test it could cause an “environmental catastrophe.”

North Korea’s past tests have altered the tectonic stress in the region to the extent that previously inactive tectonic faults in the region have reached their state of critical failure. Any further disturbance from a future test could generate earthquakes that may be damaging by their own force or crack the nuclear test sites of the past or the present.
Of course, Kim Jong-un is now attempting to make a virtue out of necessity by ostentatiously shuttering the no longer useable site and inviting the world to witness its entombment. But if that leads to a denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, so be it.

And let it also be an occasion to reverse the mistake of June 1950, and get American forces off the peninsula once and for all: Return Korea to the Koreans to work out their own governance as they see fit!

Yet even on this matter, where the Donald has recently tried to explore a drastic reduction, if not complete removal, of US troops as part of the pending deal with Kim Jong-un, the Deep State has come down on him with all fours.

In that regard, here is what former “peace” candidate Barack Obama’s leading advisor on the topic had this to say:

Kelly E. Magsamen, a top Asia policy official at the Pentagon during the Obama administration, said, ‘U.S. presence in South Korea is a sacrosanct part of our alliance.’
In fact, apparently the entire global empire of Washington is sacrosanct — including the ridiculous fact that in the year 2018 Washington still has military bases in the defeated powers of World War II. Yet neither Japan nor Germany have any mortal military enemies and both are utterly dependent on the trade custom of the US for their high standard of living.

So the Deep State now owns the Donald and America First is not even a slogan. It’s inoperative, Nixon-style.

Indeed, it’s only a matter of time before the Donald gets the ultimate Nixon treatment — now that he has done the Deep State’s dirty work and ash-canned the deal that could have opened a broad avenue toward peace in the world and drastic retrenchment of the fiscally bankrupting Warfare State at home.

That is to say, at length the ingrates of the Deep State will put the Donald on the Dick Nixon Memorial Helicopter for his final ride to Gonesville.

To paraphrase the great Randolph Bourne, Demonization of the Unwilling is the Health of the Deep State.

At least that much the Donald has now, regrettably, confirmed with his sophomoric attack on Iran.

So doing he has also lurched America drastically forward on the path to a monumental financial catastrophe. That’s because taken together the Warfare State and the Welfare State are also the fiscal demise of the state.

One of these days even the lemmings of Wall Street — which took day’s calamitous news in stride — will finally get the memo, too.

Reprinted with permission from David Stockman’s Contra Corner.

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When I read this article, I kept hearing that song “Take It To The Limit One More Time”! They’ve changed the words “Sub-Prime” to “Non-Prime” and we re going to take it to the limit one more time…


Subprime mortgages make a comeback—with a new name and soaring demand
The subprime mortgage industry vanished after the Great Recession but is now being reinvented as the nonprime market.
Carrington Mortgage is now offering mortgages to borrowers with “less-than-perfect credit.”
Demand from both borrowers and investors is exceeding expectations.
Diana Olick | @DianaOlick
Published 10:45 AM ET Thu, 12 April 2018 Updated 1:54 PM ET Thu, 12 April 2018
CNBC.com
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/12/sub-prime-mortgages-morph-into-non-prime-loans-and-demand-soars.html
Subprime stages comeback as ‘non-prime’ loans Subprime stages comeback as ‘non-prime’ loans
1:41 PM ET Thu, 12 April 2018 | 01:28

They were blamed for the biggest financial disaster in a century. Subprime mortgages – home loans to borrowers with sketchy credit who put little to no skin in the game. Following the epic housing crash, they disappeared, due to strong, new regulation, and zero demand from investors who were badly burned. Barely a decade later, they’re coming back with a new name — nonprime — and, so far, some new standards.

California-based Carrington Mortgage Services, a midsized lender, just announced an expansion into the space, offering loans to borrowers, “with less-than-perfect credit.” Carrington will originate and service the loans, but it will also securitize them for sale to investors.

“We believe there is actually a market today in the secondary market for people who want to buy nonprime loans that have been properly underwritten,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of Carrington Mortgage Holdings. “We’re not going back to the bad old days of ninja lending, when people with no jobs, no income, and no assets were getting loans.”

A home improvement contractor works on a house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Here’s how much homeowners could cash out in home equity
2:32 PM ET Mon, 2 April 2018 | 01:14
All loans will not be the same


Sharga said Carrington will manually underwrite each loan, assessing the individual risks. But it will allow its borrowers to have FICO credit scores as low as 500. The current average for agency-backed mortgages is in the mid-700s. Borrowers can take out loans of up to $1.5 million on single-family homes, townhomes and condominiums. They can also do cash-out refinances, where borrowers tap extra equity in their homes, up to $500,000. Recent credit events, like a foreclosure, bankruptcy or a history of late payments are acceptable.

All loans, however, will not be the same for all borrowers. If a borrower is higher risk, a higher down payment will be required, and the interest rate will likely be higher.

“What we’re talking about is underwriting that goes back to common sense sort of practices. If you have risk, you offset risk somewhere else,” added Sharga, while touting, “We probably are going to have the widest range of products for people with challenging credit in the marketplace.”

Carrington is not alone in the space. Angel Oak began offering and securitizing nonprime mortgages two years ago and has done six nonprime securitizations so far. It recently finalized its biggest securitization yet — $329 million, comprising 905 mortgages with an average amount of about $363,000. Just more than 80 percent of the loans are nonprime.

A ‘who’s who of Wall Street’
Investors in Angel Oak’s nonprime securitizations are, “a who’s who of Wall Street,” according to company representatives, citing hedge funds and insurance companies. Angel Oak’s securitizations now total $1.3 billion in mortgage debt.

Angel Oak, along with Caliber Home Loans, have been the main players in the space, securitizing relatively few loans. That is clearly about to change in a big way, as demand is rising.

“We believe that more competition is positive for the marketplace because there is strong enough demand for the product to support multiple originators,” said Lauren Hedvat, managing director, capital markets at Angel Oak. “Additionally, the more competitors there are, the wider the footprint becomes, which should open the door for more potential borrowers.”

Big banks are also getting in the game, both investing in the securities and funding the lenders, according to Sharga.

“It’s large financial institutions. A lot of people with private capital sitting on the sidelines, who are very interested in this market and believe that as long as the risks are managed well, and companies like ours are particularly good at managing credit risk, that it’s a good investment opportunity,” he said.

As the economy improves, and rents continue to rise, more Americans are trying to become homeowners, but the scars of the Great Recession still stand in the way. One-fifth of consumers today still have very low credit scores, often disqualifying them from obtaining a mortgage in today’s tight lending market.

Relaxed lending standards
Last summer, Fannie Mae announced it would relax its lending standards for prime loans, allowing borrowers with higher debt and lower credit scores to obtain loans without additional risk overlays, such as large down payments and a year’s worth of cash reserves.

Fannie Mae raised its debt-to-income (DTI) limit from 45 percent to 50 percent. DTI is the amount of total debt a borrower can have compared to his or her income. As a result, demand from buyers with higher debt exceeded all expectations. The share of high DTI loans jumped from 6 percent in January 2017 to nearly 20 percent by the end of February 2018, according to a study by the Urban Institute.

“From January to July 2017, Fannie purchased 80,467 loans with DTI ratios between 45 and 50 percent. But from August 2017 to February 2018, Fannie purchased 181,911 loans in the same DTI bucket. This increase of more than 100,000 loans in just seven months exceeded our estimate (85,000 additional Fannie loans annually) and Fannie’s expectations.” – Urban Institute

The mortgage industry expectation was that Fannie Mae would mitigate the additional risk with other factors, like a higher necessary credit score, but that was not added. The mortgage insurers balked, since they would be on the hook for the risk, so last month Fannie Mae “recalibrated” its risk assessment criteria again.

“We got a bigger response than we thought we were going to, so we dialed back to make sure we were in the right spot where our governance kicks in to make sure we’re not taking excessive risk,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist.

Millennials carry more debt
The outsized demand from borrowers with more debt as well as demand for nonprime mortgages in the private sector show just how many borrowers today would like to become homeowners but are frozen out of the mortgage market.

Millennials, the largest homebuying cohort today, have much higher levels of student debt than previous generations. Members of older generations who went through foreclosures during the housing crisis or other hits to their credit are still struggling with lower FICO scores.

In addition, credit tightened up dramatically. In fact, between 2009 and 2015, tighter credit accounted for just more than 6 million “missing” loans, according to research by Laurie Goodman at the Urban Institute. These are mortgages that would have been granted under more normal historical underwriting standards.

The rebirth of the nonprime market is focused on these missing mortgages. The hope is that the industry will also focus on better standards of underwriting and not take risk to the levels it once did, levels that resulted in disaster.

By Bruce Moyer: March 2015: The Most Powerful Court You Have Never Heard Of



Washington Watch | March 2015
By Bruce Moyer

Long The disclosures by Edward Snowden about the size and scope of the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, both in the United States and abroad, has prompted a flurry of Congressional proposals aimed at reframing the foreign intelligence- gathering process. While the thrust of these proposals is aimed at the intelligence-gathering process itself, several would also alter the operations of the federal court in Washington that provides judicial oversight of intelligence gathering and, in fact, authorized the con- troversial NSA telephone metadata collection effort disclosed by Snowden.

The court we’re talking about is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISC. Described by CNN as “the most power- ful court you have never heard of,” the panel plays a significant role in the sensitive balance of foreign intelligence-gathering and civil liberties. Established in 1978 by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the FISC hears applications from the government and decides whether to issue orders approving certain electronic surveil- lance activities for foreign intelligence purposes. Another Article III tribunal co-located in Washington, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (FISCR), reviews the rulings of the FISA court. Collectively these are referred to as the FISA courts.

Unique Among Federal Courts
The FISC is unique among federal courts in its narrow jurisdiction, the selection of its judges, and the secret conduct of its day-to-day operations. The Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court plays an especially engaged role in the affairs of the court. The FISC’s 11 district court judges and review court’s judges are “designated” by the Chief Justice, foregoing the usual process of presidential appoint- ment and Senate confirmation. Similarly, the Chief Justice designates the chief judge of the FISC and the FISCR. The judges of both courts serve one term of seven years and are not eligible for a second term. Because of the sensitive nature of its docket, the FISC and the Review Court operate largely in secret and in a nonadversarial fash- ion. Since its creation in 1978, the FISC has operated primarily in an ex parte manner with the government as the only party presenting arguments to the court and seeking warrants approving of electronic surveillance, physical searches, the use of a pen register or a trap- and-trace device, or the access to business ecords for foreign intelligence and international terrorism investigations.

The FISC operates out of a secure location in the federal court- house in Washington, D.C. Each week, one of the eleven district court judges that comprise the FISC is on duty in Washington. Most of the FISC’s work is handled by the duty judge with the assistance of a small group of attorneys and clerk’s office personnel who staff the court. On occasion, judges outside of the duty-week rotation handle more complex or time-consuming matters, at the direction of the Presiding Judge.

The secret and nonadversarial nature of the FISC’s proceedings and the revelation of the court’s approval of the NSA telephone meta- data collection effort have spurred several Congressional proposals that would change some of the underlying practices of the FISA courts. The most controversial proposal involves the court’s appoint- ment of a special advocate when the court is considering a novel or significant interpretation of law. Other proposals would establish en banc panels of the FISC and would alter the voting rules of the FISC in an attempt to create a higher bar for the approval of government surveillance activities.

A Special Advocate Before the FISA Courts?
The appointment of a special advocate within the FISA courts has stirred the greatest controversy. The House last year passed legislation (H.R. 3361) giving the FISA courts substantial discretion to determine when to appoint an advocate, as well as decide the nature and scope of the assistance to be provided by the advocate. A broader Senate measure (S. 2685) last year would have more rigidly mandated the appointment of an advocate to make specific argu- ments involving privacy and civil liberties. The Senate bill stalled at the end of 2014, carrying the debate into 2015 with some urgency. Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which authorizes electronic foreign intelligence surveillance activities, expires on June 1.

Proponents of the appointment of a special advocate argue that the nature of a non-adversarial process prevents the FISA courts from hearing opposing viewpoints on difficult legal issues, especially ones involving privacy and civil liberty interests. The Federal Judiciary is not so sure. In a letter to Congress last year, Judge John Bates, then director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (and a for- mer FISC judge) embraced the House legislation’s approach, which imparts to the FISA court the discretionary authority to appoint an advocate, a power the court already inherently maintains. Bates criticized the Senate’s approach, which directs the FISC to appoint an advocate in certain kinds of cases. “… [W]e are concerned that insert- ing into FISA court proceedings an advocate with a statutory mandate to make specific arguments would raise substantial legal questions and impede the courts’ work without furthering the interests of privacy or civil liberties,” Bates wrote. Those questions involve separation of powers and judicial independence considerations.

FBA Panel Session on the FISA Courts
These concerns and the broader challenge of balancing national security, privacy, and civil liberties will be spotlighted at the FBA Mid-year Meeting on Saturday morning, March 28, in Arlington, Virginia, when an esteemed panel of judges, lawyers, and academics will debate the pros and cons of altering the FISA courts and their operations. Consult the FBA website for further details.

Bruce Moyer is government relations counsel for the FBA. © 2015 Bruce Moyer. All rights reserved.

Another Just In From AlertsUSA: “Saudi King Abdullah ibn Abdilazīz has died”


Saudi King Abdullah ibn Abdilazīz has died. U.S. State Department expected
to issue cautionary security statement to U.S. citizens in country.
Monitoring…