First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.
“Groundhog Day?” & “Groundhog Day?”
I just could slug in my last set of GSE comments, i.e. “it’s all about Steve Mnuchin’s approval in the Senate” and be done with this blog segment, especially since that event is pending.
A Mnuchin vote in the Senate Finance Committee, reportedly, is set for tonight (Monday) and, if successful, should clear the way for his full Senate vote soon after, possibly before week’s end.
That will be a crucial first step in righting the GSE ship—and a major one—but our fight hardly is over.
As we’ve all seen—through eight years of Conservatorship--with the Congress, Obama Administration, the Conservative think tanks, media, business, building and financial trade association opponents, and other advocates for diminishing if not destroying the GSEs, the Fannie/Freddie “shit wall” in DC is high and deep, carefully constructed and well maintained by legions.
They ain’t giving up and they will pour like ants from the woodwork the minute anything GSE-positive occurs, peddling their reborn stories and fresh allegations—employing their usual political sycophants!
The terrain has gotten a little better—thanks to the exposure brought by a lot of new actively communicating voices, especially Fannie’s former CFO Tim Howard and his excellent blog, Investors Unite, and “White Ghost,” who authors GSE Links--and the many plaintiffs lawyers and their superb briefs, i.e. see Chuck Cooper and Hamish Hume, and others.
Steve Mnuchin at Treasury could facilitate the improvement, heavily, but with solid footholds in both congressional chambers, media, the paid lobbying community, etc. etc. the trick bag, delays, forced compromises, obfuscation, demand the Trump Administration’s most resolute, determined, non-deviating actions to resurrect Fannie and Freddie and allow them to do their job.
IMO, the ironic political flip side to this active pro-GSE strategy is that it will end up bathing the new Trump White House in consumer glory with the very people to whom he vaguely promised so very much.
The nation’s TBTF banks and their allies still will do well, as they always have when the GSEs were ascendant, and, indeed, as they have over the past eight years.
But the fresh delivery of copious amounts of GSE market shaped mortgage finance liquidity to all corners of the US, in fair and equitable ways, will—as it should if Mnuchin et al follow through—be political manna falling into Donald Trump’s lap. I hope he “grabs it!” (A little humor there.)
That will be the Trump Admin’s major reward and with very little cost, if the proper GSE regulation and capitalization is put in place.
Perversely, it will exactly be the gilded legacy which Barack Obama turned his back in the past year.
I haven’t’ gotten a good answer yet when I ask, “Who at DoJ is making their procedural decisions regarding the many GSE lawsuits and to what end?”
I know Senator Sessions (R-Ala.) still is awaiting Senate blessing as the new AG, but the former Obama crew or Justice Department careerists can’t/shouldn’t be making ritual GSE policy, absent direction.
Trump, Trump, Trump
I’m agog with the multitude of DJT pronouncements and actions in his first 10 days in office and am trying—as I promised—to see if I am missing any Trump brilliance inside the china shop destruction he’s conducting.
First off, he should drop the inaugural crowd issue. Few Americans, one way or the other, care. It was what it was. From someone who lives in the area, the crowd was small.
Voting Review and Analysis
Yes. I’d love to see a thorough review/analysis of last November’s voting activity, but done by a Select Committee of Congress, not the White House or a sitting congressional committee because of the possibility of those last two results would being discounted as “fake news.”
Have you talked to your wife and in-laws—who once lived very close to Russia (and the then Soviet Union)--asking what she thinks of Russia’s government, rule of law, international integrity, fairness, and reliability when dealing with us, the world’ s greatest democracy, as we all like to brag?
Also, ask Ivanka and Jared Kushner, if you haven’t already, what serious Jews think of Russia, its history of generational corruption, shortages, pogroms, cut throat, and crazy politics where death often accompanies opposition to the central authority and then share with the nation what they tell you if it changes your rosy Putin view?
You may be a deal maker, but Vlad is a killer, who doesn’t care about those across the table from him, no matter how rich he gets from new hotels and golf courses in Russia.
Oh, and Steve Bannon is a very dangerous person, who should be kept at arm’s length if not quarantined.
The Wall and Tariffs
Please note the better approach to Southern border security which the Senate approved two years ago, but at which the House R’s balked. They cost the nation, then.
What the GOP Senate did—with D support--made more sense but, frankly, there’s no wall you can build high enough that desperate people can breech, go over or under.
Mexico’s a huge trading partner and despite your campaign rhetoric and the 1950’s appeal for “Fortress America,” you can’t time travel back be try and build it in an era when there is so much international commerce that relies on accessible borders and free cross border trade.
When other nations retaliate, on whom will you blame their logical response and the plummeting appeal of Trump products?
As a major exporter, we’re vulnerable.
OK, you made a campaign promise and now you are following through, based on what you think you see happening in Europe and elsewhere and trying to keep from America the people you believe are responsible for civilian carnage and terrorist attacks, plus paying a little religious politics to appeal to you know who/what.
But, there are meat axes and there are scalpels. There is unintended consequences and there is deft.
Yes, we have more nukes, but we’ve always had more. The coming conflicts are not going to be fought—I hope—with nuclear weapons.
Are you looking sufficiently enough at who—possibly those already in the US—may be so discouraged or incensed by your well-meant, albeit, clumsy actions “go rogue” and commit the very acts you are trying to prevent, as well as how the nation’s international allies see your actions?
BTW, the Kremlin apparatchiks are applauding your immigration stand, dapping to one another (ask Omarosa), and gleefully slapping themselves on the back; ditto ISIS and Al Queda.
Here’s an excerpt from one editorial NYT comment on President’s latest actions:
The order lacks any logic. It invokes the attacks of Sept. 11 as a rationale, while exempting the countries of origin of all the hijackers who carried out that plot and also, perhaps not coincidentally, several countries where the Trump family does business. The document does not explicitly mention any religion, yet it sets a blatantly unconstitutional standard by excluding Muslims while giving government officials the discretion to admit people of other faiths.
The order’s language makes clear that the xenophobia and Islamophobia that permeated Mr. Trump’s campaign are to stain his presidency as well. Un-American as they are, they are now American policy. “The United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles,” the order says, conveying the spurious notion that all Muslims should be considered a threat. (It further claims to spare America from people who would commit acts of violence against women and those who persecute people on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation. A president who bragged about sexually assaulting women and a vice president who has supported policies that discriminate against gay people might well fear that standard themselves.)
(Read Senators John McCain’s (R-NM) and Lindsay Graham’s (R-SC) Sunday night statement, too. These are not partisan Democrats.)