New York Times

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Angelo Mozilo Responds To Charges:: “No, No, No, We Didn’t Do Anything Wrong”





Here are some of the choice excerpts from the man who is baffled by a new effort to punish him, proud of past triumphs and incensed by criticism: “You’ll have to ask those people, ‘What do you have against Mozilo, what did he do?’” he said in a 30-minute call with Bloomberg News before Labor Day, one of his few interviews since the firm’s downfall. “Countrywide didn’t change. I didn’t change. The world changed.”  Mozilo doesn’t understand why he and his firm, blamed by lawmakers and authorities for lax underwriting and predatory lending, have been seen as villains. “No, no, no, we didn’t do anything wrong,” he said, adding that a real estate collapse was the root of the crisis. “Countrywide or Mozilo didn’t cause any of that.” Yes, the Moz talks about himself in the third person.

 
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Corporations Join Droves Renouncing US Citizenship





Don’t be surprised to lose if you don’t make an effort at being competitive. And if you go out of your way to make yourself less competitive, expect to lose. If that sounds like simple common sense, that’s because it is. But it’s also exactly what the US has been doing for years...

 
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Employers Aren't Just Whining: The "Skills Gap" Is Real





What is hard to measure is often hard to manage. Employers using new technologies need to base hiring decisions not just on education, but also on the non-cognitive skills that allow some people to excel at learning on the job; they need to design pay structures to retain workers who do learn, yet not to encumber employee mobility and knowledge sharing, which are often key to informal learning; and they need to design business models that enable workers to learn effectively on the job (see this example). Policy makers also need to think differently about skills, encouraging, for example, industry certification programs for new skills and partnerships between community colleges and local employers. Although it is difficult for workers and employers to develop these new skills, this difficulty creates opportunity. Those workers who acquire the latest skills earn good pay; those employers who hire the right workers and train them well can realize the competitive advantages that come with new technologies.

 
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The 'Sunni Turn' Against The 'Shiite Crescent': How The Strategic Stupidity Of Washington (And Its Allies) Created ISIS





The Islamic State in Syria (ISIS) is being touted as the newest “threat” to the American homeland. We are told by everyone from the President on down that if we don’t attack them – i.e. go back into Iraq (and even venture into Syria) to root them out – they’ll soon show up on American shores. ISIS didn’t blast Sykes-Picot to pieces: we did, and now we must live with the consequences. Nemesis has taken her pound of flesh. The best course now is to learn the lesson every child has to absorb before he can attain adulthood in more than merely a physical sense: actions have consequences. Applied to the Middle East, this lesson can only have one meaning: stay out and keep out.

 
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Frontrunning: August 25





  • Jackson Hole Theme: Labor Markets Can’t Take Higher Rates (BBG), or anything else for that matter
  • Kidnappers free American missing in Syria since 2012 (Reuters)
  • More unpatriots: Burger King in merger talks with Canada's Tim Hortons (Reuters)
  • California Quake to Cost Insurers Up to $1 Billion, Eqecat Says (BBG)
  • Congo declares Ebola outbreak in northern Equateur province (Reuters)
  • Missouri Governor Defends Ferguson Prosecutor (BBG)
  • Kuroda Douses Japan Stimulus Expectations (WSJ)
  • London Jihadi Call Vies With Banks in Canary Wharf Shadow (BBG)
  • Netanyahu Signals Expansion of Air Attacks in Gaza (WSJ)
  • Libya's Islamist Militias Claim Control of Tripoli (WSJ)
 
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Krugman's Keynesian Crackpottery: Wasteful Spending Is Better Than Nothing!





Janet Yellen has essentially confirmed QE’s demise; good riddance. Unfortunately, I don’t think that is the final end of QE in America, just as it hasn’t been the end time after time in Japan (and perhaps now Europe treading down the same ill-received road). The secular stagnation theory, that we think has been fully absorbed in certainly Yellen’s FOMC, sees little gain from it because, as they assume, the lackluster economy is due to this mysterious decline in the “natural rate of interest.” Therefore QE in the fourth iteration accomplishes far less toward that goal, especially with diminishing impacts on expectations in the real economy, other than create bubbles of activity (“reach for yield”) that always end badly. What Krugman and Summers call for is a massive bubble of biblical proportions that “shocks” the economy out of this mysterious rut, to “push inflation substantially higher, and keep it there.” In other words, Abenomics in America. Japanification is becoming universal, and the more these appeals to generic activity and waste continue, the tighter its “mysterious” grip.

 
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Pentagon Demands Russia Remove Convoy "Immediately" As NYT Reports Russians Firing Artillery In Ukraine





UPDATE: Official Russian denial - no YouTube - *CHURKIN: NO PROOF OF RUSSIAN ARTILLERY IN UKRAINE

The Russian military has moved artillery units manned by Russian personnel inside Ukrainian territory in recent days and is using them to fire at Ukrainian forces, New York Times reported, citing NATO officials. The Russian move, NYTimes reports, represents a significant escalation of the Kremlin’s involvement in the fighting there and comes as a convoy of Russian trucks with humanitarian provisions has crossed into Ukrainian territory without Kiev’s permission. The US is now getting involved, as WSJ reports,

  • Pentagon calls on Russia to 'Remove Vehicles Immediately' From Ukraine
  • Kirby says "very concerned" by Russian convoy in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Security Service chief Valentyn Nalyvaichenko said the move amounted to a "direct invasion," and The Pentagon has warned "failure to [remove its vehicles] will result in further costs and isolation."

 
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30 Facts That Prove The American Middle-Class Is Being Destroyed





The 30 statistics that you are about to read prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the middle class in America is being systematically destroyed.  Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world, but now that is changing at a staggering pace.  Yes, the stock market has soared to unprecedented heights this year and there are a few isolated areas of the country that are doing rather well for the moment.  But overall, the long-term trends that are eviscerating the middle class just continue to accelerate. 

 
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Pulitzer Prize Winner: Obama Is "The Greatest Enemy Of Press Freedom In A Generation"





James Risen is not just a phenomenal reporter, he is also an extremely courageous and honorable American patriot. The Obama Administration is threatening the pulitzer prize winning journalist with prison unless he reveals the source behind one of his stories. The fact our own government would resort to threats of incarceration in order to instill fear in the press to prevent it from doing its job is quite telling and extremely dangerous. Mr. Risen understands this danger more than just about anyone else, which is why he has previously stated he is prepared to go to jail in order to defend the First Amendment from Obama, who he calls "the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation."

 
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Why So Much Anger In Ferguson? 10 Facts About The Massive Economic Gap Between White & Black America





When people feel like they don't have anything else to lose, they are likely to do just about anything. Many in the mainstream media seem absolutely mystified as to why there is so much anger in Ferguson, but as I pointed out yesterday, all of this anger did not erupt out of a vacuum. Economic conditions in Ferguson, and for African-Americans as a whole, have been deteriorating for years. Sadly, many white Americans are totally oblivious to any of this.

 
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Krugman: War Is BAD for the Economy





“War Necessarily Inflicts Severe Economic Harm Even On the Victor”

 
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Guest Post: Joblessness, Hopelessness, And Government Dependency





Of all the awful tensions roiling and coiling in American society, it’s only a little bit surprising that the racial module is blowing off now rather than, say, the stock market. Perhaps it’s a seasonal thing: race riots in the summer; stock market crashes in the fall, revolutions in the spring.

 
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Goldman On The Consequences Of Recent Geopolitical Events





The current US air strikes in Iraq are unlikely to have a significant impact on defense spending or oil prices, Goldman Sachs writes, unless the scale of the conflict changes considerably. Evidence from past US conflicts that were similar in scale also suggests little impact on confidence and at most mixed evidence of a flight-to-safety effect in financial markets. The exchange of sanctions with Russia - a relatively minor US trading partner - is also likely to have only a modest impact on the US economy. Of course, Goldman caveats, both situations are highly unpredictable; as they expect little reaction to recent events from Fed officials, who have generally not discussed conflicts of this magnitude unless accompanied by other economic concerns, such as a large rise in oil prices.

 
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Ferguson, Bundy Ranch, & 'Dancing The Night Away' With The Obamas





We believe Ferguson will be seen as a major turning point. The point in which many well-intentioned, but incredibly naive folks in white mainstream America woke up to what we have become. Many people, particularly those in the media, have been willfully ignorant about the destruction of freedom and civil liberties in America. The events in Fergus have taken a gigantic mirror and successfully pointed it squarely at our civil society and the image it has reflected back is one of a horrific, militarized, authoritarian monster. So how did this transformation occur and what does it mean going forward?

 
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