The US economy suddenly looks like it’s unstoppable
- Friday’s economic data provided evidence the U.S. economy is heading into the second half of 2018 with strong momentum.
- Nonfarm payrolls beat expectations while manufacturing and construction indexes both showed accelerated growth.
- Economists are slowly ratcheting up expectations for growth through the end of the year, with widely followed measures putting the second quarter at between 3.6 percent and 4.8 percent.
Friday’s data provided convincing evidence that domestic growth remains intact even if other developed economies are slowing. A better-than-expected nonfarm payrolls report coupled with a convincing uptick in manufacturing and construction activity showed that the second half approaches with a tail wind blowing.
“The fundamentals all look very solid right now,” said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC. “You’ve got job growth and wage gains that are supporting consumer spending, and tax cuts as well. There’s a little bit of a drag from higher energy prices, but the positives far outweigh that. Business incentives are in good shape.”
The day started off with the payrolls report showing a gain of 223,000 in May, well above market expectations of 188,000, and the unemployment rate hitting an 18-year low of 3.8 percent.
Then, the ISM manufacturing index registered a 58.7 reading — representing the percentage of businesses that report expanding conditions — that also topped Wall Street estimates. Finally, the construction spending report showed a monthly gain of 1.8 percent, a full point higher than expectations.
Put together, the data helped fuel expectations that first-quarter growth of 2.2 percent will be the low-water point of 2018.
“May’s rebound in jobs together with yesterday’s report of solid income growth and the rise in consumer confidence points to the economy functioning very well,” the National Retail Federation’s chief economist, Jack Kleinhenz, said in a statement. “Solid fundamentals in the job market are encouraging for retail spending, as employment gains generate additional income for consumers and consequently increase spending.”
The most recent slate of widely followed barometers could see economists ratchet up growth expectations.
Related link: Black unemployment falls to the lowest level since 1972
- California Attorney General: “The question is not just a bad idea — it is illegal” -===> Huh?
- Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder: “We will litigate to stop the Administration from moving forward with this irresponsible decision. The addition of a citizenship question to the census questionnaire is a direct attack on our representative democracy.
- Dept. of Commerce: The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that a question on citizenship status will be reinstated to the 2020 decennial census questionnaire to help enforce the Voting Rights Act (VRA).
The Commerce Department, which oversees the census, issued a statement announcing the decision:
Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that a question on citizenship status will be reinstated to the 2020 decennial census questionnaire to help enforce the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Secretary Ross’s decision follows a request by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to add a question on citizenship status to the 2020 decennial census.
Please click HERE to view the memorandum directing the Census Bureau to reinstate a question on citizenship to the 2020 decennial census.
The citizenship question will be the same as the one that is asked on the yearly American Community Survey (ACS). Citizenship questions have also been included on prior decennial censuses. Between 1820 and 1950, almost every decennial census asked a question on citizenship in some form. Today, surveys of sample populations, such as the Current Population Survey and the ACS, continue to ask a question on citizenship.
On December 12, 2017, DOJ requested that the Census Bureau reinstate a citizenship question on the decennial census to provide census block level citizenship voting age population (CVAP) data that is not currently available from government surveys. DOJ and the courts use CVAP data for the enforcement of Section 2 of the VRA, which protects minority voting rights.
A very unhappy former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement early Tuesday morning via National Democratic Redistricting Committee.
Washington, D.C. — Today, Eric H. Holder, Jr., 82nd Attorney General of the United States and Chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), released the following statement on the Commerce Department’s decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
“We will litigate to stop the Administration from moving forward with this irresponsible decision. The addition of a citizenship question to the census questionnaire is a direct attack on our representative democracy. This question will lower the response rate and undermine the accuracy of the count, leading to devastating, decade-long impacts on voting rights and the distribution of billions of dollars in federal funding. By asking this question, states will not have accurate representation and individuals in impacted communities will lose out on state and federal funding for health care, education, and infrastructure.
“Contrary to the Administration’s stated rationale, asking the citizenship question on the census is not critical to enforcing the Voting Rights Act. As attorney general, I did not—nor did my predecessors—request the addition of a citizenship question to the decennial census to enforce the VRA. We did not need to: Data derived from the existing census process was perfectly adequate for any voting litigation that arose.
“Make no mistake – this decision is motivated purely by politics. In deciding to add this question without even testing its effects, the Administration is departing from decades of census policy and ignoring the warnings of census experts.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra:
- Fake quotes for the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.26% are skewing levels of the Cboe Volatility Index VIX, -2.50%
- The flaw allows trading firms with sophisticated algorithms to move the VIX up or down by simply posting quotes on S&P options and without needing to physically engage in any trading or deploying any capital.
One of the most popular measures of volatility is being manipulated, charges one individual who submitted a letter anonymously to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
The letter makes the claim to regulators that fake quotes for the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.26% are skewing levels of the Cboe Volatility Index VIX, -2.50% which reflects bearish and bullish options bets 30-days in the future on the S&P 500 to gauge implied stock-market volatility (see excerpt from the letter below).
|The flaw allows trading firms with sophisticated algorithms to move the VIX up or down by simply posting quotes on S&P options and without needing to physically engage in any trading or deploying any capital. This market manipulation has led to multiple billions in profits effectively taken away from institutional and retail investors and cashed in by unethical electronic option market makers.|
The whistleblower’s claims are consistent with those documented by John Griffin, professor of finance at the University of Texas and Ph.D. candidate Amin Shams in May 2017 in research that says the cost of manipulating less-liquid SPX options would be more than paid for by a successful bet on the direction of the VIX. The paper is consistent with the whistleblower’s conclusion—that manipulators are moving prices of the SPX options by spoofing at settlement—entering quotes for trades that are never executed—to “paint the tape” and, therefore, influence the value of expiring VIX derivatives.
- DNC and Hillary Clinton paid Fusion GPS Glenn Simpson to spread bogus Trump-Russia dossier.
- Simpson was also hired by a U.S. law firm Baker Hostetler to do opposition research for its client, Russian company Prevezon.
- Prevezon’s lawyer is Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who had a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. in Trump Tower.
[ Glenn ] Simpson told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Fusion GPS did not receive any direct payment from Veselnitskaya, whom he described as “a very smart and ambitious lawyer” who “didn’t seem to be a heavy hitter in the Kremlin world.”Simpson indicated that all payments to Fusion related to the Prevezon matter flowed through Baker Hostetler.“[A]s the lawyer for Prevezon, Veselnitskaya would have arranged for Prevezon to pay Baker Hostetler which paid us,” Simpson said. “But, I mean, I don’t think the money came from her. It came from Prevezon.”
PREVEZON, Fusion GPS and Natalia Veselnitskaya
The sole shareholder of Prevezon was Russian citizen Denis Katsyv,
Denis Katsyv’s Russian lawyer was Natalia Veselnitskaya but she was not licensed to practice in the US.
Katsyv hired the law firm of BakerHostetler to represent Prevezon.
BakerHostetler hired Fusion GPS in early 2014 to provide research help for the litigation.
In June 2016, Fusion GPS retained Christopher Steele, a private British corporate intelligence investigator and former MI-6 agent, to research any Russian connections to Trump. Steele produced a 35-page series of memos from June to December 2016, which became the document known as the Donald Trump–Russia dossier.
The Magnitsky Act
In 2009, Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who had accused Moscow law enforcement of stealing $230 million in tax rebates from his client was beaten to death in jail.
In 2012, Magnitsky’s client, Bill Browder, secured passage of the Magnitsky Act, which imposed sanctions on the officials involved. Russian President Vladimir Putin responded by banning adoptions by Americans.
Prevezon and the Department of Justice settled the case in May 2017 for $5.9 million.
( Daily Caller ) Notes taken by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort during the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting refer to “Russian adoptions by American families,” according to a transcript of a Senate Judiciary Committee interview released this week.
The notes provide the first contemporaneous evidence that shows that Russia’s adoption policy was discussed during that June 9, 2016 meeting, which members of the Trump campaign attended along with a Russian government lawyer and Russian-American lobbyist.
The notes, portions of which were revealed to Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson during his Aug. 22 Senate Judiciary Committee interview, also appear to make no overt reference to anything resembling collusion.
Many of the meeting attendees — including Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya — have previously claimed that adoption policy was discussed in the meeting, but no evidence had been made public.
…Business Insider first flagged a portion of the transcript which shows Simpson reviewing Manafort’s notes, which he reportedly took on an iPhone.
Simpson, whose firm commissioned the infamous Trump dossier, was showed the notes because at the time of the Trump Tower meeting, he was working with Veselnitskaya and Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist who also attended the meeting.
Simpson’s work with the two Russians dealt directly with the topics that they allegedly discussed with the Trump team.
According to the Senate transcript, Simpson read off several items in the notes, including “Active sponsors of RNC,” “Value in Cyprus as inter,” and “Illici.”
He also identified the phrase “Russian adoptions by American families.”
Following the announcement that Trump is donating $1million of his own money to victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, the president tweeted a photo of first responders who were gathered in a prayer circle.
‘Thank you to all of the brave first responders and volunteers from around the United States helping with the ongoing rescue and relief efforts in Texas,’ President Trump said in the Tweet.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has announced President Donald Trump donation:
‘He’ll pledge, proudly, $1 million of his own personal money to help the people of Texas and Louisiana,’
- President Trump’s cattleman’s style beaver belly fur and mink custom hat retails for $2800 bucks.
TEXAS – It was through acquaintances that [American Hat Co.] was asked to make Trump an authentic cowboy hat. Mundee said Trump, during a campaign stop recently, had mentioned the quality of Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s cowboy hat. Treasure Maddox, daughter of American Hat Co. owners Keith and Susan Maddox, and her significant other, Andrew Graves, are acquaintances with Eric Trump, Donald Trump’s second oldest son.
It was after the night of the Nov. 8 election that Eric had asked if American Hat Co. could make a custom hat for his father. Soon after, the manufacturer was at work getting measurements ready as well as the materials befitting the president of the United States.
“It morphed into now we’re making hats for Eric, for Don Jr. and for Mike Pence as well,” Mundee said.
Mundee said the Trump family requested a light-colored hat versus black, so the manufacturer went with a silverish tone. The material is a mixture of beaver belly fur and mink, making the hat soft as silk. The crown, or top of the hat, is done in a cattleman’s style. He said this specific style of hat is widely known as the finest in the cowboy market.
And it’s not just the material that American Hat Co. uses that puts their stamp on the product. It’s also the gold foil stamp on the inside band that also illustrates its quality, as well as the Keith Maddox mark of “KM” on the brim of the hat. The hat retails for about $2,800. (read more)