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Member since: Wed Aug 22, 2012, 08:01 PM
Number of posts: 11,513

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The Last AntiWall Street Agency in DC Is Being Eaten from the Inside

Despite all the bluster and drain the swamp rhetoric, the first year of Donald Trump's presidency has laid waste to the very pretense of good government. Billionaires with flagrant conflicts of interest dictate economic policy. The president and his immediate family constantly draw cameras and bodies to commercial properties they own, and along the way get richer. The Trump Hotel in DC is a cesspool of lobbying by nebulous interests none of us can really understand. The legal system is apparently incapable of convicting anyone of corruption who is not caught on camera saying. "I am being bribed and I like it." The Republican Congress has been relentlessly pro–Wall Street, last month voting to roll back a not-yet-effective regulation from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that would have made it easier to sue banks.

But until this week, the CFPB represented a lone brick in the vast federal bureaucracy that, at least when Congress didn't get in the way, was holding it down for the little guy. Now the Trump administration is using a bureaucrat's resignation to set the stage for the destruction of the agency. And they might get away with it.

After a financial crisis precipitated in no small part by a toxic mortgage boom gone bust, legislators—at least on the Democratic side—were determined to set up a watchdog with some real muscle behind it. The brainchild of Elizabeth Warren, who before she was a senator and the butt of Trump's racist jokes was a consumer advocate and Harvard law professor, the CFPB was empowered by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law with issuing rules (a.k.a. regulations) governing a wide variety of financial products. The CFPB can impose legally-binding restrictions on everything from mortgages to payday loans to debit cards; it can also fine offenders, ban bad practices, and dish out relief to wronged consumers


Keith Olbermann Explains His Decision to Retire From Political Punditry

Keith Olbermann on Monday announced that he's had enough, and is ending his Donald Trump-focused digital video series for GQ after two seasons and 187 episodes.

Olbermann began the series in September 2016, about two months before the presidential election. He said Monday's episode of The Resistance With Keith Olbermann would be the last because he's more confident than ever that Trump's presidency will end in either impeachment or resignation.

The former MSNBC and ESPN star also announced in the episode that he's quitting the political punditry game entirely. In a brief email interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Olbermann said he wanted to be clear with his viewers about his decision to step away from the craft that made him famous. "To not be specific about that is to leave people in doubt about why there isn’t a new video or tweet," he said.

Asked whether he had always been planning to end the series — originally called The Closer — on Monday, Olbermann said: "The plan was for them to stop on November 9, 2016. So much for plans!" Olbermann, in a follow-up email, clarified that the decision to end the series was his alone, "as was my right."


OPEC won't deliver the 9-month extension to output cuts the market is expecting, Citi warns

Oil producers are unlikely to extend their deal to limit production by nine months, according to Citi Research.

Traders are expecting the extension through 2018 and will likely sell out their positions in crude futures if OPEC only extends the deal by six months or puts off the decision, Citi warns.

Russia's domestic policy is the main stumbling block, while Saudi Arabia will fight for the nine-month extension, Citi says

Oil producers are unlikely to extend a deal to cap their output by nine months, a move that could result in a sharp pullback in prices, Citi Research analysts warned on Tuesday.

Citi made the call just two days before OPEC and other oil exporters led by Russia are due to deliver the closely watched decision in Vienna, Austria. Analysts say current oil prices reflect the market's expectation the deal will be extended through the end of next year.

"Our expectation is that something short of a nine-month extension is delivered, likely either a shorter extension or a deferral of the decision until" the first quarter of 2018, when the deal is set to expire, Citi analysts wrote in a research note on Tuesday.

If Citi's call is correct, it expects traders to liquidate their crude positions, leading to a sell-off likely to exceed the $3 per barrel swing in May when OPEC's last meeting disappointed the market.


How Opioids Started Killing Americans

It’s been conventional wisdom for some time now that America’s opioid epidemic began at the pharmacy. Now there are numbers that put any doubt to rest.

More than half of all people who succumbed to an overdose between 2001 to 2007 were chronic pain sufferers who filled an opioid prescription and sometimes even saw a doctor in the month before they died. Only 4 percent were ever diagnosed as having an abuse problem, said Dr. Mark Olfson, one of five researchers who conducted a massive study of the crisis and its causes for Columbia University Medical Center.

The findings of the new study, published Tuesday in the American Journal of Psychiatry, split the epidemic into two groups: those who were diagnosed with chronic pain and those who weren’t. In the year before they died, about two-thirds of those studied were diagnosed with chronic pain and prescribed an opioid. (Many would also get a prescription for anti-anxiety drugs called benzodiazepines, which can make for a deadly combination.) The other third among those who died had no diagnosed chronic pain but became addicted to opioids in another way.

“Those are different populations,” Olfson said in a telephone interview. “Understanding those things puts us in a better position to combat the epidemic.


How far will Hannity Go?

How Far Will Sean Hannity Go?
The Fox News host is willing to defend Trump at all costs — and is reaching more than 13 million people a day.

When he finally went to bed early in the morning on Oct. 2, Sean Hannity had a good sense, as he typically does, of how he would structure that night’s Fox News Channel broadcast. He’d lead with Puerto Rico, and a defense of the Trump administration’s hurricane relief efforts, before moving on to the N.F.L. players who continued to kneel during the national anthem before games. But by the time he woke up, a few hours later — Hannity rarely sleeps more than four hours a night, a trait he shares with his friend President Trump — the screen of his iPhone was jammed with alerts of a shooting in downtown Las Vegas, where a man named Stephen Paddock had opened fire on the attendees of a country-music festival. Dozens were dead, hundreds injured. “What the hell is going on?” Hannity recalls thinking


Here Are the Districts That Will Be Brutal Battlegrounds in 2018

Welcome back to House Party, our column looking at the 2018 House of Representative races as midterms approach.

Since the 2016 election, there’s been a lot of talk of “Obama–Trump voters,” people who cast ballots for Barack Obama twice before supporting Donald Trump. The assumption among many pundits is that Democrats will have to win back those voters if they want to overthrow Republican control of the federal government. But there are other tranches of voters Democrats should be thinking about as well. Today we’re going to take a tour of US House districts that voted for Obama in 2008 but switched to Mitt Romney in 2012 before switching again and voting for Hillary Clinton last year.

If 2018 turns out to be a wave election, Democrats should win most of these seats. But Obama-Romney-Clinton voters might be willing to back Republicans who are more like Romney than Trump, and they’re certainly going to be competitive. Let's take a look:

California’s 49th Congressional District (Southern Orange County/North San Diego County)


If Doctors do it .....

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