Monday, January 16, 2017

2017 is on us with a lot at stake

New Year 2017—Hope for the Best, Prepare for Something Less Than

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.

Benjamin Franklin: “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

(Maloni: The above are messages to all Americans in what may be unsettling times. Be resolute. Our nation’s founding principles never should be compromised or surrendered to any person or for any cause.)

GSE Good News and Bad News

One of the best Fannie/Freddie developments of late are the plethora out there of high quality GSE articles, reports, and blogs which increasingly are being read and commented on (again, check GSE Links for most/all of them). First and foremost, among those, are “the real” Tim Howard’s blog and responses to questions.

In the Congress, initially, it’s all about the Mnuchin hearings due to occur this Thursday before the Senate Finance Committee (but not Senate Banking).  He’ll face some challenges.
As others have written and most know, Mnuchin has a plan to return the GSEs to private ownership and some degree of management driven operation, as opposed to run by the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the US Treasury.

If he gets approved by the Senate, then Mnuchin should be primed to put into place his ideas.
Some D’s will play partisan roles and, in addition to Wall Street hassles,  Mnuchin could encounter Fannie/Freddie opponents—opposed to GSE resurrection-- because they want to see the GSE’s annual revenues freed up for big banks if/when F&F are dismantled.

Steve Mnuchin faces an uphill fight, having little to do with his smarts and financial experience. The D’s need, desperately, to knock off one of the Trump appointees to show they can. (Although some possibly deeply personal news—in Legal Schnauzer-- trickling out last week about Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) could serve that purpose.)

If SM doesn’t win approval, it’s not a good thing for the GSEs and a Trump setback, although a replacement TSY Secy could pick up the GSE cudgels if that’s what President Trump wants.
But, Mnuchin’s situation may get overtaken when President Trump and his Treasury team have to decide—beginning in the following week—on another pending GSE matter, i.e. whether to keep opposing release of 11,000 likely politically embarrassing federal documents the Obama DoJ has tried to block in Judge Margaret Sweeney’s Court of Claims.

Looming behind it is the pending Appeals Court case involving the original Lamberth decision, blessing the “sweep.”

So we may soon hear about several major GSE developments.

Also not “news” or very startling, but a pain in the ass (especially for those who thought Mnuchin’s nomination was all the pro-GSE side needed) is there are a lot of anti-GSE types populating the transition teams, with many of them expecting to get second tier jobs in the Trump Cabinet agencies.

Someone needs to keep an eye on those potential; troublemakers.

Trump’s Presidency: An early look,
Which I hope changes once DT’s comfy

I suspect in the coming Trump Administration “post-fact” years I will be accused of being overly dramatic or possibly too critical of Trump and the GOP controlled Senate and House. I likely will lose some readers, too, because to the extent I have readers, I understand they want GSE discussion first and, maybe some politics second.

But, without blaming either the new folks in town or the outgoing D’s, collectively they’ve contributed to a devaluation of truth and facts, creating an era where individuals need to be personally responsible for ferreting out right and wrong. We all must be active not passive in our analyses.

No longer can we rely on the media, alone, to help us as they face the same challenges and Tweet threats.

So, without building too high a blog soap box, in my commentary I will try and separate wheat from chaff and point people in certain directions, making clear my motives and reasoning.

That’s my 2017 pledge.

DJT Hot Button: I have to start with stating Donald Trump appears incapable of handling any sort of challenge or disagreement without deprecating his critics.
Further, his amazing insecurity--having amassed so much money, power, including winning the presidency which nobody will take from him—still forces him to project his self-doubt by shouting to the world everything he is, has, or thinks is “great” and that all of his critics deserved for be Twitter bombed for being losers, bad, old, overrated, or worse.

DJ Hot Button: Is he so insecure in his own skin that nobody in any part of our society can challenge him on anything? That is pretty scary, but it’s hard to see him reacting in any other manner than he has in the weeks leading up to his inauguration.

Margaret Sullivan, writing about the PEOTUS in today’s Washington Post;

That Trump will be what columnist Frida Ghitis of the Miami Herald calls “the gaslighter in chief” — that he will pull out all the stops to make people think that they should believe him, not their own eyes. (“Gaslighting” is a reference to the 1940s movie in which a manipulative husband psychologically abuses his wife by denying the reality that the gaslights in their home are growing dimmer and dimmer.)
“The techniques,” Ghitis wrote, “include saying and doing things and then denying it, blaming others for misunderstanding, disparaging their concerns as oversensitivity, claiming outrageous statements were jokes or misunderstandings, and other forms of twilighting the truth.”

DJT Hot Button: He hasn’t shown any signs of intellectual challenge, just retaliatory bombast.

I truly hope that when his cabinet gets in place, he will step back and let these people, many of whom seem intellectually and morally superior to him, do their jobs—as he promises he will—and not interfere unless it’s clear they are violating legal, Constitutional, or long held US policy principles.

I want him to surprise me. I want him to force me to write, “I was wrong and underestimated Donald Trump’s capacity to be a good US President.” I want him to show me he cares about low income Americans of all ethnicities and can perform on an international stage and—with staff assistance—can understand domestic issues.

DJT Hot Button: I am haunted by the feeling that but President Trump won’t have the political/policy sensitivity and sekel” (Yiddish: prudence, insight, common sense) to do the hard work of driving positive sustainable change for the vast majority of Americans, i.e. “his pledge is “make America Great Again”.

He’s also has named a ton of chiefs, i.e. billionaires, generals, lions of industry and commerce, who are not the best disciples, lining up behind a peripatetic leader and do things his way. They are used to doing things their way. That’s how they succeeded, by following their instincts and guts.
I’ve never seen a panoply of so many elites in a single political cabinet (assuming all/most get approved).
This past week Trump WH press secretary, Sean Spicer, proclaimed all these cabinet giants would “follow President Trump.” The next day PEOTUS Trump said he wants his appointments “to say and do what they think.” Begin to see the problem?


A Few Words about Russia and Putin

One of my favorite themes/worries is Russia and Vladimir Putin, because I have history on my side.
DJT Very Hot Button: Given all the Trump family/campaign lies about Russia, how can any of those individuals or his “yes men/women” look our nation with a straight face and say Putin and his goons weren't working for Trump’s election and acted on that objective or that no business discussions with Putin/Russia have been going on for years?

I am thinking of Kellyanne “Conwoman,” who after declaring that if she took a high profile Washington job, her four children never would brush their teeth in the morning or get to school on time, six days before she took a high powered Washington job. (That five Pinocchio’s, right there, KC.) Oh, and poor Conway kids.

Does anyone think the happy Russian officials would have been so happy if HRC won?

The Russians are giving Trump crumbs from their table and he’s going to loosen US sanction against the Oligarch Putin and his thugs?

Here’s some of what columnist Nicholas Kristoff said about on Trump and Russia in yesterday’s Sunday NYT: 

“So what’s going on?
“The most important question is simply why our president-elect has been so determined to side with Russia — undermining his own intelligence community as he does so. Perhaps it’s a genuine if naïve attempt to “reset” relations. But, oops, new presidents have tried that before, and it fails each time.
“The Trump view is so far from the foreign policy mainstream that inevitably there will be darker theories offered for the softness toward Russia. These involve financial ties with Moscow, since Trump refuses to release his tax statements, or the kind of sordid blackmail alleged in the dossier.
“Such rumors may well be wrong and unfair — but they persist. They damage Trump, the intelligence community and the United States itself, and the best disinfectant will be transparency. That means congressional inquiries, led by Republicans, and a continued F.B.I. investigation.”
DJT Hot Button: Sorry, but I believe DJT, the businessman—who still dominates, not the US President--is all about the $$$.

Those dozen new hotels he and his sons have been desperate to open in Russian certainly won’t provide much needed jobs to those out of work miners in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio, which they will need even more when the GOP cuts off their access to health insurance.

As noted, I am guardedly hopeful he’ll still can make good on job-generating campaign rhetoric. It still is early in the Trump Admin’s life, and I promise to speak up, as loud as I can, and tout any policy successes DJT drives.

But, I’ll also point to any screw up Trump makes and remind his supporters if those actions represent broken election promises, corporate giveaways, or just naked Trump family wealth accumulation owing to daddy's new job.

If misbehaves across the board and generates a backlash from those who voted for him, it could make all of this unique partisan/personal headhunting, drama, anger, hostility, preening and egotism worth the inevitable fights.

But as Don, Eric, and the family advisors sweep up all of the inevitable coins thrown Trump Inc.’s way--owing to the President’s win--can DJT keep the nation strong, out of nuclear war, a functioning democracy for all Americans, and remember all of those to whom he promised "wonderful and huge" new jobs, added income, and other goodies for displaced Southern, Midwestern, and Eastern Rust Belt residents, in return for their November votes.

To whom will his voters bitch, when a dozen or so new Trump Russian hotels open—plus whatever “deals’ come down to the kids—and they don’t produce many domestic jobs.

I hope those coal miners and their kids remember those unfulfilled Trump promises especially if they begin losing their health insurance on the planned GOP cutbacks with no substitute coverage in place?

Maloni, 1-16-2017


Anonymous said...


DJT very well knows the consequences of playing the rigged gotcha game.
There are many well trained armies of people who wants to trap and destroy any one they do not like in these games. Just think of eliminating fully entrenched and established 17 opponents fully supported by party, media, and money.

DJT disarms and neutralizes his opponents with well thought offensives rather than being passive and defensive. Since DJT is a political outsiders, he has not still mastered or does not have well developed the team to do this job without getting involved himself.

However DJT seems to be very street smart. DJT is not just a survivor but a great winner.

Bill Maloni said...

Thanks, Anon--

Well--a large part of me, honestly--hopes you are right.

He wasn't my choice but--if he develops the skills I haven't seen, yet, he could be a winner for the American people. That's what's important.

But, as I wrote, there is a subtle, quiet sense of purpose, based on character, principles to which most thoughtful and intelligent people subscribe, and tact, which he hasn't yet displayed in any of his endeavors, not just hyper-political Washington DC.

I hope some of his cabinet appointments manifest those traits.

I am sure there are more than just me who want to counsel DJT, "Just relax and take a chill pill. Those words--no matter who utters them--shouldn't threaten you."

Anonymous said...

Thanks, US needs more Presidents/CEOs with most experience and backgrounds in productive sectors like business, management, technology, finance, economy... These people spend most of their time solving problems and making things better. If America is great, it is because of these people.

People with experience and background in legal and military experience will do better in Congress and not in executive offices.

Based on these points, DJT should make a great POTUS.

Bill Maloni said...

We soon will find out.

While a small element is desirable, there's more to leading and being the POTUS than acting like a bull in a china shop and daily Twitter-pissing on those who challenge you.

Anonymous said...

Bill - Like it or not Obama has a legacy of complete failure on literally every level. Trump will actually deliver positive change and finally put an end to the progressive movement, which is a cancer. Stop whining about Russia as though they had any material effect. There is not a shred of evidence that they interfered with the voting process. The American people learned that Hillary Clinton, her campaign and the DNC are all lying scumbags and even they saw that she was a pathetic candidate. Common sense will now rule the day and unfortunately for you that means your progressive agenda is dead. The Supreme Court and Trumps actions are going to literally crush your ideology. Before the election, like so many libs, you were so confident and often told people to put their big boy pants on. Sit back Bill or go protest (as if anyone other than MSNBC cares). It's going to be a long hard 8 years on you.

Bill Maloni said...

Oh jolly, and will you be leading the parade, singing the "Horst Wessel?" (Look it up.)

If all that ideological carnage is truly for what you wish, what a sad little person you are. How about supporting US Constitution, American ideals, democracy, principles (look that up, too)?

If I see Trump do those things, I support his actions.

Anonymous said...

You're so pathetic throwing around Nazi comparisons....just sickening. It so clearly demonstrates that you're void of any intelligent debate. I absolutely support the US Constitution, American ideals, democracy and the principles we were founded on, which is why I adamantly oppose the left and the cancer of progressivism. Watching you imbeciles cry on election night, throw your tantrums, and have your stupid protests is so f-ing sweet, I can hardly stand it. You got your ass handed to you Bill, so pay your respects to progresivism because it ends at noon this Friday.

Bill Maloni said...

Anon--Your bile is sickening for someone who brags about his "principles."

So, you're familiar with the Horst Wessel, thought you might be. I suspect you'll find an opportunity to wear that nifty brown shirt hidden in your closet, too.

Look, we're not going to agree and being nice to you hasn't worked, so kindly ignore me and my site and--in return--I wish yougood health in the Trump years.

Anonymous said...

I'm not at all familiar with Nazi trivia. I looked it up and quickly realized how pathetic you and the left are as you throw around baseless accusations because you lack the capability to successfully argue your points. I suppose it's very similar to the election and why you lost.

I didn't realize your Nazi references equated to "being nice".

You're easy to ignore Bill so that won't be a problem. If you weren't linked to gselinks, I'd bet basically no one would pay any attention to you. Anyway, enjoy the death of progressivism tomorrow at noon.

I hope we both make a bunch of money on our FnF investment and that you too enjoy good health. You can use some of the extra money to donate to the Sierra Club, maybe some protesting signs, catch a Bob Weir show or to seek some high quality counselling.

Bill Maloni said...

Too far gone for counseling, but thanks for the other warm thoughts.

I hope the Sierra Club has something to save and preserve for our progeny.

Anonymous said...

As I read your blog, twice, I can't help but to have sorrow and compassion for your sadness, concern, anger and disappointment because that's what many of us had for the past eight years. I wish I could offer some advise to calm your fears and reduce your stress. One quick way to calm yourself down woukd be to stop reading the New York Times. That won't help cure your problem but could help reduce your Blood Preasure.
I also read President Trumps Inaugural address multiple times and I can't for the life of me comprehend what anyone would find negative in it. Not one line. Not one sentence. Unless someone is an Socialist, Communist or Athiest.
As an Independent, to me it's very, very clear the reason for Trump is BHO. From both Houses, to State Governments to President Trump. I read some 1,000 political seats changed under BHO. So it's really nothing to do with Trump. It's the people, the little people between LA and NY that were fed up. So when you write the hate that you do, you are showing disrespect to the folks who were tired of the Progressive Left Machine.

Bill Maloni said...

Anon--don't you have the least little twinge of concern over a President who gets riled up because media suggest that another President may have drawn larger Inauguration crowds then he did? Or claim the media is trying to delegitimize him, after he spent five years saying Obama wasn't born in the United States?

Does that suggest someone who may be a little unhinged or have worrisome priorities??

How about the same guy, a few weeks ago, who accuses the US security services of being Nazis or having Nazi tendencies for their report on his ties to Russia and then travels to the CIA and blandly says he is their greatest supporter?

Careful the next time Sean "Baghdad Bob" Spicer or Kellyanne "Alternative Facts" Conway move their lips, since they likely are lying.

I've promised to give DJT and his team and policies a chance to get made and even work. I haven't promised to drink his koolaid and stay quiet--see what will be the new masthead quotes on my last blog.

Anonymous said...

Do you think it's possible the media sent out pictures of the crowds to delegitimize him? Think it's even possible?
Do you have a birth certificate? I assume you do, as I do. How long would it take you to present it? An hour, a day? Why did it take YEARS for BHO to provide it? Why?
Who were your friends when you grew up? Your High School friends or your College friends? Now, I ask, who were BHO's friends? Who? What about your college transcripts Bill. How long would it take you to provide them? Not long. Why oh why haven't we seen BHO's ?
In his book he mentioned he lived with a woman for about six months. What's her name?
I think his hinges are very secure. I think he is a chess player and is very aware of what he says. Very calculated. More then anyone we seen in decades.
As for the CIA leak, of a bogus lie? Really. Shocked you bring it up.
Yes, don't drink the Kool-Aid. I understand. But give credit where and when credit is due. Just today, Trump has done more for the Democratic Unions and Steel Workers then BHO did in eight years. If that fake news? I see the Trump Administration dismantling the DNC slowly but surely over the next few years.
Once he comes through for the suppressed and abused Black Community by the DNC, that block of voters will move over also. Watch it happen.
Finally, what really draws me to this site is the GSE's. What your opinions are. Not that I agree all the time, but after all these years it seems no one has a complete grip of what the future holds. Are you upbeat? Do you think this Administration will end the NWS?

Bill Maloni said...

OK--we consider the Trump discussion a wash, let me respond to your GSE question.

I am somewhat of a "Dudley Downer" right now, because I think the DC forces of evil still outweigh the GSE forces for good. Plus I just can't see any court or courts giving $100 Billion or more to the GSEs or their shareholders, without more bells and whistles than a Rube Goldberg delivery system.

We're in a deficit situation and will be for several more years. No matter that it came from F&F and their owners for the past four years, that's a lot of taxpayers' money to give back, no matter how many freed up documents say the Obama Treasury lied and suborned.

That's my gut. The powers that be will find forty excuses and 20 ways to dilute/divert and hamstring damages or revenue sent back to the GSEs or their private owners, along with the revival of all of those hackneyed stories we know so well.

Mnuchin--if he gets the Treasury position--still needs to come up with a plan, even if Sweeney and the appeals court agree with plaintiffs. He has two boards which don't represent the remaining private shareholders but fetch big time income doing nothing. They'll need neutralized as swiftly as Paulson neutered the pre-2008 GSE boards.

They need booted, as possibly do some of the senior execs at each entity and maybe a lot of them.

I have written the following a dozen times so nobody should be surprised when I say, if the Trump Admin fails to take advantage of its executive authority to right the GSE ship but goes to the Hill they've lost.

The WH will get caught in more unworkable and ideological crap than either SM or DJT imagined. Throwing in the towel, while pretending you're not, gets real easy then.

And, it's those same Senators and Congressman who the WSH and Treasury will need for his wall, his tax reforms, his trade policies, his healthcare ideas, deals with Russia, increased military spending, infrastructure outlays, etc. etc.

So Anon, are you optimistic and if so, why??

All feel free to weigh in.

Let me close on a positive note, really.

I still don't believe there are any Senators or Congressmen who truly grasp the GSE workings and their importance to the nation's homebuyers and housing industries, plus what a mortgage market without them would produce.

I believe Mnuchin does, based on his 30 years working on these matters. He said it before Senate Finance and his words had an edge, (paraphrasing) "I know these issues," as if he was insulted that one particular Senator even would go there.

Mnuchin understands mortgage finance better than those puffed up, self anointed congressional experts and if he believes in his "plan" and the new President backs him, then you can discount many of my concerns.

Anonymous said...

Thank you.
Am I optimistic? I would say I have more hope then i have had in the past nine years, but I wouldn't call it optimistic. The lies are on both sides. Listening to the Senator ask/tell Mnunchin how F&F are in Receivership? How they want to protect the Taxpayer, who by the way hasn't lost one penny in 70 years. The corruption is so thick that anyone not following this can easily be fooled. I do believe the Republicans are corrupt and the Democrates want to help minorities but no where (Government) is there help in the middle for the Shareholder. I am impressed that the PPS has held stable for some time now, so that's a positive. Even John Carney's articles have less impact as they have historically. So, my "hope" is in upholding the Law. I have little faith in our Representatives but still have hope.
Really enjoy reading your views and opinions on the GSE's and hopefully we can focus more on this then everyone's Polictal views and opinions. Clearly we can share that we all have been disappointed one way or another by both Party's.

Bill Maloni said...

I plan--near term--to stick to my promise of calling the POTUS out if/when when he's egregious, saying positive things when he performs admirably as the leader of the nation, and trying to discern what the hell is going on in GSE world.

(Likely before your time, but not mine, read this link to "Joe Btfsplk" and you'll recognize his romps through Fannie/Freddie land.)

As ironic as it may sound given my druthers, I wish Mnuchin didn't wax so eloquent on his "bipartisan" pitch. On this subject Warner has an agenda (and if Rocky Top News is accurate, a history of shorting the GSEs).

Anonymous said...

How about adding following quote in the beginning along with the quotes from Martin Niemöller and Ben.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.