Despite the obvious……Team Trump claims a great week while insisting no crime has occured?


cartoon courtesy of David Brown studios (Los Angeles Sentinel)

“After two years and millions of pages of documents (and a cost of over $30 million) no collusion!” Donald Trump – Dec. 7, 2018
“If the President puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that’s a Russia connection,” the White House spokesman insisted during a contentious exchange with reporters.
He said every official that’s been briefed on the matter has said there’s no sign of “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia.”  Sean Spicer March 2017
“from what we know on the public record, Mueller has failed to prove the Trump-Russia collusion that he was appointed to investigate 19 months ago.” Fox News

“I have nothing to do with Russia. I have no investments in Russia, none whatsoever. I don’t have property in Russia. A lot of people thought I owned office buildings in Moscow. I don’t have property in Russia … I built a great company, but I’m not involved with Russia. I have had dealings with them over the years where I sold a house to a very wealthy Russian many years ago. I had the Miss Universe pageant which I owned for quite a while. I had it in Moscow a long time ago, but other than that, I have nothing to do with Russia.” Donald Trump


[Postscript]  This was a critical week for a few of Donald Trump’s close allies who have pled guilty and simply are waiting for their sentencing.  The filings regarding Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen provide the public a better picture of what occurred during the 2016 presidential campaign.  Despite emphatic communication from Trump supporters, their claim is despite the filings no crime has been committed and proves people are out to get Donald Trump simply because he won the election!

In the meantime, those who swore the SC investigation is a witch-hunt or it would end in a few days……might want to wake up and stop their prognostication.

.

Ghost of Mississippi: The Hyde-Smith, Espy race


Above photo caption.  Phil Carlos Wilson took this photo of Claudia Bivins wearing the flag.  "As I laid the rebel flag down across Vernon's grave, I told my grandson what it represents -- our hope that racism and hatred would die," Bivins said. "That it would be killed at the root of our hearts, minds and souls."

Click HERE to read more about Bivins tribute to Vernon Dahmer


Ballot Box – Election – MISSISSIPPI, USA

The final tally is pending official certification but this past Tuesday Republican candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith beat her opponent, Democratic candidate Mike Espy: 473,109 to 404,640.  While a victory is a victory the margin is yet another warning bell for the GOP (Grand Old Party) and President Donald Trump’s waning popularity.

People protest and march against US President Donald Trump’s alleged interference in Robert Mueller’s investigation in New York City on November 8, 2018. – President Donald Trump was accused on November 8, 2018, of pushing America toward a constitutional crisis after his firing of the attorney general cast doubt over the future of an explosive probe into election collusion with Russian agents. (BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

In a state where voting is polarized among ethnic and party lines, in a normal environment voting experts felt the race should not have been close.  Even though Hyde-Park will remain in Washington, DC as Mississippi’s second Senator, she was not viewed as a strong candidate.  In the run-off with Espy two blunders cost her more than a few votes that reminded people of Mississippi’s past.  Many voters voiced consternation about having to vote for Hyde-Smith but felt their loyalty to the GOP was more important to the state’s legacy.

Vestiges of Slavery

For some slavery is a thing of the past.  Not every White person owned slaves and not every African-American was a slave, although a good many were.  Fast forward to 2018, data shows our society is more congenial than ever.  However, there is still an attitude that persist with many Whites that African-American’s can never be their equal.   It will be denied but simply look at the social fabric of the United States and inequality remains a persistent thorn in our image.  That attitude is a direct result of the legacy of slavery and racism where one race was dominant over the others.

 

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”  Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President

 

Segregation Academies

Brown v Board of Education was a landmark case in a pivotal time for the United States.  Shortly after the Supreme Court ruling public schools across the nation were ordered to end the practice of segregating students based on race.

 

While some accepted the ruling as the “law of the land” there were just a many who resisted.  The resistance came in many forms and the basis was race.  Many Whites who were part of that population didn’t necessarily define themselves as racist but through their ancestral inheritance they could never fathom direct association with African-Americans, let alone attend the same school with them.

 

Year after year, resistance took many forms.  Across the nation and specifically in Mississippi leaders developed a plan to thwart the ruling.  Rather than open their schools to all ethnicities they abandoned them and set-up private schools known as segregation academies.  The result was the assurance those with financial resources could opt out of public education and not have to attend classes with non-Whites.

 

In 1975, Cindy Hyde-Smith was a minor and she attended Lawrence Academy, which was a segregated academy founded in 1970.  More than likely the decision was made by her parents.  It’s one thing to aspire for a quality education but it is another to do so while minimizing your socialization with other groups?  Apparently Hyde-Smith enjoyed her school experience because to maintain the tradition, as an adult she enrolled her daughter in the same environment.

 

Creatures of habit

 

Some may think what is the big deal of wanting to attend a school with people like you?  The problem arises when you claim to want to represent a state made up of all types of people.   One’s socialization is in the spotlight of how you communicate with others.  In Hyde-Smith’s case, her past sheds light of some of her comments during the campaign where she appears to favor one group over the other, while claiming to be the representative for all!

 

The Ghost

Many Mississippians acknowledge their past history.  Since its opening in December 2017,  the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum has become a destination for locals and visitors to the state.  It showcases the resilience of the African-American experience in Mississippi but it also puts a spotlight on the injustices they had to deal with.  Part of the exhibit is the state’s history of lynching.

 

People from all walks of life make comments which may be viewed as racially insensitive.  Certain topics are taboo or better left unspoken.  One of those topics is any mention of lynching’s.  It conjures up all types of negative feelings and emotions.  For African-Americans who were oftentimes the victims, especially in Mississippi one would assume any comments would be held privately, let alone those who hold public office.

Hyde-Smith attempted to minimize her comment about lynching, instead employing the typical strategy of blaming those who brought her remarks up, as having some ulterior motive against her, instead of simply accepting the fact the remarks came out of her mouth?

 

The lynching comment and the fact of her likeness to segregated schools give pause to her mandate of successfully and equally represented all who claim Mississippi as their home state.

 

More perplexing is Hyde-Smith’s comments during the run-off debate on November 21st

 

 “WE HAVE TO DEFEND OUR CONSERVATIVE VALUES. WE HAVE TO DEFEND OUR SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS. WE HAVE TO DEFEND THE UNBORN CHILDREN IN MISSISSIPPI. I’M THE CANDIDATE THAT CARES. I’M THE CANDIDATE THAT HAS BEEN THERE SIX. I’M THE CANDIDATE THAT DONALD J. TRUMP HAS SAID WE NEED YOU BACK.  Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, Nov. 21st.

 

Mississippi acknowledges its past racial history.  Indeed, through the years it has made progress.  Hyde-Smith’s challenge will be her allegiance to all Mississippians, not just those who espouse the Conservative values she emits.  She also must reconcile her attitude for using lynching as a reference to someone she has affinity for.  Then, she must use her power to deal with the education schism the state is known for and one which her parents and she perpetuated by being active participants.

 

In the meantime, those who voted now can take a break and ponder if they are willing to adjust their own racial bias.

Mid Terms: Still Lots of Votes to Count!


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The mid-term election was on November 6, 2018.  Nearly five days later there are still many votes left that need to be counted or in the words of Democratic Nominee for Governor of Florida, Andrew Gilliam, “we must ensure every vote cast is properly recorded.

Higher turnout

Although interest in this year’s mid-terms was historic, turnout came in at approximately 50%, which is higher than normal but embarrassingly low for a nation that prides itself on democracy.  Many countries, even some which the United States mocks has turnout at 75-90 percent, far greater than the U.S.

 

The large numbers of votes yet to be counted is another issue.  No doubt millions were properly recorded but due to advances in the election process vote-by-mail and provisional ballots has increased year after year.

Too close to call

A greater concern regarding counting the outstanding balance is the large number of races which are considered, “too close to call.”  That number increased drastically during this cycle.  Some point to the interest as a response to Donald Trump’s antics.  Whatever the reason, democracy works best when more people take the time to vote.

 

As of latest report California has a little over 4 MILLION VOTES TO COUNT.

CLICK HERE

Los Angeles County has approximately 350,000

Mid-Term Postscript: Trump v “Low-IQ” Waters


Now that the much talked-about mid-term elections have come and gone, many who took time to engage can get back to their daily routine.

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

 

A part of Donald Trump’s political ascendance was his ability to target his opponents and mock them in a way to make them irrelevant or plucking away any political favorability they had.

 

It’s the House fool

 

As the mid-terms came many political pontificator’s were nervous in wiping Trump’s success off the table or declaring many of his missteps were self-inflicted.  After all his rallies were huge hits, packed to the brim with supporters?  Many assumed his magic would last forever and that he was untouchable?  A good many more bought into the notion of his celebrity and the new-found Republican party he had developed.  The economy was booming.  Tax cuts were rolling in.  The wall would be built, absent of any money from Mexico.   Ending his second year as president, Trump was feeling a bit giddy.  His tone was who in their right mind would vote against what was achieved?

 

The IQ Factor

From “low-energy Jeb” to “lyin’ Ted Cruz” to “dishonest Hillary” on and on, Trump had created a line that many supporters came to adore which was about the House of Representative from the 43rd district of California named Maxine Waters.  He declaredly labeled her as “Low IQ” Maxine.”  The name stuck with his supporters and he took glee and great pleasure in admonishing her.  The fact he has created a history of marginalizing or mocking those who are non-white, intimating them as lazy, stupid, criminalistic or other negative attributes was not seen as racist behavior.  To his supporters he was simply telling it like it is!!! And, after all he was making their lives better, not to mention giving them their country back?

 

The result of losing the house

 

For two years Trump and his administration has held the wild card of controlling all three branches of the government.  Yesterday, they received a public rebuke as they lost the House of Representatives.  While some will dismiss this fact, it is critical and may provide a glimpse of what Trump and his supporters must deal with.  The win provides the Democratic party with the coveted power of being transformed into chairs of the many committees.  It also provides them with power of the subpoena.

Attendees react as election results are displayed on a screen during an election night rally for State Senator Jennifer Wexton, a Democrat from Virginia and U.S. Representative candidate, in Dulles, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. Wexton defeated two-term Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock, ousting a Republican in a northern Virginia district that was arguably the top target for Democrats in their effort to take back the House majority, according to projections from NBC and CNN. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

 

One chair swap that will take place in January 2019 is the Financial Services Committee.  Despite Trump labeling her as a “low IQ” individual, Maxine Waters is in line to be selected as chair.  Those who know her define her not by an IQ issue but brilliant in being an advocate against the powerful, specifically personalities such as Trump.  They applaud her resilience and track record of getting the job done.  Whatever motivated Trump from creating the moniker he assigned her, he may come to regret it as she becomes laser focused on all of his alleged corruption and mis-dealings, including releasing to the public his long-promised tax returns.

Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Some will dismiss her strategy as “what’s the big deal?”  They may be blind of not understanding what transparency is all about?  Or, perhaps like some have stated, they may fear the exposure of his financial entanglements which perhaps could be a reason of his behavior, not necessarily just the Mueller special investigation?   In the meantime, yes, the economy is moving and consumer confidence is up but the core reality is many view the president as untrustworthy and the likes of Waters and others in the house now have the ability to put a spotlight of what they have been prevented from uncovering or at least obtaining an honest answer for the people they represent.

 

The Trump and Waters soliloquy will be an interesting dance.  One might assume Trump felt he would never lose the house to allow Waters to be unleashed?  The voters decided that reality.


BEFORE WE GO…..ICYMI

Many of you recall the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin?  The again, some of you are aware of the Women’s Movement which mushroomed the day after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president?  But how many remember the killing of Jordan Davis who was gunned down by Michael Dunn in Jacksonville, FL?  Unlike George Zimmerman the killer of Martin who was found not guilty, Michael Dunn was found guilty of Davis’ death and is now in prison.  Like the parents of so many who have been found their plight by the end of a gun, Davis’ mother found the energy to raise her voice and become a political voice.  

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Yesterday, Lucy McBath was one of those women who threw their hat in the political ring and won their election (although the results are within the range of an automatic  recount).  If she is ultimately successful, her victory is a sign of how democracy works – at the local level.

Lucy McBath declares victory in Georgia’s 6th District race  

The race was too close to call Tuesday night 

 

Positive Jobs Report.  Can that save Trump from being snakebit?


Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its jobs report which surpassed expectations.  250,000 new jobs were reported for October.  In the political world that is good news.  You would think with employment, the economy and other measures Donald Trump and the GOP (Republican party) brag about, they would be hard pressed for both houses of the chamber (Congress) to be in jeopardy?

 

A woman walks to cast her vote while other people fill out ballots during early voting October 25, 2018 in Potomac, Maryland, two weeks ahead of the key US midterm polls. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

The mid-term vote is just days away.  Surely you would think the positive jobs report might be the fuel needed to keep the chamber.  Unfortunately, Trump has communicated very little  to voters about the economy.  Perhaps in doing so and if they are honest, he and his supporters feel they would have to credit the Obama administration with establishing a positive foundation for them being able to reap the benefits they are achieving?   In the world of Trump, that is a no…no.

 

The snakebite effect

Instead of the economy, Trump feels he must feed his base one dish; Immigration.  He feels that subject will be enough for his base to out vote the Democrats and opposition voters to keep the chamber.  Some in the GOP aisle are frustrated that he has blown the opportunity gained in 2016 and feel he has been snakebit. They point to his antics and bombastic behavior that will lead many voters to insist a change is the best option to end the polarization he has created.

 

As it stands right now, despite the jobs report and other economic news, when Trump wakes up next Wednesday the Democrats, who need 23 seats to claim control of the House of Representatives, might wind up with approximately 35.  The Senate is expected to remain in GOP control.  The result will be voters have recognized that a check or balance on the Executive is needed versus having one party controlling all three branches?  At the same time, it must be noted Trump and his supporters are hoping for the same “shocking” result they achieved in 2016, when they faced long odds of winning, yet came out ahead.

Democratic congressional candidate the Midterm elections, Ilhan Omar, speaks to a group of volunteers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on October 13, 2018. – Somali-American state legislator Ilhan Omar claimed victory in her primary in Minnesota in August, putting her on track to become one of the first female Muslim members of the US House of Representatives. (Photo by Kerem YUCEL / AFP) (Photo credit should read KEREM YUCEL/AFP/Getty Images)


**MORE HISTORIC VOTING NEWS**

Political history is being made in Harris County as a record 19 Black women are running for judge in the upcoming Nov. 6 election. It also marks the first time in history that 19 Black women are running for judicial seats in one county, which happens to be the third largest county in the United States. Courtesy of Defender.com

President Donald Trump:Kanye West – “Who’s Hustlin’ who?


Cover Photo: Rapper Kanye West hugs U.S. President Donald Trump during a meeting in the Oval office of the White House on October 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Oliver Contreras - Pool/Getty Images)

US President Donald Trump meets with rapper Kanye West and former football player Jim Brown (R) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, October 11, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

[Washington, D.C.]  This afternoon was a meeting luncheon that may go down in history as Donald Trump hosted Kanye West at the White House.  Jim Brown tagged along and from a rare moment where White House staff allowed cameras to document the event, it also showcased a diatribe by West that even appeared to stun the usual fast-talking Trump.

 

In 1985 the late legendary singer Aretha Franklin came out with one of her many hits, “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” After today’s luncheon Franklin’s beat came to mind and instead of zoomin’, the words were flipped to hustlin’ or “Who’s hustlin’ who”?

 

Trump has shown little appetite to have serious meetings with African-American policy-makers or those who are known leaders in the community.  However, he has been quick to marginalize that group and instead give audience to the likes of West, who shockingly didn’t even vote in 2016, let alone for then candidate Donald Trump.  Although he did clarify his statements indicating had he voted, Trump would have been his choice,

 

I didn’t vote in 2016 but if I did, ‘I would have voted for Trump’, Kanye West

Trump professes to be a master of the media.  Indeed, he gave audience to West but like most manipulators you never fully know his motivation?  Some have intimated the luncheon demonstrated his connection to the African-American community.  Unfortunately, his track record proves otherwise.

 

Justifying their allegiance

West made many remarks during his diatribe.  Highlighting his ignorance of voting, the process and the final selection; he like many who try to justify their support for the republican party make the claim “blacks are locked into voting for the democratic party.”

Perhaps in their mind it sounds cute and maybe something they truly believe?

“As a bloc, African-Americans are very sophisticated.”  Mara Gay, New York Times editorial board.

The basic premise in voting is supporting the candidate or the party who supports your ideals and desires.  It may be too much for West to understand or ponder over the years if the democratic party has shown more support for African-American issues than the republican party?  Of course, that is not to confuse the issue that just because your vote aligns with one party does not mean all is won and you will get everything you desired?  That is why most understand voting is simply one piece of the process, and one that surely does not end after the candidate who won.  The other is holding those you voted for accountable. And yes, despite best intentions sometimes there is failure and disappointment.  But, like any good fight, you get up and keep fighting but the principal of voting for those who support your ideals is paramount.

“many people believe that, if you’re black, you have to be a Democrat and said he was pressured not to wear his red “Make America Great Again” hat. But he said “this hat, it gives me power.” Kanye West

 

Now that Trump has completed his luncheon with West this may be a first step?  Trump has the opportunity to get serious about African-American issues.  West has the opportunity for the African-American community to better understand his sentiments but first things first, let’s make sure he is registered to vote and in fact can participate in the mid-term elections which are just weeks away.

Otherwise, the luncheon may go down in history as “Who’s hustlin’ who?”

Postscript

Much has been said and written about the meeting.  Just to add some levity to the issue here is SNL’s take on it.

 

 

Unemployment numbers dip to 3.7%


 

US President Barack Obama shakes hands as Republican President-elect Donald Trump thanked him for creating a positive economy. JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Publishing numbers not seen since 1969, yesterday the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its October jobs report.  The numbers reflect data compiled for the month of September as unemployment dipped to 3.7%, with new jobs pegged at 134,000.  That is good news for the Trump administration as it validates their message of a strong economy.  The news was expected and comes at a good time for them as even though they inherited the foundation of a good economy from the Obama administration, they have been mired in a string of self-inflicted blunders ever since taking over the reins. 

They view those blunders as attacks from those who are upset they won the 2016 election.  Others view them as leaders who are inexperienced at managing a government, fraught with suspicious characters linked to criminal behavior.

In addition to the Mueller investigation, they are dealing with a majority of the public not in support of their United States Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.  Earlier today Kavanaugh squeaked by with a 50-48 vote.  While there is jubilation from those who support Trump and Kavanaugh, the untold cost may not be realized until the mid-term vote slated for November 6th.   Some fear this and other moves by the administration might cost the GOP control of congress.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D, Mass.) speaks to protestors gathered at the steps of the US Supreme Court as the Nation waits for the expected confirmation Judge Brett Kavanaugh, in Washington, D.C., on October 6, 2018.
(Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

 

Trump understands the media dynamic

As September numbers are a positive sign, Trump no doubt will use the data to proclaim the numbers reflect the lowest, specifically among African-Americans and other minority groups.  While the numbers are real and give great justification to those who support Trump, it must be noted he is a master manipulator of the spoken-word and you really have to ponder how serious he is about the claim?  Or, is he appeasing to the conscious of those who have very little knowledge of the historic perspective of employment gaps between whites and minority groups?  Oftentimes they view any news spouted from Trump as near-gospel, certainly not worthy of understanding the overall context of such statements. 

 

Understanding media, Trump has woven unemployment data into his rallies and other talking-points.  The issue for some regarding this sentiment is whether Trump is genuine, as his tone appears to mock the point which is a very serious issue for African-American’s who have been systemically unemployed at a rate at least twice that of whites.  This has been lingering problem presidents have been dealing with ever since the notion of race entered the American nomenclature.  It was created to divide people and groups.  While the numbers in fact have declined, the real gap is a constant historical fact; a key metric providing evidence to the wealth gap that highlights the polarization of our nation. 

In attempting to proclaim his support for the African-American community, who can forget this quote Trump made while on the campaign trail?

“Oh look at my African-American over here,” Mr. Trump said. “Are you the greatest? Do you know what I’m talking about?”

 

 

OMAHA, NE – MAY 4:
Isaiah Hall, 21, responds to a question from Crystal Sauser, a public relations manager, during a job interview at AirLite Plastics in North Omaha on Friday, May 4, 2018, in Omaha, NE. “We’re going to offer you the position,” Sauser said, and the stoic face Isaiah began to melt into a smile. Isaiah finally had a job.
Only seven of the overall 13 students (one student started a day after the initial 12 students) would make it through the training and to this morning of job interviews.
Over the past decade, concentrated efforts by various organizations in Omaha have helped drastically drive down the unemployment rate among African Americans, particularly in North Omaha, which is majority Black. While Donald Trump brags about how he has helped lower the national unemployment rate among Blacks, the city of Omaha has shown how a small group doing targeted employment bootcamps and workshops can help boost statistics with minimal help from the local, state, or federal government.
(Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Indeed, unemployment numbers are down but a nagging question remains which is why is there a disparity with white workers versus other ethnic groups?

 

“Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for Whites
(3.3 percent) declined in September.  Blacks (6.0 percent), Asians (3.5 percent), and Hispanics (4.5 percent)stagnation”  Bureau of Labor Statistics (October 2018)


The jobs report will continue to boast consumer confidence.  However, the issue for many is keeping pace with rising consumer cost.  The Fed’s recent rate hike is the reality of a cyclical economy.  Some things go up and others go down.  As an example, housing prices continues to soar resulting in many who are employed to delay buying a home, simply because the percentage needed from their paycheck to handle the monthly payment has increased year over year.

Here is an example of 1969:2018 –   Wages & percentage of income needed for monthly payment.

Monthly Income Home Price Int. Rate P & I Pct. Of Income needed
1969 $492 $24,400 8.42% $186 38%
2018 $4,326 $539,000 4.75% $2,811 65%
Averages based on California

For those who swear voting does not matter


[Washington, D.C]   Yesterday seemed like any other Friday in September.  History does not provide advance warning when it will mark certain things we do as people or identifying key events in the time we live in.  It just happens!

 

Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher had traveled to Washington, D.C. to protest their opposition to the United States Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.  Based on the attention the nominee had garnered they knew United States Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) represented a critical vote.  As the week was winding down, Flake had indicated he would support him.

 

Our nation is one of a federal Republic based on democratic ideals.  Politicians like Flake are voted to office with the primary mandate to be a voice of the people they represent.  Unfortunately, a good many of citizens, who are of voting age miss this simply equation.  Many rarely participate in voting, let alone dialogue with politicians. Then again, there are those who accept the apathetic notion that voting does not matter.   Then again there are those who will swear voting has nothing to do with their lives!!!!  Nothing could be further from the truth, as in this country just about everything we do or how we are impacted is based on a political implication.  In common terms; someone (politicians) creates the policies of the way we are governed or how we go about living out our daily lives.  Thus, some have mocked the statement but it is true:  we have the type of government representation we voted for!  Of course, another way to look at it is to encourage people to participate in the voting process so their desires are known.  That does not imply voters will get whatever they desire but it does insure their voice will be heard.


Why I confronted Jeff Flake – Ana Maria Archila

Friday, September 28, 2008 will mark a historic date.  Federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh may very well move through the process and become a member of the Supreme Court.   However, two motely citizens who are registered voters summoned the courage to confront Flake to make one last appeal to investigate charges that Dr. Bird had made regarding Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual molestation against her.  In the end Flake heard their voice and while he indicated there were other factors, he agreed to support Kavanaugh moving through the committee vote; with the condition that a Federal Bureau of Investigation would occur, and that was the simple appeal heard during the hearing desired by Archila and Gallagher was well as those who opposed Kavanaugh’s nomination.

YouTube video courtesy of Ruptly

The move by Archila and Gallagher was bold.  Many people have had confrontations with political leaders appealing for their concerns to be heard.  But, it was that place in time, on that elevator on Friday, September 28, 2018 which will go down in history that demonstrated the power of why voting matters.  More importantly it showcased how you voice might be that changing moment.

The right to protest

I am sure some may disagree with the assessment we have offered but the intent is not aimed on whether you support Kavanaugh or not but to showcase the power of having politicians listen to your appeal.  No doubt, Flake will receive admonition from those who disagree with his actions but the bigger issue is Archila and Gallagher did not set out to do anything historic as their intention was to just do something!

Flake surely would like to be remembered as a compassionate representative but that is simply mystery of how history is created.  Just look at Rosa Parks and all of the other people who have used their voice to uplift issues they felt needed attention?   Or those who have been vilified and criticized for raising their voice.  They understood the power of voting and holding representatives accountable.


[postscript]

Many are talking about Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony on Thursday.  Some are very pleased about the way he challenged those in opposition to his nomination.  Then again, some have remarked how belligerent and disrespectful he was.  Surely his performance will be a hit on this week’s SNL but using one of Samuel Jackson’s iconic character’s it has also become a hit on YT

ICYMI

For those who may have been too busy with the Kavanaugh issue or other issues, or maybe just didn’t care about anything in the news – you may have missed a huge ruling rendered yesterday.

JUDGE RULES LAWSUIT AGAINST DONALD TRUMP OVER EMOLUMENTS CAN MOVE FORWARD

(or enriching his pockets while serving as president)

The U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan found that lawmakers have adequately shown that they’ve suffered harm from the president’s alleged violation of the emoluments clause, which bans benefits from foreign governments unless a majority of both houses of Congress consent.

Feds raise discount rate to 2.250%


Above caption.  Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell Holds A News Conference Following Federal Open Market Committee Meeting
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 26: Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference on September 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. The US Federal Reserve raised the short-term interest rates by a quarter percentage point on Wednesday, the third increase of the year, and signaled two more hikes were coming in 2018 and four in 2019. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 26: Traders monitor offers in the S&P options pit at the Cboe Global Markets exchange shortly after the Federal Reserve announced it was raising interest rates on September 26, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Fed agreed to increase the federal funds rate a quarter percentage point, to a range of 2% to 2.25%. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

[Washington, DC]   In a move that was forecast several weeks ago, this afternoon Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve raised the discount rate to 2.250%.  This move occurred to the chagrin of his boss and the person who appointed him Donald Trump,  as since June of this year he has been quite vocal that Powell should not raise rates.

The Feds are non-partisan and to effectively operate are independent of political interference.  As customary,  president’s and those in leadership refrain from making comments about monetary policy.  That is most, except Trump who once again has demonstrated his lack of understanding  regarding political protocol.

 

“I’m not thrilled,” Trump said in an interview last month

 


Powell has stood firm and justified the move to control a positive economy.  The discount rate is the cost commercial banks pay for funds.  Their impact does not immediately affect consumers but they typically result in higher borrower costs.

 

You can’t have it both ways

 

In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 2 to 2-1/4 percent.  Jerome Powell, Fed Chairman

 

Ever since the financial meltdown of 2008, systemic changes were adopted to strengthen the economy.  In Trump’s case, even though it is very tough for him to admit he inherited an economy that had all the signs of positive growth, as a practical measure it must be properly managed.  As the economy moves forward, it is the Fed’s who are in control of monetary policy and to manage interest rates so that inflation of other negative factors are mitigated.

The nine member panel of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee voted unanimously to support the increase.

Here is Powell’s full report to the media.

Mortgage crisis: A 10-year retrospective


Real estate is a key component of the U.S. economy.   Aside from providing basic shelter, it is a commodity that consumers desire to purchase and a mortgage is used to finance the transaction.  Yet, it was the environment in 2008 where an industry as we knew it offered slim prospects of recovery.


Fast forward to 2018, recovery is obvious.  home prices continue to climb to record levels leaving many to wonder if they will ever be able to afford a home, let alone experience the “American dream?”   At the same time if must not be discounted that millions, for various reasons lost homes.  For them, then and now home-ownership represents the biggest transaction they will complete in their lifetime.  Likewise, it represents the biggest financial asset.

NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 17: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange September 17, 2008 in New York City. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 449 points today despite American International Group, Inc. (AIG) $85 billion government bailout. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

For some 2008 seemed like a lifetime ago.  No doubt it was a scary time especially for those who were part of the economic meltdown.  Cash was tight, employment or the ability to earn a living was in great jeopardy, homes which were treasured started disappearing in record numbers – like never seen before.   Many were lured into the notion property appreciation was constant and even though they may have bet on risky mortgage products, they felt confident they would be able to refinance out of any calamity.  Political leaders labeled the period as one not seen since the great depression of the 1930’s.

 

BOWIE, MD-AUGUST 18: Comfort Boateng sorts through two large boxes of mortgage and financial papers as she talks about their financial situation on August 18, 2014 in Bowie, Maryland. The Boatengs continue to live in their home where they haven’t made a mortgage payment in nearly six years. They built the 3,292-square-foot Fairwood home in 2005. Fairwood, is among one of the richest black neighborhoods in America, in Prince Georges County Maryland; yet it was among the hardest hit from the financial crisis of 2008. More than half of the people who bought homes there wound up in foreclosure. (Photo by Michel du Cille/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Here is a list of lenders who imploded starting in 2006


Subprime blamed

 

The crisis erupted in 2008, however signs were simmering that something might be amiss as early as 2005.  Interestingly it was a common refrain for the very political leaders and even industry leaders to target the culprit as subprime lending.  The problem with that assessment is it is incorrect, at least from a practical definition.

WILMINGTON, OH – DECEMBER 19: Bill and Dottie Neace embrace in their home December 19, 2008 in Wilmington, Ohio. Dottie Neace, currently undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer, fears she may not be able to continue her treatments if her husband loses his job, which provides their health insurance. He works for the air shipping company ABX, which is currently laying off thousands of workers. He recently underwent surgery for a ruptured colon, making eligibility for affordable post-employment healthcare uncertain. The job cuts between air shipping partners ABX and DHL, the two largest employers in Wilmington, will total between 7,000-10,000 lost jobs. The resulting high rate of unemployment is expected to devastate the local economy, both in terms of health coverage for residents, joblessness and in lost tax revenues to support schools and basic services in the area. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Prior to subprime coming into the mortgage vernacular in the mid 1990’s, most mortgages were considered prime.   You had to fully qualify, including for some with what appeared to be exhaustive documentation. . Your credit was not required to be perfect as long as any blemishes could be documented and explained.

 

Sub is a suffix and means “less than” or “below.”  Unfortunately, some would have you believe it meant bad credit, inferior housing or something that was substandard.  No doubt many who obtained mortgages were in that population but there was a good percentage who in fact had good credit as well as good property.

 

Alternative mortgages

 

A more reasonable understanding is defining subprime as synonymous with alternative.  In other words, subprime mortgages merely meant the borrower could not qualify for a prime mortgage.  As stated, there were millions of borrowers whose credit was above average and the alternative mortgages became a solid vehicle for them to obtain affordable mortgages.   Why was an alternative mortgage necessary?  For some, they could not fully document their income via traditional methods.   However, they had just as much money in their bank accounts as normal borrowers and their credit was just as solid.  Lenders recognized this challenge thus alternative mortgages were born and the market took off.

 

As lenders created alternative mortgages they became part of the overall subprime population.  However, it did not have the negative connotation subprime became labeled.  That is why blaming the crisis on those on the fringes with credit issues appears an easy explanation but that short-changes the reality of the subprime market.

 

 

There were many reasons which led to the crisis that erupted in 2008.  Experts have suggested factors germinated as early as 2006 and the signs of a downfall was apparent.  The only problem was many were in denial and for a good chuck of that population it was simply too late to recover.

 

“I’ve been in this business a long-time and have trained real estate professionals all over Southern California.  I’m telling you, the market is about to crash!   The late Jerry Timpone, 2006

 

In 2008 the average home price in Southern California was $429,000.  However, it must be noted that due to the crisis millions of homes were being snapped up for far less (via foreclosure and other issues which left many homeowners fleeing their properties).

HENDERSON, NV – APRIL 6: (L-R) Prudential Americana Group realtors Andrew Newcomb and Georgina Hernandez, go over information with Marylou Aleta and Chris Tan, both of Nevada, during a bus tour of bank-owned homes April 6, 2008 in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, Nevada. Prudential began operating Repo Tours Las Vegas recently to try to help sell the increasing number of repossessed homes. The number of foreclosures, and homes on the brink of being foreclosed on in the Las Vegas area, continues to be among the highest in the nation while the ongoing subprime mortgage crisis spreads throughout the country. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
HENDERSON, NV – APRIL 6: People walk past an auction sign as they take a bus tour of bank-owned homes April 6, 2008 in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, Nevada. The Prudential Americana Group began operating Repo Tours Las Vegas recently to try to help sell the increasing number of repossessed homes. The number of foreclosures, and homes on the brink of being foreclosed on in the Las Vegas area, continues to be among the highest in the nation while the ongoing subprime mortgage crisis spreads throughout the country. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Compared to today’s average home price of over $600,000, even $429,000 seems like a steal!  2008 was a turbulent time and compared today, it is a thing of the past.  During that ten-year period many who held onto their homes have been able to secure a more fixed payment mortgage, thus the surprises of a fluctuating mortgage which was popular during the early to mid-2000’s has been mitigated.

 

Companies/Business were imploding as we Cities

 

As indicated real estate, specifically the mortgage sector is important to our economy.  As the implosion of businesses picked up steam, the residual effect found cities and communities in great peril.  They too were dealt blow after blow as neighborhoods became decimated, thus reducing taxes cities need to operate.

 

WILMINGTON, OH – DECEMBER 19: Shawn Stephens, a mechanic with the air shipping company ABX, listens at a town hall meeting December 19, 2008 in Wilmington, Ohio. Local leaders and residents discussed the possibility of economic collapse of Wilmington, a town of 12,000 people, and the surrounding areas. ABX is currently laying off thousands of employees, along with its partner, the German shipping company DHL. The massive layoffs between the two largest employers in Wilmington will total between 7,000-10,000 lost jobs. The resulting high rate of unemployment is expected to devestate the local economy, both in terms of joblessness and in lost tax revenues to support schools and basic services in the area. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

While economic challenges are not the main concern as it was in 2008, today the primary concern is having enough income and down payment to snag a property.  Of course, even those who may be in a qualifying position are contemplating the definition of a “fixer-upper” or considering moving outside of the metropolitan area, which years ago would have been unthinkable.

 

So, average prices come and go.  Economic conditions are constant but looking back ten years is important to recognize the cyclical nature of real estate and realizing that most things are relative.  The take-away is if $429,000 was a jolt, and $600,000 redefines sticker-shock, it is a good bet prices will go higher before they go lower.

As for mortgages and looking back ten years, it is a simple equation; people will always have the need for shelter and a good many will be lucky enough to become homeowners.  Mortgage lenders will always look to satisfy those borrowers who are seeking affordable financing because assuming everyone has at least twenty percent as down payment and stellar credit would depress the market to a point that is not reasonable.  The trick, like any consumer purchase is to properly assess your situation so that you are not forced into a mortgage or a predicament which has the remnants of the 2008 meltdown.

 


Single Family Residences a 10-year look-back

Year Single Family Residences
Los Angeles Orange Ventura San Bernardino Riverside San Diego
2018* $629,500 $766,000 $625,000 $338,900 $379,800 $623,900
2017 $613,200 $750,400 $605,200 $326,600 $370,500 $607,500
2016 $569,100 $711,300 $575,200 $297,800 $344,200 $565,000
2015 $528,900 $681,800 $540,700 $273,900 $320,600 $529,600
2014 $486,700 $643,000 $512,000 $255,000 $300,200 $492,300
2013 $456,500 $620,000 $486,000 $230,700 $274,900 $468,500
2012 $389,200 $535,100 $419,900 $185,200 $221,700 $403,300
2011 $363,100 $494,800 $389,100 $168,800 $201,100 $370,300
2010 $391,300 $524,300 $419,500 $178,300 $213,700 $392,800
Year Single Family Residences
Los Angeles Orange Ventura San Bernardino Riverside San Diego
2009 $400,400 $539,400 $427,400 $184,500 $214,300 $401,800
2008 $429,200 $553,700 $456,500 $227,300 $254,800 $422,100
2007 $525,300 $629,200 $539,700 $328,700 $351,900 $502,700
2006 $582,200 $718,700 $625,800 $380,200 $425,800 $559,200
2005 $566,000 $715,300 $636,500 $364,700 $422,200 $572,900
2004 $481,600 $648,000 $582,000 $298,500 $366,700 $565,300
2003 $376,300 $518,100 $461,600 $216,400 $280,500 $448,100
2002 $303,700 $424,700 $378,000 $174,300 $227,700 $373,100
Year Single Family Residences
Los Angeles Orange Ventura San Bernardino Riverside San Diego
2001 $253,800 $361,000 $314,500 $150,700 $196,100 $312,400
2000 $227,500 $322,700 $283,600 $135,500 $176,600 $276,000
1999 $204,000 $285,400 $255,300 $124,400 $160,900 $240,000
1998 $185,400 $262,900 $229,700 $116,400 $146,500 $211,100
1997 $171,000 $230,500 $204,200 $111,000 $135,000 $188,100
1996 $164,000 $214,900 $195,100 $109,800 $129,900 $177,100

 

Condominiums / Co-Ops

Year Condominiums / Co-Ops
Los Angeles Orange Ventura San Bernardino Riverside San Diego
2018* $528,800 $505,200 $444,200 $336,800 $278,700 $439,000
2017 $513,300 $493,700 $424,300 $329,100 $271,100 $426,200
2016 $471,200 $456,100 $399,200 $300,100 $257,500 $391,900
2015 $443,300 $433,100 $373,100 $280,400 $250,000 $361,000
2014 $411,200 $407,400 $349,200 $263,100 $240,600 $334,500
2013 $386,900 $387,700 $328,400 $238,800 $227,400 $314,400
2012 $325,000 $316,600 $273,800 $185,500 $187,000 $259,700
2011 $312,200 $300,000 $259,500 $178,900 $174,200 $243,500
2010 $339,400 $325,800 $284,900 $195,800 $193,700 $269,300
Year Condominiums / Co-Ops
Los Angeles Orange Ventura San Bernardino Riverside San Diego
2009 $357,100 $341,200 $303,200 $202,800 $205,500 $278,200
2008 $371,300 $363,000 $328,700 $231,200 $225,900 $300,500
2007 $434,700 $421,700 $394,500 $313,300 $283,600 $352,400
2006 $483,200 $482,200 $464,200 $362,900 $346,100 $393,200
2005 $474,400 $480,800 $473,700 $356,300 $349,300 $417,300
2004 $413,500 $440,500 $433,200 $301,300 $301,300 $418,400
2003 $320,500 $348,700 $346,100 $221,800 $227,300 $334,900
2002 $260,600 $283,100 $281,300 $175,400 $188,400 $276,600
Year Condominiums / Co-Ops
Los Angeles Orange Ventura San Bernardino Riverside San Diego
2001 $216,400 $239,800 $232,400 $151,000 $169,800 $228,000
2000 $189,500 $208,800 $204,700 $136,800 $149,900 $193,800
1999 $170,400 $181,800 $181,300 $127,300 $130,300 $162,700
1998 $154,700 $166,100 $166,000 $117,600 $117,000 $143,400
1997 $141,100 $146,600 $152,000 $111,500 $111,700 $129,500
1996 $136,800 $137,900 $145,300 $108,500 $106,500 $122,600

* 2018 Median price is for May 2018
N/A – Data not available from source

See also Median Home Prices by Zip Code in Los Angeles County

Note: Movement in regional sales prices should not be interpreted as measuring changes in the cost of a standard home. Prices are influenced by changes in costs and variations in the characteristics and size of homes actually sold.

Source: Data derived from Zillow Research.


Postscript

The housing crisis was an important historic event.  Fred Thomas, III tags himself as a “student” of the mortgage industry and speaks with credibility having been employed at Countrywide Home Loans, IndyMac Bank and Bank of America.  He is currently working on a book which takes a look at the rise and fall as well as the importance they played and the development of the industry.