Wall Street Not Worried (Yet)

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 23,348
S&P 500: 2,572
Nasdaq  Comp.: 6,98
Russell 2000:1,490
Tuesday,  Oct. 31, 2017   9:11 a.m.
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There will not be a blog on Wednesday or Thursday
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The latest economic and S&P 500 earnings data confirm solid growth –

        Q3 earnings are well above projections, the reason for Friday’s surge in growth stocks.  Factset now projects Q3 growth at +4.7% vs. +1.7% a week ago and +3.0% Sept. 30. When all reports are in, Q3 will run north of +7%.  ) Note: I will not post these estimates weekly, just to erratic and misleading)
       Based on last week’s reports the economy is now ramping up again.
      Q3 GDP growth hit +3.1% at an annual rate vs. +3.0% in Q2.  Inventory build contributed 25% of that. A 2.3%  ann. rate bump in exports vs 0.8% drop in imports helped. Consumer spend was flat but okay, and durable (capital) goods posted a 1.3% increase.  Interest rates have edged up, an incentive for companies to accelerate spending.
     This is a big week for reports on the economy and the release of last month’s FOMC meeting (no press conference).
     In addition we will get the ADP Employment report (Thurs.) and the Employment Situation report (Fri.).
What Could Go Wrong ?

       Four  things stand in the way of further advances in the stock market over time.

-failure to pass tax reform.  If it passes, the market will have one more big surge, a bull market top, since the 21% surge in the S&P 500 since November 2015 discounts much of a tax cut plan..
-a total implosion of the Trump administration in face of special counselor Robert Mueller’s  indictments, and the release of information that that raise the question whether our representative republic can survive.
Trump’s firing of Mueller, igniting a constitutional crises of enormous proportions that brings America to the brink of a highly divisive civil war, shootings, riots.
War with North Korea – Trump needs a distraction ! IMHO, he’d take it.
       However, Trump’s resignation and an attempt by Congress “put  America first” by coming together to find common ground would reduce the collateral damage. This administration is, and has been, injurious to America’s best interests.
       This is America’s big test, and the answer is longer than 140 characters.
        Firing Mueller would be a last resort.  Trump has the power of the pulpit, TWITTER, Fox News, a spineless Congress, and a gullible base to buy into his relentless lies.  If necessary, he will pardon family members who are at risk, but it is doubtful he can pardon himself.  Worth noting, he can’t pardon anyone from state prosecution.

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TODAY
       The Street wasn’t spooked by yesterday’s release of news about  the indictments of Mueller and Gates, not even the news about Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty  to making false statements to the FBI, but as a proactive cooperator, may have accumulated incriminating information about high level Trump campaign operatives last year.
       When does the Street start to worry ?  Only if the massive stimulus of tax cuts, deregulation and a big spend on the infrastructure look like they won’t  happen.
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SUPPORT “today”: DJIA:23,256; S&P 500:2,557; Nasdaq Comp.:6,631
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:23,423; S&P 500:2,574;Nasdaq Comp.:6,727

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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
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Breaking:
      Paul Manafort and associate and Trump campaign aide, Rick Gates, were indicted yesterday and pleaded not guilty to twelve counts, including conspiracy against the U.S., conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of foreign principal, false and misleading  Foreign Agent Registration Act, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank  and financial accounts.
      According to the Daily Beast, Gates is now working for Tom Barrack, a wealthy Trump supporter who led the presidential inaugural committee. The Beast reports that Gates is not liked by Trump, but accompanies Barrack when he visits Trump at the White House.  Gates joined the lobbying firm, Davis Manafort in 2006 when the firm had a client, Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who had close ties to Vladimir Putin. In 2016, Deripaska accused Gates and Manafort of taking $19 million intended for investments.  Manafort and Gates joined the Trump campaign in 2016, all this according to the Daily Beast’s article June 14, 2017.
Biggest Story of the Day:
      The New Republic reports that former Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty on October 5 to one count of lying to the FBI about his interactions with “foreign nationals, who he thought  were connected with senior Russian government officials.  The New Republic notes this “plea” suggests he is cooperating with Mueller.
     Reason.com reports Papadoppulos  met with an unnamed professor  in March 2016 before assuming the role as foreign policy adviser to Trump. The professor claimed to have “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, including thousands of emails. He then shared the information with the Trump campaign.

      The plea links the Trump campaign  with attempts to deal with the Russian government.  He is considered a “proactive cooperator,” which means he took an active role for months in obtaining information, possibly wearing a wire. This could be a BIG story, he may have some top Trump people on tape.
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TRUMP TO FIRE MUELLER ?        If President Trump wants to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, he would first have to fire  Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General – but….
      
Obviously,  firing Mueller would smack of  “consciousness of guilt,” which  could lead to impeachment proceedings by the House, and/or increase pressure for Trump to resign, but may be necessary.  With Rosenstein out of the way,  associate attorney general, Rachel Brand, a conservative nominated and confirmed by the Senate in February, would take over. If she refuses to fire Mueller, Dana Boente, U.S. attorney general for the Eastern District of Virginia would have taken over, but he has now announced  plans to give up his position, which handles high-profile national security, espionage and leak cases. Upon confirmation  he will be replaced by Boeing vice president  and assistant general counsel, John Demers.  Does this mean Rosenstein will be fired and Brand resign, because she won’t fire Mueller, but Trump nominee, Demers will ? While Brand is a highly competent conservative attorney who supported Sen. Cruz in 2016, firing Mueller may not be something she wants to be part of, and she may have let that be known.  This case stands to eclipse Watergate where President Nixon tried to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox but Attorney General, Elliot Richardson and two top deputies refused to follow the directive,  and were fired.  Next in line was Robert Bork, a conservative who fired Cox, but it may have cost Bork a chance at appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court later in his career.
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TRUMP’S PARDON POWER
    
The President has the power to grant conditional pardons; to commute sentences; remit fines and forfeitures; and grant amnesty. This power can be exercised at any time after the offense has been committed, before conviction of after. Pardons cannot be limited by or controlled by legislative action. (US Legal.com).
     The President cannot pardon people for “state” crimes, and it is doubtful he can pardon himself.
      Can the Mueller investigation survive Mueller’s firing ?

Slate.com’s July 21 article, “Trump can’t Escape the States,” says “YES.”

1-A state [NY] could hire Mueller and team.
2-State attorneys general could use their quo warranto power to investigate Trump’s organization for fraud and money laundering from Russian sources.
3-A Congressional committee (Senate Intelligence Committee) could hire Mueller or create a Joint select Committee.
4-Congress could pass a new veto-proof independent counsel statute.
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I received this alert Tuesday from Marc T. Liu urging his readers not to be distracted from Trump’s charades. My takeaway here is while the nation watches the buffoonery in the Oval Office, the rape and pillage is underway in Congress.
1. HR 861 to Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency (Like to breathe? This one is not for you.)

2. HR 610 – Vouchers for Public Education (which may end free public education as we know it)

3. HR 899 to Terminate the Department of Education (which may lead to greater disparity between states but nobody who uses public education ever moves so it's all good)

4. HR 69 to Repeal the Rule Protecting Wildlife (nobody likes nature anyway, right?)

5. HR 370 to Repeal the Affordable Care Act (didn't we already try this umpteen times?)

6. HR 354 to De-fund Planned Parenthood (because exactly none of your tax dollars go toward abortion services)

7. HR 785 – National "Right to Work" (this one is actually a 'Right to fire you whenever your boss feels like it" law, and it would effectively end unions)

8. HR 83 – Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Bill (California should just secede now and take all its money)

9. HR 147 to Criminalize Abortion (“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”) (because these private decisions should be made by your legislator and employer)

10. HR 808 to Impose Sanctions Against Iran (even though they are in compliance with the agreement according to those in the know)”
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THE GREAT AMERICAN EXPERIMENT UNDER SEIGE:  Not since the Civil War has the spirit and future of our nation been at such great risk, from within.  This  administration, Congress and U.S. Supreme Court is surgically dismembering  efforts over many years to ensure the safety  and well being of “all” Americans.
     The sooner, Americans recognize these are not genuine Republican conservatives, but extremists determined dismantle that which has been achieved over the years and replace it with “their” brand  of a  quasi-fascist state.  Ben Franklin was right when asked what kind of government  the Founding Fathers had given us.  “A Republic, if you can keep it,” was his response.
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STUMP TRUMP: Bill Palmer, Palmer report.com. has a novel idea how Jeff Flake, Bob Corker and John McCain can prevent President Trump and destructive Congress from dismembering our Republic further. All three change registrations to Independent and caucus with the Democrats giving it a 51 – 49 majority. This would bump Mitch McConnell out of Majority Leader and replace the position with Chuck Schumer.
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House Republicans now investigating FBI’s and DOJ’s 2016 handling of Clinton’s private email server. Really ? 
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MY FEAR:  Based on what I am seeing in Trump’s bizarre, dangerous, un-American behavior, a ditto-head, spineless  Republican Congress, and public too busy to be bothered,  I am afraid our country will have to hit bottom before our Republic can be resuscitated.  Nothing good can come from relentless lies, racism, and efforts to gut checks and balances and dismantle all the progress achieved over the years.  Looks like anarchy and ultimately a quasi-fascist government several years from now including civil unrest. This is the opportunity the extremist right has been waiting for, and they are wasting no time taking us down a dark road.
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A DAFT TWERP:  Just in from Veuer  – President Trump is a ‘daft twerp’ according to Winston Churchill’s grandson, a conservative member of Parliament. The Brits consider a “twerp” as a silly, insignificant or annoying person, and “daft” as   foolish. Let’s see if the bust of Winston in Trump’s office goes the way of so many of his original administration.
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OBAMACARE   RESCUE DEAD ! Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democrat Senator Patty Murray announced a bipartisan breakthrough to shore up ACA that would revive federal subsidies for health insurers. 
      President Trump was supportive Tuesday, then turned negative Wednesday, referring to cost-sharing reduction payments (CSR) as “bailouts” for insurers.
     The attempt by the senators to stabilize ACA has also attracted the wrath of conservative Congressmen.  House speaker, Paul Ryan, does not plan to bring the bill to the floor, conservative groups, Freedom Works, Heritage Action and Club for Growth oppose it.

      How can anyone with ACA coverage know where they stand,  how can insurance companies make a decision on premiums ?
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1,318 FALSE or MISLEADING CLAIMS (LIES) by President Trump since being sworn in as President, January 20, 263 days ago. The tally is kept by the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, which breaks all lies down into 24 categories. Please, someone wake me up, tell me this is not happening….and reassure me Americans aren’t in denial.
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ADD ANOTHER LIE TO THE 1,318 referred to above.  Yesterday, Trump touted tax cuts for the middle class in Pennsylvania, saying the typical American household would get a $4,000 pay raise, and “it could be a lot more than that.”  Not mentioned is the savings would be over an eight year period, $500 a year.
     The Tax Policy Center (TPC) claims tax reform as we know it today heavily favors the rich, boosting after-tax income for the top 1% by 8.5% on average, while the bottom 95% would get a boost of 1.2%
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WRECK NAFTA ?  Bloomberg’s “The Editors” seems to think so, pointing to the disruption of long-established supply chains that would raise costs, and increase US imports.  “The evidence is clear, Nafta has helped all its members, including the U.S., achieve greater efficiency and higher living standards,” Bloomberg notes, adding undermining it or causing its collapse would  cause enormous disruption for businesses and labor pools in all three  countries.
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HOW MANY HURRICANES does it take to convince Republicans our climate is changing for the worse ?  If you guessed 4, you were wrong.  Try 40.  Monday EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the U.S. withdrawal from the President Obama’s clean power plan.  In another giant step backward, clearly not for the benefit of mankind, Pruitt wants incentives for the wind industry removed, saying he would “let them stand on their own and compete against coal natural gas and other sources.”    Hope I wake up from this bad dream – soon.
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TRUMP WANTS ANYONE WHO DOESN’T STAND FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM TO BE “FIRED”   ?
Personally, I would find another way of expressing my 1st Amendment opinion, like here in this blog, but I think not standing for the National Anthem IS NOWHERE NEARLY AS UN-AMERICAN AS TAKING  5 (five) DEFERRMENTS TO AVOID MILITARY SERVICE, WHICH IS WHAT TRUMP DID DURING THE VIETNAM WAR ERA.  Deplorable !
      Senator John McCain,
a war here, indirectly criticized Trump later Oct. 23rd,  referring to people who found a doctor who would ‘find” a bone spur leading to deferment from military service.
      Other un-American activities Trump champions are using the Presidency to divide and polarize  Americans against Americans, to foment racial and gender prejudice, to endorse violence, and to destabilize a world that is struggling to peacefully cope with a host of issues, none the least of which is more WAR !
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Republicans, in lockstep with the nation’s most powerful lobby, the NRA, are prepared to vote on the bill to take gun silencers off the list of prohibited items.  The Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE) would vastly reduce procedures needed to purchase devices that when attached to a hand gun would reduce the noise to a spfft.
       What’s next on the Republican agenda – legalized murder ?
       The Republican party will take a pass on any legislation to outlaw “bump stocks,” the device used to convert a semi-automatic assault rifle to an illegal fully automatic, enabling the Las Vegas gunman to max his murder of  persons attending the Harvest Festival.  Bump stock sales have exploded, prices doubled.  
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 AMERICANS ARE TOO SCARED to have the courage to do the right thing.   If not outwardly scared, Americans are subconsciously scared. Its origin is difficult to pinpoint, but I’d say the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970’s was a start. That’s when confidence in our government began to crumble as protests against the War escalated. The horrors of war were brought into every living room, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the street.  Families were divided by “for” and “against” the war.  “Like it, or leave it” was the pro-war patriot mantra.
     President Nixon’s Watergate woes and resignation ahead of impeachment proceedings loped off a little more trust in politicians. This, combined with the OPEC oil embargo resulted in a 16-month recession and 50% drop in the S&P 500. 
     Probably, the biggest jolt came on September 11, 2001 with the terrorist attack on the New York City Trade Towers and the Pentagon.  Lies about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction got us into the Iraq War, another discredit for authority in our nation’s highest office. 
      The Great Recession (2007 – 2009) and stock market’s 50% crash was yet another jolt from which many never recovered.  Now you have President Trump, an unpredictable narcissist with 1,000 lies in eight months to his credit. Oh, and the legitimacy of his presidency challenged by investigations of collusion with Russia to bombard American voters with fake news about rival candidate Hillary Clinton and who knows what in key electoral college states Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
       White Americans are seeing too many people of color on TV, in sports, in schools in their neighborhoods, in their police force, military.  It’s fine if a black man scores a touchdown for their alma mater, just don’t run for office or beat out their child in school activities, or them for a job.
        Get used to it Republican bigot, you can deport a whole bunch of people of color, gerrymander their vote, disrespect them, but they are hungry for achievement and want to eat your lunch, like it or not.  Bigotry is un-American, and if you know what Christianity is really about bigotry is un-Christian. 

       SMALL WONDER AMERICANS FEEL THE NEED FOR AN ARSENAL IN THEIR HOME, FOR THE RIGHT TO “CARRY” A PIECE EVERYWHERE, INCLUDING BARS, EATERIES, PLAYGROUNDS, PARKS.   Americans are so scared, even sensible measures designed to make people safer are rejected.
       If the wanton murder of 20 six-year olds in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut didn’t spark an outrage, nothing will. Some whackos claim it didn’t happen, not to my surprise, some believed them.
       This was a defining incident in America.  Americans too freaking scared and intimidated by the NRA to be upset by the son of a gun-nut murdering  children. Shame !  The NRA exploited the situation for their own benefit, as Americans watched. Again, SHAME !
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WOULD ANYONE WANT their spouse to lie repeatedly ?, their child ?, mother ?, father ?, minister ?, child’s teacher ?,  coach ?, employer ?.  IF NOT, why would they support President Trump who is on record with telling4.5 lies per day, 1,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?
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CRIMINAL CHARGES: The Palmer report.com reports on a Sept. 27 MSNBC Brian Williams interview with George W. Bush, former Asst. Atty. General, Jimmy Gurule, who lists criminal charges he expects will be levied on Trump team members, without mentioning names. Included are obstruction of justice, violations of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, violations of Federal Campaign Act, IRS tax laws, and possibly money laundering. Only Congress can put President Trump on trial, but Muller can ask a grand jury to name Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator, which is what happened to President Nixon in the Watergate scandal.
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      HUGE MISTAKE ! In my opinion the Trump presidency is a HUGE mistake, and when you make huge mistakes, you pay a huge price. It’s coming and it isn’t going to be pretty.
      In time, I believe we will learn that the Trump team either colluded or enabled Russia’s meddling with our election. Ballot boxes are not fool proof, either.
       Evidence is mounting to indicate the biggest political/business scandal ever will become news, with a lot of Trump people taking a big hit.
       Expect Trump to attempt to pardon anyone he wants, including himself. It’s a way out of facing responsibility very much like dodging the draft. Like when he justified his numerous bankruptcies, saying he only used U.S. laws to his advantage.  Well, “pardons” are his prerogative, in many, not all cases. He would take advantage of whatever loophole to avoid consequences, sort of like dodging the draft, or did I already say that ?
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TAX REFORM BENEFITTING WEALTHY AS WELL AS TRUMP ?  Depends on who you ask. Trump says  he wont’ benefit  – Add that to his 1,000 lies that have been documented since his inauguration.  Everything I read indicates the little guy gets screwed.  But isn’t it the little guy/girl who is responsible for his election to the Presidency.  Tough break guys, and girls – next time leave your confirmation bias at the door and vote your interest !
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IS PRESIDENT TRUMP BROKE ? Bill Palmer, Palmerreport.com thinks so.  Why else would he hide his tax return ?
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TAX REFORM  – “Potholes and sinkholes”*
      Trump campaigned in  Missouri recently for  tax reform, including middle-class tax cuts,  and a simpler tax code. Few specifics are mentioned. The border-adjusted tax is off the table. The mortgage, charity and retirement deductions are safe. The big question is whether the tax cuts would be temporary or permanent. If th latter, the cuts may not increase the deficit.
      An August 4 – 9  Bloomberg poll of economists reveals 28 of 39 polled expect Congress to pass tax cut legislation by November 2018. Unfortunately this action is not expected to add more than  0.2 percentage points to the GDP, and that growth is forecast  to only slightly exceed  that this year’s 2.1 percent, this forecast coming from 71 economists.  Worse yet, 2019 is projected to fall back to the 2 percent level. Referring to a corporate tax rate for developed nations of 24%, Trump says…”We have no choice….we must lower our taxes.
       Facts from mic.com: In 2016 the Government Accounting Office (GAO) found at least two-thirds of U.S. corporations did not pay federal income tax between 2006 and 2012.  One-fifth of America’s largest profitable corporations didn’t pay any income tax in 2012.
      Another study released earlier this year found the effective tax rate for consistently profitable Fortune 500 companies is 21.2%
      All told, U.S. corporations pay slightly less  in overall taxes than companies  in comparable countries.
      This begs the question of how much impact would  corporate tax cuts have on the S&P 500.       
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Trump, Bannon Gone By 2019  (Investor’s first read:  3/21/2017)
      Right winger and Breitbart grad, Sebastian Gorka is now gone,  Gorka’s  exit closely follows the departure of Steve Bannon, another  Breitfart grad,  hopefully leading to the firing  of Stephen Miller, a brash, caustic right wing extremist and Breitbart supporter  cuddler. 

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WAR – North Korea
      Sen. Lindsey Graham says a U.S. military strike of N. Korea is possible,* that we cannot allow “this madman [Kim Jong-un] to have a missile to hit America.” His Tuesday, Aug 1, interview on the Today Show, follows N. Korea’s ICBM test days ago. Graham also said the Chinese  can stop such an attack. While such a war would take place on North Korean soil, South Korea  would incur huge casualties from N. Korean artillery.
OBSERVATION: Since January, I have warned Trump would put the U.S. on a war footing (see below) for political reasons, namely the mid-terms. Now I am convinced it is front burner because the Meuller investigations are  closing in.  
      Nuclear deterrence has been effective since the 1950s, for the obvious reasons.  The countries with the largest nuclear arsenals  and estimated warheads include United States (7,500), Russia (7,200), France (300), China (250), UK (215), Pakistan (110), India (100),Israel (80).
       The uncertainty of war would JOLT the market, especially if it disrupted  trade alliances. Reportedly, it would only take 33 minutes for a ballistic missile to reach the U.S.. If detonated high over the center of the U.S., it would cause an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) which would shut down “everything”  A-to-Z indefinitely.
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TRUMP – EARLY STAGE DEMENTIA ?  
Don’t know. Clearly he has personality disorder (Narcissism), but the question is being asked more and more with references to speech, use of words, disorientation, irritability, memory loss, late night tweets, confusion, paranoia.

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TRUMP looking for a “Get Out Of Jail Free Card if the Feds close in?”
    Why not, he dodged military service with 5 deferments  during the Vietnam era (1964 – 1970).
     Reportedly, he has asked advisers about his power to pardon family members and himself  relating to Mueller’s investigation.
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W HAT HAPPENS WHEN THE INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETED ? If the Special Counselor  concludes it is “necessary and appropriate” he is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising out of the investigation, which he does after submitting a report to the attorney general explaining his reasons.

REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER:  Misconduct,  dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, good cause (??), violation of Department policies.
WOULD MUELLER BE REPLACED ? Unclear. If the Democrats controlled Congress they could appoint another Special Counselor
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  “Connect the Dots.” This investigation is open-ended
       Nigel Farage – President Trump- Jeffrey Sessions – Robert Mercer – Cambridge Analytics – Bannon- Carter Page – Kushner (Jared and Ivanka) – Eric Prince – Donald, Jr.  and Eric Trump – Wilbur Ross –  Michael Cohen – Ezra Cohen Watnick – Michael Flynn – JD Gordon  –  Christopher Steele – Michael Caputo -Breitbart News – Roger Stone – Julian Assange – Paul Manafort – Rick Gates – Jill Stein – Sam Clovis –  Kellyanne and George Conway –Dana Rohrabacher – Bill Browder – Peter W. Smith (deceased: suicide), Paul Behrends – Boris Epshteyn, Ike Kaveladze, and  Russia’s alfa Group – Felix Sater – Rob Goldstone – alfa Group – Emin Agalarov – Sergey Gorkov –  Sergey Kislyak, ambassador to the U.S., Natalia Veselnitskaya, Oleg Deripaska all connect directly or indirectly to the Trump/Russia investigation and some have a connection to Brexit, as well.
      According to the “Observer,” Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica was connected with Canada’s AggregateIQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked together on the Brexit referendum. Aggregate is also a data mining company. While Mercer was a big supporter of Trump, there is no known connection between AggregateIQ and Trump’s campaign staff.

       The Palmer Report.com  recently reported that Peter W. Smith (recent suicide) sought to collude with Russian hackers stealing emails from Trump’s opposition while claiming to be working with Michael Flynn.

       Additionally, IMHO, Vice President Mike Pence simply had to be aware of what was happening in the campaign, but is being shielded because he is the second in command if  President Trump is impeached and convicted  or forced to resign. Stephen Miller, Joseph E. Schmitz may be of interest to the FBI for information they possess relating to the FBI investigation.
      According to CNN Politics,  Marc Kasowitz  represented Trump for personal and business matters for years. Worth noting, Kasowitz is defending Russian bank, OJSC Sberbank in U.S. court, as well as a Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties with the Kremlin.
       As of July 21, Kasowitz’s is no longer Trump’s personal attorney   
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     REMOVING TRUMP FROM  OFFICE

Can Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, U.S. Constitution – Remove Trump ?
      It’s a stretch. 
The key for his removal is ”that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”  Section 4 mentions nothing  that he is unfit, delusional, unbalanced, crazy,  impulsive, irrational, impaired, sociopathic, psychopathic, narcissistic.
      That would be the threshold that would have to be crossed if Trump is removed from office via Section 4 of the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. There is no precedent

      It isn’t just Democrats, liberals, moderates and reasonable people who find Trump caustic, and dangerous, conservatives like George Will, David Brooks and Ross Douthart are also urging his removal.
      First, there are four ways to get rid of Trump – death, resignation, impeachment and Section 4 of the 25th Amendment.
      The procedure employing the 25th Amendment requires the Vice President and the majority of the cabinet of 15 (8) to vote to remove the president. They would submit their declaration in writing to the President pro tempore ( Sen. Orrin Hatch) and Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan) that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and the Vice President will immediately assume to office as acting president.
      However, the president may contend the move by submitting his own letter to the President pro tempore and Speaker of the House, that he believes he is capable of performing his duties, in which case he will resume the office of presidency.
       The Vice President and Cabinet members may then resubmit their declaration at which point Congress would vote within 48 hours if in session. If not, Congress  will act within 21 days where a two-thirds vote would be required to remove  him.  
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IMPEACHMENT
      A  Consult/Politico poll shows 43% of Americans want Congress to begin procedures for the impeachment of President Trump.

      The U.S. Constitution  enables Congress to remove a president for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Intitially, the House votes on one or more articles of impeachment- if a majority vote is reached, he is impeached.  BUT, impeachment only means indictment. The Senate holds a trial overseen by the chief justice and Supreme Court. A group of House members serve as prosecutors and the Senate as jurors. If two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed from office and the vice president takes over.

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Note: Source of weekly economic calendar and good recap of indicators: mam.econoday.com.
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George Brooks
Investor’s first read
A Game-On Analysis, LLC publication
Brooks007read@aol.com
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Investor’s first read, is a Game-On Analysis, LLC publication for which George Brooks is sole owner, manager and writer.  Neither Game-On Analysis, LLC, nor George  Brooks  is  registered as an investment advisor.  Ideas expressed herein are the opinions of the writer, are for informational purposes, and are not to serve as the sole basis for any investment decision. References to specific securities should not be construed  as particularized or as investment advice as recommendations that you or any investors purchase or sell these securities on their own account. Readers are expected to assume full responsibility for conducting their own research pursuant to investment in keeping with their tolerance for risk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earnings Beat – Capex Spend Rising

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 23,434
S&P 500:2,581
Nasdaq  Comp6,701.:
Russell 2000:1,508
Monday,  Oct. 30, 2017   9:11 a.m.
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The latest economic and S&P 500 earnings data confirm solid growth –       Q3 earnings are well above projections, the reason for Friday’s surge in growth stocks.  Factset now projects Q3 growth at +4.7% vs. +1.7% a week ago and +3.0% Sept. 30. When all reports are in, Q3 will run north of +7%.  ) Note: I will not post these estimates weekly, just to erratic and misleading)
       Based on last week’s reports the economy is now ramping up again.
      Q3 GDP growth hit +3.1% at an annual rate vs. +3.0% in Q2.  Inventory build contributed 25% of that. A 2.3%  ann. rate bump in exports vs 0.8% drop in imports helped. Consumer spend was flat but okay, and durable (capital) goods posted a 1.3% increase.  Interest rates have edged up, an incentive for companies to accelerate spending.
     This is a big week for reports on the economy and the release of last month’s FOMC meeting (no press conference).
     In addition we will get the ADP Employment report (Thurs.) and the Employment Situation report (Fri.).
What Could Go Wrong ?

 Three things stand in the way of further advances in the stock market.

-failure to pass tax reform.  If it passes, the market will have one more big surge, a bull market top.
-a total implosion of the Trump administration in face of special counselor Robert Mueller’s  indictments, and the release of information that that raise the question our representative republic can survive.
Trump’s firing of Mueller, igniting a constitutional crises of enormous proportions that brings America to the brink of a highly divisive civil war, shootings, riots.
War with North Korea 
       However, Trump’s resignation and an attempt by Congress “put  America first” by coming together to find common ground would reduce the collateral damage. This administration is, and has been, injurious to America’s best interests.
       Am I an alarmist ?   Rarely, but I am today.
       This is America’s big test, and the answer is longer than 140 characters.
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TODAY
     Nasdaq Comp.’s 2.2% jump Friday was driven by technology giants – Amazon (AMZN: +13.2%, Apple (AAPL: +5.6%, Alphabet Google (+4.3%), Microsoft (MSFT: +5.0%).
     Of note, retailers took a hit with Macy’s (M: -7.7%, Kohl’s (KSS: – 4.6%), J.C. Penney (JCP -14.7%), plus retail oriented Mattel (-8.9%).  These companies are getting clobbered by online retailers. It seems like a trend to no S&H costs is helping online retailers.
     Even with indictments in the Russian Trump collusion investigation today, futures indicate a moderately soft open
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Breaking:
Paul Manafort and associate and Trump campaign aide, Rick Gates, were told to surrender to federal authorities today pursuant to a grand jury indictment. According to the Daily Beast, Gates is now working for Tom Barrack, a wealthy Trump supporter who led the presidential inaugural committee. The Beast reports that Gates is not liked by Trump, but accompanies Barrack when he visits Trump at the WhiteHouse.  Gates joined the lobbying firm, Davis Manafort in 2006 when the firm had a client, Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska who had close ties to Vladimir Putin. In 2016, Deripaska accused Gates and Manafort of taking $19 million intended for investments.  Manafort and Gates joined the Trump campaign in 2016, all this according to the Daily Beast’s article June 14, 2017

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SUPPORT “today
”: DJIA:23,336; S&P 500:2,572; Nasdaq Comp.:6,691
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:23,443; S&P 500:2,582;Nasdaq Comp.:6,703

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 POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
Mueller Files Charges: A federal grand jury in Washington Friday approved special counsel Robert Mueller’s initial charges in the investigation of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
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TRUMP TO FIRE MUELLER ?        If President Trump wants to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, he would first have to fire  Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General –
       
Obviously,  firing Mueller would smack of  “consciousness of guilt,” which  could lead to impeachment proceedings by the House, and/or increase pressure for Trump to resign, but may be necessary.  With Rosenstein out of the way,  associate attorney general, Rachel Brand, a conservative nominated and confirmed by the Senate in February, would take over. If she refuses to fire Mueller, Dana Boente, U.S. attorney general for the Eastern District of Virginia would have taken over, but he has now announced  plans to give up position, which handles high-profile national security, espionage and leak cases and upon confirmation  be replaced by Boeing vice president  and assistant general counsel, John Demers.  Does this mean Rosenstein will be fired and Brand resign, because she won’t fire Mueller, but Trump nominee, Demers will ? While Brand is a highly competent conservative attorney who supported Sen. Cruz in 2016, firing Mueller may not be something she wants to be part of, and she may have let that be known.  This case stands to eclipse Watergate where President Nixon tried to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox but Attorney General, Elliot Richardson and two top deputies refused to follow the directive,  and were fired.  Next in line was Robert Bork, a conservative who fired Cox, but it may have cost Bork a chance at appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court later in his career.
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I received this alert Tuesday from Marc T. Liu urging his readers not to be distracted from Trump’s charades. My takeaway here is while the nation watches the buffoonery in the Oval Office, the rape and pillage is underway in Congress.
1. HR 861 to Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency (Like to breathe? This one is not for you.)

2. HR 610 – Vouchers for Public Education (which may end free public education as we know it)

3. HR 899 to Terminate the Department of Education (which may lead to greater disparity between states but nobody who uses public education ever moves so it's all good)

4. HR 69 to Repeal the Rule Protecting Wildlife (nobody likes nature anyway, right?)

5. HR 370 to Repeal the Affordable Care Act (didn't we already try this umpteen times?)

6. HR 354 to De-fund Planned Parenthood (because exactly none of your tax dollars go toward abortion services)

7. HR 785 – National "Right to Work" (this one is actually a 'Right to fire you whenever your boss feels like it" law, and it would effectively end unions)

8. HR 83 – Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Bill (California should just secede now and take all its money)

9. HR 147 to Criminalize Abortion (“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”) (because these private decisions should be made by your legislator and employer)

10. HR 808 to Impose Sanctions Against Iran (even though they are in compliance with the agreement according to those in the know)”
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THE GREAT AMERICAN EXPERIMENT UNDER SEIGE:  Not since the Civil War has the spirit and future of our nation been at such great risk, from within.  This  administration, Congress and U.S. Supreme Court is surgically dismembering  efforts over many years to ensure the safety  and well being of “all” Americans.
     The sooner, Americans recognize these are not genuine Republican conservatives, but extremists determined dismantle that which has been achieved over the years and replace it with “their” brand  of a  quasi-fascist state.  Ben Franklin was right when asked what kind of government  the Founding Fathers had given us.  “A Republic, if you can keep it,” was his response.
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STUMP TRUMP: Bill Palmer, Palmer report.com. has a novel idea how Jeff Flake, Bob Corker and John McCain can prevent President Trump and destructive Congress from dismembering our Republic further. All three change registrations to Independent and caucus with the Democrats giving it a 51 – 49 majority. This would bump Mitch McConnell out of Majority Leader and replace the position with Chuck Schumer.
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House Republicans now investigating FBI’s and DOJ’s 2016 handling of Clinton’s private email server. Really ? 
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MY FEAR:  Based on what I am seeing in Trump’s bizarre, dangerous, un-American behavior, a ditto-head, spineless  Republican Congress, and public too busy to be bothered,  I am afraid our country will have to hit bottom before our Republic can be resuscitated.  Nothing good can come from relentless lies, racism, and efforts to gut checks and balances and dismantle all the progress achieved over the years.  Looks like anarchy and ultimately a quasi-fascist government several years from now including civil unrest. This is the opportunity the extremist right has been waiting for, and they are wasting no time taking us down a dark road.
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A DAFT TWERP:  Just in from Veuer  – President Trump is a ‘daft twerp’ according to Winston Churchill’s grandson, a conservative member of Parliament. The Brits consider a “twerp” as a silly, insignificant or annoying person, and “daft” as   foolish. Let’s see if the bust of Winston in Trump’s office goes the way of so many of his original administration.
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OBAMACARE   RESCUE DEAD ! Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democrat Senator Patty Murray announced a bipartisan breakthrough to shore up ACA that would revive federal subsidies for health insurers. 
      President Trump was supportive Tuesday, then turned negative Wednesday, referring to cost-sharing reduction payments (CSR) as “bailouts” for insurers.
     The attempt by the senators to stabilize ACA has also attracted the wrath of conservative Congressmen.  House speaker, Paul Ryan, does not plan to bring the bill to the floor, conservative groups, Freedom Works, Heritage Action and Club for Growth oppose it.

      How can anyone with ACA coverage know where they stand,  how can insurance companies make a decision on premiums ?
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1,318 FALSE or MISLEADING CLAIMS (LIES) by President Trump since being sworn in as President, January 20, 263 days ago. The tally is kept by the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, which breaks all lies down into 24 categories. Please, someone wake me up, tell me this is not happening….and reassure me Americans aren’t in denial.
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ADD ANOTHER LIE TO THE 1,318 referred to above.  Yesterday, Trump touted tax cuts for the middle class in Pennsylvania, saying the typical American household would get a $4,000 pay raise, and “it could be a lot more than that.”  Not mentioned is the savings would be over an eight year period, $500 a year.
     The Tax Policy Center (TPC) claims tax reform as we know it today heavily favors the rich, boosting after-tax income for the top 1% by 8.5% on average, while the bottom 95% would get a boost of 1.2%
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WRECK NAFTA ?  Bloomberg’s “The Editors” seems to think so, pointing to the disruption of long-established supply chains that would raise costs, and increase US imports.  “The evidence is clear, Nafta has helped all its members, including the U.S., achieve greater efficiency and higher living standards,” Bloomberg notes, adding undermining it or causing its collapse would  cause enormous disruption for businesses and labor pools in all three  countries.
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HOW MANY HURRICANES does it take to convince Republicans our climate is changing for the worse ?  If you guessed 4, you were wrong.  Try 40.  Monday EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the U.S. withdrawal from the President Obama’s clean power plan.  In another giant step backward, clearly not for the benefit of mankind, Pruitt wants incentives for the wind industry removed, saying he would “let them stand on their own and compete against coal natural gas and other sources.”    Hope I wake up from this bad dream – soon.
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TRUMP WANTS ANYONE WHO DOESN’T STAND FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM TO BE “FIRED”   ?
Personally, I would find another way of expressing my 1st Amendment opinion, like here in this blog, but I think not standing for the National Anthem IS NOWHERE NEARLY AS UN-AMERICAN AS TAKING  5 (five) DEFERRMENTS TO AVOID MILITARY SERVICE, WHICH IS WHAT TRUMP DID DURING THE VIETNAM WAR ERA.  Deplorable !
      Senator John McCain,
a war here, indirectly criticized Trump later Oct. 23rd,  referring to people who found a doctor who would ‘find” a bone spur leading to deferment from military service.
      Other un-American activities Trump champions are using the Presidency to divide and polarize  Americans against Americans, to foment racial and gender prejudice, to endorse violence, and to destabilize a world that is struggling to peacefully cope with a host of issues, none the least of which is more WAR !
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Republicans, in lockstep with the nation’s most powerful lobby, the NRA, are prepared to vote on the bill to take gun silencers off the list of prohibited items.  The Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE) would vastly reduce procedures needed to purchase devices that when attached to a hand gun would reduce the noise to a spfft.
       What’s next on the Republican agenda – legalized murder ?
       The Republican party will take a pass on any legislation to outlaw “bump stocks,” the device used to convert a semi-automatic assault rifle to an illegal fully automatic, enabling the Las Vegas gunman to max his murder of  persons attending the Harvest Festival.  Bump stock sales have exploded, prices doubled.  
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 AMERICANS ARE TOO SCARED to have the courage to do the right thing.   If not outwardly scared, Americans are subconsciously scared. Its origin is difficult to pinpoint, but I’d say the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970’s was a start. That’s when confidence in our government began to crumble as protests against the War escalated. The horrors of war were brought into every living room, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the street.  Families were divided by “for” and “against” the war.  “Like it, or leave it” was the pro-war patriot mantra.
     President Nixon’s Watergate woes and resignation ahead of impeachment proceedings loped off a little more trust in politicians. This, combined with the OPEC oil embargo resulted in a 16-month recession and 50% drop in the S&P 500. 
     Probably, the biggest jolt came on September 11, 2001 with the terrorist attack on the New York City Trade Towers and the Pentagon.  Lies about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction got us into the Iraq War, another discredit for authority in our nation’s highest office. 
      The Great Recession (2007 – 2009) and stock market’s 50% crash was yet another jolt from which many never recovered.  Now you have President Trump, an unpredictable narcissist with 1,000 lies in eight months to his credit. Oh, and the legitimacy of his presidency challenged by investigations of collusion with Russia to bombard American voters with fake news about rival candidate Hillary Clinton and who knows what in key electoral college states Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
       White Americans are seeing too many people of color on TV, in sports, in schools in their neighborhoods, in their police force, military.  It’s fine if a black man scores a touchdown for their alma mater, just don’t run for office or beat out their child in school activities, or them for a job.
        Get used to it Republican bigot, you can deport a whole bunch of people of color, gerrymander their vote, disrespect them, but they are hungry for achievement and want to eat your lunch, like it or not.  Bigotry is un-American, and if you know what Christianity is really about bigotry is un-Christian. 

       SMALL WONDER AMERICANS FEEL THE NEED FOR AN ARSENAL IN THEIR HOME, FOR THE RIGHT TO “CARRY” A PIECE EVERYWHERE, INCLUDING BARS, EATERIES, PLAYGROUNDS, PARKS.   Americans are so scared, even sensible measures designed to make people safer are rejected.
       If the wanton murder of 20 six-year olds in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut didn’t spark an outrage, nothing will. Some whackos claim it didn’t happen, not to my surprise, some believed them.
       This was a defining incident in America.  Americans too freaking scared and intimidated by the NRA to be upset by the son of a gun-nut murdering  children. Shame !  The NRA exploited the situation for their own benefit, as Americans watched. Again, SHAME !
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According to THE HILL, Trump will shortly announce he will decertify the Iran Nuclear  agreement, offloading a final decision to Congress.
      The agreement, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed by the U.S., China, France, Germany and Russia in mid-2015 and implemented in January 2016. The deal was not an official treaty, so Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Review Act (INRA) to allow Congress to vote on JCPOA which it did by an overwhelming margin. It requires the President to “certify” the deal as long as Iran is in compliance.  Until now, that has been done, even by Trump. But he needs to reassure his “base,” whoever they are. I am not sure how many people voted for him would do so again.
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WOULD ANYONE WANT their spouse to lie repeatedly ?, their child ?, mother ?, father ?, minister ?, child’s teacher ?,  coach ?, employer ?.  IF NOT, why would they support President Trump who is on record with telling4.5 lies per day, 1,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?
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CRIMINAL CHARGES: The Palmer report.com reports on a Sept. 27 MSNBC Brian Williams interview with George W. Bush, former Asst. Atty. General, Jimmy Gurule, who lists criminal charges he expects will be levied on Trump team members, without mentioning names. Included are obstruction of justice, violations of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, violations of Federal Campaign Act, IRS tax laws, and possibly money laundering. Only Congress can put President Trump on trial, but Muller can ask a grand jury to name Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator, which is what happened to President Nixon in the Watergate scandal.
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      HUGE MISTAKE ! In my opinion the Trump presidency is a HUGE mistake, and when you make huge mistakes, you pay a huge price. It’s coming and it isn’t going to be pretty.
      In time, I believe we will learn that the Trump team either colluded or enabled Russia’s meddling with our election. Ballot boxes are not fool proof, either.
       Evidence is mounting to indicate the biggest political/business scandal ever will become news, with a lot of Trump people taking a big hit.
       Expect Trump to attempt to pardon anyone he wants, including himself. It’s a way out of facing responsibility very much like dodging the draft. Like when he justified his numerous bankruptcies, saying he only used U.S. laws to his advantage.  Well, “pardons” are his prerogative, in many, not all cases. He would take advantage of whatever loophole to avoid consequences, sort of like dodging the draft, or did I already say that ?
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       TRUMP TO SABATAGE ACA:  Unable to pass a repeal and replace bill measures to destroy health coverage for millions of Americans have already been taken. THE HILL lists a few. Funding for advertising and outreach has been slashed 90%.The enrollment period has been cut in half. The administration plans to take down the Healthcare gov. website.   The requirement for employers  and insurance plans covering birth control have  been limited. Coverage for pre-existing conditions is now in jeopardy. Trump has now announced subsidies to assist lower-income people to buy insurance will STOP IMMEDIATELY. 
       More rape and pillage.  Have these Republicans no compassion, self respect, shame ? Americans are struggling for survival.
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TAX REFORM BENEFITTING WEALTHY AS WELL AS TRUMP ?  Depends on who you ask. Trump says  he wont’ benefit  – Add that to his 1,000 lies that have been documented since his inauguration.  Everything I read indicates the little guy gets screwed.  But isn’t it the little guy/girl who is responsible for his election to the Presidency.  Tough break guys, and girls – next time leave your confirmation bias at the door and vote your interest !
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IS PRESIDENT TRUMP BROKE ? Bill Palmer, Palmerreport.com thinks so.  Why else would he hide his tax return ?
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TAX REFORM  – “Potholes and sinkholes”*
      Trump campaigned in  Missouri recently for  tax reform, including middle-class tax cuts,  and a simpler tax code. Few specifics are mentioned. The border-adjusted tax is off the table. The mortgage, charity and retirement deductions are safe. The big question is whether the tax cuts would be temporary or permanent. If th latter, the cuts may not increase the deficit.
      An August 4 – 9  Bloomberg poll of economists reveals 28 of 39 polled expect Congress to pass tax cut legislation by November 2018. Unfortunately this action is not expected to add more than  0.2 percentage points to the GDP, and that growth is forecast  to only slightly exceed  that this year’s 2.1 percent, this forecast coming from 71 economists.  Worse yet, 2019 is projected to fall back to the 2 percent level. Referring to a corporate tax rate for developed nations of 24%, Trump says…”We have no choice….we must lower our taxes.
       Facts from mic.com: In 2016 the Government Accounting Office (GAO) found at least two-thirds of U.S. corporations did not pay federal income tax between 2006 and 2012.  One-fifth of America’s largest profitable corporations didn’t pay any income tax in 2012.
      Another study released earlier this year found the effective tax rate for consistently profitable Fortune 500 companies is 21.2%
      All told, U.S. corporations pay slightly less  in overall taxes than companies  in comparable countries.
      This begs the question of how much impact would  corporate tax cuts have on the S&P 500.       
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Trump, Bannon Gone By 2019  (Investor’s first read:  3/21/2017)
      Right winger and Breitbart grad, Sebastian Gorka is now gone,  Gorka’s  exit closely follows the departure of Steve Bannon, another  Breitfart grad,  hopefully leading to the firing  of Stephen Miller, a brash, caustic right wing extremist and Breitbart supporter  cuddler. 

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ALT-RIGHT (Investor’s first read Jan. 27, 2017)       

     The Alt-Right has been associated with nationalism, racism, xenophobia, which may well be true for some of its followers, but basically they are  well to the right of  neocons, and America does not want to go there, it isn’t who most of us are. 

        Some will call the current trend in our government fascist or totalitarianism, autocracy, even corporatocracy, kratocracy, or plutocracy, however, I see it simply as a rush to secure total control through rigging voting districts (gerrymandering) and voter suppression, repeatedly disseminating lies and misinformation often enough so people accept it as the truth, the manipulation of people’s priorities and simply taking advantage of their lack of information and inability to understand what is best for them. 

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WAR – North Korea
      Sen. Lindsey Graham says a U.S. military strike of N. Korea is possible,* that we cannot allow “this madman [Kim Jong-un] to have a missile to hit America.” His Tuesday, Aug 1, interview on the Today Show, follows N. Korea’s ICBM test days ago. Graham also said the Chinese  can stop such an attack. While such a war would take place on North Korean soil, South Korea  would incur huge casualties from N. Korean artillery.
OBSERVATION: Since January, I have warned Trump would put the U.S. on a war footing (see below) for political reasons, namely the mid-terms. Now I am convinced it is front burner because the Meuller investigations are  closing in.  
      Nuclear deterrence has been effective since the 1950s, for the obvious reasons.  The countries with the largest nuclear arsenals  and estimated warheads include United States (7,500), Russia (7,200), France (300), China (250), UK (215), Pakistan (110), India (100),Israel (80).
       The uncertainty of war would JOLT the market, especially if it disrupted  trade alliances. Reportedly, it would only take 33 minutes for a ballistic missile to reach the U.S.. If detonated high over the center of the U.S., it would cause an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) which would shut down “everything”  A-to-Z indefinitely.
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TRUMP – EARLY STAGE DEMENTIA ?  
Don’t know. Clearly he has personality disorder (Narcissism), but the question is being asked more and more with references to speech, use of words, disorientation, irritability, memory loss, late night tweets, confusion, paranoia.

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TRUMP looking for a “Get Out Of Jail Free Card if the Feds close in?”
    Why not, he dodged military service with 5 deferments  during the Vietnam era (1964 – 1970).
     Reportedly, he has asked advisers about his power to pardon family members and himself  relating to Mueller’s investigation.
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W HAT HAPPENS WHEN THE INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETED ? If the Special Counselor  concludes it is “necessary and appropriate” he is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising out of the investigation, which he does after submitting a report to the attorney general explaining his reasons.

REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER:  Misconduct,  dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, good cause (??), violation of Department policies.
WOULD MUELLER BE REPLACED ? Unclear. If the Democrats controlled Congress they could appoint another Special Counselor
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  “Connect the Dots.” This investigation is open-ended
       Nigel Farage – President Trump- Jeffrey Sessions – Robert Mercer – Cambridge Analytics – Bannon- Carter Page – Kushner (Jared and Ivanka) – Eric Prince – Donald, Jr.  and Eric Trump – Wilbur Ross –  Michael Cohen – Ezra Cohen Watnick – Michael Flynn – JD Gordon  –  Christopher Steele – Michael Caputo -Breitbart News – Roger Stone – Julian Assange – Paul Manafort – Rick Gates – Jill Stein – Sam Clovis –  Kellyanne and George Conway –Dana Rohrabacher – Bill Browder – Peter W. Smith (deceased: suicide), Paul Behrends – Boris Epshteyn, Ike Kaveladze, and  Russia’s alfa Group – Felix Sater – Rob Goldstone – alfa Group – Emin Agalarov – Sergey Gorkov –  Sergey Kislyak, ambassador to the U.S., Natalia Veselnitskaya, Oleg Deripaska all connect directly or indirectly to the Trump/Russia investigation and some have a connection to Brexit, as well.
      According to the “Observer,” Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica was connected with Canada’s AggregateIQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked together on the Brexit referendum. Aggregate is also a data mining company. While Mercer was a big supporter of Trump, there is no known connection between AggregateIQ and Trump’s campaign staff.

       The Palmer Report.com  recently reported that Peter W. Smith (recent suicide) sought to collude with Russian hackers stealing emails from Trump’s opposition while claiming to be working with Michael Flynn.

       Additionally, IMHO, Vice President Mike Pence simply had to be aware of what was happening in the campaign, but is being shielded because he is the second in command if  President Trump is impeached and convicted  or forced to resign. Stephen Miller, Joseph E. Schmitz may be of interest to the FBI for information they possess relating to the FBI investigation.
      According to CNN Politics,  Marc Kasowitz  represented Trump for personal and business matters for years. Worth noting, Kasowitz is defending Russian bank, OJSC Sberbank in U.S. court, as well as a Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties with the Kremlin.
       As of July 21, Kasowitz’s is no longer Trump’s personal attorney   
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ROSENSTEIN and MUELLER OUT ?      Who Takes Over ?
       Will President Trump  fire special counsel Robert Mueller to impede criminal charges against his son Donald Jr. and stall the investigation of him and his team ?
       As I understand it, he would first have to fire  Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General –
      
Obviously,  firing Mueller would smack of  “consciousness of guilt,” and could lead to impeachment proceedings by the House, and/or increase pressure for Trump to resign..

      With Rosenstein out of the way,  associate attorney general, Rachel Brand, would take over.  If she resigns, or is fired, Dana Boente, U.S. attorney general for the Eastern District of Virginia would take over. (Udate 10/29/17) Boente  plans to leave give up position, which handles high-profile national security, espionage and leak cases and upon confirmation  be replaced by Boeing attorney John Demers !)
       I believe this scandal reaches far beyond collusion with Russia to get Trump elected.
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     REMOVING TRUMP FROM  OFFICE

Can Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, U.S. Constitution – Remove Trump ?
      It’s a stretch. 
The key for his removal is ”that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”  Section 4 mentions nothing  that he is unfit, delusional, unbalanced, crazy,  impulsive, irrational, impaired, sociopathic, psychopathic, narcissistic.
      That would be the threshold that would have to be crossed if Trump is removed from office via Section 4 of the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. There is no precedent

      It isn’t just Democrats, liberals, moderates and reasonable people who find Trump caustic, and dangerous, conservatives like George Will, David Brooks and Ross Douthart are also urging his removal.
      First, there are four ways to get rid of Trump – death, resignation, impeachment and Section 4 of the 25th Amendment.
      The procedure employing the 25th Amendment requires the Vice President and the majority of the cabinet of 15 (8) to vote to remove the president. They would submit their declaration in writing to the President pro tempore ( Sen. Orrin Hatch) and Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan) that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and the Vice President will immediately assume to office as acting president.
      However, the president may contend the move by submitting his own letter to the President pro tempore and Speaker of the House, that he believes he is capable of performing his duties, in which case he will resume the office of presidency.
       The Vice President and Cabinet members may then resubmit their declaration at which point Congress would vote within 48 hours if in session. If not, Congress  will act within 21 days where a two-thirds vote would be required to remove  him.  
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IMPEACHMENT
      A  Consult/Politico poll shows 43% of Americans want Congress to begin procedures for the impeachment of President Trump.

      The U.S. Constitution  enables Congress to remove a president for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Intitially, the House votes on one or more articles of impeachment- if a majority vote is reached, he is impeached.  BUT, impeachment only means indictment. The Senate holds a trial overseen by the chief justice and Supreme Court. A group of House members serve as prosecutors and the Senate as jurors. If two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed from office and the vice president takes over.

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Note: Source of weekly economic calendar and good recap of indicators: mam.econoday.com.

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*Stock Trader’s Almanac
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George Brooks
Investor’s first read
A Game-On Analysis, LLC publication
Brooks007read@aol.com
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Investor’s first read, is a Game-On Analysis, LLC publication for which George Brooks is sole owner, manager and writer.  Neither Game-On Analysis, LLC, nor George  Brooks  is  registered as an investment advisor.  Ideas expressed herein are the opinions of the writer, are for informational purposes, and are not to serve as the sole basis for any investment decision. References to specific securities should not be construed  as particularized or as investment advice as recommendations that you or any investors purchase or sell these securities on their own account. Readers are expected to assume full responsibility for conducting their own research pursuant to investment in keeping with their tolerance for risk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tax Cuts Face Opposition

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 23,400
S&P 500:2,560
Nasdaq  Comp.:6,556
Russell 2000:1,497
Friday,  Oct. 27, 2017   8:39 a.m.
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Narrow passage of the House budget resolution yesterday paves the way for the House to pass a tax reform bill before Thanksgiving, according to House Speaker, Paul Ryan.  From there it goes to the Senate which will chew on it throughout the holiday season, hoping to send a bill to President Trump before year-end.
     Not so fast.  The budget resolution barely passed yesterday with 20 Republicans, mostly from New York and New Jersey, voting ‘no.’
     Both states have high state and local taxes (SALT) and to-date, the bill eliminates those taxes as a deduction from federal income taxes.  Since a high number of middle class earners rely on SALT as a deduction, the bill, as structured today, will comprise an increase in taxes. No legislator wants to go back to their district and face their constituents if SALT is taken away from them.

      Another problem Republicans face is tax cuts will reduce federal government revenues, thus increasing  the  National Debt.  This will upset the deficit hawks, if they have any backbone. Congress will need to increase revenues from other sources, as well as slash federal government outlays for social services in the future.
      With two key elements at odds, passage of a tax bill this year is in question.

      Former budget director under President Reagan when tax reform was last performed, David Stockman, is not even sure a tax bill will get passed at all.
      Obviously, the SALT issue will have to be resolved, New York and New Jersey are not the only states with a SALT problem, California in particular is one also.
      Republicans justify the risk of increasing the National Debt, but saying resulting economic growth will offset the shortfall in federal government revenues caused  by tax cuts. The tax bill to date would lower the corporate tax rate to 20% from 38.9% and personal income taxes to 35% from 39.6%.
     The Tax Policy Center estimates the federal debt would increase by 2.4 trillion in ten years.
      So far, little is known what the bill will look like before debate begins . Even the conservative American Enterprise Institute doubts tax cuts would be revenue neutral, Its budget expert, Alan Viard  thinks few economists would agree that the loss of federal revenues  would  be offset by economic growth.
       The Street keeps buying in hopes of a safe landing for a massive stimulus. I think this is a very dangerous market.
       Q3 earnings are in high gear, some impacting the market averages, some not. It can be a treacherous time, since the Street tends to punish any company which reports earnings that don’t “beat” projections by a lot, worse yet fall short. Pleasant surprises are rewarded.
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SUPPORT “today
”: DJIA:23,341; S&P 500:2,555; Nasdaq Comp.:6,531
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:23,449; S&P 500:2,565;Nasdaq Comp.:6,569

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CORPORATE EARNINGS (updated October 20, 2017)  – Factset.com
      Q3 earnings growth is projected at +1.7 % down from +2.1% last week and  +3.0% Sept 30 and +7.5% on Mar. 31. Q4 earnings are projected to grow +11.4%. For 2017 as a whole growth is projected at a plus 9.2%.  Currently, the P/E on   earnings is 17.9 x forward earnings. That compares with a 10-year average P/E of 14.1.
Note: These numbers change frequently. Factset.com is well worth a visit, it breaks its projections down by industry.
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 POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
I received this alert Tuesday from Marc T. Liu urging his readers not to be distracted from Trump’s charades. My takeaway here is while the nation watches the buffoonery in the Oval Office, the rape and pillage is underway in Congress.
1. HR 861 to Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency (Like to breathe? This one is not for you.)

2. HR 610 – Vouchers for Public Education (which may end free public education as we know it)

3. HR 899 to Terminate the Department of Education (which may lead to greater disparity between states but nobody who uses public education ever moves so it's all good)

4. HR 69 to Repeal the Rule Protecting Wildlife (nobody likes nature anyway, right?)

5. HR 370 to Repeal the Affordable Care Act (didn't we already try this umpteen times?)

6. HR 354 to De-fund Planned Parenthood (because exactly none of your tax dollars go toward abortion services)

7. HR 785 – National "Right to Work" (this one is actually a 'Right to fire you whenever your boss feels like it" law, and it would effectively end unions)

8. HR 83 – Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Bill (California should just secede now and take all its money)

9. HR 147 to Criminalize Abortion (“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”) (because these private decisions should be made by your legislator and employer)

10. HR 808 to Impose Sanctions Against Iran (even though they are in compliance with the agreement according to those in the know)”
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THE GREAT AMERICAN EXPERIMENT UNDER SEIGE:  Not since the Civil War has the spirit and future of our nation been at such great risk, from within.  This  administration, Congress and U.S. Supreme Court is surgically dismembering  efforts over many years to ensure the safety  and well being of “all” Americans.
     The sooner, Americans recognize these are not genuine Republican conservatives, but extremists determined dismantle that which has been achieved over the years and replace it with “their” brand  of a  quasi-fascist state.  Ben Franklin was right when asked what kind of government  the Founding Fathers had given us.  “A Republic, if you can keep it,” was his response.
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STUMP TRUMP: Bill Palmer, Palmer report.com. has a novel idea how Jeff Flake, Bob Corker and John McCain can prevent President Trump and destructive Congress from dismembering our Republic further. All three change registrations to Independent and caucus with the Democrats giving it a 51 – 49 majority. This would bump Mitch McConnell out of Majority Leader and replace the position with Chuck Schumer.
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House Republicans now investigating FBI’s and DOJ’s 2016 handling of Clinton’s private email server. Really ? 
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MY FEAR:  Based on what I am seeing in Trump’s bizarre, dangerous, un-American behavior, a ditto-head, spineless  Republican Congress, and public too busy to be bothered,  I am afraid our country will have to hit bottom before our Republic can be resuscitated.  Nothing good can come from relentless lies, racism, and efforts to gut checks and balances and dismantle all the progress achieved over the years.  Looks like anarchy and ultimately a quasi-fascist government several years from now including civil unrest. This is the opportunity the extremist right has been waiting for, and they are wasting no time taking us down a dark road.
A DAFT TWERP:  Just in from Veuer  – President Trump is a ‘daft twerp’ according to Winston Churchill’s grandson, a conservative member of Parliament. The Brits consider a “twerp” as a silly, insignificant or annoying person, and “daft” as   foolish. Let’s see if the bust of Winston in Trump’s office goes the way of so many of his original administration.
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OBAMACARE   RESCUE DEAD ! Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democrat Senator Patty Murray announced a bipartisan breakthrough to shore up ACA that would revive federal subsidies for health insurers. 
      President Trump was supportive Tuesday, then turned negative Wednesday, referring to cost-sharing reduction payments (CSR) as “bailouts” for insurers.
     The attempt by the senators to stabilize ACA has also attracted the wrath of conservative Congressmen.  House speaker, Paul Ryan, does not plan to bring the bill to the floor, conservative groups, Freedom Works, Heritage Action and Club for Growth oppose it.

      How can anyone with ACA coverage know where they stand,  how can insurance companies make a decision on premiums ?
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1,318 FALSE or MISLEADING CLAIMS (LIES) by President Trump since being sworn in as President, January 20, 263 days ago. The tally is kept by the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, which breaks all lies down into 24 categories. Please, someone wake me up, tell me this is not happening….and reassure me Americans aren’t in denial.
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ADD ANOTHER LIE TO THE 1,318 referred to above.  Yesterday, Trump touted tax cuts for the middle class in Pennsylvania, saying the typical American household would get a $4,000 pay raise, and “it could be a lot more than that.”  Not mentioned is the savings would be over an eight year period, $500 a year.
     The Tax Policy Center (TPC) claims tax reform as we know it today heavily favors the rich, boosting after-tax income for the top 1% by 8.5% on average, while the bottom 95% would get a boost of 1.2%
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WRECK NAFTA ?  Bloomberg’s “The Editors” seems to think so, pointing to the disruption of long-established supply chains that would raise costs, and increase US imports.  “The evidence is clear, Nafta has helped all its members, including the U.S., achieve greater efficiency and higher living standards,” Bloomberg notes, adding undermining it or causing its collapse would  cause enormous disruption for businesses and labor pools in all three  countries.
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HOW MANY HURRICANES does it take to convince Republicans our climate is changing for the worse ?  If you guessed 4, you were wrong.  Try 40.  Monday EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the U.S. withdrawal from the President Obama’s clean power plan.  In another giant step backward, clearly not for the benefit of mankind, Pruitt wants incentives for the wind industry removed, saying he would “let them stand on their own and compete against coal natural gas and other sources.”    Hope I wake up from this bad dream – soon.
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TRUMP WANTS ANYONE WHO DOESN’T STAND FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM TO BE “FIRED”   ?
Personally, I would find another way of expressing my 1st Amendment opinion, like here in this blog, but I think not standing for the National Anthem IS NOWHERE NEARLY AS UN-AMERICAN AS TAKING  5 (five) DEFERRMENTS TO AVOID MILITARY SERVICE, WHICH IS WHAT TRUMP DID DURING THE VIETNAM WAR ERA.  Deplorable !
      Senator John McCain,
a war here, indirectly criticized Trump later Oct. 23rd,  referring to people who found a doctor who would ‘find” a bone spur leading to deferment from military service.
      Other un-American activities Trump champions are using the Presidency to divide and polarize  Americans against Americans, to foment racial and gender prejudice, to endorse violence, and to destabilize a world that is struggling to peacefully cope with a host of issues, none the least of which is more WAR !
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Republicans, in lockstep with the nation’s most powerful lobby, the NRA, are prepared to vote on the bill to take gun silencers off the list of prohibited items.  The Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE) would vastly reduce procedures needed to purchase devices that when attached to a hand gun would reduce the noise to a spfft.
       What’s next on the Republican agenda – legalized murder ?
       The Republican party will take a pass on any legislation to outlaw “bump stocks,” the device used to convert a semi-automatic assault rifle to an illegal fully automatic, enabling the Las Vegas gunman to max his murder of  persons attending the Harvest Festival.  Bump stock sales have exploded, prices doubled.  
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 AMERICANS ARE TOO SCARED to have the courage to do the right thing.   If not outwardly scared, Americans are subconsciously scared. Its origin is difficult to pinpoint, but I’d say the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970’s was a start. That’s when confidence in our government began to crumble as protests against the War escalated. The horrors of war were brought into every living room, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the street.  Families were divided by “for” and “against” the war.  “Like it, or leave it” was the pro-war patriot mantra.
     President Nixon’s Watergate woes and resignation ahead of impeachment proceedings loped off a little more trust in politicians. This, combined with the OPEC oil embargo resulted in a 16-month recession and 50% drop in the S&P 500. 
     Probably, the biggest jolt came on September 11, 2001 with the terrorist attack on the New York City Trade Towers and the Pentagon.  Lies about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction got us into the Iraq War, another discredit for authority in our nation’s highest office. 
      The Great Recession (2007 – 2009) and stock market’s 50% crash was yet another jolt from which many never recovered.  Now you have President Trump, an unpredictable narcissist with 1,000 lies in eight months to his credit. Oh, and the legitimacy of his presidency challenged by investigations of collusion with Russia to bombard American voters with fake news about rival candidate Hillary Clinton and who knows what in key electoral college states Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
       White Americans are seeing too many people of color on TV, in sports, in schools in their neighborhoods, in their police force, military.  It’s fine if a black man scores a touchdown for their alma mater, just don’t run for office or beat out their child in school activities, or them for a job.
        Get used to it Republican bigot, you can deport a whole bunch of people of color, gerrymander their vote, disrespect them, but they are hungry for achievement and want to eat your lunch, like it or not.  Bigotry is un-American, and if you know what Christianity is really about bigotry is un-Christian.  

       SMALL WONDER AMERICANS FEEL THE NEED FOR AN ARSENAL IN THEIR HOME, FOR THE RIGHT TO “CARRY” A PIECE EVERYWHERE, INCLUDING BARS, EATERIES, PLAYGROUNDS, PARKS.   Americans are so scared, even sensible measures designed to make people safer are rejected.
       If the wanton murder of 20 six-year olds in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut didn’t spark an outrage, nothing will. Some whackos claim it didn’t happen, not to my surprise, some believed them.
       This was a defining incident in America.  Americans too freaking scared and intimidated by the NRA to be upset by the son of a gun-nut murdering  children. Shame !  The NRA exploited the situation for their own benefit, as Americans watched. Again, SHAME !
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According to THE HILL, Trump will shortly announce he will decertify the Iran Nuclear  agreement, offloading a final decision to Congress.
      The agreement, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed by the U.S., China, France, Germany and Russia in mid-2015 and implemented in January 2016. The deal was not an official treaty, so Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Review Act (INRA) to allow Congress to vote on JCPOA which it did by an overwhelming margin. It requires the President to “certify” the deal as long as Iran is in compliance.  Until now, that has been done, even by Trump. But he needs to reassure his “base,” whoever they are. I am not sure how many people voted for him would do so again.
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WOULD ANYONE WANT their spouse to lie repeatedly ?, their child ?, mother ?, father ?, minister ?, child’s teacher ?,  coach ?, employer ?.  IF NOT, why would they support President Trump who is on record with telling4.5 lies per day, 1,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?
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CRIMINAL CHARGES: The Palmer report.com reports on a Sept. 27 MSNBC Brian Williams interview with George W. Bush, former Asst. Atty. General, Jimmy Gurule, who lists criminal charges he expects will be levied on Trump team members, without mentioning names. Included are obstruction of justice, violations of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, violations of Federal Campaign Act, IRS tax laws, and possibly money laundering. Only Congress can put President Trump on trial, but Muller can ask a grand jury to name Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator, which is what happened to President Nixon in the Watergate scandal.
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      HUGE MISTAKE ! In my opinion the Trump presidency is a HUGE mistake, and when you make huge mistakes, you pay a huge price. It’s coming and it isn’t going to be pretty.
      In time, I believe we will learn that the Trump team either colluded or enabled Russia’s meddling with our election. Ballot boxes are not fool proof, either.
       Evidence is mounting to indicate the biggest political/business scandal ever will become news, with a lot of Trump people taking a big hit.
       Expect Trump to attempt to pardon anyone he wants, including himself. It’s a way out of facing responsibility very much like dodging the draft. Like when he justified his numerous bankruptcies, saying he only used U.S. laws to his advantage.  Well, “pardons” are his prerogative, in many, not all cases. He would take advantage of whatever loophole to avoid consequences, sort of like dodging the draft, or did I already say that ?
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       TRUMP TO SABATAGE ACA:  Unable to pass a repeal and replace bill measures to destroy health coverage for millions of Americans have already been taken. THE HILL lists a few. Funding for advertising and outreach has been slashed 90%.The enrollment period has been cut in half. The administration plans to take down the Healthcare gov. website.   The requirement for employers  and insurance plans covering birth control have  been limited. Coverage for pre-existing conditions is now in jeopardy. Trump has now announced subsidies to assist lower-income people to buy insurance will STOP IMMEDIATELY. 
       More rape and pillage.  Have these Republicans no compassion, self respect, shame ? Americans are struggling for survival.
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TAX REFORM BENEFITTING WEALTHY AS WELL AS TRUMP ?  Depends on who you ask. Trump says  he wont’ benefit  – Add that to his 1,000 lies that have been documented since his inauguration.  Everything I read indicates the little guy gets screwed.  But isn’t it the little guy/girl who is responsible for his election to the Presidency.  Tough break guys, and girls – next time leave your confirmation bias at the door and vote your interest !
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IS PRESIDENT TRUMP BROKE ? Bill Palmer, Palmerreport.com thinks so.  Why else would he hide his tax return ?
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TAX REFORM  – “Potholes and sinkholes”*
      Trump campaigned in  Missouri recently for  tax reform, including middle-class tax cuts,  and a simpler tax code. Few specifics are mentioned. The border-adjusted tax is off the table. The mortgage, charity and retirement deductions are safe. The big question is whether the tax cuts would be temporary or permanent. If th latter, the cuts may not increase the deficit.
      An August 4 – 9  Bloomberg poll of economists reveals 28 of 39 polled expect Congress to pass tax cut legislation by November 2018. Unfortunately this action is not expected to add more than  0.2 percentage points to the GDP, and that growth is forecast  to only slightly exceed  that this year’s 2.1 percent, this forecast coming from 71 economists.  Worse yet, 2019 is projected to fall back to the 2 percent level. Referring to a corporate tax rate for developed nations of 24%, Trump says…”We have no choice….we must lower our taxes.
       Facts from mic.com: In 2016 the Government Accounting Office (GAO) found at least two-thirds of U.S. corporations did not pay federal income tax between 2006 and 2012.  One-fifth of America’s largest profitable corporations didn’t pay any income tax in 2012.
      Another study released earlier this year found the effective tax rate for consistently profitable Fortune 500 companies is 21.2%
      All told, U.S. corporations pay slightly less  in overall taxes than companies  in comparable countries.
      This begs the question of how much impact would  corporate tax cuts have on the S&P 500.       
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Trump, Bannon Gone By 2019  (Investor’s first read:  3/21/2017)
      Right winger and Breitbart grad, Sebastian Gorka is now gone,  Gorka’s  exit closely follows the departure of Steve Bannon, another  Breitfart grad,  hopefully leading to the firing  of Stephen Miller, a brash, caustic right wing extremist and Breitbart supporter  cuddler. 

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ALT-RIGHT (Investor’s first read Jan. 27, 2017)       

     The Alt-Right has been associated with nationalism, racism, xenophobia, which may well be true for some of its followers, but basically they are  well to the right of  neocons, and America does not want to go there, it isn’t who most of us are. 

        Some will call the current trend in our government fascist or totalitarianism, autocracy, even corporatocracy, kratocracy, or plutocracy, however, I see it simply as a rush to secure total control through rigging voting districts (gerrymandering) and voter suppression, repeatedly disseminating lies and misinformation often enough so people accept it as the truth, the manipulation of people’s priorities and simply taking advantage of their lack of information and inability to understand what is best for them. 

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WAR – North Korea
      Sen. Lindsey Graham says a U.S. military strike of N. Korea is possible,* that we cannot allow “this madman [Kim Jong-un] to have a missile to hit America.” His Tuesday, Aug 1, interview on the Today Show, follows N. Korea’s ICBM test days ago. Graham also said the Chinese  can stop such an attack. While such a war would take place on North Korean soil, South Korea  would incur huge casualties from N. Korean artillery.
OBSERVATION: Since January, I have warned Trump would put the U.S. on a war footing (see below) for political reasons, namely the mid-terms. Now I am convinced it is front burner because the Meuller investigations are  closing in.  
      Nuclear deterrence has been effective since the 1950s, for the obvious reasons.  The countries with the largest nuclear arsenals  and estimated warheads include United States (7,500), Russia (7,200), France (300), China (250), UK (215), Pakistan (110), India (100),Israel (80).
       The uncertainty of war would JOLT the market, especially if it disrupted  trade alliances. Reportedly, it would only take 33 minutes for a ballistic missile to reach the U.S.. If detonated high over the center of the U.S., it would cause an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) which would shut down “everything”  A-to-Z indefinitely.
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TRUMP – EARLY STAGE DEMENTIA ?  
Don’t know. Clearly he has personality disorder (Narcissism), but the question is being asked more and more with references to speech, use of words, disorientation, irritability, memory loss, late night tweets, confusion, paranoia.

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TRUMP looking for a “Get Out Of Jail Free Card if the Feds close in?”
    Why not, he dodged military service with 5 deferments  during the Vietnam era (1964 – 1970).
     Reportedly, he has asked advisers about his power to pardon family members and himself  relating to Mueller’s investigation.
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W HAT HAPPENS WHEN THE INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETED ? If the Special Counselor  concludes it is “necessary and appropriate” he is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising out of the investigation, which he does after submitting a report to the attorney general explaining his reasons.

REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER:  Misconduct,  dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, good cause (??), violation of Department policies.
WOULD MUELLER BE REPLACED ? Unclear. If the Democrats controlled Congress they could appoint another Special Counselor
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  “Connect the Dots.” This investigation is open-ended
       Nigel Farage – President Trump- Jeffrey Sessions – Robert Mercer – Cambridge Analytics – Bannon- Carter Page – Kushner (Jared and Ivanka) – Eric Prince – Donald, Jr.  and Eric Trump – Wilbur Ross –  Michael Cohen – Ezra Cohen Watnick – Michael Flynn – JD Gordon  –  Christopher Steele – Michael Caputo -Breitbart News – Roger Stone – Julian Assange – Paul Manafort – Rick Gates – Jill Stein – Sam Clovis –  Kellyanne and George Conway –Dana Rohrabacher – Bill Browder – Peter W. Smith (deceased: suicide), Paul Behrends – Boris Epshteyn, Ike Kaveladze, and  Russia’s alfa Group – Felix Sater – Rob Goldstone – alfa Group – Emin Agalarov – Sergey Gorkov –  Sergey Kislyak, ambassador to the U.S., Natalia Veselnitskaya, Oleg Deripaska all connect directly or indirectly to the Trump/Russia investigation and some have a connection to Brexit, as well.
      According to the “Observer,” Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica was connected with Canada’s AggregateIQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked together on the Brexit referendum. Aggregate is also a data mining company. While Mercer was a big supporter of Trump, there is no known connection between AggregateIQ and Trump’s campaign staff.

       The Palmer Report.com  recently reported that Peter W. Smith (recent suicide) sought to collude with Russian hackers stealing emails from Trump’s opposition while claiming to be working with Michael Flynn.

       Additionally, IMHO, Vice President Mike Pence simply had to be aware of what was happening in the campaign, but is being shielded because he is the second in command if  President Trump is impeached and convicted  or forced to resign. Stephen Miller, Joseph E. Schmitz may be of interest to the FBI for information they possess relating to the FBI investigation.
      According to CNN Politics,  Marc Kasowitz  represented Trump for personal and business matters for years. Worth noting, Kasowitz is defending Russian bank, OJSC Sberbank in U.S. court, as well as a Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties with the Kremlin.
       As of July 21, Kasowitz’s is no longer Trump’s personal attorney   
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ROSENSTEIN and MUELLER OUT ?      Who Takes Over ?
       Will President Trump  fire special counsel Robert Mueller to impede criminal charges against his son Donald Jr. and stall the investigation of him and his team ?
       As I understand it, he would first have to fire  Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General –
      
Obviously,  firing Mueller would smack of  “consciousness of guilt,” and could lead to impeachment proceedings by the House, and/or increase pressure for Trump to resign..

      With Rosenstein out of the way,  associate attorney general, Rachel Brand, would take over.  If she resigns, or is fired, Dana Boente, U.S. attorney general for the Eastern District of Virginia would take over.
       I believe this scandal reaches far beyond collusion with Russia to get Trump elected.
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     REMOVING TRUMP FROM  OFFICE

Can Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, U.S. Constitution – Remove Trump ?
      It’s a stretch. 
The key for his removal is ”that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”  Section 4 mentions nothing  that he is unfit, delusional, unbalanced, crazy,  impulsive, irrational, impaired, sociopathic, psychopathic, narcissistic.
      That would be the threshold that would have to be crossed if Trump is removed from office via Section 4 of the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. There is no precedent

      It isn’t just Democrats, liberals, moderates and reasonable people who find Trump caustic, and dangerous, conservatives like George Will, David Brooks and Ross Douthart are also urging his removal.
      First, there are four ways to get rid of Trump – death, resignation, impeachment and Section 4 of the 25th Amendment.
      The procedure employing the 25th Amendment requires the Vice President and the majority of the cabinet of 15 (8) to vote to remove the president. They would submit their declaration in writing to the President pro tempore ( Sen. Orrin Hatch) and Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan) that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and the Vice President will immediately assume to office as acting president.
      However, the president may contend the move by submitting his own letter to the President pro tempore and Speaker of the House, that he believes he is capable of performing his duties, in which case he will resume the office of presidency.
       The Vice President and Cabinet members may then resubmit their declaration at which point Congress would vote within 48 hours if in session. If not, Congress  will act within 21 days where a two-thirds vote would be required to remove  him.  
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IMPEACHMENT
      A  Consult/Politico poll shows 43% of Americans want Congress to begin procedures for the impeachment of President Trump.

      The U.S. Constitution  enables Congress to remove a president for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Intitially, the House votes on one or more articles of impeachment- if a majority vote is reached, he is impeached.  BUT, impeachment only means indictment. The Senate holds a trial overseen by the chief justice and Supreme Court. A group of House members serve as prosecutors and the Senate as jurors. If two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed from office and the vice president takes over.

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Note: Source of weekly economic calendar and good recap of indicators: mam.econoday.com.

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*Stock Trader’s Almanac
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George Brooks
Investor’s first read
A Game-On Analysis, LLC publication
Brooks007read@aol.com
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Investor’s first read, is a Game-On Analysis, LLC publication for which George Brooks is sole owner, manager and writer.  Neither Game-On Analysis, LLC, nor George  Brooks  is  registered as an investment advisor.  Ideas expressed herein are the opinions of the writer, are for informational purposes, and are not to serve as the sole basis for any investment decision. References to specific securities should not be construed  as particularized or as investment advice as recommendations that you or any investors purchase or sell these securities on their own account. Readers are expected to assume full responsibility for conducting their own research pursuant to investment in keeping with their tolerance for risk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still October

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 23,329
S&P 500:2,557
Nasdaq  Comp.:6,563
Russell 2000: 1,443
Thursday,  Oct. 26, 2017   8:39 a.m.
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     Q3 earnings
are in high gear, some impacting the market averages, some not.
     Democrats and Republicans have been  trading punches over who did what during last year’s  campaign, the Dems bobbing and weaving over who paid for the dossier, the Republicans over attempts to acquire wikiLeaks’ dirt on Clinton.
This is all pre-fight banter,  what matters is what the Mueller investigation uncovers.
      It does not appear any of this affects the Street’s focus on the market, UNLESS it deprives corporations and high earners of a tax cut. 
      If the split in the Republican Party widens, it will develop because Republicans begin to fear support for Trump is more  injurious  than loyalty.  This is what Trump and party leaders fear the most, AND this is what terrifies the Street, since some 15% of the markets’ rise in the past year is hope for tax cuts.
      
The Street can pretend it doesn’t care what happens in D.C., don’t believe that. They have been so cocksure that they would get the massive stimulus, because the Republicans control the Presidency, both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court and Fox News that nothing could go wrong.
        The budget resolution will pass today, tax reform may pass before year-end, then again it may never pass.
         Early morning trading yesterday raised concern a major correction was beginning, but stocks stabilized and will open on the upside.
         It’s still October when bad things can happen.
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SUPPORT “today
”: DJIA:23,280 ; S&P 500:2,551; Nasdaq Comp.:6,546
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:23,399; S&P 500:2,562;Nasdaq Comp.:6,576

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CORPORATE EARNINGS (updated October 20, 2017)  – Factset.com
      Q3 earnings growth is projected at +1.7 % down from +2.1% last week and  +3.0% Sept 30 and +7.5% on Mar. 31. Q4 earnings are projected to grow +11.4%. For 2017 as a whole growth is projected at a plus 9.2%.  Currently, the P/E on   earnings is 17.9 x forward earnings. That compares with a 10-year average P/E of 14.1.
Note: These numbers change frequently. Factset.com is well worth a visit, it breaks its projections down by industry.
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 POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
I received this alert Tuesday from Marc T. Liu urging his readers not to be distracted from Trump’s charades. My takeaway here is while the nation watches the buffoonery in the Oval Office, the rape and pillage is underway in Congress.
1. HR 861 to Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency (Like to breathe? This one is not for you.)

2. HR 610 – Vouchers for Public Education (which may end free public education as we know it)

3. HR 899 to Terminate the Department of Education (which may lead to greater disparity between states but nobody who uses public education ever moves so it's all good)

4. HR 69 to Repeal the Rule Protecting Wildlife (nobody likes nature anyway, right?)

5. HR 370 to Repeal the Affordable Care Act (didn't we already try this umpteen times?)

6. HR 354 to De-fund Planned Parenthood (because exactly none of your tax dollars go toward abortion services)

7. HR 785 – National "Right to Work" (this one is actually a 'Right to fire you whenever your boss feels like it" law, and it would effectively end unions)

8. HR 83 – Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Bill (California should just secede now and take all its money)

9. HR 147 to Criminalize Abortion (“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”) (because these private decisions should be made by your legislator and employer)

10. HR 808 to Impose Sanctions Against Iran (even though they are in compliance with the agreement according to those in the know)”
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THE GREAT AMERICAN EXPERIMENT UNDER SEIGE:  Not since the Civil War has the spirit and future of our nation been at such great risk, from within.  This  administration, Congress and U.S. Supreme Court is surgically dismembering  efforts over many years to ensure the safety  and well being of “all” Americans.
     The sooner, Americans recognize these are not genuine Republican conservatives, but extremists determined dismantle that which has been achieved over the years and replace it with “their” brand  of a  quasi-fascist state.  Ben Franklin was right when asked what kind of government  the Founding Fathers had given us.  “A Republic, if you can keep it,” was his response.
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STUMP TRUMP: Bill Palmer, Palmer report.com. has a novel idea how Jeff Flake, Bob Corker and John McCain can prevent President Trump and destructive Congress from dismembering our Republic further. All three change registrations to Independent and caucus with the Democrats giving it a 51 – 49 majority. This would bump Mitch McConnell out of Majority Leader and replace the position with Chuck Schumer.
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House Republicans now investigating FBI’s and DOJ’s 2016 handling of Clinton’s private email server. Really ? 
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MY FEAR:  Based on what I am seeing in Trump’s bizarre, dangerous, un-American behavior, a ditto-head, spineless  Republican Congress, and public too busy to be bothered,  I am afraid our country will have to hit bottom before our Republic can be resuscitated.  Nothing good can come from relentless lies, racism, and efforts to gut checks and balances and dismantle all the progress achieved over the years.  Looks like anarchy and ultimately a quasi-fascist government several years from now including civil unrest. This is the opportunity the extremist right has been waiting for, and they are wasting no time taking us down a dark road.
A DAFT TWERP:  Just in from Veuer  – President Trump is a ‘daft twerp’ according to Winston Churchill’s grandson, a conservative member of Parliament. The Brits consider a “twerp” as a silly, insignificant or annoying person, and “daft” as   foolish. Let’s see if the bust of Winston in Trump’s office goes the way of so many of his original administration.
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OBAMACARE   RESCUE DEAD ! Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democrat Senator Patty Murray announced a bipartisan breakthrough to shore up ACA that would revive federal subsidies for health insurers. 
      President Trump was supportive Tuesday, then turned negative Wednesday, referring to cost-sharing reduction payments (CSR) as “bailouts” for insurers.
     The attempt by the senators to stabilize ACA has also attracted the wrath of conservative Congressmen.  House speaker, Paul Ryan, does not plan to bring the bill to the floor, conservative groups, Freedom Works, Heritage Action and Club for Growth oppose it.

      How can anyone with ACA coverage know where they stand,  how can insurance companies make a decision on premiums ?
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1,318 FALSE or MISLEADING CLAIMS (LIES) by President Trump since being sworn in as President, January 20, 263 days ago. The tally is kept by the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, which breaks all lies down into 24 categories. Please, someone wake me up, tell me this is not happening….and reassure me Americans aren’t in denial.
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ADD ANOTHER LIE TO THE 1,318 referred to above.  Yesterday, Trump touted tax cuts for the middle class in Pennsylvania, saying the typical American household would get a $4,000 pay raise, and “it could be a lot more than that.”  Not mentioned is the savings would be over an eight year period, $500 a year.
     The Tax Policy Center (TPC) claims tax reform as we know it today heavily favors the rich, boosting after-tax income for the top 1% by 8.5% on average, while the bottom 95% would get a boost of 1.2%
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WRECK NAFTA ?  Bloomberg’s “The Editors” seems to think so, pointing to the disruption of long-established supply chains that would raise costs, and increase US imports.  “The evidence is clear, Nafta has helped all its members, including the U.S., achieve greater efficiency and higher living standards,” Bloomberg notes, adding undermining it or causing its collapse would  cause enormous disruption for businesses and labor pools in all three  countries.
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HOW MANY HURRICANES does it take to convince Republicans our climate is changing for the worse ?  If you guessed 4, you were wrong.  Try 40.  Monday EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the U.S. withdrawal from the President Obama’s clean power plan.  In another giant step backward, clearly not for the benefit of mankind, Pruitt wants incentives for the wind industry removed, saying he would “let them stand on their own and compete against coal natural gas and other sources.”    Hope I wake up from this bad dream – soon.
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TRUMP WANTS ANYONE WHO DOESN’T STAND FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM TO BE “FIRED”   ?
Personally, I would find another way of expressing my 1st Amendment opinion, like here in this blog, but I think not standing for the National Anthem IS NOWHERE NEARLY AS UN-AMERICAN AS TAKING  5 (five) DEFERRMENTS TO AVOID MILITARY SERVICE, WHICH IS WHAT TRUMP DID DURING THE VIETNAM WAR ERA.  Deplorable !
      Senator John McCain,
a war here, indirectly criticized Trump later Oct. 23rd,  referring to people who found a doctor who would ‘find” a bone spur leading to deferment from military service.
      Other un-American activities Trump champions are using the Presidency to divide and polarize  Americans against Americans, to foment racial and gender prejudice, to endorse violence, and to destabilize a world that is struggling to peacefully cope with a host of issues, none the least of which is more WAR !
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Republicans, in lockstep with the nation’s most powerful lobby, the NRA, are prepared to vote on the bill to take gun silencers off the list of prohibited items.  The Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE) would vastly reduce procedures needed to purchase devices that when attached to a hand gun would reduce the noise to a spfft.
       What’s next on the Republican agenda – legalized murder ?
       The Republican party will take a pass on any legislation to outlaw “bump stocks,” the device used to convert a semi-automatic assault rifle to an illegal fully automatic, enabling the Las Vegas gunman to max his murder of  persons attending the Harvest Festival.  Bump stock sales have exploded, prices doubled.  
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 AMERICANS ARE TOO SCARED to have the courage to do the right thing.   If not outwardly scared, Americans are subconsciously scared. Its origin is difficult to pinpoint, but I’d say the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970’s was a start. That’s when confidence in our government began to crumble as protests against the War escalated. The horrors of war were brought into every living room, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the street.  Families were divided by “for” and “against” the war.  “Like it, or leave it” was the pro-war patriot mantra.
     President Nixon’s Watergate woes and resignation ahead of impeachment proceedings loped off a little more trust in politicians. This, combined with the OPEC oil embargo resulted in a 16-month recession and 50% drop in the S&P 500. 
     Probably, the biggest jolt came on September 11, 2001 with the terrorist attack on the New York City Trade Towers and the Pentagon.  Lies about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction got us into the Iraq War, another discredit for authority in our nation’s highest office. 
      The Great Recession (2007 – 2009) and stock market’s 50% crash was yet another jolt from which many never recovered.  Now you have President Trump, an unpredictable narcissist with 1,000 lies in eight months to his credit. Oh, and the legitimacy of his presidency challenged by investigations of collusion with Russia to bombard American voters with fake news about rival candidate Hillary Clinton and who knows what in key electoral college states Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
       White Americans are seeing too many people of color on TV, in sports, in schools in their neighborhoods, in their police force, military.  It’s fine if a black man scores a touchdown for their alma mater, just don’t run for office or beat out their child in school activities, or them for a job.
        Get used to it Republican bigot, you can deport a whole bunch of people of color, gerrymander their vote, disrespect them, but they are hungry for achievement and want to eat your lunch, like it or not.  Bigotry is un-American, and if you know what Christianity is really about bigotry is un-Christian. 

       SMALL WONDER AMERICANS FEEL THE NEED FOR AN ARSENAL IN THEIR HOME, FOR THE RIGHT TO “CARRY” A PIECE EVERYWHERE, INCLUDING BARS, EATERIES, PLAYGROUNDS, PARKS.   Americans are so scared, even sensible measures designed to make people safer are rejected.
       If the wanton murder of 20 six-year olds in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut didn’t spark an outrage, nothing will. Some whackos claim it didn’t happen, not to my surprise, some believed them.
       This was a defining incident in America.  Americans too freaking scared and intimidated by the NRA to be upset by the son of a gun-nut murdering  children. Shame !  The NRA exploited the situation for their own benefit, as Americans watched. Again, SHAME !
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According to THE HILL, Trump will shortly announce he will decertify the Iran Nuclear  agreement, offloading a final decision to Congress.
      The agreement, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed by the U.S., China, France, Germany and Russia in mid-2015 and implemented in January 2016. The deal was not an official treaty, so Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Review Act (INRA) to allow Congress to vote on JCPOA which it did by an overwhelming margin. It requires the President to “certify” the deal as long as Iran is in compliance.  Until now, that has been done, even by Trump. But he needs to reassure his “base,” whoever they are. I am not sure how many people voted for him would do so again.
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WOULD ANYONE WANT their spouse to lie repeatedly ?, their child ?, mother ?, father ?, minister ?, child’s teacher ?,  coach ?, employer ?.  IF NOT, why would they support President Trump who is on record with telling4.5 lies per day, 1,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?
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CRIMINAL CHARGES: The Palmer report.com reports on a Sept. 27 MSNBC Brian Williams interview with George W. Bush, former Asst. Atty. General, Jimmy Gurule, who lists criminal charges he expects will be levied on Trump team members, without mentioning names. Included are obstruction of justice, violations of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, violations of Federal Campaign Act, IRS tax laws, and possibly money laundering. Only Congress can put President Trump on trial, but Muller can ask a grand jury to name Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator, which is what happened to President Nixon in the Watergate scandal.
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      HUGE MISTAKE ! In my opinion the Trump presidency is a HUGE mistake, and when you make huge mistakes, you pay a huge price. It’s coming and it isn’t going to be pretty.
      In time, I believe we will learn that the Trump team either colluded or enabled Russia’s meddling with our election. Ballot boxes are not fool proof, either.
       Evidence is mounting to indicate the biggest political/business scandal ever will become news, with a lot of Trump people taking a big hit.
       Expect Trump to attempt to pardon anyone he wants, including himself. It’s a way out of facing responsibility very much like dodging the draft. Like when he justified his numerous bankruptcies, saying he only used U.S. laws to his advantage.  Well, “pardons” are his prerogative, in many, not all cases. He would take advantage of whatever loophole to avoid consequences, sort of like dodging the draft, or did I already say that ?
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       TRUMP TO SABATAGE ACA:  Unable to pass a repeal and replace bill measures to destroy health coverage for millions of Americans have already been taken. THE HILL lists a few. Funding for advertising and outreach has been slashed 90%.The enrollment period has been cut in half. The administration plans to take down the Healthcare gov. website.   The requirement for employers  and insurance plans covering birth control have  been limited. Coverage for pre-existing conditions is now in jeopardy. Trump has now announced subsidies to assist lower-income people to buy insurance will STOP IMMEDIATELY. 
       More rape and pillage.  Have these Republicans no compassion, self respect, shame ? Americans are struggling for survival.
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TAX REFORM BENEFITTING WEALTHY AS WELL AS TRUMP ?  Depends on who you ask. Trump says  he wont’ benefit  – Add that to his 1,000 lies that have been documented since his inauguration.  Everything I read indicates the little guy gets screwed.  But isn’t it the little guy/girl who is responsible for his election to the Presidency.  Tough break guys, and girls – next time leave your confirmation bias at the door and vote your interest !
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IS PRESIDENT TRUMP BROKE ? Bill Palmer, Palmerreport.com thinks so.  Why else would he hide his tax return ?
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TAX REFORM  – “Potholes and sinkholes”*
      Trump campaigned in  Missouri recently for  tax reform, including middle-class tax cuts,  and a simpler tax code. Few specifics are mentioned. The border-adjusted tax is off the table. The mortgage, charity and retirement deductions are safe. The big question is whether the tax cuts would be temporary or permanent. If th latter, the cuts may not increase the deficit.
      An August 4 – 9  Bloomberg poll of economists reveals 28 of 39 polled expect Congress to pass tax cut legislation by November 2018. Unfortunately this action is not expected to add more than  0.2 percentage points to the GDP, and that growth is forecast  to only slightly exceed  that this year’s 2.1 percent, this forecast coming from 71 economists.  Worse yet, 2019 is projected to fall back to the 2 percent level. Referring to a corporate tax rate for developed nations of 24%, Trump says…”We have no choice….we must lower our taxes.
       Facts from mic.com: In 2016 the Government Accounting Office (GAO) found at least two-thirds of U.S. corporations did not pay federal income tax between 2006 and 2012.  One-fifth of America’s largest profitable corporations didn’t pay any income tax in 2012.
      Another study released earlier this year found the effective tax rate for consistently profitable Fortune 500 companies is 21.2%
      All told, U.S. corporations pay slightly less  in overall taxes than companies  in comparable countries.
      This begs the question of how much impact would  corporate tax cuts have on the S&P 500.       
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Trump, Bannon Gone By 2019  (Investor’s first read:  3/21/2017)
      Right winger and Breitbart grad, Sebastian Gorka is now gone,  Gorka’s  exit closely follows the departure of Steve Bannon, another  Breitfart grad,  hopefully leading to the firing  of Stephen Miller, a brash, caustic right wing extremist and Breitbart supporter  cuddler. 

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ALT-RIGHT (Investor’s first read Jan. 27, 2017)       

     The Alt-Right has been associated with nationalism, racism, xenophobia, which may well be true for some of its followers, but basically they are  well to the right of  neocons, and America does not want to go there, it isn’t who most of us are. 

        Some will call the current trend in our government fascist or totalitarianism, autocracy, even corporatocracy, kratocracy, or plutocracy, however, I see it simply as a rush to secure total control through rigging voting districts (gerrymandering) and voter suppression, repeatedly disseminating lies and misinformation often enough so people accept it as the truth, the manipulation of people’s priorities and simply taking advantage of their lack of information and inability to understand what is best for them. 

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WAR – North Korea
      Sen. Lindsey Graham says a U.S. military strike of N. Korea is possible,* that we cannot allow “this madman [Kim Jong-un] to have a missile to hit America.” His Tuesday, Aug 1, interview on the Today Show, follows N. Korea’s ICBM test days ago. Graham also said the Chinese  can stop such an attack. While such a war would take place on North Korean soil, South Korea  would incur huge casualties from N. Korean artillery.
OBSERVATION: Since January, I have warned Trump would put the U.S. on a war footing (see below) for political reasons, namely the mid-terms. Now I am convinced it is front burner because the Meuller investigations are  closing in.  
      Nuclear deterrence has been effective since the 1950s, for the obvious reasons.  The countries with the largest nuclear arsenals  and estimated warheads include United States (7,500), Russia (7,200), France (300), China (250), UK (215), Pakistan (110), India (100),Israel (80).
       The uncertainty of war would JOLT the market, especially if it disrupted  trade alliances. Reportedly, it would only take 33 minutes for a ballistic missile to reach the U.S.. If detonated high over the center of the U.S., it would cause an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) which would shut down “everything”  A-to-Z indefinitely.
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TRUMP – EARLY STAGE DEMENTIA ?  
Don’t know. Clearly he has personality disorder (Narcissism), but the question is being asked more and more with references to speech, use of words, disorientation, irritability, memory loss, late night tweets, confusion, paranoia.

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TRUMP looking for a “Get Out Of Jail Free Card if the Feds close in?”
    Why not, he dodged military service with 5 deferments  during the Vietnam era (1964 – 1970).
     Reportedly, he has asked advisers about his power to pardon family members and himself  relating to Mueller’s investigation.
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W HAT HAPPENS WHEN THE INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETED ? If the Special Counselor  concludes it is “necessary and appropriate” he is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising out of the investigation, which he does after submitting a report to the attorney general explaining his reasons.

REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER:  Misconduct,  dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, good cause (??), violation of Department policies.
WOULD MUELLER BE REPLACED ? Unclear. If the Democrats controlled Congress they could appoint another Special Counselor
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  “Connect the Dots.” This investigation is open-ended
       Nigel Farage – President Trump- Jeffrey Sessions – Robert Mercer – Cambridge Analytics – Bannon- Carter Page – Kushner (Jared and Ivanka) – Eric Prince – Donald, Jr.  and Eric Trump – Wilbur Ross –  Michael Cohen – Ezra Cohen Watnick – Michael Flynn – JD Gordon  –  Christopher Steele – Michael Caputo -Breitbart News – Roger Stone – Julian Assange – Paul Manafort – Rick Gates – Jill Stein – Sam Clovis –  Kellyanne and George Conway –Dana Rohrabacher – Bill Browder – Peter W. Smith (deceased: suicide), Paul Behrends – Boris Epshteyn, Ike Kaveladze, and  Russia’s alfa Group – Felix Sater – Rob Goldstone – alfa Group – Emin Agalarov – Sergey Gorkov –  Sergey Kislyak, ambassador to the U.S., Natalia Veselnitskaya, Oleg Deripaska all connect directly or indirectly to the Trump/Russia investigation and some have a connection to Brexit, as well.
      According to the “Observer,” Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica was connected with Canada’s AggregateIQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked together on the Brexit referendum. Aggregate is also a data mining company. While Mercer was a big supporter of Trump, there is no known connection between AggregateIQ and Trump’s campaign staff.

       The Palmer Report.com  recently reported that Peter W. Smith (recent suicide) sought to collude with Russian hackers stealing emails from Trump’s opposition while claiming to be working with Michael Flynn.

       Additionally, IMHO, Vice President Mike Pence simply had to be aware of what was happening in the campaign, but is being shielded because he is the second in command if  President Trump is impeached and convicted  or forced to resign. Stephen Miller, Joseph E. Schmitz may be of interest to the FBI for information they possess relating to the FBI investigation.
      According to CNN Politics,  Marc Kasowitz  represented Trump for personal and business matters for years. Worth noting, Kasowitz is defending Russian bank, OJSC Sberbank in U.S. court, as well as a Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties with the Kremlin.
       As of July 21, Kasowitz’s is no longer Trump’s personal attorney   
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ROSENSTEIN and MUELLER OUT ?      Who Takes Over ?
       Will President Trump  fire special counsel Robert Mueller to impede criminal charges against his son Donald Jr. and stall the investigation of him and his team ?
       As I understand it, he would first have to fire  Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General –
      
Obviously,  firing Mueller would smack of  “consciousness of guilt,” and could lead to impeachment proceedings by the House, and/or increase pressure for Trump to resign..

      With Rosenstein out of the way,  associate attorney general, Rachel Brand, would take over.  If she resigns, or is fired, Dana Boente, U.S. attorney general for the Eastern District of Virginia would take over.
       I believe this scandal reaches far beyond collusion with Russia to get Trump elected.
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     REMOVING TRUMP FROM  OFFICE

Can Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, U.S. Constitution – Remove Trump ?
      It’s a stretch. 
The key for his removal is ”that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”  Section 4 mentions nothing  that he is unfit, delusional, unbalanced, crazy,  impulsive, irrational, impaired, sociopathic, psychopathic, narcissistic.
      That would be the threshold that would have to be crossed if Trump is removed from office via Section 4 of the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. There is no precedent

      It isn’t just Democrats, liberals, moderates and reasonable people who find Trump caustic, and dangerous, conservatives like George Will, David Brooks and Ross Douthart are also urging his removal.
      First, there are four ways to get rid of Trump – death, resignation, impeachment and Section 4 of the 25th Amendment.
      The procedure employing the 25th Amendment requires the Vice President and the majority of the cabinet of 15 (8) to vote to remove the president. They would submit their declaration in writing to the President pro tempore ( Sen. Orrin Hatch) and Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan) that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and the Vice President will immediately assume to office as acting president.
      However, the president may contend the move by submitting his own letter to the President pro tempore and Speaker of the House, that he believes he is capable of performing his duties, in which case he will resume the office of presidency.
       The Vice President and Cabinet members may then resubmit their declaration at which point Congress would vote within 48 hours if in session. If not, Congress  will act within 21 days where a two-thirds vote would be required to remove  him.  
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IMPEACHMENT
      A  Consult/Politico poll shows 43% of Americans want Congress to begin procedures for the impeachment of President Trump.

      The U.S. Constitution  enables Congress to remove a president for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Intitially, the House votes on one or more articles of impeachment- if a majority vote is reached, he is impeached.  BUT, impeachment only means indictment. The Senate holds a trial overseen by the chief justice and Supreme Court. A group of House members serve as prosecutors and the Senate as jurors. If two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed from office and the vice president takes over.

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Note: Source of weekly economic calendar and good recap of indicators: mam.econoday.com.

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*Stock Trader’s Almanac
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George Brooks
Investor’s first read
A Game-On Analysis, LLC publication
Brooks007read@aol.com
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Investor’s first read, is a Game-On Analysis, LLC publication for which George Brooks is sole owner, manager and writer.  Neither Game-On Analysis, LLC, nor George  Brooks  is  registered as an investment advisor.  Ideas expressed herein are the opinions of the writer, are for informational purposes, and are not to serve as the sole basis for any investment decision. References to specific securities should not be construed  as particularized or as investment advice as recommendations that you or any investors purchase or sell these securities on their own account. Readers are expected to assume full responsibility for conducting their own research pursuant to investment in keeping with their tolerance for risk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just 3 of 30 DJIA Stocks Accounted For All Yesterday’s Gain

Investor’s first read Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 23,441
S&P 500:2,569
Nasdaq  Comp6,598.:
Russell 2000: 1,500
Wednesday,  Oct. 25, 2017   9:09 a.m.
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     The DJIA was up 169 points 16 minutes after the open yesterday giving a false impression that the overall market was soaring.  Not so.

      Yesterday the DJIA closed with a gain of  167 points.  Three of the Dow’s 30  stocks:  3M (MMM: +13.10), Caterpillar (CAT: +6.56), and Boeing (BA: + 3.68) accounted for all of that gain.  The distortion of the DJIA is also evident comparing it to other market averages. Percentage-wise the DJIA was up 0.72% vs. gains for the S&P 500 (+0.16%), Nasdaq Comp (+0.18%) and the Russel 2000 (+0.20).  
      The DJIA gapped at the open yesterday far exceeding Monday’s highs. The S&P 500, and Nasdaq Comp. didn’t come close. 
      After passage of the Senate budget resolution Thursday, Speaker Paul Ryan expects to move on to sending a tax bill to the Senate before Thanksgiving. Approving the budget resolution the Senate passed last week allows the Republicans to fast-track  tax reform without Senate Democratic votes, all according to THE HILL. “Thanksgiving week is the opening of gun season, so our goal is to get it out of the House by then,” Ryan said.   (Arrogance precedes the fall !)
      With the divide in the Republican Party widening, Ryan may get the House bill to the Senate, but passage there is uncertain.
      David Stockman, budget director for the Reagan tax cuts doubts a tax bill will get passed this year, and maybe not at all.  What’s more, google “stockman trojan horse” to find out how the wide gap between the middle class and wealthy developed.
      Technical and economic indicators have begun to reach historic extremes that preceded bear markets in the past. According to InvesTech Research, the percentage of the investors they polled, those expecting stock prices to rise is higher than at any time since its survey began 15 years ago, which includes 2007 prior to the 58% plunge in the S&P 500.
       This is a very dangerous market.  Money can still be made, but risks are high. Earnings reports can boom a stock or crush it.  Blue chips act like penny stocks.
        Institutions have done little selling, locked into the hopes for a massive corporate give away. If these hopes are dashed, all that deferred selling will come at once and we will get a flash crash of unprecedented proportions.  This is still a game of supply and demand.
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SUPPORT “today
”: DJIA:23,413 ; S&P 500:2,566; Nasdaq Comp.:6,591
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:23,473; S&P 500:2,572;Nasdaq Comp.:6,607

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CORPORATE EARNINGS (updated October 20, 2017)  – Factset.com
      Q3 earnings growth is projected at +1.7 % down from +2.1% last week and  +3.0% Sept 30 and +7.5% on Mar. 31. Q4 earnings are projected to grow +11.4%. For 2017 as a whole growth is projected at a plus 9.2%.  Currently, the P/E on   earnings is 17.9 x forward earnings. That compares with a 10-year average P/E of 14.1.
Note: These numbers change frequently. Factset.com is well worth a visit, it breaks its projections down by industry.
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 POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
I received this alert Tuesday from Marc t. Liu urging his readers not to be distracted from Trump’s charades. My takeaway here is while the nation watches the buffoonery in the Oval Office, the rape and pillage is underway in Congress.
1. HR 861 to Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency (Like to breathe? This one is not for you.)

2. HR 610 – Vouchers for Public Education (which may end free public education as we know it)

3. HR 899 to Terminate the Department of Education (which may lead to greater disparity between states but nobody who uses public education ever moves so it's all good)

4. HR 69 to Repeal the Rule Protecting Wildlife (nobody likes nature anyway, right?)

5. HR 370 to Repeal the Affordable Care Act (didn't we already try this umpteen times?)

6. HR 354 to De-fund Planned Parenthood (because exactly none of your tax dollars go toward abortion services)

7. HR 785 – National "Right to Work" (this one is actually a 'Right to fire you whenever your boss feels like it" law, and it would effectively end unions)

8. HR 83 – Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Bill (California should just secede now and take all its money)

9. HR 147 to Criminalize Abortion (“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”) (because these private decisions should be made by your legislator and employer)

10. HR 808 to Impose Sanctions Against Iran (even though they are in compliance with the agreement according to those in the know)”
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THE GREAT AMERICAN EXPERIMENT UNDER SEIGE:  Not since the Civil War has the spirit and future of our nation been at such great risk, from within.  This  administration, Congress and U.S. Supreme Court is surgically dismembering  efforts over many years to ensure the safety  and well being of “all” Americans.
     The sooner, Americans recognize these are not genuine Republican conservatives, but extremists determined dismantle that which has been achieved over the years and replace it with “their” brand  of a  quasi-fascist state.  Ben Franklin was right when asked what kind of government  the Founding Fathers had given us.  “A Republic, if you can keep it,” was his response.
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STUMP TRUMP: Bill Palmer, Palmer report.com. has a novel idea how Jeff Flake, Bob Corker and John McCain can prevent President Trump and destructive Congress from dismembering our Republic further. All three change registrations to Independent and caucus with the Democrats giving it a 51 – 49 majority. This would bump Mitch McConnell out of Majority Leader and replace the position with Chuck Schumer.
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House Republicans now investigating FBI’s and DOJ’s 2016 handling of Clinton’s private email server. Really ? 
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A DAFT TWERP:  Just in from Veuer  – President Trump is a ‘daft twerp’ according to Winston Churchill’s grandson, a conservative member of Parliament. The Brits consider a “twerp” as a silly, insignificant or annoying person, and “daft” as   foolish. Let’s see if the bust of Winston in Trump’s office goes the way of so many of his original administration.
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OBAMACARE   RESCUE DEAD ! Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democrat Senator Patty Murray announced a bipartisan breakthrough to shore up ACA that would revive federal subsidies for health insurers. 
      President Trump was supportive Tuesday, then turned negative Wednesday, referring to cost-sharing reduction payments (CSR) as “bailouts” for insurers.
     The attempt by the senators to stabilize ACA has also attracted the wrath of conservative Congressmen.  House speaker, Paul Ryan, does not plan to bring the bill to the floor, conservative groups, Freedom Works, Heritage Action and Club for Growth oppose it.

      How can anyone with ACA coverage know where they stand,  how can insurance companies make a decision on premiums ?
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1,318 FALSE or MISLEADING CLAIMS (LIES) by President Trump since being sworn in as President, January 20, 263 days ago. The tally is kept by the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, which breaks all lies down into 24 categories. Please, someone wake me up, tell me this is not happening….and reassure me Americans aren’t in denial.
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ADD ANOTHER LIE TO THE 1,318 referred to above.  Yesterday, Trump touted tax cuts for the middle class in Pennsylvania, saying the typical American household would get a $4,000 pay raise, and “it could be a lot more than that.”  Not mentioned is the savings would be over an eight year period, $500 a year.
     The Tax Policy Center (TPC) claims tax reform as we know it today heavily favors the rich, boosting after-tax income for the top 1% by 8.5% on average, while the bottom 95% would get a boost of 1.2%
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WRECK NAFTA ?  Bloomberg’s “The Editors” seems to think so, pointing to the disruption of long-established supply chains that would raise costs, and increase US imports.  “The evidence is clear, Nafta has helped all its members, including the U.S., achieve greater efficiency and higher living standards,” Bloomberg notes, adding undermining it or causing its collapse would  cause enormous disruption for businesses and labor pools in all three  countries.
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HOW MANY HURRICANES does it take to convince Republicans our climate is changing for the worse ?  If you guessed 4, you were wrong.  Try 40.  Monday EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the U.S. withdrawal from the President Obama’s clean power plan.  In another giant step backward, clearly not for the benefit of mankind, Pruitt wants incentives for the wind industry removed, saying he would “let them stand on their own and compete against coal natural gas and other sources.”    Hope I wake up from this bad dream – soon.
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TRUMP WANTS ANYONE WHO DOESN’T STAND FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM TO BE “FIRED”   ?
Personally, I would find another way of expressing my 1st Amendment opinion, like here in this blog, but I think not standing for the National Anthem IS NOWHERE NEARLY AS UN-AMERICAN AS TAKING  5 (five) DEFERRMENTS TO AVOID MILITARY SERVICE, WHICH IS WHAT TRUMP DID DURING THE VIETNAM WAR ERA.  Deplorable !
      Senator John McCain,
a war here, indirectly criticized Trump later Oct. 23rd,  referring to people who found a doctor who would ‘find” a bone spur leading to deferment from military service.
      Other un-American activities Trump champions are using the Presidency to divide and polarize  Americans against Americans, to foment racial and gender prejudice, to endorse violence, and to destabilize a world that is struggling to peacefully cope with a host of issues, none the least of which is more WAR !
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Republicans, in lockstep with the nation’s most powerful lobby, the NRA, are prepared to vote on the bill to take gun silencers off the list of prohibited items.  The Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE) would vastly reduce procedures needed to purchase devices that when attached to a hand gun would reduce the noise to a spfft.
       What’s next on the Republican agenda – legalized murder ?
       The Republican party will take a pass on any legislation to outlaw “bump stocks,” the device used to convert a semi-automatic assault rifle to an illegal fully automatic, enabling the Las Vegas gunman to max his murder of  persons attending the Harvest Festival.  Bump stock sales have exploded, prices doubled.  
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 AMERICANS ARE TOO SCARED to have the courage to do the right thing.   If not outwardly scared, Americans are subconsciously scared. Its origin is difficult to pinpoint, but I’d say the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970’s was a start. That’s when confidence in our government began to crumble as protests against the War escalated. The horrors of war were brought into every living room, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the street.  Families were divided by “for” and “against” the war.  “Like it, or leave it” was the pro-war patriot mantra.
     President Nixon’s Watergate woes and resignation ahead of impeachment proceedings loped off a little more trust in politicians. This, combined with the OPEC oil embargo resulted in a 16-month recession and 50% drop in the S&P 500. 
     Probably, the biggest jolt came on September 11, 2001 with the terrorist attack on the New York City Trade Towers and the Pentagon.  Lies about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction got us into the Iraq War, another discredit for authority in our nation’s highest office. 
      The Great Recession (2007 – 2009) and stock market’s 50% crash was yet another jolt from which many never recovered.  Now you have President Trump, an unpredictable narcissist with 1,000 lies in eight months to his credit. Oh, and the legitimacy of his presidency challenged by investigations of collusion with Russia to bombard American voters with fake news about rival candidate Hillary Clinton and who knows what in key electoral college states Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
       White Americans are seeing too many people of color on TV, in sports, in schools in their neighborhoods, in their police force, military.  It’s fine if a black man scores a touchdown for their alma mater, just don’t run for office or beat out their child in school activities, or them for a job.
        Get used to it Republican bigot, you can deport a whole bunch of people of color, gerrymander their vote, disrespect them, but they are hungry for achievement and want to eat your lunch, like it or not.  Bigotry is un-American, and if you know what Christianity is really about bigotry is un-Christian. 

       SMALL WONDER AMERICANS FEEL THE NEED FOR AN ARSENAL IN THEIR HOME, FOR THE RIGHT TO “CARRY” A PIECE EVERYWHERE, INCLUDING BARS, EATERIES, PLAYGROUNDS, PARKS.   Americans are so scared, even sensible measures designed to make people safer are rejected.
       If the wanton murder of 20 six-year olds in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut didn’t spark an outrage, nothing will. Some whackos claim it didn’t happen, not to my surprise, some believed them.
       This was a defining incident in America.  Americans too freaking scared and intimidated by the NRA to be upset by the son of a gun-nut murdering  children. Shame !  The NRA exploited the situation for their own benefit, as Americans watched. Again, SHAME !
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According to THE HILL, Trump will shortly announce he will decertify the Iran Nuclear  agreement, offloading a final decision to Congress.
      The agreement, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed by the U.S., China, France, Germany and Russia in mid-2015 and implemented in January 2016. The deal was not an official treaty, so Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Review Act (INRA) to allow Congress to vote on JCPOA which it did by an overwhelming margin. It requires the President to “certify” the deal as long as Iran is in compliance.  Until now, that has been done, even by Trump. But he needs to reassure his “base,” whoever they are. I am not sure how many people voted for him would do so again.
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WOULD ANYONE WANT their spouse to lie repeatedly ?, their child ?, mother ?, father ?, minister ?, child’s teacher ?,  coach ?, employer ?.  IF NOT, why would they support President Trump who is on record with telling4.5 lies per day, 1,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?
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CRIMINAL CHARGES: The Palmer report.com reports on a Sept. 27 MSNBC Brian Williams interview with George W. Bush, former Asst. Atty. General, Jimmy Gurule, who lists criminal charges he expects will be levied on Trump team members, without mentioning names. Included are obstruction of justice, violations of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, violations of Federal Campaign Act, IRS tax laws, and possibly money laundering. Only Congress can put President Trump on trial, but Muller can ask a grand jury to name Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator, which is what happened to President Nixon in the Watergate scandal.
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      HUGE MISTAKE ! In my opinion the Trump presidency is a HUGE mistake, and when you make huge mistakes, you pay a huge price. It’s coming and it isn’t going to be pretty.
      In time, I believe we will learn that the Trump team either colluded or enabled Russia’s meddling with our election. Ballot boxes are not fool proof, either.
       Evidence is mounting to indicate the biggest political/business scandal ever will become news, with a lot of Trump people taking a big hit.
       Expect Trump to attempt to pardon anyone he wants, including himself. It’s a way out of facing responsibility very much like dodging the draft. Like when he justified his numerous bankruptcies, saying he only used U.S. laws to his advantage.  Well, “pardons” are his prerogative, in many, not all cases. He would take advantage of whatever loophole to avoid consequences, sort of like dodging the draft, or did I already say that ?
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       TRUMP TO SABATAGE ACA:  Unable to pass a repeal and replace bill measures to destroy health coverage for millions of Americans have already been taken. THE HILL lists a few. Funding for advertising and outreach has been slashed 90%.The enrollment period has been cut in half. The administration plans to take down the Healthcare gov. website.   The requirement for employers  and insurance plans covering birth control have  been limited. Coverage for pre-existing conditions is now in jeopardy. Trump has now announced subsidies to assist lower-income people to buy insurance will STOP IMMEDIATELY. 
       More rape and pillage.  Have these Republicans no compassion, self respect, shame ? Americans are struggling for survival.
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TAX REFORM BENEFITTING WEALTHY AS WELL AS TRUMP ?  Depends on who you ask. Trump says  he wont’ benefit  – Add that to his 1,000 lies that have been documented since his inauguration.  Everything I read indicates the little guy gets screwed.  But isn’t it the little guy/girl who is responsible for his election to the Presidency.  Tough break guys, and girls – next time leave your confirmation bias at the door and vote your interest !
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IS PRESIDENT TRUMP BROKE ? Bill Palmer, Palmerreport.com thinks so.  Why else would he hide his tax return ?
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TAX REFORM  – “Potholes and sinkholes”*
      Trump campaigned in  Missouri recently for  tax reform, including middle-class tax cuts,  and a simpler tax code. Few specifics are mentioned. The border-adjusted tax is off the table. The mortgage, charity and retirement deductions are safe. The big question is whether the tax cuts would be temporary or permanent. If th latter, the cuts may not increase the deficit.
      An August 4 – 9  Bloomberg poll of economists reveals 28 of 39 polled expect Congress to pass tax cut legislation by November 2018. Unfortunately this action is not expected to add more than  0.2 percentage points to the GDP, and that growth is forecast  to only slightly exceed  that this year’s 2.1 percent, this forecast coming from 71 economists.  Worse yet, 2019 is projected to fall back to the 2 percent level. Referring to a corporate tax rate for developed nations of 24%, Trump says…”We have no choice….we must lower our taxes.
       Facts from mic.com: In 2016 the Government Accounting Office (GAO) found at least two-thirds of U.S. corporations did not pay federal income tax between 2006 and 2012.  One-fifth of America’s largest profitable corporations didn’t pay any income tax in 2012.
      Another study released earlier this year found the effective tax rate for consistently profitable Fortune 500 companies is 21.2%
      All told, U.S. corporations pay slightly less  in overall taxes than companies  in comparable countries.
      This begs the question of how much impact would  corporate tax cuts have on the S&P 500.       
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Trump, Bannon Gone By 2019  (Investor’s first read:  3/21/2017)
      Right winger and Breitbart grad, Sebastian Gorka is now gone,  Gorka’s  exit closely follows the departure of Steve Bannon, another  Breitfart grad,  hopefully leading to the firing  of Stephen Miller, a brash, caustic right wing extremist and Breitbart supporter  cuddler. 

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ALT-RIGHT (Investor’s first read Jan. 27, 2017)       

     The Alt-Right has been associated with nationalism, racism, xenophobia, which may well be true for some of its followers, but basically they are  well to the right of  neocons, and America does not want to go there, it isn’t who most of us are. 

        Some will call the current trend in our government fascist or totalitarianism, autocracy, even corporatocracy, kratocracy, or plutocracy, however, I see it simply as a rush to secure total control through rigging voting districts (gerrymandering) and voter suppression, repeatedly disseminating lies and misinformation often enough so people accept it as the truth, the manipulation of people’s priorities and simply taking advantage of their lack of information and inability to understand what is best for them. 

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WAR – North Korea
      Sen. Lindsey Graham says a U.S. military strike of N. Korea is possible,* that we cannot allow “this madman [Kim Jong-un] to have a missile to hit America.” His Tuesday, Aug 1, interview on the Today Show, follows N. Korea’s ICBM test days ago. Graham also said the Chinese  can stop such an attack. While such a war would take place on North Korean soil, South Korea  would incur huge casualties from N. Korean artillery.
OBSERVATION: Since January, I have warned Trump would put the U.S. on a war footing (see below) for political reasons, namely the mid-terms. Now I am convinced it is front burner because the Meuller investigations are  closing in.  
      Nuclear deterrence has been effective since the 1950s, for the obvious reasons.  The countries with the largest nuclear arsenals  and estimated warheads include United States (7,500), Russia (7,200), France (300), China (250), UK (215), Pakistan (110), India (100),Israel (80).
       The uncertainty of war would JOLT the market, especially if it disrupted  trade alliances. Reportedly, it would only take 33 minutes for a ballistic missile to reach the U.S.. If detonated high over the center of the U.S., it would cause an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) which would shut down “everything”  A-to-Z indefinitely.
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TRUMP – EARLY STAGE DEMENTIA ?  
Don’t know. Clearly he has personality disorder (Narcissism), but the question is being asked more and more with references to speech, use of words, disorientation, irritability, memory loss, late night tweets, confusion, paranoia.

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TRUMP looking for a “Get Out Of Jail Free Card if the Feds close in?”
    Why not, he dodged military service with 5 deferments  during the Vietnam era (1964 – 1970).
     Reportedly, he has asked advisers about his power to pardon family members and himself  relating to Mueller’s investigation.
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W HAT HAPPENS WHEN THE INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETED ? If the Special Counselor  concludes it is “necessary and appropriate” he is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising out of the investigation, which he does after submitting a report to the attorney general explaining his reasons.

REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER:  Misconduct,  dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, good cause (??), violation of Department policies.
WOULD MUELLER BE REPLACED ? Unclear. If the Democrats controlled Congress they could appoint another Special Counselor
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  “Connect the Dots.” This investigation is open-ended
       Nigel Farage – President Trump- Jeffrey Sessions – Robert Mercer – Cambridge Analytics – Bannon- Carter Page – Kushner (Jared and Ivanka) – Eric Prince – Donald, Jr.  and Eric Trump – Wilbur Ross –  Michael Cohen – Ezra Cohen Watnick – Michael Flynn – JD Gordon  –  Christopher Steele – Michael Caputo -Breitbart News – Roger Stone – Julian Assange – Paul Manafort – Rick Gates – Jill Stein – Sam Clovis –  Kellyanne and George Conway –Dana Rohrabacher – Bill Browder – Peter W. Smith (deceased: suicide), Paul Behrends – Boris Epshteyn, Ike Kaveladze, and  Russia’s alfa Group – Felix Sater – Rob Goldstone – alfa Group – Emin Agalarov – Sergey Gorkov –  Sergey Kislyak, ambassador to the U.S., Natalia Veselnitskaya, Oleg Deripaska all connect directly or indirectly to the Trump/Russia investigation and some have a connection to Brexit, as well.
      According to the “Observer,” Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica was connected with Canada’s AggregateIQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked together on the Brexit referendum. Aggregate is also a data mining company. While Mercer was a big supporter of Trump, there is no known connection between AggregateIQ and Trump’s campaign staff.

       The Palmer Report.com  recently reported that Peter W. Smith (recent suicide) sought to collude with Russian hackers stealing emails from Trump’s opposition while claiming to be working with Michael Flynn.

       Additionally, IMHO, Vice President Mike Pence simply had to be aware of what was happening in the campaign, but is being shielded because he is the second in command if  President Trump is impeached and convicted  or forced to resign. Stephen Miller, Joseph E. Schmitz may be of interest to the FBI for information they possess relating to the FBI investigation.
      According to CNN Politics,  Marc Kasowitz  represented Trump for personal and business matters for years. Worth noting, Kasowitz is defending Russian bank, OJSC Sberbank in U.S. court, as well as a Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties with the Kremlin.
       As of July 21, Kasowitz’s is no longer Trump’s personal attorney   
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ROSENSTEIN and MUELLER OUT ?      Who Takes Over ?
       Will President Trump  fire special counsel Robert Mueller to impede criminal charges against his son Donald Jr. and stall the investigation of him and his team ?
       As I understand it, he would first have to fire  Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General –
      
Obviously,  firing Mueller would smack of  “consciousness of guilt,” and could lead to impeachment proceedings by the House, and/or increase pressure for Trump to resign..

      With Rosenstein out of the way,  associate attorney general, Rachel Brand, would take over.  If she resigns, or is fired, Dana Boente, U.S. attorney general for the Eastern District of Virginia would take over.
       I believe this scandal reaches far beyond collusion with Russia to get Trump elected.
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     REMOVING TRUMP FROM  OFFICE

Can Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, U.S. Constitution – Remove Trump ?
      It’s a stretch. 
The key for his removal is ”that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”  Section 4 mentions nothing  that he is unfit, delusional, unbalanced, crazy,  impulsive, irrational, impaired, sociopathic, psychopathic, narcissistic.
      That would be the threshold that would have to be crossed if Trump is removed from office via Section 4 of the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. There is no precedent

      It isn’t just Democrats, liberals, moderates and reasonable people who find Trump caustic, and dangerous, conservatives like George Will, David Brooks and Ross Douthart are also urging his removal.
      First, there are four ways to get rid of Trump – death, resignation, impeachment and Section 4 of the 25th Amendment.
      The procedure employing the 25th Amendment requires the Vice President and the majority of the cabinet of 15 (8) to vote to remove the president. They would submit their declaration in writing to the President pro tempore ( Sen. Orrin Hatch) and Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan) that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and the Vice President will immediately assume to office as acting president.
      However, the president may contend the move by submitting his own letter to the President pro tempore and Speaker of the House, that he believes he is capable of performing his duties, in which case he will resume the office of presidency.
       The Vice President and Cabinet members may then resubmit their declaration at which point Congress would vote within 48 hours if in session. If not, Congress  will act within 21 days where a two-thirds vote would be required to remove  him.  
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IMPEACHMENT
      A  Consult/Politico poll shows 43% of Americans want Congress to begin procedures for the impeachment of President Trump.

      The U.S. Constitution  enables Congress to remove a president for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Intitially, the House votes on one or more articles of impeachment- if a majority vote is reached, he is impeached.  BUT, impeachment only means indictment. The Senate holds a trial overseen by the chief justice and Supreme Court. A group of House members serve as prosecutors and the Senate as jurors. If two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed from office and the vice president takes over.

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Note: Source of weekly economic calendar and good recap of indicators: mam.econoday.com.

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*Stock Trader’s Almanac
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George Brooks
Investor’s first read
A Game-On Analysis, LLC publication
Brooks007read@aol.com
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Investor’s first read, is a Game-On Analysis, LLC publication for which George Brooks is sole owner, manager and writer.  Neither Game-On Analysis, LLC, nor George  Brooks  is  registered as an investment advisor.  Ideas expressed herein are the opinions of the writer, are for informational purposes, and are not to serve as the sole basis for any investment decision. References to specific securities should not be construed  as particularized or as investment advice as recommendations that you or any investors purchase or sell these securities on their own account. Readers are expected to assume full responsibility for conducting their own research pursuant to investment in keeping with their tolerance for risk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reagan’s Stockman Says “No” Tax Bill This Year

Investor’s first read Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 23,273
S&P 500:2,564
Nasdaq  Comp.:6,566
Russell 2000: 1,497
Tuesday,  Oct. 24, 2017   9:09 a.m.
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Factset’s projections for Q3 earnings for the S&P 500 now stand at +1.7%, down from +2.1% last week, +3.0% Sept. 30 and +7.5% Mar. 31. I doubt the Street cares, since Q4 and quarters following are projected to rise double digits.
     It’s still about efforts to stimulate the economy, measures that should be reserved for bailing the economy out of the next recession.
     The biggie is tax reform, which some Republicans think can get done before Thanksgiving. Ha, ha.
     The problem is in the details, i.e., which deductions to keep and which to drop, and how to portray the bill as a middle class tax cut, not a gift to big earners.  Since the latter pays most of the taxes, it is hard to craft a bill that doesn’t benefit them.
     David Stockman, budget director for President Reagan when tax cuts were last passed, told Newsmax.com, he doubts a bill will be passed this year, and it may even fail. “There’s not going to be a tax bill, that’s just the reality of the measure,” he told Newsmax.
     That would hammer the market, since much of the 20% up move in the S&P 500 since early November has been based on the Street’s expectations for a tax cut.
     Want to know who got screwed by Reagan’s tax cuts in the 1980s, the primary reason for the wide division between the middle and upper class financial health ?    Google: “trojan horse stockman.”   They are at it again !
      To some extent, tax cuts are a devious route to slash social services four to six years from now when the federal government is unable to pay its bills, because it does not have enough tax receipt money flowing in.
      Generally, politics has little effect on the stock market.  What is weird about the current market behavior is it is up due to  potential legislation about tax cuts, about policy for reducing regulations and spending a pile of dough on the infrastructure, yet has not responded negatively to the unprecedented bizarre behavior of President Trump, and dysfunction of his staff where turnover is also unprecedented.  He and his team, stand to be charged with serious misdeeds/crimes arising out of pre- and post- election activities.  What’s more, the Republican Party is split a number of ways between Steve Bannon, Trump, old guard, and the Freedom caucus.
TODAY

       Up at the open, then we’ll see why yesterday was down.
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SUPPORT “today
”: DJIA:23,256;S&P 500:2,563; Nasdaq Comp.:6,577
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:23,327; S&P 500:2,571;Nasdaq Comp.:6,599

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CORPORATE EARNINGS (updated October 20, 2017)  – Factset.com
      Q3 earnings growth is projected at +1.7 % down from +2.1% last week and  +3.0% Sept 30. Q4 earnings are projected to grow +11.4%. For 2017 as a whole growth is projected at a plus 9.2%.  Currently, the P/E on   earnings is 17.9 x forward earnings. That compares with a 10-year average P/E of 14.1.
Note: These numbers change frequently. Factset.com is well worth a visit, it breaks its projections down by industry.
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 POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
THE GREAT AMERICAN EXPERIMENT UNDER SEIGENot since the Civil War has the spirit and future of our nation been at such great risk, from within.  This  administration, Congress and U.S. Supreme Court is surgically dismembering  efforts over many years to ensure the safety  and well being of “all” Americans.
     The sooner, Americans recognize these are not genuine Republican conservatives, but extremists determined dismantle that which has been achieved over the years and replace it with “their” brand  of a  quasi-fascist state.  Ben Franklin was right when asked what kind of government  the Founding Fathers had given us.  “A Republic, if you can keep it,” was his response.
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A DAFT TWERP:  Just in from Veuer  – President Trump is a ‘daft twerp’ according to Winston Churchill’s grandson, a conservative member of Parliament. The Brits consider a “twerp” as a silly, insignificant or annoying person, and “daft” as   foolish. Let’s see if the bust of Winston in Trump’s office goes the way of so many of his original administration.
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OBAMACARE   RESCUE DEAD ! Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democrat Senator Patty Murray announced a bipartisan breakthrough to shore up ACA that would revive federal subsidies for health insurers. 
      President Trump was supportive Tuesday, then turned negative Wednesday, referring to cost-sharing reduction payments (CSR) as “bailouts” for insurers.
     The attempt by the senators to stabilize ACA has also attracted the wrath of conservative Congressmen.  House speaker, Paul Ryan, does not plan to bring the bill to the floor, conservative groups, Freedom Works, Heritage Action and Club for Growth oppose it.

      How can anyone with ACA coverage know where they stand,  how can insurance companies make a decision on premiums ?
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1,318 FALSE or MISLEADING CLAIMS (LIES) by President Trump since being sworn in as President, January 20, 263 days ago. The tally is kept by the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, which breaks all lies down into 24 categories. Please, someone wake me up, tell me this is not happening….and reassure me Americans aren’t in denial.
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ADD ANOTHER LIE TO THE 1,318 referred to above.  Yesterday, Trump touted tax cuts for the middle class in Pennsylvania, saying the typical American household would get a $4,000 pay raise, and “it could be a lot more than that.”  Not mentioned is the savings would be over an eight year period, $500 a year.
     The Tax Policy Center (TPC) claims tax reform as we know it today heavily favors the rich, boosting after-tax income for the top 1% by 8.5% on average, while the bottom 95% would get a boost of 1.2%
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WRECK NAFTA ?  Bloomberg’s “The Editors” seems to think so, pointing to the disruption of long-established supply chains that would raise costs, and increase US imports.  “The evidence is clear, Nafta has helped all its members, including the U.S., achieve greater efficiency and higher living standards,” Bloomberg notes, adding undermining it or causing its collapse would  cause enormous disruption for businesses and labor pools in all three  countries.
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HOW MANY HURRICANES does it take to convince Republicans our climate is changing for the worse ?  If you guessed 4, you were wrong.  Try 40.  Monday EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the U.S. withdrawal from the President Obama’s clean power plan.  In another giant step backward, clearly not for the benefit of mankind, Pruitt wants incentives for the wind industry removed, saying he would “let them stand on their own and compete against coal natural gas and other sources.”    Hope I wake up from this bad dream – soon.
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Republicans, in lockstep with the nation’s most powerful lobby, the NRA, are prepared to vote on the bill to take gun silencers off the list of prohibited items.  The Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE) would vastly reduce procedures needed to purchase devices that when attached to a hand gun would reduce the noise to a spfft.
       What’s next on the Republican agenda – legalized murder ?
       The Republican party will take a pass on any legislation to outlaw “bump stocks,” the device used to convert a semi-automatic assault rifle to an illegal fully automatic, enabling the Las Vegas gunman to max his murder of  persons attending the Harvest Festival.  Bump stock sales have exploded, prices doubled.  
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 AMERICANS ARE TOO SCARED to have the courage to do the right thing.   If not outwardly scared, Americans are subconsciously scared. Its origin is difficult to pinpoint, but I’d say the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970’s was a start. That’s when confidence in our government began to crumble as protests against the War escalated. The horrors of war were brought into every living room, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the street.  Families were divided by “for” and “against” the war.  “Like it, or leave it” was the pro-war patriot mantra.
     President Nixon’s Watergate woes and resignation ahead of impeachment proceedings loped off a little more trust in politicians. This, combined with the OPEC oil embargo resulted in a 16-month recession and 50% drop in the S&P 500. 
     Probably, the biggest jolt came on September 11, 2001 with the terrorist attack on the New York City Trade Towers and the Pentagon.  Lies about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction got us into the Iraq War, another discredit for authority in our nation’s highest office. 
      The Great Recession (2007 – 2009) and stock market’s 50% crash was yet another jolt from which many never recovered.  Now you have President Trump, an unpredictable narcissist with 1,000 lies in eight months to his credit. Oh, and the legitimacy of his presidency challenged by investigations of collusion with Russia to bombard American voters with fake news about rival candidate Hillary Clinton and who knows what in key electoral college states Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
       White Americans are seeing too many people of color on TV, in sports, in schools in their neighborhoods, in their police force, military.  It’s fine if a black man scores a touchdown for their alma mater, just don’t run for office or beat out their child in school activities, or them for a job.
        Get used to it Republican bigot, you can deport a whole bunch of people of color, gerrymander their vote, disrespect them, but they are hungry for achievement and want to eat your lunch, like it or not.  Bigotry is un-American, and if you know what Christianity is really about bigotry is un-Christian. 

       SMALL WONDER AMERICANS FEEL THE NEED FOR AN ARSENAL IN THEIR HOME, FOR THE RIGHT TO “CARRY” A PIECE EVERYWHERE, INCLUDING BARS, EATERIES, PLAYGROUNDS, PARKS.   Americans are so scared, even sensible measures designed to make people safer are rejected.
       If the wanton murder of 20 six-year olds in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut didn’t spark an outrage, nothing will. Some whackos claim it didn’t happen, not to my surprise, some believed them.
       This was a defining incident in America.  Americans too freaking scared and intimidated by the NRA to be upset by the son of a gun-nut murdering  children. Shame !  The NRA exploited the situation for their own benefit, as Americans watched. Again, SHAME !
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According to THE HILL, Trump will shortly announce he will decertify the Iran Nuclear  agreement, offloading a final decision to Congress.
      The agreement, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed by the U.S., China, France, Germany and Russia in mid-2015 and implemented in January 2016. The deal was not an official treaty, so Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Review Act (INRA) to allow Congress to vote on JCPOA which it did by an overwhelming margin. It requires the President to “certify” the deal as long as Iran is in compliance.  Until now, that has been done, even by Trump. But he needs to reassure his “base,” whoever they are. I am not sure how many people voted for him would do so again.
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WOULD ANYONE WANT their spouse to lie repeatedly ?, their child ?, mother ?, father ?, minister ?, child’s teacher ?,  coach ?, employer ?.  IF NOT, why would they support President Trump who is on record with telling4.5 lies per day, 1,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?
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CRIMINAL CHARGES: The Palmer report.com reports on a Sept. 27 MSNBC Brian Williams interview with George W. Bush, former Asst. Atty. General, Jimmy Gurule, who lists criminal charges he expects will be levied on Trump team members, without mentioning names. Included are obstruction of justice, violations of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, violations of Federal Campaign Act, IRS tax laws, and possibly money laundering. Only Congress can put President Trump on trial, but Muller can ask a grand jury to name Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator, which is what happened to President Nixon in the Watergate scandal.
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      HUGE MISTAKE ! In my opinion the Trump presidency is a HUGE mistake, and when you make huge mistakes, you pay a huge price. It’s coming and it isn’t going to be pretty.
      In time, I believe we will learn that the Trump team either colluded or enabled Russia’s meddling with our election. Ballot boxes are not fool proof, either.
       Evidence is mounting to indicate the biggest political/business scandal ever will become news, with a lot of Trump people taking a big hit.
       Expect Trump to attempt to pardon anyone he wants, including himself. It’s a way out of facing responsibility very much like dodging the draft. Like when he justified his numerous bankruptcies, saying he only used U.S. laws to his advantage.  Well, “pardons” are his prerogative, in many, not all cases. He would take advantage of whatever loophole to avoid consequences, sort of like dodging the draft, or did I already say that ?
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       TRUMP TO SABATAGE ACA:  Unable to pass a repeal and replace bill measures to destroy health coverage for millions of Americans have already been taken. THE HILL lists a few. Funding for advertising and outreach has been slashed 90%.The enrollment period has been cut in half. The administration plans to take down the Healthcare gov. website.   The requirement for employers  and insurance plans covering birth control have  been limited. Coverage for pre-existing conditions is now in jeopardy. Trump has now announced subsidies to assist lower-income people to buy insurance will STOP IMMEDIATELY. 
       More rape and pillage.  Have these Republicans no compassion, self respect, shame ? Americans are struggling for survival.
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TAX REFORM BENEFITTING WEALTHY AS WELL AS TRUMP ?  Depends on who you ask. Trump says  he wont’ benefit  – Add that to his 1,000 lies that have been documented since his inauguration.  Everything I read indicates the little guy gets screwed.  But isn’t it the little guy/girl who is responsible for his election to the Presidency.  Tough break guys, and girls – next time leave your confirmation bias at the door and vote your interest !
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IS PRESIDENT TRUMP BROKE ? Bill Palmer, Palmerreport.com thinks so.  Why else would he hide his tax return ?
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TAX REFORM  – “Potholes and sinkholes”*
      Trump campaigned in  Missouri recently for  tax reform, including middle-class tax cuts,  and a simpler tax code. Few specifics are mentioned. The border-adjusted tax is off the table. The mortgage, charity and retirement deductions are safe. The big question is whether the tax cuts would be temporary or permanent. If th latter, the cuts may not increase the deficit.
      An August 4 – 9  Bloomberg poll of economists reveals 28 of 39 polled expect Congress to pass tax cut legislation by November 2018. Unfortunately this action is not expected to add more than  0.2 percentage points to the GDP, and that growth is forecast  to only slightly exceed  that this year’s 2.1 percent, this forecast coming from 71 economists.  Worse yet, 2019 is projected to fall back to the 2 percent level. Referring to a corporate tax rate for developed nations of 24%, Trump says…”We have no choice….we must lower our taxes.
       Facts from mic.com: In 2016 the Government Accounting Office (GAO) found at least two-thirds of U.S. corporations did not pay federal income tax between 2006 and 2012.  One-fifth of America’s largest profitable corporations didn’t pay any income tax in 2012.
      Another study released earlier this year found the effective tax rate for consistently profitable Fortune 500 companies is 21.2%
      All told, U.S. corporations pay slightly less  in overall taxes than companies  in comparable countries.
      This begs the question of how much impact would  corporate tax cuts have on the S&P 500.       
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Trump, Bannon Gone By 2019  (Investor’s first read:  3/21/2017)
      Right winger and Breitbart grad, Sebastian Gorka is now gone,  Gorka’s  exit closely follows the departure of Steve Bannon, another  Breitfart grad,  hopefully leading to the firing  of Stephen Miller, a brash, caustic right wing extremist and Breitbart supporter  cuddler. 

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ALT-RIGHT (Investor’s first read Jan. 27, 2017)       

     The Alt-Right has been associated with nationalism, racism, xenophobia, which may well be true for some of its followers, but basically they are  well to the right of  neocons, and America does not want to go there, it isn’t who most of us are. 

        Some will call the current trend in our government fascist or totalitarianism, autocracy, even corporatocracy, kratocracy, or plutocracy, however, I see it simply as a rush to secure total control through rigging voting districts (gerrymandering) and voter suppression, repeatedly disseminating lies and misinformation often enough so people accept it as the truth, the manipulation of people’s priorities and simply taking advantage of their lack of information and inability to understand what is best for them. 

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WAR – North Korea
      Sen. Lindsey Graham says a U.S. military strike of N. Korea is possible,* that we cannot allow “this madman [Kim Jong-un] to have a missile to hit America.” His Tuesday, Aug 1, interview on the Today Show, follows N. Korea’s ICBM test days ago. Graham also said the Chinese  can stop such an attack. While such a war would take place on North Korean soil, South Korea  would incur huge casualties from N. Korean artillery.
OBSERVATION: Since January, I have warned Trump would put the U.S. on a war footing (see below) for political reasons, namely the mid-terms. Now I am convinced it is front burner because the Meuller investigations are  closing in.  
      Nuclear deterrence has been effective since the 1950s, for the obvious reasons.  The countries with the largest nuclear arsenals  and estimated warheads include United States (7,500), Russia (7,200), France (300), China (250), UK (215), Pakistan (110), India (100),Israel (80).
       The uncertainty of war would JOLT the market, especially if it disrupted  trade alliances. Reportedly, it would only take 33 minutes for a ballistic missile to reach the U.S.. If detonated high over the center of the U.S., it would cause an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) which would shut down “everything”  A-to-Z indefinitely.
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TRUMP – EARLY STAGE DEMENTIA ?  
Don’t know. Clearly he has personality disorder (Narcissism), but the question is being asked more and more with references to speech, use of words, disorientation, irritability, memory loss, late night tweets, confusion, paranoia.

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TRUMP looking for a “Get Out Of Jail Free Card if the Feds close in?”
    Why not, he dodged military service with 5 deferments  during the Vietnam era (1964 – 1970).
     Reportedly, he has asked advisers about his power to pardon family members and himself  relating to Mueller’s investigation.
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W HAT HAPPENS WHEN THE INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETED ? If the Special Counselor  concludes it is “necessary and appropriate” he is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising out of the investigation, which he does after submitting a report to the attorney general explaining his reasons.

REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER:  Misconduct,  dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, good cause (??), violation of Department policies.
WOULD MUELLER BE REPLACED ? Unclear. If the Democrats controlled Congress they could appoint another Special Counselor
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  “Connect the Dots.” This investigation is open-ended
       Nigel Farage – President Trump- Jeffrey Sessions – Robert Mercer – Cambridge Analytics – Bannon- Carter Page – Kushner (Jared and Ivanka) – Eric Prince – Donald, Jr.  and Eric Trump – Wilbur Ross –  Michael Cohen – Ezra Cohen Watnick – Michael Flynn – JD Gordon  –  Christopher Steele – Michael Caputo -Breitbart News – Roger Stone – Julian Assange – Paul Manafort – Rick Gates – Jill Stein – Sam Clovis –  Kellyanne and George Conway –Dana Rohrabacher – Bill Browder – Peter W. Smith (deceased: suicide), Paul Behrends – Boris Epshteyn, Ike Kaveladze, and  Russia’s alfa Group – Felix Sater – Rob Goldstone – alfa Group – Emin Agalarov – Sergey Gorkov –  Sergey Kislyak, ambassador to the U.S., Natalia Veselnitskaya, Oleg Deripaska all connect directly or indirectly to the Trump/Russia investigation and some have a connection to Brexit, as well.
      According to the “Observer,” Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica was connected with Canada’s AggregateIQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked together on the Brexit referendum. Aggregate is also a data mining company. While Mercer was a big supporter of Trump, there is no known connection between AggregateIQ and Trump’s campaign staff.

       The Palmer Report.com  recently reported that Peter W. Smith (recent suicide) sought to collude with Russian hackers stealing emails from Trump’s opposition while claiming to be working with Michael Flynn.

       Additionally, IMHO, Vice President Mike Pence simply had to be aware of what was happening in the campaign, but is being shielded because he is the second in command if  President Trump is impeached and convicted  or forced to resign. Stephen Miller, Joseph E. Schmitz may be of interest to the FBI for information they possess relating to the FBI investigation.
      According to CNN Politics,  Marc Kasowitz  represented Trump for personal and business matters for years. Worth noting, Kasowitz is defending Russian bank, OJSC Sberbank in U.S. court, as well as a Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties with the Kremlin.
       As of July 21, Kasowitz’s is no longer Trump’s personal attorney   
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ROSENSTEIN and MUELLER OUT ?      Who Takes Over ?
       Will President Trump  fire special counsel Robert Mueller to impede criminal charges against his son Donald Jr. and stall the investigation of him and his team ?
       As I understand it, he would first have to fire  Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General –
      
Obviously,  firing Mueller would smack of  “consciousness of guilt,” and could lead to impeachment proceedings by the House, and/or increase pressure for Trump to resign..

      With Rosenstein out of the way,  associate attorney general, Rachel Brand, would take over.  If she resigns, or is fired, Dana Boente, U.S. attorney general for the Eastern District of Virginia would take over.
       I believe this scandal reaches far beyond collusion with Russia to get Trump elected.
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     REMOVING TRUMP FROM  OFFICE

Can Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, U.S. Constitution – Remove Trump ?
      It’s a stretch. 
The key for his removal is ”that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”  Section 4 mentions nothing  that he is unfit, delusional, unbalanced, crazy,  impulsive, irrational, impaired, sociopathic, psychopathic, narcissistic.
      That would be the threshold that would have to be crossed if Trump is removed from office via Section 4 of the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. There is no precedent

      It isn’t just Democrats, liberals, moderates and reasonable people who find Trump caustic, and dangerous, conservatives like George Will, David Brooks and Ross Douthart are also urging his removal.
      First, there are four ways to get rid of Trump – death, resignation, impeachment and Section 4 of the 25th Amendment.
      The procedure employing the 25th Amendment requires the Vice President and the majority of the cabinet of 15 (8) to vote to remove the president. They would submit their declaration in writing to the President pro tempore ( Sen. Orrin Hatch) and Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan) that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and the Vice President will immediately assume to office as acting president.
      However, the president may contend the move by submitting his own letter to the President pro tempore and Speaker of the House, that he believes he is capable of performing his duties, in which case he will resume the office of presidency.
       The Vice President and Cabinet members may then resubmit their declaration at which point Congress would vote within 48 hours if in session. If not, Congress  will act within 21 days where a two-thirds vote would be required to remove  him.  
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IMPEACHMENT
      A  Consult/Politico poll shows 43% of Americans want Congress to begin procedures for the impeachment of President Trump.

      The U.S. Constitution  enables Congress to remove a president for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Intitially, the House votes on one or more articles of impeachment- if a majority vote is reached, he is impeached.  BUT, impeachment only means indictment. The Senate holds a trial overseen by the chief justice and Supreme Court. A group of House members serve as prosecutors and the Senate as jurors. If two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed from office and the vice president takes over.

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Note: Source of weekly economic calendar and good recap of indicators: mam.econoday.com.

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*Stock Trader’s Almanac
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George Brooks
Investor’s first read
A Game-On Analysis, LLC publication
Brooks007read@aol.com
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Investor’s first read, is a Game-On Analysis, LLC publication for which George Brooks is sole owner, manager and writer.  Neither Game-On Analysis, LLC, nor George  Brooks  is  registered as an investment advisor.  Ideas expressed herein are the opinions of the writer, are for informational purposes, and are not to serve as the sole basis for any investment decision. References to specific securities should not be construed  as particularized or as investment advice as recommendations that you or any investors purchase or sell these securities on their own account. Readers are expected to assume full responsibility for conducting their own research pursuant to investment in keeping with their tolerance for risk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tax Cut “sizzle” Drives Optimism

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 23,328
S&P 500:2,575
Nasdaq  Comp.:6,629
Russell 2000: 1,509
Monday,  Oct. 23, 2017   9:09 a.m.
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      We start the week with talk of Tax reform happening before year-end. Just “talk” can buoy the market, though details of reform are sketchy and bottom line benefits dubious for companies that pay a rate of 25% after perks and companies that pay zilch.
       It’s the “sizzle” that sells, not the steak. But sizzle is all we have seen from this administration, it’s next win will be its first.
       All this administration’s sizzle has resulted in stock valuations that are pressing historic extremes. The S&P 500’s P/E based on projected earnings 12 months out is 17.9 versus a ten year average of 14.1.  In this environment, there is still room to run, but try to remember this market and economy are reaching extremes that indicate there the downside potential exceeds the upside.
        As market indexes notch up relentlessly, the urge to go all-in becomes irresistible, caution is tossed to the winds and tunnel vision dominates.
        Warnings like this are not only ignored, but are annoying.
        Tough darts.  I’ve see how badly a bear can maul portfolios, 13 times in all, and opt to pass on common sense about values, knowing readers’ blinders at extremes will all but block out the willingness to accept the possibility a downturn of 25% to 45% can begin any day.
        Stock values and economic indicators are suggesting the end is near, perhaps within a couple months.
        A major top could occur the day Congress passes tax reform.  The Street would go crazy. Greedy buyers would leverage up, shorts cover. Failure to pass tax reform is unthinkable.
        This is classic bull market stuff, a script that has been written over and over every four to eight years.
        After a huge decline in the stock market it will be every bit as hard to convince investors to buy as it is hard to convince them to sell as a top here is approached.
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SUPPORT “today
”: DJIA:23,301;S&P 500:2,572: ; Nasdaq Comp.:6,626
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:23,376; S&P 500:2,580;Nasdaq Comp.:6,639

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CORPORATE EARNINGS (updated October 20, 2017)  – Factset.com
      Q3 earnings growth is projected at +1.7 % down from +2.1% LAST WEEK AND +3.0% Sept 30. Q4 earnings are projected to grow +11.4%. For 2017 as a whole growth is projected at a plus 9.2%.  Currently, the P/E on   earnings is 17.9 x forward earnings. That compares with a 10-year average P/E of 14.1.
Note: These numbers change frequently. Factset.com is well worth a visit, it breaks its projections down by industry.
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 POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
THE GREAT AMERICAN EXPERIMENT UNDER SEIGENot since the Civil War has the spirit and future of our nation been at such great risk, from within.  This  administration, Congress and U.S. Supreme Court is surgically dismembering  efforts over many years to ensure the safety  and well being of “all” Americans.
     The sooner, Americans recognize these are not genuine Republican conservatives, but extremists determined dismantle that which has been achieved over the years and replace it with “their” brand  of a  quasi-fascist state.  Ben Franklin was right when asked what kind of government  the Founding Fathers had given us.  “A Republic, if you can keep it,” was his response.
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A DAFT TWERP:  Just in from Veuer  – President Trump is a ‘daft twerp’ according to Winston Churchill’s grandson, a conservative member of Parliament. The Brits consider a “twerp” as a silly, insignificant or annoying person, and “daft” as   foolish. Let’s see if the bust of Winston in Trump’s office goes the way of so many of his original administration.
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OBAMACARE   RESCUE DEAD ! Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democrat Senator Patty Murray announced a bipartisan breakthrough to shore up ACA that would revive federal subsidies for health insurers. 
      President Trump was supportive Tuesday, then turned negative Wednesday, referring to cost-sharing reduction payments (CSR) as “bailouts” for insurers.
     The attempt by the senators to stabilize ACA has also attracted the wrath of conservative Congressmen.  House speaker, Paul Ryan, does not plan to bring the bill to the floor, conservative groups, Freedom Works, Heritage Action and Club for Growth oppose it.

      How can anyone with ACA coverage know where they stand,  how can insurance companies make a decision on premiums ?
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1,318 FALSE or MISLEADING CLAIMS (LIES) by President Trump since being sworn in as President, January 20, 263 days ago. The tally is kept by the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, which breaks all lies down into 24 categories. Please, someone wake me up, tell me this is not happening….and reassure me Americans aren’t in denial.
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ADD ANOTHER LIE TO THE 1,318 referred to above.  Yesterday, Trump touted tax cuts for the middle class in Pennsylvania, saying the typical American household would get a $4,000 pay raise, and “it could be a lot more than that.”  Not mentioned is the savings would be over an eight year period, $500 a year.
     The Tax Policy Center (TPC) claims tax reform as we know it today heavily favors the rich, boosting after-tax income for the top 1% by 8.5% on average, while the bottom 95% would get a boost of 1.2%
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WRECK NAFTA ?  Bloomberg’s “The Editors” seems to think so, pointing to the disruption of long-established supply chains that would raise costs, and increase US imports.  “The evidence is clear, Nafta has helped all its members, including the U.S., achieve greater efficiency and higher living standards,” Bloomberg notes, adding undermining it or causing its collapse would  cause enormous disruption for businesses and labor pools in all three  countries.
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HOW MANY HURRICANES does it take to convince Republicans our climate is changing for the worse ?  If you guessed 4, you were wrong.  Try 40.  Monday EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the U.S. withdrawal from the President Obama’s clean power plan.  In another giant step backward, clearly not for the benefit of mankind, Pruitt wants incentives for the wind industry removed, saying he would “let them stand on their own and compete against coal natural gas and other sources.”    Hope I wake up from this bad dream – soon.
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Republicans, in lockstep with the nation’s most powerful lobby, the NRA, are prepared to vote on the bill to take gun silencers off the list of prohibited items.  The Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE) would vastly reduce procedures needed to purchase devices that when attached to a hand gun would reduce the noise to a spfft.
       What’s next on the Republican agenda – legalized murder ?
       The Republican party will take a pass on any legislation to outlaw “bump stocks,” the device used to convert a semi-automatic assault rifle to an illegal fully automatic, enabling the Las Vegas gunman to max his murder of  persons attending the Harvest Festival.  Bump stock sales have exploded, prices doubled.  
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 AMERICANS ARE TOO SCARED to have the courage to do the right thing.   If not outwardly scared, Americans are subconsciously scared. Its origin is difficult to pinpoint, but I’d say the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970’s was a start. That’s when confidence in our government began to crumble as protests against the War escalated. The horrors of war were brought into every living room, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the street.  Families were divided by “for” and “against” the war.  “Like it, or leave it” was the pro-war patriot mantra.
     President Nixon’s Watergate woes and resignation ahead of impeachment proceedings loped off a little more trust in politicians. This, combined with the OPEC oil embargo resulted in a 16-month recession and 50% drop in the S&P 500. 
     Probably, the biggest jolt came on September 11, 2001 with the terrorist attack on the New York City Trade Towers and the Pentagon.  Lies about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction got us into the Iraq War, another discredit for authority in our nation’s highest office. 
      The Great Recession (2007 – 2009) and stock market’s 50% crash was yet another jolt from which many never recovered.  Now you have President Trump, an unpredictable narcissist with 1,000 lies in eight months to his credit. Oh, and the legitimacy of his presidency challenged by investigations of collusion with Russia to bombard American voters with fake news about rival candidate Hillary Clinton and who knows what in key electoral college states Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
       White Americans are seeing too many people of color on TV, in sports, in schools in their neighborhoods, in their police force, military.  It’s fine if a black man scores a touchdown for their alma mater, just don’t run for office or beat out their child in school activities, or them for a job.
        Get used to it Republican bigot, you can deport a whole bunch of people of color, gerrymander their vote, disrespect them, but they are hungry for achievement and want to eat your lunch, like it or not.  Bigotry is un-American, and if you know what Christianity is really about bigotry is un-Christian. 

       SMALL WONDER AMERICANS FEEL THE NEED FOR AN ARSENAL IN THEIR HOME, FOR THE RIGHT TO “CARRY” A PIECE EVERYWHERE, INCLUDING BARS, EATERIES, PLAYGROUNDS, PARKS.   Americans are so scared, even sensible measures designed to make people safer are rejected.
       If the wanton murder of 20 six-year olds in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut didn’t spark an outrage, nothing will. Some whackos claim it didn’t happen, not to my surprise, some believed them.
       This was a defining incident in America.  Americans too freaking scared and intimidated by the NRA to be upset by the son of a gun-nut murdering  children. Shame !  The NRA exploited the situation for their own benefit, as Americans watched. Again, SHAME !
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According to THE HILL, Trump will shortly announce he will decertify the Iran Nuclear  agreement, offloading a final decision to Congress.
      The agreement, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed by the U.S., China, France, Germany and Russia in mid-2015 and implemented in January 2016. The deal was not an official treaty, so Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Review Act (INRA) to allow Congress to vote on JCPOA which it did by an overwhelming margin. It requires the President to “certify” the deal as long as Iran is in compliance.  Until now, that has been done, even by Trump. But he needs to reassure his “base,” whoever they are. I am not sure how many people voted for him would do so again.
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WOULD ANYONE WANT their spouse to lie repeatedly ?, their child ?, mother ?, father ?, minister ?, child’s teacher ?,  coach ?, employer ?.  IF NOT, why would they support President Trump who is on record with telling4.5 lies per day, 1,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?
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CRIMINAL CHARGES: The Palmer report.com reports on a Sept. 27 MSNBC Brian Williams interview with George W. Bush, former Asst. Atty. General, Jimmy Gurule, who lists criminal charges he expects will be levied on Trump team members, without mentioning names. Included are obstruction of justice, violations of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, violations of Federal Campaign Act, IRS tax laws, and possibly money laundering. Only Congress can put President Trump on trial, but Muller can ask a grand jury to name Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator, which is what happened to President Nixon in the Watergate scandal.
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      HUGE MISTAKE ! In my opinion the Trump presidency is a HUGE mistake, and when you make huge mistakes, you pay a huge price. It’s coming and it isn’t going to be pretty.
      In time, I believe we will learn that the Trump team either colluded or enabled Russia’s meddling with our election. Ballot boxes are not fool proof, either.
       Evidence is mounting to indicate the biggest political/business scandal ever will become news, with a lot of Trump people taking a big hit.
       Expect Trump to attempt to pardon anyone he wants, including himself. It’s a way out of facing responsibility very much like dodging the draft. Like when he justified his numerous bankruptcies, saying he only used U.S. laws to his advantage.  Well, “pardons” are his prerogative, in many, not all cases. He would take advantage of whatever loophole to avoid consequences, sort of like dodging the draft, or did I already say that ?
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       TRUMP TO SABATAGE ACA:  Unable to pass a repeal and replace bill measures to destroy health coverage for millions of Americans have already been taken. THE HILL lists a few. Funding for advertising and outreach has been slashed 90%.The enrollment period has been cut in half. The administration plans to take down the Healthcare gov. website.   The requirement for employers  and insurance plans covering birth control have  been limited. Coverage for pre-existing conditions is now in jeopardy. Trump has now announced subsidies to assist lower-income people to buy insurance will STOP IMMEDIATELY. 
       More rape and pillage.  Have these Republicans no compassion, self respect, shame ? Americans are struggling for survival.
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TAX REFORM BENEFITTING WEALTHY AS WELL AS TRUMP ?  Depends on who you ask. Trump says  he wont’ benefit  – Add that to his 1,000 lies that have been documented since his inauguration.  Everything I read indicates the little guy gets screwed.  But isn’t it the little guy/girl who is responsible for his election to the Presidency.  Tough break guys, and girls – next time leave your confirmation bias at the door and vote your interest !
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IS PRESIDENT TRUMP BROKE ? Bill Palmer, Palmerreport.com thinks so.  Why else would he hide his tax return ?
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TAX REFORM  – “Potholes and sinkholes”*
      Trump campaigned in  Missouri recently for  tax reform, including middle-class tax cuts,  and a simpler tax code. Few specifics are mentioned. The border-adjusted tax is off the table. The mortgage, charity and retirement deductions are safe. The big question is whether the tax cuts would be temporary or permanent. If th latter, the cuts may not increase the deficit.
      An August 4 – 9  Bloomberg poll of economists reveals 28 of 39 polled expect Congress to pass tax cut legislation by November 2018. Unfortunately this action is not expected to add more than  0.2 percentage points to the GDP, and that growth is forecast  to only slightly exceed  that this year’s 2.1 percent, this forecast coming from 71 economists.  Worse yet, 2019 is projected to fall back to the 2 percent level. Referring to a corporate tax rate for developed nations of 24%, Trump says…”We have no choice….we must lower our taxes.
       Facts from mic.com: In 2016 the Government Accounting Office (GAO) found at least two-thirds of U.S. corporations did not pay federal income tax between 2006 and 2012.  One-fifth of America’s largest profitable corporations didn’t pay any income tax in 2012.
      Another study released earlier this year found the effective tax rate for consistently profitable Fortune 500 companies is 21.2%
      All told, U.S. corporations pay slightly less  in overall taxes than companies  in comparable countries.
      This begs the question of how much impact would  corporate tax cuts have on the S&P 500.       
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Trump, Bannon Gone By 2019  (Investor’s first read:  3/21/2017)
      Right winger and Breitbart grad, Sebastian Gorka is now gone,  Gorka’s  exit closely follows the departure of Steve Bannon, another  Breitfart grad,  hopefully leading to the firing  of Stephen Miller, a brash, caustic right wing extremist and Breitbart supporter  cuddler. 

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ALT-RIGHT (Investor’s first read Jan. 27, 2017)       

     The Alt-Right has been associated with nationalism, racism, xenophobia, which may well be true for some of its followers, but basically they are  well to the right of  neocons, and America does not want to go there, it isn’t who most of us are. 

        Some will call the current trend in our government fascist or totalitarianism, autocracy, even corporatocracy, kratocracy, or plutocracy, however, I see it simply as a rush to secure total control through rigging voting districts (gerrymandering) and voter suppression, repeatedly disseminating lies and misinformation often enough so people accept it as the truth, the manipulation of people’s priorities and simply taking advantage of their lack of information and inability to understand what is best for them. 

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WAR – North Korea
      Sen. Lindsey Graham says a U.S. military strike of N. Korea is possible,* that we cannot allow “this madman [Kim Jong-un] to have a missile to hit America.” His Tuesday, Aug 1, interview on the Today Show, follows N. Korea’s ICBM test days ago. Graham also said the Chinese  can stop such an attack. While such a war would take place on North Korean soil, South Korea  would incur huge casualties from N. Korean artillery.
OBSERVATION: Since January, I have warned Trump would put the U.S. on a war footing (see below) for political reasons, namely the mid-terms. Now I am convinced it is front burner because the Meuller investigations are  closing in.  
      Nuclear deterrence has been effective since the 1950s, for the obvious reasons.  The countries with the largest nuclear arsenals  and estimated warheads include United States (7,500), Russia (7,200), France (300), China (250), UK (215), Pakistan (110), India (100),Israel (80).
       The uncertainty of war would JOLT the market, especially if it disrupted  trade alliances. Reportedly, it would only take 33 minutes for a ballistic missile to reach the U.S.. If detonated high over the center of the U.S., it would cause an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) which would shut down “everything”  A-to-Z indefinitely.
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TRUMP – EARLY STAGE DEMENTIA ?  
Don’t know. Clearly he has personality disorder (Narcissism), but the question is being asked more and more with references to speech, use of words, disorientation, irritability, memory loss, late night tweets, confusion, paranoia.

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TRUMP looking for a “Get Out Of Jail Free Card if the Feds close in?”
    Why not, he dodged military service with 5 deferments  during the Vietnam era (1964 – 1970).
     Reportedly, he has asked advisers about his power to pardon family members and himself  relating to Mueller’s investigation.
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W HAT HAPPENS WHEN THE INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETED ? If the Special Counselor  concludes it is “necessary and appropriate” he is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising out of the investigation, which he does after submitting a report to the attorney general explaining his reasons.

REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER:  Misconduct,  dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, good cause (??), violation of Department policies.
WOULD MUELLER BE REPLACED ? Unclear. If the Democrats controlled Congress they could appoint another Special Counselor
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  “Connect the Dots.” This investigation is open-ended
       Nigel Farage – President Trump- Jeffrey Sessions – Robert Mercer – Cambridge Analytics – Bannon- Carter Page – Kushner (Jared and Ivanka) – Eric Prince – Donald, Jr.  and Eric Trump – Wilbur Ross –  Michael Cohen – Ezra Cohen Watnick – Michael Flynn – JD Gordon  –  Christopher Steele – Michael Caputo -Breitbart News – Roger Stone – Julian Assange – Paul Manafort – Rick Gates – Jill Stein – Sam Clovis –  Kellyanne and George Conway –Dana Rohrabacher – Bill Browder – Peter W. Smith (deceased: suicide), Paul Behrends – Boris Epshteyn, Ike Kaveladze, and  Russia’s alfa Group – Felix Sater – Rob Goldstone – alfa Group – Emin Agalarov – Sergey Gorkov –  Sergey Kislyak, ambassador to the U.S., Natalia Veselnitskaya, Oleg Deripaska all connect directly or indirectly to the Trump/Russia investigation and some have a connection to Brexit, as well.
      According to the “Observer,” Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica was connected with Canada’s AggregateIQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked together on the Brexit referendum. Aggregate is also a data mining company. While Mercer was a big supporter of Trump, there is no known connection between AggregateIQ and Trump’s campaign staff.

       The Palmer Report.com  recently reported that Peter W. Smith (recent suicide) sought to collude with Russian hackers stealing emails from Trump’s opposition while claiming to be working with Michael Flynn.

       Additionally, IMHO, Vice President Mike Pence simply had to be aware of what was happening in the campaign, but is being shielded because he is the second in command if  President Trump is impeached and convicted  or forced to resign. Stephen Miller, Joseph E. Schmitz may be of interest to the FBI for information they possess relating to the FBI investigation.
      According to CNN Politics,  Marc Kasowitz  represented Trump for personal and business matters for years. Worth noting, Kasowitz is defending Russian bank, OJSC Sberbank in U.S. court, as well as a Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties with the Kremlin.
       As of July 21, Kasowitz’s is no longer Trump’s personal attorney   
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ROSENSTEIN and MUELLER OUT ?      Who Takes Over ?
       Will President Trump  fire special counsel Robert Mueller to impede criminal charges against his son Donald Jr. and stall the investigation of him and his team ?
       As I understand it, he would first have to fire  Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General –
      
Obviously,  firing Mueller would smack of  “consciousness of guilt,” and could lead to impeachment proceedings by the House, and/or increase pressure for Trump to resign..

      With Rosenstein out of the way,  associate attorney general, Rachel Brand, would take over.  If she resigns, or is fired, Dana Boente, U.S. attorney general for the Eastern District of Virginia would take over.
       I believe this scandal reaches far beyond collusion with Russia to get Trump elected.
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     REMOVING TRUMP FROM  OFFICE

Can Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, U.S. Constitution – Remove Trump ?
      It’s a stretch. 
The key for his removal is ”that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”  Section 4 mentions nothing  that he is unfit, delusional, unbalanced, crazy,  impulsive, irrational, impaired, sociopathic, psychopathic, narcissistic.
      That would be the threshold that would have to be crossed if Trump is removed from office via Section 4 of the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. There is no precedent

      It isn’t just Democrats, liberals, moderates and reasonable people who find Trump caustic, and dangerous, conservatives like George Will, David Brooks and Ross Douthart are also urging his removal.
      First, there are four ways to get rid of Trump – death, resignation, impeachment and Section 4 of the 25th Amendment.
      The procedure employing the 25th Amendment requires the Vice President and the majority of the cabinet of 15 (8) to vote to remove the president. They would submit their declaration in writing to the President pro tempore ( Sen. Orrin Hatch) and Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan) that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and the Vice President will immediately assume to office as acting president.
      However, the president may contend the move by submitting his own letter to the President pro tempore and Speaker of the House, that he believes he is capable of performing his duties, in which case he will resume the office of presidency.
       The Vice President and Cabinet members may then resubmit their declaration at which point Congress would vote within 48 hours if in session. If not, Congress  will act within 21 days where a two-thirds vote would be required to remove  him.  
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IMPEACHMENT
      A  Consult/Politico poll shows 43% of Americans want Congress to begin procedures for the impeachment of President Trump.

      The U.S. Constitution  enables Congress to remove a president for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Intitially, the House votes on one or more articles of impeachment- if a majority vote is reached, he is impeached.  BUT, impeachment only means indictment. The Senate holds a trial overseen by the chief justice and Supreme Court. A group of House members serve as prosecutors and the Senate as jurors. If two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed from office and the vice president takes over.

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Note: Source of weekly economic calendar and good recap of indicators: mam.econoday.com.

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*Stock Trader’s Almanac
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George Brooks
Investor’s first read
A Game-On Analysis, LLC publication
Brooks007read@aol.com
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Investor’s first read, is a Game-On Analysis, LLC publication for which George Brooks is sole owner, manager and writer.  Neither Game-On Analysis, LLC, nor George  Brooks  is  registered as an investment advisor.  Ideas expressed herein are the opinions of the writer, are for informational purposes, and are not to serve as the sole basis for any investment decision. References to specific securities should not be construed  as particularized or as investment advice as recommendations that you or any investors purchase or sell these securities on their own account. Readers are expected to assume full responsibility for conducting their own research pursuant to investment in keeping with their tolerance for risk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Budget Resolution Paves Way For Tax Cut Debate

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 23,163
S&P 500:2,562
Nasdaq  Comp.:6,605
Russell 2000: 1,502
Friday,  Oct. 20, 2017   9:09 a.m.
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      Yesterday, the Senate adopted a fiscal 2018 budget resolution, paving the way for approval of its tax reform without Democrat support.  Draft legislation will be  released in November.

      TODAY
      While some signs of fatigue  have surfaced, all three major market averages recouped losses sustained in early trading yesterday, suggesting the Street is still using any weakness to buy.
       Expect a strong open today now that a budget resolution has passed the Senate, and investors are scrambling to buy and shorts panicking to cover.
       Debate over specifics will be intense in coming weeks.     

      The “best six months for owning stocks”* runs generally from the beginning of November to the beginning of May. Not so the last time around. The market took off on November 6, 2016 and never stopped rising. What does that mean for the six months coming up ?

      All bets are off. This bull market is up 284% since early March 2009. That’s a lot considering it is fundamentally overvalued now and no one, including President Trump knows what Trump will do in the interim. Even so, the Street has its hopes pinned on a massive stimulus, which while it has been elusive to date, may still happen.
     Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin recently told  a Politico podcast , if we don’t get tax reform done, you’re going to see a reversal of significant proportions.       
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SUPPORT “today
”: DJIA:23,147;S&P 500:2,561: ; Nasdaq Comp.:6,697
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:23,214; S&P 500:2,561;Nasdaq Comp.:6,621

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CORPORATE EARNINGS (updated October 6, 2017)  – Factset.com
      Q3 earnings growth is projected at +2.1%. The woes of the P&C insurance industry will hammer earnings in the quarter.  Excluding insurance, Q3 would be projected at +4.9%. Q4 earnings are projected to grow +11.1%. For 2017 as a whole growth is projected at a plus 9.1%.  Currently, the P/E on   earnings is 18.0 x forward earnings. That compares with a 10-year average P/E of 14.1.
Note: These numbers change frequently. Factset.com is well worth a visit, it breaks its projections down by industry.
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 POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
THE GREAT AMERICAN EXPERIMENT UNDER SEIGENot since the Civil War has the spirit and future of our nation been at such great risk, from within.  This  administration, Congress and U.S. Supreme Court is surgically dismembering  efforts over many years to ensure the safety  and well being of “all” Americans.
     The sooner, Americans recognize these are not genuine Republican conservatives, but extremists determined dismantle that which has been achieved over the years and replace it with “their” brand  of a  quasi-fascist state.  Ben Franklin was right when asked what kind of government  the Founding Fathers had given us.  “A Republic, if you can keep it,” was his response.
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OBAMACARE   RESCUE DEAD ! Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democrat Senator Patty Murray announced a bipartisan breakthrough to shore up ACA that would revive federal subsidies for health insurers. 
      President Trump was supportive Tuesday, then turned negative Wednesday, referring to cost-sharing reduction payments (CSR) as “bailouts” for insurers.
     The attempt by the senators to stabilize ACA has also attracted the wrath of conservative Congressmen.  House speaker, Paul Ryan, does not plan to bring the bill to the floor, conservative groups, Freedom Works, Heritage Action and Club for Growth oppose it.

      How can anyone with ACA coverage know where they stand,  how can insurance companies make a decision on premiums ?
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1,318 FALSE or MISLEADING CLAIMS (LIES) by President Trump since being sworn in as President, January 20, 263 days ago. The tally is kept by the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, which breaks all lies down into 24 categories. Please, someone wake me up, tell me this is not happening….and reassure me Americans aren’t in denial.
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ADD ANOTHER LIE TO THE 1,318 referred to above.  Yesterday, Trump touted tax cuts for the middle class in Pennsylvania, saying the typical American household would get a $4,000 pay raise, and “it could be a lot more than that.”  Not mentioned is the savings would be over an eight year period, $500 a year.
     The Tax Policy Center (TPC) claims tax reform as we know it today heavily favors the rich, boosting after-tax income for the top 1% by 8.5% on average, while the bottom 95% would get a boost of 1.2%
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WRECK NAFTA ?  Bloomberg’s “The Editors” seems to think so, pointing to the disruption of long-established supply chains that would raise costs, and increase US imports.  “The evidence is clear, Nafta has helped all its members, including the U.S., achieve greater efficiency and higher living standards,” Bloomberg notes, adding undermining it or causing its collapse would  cause enormous disruption for businesses and labor pools in all three  countries.
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HOW MANY HURRICANES does it take to convince Republicans our climate is changing for the worse ?  If you guessed 4, you were wrong.  Try 40.  Monday EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the U.S. withdrawal from the President Obama’s clean power plan.  In another giant step backward, clearly not for the benefit of mankind, Pruitt wants incentives for the wind industry removed, saying he would “let them stand on their own and compete against coal natural gas and other sources.”    Hope I wake up from this bad dream – soon.
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Republicans, in lockstep with the nation’s most powerful lobby, the NRA, are prepared to vote on the bill to take gun silencers off the list of prohibited items.  The Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE) would vastly reduce procedures needed to purchase devices that when attached to a hand gun would reduce the noise to a spfft.
       What’s next on the Republican agenda – legalized murder ?
       The Republican party will take a pass on any legislation to outlaw “bump stocks,” the device used to convert a semi-automatic assault rifle to an illegal fully automatic, enabling the Las Vegas gunman to max his murder of  persons attending the Harvest Festival.  Bump stock sales have exploded, prices doubled.  
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 AMERICANS ARE TOO SCARED to have the courage to do the right thing.   If not outwardly scared, Americans are subconsciously scared. Its origin is difficult to pinpoint, but I’d say the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970’s was a start. That’s when confidence in our government began to crumble as protests against the War escalated. The horrors of war were brought into every living room, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the street.  Families were divided by “for” and “against” the war.  “Like it, or leave it” was the pro-war patriot mantra.
     President Nixon’s Watergate woes and resignation ahead of impeachment proceedings loped off a little more trust in politicians. This, combined with the OPEC oil embargo resulted in a 16-month recession and 50% drop in the S&P 500. 
     Probably, the biggest jolt came on September 11, 2001 with the terrorist attack on the New York City Trade Towers and the Pentagon.  Lies about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction got us into the Iraq War, another discredit for authority in our nation’s highest office. 
      The Great Recession (2007 – 2009) and stock market’s 50% crash was yet another jolt from which many never recovered.  Now you have President Trump, an unpredictable narcissist with 1,000 lies in eight months to his credit. Oh, and the legitimacy of his presidency challenged by investigations of collusion with Russia to bombard American voters with fake news about rival candidate Hillary Clinton and who knows what in key electoral college states Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
       White Americans are seeing too many people of color on TV, in sports, in schools in their neighborhoods, in their police force, military.  It’s fine if a black man scores a touchdown for their alma mater, just don’t run for office or beat out their child in school activities, or them for a job.
        Get used to it Republican bigot, you can deport a whole bunch of people of color, gerrymander their vote, disrespect them, but they are hungry for achievement and want to eat your lunch, like it or not.  Bigotry is un-American, and if you know what Christianity is really about bigotry is un-Christian. 

       SMALL WONDER AMERICANS FEEL THE NEED FOR AN ARSENAL IN THEIR HOME, FOR THE RIGHT TO “CARRY” A PIECE EVERYWHERE, INCLUDING BARS, EATERIES, PLAYGROUNDS, PARKS.   Americans are so scared, even sensible measures designed to make people safer are rejected.
       If the wanton murder of 20 six-year olds in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut didn’t spark an outrage, nothing will. Some whackos claim it didn’t happen, not to my surprise, some believed them.
       This was a defining incident in America.  Americans too freaking scared and intimidated by the NRA to be upset by the son of a gun-nut murdering  children. Shame !  The NRA exploited the situation for their own benefit, as Americans watched. Again, SHAME !
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According to THE HILL, Trump will shortly announce he will decertify the Iran Nuclear  agreement, offloading a final decision to Congress.
      The agreement, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed by the U.S., China, France, Germany and Russia in mid-2015 and implemented in January 2016. The deal was not an official treaty, so Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Review Act (INRA) to allow Congress to vote on JCPOA which it did by an overwhelming margin. It requires the President to “certify” the deal as long as Iran is in compliance.  Until now, that has been done, even by Trump. But he needs to reassure his “base,” whoever they are. I am not sure how many people voted for him would do so again.
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WOULD ANYONE WANT their spouse to lie repeatedly ?, their child ?, mother ?, father ?, minister ?, child’s teacher ?,  coach ?, employer ?.  IF NOT, why would they support President Trump who is on record with telling4.5 lies per day, 1,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?
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CRIMINAL CHARGES: The Palmer report.com reports on a Sept. 27 MSNBC Brian Williams interview with George W. Bush, former Asst. Atty. General, Jimmy Gurule, who lists criminal charges he expects will be levied on Trump team members, without mentioning names. Included are obstruction of justice, violations of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, violations of Federal Campaign Act, IRS tax laws, and possibly money laundering. Only Congress can put President Trump on trial, but Muller can ask a grand jury to name Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator, which is what happened to President Nixon in the Watergate scandal.
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      HUGE MISTAKE ! In my opinion the Trump presidency is a HUGE mistake, and when you make huge mistakes, you pay a huge price. It’s coming and it isn’t going to be pretty.
      In time, I believe we will learn that the Trump team either colluded or enabled Russia’s meddling with our election. Ballot boxes are not fool proof, either.
       Evidence is mounting to indicate the biggest political/business scandal ever will become news, with a lot of Trump people taking a big hit.
       Expect Trump to attempt to pardon anyone he wants, including himself. It’s a way out of facing responsibility very much like dodging the draft. Like when he justified his numerous bankruptcies, saying he only used U.S. laws to his advantage.  Well, “pardons” are his prerogative, in many, not all cases. He would take advantage of whatever loophole to avoid consequences, sort of like dodging the draft, or did I already say that ?
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       TRUMP TO SABATAGE ACA:  Unable to pass a repeal and replace bill measures to destroy health coverage for millions of Americans have already been taken. THE HILL lists a few. Funding for advertising and outreach has been slashed 90%.The enrollment period has been cut in half. The administration plans to take down the Healthcare gov. website.   The requirement for employers  and insurance plans covering birth control have  been limited. Coverage for pre-existing conditions is now in jeopardy. Trump has now announced subsidies to assist lower-income people to buy insurance will STOP IMMEDIATELY. 
       More rape and pillage.  Have these Republicans no compassion, self respect, shame ? Americans are struggling for survival.
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TAX REFORM BENEFITTING WEALTHY AS WELL AS TRUMP ?  Depends on who you ask. Trump says  he wont’ benefit  – Add that to his 1,000 lies that have been documented since his inauguration.  Everything I read indicates the little guy gets screwed.  But isn’t it the little guy/girl who is responsible for his election to the Presidency.  Tough break guys, and girls – next time leave your confirmation bias at the door and vote your interest !
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IS PRESIDENT TRUMP BROKE ? Bill Palmer, Palmerreport.com thinks so.  Why else would he hide his tax return ?
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TAX REFORM  – “Potholes and sinkholes”*
      Trump campaigned in  Missouri recently for  tax reform, including middle-class tax cuts,  and a simpler tax code. Few specifics are mentioned. The border-adjusted tax is off the table. The mortgage, charity and retirement deductions are safe. The big question is whether the tax cuts would be temporary or permanent. If th latter, the cuts may not increase the deficit.
      An August 4 – 9  Bloomberg poll of economists reveals 28 of 39 polled expect Congress to pass tax cut legislation by November 2018. Unfortunately this action is not expected to add more than  0.2 percentage points to the GDP, and that growth is forecast  to only slightly exceed  that this year’s 2.1 percent, this forecast coming from 71 economists.  Worse yet, 2019 is projected to fall back to the 2 percent level. Referring to a corporate tax rate for developed nations of 24%, Trump says…”We have no choice….we must lower our taxes.
       Facts from mic.com: In 2016 the Government Accounting Office (GAO) found at least two-thirds of U.S. corporations did not pay federal income tax between 2006 and 2012.  One-fifth of America’s largest profitable corporations didn’t pay any income tax in 2012.
      Another study released earlier this year found the effective tax rate for consistently profitable Fortune 500 companies is 21.2%
      All told, U.S. corporations pay slightly less  in overall taxes than companies  in comparable countries.
      This begs the question of how much impact would  corporate tax cuts have on the S&P 500.       
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Trump, Bannon Gone By 2019  (Investor’s first read:  3/21/2017)
      Right winger and Breitbart grad, Sebastian Gorka is now gone,  Gorka’s  exit closely follows the departure of Steve Bannon, another  Breitfart grad,  hopefully leading to the firing  of Stephen Miller, a brash, caustic right wing extremist and Breitbart supporter  cuddler. 

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ALT-RIGHT (Investor’s first read Jan. 27, 2017)       

     The Alt-Right has been associated with nationalism, racism, xenophobia, which may well be true for some of its followers, but basically they are  well to the right of  neocons, and America does not want to go there, it isn’t who most of us are. 

        Some will call the current trend in our government fascist or totalitarianism, autocracy, even corporatocracy, kratocracy, or plutocracy, however, I see it simply as a rush to secure total control through rigging voting districts (gerrymandering) and voter suppression, repeatedly disseminating lies and misinformation often enough so people accept it as the truth, the manipulation of people’s priorities and simply taking advantage of their lack of information and inability to understand what is best for them. 

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WAR – North Korea
      Sen. Lindsey Graham says a U.S. military strike of N. Korea is possible,* that we cannot allow “this madman [Kim Jong-un] to have a missile to hit America.” His Tuesday, Aug 1, interview on the Today Show, follows N. Korea’s ICBM test days ago. Graham also said the Chinese  can stop such an attack. While such a war would take place on North Korean soil, South Korea  would incur huge casualties from N. Korean artillery.
OBSERVATION: Since January, I have warned Trump would put the U.S. on a war footing (see below) for political reasons, namely the mid-terms. Now I am convinced it is front burner because the Meuller investigations are  closing in.  
      Nuclear deterrence has been effective since the 1950s, for the obvious reasons.  The countries with the largest nuclear arsenals  and estimated warheads include United States (7,500), Russia (7,200), France (300), China (250), UK (215), Pakistan (110), India (100),Israel (80).
       The uncertainty of war would JOLT the market, especially if it disrupted  trade alliances. Reportedly, it would only take 33 minutes for a ballistic missile to reach the U.S.. If detonated high over the center of the U.S., it would cause an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) which would shut down “everything”  A-to-Z indefinitely.
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TRUMP – EARLY STAGE DEMENTIA ?  
Don’t know. Clearly he has personality disorder (Narcissism), but the question is being asked more and more with references to speech, use of words, disorientation, irritability, memory loss, late night tweets, confusion, paranoia.

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TRUMP looking for a “Get Out Of Jail Free Card if the Feds close in?”
    Why not, he dodged military service with 5 deferments  during the Vietnam era (1964 – 1970).
     Reportedly, he has asked advisers about his power to pardon family members and himself  relating to Mueller’s investigation.
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W HAT HAPPENS WHEN THE INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETED ? If the Special Counselor  concludes it is “necessary and appropriate” he is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising out of the investigation, which he does after submitting a report to the attorney general explaining his reasons.

REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER:  Misconduct,  dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, good cause (??), violation of Department policies.
WOULD MUELLER BE REPLACED ? Unclear. If the Democrats controlled Congress they could appoint another Special Counselor
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  “Connect the Dots.” This investigation is open-ended
       Nigel Farage – President Trump- Jeffrey Sessions – Robert Mercer – Cambridge Analytics – Bannon- Carter Page – Kushner (Jared and Ivanka) – Eric Prince – Donald, Jr.  and Eric Trump – Wilbur Ross –  Michael Cohen – Ezra Cohen Watnick – Michael Flynn – JD Gordon  –  Christopher Steele – Michael Caputo -Breitbart News – Roger Stone – Julian Assange – Paul Manafort – Rick Gates – Jill Stein – Sam Clovis –  Kellyanne and George Conway –Dana Rohrabacher – Bill Browder – Peter W. Smith (deceased: suicide), Paul Behrends – Boris Epshteyn, Ike Kaveladze, and  Russia’s alfa Group – Felix Sater – Rob Goldstone – alfa Group – Emin Agalarov – Sergey Gorkov –  Sergey Kislyak, ambassador to the U.S., Natalia Veselnitskaya, Oleg Deripaska all connect directly or indirectly to the Trump/Russia investigation and some have a connection to Brexit, as well.
      According to the “Observer,” Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica was connected with Canada’s AggregateIQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked together on the Brexit referendum. Aggregate is also a data mining company. While Mercer was a big supporter of Trump, there is no known connection between AggregateIQ and Trump’s campaign staff.

       The Palmer Report.com  recently reported that Peter W. Smith (recent suicide) sought to collude with Russian hackers stealing emails from Trump’s opposition while claiming to be working with Michael Flynn.

       Additionally, IMHO, Vice President Mike Pence simply had to be aware of what was happening in the campaign, but is being shielded because he is the second in command if  President Trump is impeached and convicted  or forced to resign. Stephen Miller, Joseph E. Schmitz may be of interest to the FBI for information they possess relating to the FBI investigation.
      According to CNN Politics,  Marc Kasowitz  represented Trump for personal and business matters for years. Worth noting, Kasowitz is defending Russian bank, OJSC Sberbank in U.S. court, as well as a Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties with the Kremlin.
       As of July 21, Kasowitz’s is no longer Trump’s personal attorney   
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ROSENSTEIN and MUELLER OUT ?      Who Takes Over ?
       Will President Trump  fire special counsel Robert Mueller Donald Trump, Jr. to impede criminal charges against his son Donald Jr. and stall the investigation of he and his team ?
       As I understand it, he would first have to fire  Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General –
      
Obviously,  firing Mueller would smack of  “consciousness of guilt,” and could lead to impeachment proceedings by the House, and/or increase pressure for Trump to resign..

      With Rosenstein out of the way,  associate attorney general, Rachel Brand, would take over.  If she resigns, or is fired, Dana Boente, U.S. attorney general for the Eastern District of Virginia would take over.
       I believe this scandal reaches far beyond collusion with Russia to get Trump elected.
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     REMOVING TRUMP FROM  OFFICE

Can Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, U.S. Constitution – Remove Trump ?
      It’s a stretch. 
The key for his removal is ”that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”  Section 4 mentions nothing  that he is unfit, delusional, unbalanced, crazy,  impulsive, irrational, impaired, sociopathic, psychopathic, narcissistic.
      That would be the threshold that would have to be crossed if Trump is removed from office via Section 4 of the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. There is no precedent

      It isn’t just Democrats, liberals, moderates and reasonable people who find Trump caustic, and dangerous, conservatives like George Will, David Brooks and Ross Douthart are also urging his removal.
      First, there are four ways to get rid of Trump – death, resignation, impeachment and Section 4 of the 25th Amendment.
      The procedure employing the 25th Amendment requires the Vice President and the majority of the cabinet of 15 (8) to vote to remove the president. They would submit their declaration in writing to the President pro tempore ( Sen. Orrin Hatch) and Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan) that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and the Vice President will immediately assume to office as acting president.
      However, the president may contend the move by submitting his own letter to the President pro tempore and Speaker of the House, that he believes he is capable of performing his duties, in which case he will resume the office of presidency.
       The Vice President and Cabinet members may then resubmit their declaration at which point Congress would vote within 48 hours if in session. If not, Congress  will act within 21 days where a two-thirds vote would be required to remove  him.  
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IMPEACHMENT
      A  Consult/Politico poll shows 43% of Americans want Congress to begin procedures for the impeachment of President Trump.

      The U.S. Constitution  enables Congress to remove a president for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Intitially, the House votes on one or more articles of impeachment- if a majority vote is reached, he is impeached.  BUT, impeachment only means indictment. The Senate holds a trial overseen by the chief justice and Supreme Court. A group of House members serve as prosecutors and the Senate as jurors. If two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed from office and the vice president takes over.

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Note: Source of weekly economic calendar and good recap of indicators: mam.econoday.com.

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*Stock Trader’s Almanac
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George Brooks
Investor’s first read
A Game-On Analysis, LLC publication
Brooks007read@aol.com
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Investor’s first read, is a Game-On Analysis, LLC publication for which George Brooks is sole owner, manager and writer.  Neither Game-On Analysis, LLC, nor George  Brooks  is  registered as an investment advisor.  Ideas expressed herein are the opinions of the writer, are for informational purposes, and are not to serve as the sole basis for any investment decision. References to specific securities should not be construed  as particularized or as investment advice as recommendations that you or any investors purchase or sell these securities on their own account. Readers are expected to assume full responsibility for conducting their own research pursuant to investment in keeping with their tolerance for risk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signs of Fatigue

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 23,157
S&P 500:2,561
Nasdaq  Comp6.624.:
Russell 2000: 1,505
Thursday,  Oct. 19, 2017   9:09 a.m.
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      The “best six months for owning stocks* runs generally from the beginning of November to the beginning of May. Not so the last time around. The market took off on November 6, 2016 and never stopped rising. What does that mean for the six months coming up ?

All bets are off. This bull market is up 284% since early March 2009. That’s a lot considering it is fundamentally overvalued now and no one, including President Trump knows what Trump will do in the interim.
      Nevertheless, it’s still October, so BEWARE.

TECH-TALK :  Market not as strong as recent action suggests.
     
Newspaper headlines hype the DJIA’s burst across 23,000 as a major breakthrough. It would be a big deal “if” the DJIA tried and failed a number of times to cross 23,000, then broke up through it. Financial press needs headlines.

      There is some internal weakness that needs to be pointed out.  The DJIA was up 160 points yesterday ( +0.70%); but the S&P 500 was only up 0.07%; and the Nasdaq Comp. was unchanged.
      But two stocks out of the DJIA 30,  IBM +13.01 pts. and Goldman Sachs +5.85 pts., accounted for 130 of the 160-point gain.
Wait a  minute, this is supposed to be a blue chip indicator, how can just two stocks distort it that much ?
      Because it is price-weighted, the high-priced stocks like IBM (159) and Goldman (242) have a greater point impact on the DJIA than lower priced Dow stocks like Cisco (33.55) and Pfizer (35.23) given the same percentage move.
      By comparison, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Comp. are market value weighted (shares outstanding x price).  While the large capitalization stocks dominate these indexes, two or three stocks can’t have as much impact as they can the DJIA.
CONCLUSION: The market is not as buoyant as the DJIA suggests. Signs of fatigue.

      Then too, adjusted for the decline in the US dollar this year, the S&P 500 is actually down to 2,240 vs. yesterday’s close 2,561.
      While NYSE advances exceeded declines (1,546 to 1,313) yesterday, a ratio of 1.18, the ratio of up-volume to down-volume of  0.97 did not indicate a strong market.
      Likewise, advancing issues for the Nasdaq exceeded declines (1,661 to 1,253), a ratio of  1.33, which was fine, but the ratio of up-volume to down volume of 1.29 didn’t indicate a strong market.
In a booming market advances and up-volume should exceed declines and down-volume by a lot more than this.
      As Q3 earnings flow in, Dow stocks will be impacted and may distort the DJIA. Yesterday, both IBM  and GS opened strong giving the impression the market was off to a good start, because they immediately impacted the DJIA.
      To compute how much a stock is impacting the DJIA, the stock’s change must be divided by 0.14523.  IBM was up 13 points yesterday,  13 divided by the DJIA “divisor” of 0.14523 equals the 89.5 points it added to the DJIA.
TODAY
       The market will open down.  The STOXX Europe 600 plunged overnight in face of concerns for Spain (Catalonia), China and some bad corporate reports. This plunge comes out of nowhere after a steadily rising STOXX 600.
       Will the US markets follow suit ?   They should, a correction is long overdue and internal weakness (see above) has been signaling market fatigue.
        But, the Street’s computers algorithms still say buy, or they have until today.  Any change to this think-alike mentality to a less bullish or bearish focus will have an immediate and profound impact on the market.
        If they buy aggressively at the open, it’s still game-on.  A rally failure would be bad news.  
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SUPPORT “today
”: DJIA:23,067;S&P 500:2,557: 2,563; Nasdaq Comp.:6,615
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:23,167; S&P 500:2,561;Nasdaq Comp.:6,629

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CORPORATE EARNINGS (updated October 6, 2017)  – Factset.com
      Q3 earnings growth is projected at +2.1%. The woes of the P&C insurance industry will hammer earnings in the quarter.  Excluding insurance, Q3 would be projected at +4.9%. Q4 earnings are projected to grow +11.1%. For 2017 as a whole growth is projected at a plus 9.1%.  Currently, the P/E on   earnings is 18.0 x forward earnings. That compares with a 10-year average P/E of 14.1.
Note: These numbers change frequently. Factset.com is well worth a visit, it breaks its projections down by industry.
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 POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
THE GREAT AMERICAN EXPERIMENT UNDER SEIGENot since the Civil War has the spirit and future of our nation been at such great risk, from within.  This  administration, Congress and U.S. Supreme Court is surgically dismembering  efforts over many years to ensure the safety  and well being of “all” Americans.
     The sooner, Americans recognize these are not genuine Republican conservatives, but extremists determined dismantle that which has been achieved over the years and replace it with “their” brand  of a  quasi-fascist state.  Ben Franklin was right when asked what kind of government  the Founding Fathers had given us.  “A Republic, if you can keep it,” was his response.
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OBAMACARE   RESCUE DEAD ! Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democrat Senator Patty Murray announced a bipartisan breakthrough to shore up ACA that would revive federal subsidies for health insurers. 
      President Trump was supportive Tuesday, then turned negative Wednesday, referring to cost-sharing reduction payments (CSR) as “bailouts” for insurers.
     The attempt by the senators to stabilize ACA has also attracted the wrath of conservative Congressmen.  House speaker, Paul Ryan, does not plan to bring the bill to the floor, conservative groups, Freedom Works, Heritage Action and Club for Growth oppose it.

      How can anyone with ACA coverage know where they stand,  how can insurance companies make a decision on premiums ?
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1,318 FALSE or MISLEADING CLAIMS (LIES) by President Trump since being sworn in as President, January 20, 263 days ago. The tally is kept by the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, which breaks all lies down into 24 categories. Please, someone wake me up, tell me this is not happening….and reassure me Americans aren’t in denial.
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ADD ANOTHER LIE TO THE 1,318 referred to above.  Yesterday, Trump touted tax cuts for the middle class in Pennsylvania, saying the typical American household would get a $4,000 pay raise, and “it could be a lot more than that.”  Not mentioned is the savings would be over an eight year period, $500 a year.
     The Tax Policy Center (TPC) claims tax reform as we know it today heavily favors the rich, boosting after-tax income for the top 1% by 8.5% on average, while the bottom 95% would get a boost of 1.2%
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WRECK NAFTA ?  Bloomberg’s “The Editors” seems to think so, pointing to the disruption of long-established supply chains that would raise costs, and increase US imports.  “The evidence is clear, Nafta has helped all its members, including the U.S., achieve greater efficiency and higher living standards,” Bloomberg notes, adding undermining it or causing its collapse would  cause enormous disruption for businesses and labor pools in all three  countries.
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HOW MANY HURRICANES does it take to convince Republicans our climate is changing for the worse ?  If you guessed 4, you were wrong.  Try 40.  Monday EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the U.S. withdrawal from the President Obama’s clean power plan.  In another giant step backward, clearly not for the benefit of mankind, Pruitt wants incentives for the wind industry removed, saying he would “let them stand on their own and compete against coal natural gas and other sources.”    Hope I wake up from this bad dream – soon.
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Republicans, in lockstep with the nation’s most powerful lobby, the NRA, are prepared to vote on the bill to take gun silencers off the list of prohibited items.  The Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE) would vastly reduce procedures needed to purchase devices that when attached to a hand gun would reduce the noise to a spfft.
       What’s next on the Republican agenda – legalized murder ?
       The Republican party will take a pass on any legislation to outlaw “bump stocks,” the device used to convert a semi-automatic assault rifle to an illegal fully automatic, enabling the Las Vegas gunman to max his murder of  persons attending the Harvest Festival.  Bump stock sales have exploded, prices doubled.  
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 AMERICANS ARE TOO SCARED to have the courage to do the right thing.   If not outwardly scared, Americans are subconsciously scared. Its origin is difficult to pinpoint, but I’d say the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970’s was a start. That’s when confidence in our government began to crumble as protests against the War escalated. The horrors of war were brought into every living room, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the street.  Families were divided by “for” and “against” the war.  “Like it, or leave it” was the pro-war patriot mantra.
     President Nixon’s Watergate woes and resignation ahead of impeachment proceedings loped off a little more trust in politicians. This, combined with the OPEC oil embargo resulted in a 16-month recession and 50% drop in the S&P 500. 
     Probably, the biggest jolt came on September 11, 2001 with the terrorist attack on the New York City Trade Towers and the Pentagon.  Lies about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction got us into the Iraq War, another discredit for authority in our nation’s highest office. 
      The Great Recession (2007 – 2009) and stock market’s 50% crash was yet another jolt from which many never recovered.  Now you have President Trump, an unpredictable narcissist with 1,000 lies in eight months to his credit. Oh, and the legitimacy of his presidency challenged by investigations of collusion with Russia to bombard American voters with fake news about rival candidate Hillary Clinton and who knows what in key electoral college states Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
       White Americans are seeing too many people of color on TV, in sports, in schools in their neighborhoods, in their police force, military.  It’s fine if a black man scores a touchdown for their alma mater, just don’t run for office or beat out their child in school activities, or them for a job.
        Get used to it Republican bigot, you can deport a whole bunch of people of color, gerrymander their vote, disrespect them, but they are hungry for achievement and want to eat your lunch, like it or not.  Bigotry is un-American, and if you know what Christianity is really about bigotry is un-Christian. 

       SMALL WONDER AMERICANS FEEL THE NEED FOR AN ARSENAL IN THEIR HOME, FOR THE RIGHT TO “CARRY” A PIECE EVERYWHERE, INCLUDING BARS, EATERIES, PLAYGROUNDS, PARKS.   Americans are so scared, even sensible measures designed to make people safer are rejected.
       If the wanton murder of 20 six-year olds in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut didn’t spark an outrage, nothing will. Some whackos claim it didn’t happen, not to my surprise, some believed them.
       This was a defining incident in America.  Americans too freaking scared and intimidated by the NRA to be upset by the son of a gun-nut murdering  children. Shame !  The NRA exploited the situation for their own benefit, as Americans watched. Again, SHAME !
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According to THE HILL, Trump will shortly announce he will decertify the Iran Nuclear  agreement, offloading a final decision to Congress.
      The agreement, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed by the U.S., China, France, Germany and Russia in mid-2015 and implemented in January 2016. The deal was not an official treaty, so Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Review Act (INRA) to allow Congress to vote on JCPOA which it did by an overwhelming margin. It requires the President to “certify” the deal as long as Iran is in compliance.  Until now, that has been done, even by Trump. But he needs to reassure his “base,” whoever they are. I am not sure how many people voted for him would do so again.
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WOULD ANYONE WANT their spouse to lie repeatedly ?, their child ?, mother ?, father ?, minister ?, child’s teacher ?,  coach ?, employer ?.  IF NOT, why would they support President Trump who is on record with telling4.5 lies per day, 1,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?
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CRIMINAL CHARGES: The Palmer report.com reports on a Sept. 27 MSNBC Brian Williams interview with George W. Bush, former Asst. Atty. General, Jimmy Gurule, who lists criminal charges he expects will be levied on Trump team members, without mentioning names. Included are obstruction of justice, violations of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, violations of Federal Campaign Act, IRS tax laws, and possibly money laundering. Only Congress can put President Trump on trial, but Muller can ask a grand jury to name Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator, which is what happened to President Nixon in the Watergate scandal.
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      HUGE MISTAKE ! In my opinion the Trump presidency is a HUGE mistake, and when you make huge mistakes, you pay a huge price. It’s coming and it isn’t going to be pretty.
      In time, I believe we will learn that the Trump team either colluded or enabled Russia’s meddling with our election. Ballot boxes are not fool proof, either.
       Evidence is mounting to indicate the biggest political/business scandal ever will become news, with a lot of Trump people taking a big hit.
       Expect Trump to attempt to pardon anyone he wants, including himself. It’s a way out of facing responsibility very much like dodging the draft. Like when he justified his numerous bankruptcies, saying he only used U.S. laws to his advantage.  Well, “pardons” are his prerogative, in many, not all cases. He would take advantage of whatever loophole to avoid consequences, sort of like dodging the draft, or did I already say that ?
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       TRUMP TO SABATAGE ACA:  Unable to pass a repeal and replace bill measures to destroy health coverage for millions of Americans have already been taken. THE HILL lists a few. Funding for advertising and outreach has been slashed 90%.The enrollment period has been cut in half. The administration plans to take down the Healthcare gov. website.   The requirement for employers  and insurance plans covering birth control have  been limited. Coverage for pre-existing conditions is now in jeopardy. Trump has now announced subsidies to assist lower-income people to buy insurance will STOP IMMEDIATELY. 
       More rape and pillage.  Have these Republicans no compassion, self respect, shame ? Americans are struggling for survival.
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TAX REFORM BENEFITTING WEALTHY AS WELL AS TRUMP ?  Depends on who you ask. Trump says  he wont’ benefit  – Add that to his 1,000 lies that have been documented since his inauguration.  Everything I read indicates the little guy gets screwed.  But isn’t it the little guy/girl who is responsible for his election to the Presidency.  Tough break guys, and girls – next time leave your confirmation bias at the door and vote your interest !
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IS PRESIDENT TRUMP BROKE ? Bill Palmer, Palmerreport.com thinks so.  Why else would he hide his tax return ?
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TAX REFORM  – “Potholes and sinkholes”*
      Trump campaigned in  Missouri recently for  tax reform, including middle-class tax cuts,  and a simpler tax code. Few specifics are mentioned. The border-adjusted tax is off the table. The mortgage, charity and retirement deductions are safe. The big question is whether the tax cuts would be temporary or permanent. If th latter, the cuts may not increase the deficit.
      An August 4 – 9  Bloomberg poll of economists reveals 28 of 39 polled expect Congress to pass tax cut legislation by November 2018. Unfortunately this action is not expected to add more than  0.2 percentage points to the GDP, and that growth is forecast  to only slightly exceed  that this year’s 2.1 percent, this forecast coming from 71 economists.  Worse yet, 2019 is projected to fall back to the 2 percent level. Referring to a corporate tax rate for developed nations of 24%, Trump says…”We have no choice….we must lower our taxes.
       Facts from mic.com: In 2016 the Government Accounting Office (GAO) found at least two-thirds of U.S. corporations did not pay federal income tax between 2006 and 2012.  One-fifth of America’s largest profitable corporations didn’t pay any income tax in 2012.
      Another study released earlier this year found the effective tax rate for consistently profitable Fortune 500 companies is 21.2%
      All told, U.S. corporations pay slightly less  in overall taxes than companies  in comparable countries.
      This begs the question of how much impact would  corporate tax cuts have on the S&P 500.       
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Trump, Bannon Gone By 2019  (Investor’s first read:  3/21/2017)
      Right winger and Breitbart grad, Sebastian Gorka is now gone,  Gorka’s  exit closely follows the departure of Steve Bannon, another  Breitfart grad,  hopefully leading to the firing  of Stephen Miller, a brash, caustic right wing extremist and Breitbart supporter  cuddler. 

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ALT-RIGHT (Investor’s first read Jan. 27, 2017)       

     The Alt-Right has been associated with nationalism, racism, xenophobia, which may well be true for some of its followers, but basically they are  well to the right of  neocons, and America does not want to go there, it isn’t who most of us are. 

        Some will call the current trend in our government fascist or totalitarianism, autocracy, even corporatocracy, kratocracy, or plutocracy, however, I see it simply as a rush to secure total control through rigging voting districts (gerrymandering) and voter suppression, repeatedly disseminating lies and misinformation often enough so people accept it as the truth, the manipulation of people’s priorities and simply taking advantage of their lack of information and inability to understand what is best for them. 

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WAR – North Korea
      Sen. Lindsey Graham says a U.S. military strike of N. Korea is possible,* that we cannot allow “this madman [Kim Jong-un] to have a missile to hit America.” His Tuesday, Aug 1, interview on the Today Show, follows N. Korea’s ICBM test days ago. Graham also said the Chinese  can stop such an attack. While such a war would take place on North Korean soil, South Korea  would incur huge casualties from N. Korean artillery.
OBSERVATION: Since January, I have warned Trump would put the U.S. on a war footing (see below) for political reasons, namely the mid-terms. Now I am convinced it is front burner because the Meuller investigations are  closing in.  
      Nuclear deterrence has been effective since the 1950s, for the obvious reasons.  The countries with the largest nuclear arsenals  and estimated warheads include United States (7,500), Russia (7,200), France (300), China (250), UK (215), Pakistan (110), India (100),Israel (80).
       The uncertainty of war would JOLT the market, especially if it disrupted  trade alliances. Reportedly, it would only take 33 minutes for a ballistic missile to reach the U.S.. If detonated high over the center of the U.S., it would cause an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) which would shut down “everything”  A-to-Z indefinitely.
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TRUMP – EARLY STAGE DEMENTIA ?  
Don’t know. Clearly he has personality disorder (Narcissism), but the question is being asked more and more with references to speech, use of words, disorientation, irritability, memory loss, late night tweets, confusion, paranoia.

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TRUMP looking for a “Get Out Of Jail Free Card if the Feds close in?”
    Why not, he dodged military service with 5 deferments  during the Vietnam era (1964 – 1970).
     Reportedly, he has asked advisers about his power to pardon family members and himself  relating to Mueller’s investigation.
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W HAT HAPPENS WHEN THE INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETED ? If the Special Counselor  concludes it is “necessary and appropriate” he is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising out of the investigation, which he does after submitting a report to the attorney general explaining his reasons.

REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER:  Misconduct,  dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, good cause (??), violation of Department policies.
WOULD MUELLER BE REPLACED ? Unclear. If the Democrats controlled Congress they could appoint another Special Counselor
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  “Connect the Dots.” This investigation is open-ended
       Nigel Farage – President Trump- Jeffrey Sessions – Robert Mercer – Cambridge Analytics – Bannon- Carter Page – Kushner (Jared and Ivanka) – Eric Prince – Donald, Jr.  and Eric Trump – Wilbur Ross –  Michael Cohen – Ezra Cohen Watnick – Michael Flynn – JD Gordon  –  Christopher Steele – Michael Caputo -Breitbart News – Roger Stone – Julian Assange – Paul Manafort – Rick Gates – Jill Stein – Sam Clovis –  Kellyanne and George Conway –Dana Rohrabacher – Bill Browder – Peter W. Smith (deceased: suicide), Paul Behrends – Boris Epshteyn, Ike Kaveladze, and  Russia’s alfa Group – Felix Sater – Rob Goldstone – alfa Group – Emin Agalarov – Sergey Gorkov –  Sergey Kislyak, ambassador to the U.S., Natalia Veselnitskaya, Oleg Deripaska all connect directly or indirectly to the Trump/Russia investigation and some have a connection to Brexit, as well.
      According to the “Observer,” Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica was connected with Canada’s AggregateIQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked together on the Brexit referendum. Aggregate is also a data mining company. While Mercer was a big supporter of Trump, there is no known connection between AggregateIQ and Trump’s campaign staff.

       The Palmer Report.com  recently reported that Peter W. Smith (recent suicide) sought to collude with Russian hackers stealing emails from Trump’s opposition while claiming to be working with Michael Flynn.

       Additionally, IMHO, Vice President Mike Pence simply had to be aware of what was happening in the campaign, but is being shielded because he is the second in command if  President Trump is impeached and convicted  or forced to resign. Stephen Miller, Joseph E. Schmitz may be of interest to the FBI for information they possess relating to the FBI investigation.
      According to CNN Politics,  Marc Kasowitz  represented Trump for personal and business matters for years. Worth noting, Kasowitz is defending Russian bank, OJSC Sberbank in U.S. court, as well as a Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties with the Kremlin.
       As of July 21, Kasowitz’s is no longer Trump’s personal attorney   
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ROSENSTEIN and MUELLER OUT ?      Who Takes Over ?
       Will President Trump  fire special counsel Robert Mueller Donald Trump, Jr. to impede criminal charges against his son Donald Jr. and stall the investigation of he and his team ?
       As I understand it, he would first have to fire  Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General –
      
Obviously,  firing Mueller would smack of  “consciousness of guilt,” and could lead to impeachment proceedings by the House, and/or increase pressure for Trump to resign..

      With Rosenstein out of the way,  associate attorney general, Rachel Brand, would take over.  If she resigns, or is fired, Dana Boente, U.S. attorney general for the Eastern District of Virginia would take over.
       I believe this scandal reaches far beyond collusion with Russia to get Trump elected.
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     REMOVING TRUMP FROM  OFFICE

Can Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, U.S. Constitution – Remove Trump ?
      It’s a stretch. 
The key for his removal is ”that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”  Section 4 mentions nothing  that he is unfit, delusional, unbalanced, crazy,  impulsive, irrational, impaired, sociopathic, psychopathic, narcissistic.
      That would be the threshold that would have to be crossed if Trump is removed from office via Section 4 of the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. There is no precedent

      It isn’t just Democrats, liberals, moderates and reasonable people who find Trump caustic, and dangerous, conservatives like George Will, David Brooks and Ross Douthart are also urging his removal.
      First, there are four ways to get rid of Trump – death, resignation, impeachment and Section 4 of the 25th Amendment.
      The procedure employing the 25th Amendment requires the Vice President and the majority of the cabinet of 15 (8) to vote to remove the president. They would submit their declaration in writing to the President pro tempore ( Sen. Orrin Hatch) and Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan) that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and the Vice President will immediately assume to office as acting president.
      However, the president may contend the move by submitting his own letter to the President pro tempore and Speaker of the House, that he believes he is capable of performing his duties, in which case he will resume the office of presidency.
       The Vice President and Cabinet members may then resubmit their declaration at which point Congress would vote within 48 hours if in session. If not, Congress  will act within 21 days where a two-thirds vote would be required to remove  him.  
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IMPEACHMENT
      A  Consult/Politico poll shows 43% of Americans want Congress to begin procedures for the impeachment of President Trump.

      The U.S. Constitution  enables Congress to remove a president for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Intitially, the House votes on one or more articles of impeachment- if a majority vote is reached, he is impeached.  BUT, impeachment only means indictment. The Senate holds a trial overseen by the chief justice and Supreme Court. A group of House members serve as prosecutors and the Senate as jurors. If two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed from office and the vice president takes over.

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Note: Source of weekly economic calendar and good recap of indicators: mam.econoday.com.

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*Stock Trader’s Almanac
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George Brooks
Investor’s first read
A Game-On Analysis, LLC publication
Brooks007read@aol.com
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Investor’s first read, is a Game-On Analysis, LLC publication for which George Brooks is sole owner, manager and writer.  Neither Game-On Analysis, LLC, nor George  Brooks  is  registered as an investment advisor.  Ideas expressed herein are the opinions of the writer, are for informational purposes, and are not to serve as the sole basis for any investment decision. References to specific securities should not be construed  as particularized or as investment advice as recommendations that you or any investors purchase or sell these securities on their own account. Readers are expected to assume full responsibility for conducting their own research pursuant to investment in keeping with their tolerance for risk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bull Intact, But Signs Of Divergence Evident

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 22,997
S&P 500:2,559
Nasdaq  Comp.:6,623
Russell 2000: 1,497
Wednesday,  Oct. 18, 2017   9:09 a.m.
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      The “best six months for owning stocks* runs generally from the beginning of November to the beginning of May. Not so the last time around. The market took off on November 6, 2016 and never stopped rising.
       It’s still October, so BEWARE.
       The DJIA topped highly touted 23,000, but failed to follow through. It should do so today.  This is a round figure, easy enough for the press to understand and it makes a convenient headline, but a specific level is only important if the market has failed a number of times to penetrate it whether it is a support level or a resistance level.

      While yesterday’s DJIA was up 40 points, without the 10.69-point rise in United Healthcare (UNH), the DJIA would have been down 35 points.  (Divide 40 by the DJIA divisor 0.1452 to get 74, which subtracted from 40 equals minus 34). 
      That’s not the only divergence.  Advancing issues on the NYSE trailed declining issues1,218 to 1,841. 
      As noted yesterday, adjusted for the decline in the US dollar, the S&P 500 is really down sharply for the year to 2,240 from the current 2,555.
      The market’s surge since early November 2016 has been driven by the hopes for a massive stimulus on top of an economy that continues to expand well into its ninth year, and in defiance of  a presidency under investigation by a Special Counsel and both Houses of Congress, a President with an approval rating in the mid-30s.

TODAY
       Possibility of a flash crash is always a possibility,  simply because institutions have been in a cruise control buy mode for close to a year with the S&P 500 up 22.3%, mostly based on expectations of a massive stimulus, the timing of which is increasingly questionable.
       Markets tend to correct or consolidate as bull markets move up, which weeds out potential profit-takers. This one hasn’t, raising the risk that many investors will opt to take profits at the same time. Suddenly, a lot of sellers show up, but no buyers. The result, a  market that opens up a much lower prices (gap open). 
        Should any major institution break ranks and sell, others would follow suit resulting in a “gap” down.
        I have warned of this possibility a number of times in the past at lower prices – didn’t happen.
        Most likely, institutions will lock in profits when, and if, there is an announcement that tax cuts have been signed, or are a sure thing.
        Why ?

        Because the sharp rise in stock prices over the last 11 months has discounted that event, i.e. they will “sell the news.”
        We have entered the Q3 earnings reporting period (see below).
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SUPPORT “today
”: DJIA:22,986;S&P 500:2,557; Nasdaq Comp.:6,620
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:23,037; S&P 500:2,566;Nasdaq Comp.:6,627

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CORPORATE EARNINGS (updated October 6, 2017)  – Factset.com
      Q3 earnings growth is projected at +2.1%. The woes of the P&C insurance industry will hammer earnings in the quarter.  Excluding insurance, Q3 would be projected at +4.9%. Q4 earnings are projected to grow +11.1%. For 2017 as a whole growth is projected at a plus 9.1%.  Currently, the P/E on   earnings is 18.0 x forward earnings. That compares with a 10-year average P/E of 14.1.
Note: These numbers change frequently. Factset.com is well worth a visit, it breaks its projections down by industry.
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 POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
THE GREAT AMERICAN EXPERIMENT UNDER SEIGENot since the Civil War has the spirit and future of our nation been at such great risk, from within.  This  administration, Congress and U.S. Supreme Court is surgically dismembering  efforts over many years to ensure the safety  and well being of “all” Americans.
     The sooner, Americans recognize these are not genuine Republican conservatives, but extremists determined dismantle that which has been achieved over the years and replace it with “their” brand  of a  quasi-fascist state.  Ben Franklin was right when asked what kind of government  the Founding Fathers had given us.  “A Republic, if you can keep it,” was his response.
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OBAMACARE   RESCUE ??? Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democrat Senator Patty Murray announced a bipartisan breakthrough to shore up ACA that would revive federal subsidies for health insurers.  The deal would give the Democrats some of what they want and Republicans more flexibility for states to offer a wider variety of health insurance plans.  Trump is somewhat supportive leading me to suspect this is more about the mid-term elections than the  longer term health of ACA.
     Republican support is lukewarm.

      “Anything propping [Obamacare] up is only saving what Republicans promised to dismantle,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC).
     These are horrible people.
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1,318 FALSE or MISLEADING CLAIMS (LIES) by President Trump since being sworn in as President, January 20, 263 days ago. The tally is kept by the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, which breaks all lies down into 24 categories. Please, someone wake me up, tell me this is not happening….and reassure me Americans aren’t in denial.
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ADD ANOTHER LIE TO THE 1,318 referred to above.  Yesterday, Trump touted tax cuts for the middle class in Pennsylvania, saying the typical American household would get a $4,000 pay raise, and “it could be a lot more than that.”  Not mentioned is the savings would be over an eight year period, $500 a year.
     The Tax Policy Center (TPC) claims tax reform as we know it today heavily favors the rich, boosting after-tax income for the top 1% by 8.5% on average, while the bottom 95% would get a boost of 1.2%
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WRECK NAFTA ?  Bloomberg’s “The Editors” seems to think so, pointing to the disruption of long-established supply chains that would raise costs, and increase US imports.  “The evidence is clear, Nafta has helped all its members, including the U.S., achieve greater efficiency and higher living standards,” Bloomberg notes, adding undermining it or causing its collapse would  cause enormous disruption for businesses and labor pools in all three  countries.
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HOW MANY HURRICANES does it take to convince Republicans our climate is changing for the worse ?  If you guessed 4, you were wrong.  Try 40.  Monday EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the U.S. withdrawal from the President Obama’s clean power plan.  In another giant step backward, clearly not for the benefit of mankind, Pruitt wants incentives for the wind industry removed, saying he would “let them stand on their own and compete against coal natural gas and other sources.”    Hope I wake up from this bad dream – soon.
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Republicans, in lockstep with the nation’s most powerful lobby, the NRA, are prepared to vote on the bill to take gun silencers off the list of prohibited items.  The Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE) would vastly reduce procedures needed to purchase devices that when attached to a hand gun would reduce the noise to a spfft.
       What’s next on the Republican agenda – legalized murder ?
       The Republican party will take a pass on any legislation to outlaw “bump stocks,” the device used to convert a semi-automatic assault rifle to an illegal fully automatic, enabling the Las Vegas gunman to max his murder of  persons attending the Harvest Festival.  Bump stock sales have exploded, prices doubled.  
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 AMERICANS ARE TOO SCARED to have the courage to do the right thing.   If not outwardly scared, Americans are subconsciously scared. Its origin is difficult to pinpoint, but I’d say the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970’s was a start. That’s when confidence in our government began to crumble as protests against the War escalated. The horrors of war were brought into every living room, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the street.  Families were divided by “for” and “against” the war.  “Like it, or leave it” was the pro-war patriot mantra.
     President Nixon’s Watergate woes and resignation ahead of impeachment proceedings loped off a little more trust in politicians. This, combined with the OPEC oil embargo resulted in a 16-month recession and 50% drop in the S&P 500. 
     Probably, the biggest jolt came on September 11, 2001 with the terrorist attack on the New York City Trade Towers and the Pentagon.  Lies about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction got us into the Iraq War, another discredit for authority in our nation’s highest office. 
      The Great Recession (2007 – 2009) and stock market’s 50% crash was yet another jolt from which many never recovered.  Now you have President Trump, an unpredictable narcissist with 1,000 lies in eight months to his credit. Oh, and the legitimacy of his presidency challenged by investigations of collusion with Russia to bombard American voters with fake news about rival candidate Hillary Clinton and who knows what in key electoral college states Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
       White Americans are seeing too many people of color on TV, in sports, in schools in their neighborhoods, in their police force, military.  It’s fine if a black man scores a touchdown for their alma mater, just don’t run for office or beat out their child in school activities, or them for a job.
        Get used to it Republican bigot, you can deport a whole bunch of people of color, gerrymander their vote, disrespect them, but they are hungry for achievement and want to eat your lunch, like it or not.  Bigotry is un-American, and if you know what Christianity is really about bigotry is un-Christian. 

       SMALL WONDER AMERICANS FEEL THE NEED FOR AN ARSENAL IN THEIR HOME, FOR THE RIGHT TO “CARRY” A PIECE EVERYWHERE, INCLUDING BARS, EATERIES, PLAYGROUNDS, PARKS.   Americans are so scared, even sensible measures designed to make people safer are rejected.
       If the wanton murder of 20 six-year olds in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut didn’t spark an outrage, nothing will. Some whackos claim it didn’t happen, not to my surprise, some believed them.
       This was a defining incident in America.  Americans too freaking scared and intimidated by the NRA to be upset by the son of a gun-nut murdering  children. Shame !  The NRA exploited the situation for their own benefit, as Americans watched. Again, SHAME !
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According to THE HILL, Trump will shortly announce he will decertify the Iran Nuclear  agreement, offloading a final decision to Congress.
      The agreement, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed by the U.S., China, France, Germany and Russia in mid-2015 and implemented in January 2016. The deal was not an official treaty, so Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Review Act (INRA) to allow Congress to vote on JCPOA which it did by an overwhelming margin. It requires the President to “certify” the deal as long as Iran is in compliance.  Until now, that has been done, even by Trump. But he needs to reassure his “base,” whoever they are. I am not sure how many people voted for him would do so again.
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WOULD ANYONE WANT their spouse to lie repeatedly ?, their child ?, mother ?, father ?, minister ?, child’s teacher ?,  coach ?, employer ?.  IF NOT, why would they support President Trump who is on record with telling4.5 lies per day, 1,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?
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CRIMINAL CHARGES: The Palmer report.com reports on a Sept. 27 MSNBC Brian Williams interview with George W. Bush, former Asst. Atty. General, Jimmy Gurule, who lists criminal charges he expects will be levied on Trump team members, without mentioning names. Included are obstruction of justice, violations of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, violations of Federal Campaign Act, IRS tax laws, and possibly money laundering. Only Congress can put President Trump on trial, but Muller can ask a grand jury to name Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator, which is what happened to President Nixon in the Watergate scandal.
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      HUGE MISTAKE ! In my opinion the Trump presidency is a HUGE mistake, and when you make huge mistakes, you pay a huge price. It’s coming and it isn’t going to be pretty.
      In time, I believe we will learn that the Trump team either colluded or enabled Russia’s meddling with our election. Ballot boxes are not fool proof, either.
       Evidence is mounting to indicate the biggest political/business scandal ever will become news, with a lot of Trump people taking a big hit.
       Expect Trump to attempt to pardon anyone he wants, including himself. It’s a way out of facing responsibility very much like dodging the draft. Like when he justified his numerous bankruptcies, saying he only used U.S. laws to his advantage.  Well, “pardons” are his prerogative, in many, not all cases. He would take advantage of whatever loophole to avoid consequences, sort of like dodging the draft, or did I already say that ?
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       TRUMP TO SABATAGE ACA:  Unable to pass a repeal and replace bill measures to destroy health coverage for millions of Americans have already been taken. THE HILL lists a few. Funding for advertising and outreach has been slashed 90%.The enrollment period has been cut in half. The administration plans to take down the Healthcare gov. website.   The requirement for employers  and insurance plans covering birth control have  been limited. Coverage for pre-existing conditions is now in jeopardy. Trump has now announced subsidies to assist lower-income people to buy insurance will STOP IMMEDIATELY. 
       More rape and pillage.  Have these Republicans no compassion, self respect, shame ? Americans are struggling for survival.
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TAX REFORM BENEFITTING WEALTHY AS WELL AS TRUMP ?  Depends on who you ask. Trump says  he wont’ benefit  – Add that to his 1,000 lies that have been documented since his inauguration.  Everything I read indicates the little guy gets screwed.  But isn’t it the little guy/girl who is responsible for his election to the Presidency.  Tough break guys, and girls – next time leave your confirmation bias at the door and vote your interest !
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IS PRESIDENT TRUMP BROKE ? Bill Palmer, Palmerreport.com thinks so.  Why else would he hide his tax return ?
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TAX REFORM  – “Potholes and sinkholes”*
      Trump campaigned in  Missouri recently for  tax reform, including middle-class tax cuts,  and a simpler tax code. Few specifics are mentioned. The border-adjusted tax is off the table. The mortgage, charity and retirement deductions are safe. The big question is whether the tax cuts would be temporary or permanent. If th latter, the cuts may not increase the deficit.
      An August 4 – 9  Bloomberg poll of economists reveals 28 of 39 polled expect Congress to pass tax cut legislation by November 2018. Unfortunately this action is not expected to add more than  0.2 percentage points to the GDP, and that growth is forecast  to only slightly exceed  that this year’s 2.1 percent, this forecast coming from 71 economists.  Worse yet, 2019 is projected to fall back to the 2 percent level. Referring to a corporate tax rate for developed nations of 24%, Trump says…”We have no choice….we must lower our taxes.
       Facts from mic.com: In 2016 the Government Accounting Office (GAO) found at least two-thirds of U.S. corporations did not pay federal income tax between 2006 and 2012.  One-fifth of America’s largest profitable corporations didn’t pay any income tax in 2012.
      Another study released earlier this year found the effective tax rate for consistently profitable Fortune 500 companies is 21.2%
      All told, U.S. corporations pay slightly less  in overall taxes than companies  in comparable countries.
      This begs the question of how much impact would  corporate tax cuts have on the S&P 500.       
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Trump, Bannon Gone By 2019  (Investor’s first read:  3/21/2017)
      Right winger and Breitbart grad, Sebastian Gorka is now gone,  Gorka’s  exit closely follows the departure of Steve Bannon, another  Breitfart grad,  hopefully leading to the firing  of Stephen Miller, a brash, caustic right wing extremist and Breitbart supporter  cuddler. 

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ALT-RIGHT (Investor’s first read Jan. 27, 2017)       

     The Alt-Right has been associated with nationalism, racism, xenophobia, which may well be true for some of its followers, but basically they are  well to the right of  neocons, and America does not want to go there, it isn’t who most of us are. 

        Some will call the current trend in our government fascist or totalitarianism, autocracy, even corporatocracy, kratocracy, or plutocracy, however, I see it simply as a rush to secure total control through rigging voting districts (gerrymandering) and voter suppression, repeatedly disseminating lies and misinformation often enough so people accept it as the truth, the manipulation of people’s priorities and simply taking advantage of their lack of information and inability to understand what is best for them. 

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WAR – North Korea
      Sen. Lindsey Graham says a U.S. military strike of N. Korea is possible,* that we cannot allow “this madman [Kim Jong-un] to have a missile to hit America.” His Tuesday, Aug 1, interview on the Today Show, follows N. Korea’s ICBM test days ago. Graham also said the Chinese  can stop such an attack. While such a war would take place on North Korean soil, South Korea  would incur huge casualties from N. Korean artillery.
OBSERVATION: Since January, I have warned Trump would put the U.S. on a war footing (see below) for political reasons, namely the mid-terms. Now I am convinced it is front burner because the Meuller investigations are  closing in.  
      Nuclear deterrence has been effective since the 1950s, for the obvious reasons.  The countries with the largest nuclear arsenals  and estimated warheads include United States (7,500), Russia (7,200), France (300), China (250), UK (215), Pakistan (110), India (100),Israel (80).
       The uncertainty of war would JOLT the market, especially if it disrupted  trade alliances. Reportedly, it would only take 33 minutes for a ballistic missile to reach the U.S.. If detonated high over the center of the U.S., it would cause an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) which would shut down “everything”  A-to-Z indefinitely.
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TRUMP – EARLY STAGE DEMENTIA ?  
Don’t know. Clearly he has personality disorder (Narcissism), but the question is being asked more and more with references to speech, use of words, disorientation, irritability, memory loss, late night tweets, confusion, paranoia.

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TRUMP looking for a “Get Out Of Jail Free Card if the Feds close in?”
    Why not, he dodged military service with 5 deferments  during the Vietnam era (1964 – 1970).
     Reportedly, he has asked advisers about his power to pardon family members and himself  relating to Mueller’s investigation.
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W HAT HAPPENS WHEN THE INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETED ? If the Special Counselor  concludes it is “necessary and appropriate” he is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising out of the investigation, which he does after submitting a report to the attorney general explaining his reasons.

REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER:  Misconduct,  dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, good cause (??), violation of Department policies.
WOULD MUELLER BE REPLACED ? Unclear. If the Democrats controlled Congress they could appoint another Special Counselor
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  “Connect the Dots.” This investigation is open-ended
       Nigel Farage – President Trump- Jeffrey Sessions – Robert Mercer – Cambridge Analytics – Bannon- Carter Page – Kushner (Jared and Ivanka) – Eric Prince – Donald, Jr.  and Eric Trump – Wilbur Ross –  Michael Cohen – Ezra Cohen Watnick – Michael Flynn – JD Gordon  –  Christopher Steele – Michael Caputo -Breitbart News – Roger Stone – Julian Assange – Paul Manafort – Rick Gates – Jill Stein – Sam Clovis –  Kellyanne and George Conway –Dana Rohrabacher – Bill Browder – Peter W. Smith (deceased: suicide), Paul Behrends – Boris Epshteyn, Ike Kaveladze, and  Russia’s alfa Group – Felix Sater – Rob Goldstone – alfa Group – Emin Agalarov – Sergey Gorkov –  Sergey Kislyak, ambassador to the U.S., Natalia Veselnitskaya, Oleg Deripaska all connect directly or indirectly to the Trump/Russia investigation and some have a connection to Brexit, as well.
      According to the “Observer,” Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica was connected with Canada’s AggregateIQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked together on the Brexit referendum. Aggregate is also a data mining company. While Mercer was a big supporter of Trump, there is no known connection between AggregateIQ and Trump’s campaign staff.

       The Palmer Report.com  recently reported that Peter W. Smith (recent suicide) sought to collude with Russian hackers stealing emails from Trump’s opposition while claiming to be working with Michael Flynn.

       Additionally, IMHO, Vice President Mike Pence simply had to be aware of what was happening in the campaign, but is being shielded because he is the second in command if  President Trump is impeached and convicted  or forced to resign. Stephen Miller, Joseph E. Schmitz may be of interest to the FBI for information they possess relating to the FBI investigation.
      According to CNN Politics,  Marc Kasowitz  represented Trump for personal and business matters for years. Worth noting, Kasowitz is defending Russian bank, OJSC Sberbank in U.S. court, as well as a Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties with the Kremlin.
       As of July 21, Kasowitz’s is no longer Trump’s personal attorney   
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ROSENSTEIN and MUELLER OUT ?      Who Takes Over ?
       Will President Trump  fire special counsel Robert Mueller Donald Trump, Jr. to impede criminal charges against his son Donald Jr. and stall the investigation of he and his team ?
       As I understand it, he would first have to fire  Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General –
       
Obviously,  firing Mueller would smack of  “consciousness of guilt,” and could lead to impeachment proceedings by the House, and/or increase pressure for Trump to resign..

      With Rosenstein out of the way,  associate attorney general, Rachel Brand, would take over.  If she resigns, or is fired, Dana Boente, U.S. attorney general for the Eastern District of Virginia would take over.
       I believe this scandal reaches far beyond collusion with Russia to get Trump elected.
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     REMOVING TRUMP FROM  OFFICE

Can Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, U.S. Constitution – Remove Trump ?
      It’s a stretch. 
The key for his removal is ”that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”  Section 4 mentions nothing  that he is unfit, delusional, unbalanced, crazy,  impulsive, irrational, impaired, sociopathic, psychopathic, narcissistic.
      That would be the threshold that would have to be crossed if Trump is removed from office via Section 4 of the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. There is no precedent

      It isn’t just Democrats, liberals, moderates and reasonable people who find Trump caustic, and dangerous, conservatives like George Will, David Brooks and Ross Douthart are also urging his removal.
      First, there are four ways to get rid of Trump – death, resignation, impeachment and Section 4 of the 25th Amendment.
      The procedure employing the 25th Amendment requires the Vice President and the majority of the cabinet of 15 (8) to vote to remove the president. They would submit their declaration in writing to the President pro tempore ( Sen. Orrin Hatch) and Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan) that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and the Vice President will immediately assume to office as acting president.
      However, the president may contend the move by submitting his own letter to the President pro tempore and Speaker of the House, that he believes he is capable of performing his duties, in which case he will resume the office of presidency.
       The Vice President and Cabinet members may then resubmit their declaration at which point Congress would vote within 48 hours if in session. If not, Congress  will act within 21 days where a two-thirds vote would be required to remove  him.  
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IMPEACHMENT
      A  Consult/Politico poll shows 43% of Americans want Congress to begin procedures for the impeachment of President Trump.

      The U.S. Constitution  enables Congress to remove a president for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Intitially, the House votes on one or more articles of impeachment- if a majority vote is reached, he is impeached.  BUT, impeachment only means indictment. The Senate holds a trial overseen by the chief justice and Supreme Court. A group of House members serve as prosecutors and the Senate as jurors. If two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed from office and the vice president takes over.

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Note: Source of weekly economic calendar and good recap of indicators: mam.econoday.com.

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*Stock Trader’s Almanac
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George Brooks
Investor’s first read
A Game-On Analysis, LLC publication
Brooks007read@aol.com
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Investor’s first read, is a Game-On Analysis, LLC publication for which George Brooks is sole owner, manager and writer.  Neither Game-On Analysis, LLC, nor George  Brooks  is  registered as an investment advisor.  Ideas expressed herein are the opinions of the writer, are for informational purposes, and are not to serve as the sole basis for any investment decision. References to specific securities should not be construed  as particularized or as investment advice as recommendations that you or any investors purchase or sell these securities on their own account. Readers are expected to assume full responsibility for conducting their own research pursuant to investment in keeping with their tolerance for risk.