Fever Festering

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 24,837
S&P 500: 2,687
Nasdaq  Comp.:6,950
Russell 2000: 1,548
Friday, Dec. 29,    8:36 a.m.

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REASONS WHY THE SIZE of the CORPORATE TAX CUT IS  BAD FOR AMERICA (See below)
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      Trump’s administration is setting stage for firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.  In the interim, it is trying to discredit the FBI and Dept. of Justice, and even Michael Flynn. The tip-off would be a sudden confirmation of someone  to replace Dana Boente as U.S. Attorney General Eastern Dist. Virginia.  Rosenstein would not fire Mueller, but a hand-picked replacement would. (See who that may be: “Trump to Fire Mueller” below).
      -All this will have a destabilizing effect on confidence in our nation’s future and the stock market, which is historically overvalued.
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-Expect the Trump administration to launch a $1 trillion infrastructure effort in coming weeks. Competing for attention will be entitlement reform.   
OUR DECAYING INFRASTRUCTURE:  The administration may soon introduce an initiative to address the nation’s infrastructure problems.
       The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) grade  the 16 sectors of  our nation’s infrastructure. As a group, they get D+. Broken down they get: Aviation D, Bridges C+, Dams D, Drinking Water D, Energy D+, Hazardous Waste D+, Inland Waterways D, Levees D, Ports C+, Public Parks D+, Railway B, Roads D, Schools C+, Transit D-, Waste Water D-.
       I ran a series on this need early in the Obama administration thinking it was a sure thing, but healthcare got the nod. It cost the Democrats control of Congress, since the “perception” (not reality) would have been jobs were just around the corner.
       The need is huge – this would be the single biggest project for job generation.  It won’t happen overnight, few projects are “shovel-ready,  and funding is a problem, especially now that Congress has slashed revenues the federal government can expect in the future.
        There are a host of companies that could benefit over time. I have identified as many as 24. If the administration announces a big push, most will jump in price on the hype. This happened  a year ago. The group jumped sharply, then lost momentum and drifted sideways-to-down.  Many have already run up, but have room to move up more “IF” the administration opts for a big trillion dollar push over 10 years.
       Potential beneficiaries:
Martin Marietta (MLM), Chicago Bridge (CLF), Cliffs (CLF), Vulcan Materials (VMC), Caterpillar (CAT), Arcelor Mittal (MT), Nucor (NUE), Fluor (FLR), USG (USG), United Rentals (URI), CEMEX (CX), U.S. Concrete (USCR), Jacobs (JEC), AECOM (ACM), Emerson El (EMR), Manitowac (MTW),Tetra Tech (TTEK), KBR (KBR), McDermott (MDR), Quanta Services (PWR), EMCOR (EME), Mastec (MTZ), American Water (AWK), American Tower (AMT).
       Be sure of one thing, there will be hype.
        The administration will pitch public/private partnerships which sound great except they are costly. The private sector wants a return on investment – a BIG one.
        Go to www.infrastructure report card.org for details on the “problem.”
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UNFORTUNATELY, WELFARE REFORM MAY COME FIRST !
       The Trump administration may decide to deform welfare.  That sounds like a program you would expect billionaires to champion.
Now that federal government receipts have been slashed by tax cuts, Republicans want to plug the hole with slashes to Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (for the 71th time).
      
These pompous asses need to deliver Meals on Wheels  for a couple months.
       If this was about the deficit, they would not have slashed corporate taxes by 40%. This is all about an extremist ideology with its primary seeds planted in the mid-1990s starting with Newt Gingrich.
       Guess what ?   42% of Medicaid recipients work full time, most for small firms with limited benefits. 18% work part-time.  Most of the 40% not working are children, people with disabilities, and the elderly.
        So, who are you going to force to get jobs, or relinquish benefits ?
       Just another Republican war against “those people.”
TODAY
        NO ONE IS BEARISH !
    That’s bearish !
        This contrasts with March 10, 2009 when with the S&P 500 at 666, everyone was bearish, the day when investors first read.com  issued its “BUY”
         A surge into early January is likely to run into selling by investors opting to put profits into 2018. It could even start in the first week in January.
       Most institutions were in a cruise-control buy mode for the 12 months before passage of the tax bill. Decisions were dictated by computer models (algorithms).
       If these models are changed to a more cautious mode, worse yet a sell mode, a lot of sell orders will hit the Street at the same time, causing a steep drop in prices.   I have warned of this possibility numerous times in the past, and it hasn’t happened.  But, the risk is real, we have seen it in  May 2010 (-17%), May 2011 (-17%)  August 2015 (-12%), January 2016 (-14%).
        Odds of a bull market top in 2018 are 50-50, assuming one more speculative surge.   Otherwise, expect volatility as the Street scrambles to extend its highly leveraged 2017 gains  in face of  the risk that  the Mueller probe will bring down the entire Trump administration, or a constitutional crisis as Trump fires Deputy Attorney General, then finds someone to fire Mueller.  Or, he may simply pardon everyone in Mueller’s crosshairs. There is always  the possibility of war with  North Korea.
        In short, 2018 stands to be a wild one. There will be big beneficiaries of  tax cuts and big losers.
        Everyone expects a huge surge in 2018.  After a 25.4% surge since Nov 8, 2016 (Election Day), I expect profit taking. Whether new buying  can offset it, is questionable. 
       I can see two major corrections in 2018 (10% to 14%), the first starting in January, the second around mid-year.  The upside of that is there will be opportunities to buy, for nimble traders capable of getting on the right side of the volatile market. 
        Today will open higher in face of all the Street projections justifying an S&P 500 at 2,700 – 3,100 in 2018.
         Fever is festering, the Street is licking its chops, a big score in 2018 looks like a sure thing. A big surge in January could mark the top for the March 2009 – 2008 bull market, it has to be feverish, sloppy, and out of control.
          I see DJIA breaking above 2,500 possibly today, but really that’s just a number.  The “press” would like it – big headlines above the fold.  The Street will then talk of Dow 3,000.  Much of this is human nature, certainly at extremes where greed and fear creep in. We are dealing with greed now.
          Earlier in the year, I referred to President Trump as a human wrecking ball, and that was a good call. As a nation, we are more divided at home and abroad,  On his watch, the Republican Congress has surgically begun to gut our vital system of checks and balances, stacked our courts with partisanship, abandoned efforts to preserve a stable environment for future generations, reduced the effectiveness of our nation’s healthcare system, rammed through tax cuts for corporations that are sure to create huge deficits in the future, failed to adequately staff our government agencies, dumbed down expectations, disgraced the office of the Presidency,  and elevated the art of lying to a shameful level.
         At some point, all this will weigh on investors’ perception on the future of our economy, which will be weakened by an enormous  widening in the gap between the poor and middle class and the smaller portion of those who are well off.
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SUPPORT “today” DJIA:24,816; S&P 500:2,683; Nasdaq Comp.:6.941
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:25,017; S&P 500:2,706; Nasdaq Comp.:6,701

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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
CORPORATE TAX CUT IRRESPONSIBLE
“It's pure fantasy to think that the tax bill will lead to significantly higher wages and growth, as Republicans have promised,” Bloomberg continued. Had Congress actually listened to executives, or economists who study these issues carefully, it might have realized that. The tax bill is an economically indefensible blunder that will harm our future” –   Michael Bloomberg – billionaire business man former mayor NYC

      I don’t doubt some corporations need, and deserve a tax cut, but to reduce the rate from 35% to 21% is inexcusable, reckless, unjustifiable, and outright subversive to the best interests of America.
      Corporate income taxes comprise 9% of federal government receipts. If corporate taxes are slashed by 40% (from 35% to 21%), the government’s receipts from corporations are reduced by 3.6% from 9%.
      Individual income tax payments comprise 47% of  federal government receipts. At this point, I have no idea how much of an impact  Congress’ tax cuts will have on this source of federal revenues, but it stands to be significant.
      The Republican administration expects economic growth will be triggered by a sudden change in heart by corporations to abandon stock buybacks and the repatriation of billions stashed abroad to plug the big hole left in federal receipts by tax cuts with a surge in hiring and capital expenditures.
      That assumption is flawed. For one, why would a corporation  go on a hiring and cap-ex spending spree  with an economic expansion that  is 8-1/2 years old, 3 years longer (73%) than the average over 65 years (1945 – 2009).
      For another, are they naïve enough to assume there will be no recessions within the next 10 years ?
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The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy released a study on “Corporate Tax Avoidance by Fortune 500 Companies”:  The report includes 258 corporations that were consistently profitable over an eight-year period between 2008 and 2015. Some conclusions:

-Of 258 Fortune 500companies studied, the effective federal income tax rate was 21.5%
18 of the 258 paid no income tax and 48 paid an effective tax rate of 10%.
83 companies (32%) paid a tax rate less than 17.5%
109 companies (42%)  paid a tax rate between 17.5% and 30%.
66 companies (26%) paid a tax rate greater than 30%
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Trump Administration dominos starting to tumble, tumble, tumble !
Will Trump administration now ramp up United States’ war footing on North Korea to distract America, an attempt to unite the country behind its president, as President George W. Bush did prior to the invasion of Iraq ?

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STATES NEEDING FEDS THE MOST
       The twelve most federally dependent states are Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, West Virginia, South Carolina, Montana, Tennessee, Maine,  Indiana, Arizona, Louisiana.
      The twelve least federally dependent states are Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Kansas, Nevada, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Utah, and Nebraska.
  Red states (Republican) are 67% more dependent on federal government aid than Blue States (Democratic).

  So why all the whining about the Feds being in their space ?  Want to go it alone ?   Careful what you wish for.
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The BIG question is, do American morals and respect for our republic  have to hit bottom before Congress and the American voter opts for decency, honesty, integrity and a moral compass ?
    Currently, odds favor neither will have a change of heart even if the findings of the Mueller probe uncover untold crimes against the constitution and American people. 
     The current extremist Republican Party is morally bankrupt, as are many of its supporters. Much of the Republican Congress is comprised congressional  anarchists, determined to raze time-tested checks and balances, and oppose any and all new proposals that do not pass their muster.
      It wasn’t enough that they obstructed progress for eight years of the Obama administration, they are now dismantling the things he did accomplish. Our republic is being mugged in plain sight.
    
There are a lot of very fine Republicans out there, but someone needs to tell them someone hijacked their party.
       This isn’t Reagan, this isn’t anything close to the Republican Party I grew up with.

       This is what the right wing has been waiting for – total control of the presidency, both Houses, and the Supreme Court. (and Fox News)  They want total control.  This is how democratic,  representative republics  perish.
      America is the biggest enchilada on earth.  Why wouldn’t a group of extremists want to wrest permanent control from its people ?  Americans must stop multitasking, and have the guts to endure the day-to-day angst that accompanies being well informed. They need to return to values.
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COMPASSIONLESS: What is it with the well-heeled powerbase of the Republican Party  ?  Why do they want to deny people of modest means medical care, needed social benefits, an affordable education and a minimally comfortable retirement ?  Do they want it all for themselves ?  How Christian is favoring the rich over the poor ?
     
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) says there is no money to fund the Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP) which expired Oct. 1.
      Mic.com quotes Hatch as whining, about  it as a low-cost health insurance plan  for children of low-income families,  saying,  “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the Federal government to do everything.”   Yeah, right, Orrin. These impoverished, ill kids are always looking for a handout.
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      I keep Fox Business News TV on by my desk during the day, since it has better data coverage than CNBC. I have it on “mute” since I can’t endure the senseless Republican hype.  Neil Cavuto hosts a portion of the show. While decidedly right-leaning, Neil is tolerable compared with his co-host, Stuart Varney, Varney & Co, who is constantly waxing right wing blither.
       I was a frequent guest analyst on CNBC-TV in the 1990s. It was different then. It was one-on-one with a lot of questions, but an independent without major firm backing like me had a chance to get some visibility.  The times Cavuto interviewed me, I sensed he was Republican, but not hard core, which is also the case today. He’s good, not given to partyline hype.
       What’s more, for some time, I sensed he was uncomfortable with the Trump administration and last week it came out per a report from “The HILL.”  Trump couldn’t resist tweeting about  LaVar Ball and Senator Jeff Flake, at a time more important presidential issues demanded attention.  Cavuto, criticized Trump for “using a bazooka to respond to a pea shooter.” “Is it really necessary,” he asked, adding, “Keep tweeting stuff like that, Mr. President, and those tax cuts just could be toast.” Cavuto then said, “the last time I checked, you are the president of the United States, why don’t you act like it ?”
      Whoa ! Why would a broadcaster with 25 years experience, a big name, in a comfortable time slot, lecture the president, and possibly rankle his party ?  Is this just another sign that Trump’s support is crumbling.
      Neil is a throwback to the days when most Republicans were more reasonable, not extremists. It’s good to see him say, “Enough.”
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TRUMP VOTER FRAUD COMMISSION appears to have vanished after being SUED:
Matthew Dunlap, Maine’s Secretary of State is accusing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity of essentially “lacking integrity.”  It’s all about shutting Dunlap, a Democrat, out of the process and lack of transparency to the public.  What else can be expected of a SCAM, designed to data mine all 50 state’s voter records for political advantage and ensure the continuance of Republican‘s voter suppression efforts.
Have these people no shame ?  Americans ??  Or is this a bloodless coup ?  NOT ON OUR WATCH !
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Brian Benczkowski was nominated by President Trump in June to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. My  Sept. 15 post called attention to this since he previously represented one of Russia’s largest banks Russia’s Alfa Bank. Having  advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his nomination is pending full Senate confirmation. He once served under Jeff Sessions. If confirmed, he pledged independence, recusing himself for two years from any dealings with alfa Bank.  Sen. Feinstein voted against Benczkowski concerned that he never served as a federal prosecutor and the fact he would sit in on  meetings with special counsel Robert Mueller with Russia probe. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., was concerned his major qualification was his connection with Sessions.
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Mercer on the runBannon and Breitbart bankroller, Robert Mercer is rapidly severing financial ties to Breitbart News and support of Steve Bannon and alt-right’s Milo Yiannopoulos. Mercer was a major supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to gain the Republican nomination last year, but switched his allegiance to Trump when he won the nomination.
      In my March 21 post, I wrote, “Years from now, I suspect Mercer will be relaxing at his Long Island waterfront retreat, Owl’s Nest, or on his 200-foot yacht, Sea Owl, and look back over his illustrious career tarnished  by one regret – he backed the biggest con job in our nation’s history.”

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IT’S NEVER THE GUNS !
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Six states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Utah, Wisconsin),  are planning to require poverty stricken people on Medicaid  to get jobs  or lose the coverage. Maine, Utah and Wisconsin want to put a time limit on coverage, the latter wants to drug-test people. Excluded: People with long-tern disabilities, the elderly, and children.  Isn’t it bad enough these people are in poverty ? 
      Vox Media reports that 9.8 million Medicaid recipients  don’t have jobs  due to: Illness/disabled (35%), retired (8%), taking care of home or family (28%), going to school (18%), cannot find work (8%). The remaining 60.2 million Americans on Medicaid work full-time of part-time.  I’m not sure what’s the Republican beef here.
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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 will Trump’s nominee, Demers  ? 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)
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 ?
     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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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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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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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 telling 4.5 lies per day, 1,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?

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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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WHAT 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- Hope Hicks, 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 T. Flynn – Michael G. Flynn ( son)  – 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.” Initially, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Republicans: Infrastructure or Entitlement Reform ?

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 24,774
S&P 500: 2,682
Nasdaq  Comp.:6,939
Russell 2000: 1,543
Thursday , Dec. 28,    8:36 a.m.

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REASONS WHY THE SIZE of the CORPORATE TAX CUT IS  BAD FOR AMERICA (See below)
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      Trump’s administration is setting stage for firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.  In the interim, it is trying to discredit the FBI and Dept. of Justice, and even Michael Flynn. The tip-off would be a sudden confirmation of someone  to replace Dana Boente as U.S. Attorney General Eastern Dist. Virginia.  Rosenstein would not fire Mueller, but a hand-picked replacement would. (See who that may be: “Trump to Fire Mueller” below).
      -All this will have a destabilizing effect on confidence in our nation’s future and the stock market, which is historically overvalued.
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-Expect the Trump administration to launch a $1 trillion infrastructure effort in coming weeks. Competing for attention will be entitlement reform.   
OUR DECAYING INFRASTRUCTURE:  The administration may soon introduce an initiative to address the nation’s infrastructure problems.
       The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) grade  the 16 sectors of  our nation’s infrastructure. As a group, they get D+. Broken down they get: Aviation D, Bridges C+, Dams D, Drinking Water D, Energy D+, Hazardous Waste D+, Inland Waterways D, Levees D, Ports C+, Public Parks D+, Railway B, Roads D, Schools C+, Transit D-, Waste Water D-.
       I ran a series on this need early in the Obama administration thinking it was a sure thing, but healthcare got the nod. It cost the Democrats control of Congress, since the “perception” (not reality) would have been jobs were just around the corner.
       The need is huge – this would be the single biggest project for job generation.  It won’t happen overnight, few projects are “shovel-ready,  and funding is a problem, especially now that Congress has slashed revenues the federal government can expect in the future.
        There are a host of companies that could benefit over time. I have identified as many as 24. If the administration announces a big push, most will jump in price on the hype. This happened  a year ago. The group jumped sharply, then lost momentum and drifted sideways-to-down.  Many have already run up, but have room to move up more “IF” the administration opts for a big trillion dollar push over 10 years.
       Potential beneficiaries:
Martin Marietta (MLM), Chicago Bridge (CLF), Cliffs (CLF), Vulcan Materials (VMC), Caterpillar (CAT), Arcelor Mittal (MT), Nucor (NUE), Fluor (FLR), USG (USG), United Rentals (URI), CEMEX (CX), U.S. Concrete (USCR), Jacobs (JEC), AECOM (ACM), Emerson El (EMR), Manitowac (MTW),Tetra Tech (TTEK), KBR (KBR), McDermott (MDR), Quanta Services (PWR), EMCOR (EME), Mastec (MTZ), American Water (AWK), American Tower (AMT).
       Be sure of one thing, there will be hype.
        The administration will pitch public/private partnerships which sound great except they are costly. The private sector wants a return on investment – a BIG one.
        Go to www.infrastructure report card.org for details on the “problem.”
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UNFORTUNATELY, WELFARE REFORM MAY COME FIRST !
       The Trump administration may decide to deform welfare.  That sounds like a program you would expect billionaires to champion.
Now that federal government receipts have been slashed by tax cuts, Republicans want to plug the hole with slashes to Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (for the 71th time).
      
These pompous asses need to deliver Meals on Wheels  for a couple months.
       If this was about the deficit, they would not have slashed corporate taxes by 40%. This is all about an extremist ideology with its primary seeds planted in the mid-1990s starting with Newt Gingrich.
       Guess what ?   42% of Medicaid recipients work full time, most for small firms with limited benefits. 18% work part-time.  Most of the 40% not working are children, people with disabilities, and the elderly.
        So, who are you going to force to get jobs, or relinquish benefits ?
       Just another Republican war against “those people.”
TODAY
        NO ONE IS BEARISH !
    That’s bearish !
        This contrasts with March 10, 2009 when with the S&P 500 at 666, everyone was bearish, the day when investors first read.com  issued its “BUY”
         A surge into early January is likely to run into selling by investors opting to put profits into 2018. It could even start in the first week in January.
       I can see two major corrections in 2018 (10% to 14%), the first starting in January, the second around mid-year.  The upside of that is there will be opportunities to buy, for nimble traders capable of getting on the right side of the volatile market. 
       Most institutions were in a cruise-control buy mode for the 12 months before passage of the tax bill. Decisions were dictated by computer models (algorithms).
       If these models are changed to a more cautious mode, worse yet a sell mode, a lot of sell orders will hit the Street at the same time, causing a steep drop in prices.   I have warned of this possibility numerous times in the past, and it hasn’t happened.  But, the risk is real, we have seen it in  May 2010 (-17%), May 2011 (-17%)  August 2015 (-12%), January 2016 (-14%).
        Odds of a bull market top in 2018 are 50-50, assuming one more speculative surge.   Otherwise, expect volatility as the Street scrambles to extend its highly leveraged 2017 gains  in face of  the risk that  the Mueller probe will bring down the entire Trump administration, or a constitutional crisis as Trump fires Deputy Attorney General, then finds someone to fire Mueller.  Or, he may simply pardon everyone in Mueller’s crosshairs. There is always  the possibility of war with  North Korea.
        In short, 2018 stands to be a wild one. There will be big beneficiaries of  tax cuts and big losers.
        Everyone expects a huge surge in 2018.  After a 25.4% surge since Nov 8, 2016 (election day), I expect profit taking. Whether new buying  can offset it, is questionable. 

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SUPPORT “today” DJIA:24,746; S&P 500:2,681; Nasdaq Comp.:6,931
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:24,821; S&P 500:2,687; Nasdaq Comp.:6,959

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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
CORPORATE TAX CUT IRRESPONSIBLE
“It's pure fantasy to think that the tax bill will lead to significantly higher wages and growth, as Republicans have promised,” Bloomberg continued. Had Congress actually listened to executives, or economists who study these issues carefully, it might have realized that. The tax bill is an economically indefensible blunder that will harm our future”
                       Michael Bloomberg – billionaire business man former mayor NYC

      I don’t doubt some corporations need, and deserve a tax cut, but to reduce the rate from 35% to 21% is inexcusable, reckless, unjustifiable, and outright subversive to the best interests of America.
      Corporate income taxes comprise 9% of federal government receipts. If corporate taxes are slashed by 40% (from 35% to 21%), the government’s receipts from corporations are reduced by 3.6% from 9%.
      Individual income tax payments comprise 47% of  federal government receipts. At this point, I have no idea how much of an impact  Congress’ tax cuts will have on this source of federal revenues, but it stands to be significant.
      The Republican administration expects economic growth will be triggered by a sudden change in heart by corporations to abandon stock buybacks and the repatriation of billions stashed abroad to plug the big hole left in federal receipts by tax cuts with a surge in hiring and capital expenditures.
      That assumption is flawed. For one, why would a corporation  go on a hiring and cap-ex spending spree  with an economic expansion that  is 8-1/2 years old, 3 years longer (73%) than the average over 65 years (1945 – 2009).
      For another, are they naïve enough to assume there will be no recessions within the next 10 years ?
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The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy released a study on “Corporate Tax Avoidance by Fortune 500 Companies”:  The report includes 258 corporations that were consistently profitable over an eight-year period between 2008 and 2015. Some conclusions:

-Of 258 Fortune 500companies studied, the effective federal income tax rate was 21.5%
18 of the 258 paid no income tax and 48 paid an effective tax rate of 10%.
83 companies (32%) paid a tax rate less than 17.5%
109 companies (42%)  paid a tax rate between 17.5% and 30%.
66 companies (26%) paid a tax rate greater than 30%
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Trump Administration dominos starting to tumble, tumble, tumble !
Will Trump administration now ramp up United States’ war footing on North Korea to distract America, an attempt to unite the country behind its president, as President George W. Bush did prior to the invasion of Iraq ?

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STATES NEEDING FEDS THE MOST
       The twelve most federally dependent states are Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, West Virginia, South Carolina, Montana, Tennessee, Maine,  Indiana, Arizona, Louisiana.
      The twelve least federally dependent states are Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Kansas, Nevada, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Utah, and Nebraska.
  Red states (Republican) are 67% more dependent on federal government aid than Blue States (Democratic).

  So why all the whining about the Feds being in their space ?  Want to go it alone ?   Careful what you wish for.
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The BIG question is, do American morals and respect for our republic  have to hit bottom before Congress and the American voter opts for decency, honesty, integrity and a moral compass ?
    Currently, odds favor neither will have a change of heart even if the findings of the Mueller probe uncover untold crimes against the constitution and American people. 
     The current extremist Republican Party is morally bankrupt, as are many of its supporters. Much of the Republican Congress is comprised congressional  anarchists, determined to raze time-tested checks and balances, and oppose any and all new proposals that do not pass their muster.
      It wasn’t enough that they obstructed progress for eight years of the Obama administration, they are now dismantling the things he did accomplish. Our republic is being mugged in plain sight.
    
There are a lot of very fine Republicans out there, but someone needs to tell them someone hijacked their party.
       This isn’t Reagan, this isn’t anything close to the Republican Party I grew up with.

       This is what the right wing has been waiting for – total control of the presidency, both Houses, and the Supreme Court. (and Fox News)  They want total control.  This is how democratic,  representative republics  perish.
      America is the biggest enchilada on earth.  Why wouldn’t a group of extremists want to wrest permanent control from its people ?  Americans must stop multitasking, and have the guts to endure the day-to-day angst that accompanies being well informed. They need to return to values.
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COMPASSIONLESS: What is it with the well-heeled powerbase of the Republican Party  ?  Why do they want to deny people of modest means medical care, needed social benefits, an affordable education and a minimally comfortable retirement ?  Do they want it all for themselves ?  How Christian is favoring the rich over the poor ?
     
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) says there is no money to fund the Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP) which expired Oct. 1.
      Mic.com quotes Hatch as whining, about  it as a low-cost health insurance plan  for children of low-income families,  saying,  “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the Federal government to do everything.”   Yeah, right, Orrin. These impoverished, ill kids are always looking for a handout.
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      I keep Fox Business News TV on by my desk during the day, since it has better data coverage than CNBC. I have it on “mute” since I can’t endure the senseless Republican hype.  Neil Cavuto hosts a portion of the show. While decidedly right-leaning, Neil is tolerable compared with his co-host, Stuart Varney, Varney & Co, who is constantly waxing right wing blither.
       I was a frequent guest analyst on CNBC-TV in the 1990s. It was different then. It was one-on-one with a lot of questions, but an independent without major firm backing like me had a chance to get some visibility.  The times Cavuto interviewed me, I sensed he was Republican, but not hard core, which is also the case today. He’s good, not given to partyline hype.
       What’s more, for some time, I sensed he was uncomfortable with the Trump administration and last week it came out per a report from “The HILL.”  Trump couldn’t resist tweeting about  LaVar Ball and Senator Jeff Flake, at a time more important presidential issues demanded attention.  Cavuto, criticized Trump for “using a bazooka to respond to a pea shooter.” “Is it really necessary,” he asked, adding, “Keep tweeting stuff like that, Mr. President, and those tax cuts just could be toast.” Cavuto then said, “the last time I checked, you are the president of the United States, why don’t you act like it ?”
      Whoa ! Why would a broadcaster with 25 years experience, a big name, in a comfortable time slot, lecture the president, and possibly rankle his party ?  Is this just another sign that Trump’s support is crumbling.
      Neil is a throwback to the days when most Republicans were more reasonable, not extremists. It’s good to see him say, “Enough.”
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TRUMP VOTER FRAUD COMMISSION appears to have vanished after being SUED:
Matthew Dunlap, Maine’s Secretary of State is accusing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity of essentially “lacking integrity.”  It’s all about shutting Dunlap, a Democrat, out of the process and lack of transparency to the public.  What else can be expected of a SCAM, designed to data mine all 50 state’s voter records for political advantage and ensure the continuance of Republican‘s voter suppression efforts.
Have these people no shame ?  Americans ??  Or is this a bloodless coup ?  NOT ON OUR WATCH !
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Brian Benczkowski was nominated by President Trump in June to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. My  Sept. 15 post called attention to this since he previously represented one of Russia’s largest banks Russia’s Alfa Bank. Having  advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his nomination is pending full Senate confirmation. He once served under Jeff Sessions. If confirmed, he pledged independence, recusing himself for two years from any dealings with alfa Bank.  Sen. Feinstein voted against Benczkowski concerned that he never served as a federal prosecutor and the fact he would sit in on  meetings with special counsel Robert Mueller with Russia probe. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., was concerned his major qualification was his connection with Sessions.
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Mercer on the runBannon and Breitbart bankroller, Robert Mercer is rapidly severing financial ties to Breitbart News and support of Steve Bannon and alt-right’s Milo Yiannopoulos. Mercer was a major supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to gain the Republican nomination last year, but switched his allegiance to Trump when he won the nomination.
      In my March 21 post, I wrote, “Years from now, I suspect Mercer will be relaxing at his Long Island waterfront retreat, Owl’s Nest, or on his 200-foot yacht, Sea Owl, and look back over his illustrious career tarnished  by one regret – he backed the biggest con job in our nation’s history.”

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IT’S NEVER THE GUNS !
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Six states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Utah, Wisconsin),  are planning to require poverty stricken people on Medicaid  to get jobs  or lose the coverage. Maine, Utah and Wisconsin want to put a time limit on coverage, the latter wants to drug-test people. Excluded: People with long-tern disabilities, the elderly, and children.  Isn’t it bad enough these people are in poverty ? 
      Vox Media reports that 9.8 million Medicaid recipients  don’t have jobs  due to: Illness/disabled (35%), retired (8%), taking care of home or family (28%), going to school (18%), cannot find work (8%). The remaining 60.2 million Americans on Medicaid work full-time of part-time.  I’m not sure what’s the Republican beef here.
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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)
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 ?
     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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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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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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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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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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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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WHAT 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- Hope Hicks, 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 T. Flynn – Michael G. Flynn ( son)  – 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.” Initially, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

2018: Wildest One in Years

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 24,746
S&P 500: 2,680
Nasdaq  Comp.:6,936
Russell 2000: 1,544
Wednesday, Dec. 27,    7:49 a.m.

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REASONS WHY THE SIZE of the CORPORATE TAX CUT IS  BAD FOR AMERICA (See below)
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      Trump’s administration is setting stage for firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The tip-off would be a sudden confirmation of someone  to replace Dana Boente as U.S. Attorney General Eastern Dist. Virginia.  Rosenstein would not fire Mueller, but a hand-picked replacement would. (See who that may be: “Trump to Fire Mueller” below).
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-Expect the Trump administration to launch a $1 trillion infrastructure effort in coming weeks   
OUR DECAYING INFRASTRUCTURE:  The administration may soon introduce an initiative to address the nation’s infrastructure problems.
       The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) grade  the 16 sectors of  our nation’s infrastructure. As a group, they get D+. Broken down they get: Aviation D, Bridges C+, Dams D, Drinking Water D, Energy D+, Hazardous Waste D+, Inland Waterways D, Levees D, Ports C+, Public Parks D+, Railway B, Roads D, Schools C+, Transit D-, Waste Water D-.
       I ran a series on this need early in the Obama administration thinking it was a sure thing, but healthcare got the nod.
       The need is huge – this would be the single biggest project for job generation.  It won’t happen overnight, few projects are “shovel-ready,  and funding is a problem, especially now that Congress has slashed revenues the federal government can expect in the future.
        There are a host of companies that could benefit over time. I have identified as many as 24. If the administration announces a big push, most will jump in price on the hype. This happened  a year ago. The group jumped sharply, then lost momentum and drifted sideways-to-down. 
       Potential beneficiaries:
Martin Marietta (MLM), Chicago Bridge (CLF), Cleveland Cliffs (CLF), Vulcan Materials (VMC), Caterpillar (CAT), Arcelor Mittal (MT), Nucor (NUE), Fluor (FLR), USG (USG), United Rentals (URI), CEMEX (CX), U.S. Concrete (USCR), Jacobs (JEC), AECOM (ACM), Emerson El (EMR), Manitowac (MTW),Tetra Tech (TTEK), KBR (KBR), McDermott (MDR), Quanta Services (PWR), EMCOR (EME), Mastec (MTZ), American Water (AWK), American Tower (AMT).
       Be sure of one thing, there will be hype.
        The administration will pitch public/private partnerships which sound great except they are costly. The private sector wants a return on investment – a BIG one.
        Go to www.infrastructure report card.org for details on the “problem.”
TODAY
        NO ONE IS BEARISH !
    That’s bearish !
        This contrasts with March 10, 2009 when with the S&P 500 at 666, everyone was bearish, the day when investors first read.com  issued its “BUY”
         A surge into early January is likely to run into selling by investors opting to put profits into 2018. It could even start in the first week in January.
       I can see two major corrections in 2018 (10% to 14%), the first starting in January, the second around mid-year.  The upside of that is there will be opportunities to buy, for nimble traders capable of getting on the right side of the volatile market. 
       Most institutions were in a cruise-control buy mode for the 12 months before passage of the tax bill. Decisions were dictated by computer models (algorithms).
       If these models are changed to a more cautious mode, worse yet a sell mode, a lot of sell orders will hit the Street at the same time, causing a steep drop in prices.   I have warned of this possibility numerous times in the past, and it hasn’t happened.  But, the risk is real, we have seen it in  May 2010 (-17%), May 2011 (-17%)  August 2015 (-12%), January 2016 (-14%).
        Odds of a bull market top in 2018 are 50-50, assuming one more speculative surge.   Otherwise, expect volatility as the Street scrambles to extend its highly leveraged 2017 gains  in face of  the risk that  the Mueller probe will bring down the entire Trump administration, or a constitutional crisis as Trump fires Deputy Attorney General, then finds someone to fire Mueller.  Or, he may simply pardon everyone in Mueller’s crosshairs. There is always  the possibility of war with  North Korea.
        In short, 2018 stands to be a wild one.

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SUPPORT “today” DJIA:24,723 ; S&P 500:2,677; Nasdaq Comp.:6,930
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:24,817; S&P 500:2,687; Nasdaq Comp.:6,948

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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
CORPORATE TAX CUT IRRESPONSIBLE
“It's pure fantasy to think that the tax bill will lead to significantly higher wages and growth, as Republicans have promised,” Bloomberg continued. Had Congress actually listened to executives, or economists who study these issues carefully, it might have realized that. The tax bill is an economically indefensible blunder that will harm our future”
                       Michael Bloomberg – billionaire business man former mayor NYC

      I don’t doubt some corporations need, and deserve a tax cut, but to reduce the rate from 35% to 21% is inexcusable, reckless, unjustifiable, and outright subversive to the best interests of America.
      Corporate income taxes comprise 9% of federal government receipts. If corporate taxes are slashed by 40% (from 35% to 21%), the government’s receipts from corporations are reduced by 3.6% from 9%.
      Individual income tax payments comprise 47% of  federal government receipts. At this point, I have no idea how much of an impact  Congress’ tax cuts will have on this source of federal revenues, but it stands to be significant.
      The Republican administration expects economic growth will be triggered by a sudden change in heart by corporations to abandon stock buybacks and the repatriation of billions stashed abroad to plug the big hole left in federal receipts by tax cuts with a surge in hiring and capital expenditures.
      That assumption is flawed. For one, why would a corporation  go on a hiring and cap-ex spending spree  with an economic expansion that  is 8-1/2 years old, 3 years longer (73%) than the average over 65 years (1945 – 2009).
      For another, are they naïve enough to assume there will be no recessions within the next 10 years ?
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The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy released a study on “Corporate Tax Avoidance by Fortune 500 Companies”:  The report includes 258 corporations that were consistently profitable over an eight-year period between 2008 and 2015. Some conclusions:

-Of 258 Fortune 500companies studied, the effective federal income tax rate was 21.5%
18 of the 258 paid no income tax and 48 paid an effective tax rate of 10%.
83 companies (32%) paid a tax rate less than 17.5%
109 companies (42%)  paid a tax rate between 17.5% and 30%.
66 companies (26%) paid a tax rate greater than 30%
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Trump Administration dominos starting to tumble, tumble, tumble !
Will Trump administration now ramp up United States’ war footing on North Korea to distract America, an attempt to unite the country behind its president, as President George W. Bush did prior to the invasion of Iraq ?

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STATES NEEDING FEDS THE MOST
       The twelve most federally dependent states are Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, West Virginia, South Carolina, Montana, Tennessee, Maine,  Indiana, Arizona, Louisiana.
      The twelve least federally dependent states are Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Kansas, Nevada, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Utah, and Nebraska.
  Red states (Republican) are 67% more dependent on federal government aid than Blue States (Democratic).

  So why all the whining about the Feds being in their space ?  Want to go it alone ?   Careful what you wish for.
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The BIG question is, do American morals and respect for our republic  have to hit bottom before Congress and the American voter opts for decency, honesty, integrity and a moral compass ?
    Currently, odds favor neither will have a change of heart even if the findings of the Mueller probe uncover untold crimes against the constitution and American people. 
     The current extremist Republican Party is morally bankrupt, as are many of its supporters. Much of the Republican Congress is comprised congressional  anarchists, determined to raze time-tested checks and balances, and oppose any and all new proposals that do not pass their muster.
      It wasn’t enough that they obstructed progress for eight years of the Obama administration, they are now dismantling the things he did accomplish. Our republic is being mugged in plain sight.
    
There are a lot of very fine Republicans out there, but someone needs to tell them someone hijacked their party.
       This isn’t Reagan, this isn’t anything close to the Republican Party I grew up with.

       This is what the right wing has been waiting for – total control of the presidency, both Houses, and the Supreme Court. (and Fox News)  They want total control.  This is how democratic,  representative republics  perish.
      America is the biggest enchilada on earth.  Why wouldn’t a group of extremists want to wrest permanent control from its people ?  Americans must stop multitasking, and have the guts to endure the day-to-day angst that accompanies being well informed. They need to return to values.
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COMPASSIONLESS: What is it with the well-heeled powerbase of the Republican Party  ?  Why do they want to deny people of modest means medical care, needed social benefits, an affordable education and a minimally comfortable retirement ?  Do they want it all for themselves ?  How Christian is favoring the rich over the poor ?
     
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) says there is no money to fund the Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP) which expired Oct. 1.
      Mic.com quotes Hatch as whining, about  it as a low-cost health insurance plan  for children of low-income families,  saying,  “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the Federal government to do everything.”   Yeah, right, Orrin. These impoverished, ill kids are always looking for a handout.
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      I keep Fox Business News TV on by my desk during the day, since it has better data coverage than CNBC. I have it on “mute” since I can’t endure the senseless Republican hype.  Neil Cavuto hosts a portion of the show. While decidedly right-leaning, Neil is tolerable compared with his co-host, Stuart Varney, Varney & Co, who is constantly waxing right wing blither.
       I was a frequent guest analyst on CNBC-TV in the 1990s. It was different then. It was one-on-one with a lot of questions, but an independent without major firm backing like me had a chance to get some visibility.  The times Cavuto interviewed me, I sensed he was Republican, but not hard core, which is also the case today. He’s good, not given to partyline hype.
       What’s more, for some time, I sensed he was uncomfortable with the Trump administration and last week it came out per a report from “The HILL.”  Trump couldn’t resist tweeting about  LaVar Ball and Senator Jeff Flake, at a time more important presidential issues demanded attention.  Cavuto, criticized Trump for “using a bazooka to respond to a pea shooter.” “Is it really necessary,” he asked, adding, “Keep tweeting stuff like that, Mr. President, and those tax cuts just could be toast.” Cavuto then said, “the last time I checked, you are the president of the United States, why don’t you act like it ?”
      Whoa ! Why would a broadcaster with 25 years experience, a big name, in a comfortable time slot, lecture the president, and possibly rankle his party ?  Is this just another sign that Trump’s support is crumbling.
      Neil is a throwback to the days when most Republicans were more reasonable, not extremists. It’s good to see him say, “Enough.”
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TRUMP VOTER FRAUD COMMISSION appears to have vanished after being SUED:
Matthew Dunlap, Maine’s Secretary of State is accusing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity of essentially “lacking integrity.”  It’s all about shutting Dunlap, a Democrat, out of the process and lack of transparency to the public.  What else can be expected of a SCAM, designed to data mine all 50 state’s voter records for political advantage and ensure the continuance of Republican‘s voter suppression efforts.
Have these people no shame ?  Americans ??  Or is this a bloodless coup ?  NOT ON OUR WATCH !
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Brian Benczkowski was nominated by President Trump in June to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. My  Sept. 15 post called attention to this since he previously represented one of Russia’s largest banks Russia’s Alfa Bank. Having  advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his nomination is pending full Senate confirmation. He once served under Jeff Sessions. If confirmed, he pledged independence, recusing himself for two years from any dealings with alfa Bank.  Sen. Feinstein voted against Benczkowski concerned that he never served as a federal prosecutor and the fact he would sit in on  meetings with special counsel Robert Mueller with Russia probe. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., was concerned his major qualification was his connection with Sessions.
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Mercer on the runBannon and Breitbart bankroller, Robert Mercer is rapidly severing financial ties to Breitbart News and support of Steve Bannon and alt-right’s Milo Yiannopoulos. Mercer was a major supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to gain the Republican nomination last year, but switched his allegiance to Trump when he won the nomination.
      In my March 21 post, I wrote, “Years from now, I suspect Mercer will be relaxing at his Long Island waterfront retreat, Owl’s Nest, or on his 200-foot yacht, Sea Owl, and look back over his illustrious career tarnished  by one regret – he backed the biggest con job in our nation’s history.”

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IT’S NEVER THE GUNS !
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Six states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Utah, Wisconsin),  are planning to require poverty stricken people on Medicaid  to get jobs  or lose the coverage. Maine, Utah and Wisconsin want to put a time limit on coverage, the latter wants to drug-test people. Excluded: People with long-tern disabilities, the elderly, and children.  Isn’t it bad enough these people are in poverty ? 
      Vox Media reports that 9.8 million Medicaid recipients  don’t have jobs  due to: Illness/disabled (35%), retired (8%), taking care of home or family (28%), going to school (18%), cannot find work (8%). The remaining 60.2 million Americans on Medicaid work full-time of part-time.  I’m not sure what’s the Republican beef here.
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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)
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 ?
     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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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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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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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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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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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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WHAT 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- Hope Hicks, 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 T. Flynn – Michael G. Flynn ( son)  – 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.” Initially, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 to Be a Wild One

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 24,754
S&P 500: 2,683
Nasdaq  Comp.:6,959
Russell 2000: 1,542
Tuesday, Dec. 26,    8:49 a.m.

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REASONS WHY THE SIZE of the CORPORATE TAX CUT IS  BAD FOR AMERICA (See below)
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      Trump’s administration is setting stage for firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The tip-off would be a sudden confirmation of someone  to replace Dana Boente as U.S. Attorney General Eastern Dist. Virginia.  Rosenstein would not fire Mueller, but a hand-picked replacement would. (See who that may be: “Trump to Fire Mueller” below).
-Expect the Trump administration to launch a $1 trillion infrastructure effort in coming weeks.

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OUR DECAYING INFRASTRUCTURE:  The administration may soon introduce an initiative to address the nation’s infrastructure problems.
       The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) grade  the 16 sectors of  our nation’s infrastructure. As a group, they get D+. Broken down they get: Aviation D, Bridges C+, Dams D, Drinking Water D, Energy D+, Hazardous Waste D+, Inland Waterways D, Levees D, Ports C+, Public Parks D+, Railway B, Roads D, Schools C+, Transit D-, Waste Water D-.
       I ran a series on this need early in the Obama administration thinking it was a sure thing, but healthcare got the nod.
       The need is huge – this would be the single biggest project for job generation.  It won’t happen overnight, few projects are “shovel-ready,  and funding is a problem, especially now that Congress has slashed revenues the federal government can expect in the future.
        There are a host of companies that could benefit over time. I have identified as many as 25. If the administration announces a big push, most will jump in price on the hype. This happened  a year ago. The group jumped sharply, then lost momentum and drifted sideways-to-down.
       Be sure of one thing, there will be hype.

        The administration will pitch public/private partnerships which sound great except they are costly. The private sector wants a return on investment – a BIG one.
        Go to www.infrastructure report card.org for details on the “problem.”
TODAY
        NO ONE IS BEARISH !
    That’s bearish !
        This contrasts with March 10, 2009 when with the S&P 500 at 666, everyone was bearish, the day when investors first read.com  issued its “BUY”
         A surge into early January is likely to run into selling by investors opting to put profits into 2018. It could even start in the first week in January.
       I can see two major corrections in 2018 (10% to 14%), the first starting in January, the second around mid-year.  The upside of that is there will be opportunities to buy, for nimble traders capable of getting on the right side of the volatile market. 
       Most institutions were in a cruise-control buy mode for the 12 months before passage of the tax bill. Decisions were dictated by computer models (algorithms).
       If these models are changed to a more cautious mode, worse yet a sell mode, a lot of sell orders will hit the Street at the same time, causing a steep drop in prices.   I have warned of this possibility numerous times in the past, and it hasn’t happened.  But, the risk is real, we have seen it in  May 2010 (-17%), May 2011 (-17%)  August 2015 (-12%), January 2016 (-14%).
        Odds of a bull market top in 2018 are 50-50, assuming one more speculative surge.   Otherwise, expect volatility as the Street scrambles to extend its highly leveraged 2017 gains  in face of  the risk that  the Mueller probe will bring down the entire Trump administration, as well as the possibility of war with  North Korea.
        In short, 2018 stands to be a wild one.

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SUPPORT “today” DJIA:24,684; S&P 500:2,672; Nasdaq Comp.:6,939
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:24,793; S&P 500:2,688; Nasdaq Comp.:6,974

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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
CORPORATE TAX CUT IRRESPONSIBLE
“It's pure fantasy to think that the tax bill will lead to significantly higher wages and growth, as Republicans have promised,” Bloomberg continued. Had Congress actually listened to executives, or economists who study these issues carefully, it might have realized that. The tax bill is an economically indefensible blunder that will harm our future”
                       Michael Bloomberg – billionaire business man former mayor NYC

      I don’t doubt some corporations need, and deserve a tax cut, but to reduce the rate from 35% to 21% is inexcusable, reckless, unjustifiable, and outright subversive to the best interests of America.
      Corporate income taxes comprise 9% of federal government receipts. If corporate taxes are slashed by 40% (from 35% to 21%), the government’s receipts are reduced by 3.6% from 9%.
      Individual income tax payments comprise 47% of  federal government receipts. At this point, I have no idea how much of an impact  Congress’ tax cuts will have on this source of federal revenues, but stands to be significant.
      The Republican administration expects economic growth will be triggered by a sudden change in heart by corporations to abandon stock buybacks and the repatriation of billions stashed abroad to plug the big hole left in federal receipts by tax cuts with a surge in hiring and capital expenditures.
      That assumption is flawed. For one, why would a corporation  go on a hiring and cap-ex spending spree  with an economic expansion that  is 8-1/2 years old, 3 years longer (73%) than the average over 65 years (1945 – 2009).
      For another, are they naïve enough to assume there will be no recessions within the next 10 years ?
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The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy released a study on “Corporate Tax Avoidance by Fortune 500 Companies”:  The report includes 258 corporations that were consistently profitable over an eight-year period between 2008 and 2015. Some conclusions:

-Of 258 Fortune 500companies studied, the effective federal income tax rate was 21.5%
18 of the 258 paid no income tax and 48 paid an effective tax rate of 10%.
83 companies (32%) paid a tax rate less than 17.5%
109 companies (42%)  paid a tax rate between 17.5% and 30%.
66 companies (26%) paid a tax rate greater than 30%
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Trump Administration dominos starting to tumble, tumble, tumble !
Will Trump administration now ramp up United States’ war footing on North Korea to distract America, an attempt to unite the country behind its president, as President George W. Bush did prior to the invasion of Iraq ?

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STATES NEEDING FEDS THE MOST
       The twelve most federally dependent states are Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, West Virginia, South Carolina, Montana, Tennessee, Maine,  Indiana, Arizona, Louisiana.
      The twelve least federally dependent states are Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Kansas, Nevada, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Utah, and Nebraska.
  Red states (Republican) are 67% more dependent on federal government aid than Blue States (Democratic).

  So why all the whining about the Feds being in their space ?  Want to go it alone ?   Careful what you wish for.
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The BIG question is, do American morals and respect for our republic  have to hit bottom before Congress and the American voter opts for decency, honesty, integrity and a moral compass ?
    Currently, odds favor neither will have a change of heart even if the findings of the Mueller probe uncover untold crimes against the constitution and American people. 
     The current extremist Republican Party is morally bankrupt, as are many of its supporters. Much of the Republican Congress is comprised congressional  anarchists, determined to raze time-tested checks and balances, and oppose any and all new proposals that do not pass their muster.
      It wasn’t enough that they obstructed progress for eight years of the Obama administration, they are now dismantling the things he did accomplish. Our republic is being mugged in plain sight.
    
There are a lot of very fine Republicans out there, but someone needs to tell them someone hijacked their party.
       This isn’t Reagan, this isn’t anything close to the Republican Party I grew up with.

       This is what the right wing has been waiting for – total control of the presidency, both Houses, and the Supreme Court. (and Fox News)  They want total control.  This is how democratic,  representative republics  perish.
      America is the biggest enchilada on earth.  Why wouldn’t a group of extremists want to wrest permanent control from its people ?  Americans must stop multitasking, and have the guts to endure the day-to-day angst that accompanies being well informed. They need to return to values.
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COMPASSIONLESS: What is it with the well-heeled powerbase of the Republican Party  ?  Why do they want to deny people of modest means medical care, needed social benefits, an affordable education and a minimally comfortable retirement ?  Do they want it all for themselves ?  How Christian is favoring the rich over the poor ?
     
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) says there is no money to fund the Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP) which expired Oct. 1.
      Mic.com quotes Hatch as whining, about  it as a low-cost health insurance plan  for children of low-income families,  saying,  “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the Federal government to do everything.”   Yeah, right, Orrin. These impoverished, ill kids are always looking for a handout.
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      I keep Fox Business News TV on by my desk during the day, since it has better data coverage than CNBC. I have it on “mute” since I can’t endure the senseless Republican hype.  Neil Cavuto hosts a portion of the show. While decidedly right-leaning, Neil is tolerable compared with his co-host, Stuart Varney, Varney & Co, who is constantly waxing right wing blither.
       I was a frequent guest analyst on CNBC-TV in the 1990s. It was different then. It was one-on-one with a lot of questions, but an independent without major firm backing like me had a chance to get some visibility.  The times Cavuto interviewed me, I sensed he was Republican, but not hard core, which is also the case today. He’s good, not given to partyline hype.
       What’s more, for some time, I sensed he was uncomfortable with the Trump administration and last week it came out per a report from “The HILL.”  Trump couldn’t resist tweeting about  LaVar Ball and Senator Jeff Flake, at a time more important presidential issues demanded attention.  Cavuto, criticized Trump for “using a bazooka to respond to a pea shooter.” “Is it really necessary,” he asked, adding, “Keep tweeting stuff like that, Mr. President, and those tax cuts just could be toast.” Cavuto then said, “the last time I checked, you are the president of the United States, why don’t you act like it ?”
      Whoa ! Why would a broadcaster with 25 years experience, a big name, in a comfortable time slot, lecture the president, and possibly rankle his party ?  Is this just another sign that Trump’s support is crumbling.
      Neil is a throwback to the days when most Republicans were more reasonable, not extremists. It’s good to see him say, “Enough.”
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TRUMP VOTER FRAUD COMMISSION appears to have vanished after being SUED:
Matthew Dunlap, Maine’s Secretary of State is accusing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity of essentially “lacking integrity.”  It’s all about shutting Dunlap, a Democrat, out of the process and lack of transparency to the public.  What else can be expected of a SCAM, designed to data mine all 50 state’s voter records for political advantage and ensure the continuance of Republican‘s voter suppression efforts.
Have these people no shame ?  Americans ??  Or is this a bloodless coup ?  NOT ON OUR WATCH !
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Brian Benczkowski was nominated by President Trump in June to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. My  Sept. 15 post called attention to this since he previously represented one of Russia’s largest banks Russia’s Alfa Bank. Having  advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his nomination is pending full Senate confirmation. He once served under Jeff Sessions. If confirmed, he pledged independence, recusing himself for two years from any dealings with alfa Bank.  Sen. Feinstein voted against Benczkowski concerned that he never served as a federal prosecutor and the fact he would sit in on  meetings with special counsel Robert Mueller with Russia probe. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., was concerned his major qualification was his connection with Sessions.
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Mercer on the runBannon and Breitbart bankroller, Robert Mercer is rapidly severing financial ties to Breitbart News and support of Steve Bannon and alt-right’s Milo Yiannopoulos. Mercer was a major supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to gain the Republican nomination last year, but switched his allegiance to Trump when he won the nomination.
      In my March 21 post, I wrote, “Years from now, I suspect Mercer will be relaxing at his Long Island waterfront retreat, Owl’s Nest, or on his 200-foot yacht, Sea Owl, and look back over his illustrious career tarnished  by one regret – he backed the biggest con job in our nation’s history.”

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IT’S NEVER THE GUNS !
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Six states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Utah, Wisconsin),  are planning to require poverty stricken people on Medicaid  to get jobs  or lose the coverage. Maine, Utah and Wisconsin want to put a time limit on coverage, the latter wants to drug-test people. Excluded: People with long-tern disabilities, the elderly, and children.  Isn’t it bad enough these people are in poverty ? 
      Vox Media reports that 9.8 million Medicaid recipients  don’t have jobs  due to: Illness/disabled (35%), retired (8%), taking care of home or family (28%), going to school (18%), cannot find work (8%). The remaining 60.2 million Americans on Medicaid work full-time of part-time.  I’m not sure what’s the Republican beef here.
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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)
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 ?
     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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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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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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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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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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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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WHAT 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- Hope Hicks, 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 T. Flynn – Michael G. Flynn ( son)  – 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.” Initially, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volatility to Increase in 2018 – Bull Market Top Possible

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 24,782
S&P 500: 2,684
Nasdaq  Comp.:6,965
Russell 2000: 1,547
Friday, Dec. 22,    9:06 a.m.
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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

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      I dislike forecasts for a New Year.  Too much can happen over 12 months.  Even so, investors love to cuddle up with them at year-end, fantasizing  about how much money they will make in the coming year.
     A vast majority of these forecasts are bullish, issued by brokers, fund managers and publishers.
     Nevertheless, I think it is necessary to toss out some “possibilities.”
      I see volatility increasing dramatically after a 25% rise in the S&P 500  in 2017, driven by  institutions betting on a massive tax cut  –  and right they were.
      Bloomberg’s, “Are There Any Stock Bears Left in America ?” Thursday highlighted the woes of anyone who dared short stocks in 2017. According to  a NAAIM survey, bearish-focused mutual funds are fully invested with exposure to stocks at the highest level since 2006, the onset of the big bear market that lopped off 55% from the S&P 500.

       There is no shortage of  optimistic forecasts, and it’s gaining momentum. The current S&P 500 price/earnings ratio is 22.5 times trailing earnings, well above the 10-year average of 14.1.  Yet, I see forecasts for the S&P ranging from  2,800 (+4.3%) to 3,100 (+15.5%) for 2018.
        NO ONE IS BEARISH !     That’s bearish !
        This contrasts with March 10, 2009 when with the S&P 500 at 666, everyone was bearish, the day when investors first read.com  issued its “BUY”
         A surge into early January is likely to run into selling by investors opting to put profits into 2018. It could even start in the first week in January.
       I can see two major corrections in 2018 (10% to 14%), the first starting in January, the second around mid-year.  The upside of that is there will be opportunities to buy, for nimble traders. 
       Most institutions were in a cruise-control buy mode for the 12 months before passage of the tax bill. Decisions were dictated by computer models (algorithms).
       If these models are changed to a more cautious mode, worse yet a sell mode, a lot of sell orders will hit the Street at the same time, causing a steep drop in prices.   I have warned of this possibility numerous times in the past, and it hasn’t happened.  But, the risk is real, we have seen it in  May 2010 (-17%), May 2011 (-17%)  August 2015 (-12%), January 2016 (-14%).
        Odds of a bull market top in 2018 are 50-50, assuming one more speculative surge.   Otherwise, expect volatility in face of results from the Mueller probe and military action in North Korea.
ALERTS:
Why take profits in 2017, when you can delay them into the new year. The risk is that stock prices may be lower in 2018. This increases the odds of a decline (10%+) starting in January.
-The U.S. government’s funding is extended to Jan. 19, thus averting a shutdown, giving Congress time to negotiate  a bigger 2018 spending bill.
-President Trump plans to sign the tax bill on January 3, 2018 to bypass  PAYGO’s (pay-as-you-go) requirement for automatic spending cuts to Medicare and other programs which would be triggered because the tax bill would increase the deficit by an estimated $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
-More than 120 countries voted in favor of a United Nations General Assembly resolution defying  President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Trump administration responded to countries voting against his decision, threatening to cut off U.S. financial aid.
-IMVHO Sen. Corker (R-Tenn.) is the US Senate’s most adept double-talker – masterful, second to none.
-Texas Senator John Cornyn gleefully notes that, “Arguably, doing away with the individual mandate makes the Affordable Care Act “unworkable…hopefully this will precipitate the bipartisan negotiation on what we need to do as an alternative.”  Right !  We have seen that from Republican attempts to dismantle ACA in the past,  and it sucks.
-Prepare for possibility  of Trump putting U.S. on ramped-up war footing to distract Americans from his Mueller woes.
Trump’s administration is setting stage for firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The tip-off would be a sudden confirmation of someone  to replace Dana Boente as U.S. Attorney General Eastern Dist. Virginia.  Rosenstein would not fire Mueller, but a hand-picked replacement would. (See who that may be: “Trump to Fire Mueller” below).
-Expect the Trump administration to launch a $1 trillion infrastructure effort in coming weeks.

-Why would Senators  Rubio and Corker flip on Tax bill ?  Both want to run for president in 2020.
-A new tax deduction, not in either House or Senate  bills, was slipped in during reconciliation that benefits real estate developers like Trump and Corker, providing a 20% deduction for pass-through” entities. According to The International Business Times, the deduction would benefit 13 GOP lawmakers including Trump and Corker.  It just keeps getting worse.

-The spending bill deadline was extended to Friday, Dec. 22.               
The tax bill is only selectively beneficial to tax payers, great for corporations that still pay high taxes, and good for Democrat Party prospects in 2018 and 2020 – the bill is flawed.

        The prospects for a tax cut have driven the S&P 500 up 23% since the 2016 Presidential Election, bringing the total bull market gain since early  March 2009 to 295%. That compares with the bull market record for the S&P 500 of plus 304.26% between 1990 and 1998, a total of 93 months.  The current bull market is 106 months old.
        Our economy and investment markets came within a whisker of TOTAL meltdown in 2008 – 2009. The recovery following a 58% drop in the S&P and the ugliest recession since the horrid 1930s, was fortunately gradual enough for key sectors of the economy to dig their cleats in and develop a sustainable recovery. As noted above, this economy and stock market recovery are long in the tooth, suggesting risk of reversal in coming months..
        Bull markets tend to run to ridiculous extremes where rank speculation is beyond belief, this one is no exception, unless institutions do some heavy profit-taking in January, triggering the first major correction in two years since Jan. 2016 (-13%). 
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OUR DECAYING INFRASTRUCTURE:  The administration may soon introduce an initiative to address the nation’s infrastructure problems.
       The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) grade  the 16 sectors of  our nation’s infrastructure. As a group, they get D+. Broken down they get: Aviation D, Bridges C+, Dams D, Drinking Water D, Energy D+, Hazardous Waste D+, Inland Waterways D, Levees D, Ports C+, Public Parks D+, Railway B, Roads D, Schools C+, Transit D-, Waste Water D-.
       I ran a series on this need early in the Obama administration thinking it was a sure thing, but healthcare got the nod.
       The need is huge – this would be the single biggest project for job generation.  It won’t happen overnight, few projects are “shovel-ready,  and funding is a problem, especially now that Congress has slashed revenues the federal government can expect in the future.
        There are a host of companies that could benefit over time. I have identified as many as 25. If the administration announces a big push, most will jump in price on the hype. This happened  a year ago. The group jumped sharply, then lost momentum and drifted sideways-to-down.
       Be sure of one thing, there will be hype.

        The administration will pitch public/private partnerships which sound great except they are costly. The private sector wants a return on investment – a BIG one.
        Go to www.infrastructure report card.org for details on the “problem.”
TODAY
Call it a year-end, or “Santa Clause” rally, this is classic bull stampede stuff, based on the Street salivating over more money in their pockets and the prospect for the bull market adding to their leveraged positions. What happens in the first week in January will give a more reasonable read.  Bear in mind, most of the benefits from  a massive corporate tax cut are built into stock prices today.
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SUPPORT “today” DJIA:24,706; S&P 500:2,676; Nasdaq Comp.:6,941
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:24,797; S&P 500:2,687; Nasdaq Comp.:6,969

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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
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Trump Administration dominos starting to tumble, tumble, tumble !
Will Trump administration now ramp up United States’ war footing on North Korea to distract America, an attempt to unite the country behind its president, as President George W. Bush did prior to the invasion of Iraq.

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HEARTLESS at Christmas:  Trump refuses to extend the Obamacare sign-up deadline even in face of a rush to sign up.  Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) covering 9 million children is on life support. Two million to lose coverage by Jan. 31, if Congress doesn’t act.  I expect Congress to fund it, but look at the angst families are going through in the interim.   Cruel and disgusting behavior !
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STATES NEEDING FEDS THE MOST
       The twelve most federally dependent states are Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, West Virginia, South Carolina, Montana, Tennessee, Maine,  Indiana, Arizona, Louisiana.
      The twelve least federally dependent states are Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Kansas, Nevada, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Utah, and Nebraska.
  Red states (Republican) are 67% more dependent on federal government aid than Blue States (Democratic).

  So why all the whining about the Feds being in their space ?  Want to go it alone ?   Careful what you wish for.
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The BIG question is, do American morals and respect for our republic  have to hit bottom before Congress and the American voter opts for decency, honesty, integrity and a moral compass ?
    Currently, odds favor neither will have a change of heart even if the findings of the Mueller probe uncover untold crimes against the constitution and American people. 
     The current extremist Republican Party is morally bankrupt, as are many of its supporters. Much of the Republican Congress is comprised congressional  anarchists, determined to raze time-tested checks and balances, and oppose any and all new proposals that do not pass their muster.
      It wasn’t enough that they obstructed progress for eight years of the Obama administration, they are now dismantling the things he did accomplish. Our republic is being mugged in plain sight.
    
There are a lot of very fine Republicans out there, but someone needs to tell them someone hijacked their party.
       Our republic is being mugged in plain sight, and only a handful in Congress are putting up a fight, clearly none of them  Republicans. 
        Liberals need some spine, too many are appalled, but turn another cheek. I’ve heard it too often, “He’s our president, I don’t agree with what he says, but we need to wish him success, he’s our president now, we must support him.
       Rubbish !   This is WAR !
       This isn’t Reagan, this isn’t anything close to the Republican Party I grew up with.

       This is what the right wing has been waiting for – total control of the presidency, both Houses, and the Supreme Court. (and Fox News)  They want total control.  This is how democratic,  representative republics  perish.
      America is the biggest enchilada on earth.  Why wouldn’t a group of extremists want to wrest permanent control from its people ?  Americans must stop multitasking, and have the guts to endure the day-to-day angst that accompanies being well informed. They need to return to values.
       I am not sure the public knows  what is happening, increasing the odds we must hit bottom first, and that could be quite a ways down from here.
       Today’s senatorial election in Alabama should be telling. It would be refreshing if Christian values rejected accused sex offender Roy Moore’s bid for the U.S. Senate.
        Anything is possible.  A Gallup poll revealed that  people who identify themselves as Republican has dropped  to 37% from 42% since Trump’s election a year ago.  Dems held the line.

 

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IMHO: THE  TAX BILL IS A DISGRACE. IT WIDENS THE GAP BETWEEN UPPER INCOME LEVELS AND THE GREAT MAJORITY OF AMERICANS. 
       MAKING CORPORATION TAX CUTS PERMANENT ARE DESIGNED TO CREATE A MASSIVE DEFICIT, FAR GREATER THAN THE ADMINISTRATION’S $1.5 TRILLION.  
       REPUBLICAN LONG-TERM GOAL:  HUGE SLASHES IN SOCIAL SERVICE BENEFITS IN THE FUTURE,  INCLUDING SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN’T PAY ITS BILLS AND CAN’T RAISE TAXES TO DO SO. REPUBLICANS CANNOT BE TRUSTED WITH TOTAL CONTROL.
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COMPASSIONLESS: What is it with the well-heeled powerbase of the Republican Party  ?  Why do they want to deny people of modest means medical care, needed social benefits, an affordable education and a minimally comfortable retirement ?  Do they want it all for themselves ?  How Christian is favoring the rich over the poor ?
     
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) says there is no money to fund the Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP) which expired Oct. 1.
      Mic.com quotes Hatch as whining, about  it as a low-cost health insurance plan  for children of low-income families,  saying,  “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the Federal government to do everything.”   Yeah, right, Orrin. These impoverished, ill kids are always looking for a handout.
       What does this have to do with the stock market ?
       A divided country is not a strong country, not one that can move ahead to solve problems and grow economically and socially. In many ways we have opted out of objectively analyzing the issues, holding firm to bias and fear of “those” people. We are  led by a morally bankrupt president and too many enablers.
        Wake up, a diversified culture is who we are. Don’t believe me ?
        Stand in the core of any airport (as I did) and watch. This is NOT to be feared, it is our strength going forward.
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“He had it coming, he had it coming… he only had himself to blame” (Chicago – Cell Block Tango):   THERE IS DOWNSIDE RISK FOR WOMEN OF DISCLOSURES OF SEXUAL IMPROPRIETIES BY MEN: I am 100% for exposing these predators, it’s long overdue and worth the price of what may be the result.  Clearly there will be less abuse in and out of the workplace, but it may result in less willingness to hire and/or promote women. There will be a backlash, but women have demonstrated the ability to persevere against great odds before, and I suppose after such backlash and these creeps will get what’s coming to them.
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      I keep Fox Business News TV on by my desk during the day, since it has better data coverage than CNBC. I have it on “mute” since I can’t endure the senseless Republican hype.  Neil Cavuto hosts a portion of the show. While decidedly right-leaning, Neil is tolerable compared with his co-host, Stuart Varney, Varney & Co, who is constantly waxing right wing blither.
       I was a frequent guest analyst on CNBC-TV in the 1990s. It was different then. It was one-on-one with a lot of questions, but an independent without major firm backing like me had a chance to get some visibility.  The times Cavuto interviewed me, I sensed he was Republican, but not hard core, which is also the case today. He’s good, not given to partyline hype.
       What’s more, for some time, I sensed he was uncomfortable with the Trump administration and last week it came out per a report from “The HILL.”  Trump couldn’t resist tweeting about  LaVar Ball and Senator Jeff Flake, at a time more important presidential issues demanded attention.  Cavuto, criticized Trump for “using a bazooka to respond to a pea shooter.” “Is it really necessary,” he asked, adding, “Keep tweeting stuff like that, Mr. President, and those tax cuts just could be toast.” Cavuto then said, “the last time I checked, you are the president of the United States, why don’t you act like it ?”
      Whoa ! Why would a broadcaster with 25 years experience, a big name, in a comfortable time slot, lecture the president, and possibly rankle his party ?  Is this just another sign that Trump’s support is crumbling.
      Neil is a throwback to the days when most Republicans were more reasonable, not extremists. It’s good to see him say, “Enough.”
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SPUTNICK’S Back: Russia’s hacking and invasion of Twitter and Facebook are  America’s present day “Sputnick” challenge.
     The world was stunned in 1957 when the Soviet Union (Russia) launched the first unmanned satellite to orbit the earth. In 1961, the Soviet’s  launched cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin who became the first man to orbit the earth. This was the catalyst for President Kennedy’s space program designed to ultimately land a man on the moon, which was done on July 20, 1969 by Apollo II.
      America is just now finding out how deeply Russia has weaponized our social media and computer software programs at all levels. According to The New Republic’s December issue,  Russia’s “theory of war allows you to defeat the enemy without ever having to touch him.”
      The big question surrounding Russia’s ability to hack into Twitter (TWTR)  and Facebook (FB) is, did they have help from the Trump team to tilt the election in his favor ? 
       Whether this manipulation continues, depends on how quickly our nation responds. So far Trump denies it even happened – duh.
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TRUMP VOTER FRAUD COMMISSION appears to have vanished after being SUED:
Matthew Dunlap, Maine’s Secretary of State is accusing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity of essentially “lacking integrity.”  It’s all about shutting Dunlap, a Democrat, out of the process and lack of transparency to the public.  What else can be expected of a SCAM, designed to data mine all 50 state’s voter records for political advantage and ensure the continuance of Republican‘s voter suppression efforts.
Have these people no shame ?  Americans ??  Or is this a bloodless coup ?  NOT ON OUR WATCH !
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Brian Benczkowski was nominated by President Trump in June to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. My  Sept. 15 post called attention to this since he previously represented one of Russia’s largest banks Russia’s Alfa Bank. Having  advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his nomination is pending full Senate confirmation. He once served under Jeff Sessions. If confirmed, he pledged independence, recusing himself for two years from any dealings with alfa Bank.  Sen. Feinstein voted against Benczkowski concerned that he never served as a federal prosecutor and the fact he would sit in on  meetings with special counsel Robert Mueller with Russia probe. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., was concerned his major qualification was his connection with Sessions.
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Mercer on the runBannon and Breitbart bankroller, Robert Mercer is rapidly severing financial ties to Breitbart News and support of Steve Bannon and alt-right’s Milo Yiannopoulos. Mercer was a major supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to gain the Republican nomination last year, but switched his allegiance to Trump when he won the nomination.
      In my March 21 post, I wrote, “Years from now, I suspect Mercer will be relaxing at his Long Island waterfront retreat, Owl’s Nest, or on his 200-foot yacht, Sea Owl, and look back over his illustrious career tarnished  by one regret – he backed the biggest con job in our nation’s history.”

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IT’S NEVER THE GUNS !
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Six states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Utah, Wisconsin),  are planning to require poverty stricken people on Medicaid  to get jobs  or lose the coverage. Maine, Utah and Wisconsin want to put a time limit on coverage, the latter wants to drug-test people. Excluded: People with long-tern disabilities, the elderly, and children.  Isn’t it bad enough these people are in poverty ? 
      Vox Media reports that 9.8 million Medicaid recipients  don’t have jobs  due to: Illness/disabled (35%), retired (8%), taking care of home or family (28%), going to school (18%), cannot find work (8%). The remaining 60.2 million Americans on Medicaid work full-time of part-time.  I’m not sure what’s the Republican beef here.
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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)
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 ?
     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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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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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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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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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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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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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- Hope Hicks, 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 T. Flynn – Michael G. Flynn ( son)  – 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.” Initially, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Street Salivating

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 24,726
S&P 500: 2,679
Nasdaq  Comp.:6,960
Russell 2000:
Thursday, Dec. 21,    9:16 a.m.

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ALERTS:
Why take profits in 2017, when you can delay them into the new year. The risk is that stock prices may be lower in 2018. This increases the odds of a decline (10%+) starting in January.
-President Trump plans to sign the tax bill on January 3, 2018 to bypass  PAYGO’s (pay-as-you-go) requirement for automatic spending cuts to Medicare and other programs which would be triggered because the tax bill would increase the deficit by an estimated $1.5 trillion over 10 years.. W
-IMVHO Sen. Corker (R-Tenn.) is the US Senate’s most adept double-talker – masterful, second to none.
-Texas Senator John Cornyn gleefully notes that, “Arguably, doing away with the individual mandate makes the Affordable Care Act “unworkable…hopefully this will precipitate the bipartisan negotiation on what we need to do as an alternative.”  Right !  We have seen that from Republican attempts to dismantle ACA in the past,  and it sucks.
-Prepare for possibility  of Trump putting U.S. on ramped-up war footing to distract Americans from his Mueller woes.
Trump’s administration is setting stage for firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The tip-off would be a sudden confirmation of someone  to replace Dana Boente as U.S. Attorney General Eastern Dist. Virginia.  Rosenstein would not fire Mueller, but a hand-picked replacement would. (See who that may be: “Trump to Fire Mueller” below).
-Expect the Trump administration to launch a $1 trillion infrastructure effort in coming weeks.

-Why would Senators  Rubio and Corker flip on Tax bill ?  Both want to run for president in 2020.
-A new tax deduction, not in either House or Senate  bills, was slipped in during reconciliation that benefits real estate developers like Trump and Corker, providing a 20% deduction for pass-through” entities. According to The International Business Times, the deduction would benefit 13 GOP lawmakers including Trump and Corker.  It just keeps getting worse.
 –Big week for economic reports:  Today at 8:30: GDP, Jobless Claims, Philly Fed Outlook, Chicago Fed Nat’l Activity, Corporate Profits,  at  10:00:  Leading Indicators; Friday, 8:30  Durable Goods,  Personal Income,  New Home Sales, and Consumer Sentiment, Kansas City Fed Mfg. at 10:00.  Anyone care ?  Probably not.

-The spending bill deadline was extended to Friday, Dec. 22.               
The tax bill is only selectively beneficial to tax payers, great for corporations that still pay high taxes, and good for Democrat Party prospects in 2018 and 2020 – the bill is flawed.

        The prospects for a tax cut have driven the S&P 500 up 23% since the 2016 Presidential Election, bringing the total bull market gain since early  March 2009 to 295%. That compares with the bull market record for the S&P 500 of plus 304.26% between 1990 and 1998, a total of 93 months.  The current bull market is 106 months old.
        Our economy and investment markets came within a whisker of TOTAL meltdown in 2008 – 2009. The recovery following a 58% drop in the S&P and the ugliest recession since the horrid 1930s, was fortunately gradual enough for key sectors of the economy to dig their cleats in and develop a sustainable recovery. As noted above, this economy and stock market recovery are long in the tooth, suggesting risk of reversal in coming months..
        Bull markets tend to run to ridiculous extremes where rank speculation is beyond belief, this one is no exception, unless institutions do some heavy profit-taking in January, triggering the first major correction in two years since Jan. 2016 (-13%).
TODAY
      
How much of tax reform has been built into the stock market should be revealed by Friday.  While the Street has been buying in anticipation of tax cuts for a year, there are some investors who have waited for it to become law to buy. In many cases, they may be late for the party
       Expect reports from brokers and publishers listing beneficiaries of the tax cuts.
       OUR DECAYING INFRASTRUCTURE:  The administration may soon introduce an initiative to address the nation’s infrastructure problems.
       The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) grade  the 16 sectors of  our nation’s infrastructure. As a group, they get D+. Broken down they get: Aviation D, Bridges C+, Dams D, Drinking Water D, Energy D+, Hazardous Waste D+, Inland Waterways D, Levees D, Ports C+, Public Parks D+, Railway B, Roads D, Schools C+, Transit D-, Waste Water D-.
       I ran a series on this need early in the Obama administration thinking it was a sure thing, but healthcare got the nod.
       The need is huge – this would be the single biggest project for job generation.  It won’t happen overnight, few projects are “shovel-ready,  and funding is a problem, especially now that Congress has slashed revenues the federal government can expect in the future.
        There are a host of companies that could benefit over time. I have identified 25. If the administration announces a big push, most will jump in price on the hype. This happened  a year ago. The group jumped sharply, then lost momentum.
       Be sure of one thing, there will be hype.

        The administration will pitch public/private partnerships which sound great except they are costly. The private sector wants a return on investment – a BIG one.
        Go to www.infrastructure report card.org for details on the “problem.”
TODAY
Call it a year-end, or “Santa Clause” rally, this is classic bull stampede stuff, based on the Street salivating over more money in their pockets and the prospect for the bull market adding to their leveraged positions.
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SUPPORT “today” DJIA:24,653; S&P 500:2,676; Nasdaq Comp.:6,956
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:24,789; S&P 500:2,684; Nasdaq Comp.:6,981

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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
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Trump Administration dominos starting to tumble, tumble, tumble !
Will Trump administration now ramp up United States’ war footing on North Korea to distract America, an attempt to unite the country behind its president, as President George W. Bush did prior to the invasion of Iraq.
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HEARTLESS at Christmas:  Trump refuses to extend the Obamacare sign-up deadline even in face of a rush to sign up.  Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) covering 9 million children remains unfunded. Two million to lose coverage by Jan. 31, if Congress doesn’t act.  I expect Congress to fund it, but look at the angst families are going through in the interim.   Cruel and disgusting behavior !
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STATES NEEDING FEDS THE MOST
       The twelve most federally dependent states are Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, West Virginia, South Carolina, Montana, Tennessee, Maine,  Indiana, Arizona, Louisiana.
      The twelve least federally dependent states are Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Kansas, Nevada, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Utah, and Nebraska.
  Red states (Republican) are 67% more dependent on federal government aid than Blue States (Democratic).

  So why all the whining about the Feds being in their space ?  Want to go it alone ?   Careful what you wish for.
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The BIG question is, do American morals and respect for our republic  have to hit bottom before Congress and the American voter opts for decency, honesty, integrity and a moral compass ?
    Currently, odds favor neither will have a change of heart even if the findings of the Mueller probe uncover untold crimes against the constitution and American people. 
     The current extremist Republican Party is morally bankrupt, as are many of its supporters. Much of the Republican Congress is comprised congressional  anarchists, determined to raze time-tested checks and balances, and oppose any and all new proposals that do not pass their muster.
      It wasn’t enough that they obstructed progress for eight years of the Obama administration, they are now dismantling the things he did accomplish. Our republic is being mugged in plain sight.
    
There are a lot of very fine Republicans out there, but someone needs to tell them someone hijacked their party.
       Our republic is being mugged in plain sight, and only a handful in Congress are putting up a fight, clearly none of them  Republicans. 
        Liberals need some spine, too many are appalled, but turn another cheek. I’ve heard it too often, “He’s our president, I don’t agree with what he says, but we need to wish him success, he’s our president now, we must support him.
       Rubbish !   This is WAR !
       This isn’t Reagan, this isn’t anything close to the Republican Party I grew up with.

       This is what the right wing has been waiting for – total control of the presidency, both Houses, and the Supreme Court. (and Fox News)  They want total control.  This is how democratic,  representative republics  perish.
      America is the biggest enchilada on earth.  Why wouldn’t a group of extremists want to wrest permanent control from its people ?  Americans must stop multitasking, and have the guts to endure the day-to-day angst that accompanies being well informed. They need to return to values.
       I am not sure the public knows  what is happening, increasing the odds we must hit bottom first, and that could be quite a ways down from here.
       Today’s senatorial election in Alabama should be telling. It would be refreshing if Christian values rejected accused sex offender Roy Moore’s bid for the U.S. Senate.
        Anything is possible.  A Gallup poll revealed that  people who identify themselves as Republican has dropped  to 37% from 42% since Trump’s election a year ago.  Dems held the line.

 

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IMHO: THE  TAX BILL IS A DISGRACE. IT WIDENS THE GAP BETWEEN UPPER INCOME LEVELS AND THE GREAT MAJORITY OF AMERICANS. 
       MAKING CORPORATION TAX CUTS PERMANENT ARE DESIGNED TO CREATE A MASSIVE DEFICIT, FAR GREATER THAN THE ADMINISTRATION’S $1.5 TRILLION.  
       REPUBLICAN LONG-TERM GOAL:  HUGE SLASHES IN SOCIAL SERVICE BENEFITS IN THE FUTURE,  INCLUDING SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN’T PAY ITS BILLS AND CAN’T RAISE TAXES TO DO SO. REPUBLICANS CANNOT BE TRUSTED WITH TOTAL CONTROL.
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COMPASSIONLESS: What is it with the well-heeled powerbase of the Republican Party  ?  Why do they want to deny people of modest means medical care, needed social benefits, an affordable education and a minimally comfortable retirement ?  Do they want it all for themselves ?  How Christian is favoring the rich over the poor ?
     
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) says there is no money to fund the Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP) which expired Oct. 1.
      Mic.com quotes Hatch as whining, about  it as a low-cost health insurance plan  for children of low-income families,  saying,  “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the Federal government to do everything.”   Yeah, right, Orrin. These impoverished, ill kids are always looking for a handout.
       What does this have to do with the stock market ?
       A divided country is not a strong country, not one that can move ahead to solve problems and grow economically and socially. In many ways we have opted out of objectively analyzing the issues, holding firm to bias and fear of “those” people. We are  led by a morally bankrupt president and too many enablers.
        Wake up, a diversified culture is who we are. Don’t believe me ?
        Stand in the core of any airport (as I did) and watch. This is NOT to be feared, it is our strength going forward.
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“He had it coming, he had it coming… he only had himself to blame” (Chicago – Cell Block Tango):   THERE IS DOWNSIDE RISK FOR WOMEN OF DISCLOSURES OF SEXUAL IMPROPRIETIES BY MEN: I am 100% for exposing these predators, it’s long overdue and worth the price of what may be the result.  Clearly there will be less abuse in and out of the workplace, but it may result in less willingness to hire and/or promote women. There will be a backlash, but women have demonstrated the ability to persevere against great odds before, and I suppose after such backlash and these creeps will get what’s coming to them.
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      I keep Fox Business News TV on by my desk during the day, since it has better data coverage than CNBC. I have it on “mute” since I can’t endure the senseless Republican hype.  Neil Cavuto hosts a portion of the show. While decidedly right-leaning, Neil is tolerable compared with his co-host, Stuart Varney, Varney & Co, who is constantly waxing right wing blither.
       I was a frequent guest analyst on CNBC-TV in the 1990s. It was different then. It was one-on-one with a lot of questions, but an independent without major firm backing like me had a chance to get some visibility.  The times Cavuto interviewed me, I sensed he was Republican, but not hard core, which is also the case today. He’s good, not given to partyline hype.
       What’s more, for some time, I sensed he was uncomfortable with the Trump administration and last week it came out per a report from “The HILL.”  Trump couldn’t resist tweeting about  LaVar Ball and Senator Jeff Flake, at a time more important presidential issues demanded attention.  Cavuto, criticized Trump for “using a bazooka to respond to a pea shooter.” “Is it really necessary,” he asked, adding, “Keep tweeting stuff like that, Mr. President, and those tax cuts just could be toast.” Cavuto then said, “the last time I checked, you are the president of the United States, why don’t you act like it ?”
      Whoa ! Why would a broadcaster with 25 years experience, a big name, in a comfortable time slot, lecture the president, and possibly rankle his party ?  Is this just another sign that Trump’s support is crumbling.
      Neil is a throwback to the days when most Republicans were more reasonable, not extremists. It’s good to see him say, “Enough.”
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SPUTNICK’S Back: Russia’s hacking and invasion of Twitter and Facebook are  America’s present day “Sputnick” challenge.
     The world was stunned in 1957 when the Soviet Union (Russia) launched the first unmanned satellite to orbit the earth. In 1961, the Soviet’s  launched cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin who became the first man to orbit the earth. This was the catalyst for President Kennedy’s space program designed to ultimately land a man on the moon, which was done on July 20, 1969 by Apollo II.
      America is just now finding out how deeply Russia has weaponized our social media and computer software programs at all levels. According to The New Republic’s December issue,  Russia’s “theory of war allows you to defeat the enemy without ever having to touch him.”
      The big question surrounding Russia’s ability to hack into Twitter (TWTR)  and Facebook (FB) is, did they have help from the Trump team to tilt the election in his favor ? 
       Whether this manipulation continues, depends on how quickly our nation responds. So far Trump denies it even happened – duh.
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TRUMP VOTER FRAUD COMMISSION appears to have vanished after being SUED:
Matthew Dunlap, Maine’s Secretary of State is accusing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity of essentially “lacking integrity.”  It’s all about shutting Dunlap, a Democrat, out of the process and lack of transparency to the public.  What else can be expected of a SCAM, designed to data mine all 50 state’s voter records for political advantage and ensure the continuance of Republican‘s voter suppression efforts.
Have these people no shame ?  Americans ??  Or is this a bloodless coup ?  NOT ON OUR WATCH !
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Brian Benczkowski was nominated by President Trump in June to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. My  Sept. 15 post called attention to this since he previously represented one of Russia’s largest banks Russia’s Alfa Bank. Having  advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his nomination is pending full Senate confirmation. He once served under Jeff Sessions. If confirmed, he pledged independence, recusing himself for two years from any dealings with alfa Bank.  Sen. Feinstein voted against Benczkowski concerned that he never served as a federal prosecutor and the fact he would sit in on  meetings with special counsel Robert Mueller with Russia probe. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., was concerned his major qualification was his connection with Sessions.
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Mercer on the runBannon and Breitbart bankroller, Robert Mercer is rapidly severing financial ties to Breitbart News and support of Steve Bannon and alt-right’s Milo Yiannopoulos. Mercer was a major supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to gain the Republican nomination last year, but switched his allegiance to Trump when he won the nomination.
      In my March 21 post, I wrote, “Years from now, I suspect Mercer will be relaxing at his Long Island waterfront retreat, Owl’s Nest, or on his 200-foot yacht, Sea Owl, and look back over his illustrious career tarnished  by one regret – he backed the biggest con job in our nation’s history.”

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IT’S NEVER THE GUNS !
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Six states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Utah, Wisconsin),  are planning to require poverty stricken people on Medicaid  to get jobs  or lose the coverage. Maine, Utah and Wisconsin want to put a time limit on coverage, the latter wants to drug-test people. Excluded: People with long-tern disabilities, the elderly, and children.  Isn’t it bad enough these people are in poverty ? 
      Vox Media reports that 9.8 million Medicaid recipients  don’t have jobs  due to: Illness/disabled (35%), retired (8%), taking care of home or family (28%), going to school (18%), cannot find work (8%). The remaining 60.2 million Americans on Medicaid work full-time of part-time.  I’m not sure what’s the Republican beef here.
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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)
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 ?
     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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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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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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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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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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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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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- Hope Hicks, 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 T. Flynn – Michael G. Flynn ( son)  – 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.” Initially, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nation’s Infrastructure Begging, Hat in Hand, for Solutions

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 24,754
S&P 500: 2,681
Nasdaq  Comp.:6,963
Russell 2000: 1,536
Wednesday, Dec. 20,    9:06 a.m.

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ALERTS:
-Why take profits in 2017, when you can delay them into the new year. The risk is that stock prices may be lower in 2018.
-Prepare for possibility  of Trump putting U.S. on ramped-up war footing to distract Americans from his Mueller woes.
Trump’s administration is setting stage for firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The tip-off would be a sudden confirmation of someone  to replace Dana Boente as U.S. Attorney General Eastern Dist. Virginia.  Rosenstein would not fire Mueller, but a hand-picked replacement would. (See who that may be: “Trump to Fire Mueller” below).
-Expect the Trump administration to launch a $1 trillion infrastructure effort in coming weeks.

-Why would Senators  Rubio and Corker flip on Tax bill ?  Both want to run for president in 2020.
-A new tax deduction, not in either House or Senate  bills, was slipped in during reconciliation that benefits real estate developers like Trump and Corker, providing a 20% deduction for pass-through” entities. According to The International Business Times, the deduction would benefit 13 GOP lawmakers including Trump and Corker.  It just keeps getting worse.
 –Big week for economic reports:  Wed.,10:00: Existing Home Sales; Thurs. 8:30: GDP, Jobless Claims, Philly Fed Outlook, Chicago Fed Nat’l Activity, Corporate Profits,  at  10:00:  Leading Indicators; Friday, 8:30  Durable Goods,  Personal Income,  New Home Sales, and Consumer Sentiment, Kansas City Fed Mfg. at 10:00.  Anyone care ?  Probably not.

-The spending bill deadline was extended to Friday, Dec. 22.               
The tax bill is only selectively beneficial to tax payers, great for corporations that still pay high taxes, and good for Democrat Party prospects in 2018 and 2020.

        The prospects for a tax cut have driven the S&P 500 up 23% since the 2016 Presidential Election, bringing the total bull market gain since early  March 2009 to 295%. That compares with the bull market record for the S&P 500 of plus 304.26% between 1990 and 1998, a total of 93 months.  The current bull market is 106 months old.
        Our economy and investment markets came within a whisker of TOTAL meltdown in 2008 – 2009. The recovery following a 58% drop in the S&P and the ugliest recession since the horrid 1930s, was fortunately gradual enough for key sectors of the economy to dig their cleats in and develop a sustainable recovery. As noted above, this economy and stock market recovery are long in the tooth, suggesting risk of reversal in coming months..
        Bull markets tend to run to ridiculous extremes where rank speculation is beyond belief, this one is no exception, unless institutions do some heavy profit-taking in January, triggering the first major correction in two years since Jan. 2016 (-13%).
TODAY
      
How much of tax reform has been built into the stock market should be revealed by Friday.  While the Street has been buying in anticipation of tax cuts for a year, there are some investors who have waited for it to become law to buy. In many cases, they may be late for the party
       Expect reports from brokers and publishers listing beneficiaries of the tax cuts.
       OUR DECAYING INFRASTRUCTURE:  The administration may soon introduce an initiative to address the nation’s infrastructure problems.
       I ran a series on this need early in the Obama administration thinking it was a sure thing, but healthcare got the nod.
       The need is huge – this would be the single biggest project for job generation.  It won’t happen overnight and funding is a problem, especially now that Congress has slashed revenues the federal government can expect in the future.
        Private/public partnerships sound great except they are costly. The private sector wants a return on investment – a BIG one.
        Go to www.infrastructure report card.org for details on the “problem.”
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SUPPORT “today” DJIA:24,709; S&P 500:2,676; Nasdaq Comp.:6,951
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:24,837; S&P 500:2,689; Nasdaq Comp.:6,951

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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
Doug Jones’ defeat of favorite Roy Moore is yet another shot across Trump’s bow and the Republican Party, which has wantonly bulldozed much of what was accomplished in prior administrations in an effort to brand our government with a far right identity.
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Trump Administration dominos starting to tumble, tumble, tumble !
Will Trump administration now ramp up United States’ war footing on North Korea to distract America, an attempt to unite the country behind its president, as President George W. Bush did prior to the invasion of Iraq.
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HEARTLESS at Christmas:  Trump refuses to extend the Obamacare sign-up deadline even in face of a rush to sign up.
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STATES NEEDING FEDS THE MOST
       The twelve most federally dependent states are Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, West Virginia, South Carolina, Montana, Tennessee, Maine,  Indiana, Arizona, Louisiana.
      The twelve least federally dependent states are Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Kansas, Nevada, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Utah, and Nebraska.
  Red states (Republican) are 67% more dependent on federal government aid than Blue States (Democratic).

  So why all the whining about the Feds being in their space ?  Want to go it alone ?   Careful what you wish for.
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The BIG question is, do American morals and respect for our republic  have to hit bottom before Congress and the American voter opts for decency, honesty, integrity and a moral compass ?
    Currently, odds favor neither will have a change of heart even if the findings of the Mueller probe uncover untold crimes against the constitution and American people. 
     The current extremist Republican Party is morally bankrupt, as are many of its supporters. Much of the Republican Congress is comprised congressional  anarchists, determined to raze time-tested checks and balances, and oppose any and all new proposals that do not pass their muster.
      It wasn’t enough that they obstructed progress for eight years of the Obama administration, they are now dismantling the things he did accomplish. Our republic is being mugged in plain sight.
    
There are a lot of very fine Republicans out there, but someone needs to tell them someone hijacked their party.
       Our republic is being mugged in plain sight, and only a handful in Congress are putting up a fight, clearly none of them  Republicans. 
        Liberals need some spine, too many are appalled, but turn another cheek. I’ve heard it too often, “He’s our president, I don’t agree with what he says, but we need to wish him success, he’s our president now, we must support him.
       Rubbish !   This is WAR !
       This isn’t Reagan, this isn’t anything close to the Republican Party I grew up with.

       This is what the right wing has been waiting for – total control of the presidency, both Houses, and the Supreme Court. (and Fox News)  They want total control.  This is how democratic,  representative republics  perish.
      America is the biggest enchilada on earth.  Why wouldn’t a group of extremists want to wrest permanent control from its people ?  Americans must stop multitasking, and have the guts to endure the day-to-day angst that accompanies being well informed. They need to return to values.
       I am not sure the public knows  what is happening, increasing the odds we must hit bottom first, and that could be quite a ways down from here.
       Today’s senatorial election in Alabama should be telling. It would be refreshing if Christian values rejected accused sex offender Roy Moore’s bid for the U.S. Senate.
        Anything is possible.  A Gallup poll revealed that  people who identify themselves as Republican has dropped  to 37% from 42% since Trump’s election a year ago.  Dems held the line.

 

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IMHO: THE  TAX BILL IS A DISGRACE. IT WIDENS THE GAP BETWEEN UPPER INCOME LEVELS AND THE GREAT MAJORITY OF AMERICANS. 
       MAKING CORPORATION TAX CUTS PERMANENT ARE DESIGNED TO CREATE A MASSIVE DEFICIT, FAR GREATER THAN THE ADMINISTRATION’S $1.5 TRILLION.  
       REPUBLICAN LONG-TERM GOAL:  HUGE SLASHES IN SOCIAL SERVICE BENEFITS IN THE FUTURE,  INCLUDING SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN’T PAY ITS BILLS AND CAN’T RAISE TAXES TO DO SO. REPUBLICANS CANNOT BE TRUSTED WITH TOTAL CONTROL.
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COMPASSIONLESS: What is it with the well-heeled powerbase of the Republican Party  ?  Why do they want to deny people of modest means medical care, needed social benefits, an affordable education and a minimally comfortable retirement ?  Do they want it all for themselves ?  How Christian is favoring the rich over the poor ?
     
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) says there is no money to fund the Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP) which expired Oct. 1.
      Mic.com quotes Hatch as whining, about  it as a low-cost health insurance plan  for children of low-income families,  saying,  “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the Federal government to do everything.”   Yeah, right, Orrin. These impoverished, ill kids are always looking for a handout.
       What does this have to do with the stock market ?
       A divided country is not a strong country, not one that can move ahead to solve problems and grow economically and socially. In many ways we have opted out of objectively analyzing the issues, holding firm to bias and fear of “those” people. We are  led by a morally bankrupt president and too many enablers.
        Wake up, a diversified culture is who we are. Don’t believe me ?
        Stand in the core of any airport (as I did) and watch. This is NOT to be feared, it is our strength going forward.
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“He had it coming, he had it coming… he only had himself to blame” (Chicago – Cell Block Tango):   THERE IS DOWNSIDE RISK FOR WOMEN OF DISCLOSURES OF SEXUAL IMPROPRIETIES BY MEN: I am 100% for exposing these predators, it’s long overdue and worth the price of what may be the result.  Clearly there will be less abuse in and out of the workplace, but it may result in less willingness to hire and/or promote women. There will be a backlash, but women have demonstrated the ability to persevere against great odds before, and I suppose after such backlash and these creeps will get what’s coming to them.
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      I keep Fox Business News TV on by my desk during the day, since it has better data coverage than CNBC. I have it on “mute” since I can’t endure the senseless Republican hype.  Neil Cavuto hosts a portion of the show. While decidedly right-leaning, Neil is tolerable compared with his co-host, Stuart Varney, Varney & Co, who is constantly waxing right wing blither.
       I was a frequent guest analyst on CNBC-TV in the 1990s. It was different then. It was one-on-one with a lot of questions, but an independent without major firm backing like me had a chance to get some visibility.  The times Cavuto interviewed me, I sensed he was Republican, but not hard core, which is also the case today. He’s good, not given to partyline hype.
       What’s more, for some time, I sensed he was uncomfortable with the Trump administration and last week it came out per a report from “The HILL.”  Trump couldn’t resist tweeting about  LaVar Ball and Senator Jeff Flake, at a time more important presidential issues demanded attention.  Cavuto, criticized Trump for “using a bazooka to respond to a pea shooter.” “Is it really necessary,” he asked, adding, “Keep tweeting stuff like that, Mr. President, and those tax cuts just could be toast.” Cavuto then said, “the last time I checked, you are the president of the United States, why don’t you act like it ?”
      Whoa ! Why would a broadcaster with 25 years experience, a big name, in a comfortable time slot, lecture the president, and possibly rankle his party ?  Is this just another sign that Trump’s support is crumbling.
      Neil is a throwback to the days when most Republicans were more reasonable, not extremists. It’s good to see him say, “Enough.”
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SPUTNICK’S Back: Russia’s hacking and invasion of Twitter and Facebook are  America’s present day “Sputnick” challenge.
     The world was stunned in 1957 when the Soviet Union (Russia) launched the first unmanned satellite to orbit the earth. In 1961, the Soviet’s  launched cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin who became the first man to orbit the earth. This was the catalyst for President Kennedy’s space program designed to ultimately land a man on the moon, which was done on July 20, 1969 by Apollo II.
      America is just now finding out how deeply Russia has weaponized our social media and computer software programs at all levels. According to The New Republic’s December issue,  Russia’s “theory of war allows you to defeat the enemy without ever having to touch him.”
      The big question surrounding Russia’s ability to hack into Twitter (TWTR)  and Facebook (FB) is, did they have help from the Trump team to tilt the election in his favor ? 
       Whether this manipulation continues, depends on how quickly our nation responds. So far Trump denies it even happened – duh.
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TRUMP VOTER FRAUD COMMISSION appears to have vanished after being SUED:
Matthew Dunlap, Maine’s Secretary of State is accusing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity of essentially “lacking integrity.”  It’s all about shutting Dunlap, a Democrat, out of the process and lack of transparency to the public.  What else can be expected of a SCAM, designed to data mine all 50 state’s voter records for political advantage and ensure the continuance of Republican‘s voter suppression efforts.
Have these people no shame ?  Americans ??  Or is this a bloodless coup ?  NOT ON OUR WATCH !
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Brian Benczkowski was nominated by President Trump in June to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. My  Sept. 15 post called attention to this since he previously represented one of Russia’s largest banks Russia’s Alfa Bank. Having  advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his nomination is pending full Senate confirmation. He once served under Jeff Sessions. If confirmed, he pledged independence, recusing himself for two years from any dealings with alfa Bank.  Sen. Feinstein voted against Benczkowski concerned that he never served as a federal prosecutor and the fact he would sit in on  meetings with special counsel Robert Mueller with Russia probe. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., was concerned his major qualification was his connection with Sessions.
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Mercer on the runBannon and Breitbart bankroller, Robert Mercer is rapidly severing financial ties to Breitbart News and support of Steve Bannon and alt-right’s Milo Yiannopoulos. Mercer was a major supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to gain the Republican nomination last year, but switched his allegiance to Trump when he won the nomination.
      In my March 21 post, I wrote, “Years from now, I suspect Mercer will be relaxing at his Long Island waterfront retreat, Owl’s Nest, or on his 200-foot yacht, Sea Owl, and look back over his illustrious career tarnished  by one regret – he backed the biggest con job in our nation’s history.”

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IT’S NEVER THE GUNS !
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Six states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Utah, Wisconsin),  are planning to require poverty stricken people on Medicaid  to get jobs  or lose the coverage. Maine, Utah and Wisconsin want to put a time limit on coverage, the latter wants to drug-test people. Excluded: People with long-tern disabilities, the elderly, and children.  Isn’t it bad enough these people are in poverty ? 
      Vox Media reports that 9.8 million Medicaid recipients  don’t have jobs  due to: Illness/disabled (35%), retired (8%), taking care of home or family (28%), going to school (18%), cannot find work (8%). The remaining 60.2 million Americans on Medicaid work full-time of part-time.  I’m not sure what’s the Republican beef here.
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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)
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 ?
     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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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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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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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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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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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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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- Hope Hicks, 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 T. Flynn – Michael G. Flynn ( son)  – 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.” Initially, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again: Profit Takers May Hit Market in January

Investor’s first read Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 24,792
S&P 500: 2,690
Nasdaq  Comp.:6,994
Russell 2000: 1,548
Tuesday, Dec. 19,    8:46 a.m.

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ALERTS:
-Why take profits in 2017, when you can delay them into the new year. The risk is an investor may get a lower price in 2018.
-Prepare for possibility  of Trump putting U.S. on ramped-up war footing to distract Americans from his Mueller woes.
Trump is administration setting stage for firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The tip-off would be a sudden confirmation of someone  to replace Dana Boente as U.S. Attorney General Eastern Dist. Virginia.  Rosenstein would not fire Mueller, but a replacement would. (See who that may be: “Trump to Fire Mueller” below).
-Expect the Trump administration to launch a $1 trillion infrastructure effort in coming weeks.

-Why would Senators  Rubio and Corker flip on Tax bill ?  Both want to run for president in 2020.
-A new tax deduction, not in either House or Senate  bills, was slipped in during reconciliation that benefits real estate developers like Trump and Corker providing a 20% deduction for pass-through” entities. According to The International Business Times, the deduction would benefit 13 GOP lawmakers including Trump and Corker.  It just keeps getting worse.
 –Big week for economic reports: Tues. 8:30: Housing Starts; Wed.,10:00: Existing Home Sales; Thurs. 8:30: GDP, Jobless Claims, Philly Fed Outlook, Chicago Fed Nat’l Activity, Corporate Profits,  at  10:00:  Leading Indicators; Friday, 8:30  Durable Goods,  Personal Income,  New Home Sales, and Consumer Sentiment, Kansas City Fed Mfg. at 10:00.  Anyone care ?  Probably not.

-The spending bill deadline was extended to Friday, Dec. 22.               
The tax bill is selectively beneficial to tax payers, great for corporations that still pay high taxes, and good for Democrat Party prospects in 2018 and 2020.

        The prospects for a tax cut have driven the S&P 500 up 23% since the 2016 Presidential Election, bringing the total bull market gain since early  March 2009 to 295%. That compares with the bull market record for the S&P 500 of plus 304.26% between 1990 and 1998, a total of 93 months.  The current bull market is 106 months old.
        Our economy and investment markets came within a whisker of TOTAL meltdown in 2008 – 2009. The recovery following a 58% drop in the S&P and the ugliest recession since the horrid 1930s, was fortunately gradual enough for key sectors of the economy to dig their cleats in and develop a sustainable recovery. As noted above, this economy and stock market recovery are long in the tooth, suggesting risk of reversal in coming months..
        Bull markets tend to run to ridiculous extremes where rank speculation is beyond belief, this one is no exception, unless institutions do some heavy profit-taking in January, triggering the first major correction in two years since Jan. 2016 (-13%).
TODAY
        The market has already discounted a tax bill with its 26% rise over the last 13 months. But this is the time of the year for Wall Street forecasts and lists of stocks to make a killing on in the new year.  The BIG money doesn’t care about that stuff. It will exit as everyone else is buying, and that could well be in the first week or two of January.
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SUPPORT “today” DJIA:24,717; S&P 500:2,687; Nasdaq Comp.:6,991
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:24,837; S&P 500:2,699; Nasdaq Comp.:7,006

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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
Doug Jones’ defeat of favorite Roy Moore is yet another shot across Trump’s bow and the Republican Party, which has wantonly bulldozed much of what was accomplished in prior administrations in an effort to brand our government with a far right identity.
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Trump Administration dominos starting to tumble, tumble, tumble !
Will Trump administration now ramp up United States’ war footing on North Korea to distract America, an attempt to unite the country behind its president, as President George W. Bush did prior to the invasion of Iraq.
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HEARTLESS at Christmas:  Trump refuses to extend the Obamacare sign-up deadline even in face of a rush to sign up.
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STATES NEEDING FEDS THE MOST
       The twelve most federally dependent states are Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, West Virginia, South Carolina, Montana, Tennessee, Maine,  Indiana, Arizona, Louisiana.
      The twelve least federally dependent states are Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Kansas, Nevada, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Utah, and Nebraska.
  Red states (Republican) are 67% more dependent on federal government aid than Blue States (Democratic).

  So why all the whining about the Feds being in their space ?  Want to go it alone ?   Careful what you wish for.
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The BIG question is, do American morals and respect for our republic  have to hit bottom before Congress and the American voter opts for decency, honesty, integrity and a moral compass ?
    Currently, odds favor neither will have a change of heart even if the findings of the Mueller probe uncover untold crimes against the constitution and American people. 
     The current extremist Republican Party is morally bankrupt, as are many of its supporters. Much of the Republican Congress is comprised congressional  anarchists, determined to raze time-tested checks and balances, and oppose any and all new proposals that do not pass their muster.
      It wasn’t enough that they obstructed progress for eight years of the Obama administration, they are now dismantling the things he did accomplish. Our republic is being mugged in plain sight.
    
There are a lot of very fine Republicans out there, but someone needs to tell them someone hijacked their party.
       Our republic is being mugged in plain sight, and only a handful in Congress are putting up a fight, clearly none of them  Republicans. 
        Liberals need some spine, too many are appalled, but turn another cheek. I’ve heard it too often, “He’s our president, I don’t agree with what he says, but we need to wish him success, he’s our president now, we must support him.
       Rubbish !   This is WAR !
       This isn’t Reagan, this isn’t anything close to the Republican Party I grew up with.

       This is what the right wing has been waiting for – total control of the presidency, both Houses, and the Supreme Court. (and Fox News)  They want total control.  This is how democratic,  representative republics  perish.
      America is the biggest enchilada on earth.  Why wouldn’t a group of extremists want to wrest permanent control from its people ?  Americans must stop multitasking, and have the guts to endure the day-to-day angst that accompanies being well informed. They need to return to values.
       I am not sure the public knows  what is happening, increasing the odds we must hit bottom first, and that could be quite a ways down from here.
       Today’s senatorial election in Alabama should be telling. It would be refreshing if Christian values rejected accused sex offender Roy Moore’s bid for the U.S. Senate.
        Anything is possible.  A Gallup poll revealed that  people who identify themselves as Republican has dropped  to 37% from 42% since Trump’s election a year ago.  Dems held the line.

 

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IMHO: THE  TAX BILL IS A DISGRACE. IT WIDENS THE GAP BETWEEN UPPER INCOME LEVELS AND THE GREAT MAJORITY OF AMERICANS. 
       MAKING CORPORATION TAX CUTS PERMANENT ARE DESIGNED TO CREATE A MASSIVE DEFICIT, FAR GREATER THAN THE ADMINISTRATION’S $1.5 TRILLION.  
       REPUBLICAN LONG-TERM GOAL:  HUGE SLASHES IN SOCIAL SERVICE BENEFITS IN THE FUTURE,  INCLUDING SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN’T PAY ITS BILLS AND CAN’T RAISE TAXES TO DO SO. REPUBLICANS CANNOT BE TRUSTED WITH TOTAL CONTROL.
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COMPASSIONLESS: What is it with the well-heeled powerbase of the Republican Party  ?  Why do they want to deny people of modest means medical care, needed social benefits, an affordable education and a minimally comfortable retirement ?  Do they want it all for themselves ?  How Christian is favoring the rich over the poor ?
     
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) says there is no money to fund the Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP) which expired Oct. 1.
      Mic.com quotes Hatch as whining, about  it as a low-cost health insurance plan  for children of low-income families,  saying,  “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the Federal government to do everything.”   Yeah, right, Orrin. These impoverished, ill kids are always looking for a handout.
       What does this have to do with the stock market ?
       A divided country is not a strong country, not one that can move ahead to solve problems and grow economically and socially. In many ways we have opted out of objectively analyzing the issues, holding firm to bias and fear of “those” people. We are  led by a morally bankrupt president and too many enablers.
        Wake up, a diversified culture is who we are. Don’t believe me ?
        Stand in the core of any airport (as I did) and watch. This is NOT to be feared, it is our strength going forward.
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“He had it coming, he had it coming… he only had himself to blame” (Chicago – Cell Block Tango):   THERE IS DOWNSIDE RISK FOR WOMEN OF DISCLOSURES OF SEXUAL IMPROPRIETIES BY MEN: I am 100% for exposing these predators, it’s long overdue and worth the price of what may be the result.  Clearly there will be less abuse in and out of the workplace, but it may result in less willingness to hire and/or promote women. There will be a backlash, but women have demonstrated the ability to persevere against great odds before, and I suppose after such backlash and these creeps will get what’s coming to them.
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      I keep Fox Business News TV on by my desk during the day, since it has better data coverage than CNBC. I have it on “mute” since I can’t endure the senseless Republican hype.  Neil Cavuto hosts a portion of the show. While decidedly right-leaning, Neil is tolerable compared with his co-host, Stuart Varney, Varney & Co, who is constantly waxing right wing blither.
       I was a frequent guest analyst on CNBC-TV in the 1990s. It was different then. It was one-on-one with a lot of questions, but an independent without major firm backing like me had a chance to get some visibility.  The times Cavuto interviewed me, I sensed he was Republican, but not hard core, which is also the case today. He’s good, not given to partyline hype.
       What’s more, for some time, I sensed he was uncomfortable with the Trump administration and last week it came out per a report from “The HILL.”  Trump couldn’t resist tweeting about  LaVar Ball and Senator Jeff Flake, at a time more important presidential issues demanded attention.  Cavuto, criticized Trump for “using a bazooka to respond to a pea shooter.” “Is it really necessary,” he asked, adding, “Keep tweeting stuff like that, Mr. President, and those tax cuts just could be toast.” Cavuto then said, “the last time I checked, you are the president of the United States, why don’t you act like it ?”
      Whoa ! Why would a broadcaster with 25 years experience, a big name, in a comfortable time slot, lecture the president, and possibly rankle his party ?  Is this just another sign that Trump’s support is crumbling.
      Neil is a throwback to the days when most Republicans were more reasonable, not extremists. It’s good to see him say, “Enough.”
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SPUTNICK’S Back: Russia’s hacking and invasion of Twitter and Facebook are  America’s present day “Sputnick” challenge.
     The world was stunned in 1957 when the Soviet Union (Russia) launched the first unmanned satellite to orbit the earth. In 1961, the Soviet’s  launched cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin who became the first man to orbit the earth. This was the catalyst for President Kennedy’s space program designed to ultimately land a man on the moon, which was done on July 20, 1969 by Apollo II.
      America is just now finding out how deeply Russia has weaponized our social media and computer software programs at all levels. According to The New Republic’s December issue,  Russia’s “theory of war allows you to defeat the enemy without ever having to touch him.”
      The big question surrounding Russia’s ability to hack into Twitter (TWTR)  and Facebook (FB) is, did they have help from the Trump team to tilt the election in his favor ? 
       Whether this manipulation continues, depends on how quickly our nation responds. So far Trump denies it even happened – duh.
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TRUMP VOTER FRAUD COMMISSION appears to have vanished after being SUED:
Matthew Dunlap, Maine’s Secretary of State is accusing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity of essentially “lacking integrity.”  It’s all about shutting Dunlap, a Democrat, out of the process and lack of transparency to the public.  What else can be expected of a SCAM, designed to data mine all 50 state’s voter records for political advantage and ensure the continuance of Republican‘s voter suppression efforts.
Have these people no shame ?  Americans ??  Or is this a bloodless coup ?  NOT ON OUR WATCH !
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Brian Benczkowski was nominated by President Trump in June to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. My  Sept. 15 post called attention to this since he previously represented one of Russia’s largest banks Russia’s Alfa Bank. Having  advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his nomination is pending full Senate confirmation. He once served under Jeff Sessions. If confirmed, he pledged independence, recusing himself for two years from any dealings with alfa Bank.  Sen. Feinstein voted against Benczkowski concerned that he never served as a federal prosecutor and the fact he would sit in on  meetings with special counsel Robert Mueller with Russia probe. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., was concerned his major qualification was his connection with Sessions.
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Mercer on the runBannon and Breitbart bankroller, Robert Mercer is rapidly severing financial ties to Breitbart News and support of Steve Bannon and alt-right’s Milo Yiannopoulos. Mercer was a major supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to gain the Republican nomination last year, but switched his allegiance to Trump when he won the nomination.
      In my March 21 post, I wrote, “Years from now, I suspect Mercer will be relaxing at his Long Island waterfront retreat, Owl’s Nest, or on his 200-foot yacht, Sea Owl, and look back over his illustrious career tarnished  by one regret – he backed the biggest con job in our nation’s history.”

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IT’S NEVER THE GUNS !
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Six states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Utah, Wisconsin),  are planning to require poverty stricken people on Medicaid  to get jobs  or lose the coverage. Maine, Utah and Wisconsin want to put a time limit on coverage, the latter wants to drug-test people. Excluded: People with long-tern disabilities, the elderly, and children.  Isn’t it bad enough these people are in poverty ? 
      Vox Media reports that 9.8 million Medicaid recipients  don’t have jobs  due to: Illness/disabled (35%), retired (8%), taking care of home or family (28%), going to school (18%), cannot find work (8%). The remaining 60.2 million Americans on Medicaid work full-time of part-time.  I’m not sure what’s the Republican beef here.
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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)
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 ?
     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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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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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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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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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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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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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- Hope Hicks, 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 T. Flynn – Michael G. Flynn ( son)  – 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.” Initially, 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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*Business Insider – Bob Bryan  Nov.9, 2017
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January Sell Off After Tax Cut Frenzy ?

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 24,607
S&P 500: 2,675
Nasdaq  Comp.6,936:
Russell 2000: 1,530
Monday, Dec. 16,    8:46 a.m.

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-Prepare for possibility  of Trump putting U.S. on ramped up war footing
-Expect the Trump administration to launch a $1 trillion infrastructure effort in coming weeks.

-Why would Senators  Rubio and Corker flip on Tax bill ?  They want to run for president in 2020 – yep, simple as that. Snakes in the grass.
 –Big week for economic reports: Tues. 8:30: Housing Starts; Wed.,10:00: Existing Home Sales; Thurs. 8:30: GDP, Jobless Claims, Philly Fed Outlook, Chicago Fed Nat’l Activity, Corporate Profits,  at  10:00:  Leading Indicators; Friday, 8:30  Durable Goods,  Personal Income,  New Home Sales, and Consumer Sentiment, Kansas City Fed Mfg. at 10:00.  Anyone care ?  Probably not.

-The spending bill deadline was extended to Friday, Dec. 22.                
The tax bill is  a 99.9% done deal, selectively beneficial to tax payers, great for corporations that still pay high taxes, and good for Democrat Party prospects in 2018 and 2020.

        The prospects for a tax cut have driven the S&P 500 up 23% since the 2016 Presidential Election, bringing the total bull market gain since early  March 2009 to 295%. That compares with the bull market record for the S&P 500 of plus 304.26% between 1990 and 1998, a total of 93 months.  The current bull market is 106 months old.
        Our economy and investment markets came within a whisker of TOTAL meltdown in 2008 – 2009. The recovery following a 58% drop in the S&P and the ugliest recession since the horrid 1930s, was fortunately gradual enough for key sectors of the economy to dig their cleats in and develop a sustainable recovery. As noted above, this economy and stock market recovery are long in the tooth, suggesting risk of reversal in coming months..
        Bull markets tend to run to ridiculous extremes where rank speculation is beyond belief, this one is no exception, unless institutions do some heavy profit-taking in January, triggering the first major correction in two years since Jan. 2016 (-13%).
 

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RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:24,739; S&P 500:2,684; Nasdaq Comp.:6,961

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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
Doug Jones’ defeat of favorite Roy Moore is yet another shot across Trump’s bow and the Republican Party, which has wantonly bulldozed much of what was accomplished in prior administrations in an effort to brand our government with a far right identity.
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Trump Administration dominos starting to tumble, tumble, tumble !
Will Trump administration now ramp up United States’ war footing on North Korea to distract America, an attempt to unite the country behind its president, as President George W. Bush did prior to the invasion of Iraq.
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HEARTLESS at Christmas:  Trump refuses to extend the Obamacare sign-up deadline even in face of a rush to sign up.
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STATES NEEDING FEDS THE MOST
       The twelve most federally dependent states are Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, West Virginia, South Carolina, Montana, Tennessee, Maine,  Indiana, Arizona, Louisiana.
      The twelve least federally dependent states are Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Kansas, Nevada, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Utah, and Nebraska.
  Red states (Republican) are 67% more dependent on federal government aid than Blue States (Democratic).

  So why all the whining about the Feds being in their space ?  Want to go it alone ?   Careful what you wish for.
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The BIG question is, do American morals and respect for our republic  have to hit bottom before Congress and the American voter opts for decency, honesty, integrity and a moral compass ?
    Currently, odds favor neither will have a change of heart even if the findings of the Mueller probe uncover untold crimes against the constitution and American people. 
     The current extremist Republican Party is morally bankrupt, as are many of its supporters. Much of the Republican Congress is comprised congressional  anarchists, determined to raze time-tested checks and balances, and oppose any and all new proposals that do not pass their muster.
      It wasn’t enough that they obstructed progress for eight years of the Obama administration, they are now dismantling the things he did accomplish. Our republic is being mugged in plain sight.
    
There are a lot of very fine Republicans out there, but someone needs to tell them someone hijacked their party.
       Our republic is being mugged in plain sight, and only a handful in Congress are putting up a fight, clearly none of them  Republicans. 
        Liberals need some spine, too many are appalled, but turn another cheek. I’ve heard it too often, “He’s our president, I don’t agree with what he says, but we need to wish him success, he’s our president now, we must support him.
       Rubbish !   This is WAR !
       This isn’t Reagan, this isn’t anything close to the Republican Party I grew up with.

       This is what the right wing has been waiting for – total control of the presidency, both Houses, and the Supreme Court. (and Fox News)  They want total control.  This is how democratic,  representative republics  perish.
      America is the biggest enchilada on earth.  Why wouldn’t a group of extremists want to wrest permanent control from its people ?  Americans must stop multitasking, and have the guts to endure the day-to-day angst that accompanies being well informed. They need to return to values.
       I am not sure the public knows  what is happening, increasing the odds we must hit bottom first, and that could be quite a ways down from here.
       Today’s senatorial election in Alabama should be telling. It would be refreshing if Christian values rejected accused sex offender Roy Moore’s bid for the U.S. Senate.
        Anything is possible.  A Gallup poll revealed that  people who identify themselves as Republican has dropped  to 37% from 42% since Trump’s election a year ago.  Dems held the line.

 

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IMHO: THE  TAX BILL IS A DISGRACE. IT WIDENS THE GAP BETWEEN UPPER INCOME LEVELS AND THE GREAT MAJORITY OF AMERICANS. 
       MAKING CORPORATION TAX CUTS PERMANENT ARE DESIGNED TO CREATE A MASSIVE DEFICIT, FAR GREATER THAN THE ADMINISTRATION’S $1.5 TRILLION.  
       REPUBLICAN LONG-TERM GOAL:  HUGE SLASHES IN SOCIAL SERVICE BENEFITS IN THE FUTURE,  INCLUDING SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN’T PAY ITS BILLS AND CAN’T RAISE TAXES TO DO SO. REPUBLICANS CANNOT BE TRUSTED WITH TOTAL CONTROL.
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COMPASSIONLESS: What is it with the well-heeled powerbase of the Republican Party  ?  Why do they want to deny people of modest means medical care, needed social benefits, an affordable education and a minimally comfortable retirement ?  Do they want it all for themselves ?  How Christian is favoring the rich over the poor ?
     
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) says there is no money to fund the Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP) which expired Oct. 1.
      Mic.com quotes Hatch as whining, about  it as a low-cost health insurance plan  for children of low-income families,  saying,  “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the Federal government to do everything.”   Yeah, right, Orrin. These impoverished, ill kids are always looking for a handout.
       What does this have to do with the stock market ?
       A divided country is not a strong country, not one that can move ahead to solve problems and grow economically and socially. In many ways we have opted out of objectively analyzing the issues, holding firm to bias and fear of “those” people. We are  led by a morally bankrupt president and too many enablers.
        Wake up, a diversified culture is who we are. Don’t believe me ?
        Stand in the core of any airport (as I did) and watch. This is NOT to be feared, it is our strength going forward.
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“He had it coming, he had it coming… he only had himself to blame” (Chicago – Cell Block Tango):   THERE IS DOWNSIDE RISK FOR WOMEN OF DISCLOSURES OF SEXUAL IMPROPRIETIES BY MEN: I am 100% for exposing these predators, it’s long overdue and worth the price of what may be the result.  Clearly there will be less abuse in and out of the workplace, but it may result in less willingness to hire and/or promote women. There will be a backlash, but women have demonstrated the ability to persevere against great odds before, and I suppose after such backlash and these creeps will get what’s coming to them.
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      I keep Fox Business News TV on by my desk during the day, since it has better data coverage than CNBC. I have it on “mute” since I can’t endure the senseless Republican hype.  Neil Cavuto hosts a portion of the show. While decidedly right-leaning, Neil is tolerable compared with his co-host, Stuart Varney, Varney & Co, who is constantly waxing right wing blither.
       I was a frequent guest analyst on CNBC-TV in the 1990s. It was different then. It was one-on-one with a lot of questions, but an independent without major firm backing like me had a chance to get some visibility.  The times Cavuto interviewed me, I sensed he was Republican, but not hard core, which is also the case today. He’s good, not given to partyline hype.
       What’s more, for some time, I sensed he was uncomfortable with the Trump administration and last week it came out per a report from “The HILL.”  Trump couldn’t resist tweeting about  LaVar Ball and Senator Jeff Flake, at a time more important presidential issues demanded attention.  Cavuto, criticized Trump for “using a bazooka to respond to a pea shooter.” “Is it really necessary,” he asked, adding, “Keep tweeting stuff like that, Mr. President, and those tax cuts just could be toast.” Cavuto then said, “the last time I checked, you are the president of the United States, why don’t you act like it ?”
      Whoa ! Why would a broadcaster with 25 years experience, a big name, in a comfortable time slot, lecture the president, and possibly rankle his party ?  Is this just another sign that Trump’s support is crumbling.
      Neil is a throwback to the days when most Republicans were more reasonable, not extremists. It’s good to see him say, “Enough.”
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SPUTNICK’S Back: Russia’s hacking and invasion of Twitter and Facebook are  America’s present day “Sputnick” challenge.
     The world was stunned in 1957 when the Soviet Union (Russia) launched the first unmanned satellite to orbit the earth. In 1961, the Soviet’s  launched cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin who became the first man to orbit the earth. This was the catalyst for President Kennedy’s space program designed to ultimately land a man on the moon, which was done on July 20, 1969 by Apollo II.
      America is just now finding out how deeply Russia has weaponized our social media and computer software programs at all levels. According to The New Republic’s December issue,  Russia’s “theory of war allows you to defeat the enemy without ever having to touch him.”
      The big question surrounding Russia’s ability to hack into Twitter (TWTR)  and Facebook (FB) is, did they have help from the Trump team to tilt the election in his favor ? 
       Whether this manipulation continues, depends on how quickly our nation responds. So far Trump denies it even happened – duh.
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TRUMP VOTER FRAUD COMMISSION is being SUED:
Matthew Dunlap, Maine’s Secretary of State is accusing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity of essentially “lacking integrity.”  It’s all about shutting Dunlap, a Democrat, out of the process and lack of transparency to the public.  What else can be expected of a SCAM, designed to data mine all 50 state’s voter records for political advantage and ensure the continuance of Republican‘s voter suppression efforts.
Have these people no shame ?  Americans ??  Or is this a bloodless coup ?  NOT ON OUR WATCH !
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Brian Benczkowski was nominated by President Trump in June to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. My  Sept. 15 post called attention to this since he previously represented one of Russia’s largest banks Russia’s Alfa Bank. Having  advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his nomination is pending full Senate confirmation. He once served under Jeff Sessions. If confirmed, he pledged independence, recusing himself for two years from any dealings with alfa Bank.  Sen. Feinstein voted against Benczkowski concerned that he never served as a federal prosecutor and the fact he would sit in on  meetings with special counsel Robert Mueller with Russia probe. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., was concerned his major qualification was his connection with Sessions.
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Mercer on the runBannon and Breitbart bankroller, Robert Mercer is rapidly severing financial ties to Breitbart News and support of Steve Bannon and alt-right’s Milo Yiannopoulos. Mercer was a major supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to gain the Republican nomination last year, but switched his allegiance to Trump when he won the nomination.
      In my March 21 post, I wrote, “Years from now, I suspect Mercer will be relaxing at his Long Island waterfront retreat, Owl’s Nest, or on his 200-foot yacht, Sea Owl, and look back over his illustrious career tarnished  by one regret – he backed the biggest con job in our nation’s history.”

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IT’S NEVER THE GUNS !
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Six states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Utah, Wisconsin),  are planning to require poverty stricken people on Medicaid  to get jobs  or lose the coverage. Maine, Utah and Wisconsin want to put a time limit on coverage, the latter wants to drug-test people. Excluded: People with long-tern disabilities, the elderly, and children.  Isn’t it bad enough these people are in poverty ? 
      Vox Media reports that 9.8 million Medicaid recipients  don’t have jobs  due to: Illness/disabled (35%), retired (8%), taking care of home or family (28%), going to school (18%), cannot find work (8%). The remaining 60.2 million Americans on Medicaid work full-time of part-time.  I’m not sure what’s the Republican beef here.
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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)
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 ?
     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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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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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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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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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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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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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- Hope Hicks, 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 T. Flynn – Michael G. Flynn ( son)  – 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.” Initially, 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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*Business Insider – Bob Bryan  Nov.9, 2017
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 24,607

S&P 500: 2,675
Nasdaq  Comp.6,936:
Russell 2000: 1,530
Monday, Dec. 16,    8:46 a.m.

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-Prepare for possibility  of Trump putting U.S. on ramped up war footing
-Expect the Trump administration to launch a $1 trillion infrastructure effort in coming weeks.

-Why would Senators  Rubio and Corker flip on Tax bill ?  They want to run for president in 2020 – yep, simple as that. Snakes in the grass.
 –Big week for economic reports: Tues. 8:30: Housing Starts; Wed.,10:00: Existing Home Sales; Thurs. 8:30: GDP, Jobless Claims, Philly Fed Outlook, Chicago Fed Nat’l Activity, Corporate Profits,  at  10:00:  Leading Indicators; Friday, 8:30  Durable Goods,  Personal Income,  New Home Sales, and Consumer Sentiment, Kansas City Fed Mfg. at 10:00.  Anyone care ?  Probably not.

-The spending bill deadline was extended to Friday, Dec. 22.                
The tax bill is  a 99.9% done deal, selectively beneficial to tax payers, great for corporations that still pay high taxes, and good for Democrat Party prospects in 2018 and 2020.

        The prospects for a tax cut have driven the S&P 500 up 23% since the 2016 Presidential Election, bringing the total bull market gain since early  March 2009 to 295%. That compares with the bull market record for the S&P 500 of plus 304.26% between 1990 and 1998, a total of 93 months.  The current bull market is 106 months old.
        Our economy and investment markets came within a whisker of TOTAL meltdown in 2008 – 2009. The recovery following a 58% drop in the S&P and the ugliest recession since the horrid 1930s, was fortunately gradual enough for key sectors of the economy to dig their cleats in and develop a sustainable recovery. As noted above, this economy and stock market recovery are long in the tooth, suggesting risk of reversal in coming months..
        Bull markets tend to run to ridiculous extremes where rank speculation is beyond belief, this one is no exception, unless institutions do some heavy profit-taking in January, triggering the first major correction in two years since Jan. 2016 (-13%).
 

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RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:24,739; S&P 500:2,684; Nasdaq Comp.:6,961

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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
Doug Jones’ defeat of favorite Roy Moore is yet another shot across Trump’s bow and the Republican Party, which has wantonly bulldozed much of what was accomplished in prior administrations in an effort to brand our government with a far right identity.
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Trump Administration dominos starting to tumble, tumble, tumble !
Will Trump administration now ramp up United States’ war footing on North Korea to distract America, an attempt to unite the country behind its president, as President George W. Bush did prior to the invasion of Iraq.
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HEARTLESS at Christmas:  Trump refuses to extend the Obamacare sign-up deadline even in face of a rush to sign up.
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STATES NEEDING FEDS THE MOST
       The twelve most federally dependent states are Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, West Virginia, South Carolina, Montana, Tennessee, Maine,  Indiana, Arizona, Louisiana.
      The twelve least federally dependent states are Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Kansas, Nevada, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Utah, and Nebraska.
  Red states (Republican) are 67% more dependent on federal government aid than Blue States (Democratic).

  So why all the whining about the Feds being in their space ?  Want to go it alone ?   Careful what you wish for.
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The BIG question is, do American morals and respect for our republic  have to hit bottom before Congress and the American voter opts for decency, honesty, integrity and a moral compass ?
    Currently, odds favor neither will have a change of heart even if the findings of the Mueller probe uncover untold crimes against the constitution and American people. 
     The current extremist Republican Party is morally bankrupt, as are many of its supporters. Much of the Republican Congress is comprised congressional  anarchists, determined to raze time-tested checks and balances, and oppose any and all new proposals that do not pass their muster.
      It wasn’t enough that they obstructed progress for eight years of the Obama administration, they are now dismantling the things he did accomplish. Our republic is being mugged in plain sight.
    
There are a lot of very fine Republicans out there, but someone needs to tell them someone hijacked their party.
       Our republic is being mugged in plain sight, and only a handful in Congress are putting up a fight, clearly none of them  Republicans. 
        Liberals need some spine, too many are appalled, but turn another cheek. I’ve heard it too often, “He’s our president, I don’t agree with what he says, but we need to wish him success, he’s our president now, we must support him.
       Rubbish !   This is WAR !
       This isn’t Reagan, this isn’t anything close to the Republican Party I grew up with.

       This is what the right wing has been waiting for – total control of the presidency, both Houses, and the Supreme Court. (and Fox News)  They want total control.  This is how democratic,  representative republics  perish.
      America is the biggest enchilada on earth.  Why wouldn’t a group of extremists want to wrest permanent control from its people ?  Americans must stop multitasking, and have the guts to endure the day-to-day angst that accompanies being well informed. They need to return to values.
       I am not sure the public knows  what is happening, increasing the odds we must hit bottom first, and that could be quite a ways down from here.
       Today’s senatorial election in Alabama should be telling. It would be refreshing if Christian values rejected accused sex offender Roy Moore’s bid for the U.S. Senate.
        Anything is possible.  A Gallup poll revealed that  people who identify themselves as Republican has dropped  to 37% from 42% since Trump’s election a year ago.  Dems held the line.

 

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IMHO: THE  TAX BILL IS A DISGRACE. IT WIDENS THE GAP BETWEEN UPPER INCOME LEVELS AND THE GREAT MAJORITY OF AMERICANS. 
       MAKING CORPORATION TAX CUTS PERMANENT ARE DESIGNED TO CREATE A MASSIVE DEFICIT, FAR GREATER THAN THE ADMINISTRATION’S $1.5 TRILLION.  
       REPUBLICAN LONG-TERM GOAL:  HUGE SLASHES IN SOCIAL SERVICE BENEFITS IN THE FUTURE,  INCLUDING SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN’T PAY ITS BILLS AND CAN’T RAISE TAXES TO DO SO. REPUBLICANS CANNOT BE TRUSTED WITH TOTAL CONTROL.
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COMPASSIONLESS: What is it with the well-heeled powerbase of the Republican Party  ?  Why do they want to deny people of modest means medical care, needed social benefits, an affordable education and a minimally comfortable retirement ?  Do they want it all for themselves ?  How Christian is favoring the rich over the poor ?
     
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) says there is no money to fund the Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP) which expired Oct. 1.
      Mic.com quotes Hatch as whining, about  it as a low-cost health insurance plan  for children of low-income families,  saying,  “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the Federal government to do everything.”   Yeah, right, Orrin. These impoverished, ill kids are always looking for a handout.
       What does this have to do with the stock market ?
       A divided country is not a strong country, not one that can move ahead to solve problems and grow economically and socially. In many ways we have opted out of objectively analyzing the issues, holding firm to bias and fear of “those” people. We are  led by a morally bankrupt president and too many enablers.
        Wake up, a diversified culture is who we are. Don’t believe me ?
        Stand in the core of any airport (as I did) and watch. This is NOT to be feared, it is our strength going forward.
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“He had it coming, he had it coming… he only had himself to blame” (Chicago – Cell Block Tango):   THERE IS DOWNSIDE RISK FOR WOMEN OF DISCLOSURES OF SEXUAL IMPROPRIETIES BY MEN: I am 100% for exposing these predators, it’s long overdue and worth the price of what may be the result.  Clearly there will be less abuse in and out of the workplace, but it may result in less willingness to hire and/or promote women. There will be a backlash, but women have demonstrated the ability to persevere against great odds before, and I suppose after such backlash and these creeps will get what’s coming to them.
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      I keep Fox Business News TV on by my desk during the day, since it has better data coverage than CNBC. I have it on “mute” since I can’t endure the senseless Republican hype.  Neil Cavuto hosts a portion of the show. While decidedly right-leaning, Neil is tolerable compared with his co-host, Stuart Varney, Varney & Co, who is constantly waxing right wing blither.
       I was a frequent guest analyst on CNBC-TV in the 1990s. It was different then. It was one-on-one with a lot of questions, but an independent without major firm backing like me had a chance to get some visibility.  The times Cavuto interviewed me, I sensed he was Republican, but not hard core, which is also the case today. He’s good, not given to partyline hype.
       What’s more, for some time, I sensed he was uncomfortable with the Trump administration and last week it came out per a report from “The HILL.”  Trump couldn’t resist tweeting about  LaVar Ball and Senator Jeff Flake, at a time more important presidential issues demanded attention.  Cavuto, criticized Trump for “using a bazooka to respond to a pea shooter.” “Is it really necessary,” he asked, adding, “Keep tweeting stuff like that, Mr. President, and those tax cuts just could be toast.” Cavuto then said, “the last time I checked, you are the president of the United States, why don’t you act like it ?”
      Whoa ! Why would a broadcaster with 25 years experience, a big name, in a comfortable time slot, lecture the president, and possibly rankle his party ?  Is this just another sign that Trump’s support is crumbling.
      Neil is a throwback to the days when most Republicans were more reasonable, not extremists. It’s good to see him say, “Enough.”
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SPUTNICK’S Back: Russia’s hacking and invasion of Twitter and Facebook are  America’s present day “Sputnick” challenge.
     The world was stunned in 1957 when the Soviet Union (Russia) launched the first unmanned satellite to orbit the earth. In 1961, the Soviet’s  launched cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin who became the first man to orbit the earth. This was the catalyst for President Kennedy’s space program designed to ultimately land a man on the moon, which was done on July 20, 1969 by Apollo II.
      America is just now finding out how deeply Russia has weaponized our social media and computer software programs at all levels. According to The New Republic’s December issue,  Russia’s “theory of war allows you to defeat the enemy without ever having to touch him.”
      The big question surrounding Russia’s ability to hack into Twitter (TWTR)  and Facebook (FB) is, did they have help from the Trump team to tilt the election in his favor ? 
       Whether this manipulation continues, depends on how quickly our nation responds. So far Trump denies it even happened – duh.
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TRUMP VOTER FRAUD COMMISSION is being SUED:
Matthew Dunlap, Maine’s Secretary of State is accusing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity of essentially “lacking integrity.”  It’s all about shutting Dunlap, a Democrat, out of the process and lack of transparency to the public.  What else can be expected of a SCAM, designed to data mine all 50 state’s voter records for political advantage and ensure the continuance of Republican‘s voter suppression efforts.
Have these people no shame ?  Americans ??  Or is this a bloodless coup ?  NOT ON OUR WATCH !
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Brian Benczkowski was nominated by President Trump in June to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. My  Sept. 15 post called attention to this since he previously represented one of Russia’s largest banks Russia’s Alfa Bank. Having  advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his nomination is pending full Senate confirmation. He once served under Jeff Sessions. If confirmed, he pledged independence, recusing himself for two years from any dealings with alfa Bank.  Sen. Feinstein voted against Benczkowski concerned that he never served as a federal prosecutor and the fact he would sit in on  meetings with special counsel Robert Mueller with Russia probe. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., was concerned his major qualification was his connection with Sessions.
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Mercer on the runBannon and Breitbart bankroller, Robert Mercer is rapidly severing financial ties to Breitbart News and support of Steve Bannon and alt-right’s Milo Yiannopoulos. Mercer was a major supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to gain the Republican nomination last year, but switched his allegiance to Trump when he won the nomination.
      In my March 21 post, I wrote, “Years from now, I suspect Mercer will be relaxing at his Long Island waterfront retreat, Owl’s Nest, or on his 200-foot yacht, Sea Owl, and look back over his illustrious career tarnished  by one regret – he backed the biggest con job in our nation’s history.”

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IT’S NEVER THE GUNS !
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Six states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Utah, Wisconsin),  are planning to require poverty stricken people on Medicaid  to get jobs  or lose the coverage. Maine, Utah and Wisconsin want to put a time limit on coverage, the latter wants to drug-test people. Excluded: People with long-tern disabilities, the elderly, and children.  Isn’t it bad enough these people are in poverty ? 
      Vox Media reports that 9.8 million Medicaid recipients  don’t have jobs  due to: Illness/disabled (35%), retired (8%), taking care of home or family (28%), going to school (18%), cannot find work (8%). The remaining 60.2 million Americans on Medicaid work full-time of part-time.  I’m not sure what’s the Republican beef here.
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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)
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 ?
     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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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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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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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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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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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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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- Hope Hicks, 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 T. Flynn – Michael G. Flynn ( son)  – 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.” Initially, 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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*Business Insider – Bob Bryan  Nov.9, 2017
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 24,607

S&P 500: 2,675
Nasdaq  Comp.6,936:
Russell 2000: 1,530
Monday, Dec. 16,    8:46 a.m.

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-Prepare for possibility  of Trump putting U.S. on ramped up war footing
-Expect the Trump administration to launch a $1 trillion infrastructure effort in coming weeks.

-Why would Senators  Rubio and Corker flip on Tax bill ?  They want to run for president in 2020 – yep, simple as that. Snakes in the grass.
 –Big week for economic reports: Tues. 8:30: Housing Starts; Wed.,10:00: Existing Home Sales; Thurs. 8:30: GDP, Jobless Claims, Philly Fed Outlook, Chicago Fed Nat’l Activity, Corporate Profits,  at  10:00:  Leading Indicators; Friday, 8:30  Durable Goods,  Personal Income,  New Home Sales, and Consumer Sentiment, Kansas City Fed Mfg. at 10:00.  Anyone care ?  Probably not.

-The spending bill deadline was extended to Friday, Dec. 22.                
The tax bill is  a 99.9% done deal, selectively beneficial to tax payers, great for corporations that still pay high taxes, and good for Democrat Party prospects in 2018 and 2020.

        The prospects for a tax cut have driven the S&P 500 up 23% since the 2016 Presidential Election, bringing the total bull market gain since early  March 2009 to 295%. That compares with the bull market record for the S&P 500 of plus 304.26% between 1990 and 1998, a total of 93 months.  The current bull market is 106 months old.
        Our economy and investment markets came within a whisker of TOTAL meltdown in 2008 – 2009. The recovery following a 58% drop in the S&P and the ugliest recession since the horrid 1930s, was fortunately gradual enough for key sectors of the economy to dig their cleats in and develop a sustainable recovery. As noted above, this economy and stock market recovery are long in the tooth, suggesting risk of reversal in coming months..
        Bull markets tend to run to ridiculous extremes where rank speculation is beyond belief, this one is no exception, unless institutions do some heavy profit-taking in January, triggering the first major correction in two years since Jan. 2016 (-13%).

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RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:24,739; S&P 500:2,684; Nasdaq Comp.:6,961

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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
Doug Jones’ defeat of favorite Roy Moore is yet another shot across Trump’s bow and the Republican Party, which has wantonly bulldozed much of what was accomplished in prior administrations in an effort to brand our government with a far right identity.
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Trump Administration dominos starting to tumble, tumble, tumble !
Will Trump administration now ramp up United States’ war footing on North Korea to distract America, an attempt to unite the country behind its president, as President George W. Bush did prior to the invasion of Iraq.
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HEARTLESS at Christmas:  Trump refuses to extend the Obamacare sign-up deadline even in face of a rush to sign up.
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STATES NEEDING FEDS THE MOST
       The twelve most federally dependent states are Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, West Virginia, South Carolina, Montana, Tennessee, Maine,  Indiana, Arizona, Louisiana.
      The twelve least federally dependent states are Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Kansas, Nevada, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Utah, and Nebraska.
  Red states (Republican) are 67% more dependent on federal government aid than Blue States (Democratic).

  So why all the whining about the Feds being in their space ?  Want to go it alone ?   Careful what you wish for.
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The BIG question is, do American morals and respect for our republic  have to hit bottom before Congress and the American voter opts for decency, honesty, integrity and a moral compass ?
    Currently, odds favor neither will have a change of heart even if the findings of the Mueller probe uncover untold crimes against the constitution and American people. 
     The current extremist Republican Party is morally bankrupt, as are many of its supporters. Much of the Republican Congress is comprised congressional  anarchists, determined to raze time-tested checks and balances, and oppose any and all new proposals that do not pass their muster.
      It wasn’t enough that they obstructed progress for eight years of the Obama administration, they are now dismantling the things he did accomplish. Our republic is being mugged in plain sight.
    
There are a lot of very fine Republicans out there, but someone needs to tell them someone hijacked their party.
       Our republic is being mugged in plain sight, and only a handful in Congress are putting up a fight, clearly none of them  Republicans. 
        Liberals need some spine, too many are appalled, but turn another cheek. I’ve heard it too often, “He’s our president, I don’t agree with what he says, but we need to wish him success, he’s our president now, we must support him.
       Rubbish !   This is WAR !
       This isn’t Reagan, this isn’t anything close to the Republican Party I grew up with.

       This is what the right wing has been waiting for – total control of the presidency, both Houses, and the Supreme Court. (and Fox News)  They want total control.  This is how democratic,  representative republics  perish.
      America is the biggest enchilada on earth.  Why wouldn’t a group of extremists want to wrest permanent control from its people ?  Americans must stop multitasking, and have the guts to endure the day-to-day angst that accompanies being well informed. They need to return to values.
       I am not sure the public knows  what is happening, increasing the odds we must hit bottom first, and that could be quite a ways down from here.
       Today’s senatorial election in Alabama should be telling. It would be refreshing if Christian values rejected accused sex offender Roy Moore’s bid for the U.S. Senate.
        Anything is possible.  A Gallup poll revealed that  people who identify themselves as Republican has dropped  to 37% from 42% since Trump’s election a year ago.  Dems held the line.

 

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IMHO: THE  TAX BILL IS A DISGRACE. IT WIDENS THE GAP BETWEEN UPPER INCOME LEVELS AND THE GREAT MAJORITY OF AMERICANS. 
       MAKING CORPORATION TAX CUTS PERMANENT ARE DESIGNED TO CREATE A MASSIVE DEFICIT, FAR GREATER THAN THE ADMINISTRATION’S $1.5 TRILLION.  
       REPUBLICAN LONG-TERM GOAL:  HUGE SLASHES IN SOCIAL SERVICE BENEFITS IN THE FUTURE,  INCLUDING SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN’T PAY ITS BILLS AND CAN’T RAISE TAXES TO DO SO. REPUBLICANS CANNOT BE TRUSTED WITH TOTAL CONTROL.
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COMPASSIONLESS: What is it with the well-heeled powerbase of the Republican Party  ?  Why do they want to deny people of modest means medical care, needed social benefits, an affordable education and a minimally comfortable retirement ?  Do they want it all for themselves ?  How Christian is favoring the rich over the poor ?
     
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) says there is no money to fund the Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP) which expired Oct. 1.
      Mic.com quotes Hatch as whining, about  it as a low-cost health insurance plan  for children of low-income families,  saying,  “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the Federal government to do everything.”   Yeah, right, Orrin. These impoverished, ill kids are always looking for a handout.
       What does this have to do with the stock market ?
       A divided country is not a strong country, not one that can move ahead to solve problems and grow economically and socially. In many ways we have opted out of objectively analyzing the issues, holding firm to bias and fear of “those” people. We are  led by a morally bankrupt president and too many enablers.
        Wake up, a diversified culture is who we are. Don’t believe me ?
        Stand in the core of any airport (as I did) and watch. This is NOT to be feared, it is our strength going forward.
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“He had it coming, he had it coming… he only had himself to blame” (Chicago – Cell Block Tango):   THERE IS DOWNSIDE RISK FOR WOMEN OF DISCLOSURES OF SEXUAL IMPROPRIETIES BY MEN: I am 100% for exposing these predators, it’s long overdue and worth the price of what may be the result.  Clearly there will be less abuse in and out of the workplace, but it may result in less willingness to hire and/or promote women. There will be a backlash, but women have demonstrated the ability to persevere against great odds before, and I suppose after such backlash and these creeps will get what’s coming to them.
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      I keep Fox Business News TV on by my desk during the day, since it has better data coverage than CNBC. I have it on “mute” since I can’t endure the senseless Republican hype.  Neil Cavuto hosts a portion of the show. While decidedly right-leaning, Neil is tolerable compared with his co-host, Stuart Varney, Varney & Co, who is constantly waxing right wing blither.
       I was a frequent guest analyst on CNBC-TV in the 1990s. It was different then. It was one-on-one with a lot of questions, but an independent without major firm backing like me had a chance to get some visibility.  The times Cavuto interviewed me, I sensed he was Republican, but not hard core, which is also the case today. He’s good, not given to partyline hype.
       What’s more, for some time, I sensed he was uncomfortable with the Trump administration and last week it came out per a report from “The HILL.”  Trump couldn’t resist tweeting about  LaVar Ball and Senator Jeff Flake, at a time more important presidential issues demanded attention.  Cavuto, criticized Trump for “using a bazooka to respond to a pea shooter.” “Is it really necessary,” he asked, adding, “Keep tweeting stuff like that, Mr. President, and those tax cuts just could be toast.” Cavuto then said, “the last time I checked, you are the president of the United States, why don’t you act like it ?”
      Whoa ! Why would a broadcaster with 25 years experience, a big name, in a comfortable time slot, lecture the president, and possibly rankle his party ?  Is this just another sign that Trump’s support is crumbling.
      Neil is a throwback to the days when most Republicans were more reasonable, not extremists. It’s good to see him say, “Enough.”
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SPUTNICK’S Back: Russia’s hacking and invasion of Twitter and Facebook are  America’s present day “Sputnick” challenge.
     The world was stunned in 1957 when the Soviet Union (Russia) launched the first unmanned satellite to orbit the earth. In 1961, the Soviet’s  launched cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin who became the first man to orbit the earth. This was the catalyst for President Kennedy’s space program designed to ultimately land a man on the moon, which was done on July 20, 1969 by Apollo II.
      America is just now finding out how deeply Russia has weaponized our social media and computer software programs at all levels. According to The New Republic’s December issue,  Russia’s “theory of war allows you to defeat the enemy without ever having to touch him.”
      The big question surrounding Russia’s ability to hack into Twitter (TWTR)  and Facebook (FB) is, did they have help from the Trump team to tilt the election in his favor ? 
       Whether this manipulation continues, depends on how quickly our nation responds. So far Trump denies it even happened – duh.
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TRUMP VOTER FRAUD COMMISSION is being SUED:
Matthew Dunlap, Maine’s Secretary of State is accusing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity of essentially “lacking integrity.”  It’s all about shutting Dunlap, a Democrat, out of the process and lack of transparency to the public.  What else can be expected of a SCAM, designed to data mine all 50 state’s voter records for political advantage and ensure the continuance of Republican‘s voter suppression efforts.
Have these people no shame ?  Americans ??  Or is this a bloodless coup ?  NOT ON OUR WATCH !
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Brian Benczkowski was nominated by President Trump in June to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. My  Sept. 15 post called attention to this since he previously represented one of Russia’s largest banks Russia’s Alfa Bank. Having  advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his nomination is pending full Senate confirmation. He once served under Jeff Sessions. If confirmed, he pledged independence, recusing himself for two years from any dealings with alfa Bank.  Sen. Feinstein voted against Benczkowski concerned that he never served as a federal prosecutor and the fact he would sit in on  meetings with special counsel Robert Mueller with Russia probe. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., was concerned his major qualification was his connection with Sessions.
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Mercer on the runBannon and Breitbart bankroller, Robert Mercer is rapidly severing financial ties to Breitbart News and support of Steve Bannon and alt-right’s Milo Yiannopoulos. Mercer was a major supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to gain the Republican nomination last year, but switched his allegiance to Trump when he won the nomination.
      In my March 21 post, I wrote, “Years from now, I suspect Mercer will be relaxing at his Long Island waterfront retreat, Owl’s Nest, or on his 200-foot yacht, Sea Owl, and look back over his illustrious career tarnished  by one regret – he backed the biggest con job in our nation’s history.”

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IT’S NEVER THE GUNS !
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Six states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Utah, Wisconsin),  are planning to require poverty stricken people on Medicaid  to get jobs  or lose the coverage. Maine, Utah and Wisconsin want to put a time limit on coverage, the latter wants to drug-test people. Excluded: People with long-tern disabilities, the elderly, and children.  Isn’t it bad enough these people are in poverty ? 
      Vox Media reports that 9.8 million Medicaid recipients  don’t have jobs  due to: Illness/disabled (35%), retired (8%), taking care of home or family (28%), going to school (18%), cannot find work (8%). The remaining 60.2 million Americans on Medicaid work full-time of part-time.  I’m not sure what’s the Republican beef here.
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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)
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 ?
     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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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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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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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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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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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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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- Hope Hicks, 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 T. Flynn – Michael G. Flynn ( son)  – 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.” Initially, 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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*Business Insider – Bob Bryan  Nov.9, 2017
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 24,607

S&P 500: 2,675
Nasdaq  Comp.6,936:
Russell 2000: 1,530
Monday, Dec. 16,    8:46 a.m.

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-Prepare for possibility  of Trump putting U.S. on ramped up war footing
-Expect the Trump administration to launch a $1 trillion infrastructure effort in coming weeks.

-Why would Senators  Rubio and Corker flip on Tax bill ?  They want to run for president in 2020 – yep, simple as that. Snakes in the grass.
 –Big week for economic reports: Tues. 8:30: Housing Starts; Wed.,10:00: Existing Home Sales; Thurs. 8:30: GDP, Jobless Claims, Philly Fed Outlook, Chicago Fed Nat’l Activity, Corporate Profits,  at  10:00:  Leading Indicators; Friday, 8:30  Durable Goods,  Personal Income,  New Home Sales, and Consumer Sentiment, Kansas City Fed Mfg. at 10:00.  Anyone care ?  Probably not.

-The spending bill deadline was extended to Friday, Dec. 22.                
The tax bill is  a 99.9% done deal, selectively beneficial to tax payers, great for corporations that still pay high taxes, and good for Democrat Party prospects in 2018 and 2020.

        The prospects for a tax cut have driven the S&P 500 up 23% since the 2016 Presidential Election, bringing the total bull market gain since early  March 2009 to 295%. That compares with the bull market record for the S&P 500 of plus 304.26% between 1990 and 1998, a total of 93 months.  The current bull market is 106 months old.
        Our economy and investment markets came within a whisker of TOTAL meltdown in 2008 – 2009. The recovery following a 58% drop in the S&P and the ugliest recession since the horrid 1930s, was fortunately gradual enough for key sectors of the economy to dig their cleats in and develop a sustainable recovery. As noted above, this economy and stock market recovery are long in the tooth, suggesting risk of reversal in coming months..
        Bull markets tend to run to ridiculous extremes where rank speculation is beyond belief, this one is no exception, unless institutions do some heavy profit-taking in January, triggering the first major correction in two years since Jan. 2016 (-13%).

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RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:24,739; S&P 500:2,684; Nasdaq Comp.:6,961

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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
Doug Jones’ defeat of favorite Roy Moore is yet another shot across Trump’s bow and the Republican Party, which has wantonly bulldozed much of what was accomplished in prior administrations in an effort to brand our government with a far right identity.
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Trump Administration dominos starting to tumble, tumble, tumble !
Will Trump administration now ramp up United States’ war footing on North Korea to distract America, an attempt to unite the country behind its president, as President George W. Bush did prior to the invasion of Iraq.
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HEARTLESS at Christmas:  Trump refuses to extend the Obamacare sign-up deadline even in face of a rush to sign up.
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STATES NEEDING FEDS THE MOST
       The twelve most federally dependent states are Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, West Virginia, South Carolina, Montana, Tennessee, Maine,  Indiana, Arizona, Louisiana.
      The twelve least federally dependent states are Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Kansas, Nevada, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Utah, and Nebraska.
  Red states (Republican) are 67% more dependent on federal government aid than Blue States (Democratic).

  So why all the whining about the Feds being in their space ?  Want to go it alone ?   Careful what you wish for.
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The BIG question is, do American morals and respect for our republic  have to hit bottom before Congress and the American voter opts for decency, honesty, integrity and a moral compass ?
    Currently, odds favor neither will have a change of heart even if the findings of the Mueller probe uncover untold crimes against the constitution and American people. 
     The current extremist Republican Party is morally bankrupt, as are many of its supporters. Much of the Republican Congress is comprised congressional  anarchists, determined to raze time-tested checks and balances, and oppose any and all new proposals that do not pass their muster.
      It wasn’t enough that they obstructed progress for eight years of the Obama administration, they are now dismantling the things he did accomplish. Our republic is being mugged in plain sight.
    
There are a lot of very fine Republicans out there, but someone needs to tell them someone hijacked their party.
       Our republic is being mugged in plain sight, and only a handful in Congress are putting up a fight, clearly none of them  Republicans. 
        Liberals need some spine, too many are appalled, but turn another cheek. I’ve heard it too often, “He’s our president, I don’t agree with what he says, but we need to wish him success, he’s our president now, we must support him.
       Rubbish !   This is WAR !
       This isn’t Reagan, this isn’t anything close to the Republican Party I grew up with.

       This is what the right wing has been waiting for – total control of the presidency, both Houses, and the Supreme Court. (and Fox News)  They want total control.  This is how democratic,  representative republics  perish.
      America is the biggest enchilada on earth.  Why wouldn’t a group of extremists want to wrest permanent control from its people ?  Americans must stop multitasking, and have the guts to endure the day-to-day angst that accompanies being well informed. They need to return to values.
       I am not sure the public knows  what is happening, increasing the odds we must hit bottom first, and that could be quite a ways down from here.
       Today’s senatorial election in Alabama should be telling. It would be refreshing if Christian values rejected accused sex offender Roy Moore’s bid for the U.S. Senate.
        Anything is possible.  A Gallup poll revealed that  people who identify themselves as Republican has dropped  to 37% from 42% since Trump’s election a year ago.  Dems held the line.

 

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IMHO: THE  TAX BILL IS A DISGRACE. IT WIDENS THE GAP BETWEEN UPPER INCOME LEVELS AND THE GREAT MAJORITY OF AMERICANS. 
       MAKING CORPORATION TAX CUTS PERMANENT ARE DESIGNED TO CREATE A MASSIVE DEFICIT, FAR GREATER THAN THE ADMINISTRATION’S $1.5 TRILLION.  
       REPUBLICAN LONG-TERM GOAL:  HUGE SLASHES IN SOCIAL SERVICE BENEFITS IN THE FUTURE,  INCLUDING SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN’T PAY ITS BILLS AND CAN’T RAISE TAXES TO DO SO. REPUBLICANS CANNOT BE TRUSTED WITH TOTAL CONTROL.
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COMPASSIONLESS: What is it with the well-heeled powerbase of the Republican Party  ?  Why do they want to deny people of modest means medical care, needed social benefits, an affordable education and a minimally comfortable retirement ?  Do they want it all for themselves ?  How Christian is favoring the rich over the poor ?
     
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) says there is no money to fund the Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP) which expired Oct. 1.
      Mic.com quotes Hatch as whining, about  it as a low-cost health insurance plan  for children of low-income families,  saying,  “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the Federal government to do everything.”   Yeah, right, Orrin. These impoverished, ill kids are always looking for a handout.
       What does this have to do with the stock market ?
       A divided country is not a strong country, not one that can move ahead to solve problems and grow economically and socially. In many ways we have opted out of objectively analyzing the issues, holding firm to bias and fear of “those” people. We are  led by a morally bankrupt president and too many enablers.
        Wake up, a diversified culture is who we are. Don’t believe me ?
        Stand in the core of any airport (as I did) and watch. This is NOT to be feared, it is our strength going forward.
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“He had it coming, he had it coming… he only had himself to blame” (Chicago – Cell Block Tango):   THERE IS DOWNSIDE RISK FOR WOMEN OF DISCLOSURES OF SEXUAL IMPROPRIETIES BY MEN: I am 100% for exposing these predators, it’s long overdue and worth the price of what may be the result.  Clearly there will be less abuse in and out of the workplace, but it may result in less willingness to hire and/or promote women. There will be a backlash, but women have demonstrated the ability to persevere against great odds before, and I suppose after such backlash and these creeps will get what’s coming to them.
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      I keep Fox Business News TV on by my desk during the day, since it has better data coverage than CNBC. I have it on “mute” since I can’t endure the senseless Republican hype.  Neil Cavuto hosts a portion of the show. While decidedly right-leaning, Neil is tolerable compared with his co-host, Stuart Varney, Varney & Co, who is constantly waxing right wing blither.
       I was a frequent guest analyst on CNBC-TV in the 1990s. It was different then. It was one-on-one with a lot of questions, but an independent without major firm backing like me had a chance to get some visibility.  The times Cavuto interviewed me, I sensed he was Republican, but not hard core, which is also the case today. He’s good, not given to partyline hype.
       What’s more, for some time, I sensed he was uncomfortable with the Trump administration and last week it came out per a report from “The HILL.”  Trump couldn’t resist tweeting about  LaVar Ball and Senator Jeff Flake, at a time more important presidential issues demanded attention.  Cavuto, criticized Trump for “using a bazooka to respond to a pea shooter.” “Is it really necessary,” he asked, adding, “Keep tweeting stuff like that, Mr. President, and those tax cuts just could be toast.” Cavuto then said, “the last time I checked, you are the president of the United States, why don’t you act like it ?”
      Whoa ! Why would a broadcaster with 25 years experience, a big name, in a comfortable time slot, lecture the president, and possibly rankle his party ?  Is this just another sign that Trump’s support is crumbling.
      Neil is a throwback to the days when most Republicans were more reasonable, not extremists. It’s good to see him say, “Enough.”
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SPUTNICK’S Back: Russia’s hacking and invasion of Twitter and Facebook are  America’s present day “Sputnick” challenge.
     The world was stunned in 1957 when the Soviet Union (Russia) launched the first unmanned satellite to orbit the earth. In 1961, the Soviet’s  launched cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin who became the first man to orbit the earth. This was the catalyst for President Kennedy’s space program designed to ultimately land a man on the moon, which was done on July 20, 1969 by Apollo II.
      America is just now finding out how deeply Russia has weaponized our social media and computer software programs at all levels. According to The New Republic’s December issue,  Russia’s “theory of war allows you to defeat the enemy without ever having to touch him.”
      The big question surrounding Russia’s ability to hack into Twitter (TWTR)  and Facebook (FB) is, did they have help from the Trump team to tilt the election in his favor ? 
       Whether this manipulation continues, depends on how quickly our nation responds. So far Trump denies it even happened – duh.
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TRUMP VOTER FRAUD COMMISSION is being SUED:
Matthew Dunlap, Maine’s Secretary of State is accusing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity of essentially “lacking integrity.”  It’s all about shutting Dunlap, a Democrat, out of the process and lack of transparency to the public.  What else can be expected of a SCAM, designed to data mine all 50 state’s voter records for political advantage and ensure the continuance of Republican‘s voter suppression efforts.
Have these people no shame ?  Americans ??  Or is this a bloodless coup ?  NOT ON OUR WATCH !
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Brian Benczkowski was nominated by President Trump in June to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. My  Sept. 15 post called attention to this since he previously represented one of Russia’s largest banks Russia’s Alfa Bank. Having  advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his nomination is pending full Senate confirmation. He once served under Jeff Sessions. If confirmed, he pledged independence, recusing himself for two years from any dealings with alfa Bank.  Sen. Feinstein voted against Benczkowski concerned that he never served as a federal prosecutor and the fact he would sit in on  meetings with special counsel Robert Mueller with Russia probe. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., was concerned his major qualification was his connection with Sessions.
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Mercer on the runBannon and Breitbart bankroller, Robert Mercer is rapidly severing financial ties to Breitbart News and support of Steve Bannon and alt-right’s Milo Yiannopoulos. Mercer was a major supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to gain the Republican nomination last year, but switched his allegiance to Trump when he won the nomination.
      In my March 21 post, I wrote, “Years from now, I suspect Mercer will be relaxing at his Long Island waterfront retreat, Owl’s Nest, or on his 200-foot yacht, Sea Owl, and look back over his illustrious career tarnished  by one regret – he backed the biggest con job in our nation’s history.”

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IT’S NEVER THE GUNS !
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Six states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Utah, Wisconsin),  are planning to require poverty stricken people on Medicaid  to get jobs  or lose the coverage. Maine, Utah and Wisconsin want to put a time limit on coverage, the latter wants to drug-test people. Excluded: People with long-tern disabilities, the elderly, and children.  Isn’t it bad enough these people are in poverty ? 
      Vox Media reports that 9.8 million Medicaid recipients  don’t have jobs  due to: Illness/disabled (35%), retired (8%), taking care of home or family (28%), going to school (18%), cannot find work (8%). The remaining 60.2 million Americans on Medicaid work full-time of part-time.  I’m not sure what’s the Republican beef here.
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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)
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 ?
     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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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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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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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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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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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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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- Hope Hicks, 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 T. Flynn – Michael G. Flynn ( son)  – 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.” Initially, 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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*Business Insider – Bob Bryan  Nov.9, 2017
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 24,607

S&P 500: 2,675
Nasdaq  Comp.6,936:
Russell 2000: 1,530
Monday, Dec. 16,    8:46 a.m.

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-Prepare for possibility  of Trump putting U.S. on ramped up war footing
-Expect the Trump administration to launch a $1 trillion infrastructure effort in coming weeks.

-Why would Senators  Rubio and Corker flip on Tax bill ?  They want to run for president in 2020 – yep, simple as that. Snakes in the grass.
 –Big week for economic reports: Tues. 8:30: Housing Starts; Wed.,10:00: Existing Home Sales; Thurs. 8:30: GDP, Jobless Claims, Philly Fed Outlook, Chicago Fed Nat’l Activity, Corporate Profits,  at  10:00:  Leading Indicators; Friday, 8:30  Durable Goods,  Personal Income,  New Home Sales, and Consumer Sentiment, Kansas City Fed Mfg. at 10:00.  Anyone care ?  Probably not.

-The spending bill deadline was extended to Friday, Dec. 22.                
The tax bill is  a 99.9% done deal, selectively beneficial to tax payers, great for corporations that still pay high taxes, and good for Democrat Party prospects in 2018 and 2020.

        The prospects for a tax cut have driven the S&P 500 up 23% since the 2016 Presidential Election, bringing the total bull market gain since early  March 2009 to 295%. That compares with the bull market record for the S&P 500 of plus 304.26% between 1990 and 1998, a total of 93 months.  The current bull market is 106 months old.
        Our economy and investment markets came within a whisker of TOTAL meltdown in 2008 – 2009. The recovery following a 58% drop in the S&P and the ugliest recession since the horrid 1930s, was fortunately gradual enough for key sectors of the economy to dig their cleats in and develop a sustainable recovery. As noted above, this economy and stock market recovery are long in the tooth, suggesting risk of reversal in coming months..
        Bull markets tend to run to ridiculous extremes where rank speculation is beyond belief, this one is no exception, unless institutions do some heavy profit-taking in January, triggering the first major correction in two years since Jan. 2016 (-13%).

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RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:24,739; S&P 500:2,684; Nasdaq Comp.:6,961

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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
Doug Jones’ defeat of favorite Roy Moore is yet another shot across Trump’s bow and the Republican Party, which has wantonly bulldozed much of what was accomplished in prior administrations in an effort to brand our government with a far right identity.
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Trump Administration dominos starting to tumble, tumble, tumble !
Will Trump administration now ramp up United States’ war footing on North Korea to distract America, an attempt to unite the country behind its president, as President George W. Bush did prior to the invasion of Iraq.
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HEARTLESS at Christmas:  Trump refuses to extend the Obamacare sign-up deadline even in face of a rush to sign up.
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STATES NEEDING FEDS THE MOST
       The twelve most federally dependent states are Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, West Virginia, South Carolina, Montana, Tennessee, Maine,  Indiana, Arizona, Louisiana.
      The twelve least federally dependent states are Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Kansas, Nevada, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Utah, and Nebraska.
  Red states (Republican) are 67% more dependent on federal government aid than Blue States (Democratic).

  So why all the whining about the Feds being in their space ?  Want to go it alone ?   Careful what you wish for.
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The BIG question is, do American morals and respect for our republic  have to hit bottom before Congress and the American voter opts for decency, honesty, integrity and a moral compass ?
    Currently, odds favor neither will have a change of heart even if the findings of the Mueller probe uncover untold crimes against the constitution and American people. 
     The current extremist Republican Party is morally bankrupt, as are many of its supporters. Much of the Republican Congress is comprised congressional  anarchists, determined to raze time-tested checks and balances, and oppose any and all new proposals that do not pass their muster.
      It wasn’t enough that they obstructed progress for eight years of the Obama administration, they are now dismantling the things he did accomplish. Our republic is being mugged in plain sight.
    
There are a lot of very fine Republicans out there, but someone needs to tell them someone hijacked their party.
       Our republic is being mugged in plain sight, and only a handful in Congress are putting up a fight, clearly none of them  Republicans. 
        Liberals need some spine, too many are appalled, but turn another cheek. I’ve heard it too often, “He’s our president, I don’t agree with what he says, but we need to wish him success, he’s our president now, we must support him.
       Rubbish !   This is WAR !
       This isn’t Reagan, this isn’t anything close to the Republican Party I grew up with.

       This is what the right wing has been waiting for – total control of the presidency, both Houses, and the Supreme Court. (and Fox News)  They want total control.  This is how democratic,  representative republics  perish.
      America is the biggest enchilada on earth.  Why wouldn’t a group of extremists want to wrest permanent control from its people ?  Americans must stop multitasking, and have the guts to endure the day-to-day angst that accompanies being well informed. They need to return to values.
       I am not sure the public knows  what is happening, increasing the odds we must hit bottom first, and that could be quite a ways down from here.
       Today’s senatorial election in Alabama should be telling. It would be refreshing if Christian values rejected accused sex offender Roy Moore’s bid for the U.S. Senate.
        Anything is possible.  A Gallup poll revealed that  people who identify themselves as Republican has dropped  to 37% from 42% since Trump’s election a year ago.  Dems held the line.

 

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IMHO: THE  TAX BILL IS A DISGRACE. IT WIDENS THE GAP BETWEEN UPPER INCOME LEVELS AND THE GREAT MAJORITY OF AMERICANS. 
       MAKING CORPORATION TAX CUTS PERMANENT ARE DESIGNED TO CREATE A MASSIVE DEFICIT, FAR GREATER THAN THE ADMINISTRATION’S $1.5 TRILLION.  
       REPUBLICAN LONG-TERM GOAL:  HUGE SLASHES IN SOCIAL SERVICE BENEFITS IN THE FUTURE,  INCLUDING SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN’T PAY ITS BILLS AND CAN’T RAISE TAXES TO DO SO. REPUBLICANS CANNOT BE TRUSTED WITH TOTAL CONTROL.
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COMPASSIONLESS: What is it with the well-heeled powerbase of the Republican Party  ?  Why do they want to deny people of modest means medical care, needed social benefits, an affordable education and a minimally comfortable retirement ?  Do they want it all for themselves ?  How Christian is favoring the rich over the poor ?
     
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) says there is no money to fund the Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP) which expired Oct. 1.
      Mic.com quotes Hatch as whining, about  it as a low-cost health insurance plan  for children of low-income families,  saying,  “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the Federal government to do everything.”   Yeah, right, Orrin. These impoverished, ill kids are always looking for a handout.
       What does this have to do with the stock market ?
       A divided country is not a strong country, not one that can move ahead to solve problems and grow economically and socially. In many ways we have opted out of objectively analyzing the issues, holding firm to bias and fear of “those” people. We are  led by a morally bankrupt president and too many enablers.
        Wake up, a diversified culture is who we are. Don’t believe me ?
        Stand in the core of any airport (as I did) and watch. This is NOT to be feared, it is our strength going forward.
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“He had it coming, he had it coming… he only had himself to blame” (Chicago – Cell Block Tango):   THERE IS DOWNSIDE RISK FOR WOMEN OF DISCLOSURES OF SEXUAL IMPROPRIETIES BY MEN: I am 100% for exposing these predators, it’s long overdue and worth the price of what may be the result.  Clearly there will be less abuse in and out of the workplace, but it may result in less willingness to hire and/or promote women. There will be a backlash, but women have demonstrated the ability to persevere against great odds before, and I suppose after such backlash and these creeps will get what’s coming to them.
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      I keep Fox Business News TV on by my desk during the day, since it has better data coverage than CNBC. I have it on “mute” since I can’t endure the senseless Republican hype.  Neil Cavuto hosts a portion of the show. While decidedly right-leaning, Neil is tolerable compared with his co-host, Stuart Varney, Varney & Co, who is constantly waxing right wing blither.
       I was a frequent guest analyst on CNBC-TV in the 1990s. It was different then. It was one-on-one with a lot of questions, but an independent without major firm backing like me had a chance to get some visibility.  The times Cavuto interviewed me, I sensed he was Republican, but not hard core, which is also the case today. He’s good, not given to partyline hype.
       What’s more, for some time, I sensed he was uncomfortable with the Trump administration and last week it came out per a report from “The HILL.”  Trump couldn’t resist tweeting about  LaVar Ball and Senator Jeff Flake, at a time more important presidential issues demanded attention.  Cavuto, criticized Trump for “using a bazooka to respond to a pea shooter.” “Is it really necessary,” he asked, adding, “Keep tweeting stuff like that, Mr. President, and those tax cuts just could be toast.” Cavuto then said, “the last time I checked, you are the president of the United States, why don’t you act like it ?”
      Whoa ! Why would a broadcaster with 25 years experience, a big name, in a comfortable time slot, lecture the president, and possibly rankle his party ?  Is this just another sign that Trump’s support is crumbling.
      Neil is a throwback to the days when most Republicans were more reasonable, not extremists. It’s good to see him say, “Enough.”
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SPUTNICK’S Back: Russia’s hacking and invasion of Twitter and Facebook are  America’s present day “Sputnick” challenge.
     The world was stunned in 1957 when the Soviet Union (Russia) launched the first unmanned satellite to orbit the earth. In 1961, the Soviet’s  launched cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin who became the first man to orbit the earth. This was the catalyst for President Kennedy’s space program designed to ultimately land a man on the moon, which was done on July 20, 1969 by Apollo II.
      America is just now finding out how deeply Russia has weaponized our social media and computer software programs at all levels. According to The New Republic’s December issue,  Russia’s “theory of war allows you to defeat the enemy without ever having to touch him.”
      The big question surrounding Russia’s ability to hack into Twitter (TWTR)  and Facebook (FB) is, did they have help from the Trump team to tilt the election in his favor ? 
       Whether this manipulation continues, depends on how quickly our nation responds. So far Trump denies it even happened – duh.
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TRUMP VOTER FRAUD COMMISSION is being SUED:
Matthew Dunlap, Maine’s Secretary of State is accusing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity of essentially “lacking integrity.”  It’s all about shutting Dunlap, a Democrat, out of the process and lack of transparency to the public.  What else can be expected of a SCAM, designed to data mine all 50 state’s voter records for political advantage and ensure the continuance of Republican‘s voter suppression efforts.
Have these people no shame ?  Americans ??  Or is this a bloodless coup ?  NOT ON OUR WATCH !
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Brian Benczkowski was nominated by President Trump in June to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. My  Sept. 15 post called attention to this since he previously represented one of Russia’s largest banks Russia’s Alfa Bank. Having  advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his nomination is pending full Senate confirmation. He once served under Jeff Sessions. If confirmed, he pledged independence, recusing himself for two years from any dealings with alfa Bank.  Sen. Feinstein voted against Benczkowski concerned that he never served as a federal prosecutor and the fact he would sit in on  meetings with special counsel Robert Mueller with Russia probe. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., was concerned his major qualification was his connection with Sessions.
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Mercer on the runBannon and Breitbart bankroller, Robert Mercer is rapidly severing financial ties to Breitbart News and support of Steve Bannon and alt-right’s Milo Yiannopoulos. Mercer was a major supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to gain the Republican nomination last year, but switched his allegiance to Trump when he won the nomination.
      In my March 21 post, I wrote, “Years from now, I suspect Mercer will be relaxing at his Long Island waterfront retreat, Owl’s Nest, or on his 200-foot yacht, Sea Owl, and look back over his illustrious career tarnished  by one regret – he backed the biggest con job in our nation’s history.”

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IT’S NEVER THE GUNS !
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Six states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Utah, Wisconsin),  are planning to require poverty stricken people on Medicaid  to get jobs  or lose the coverage. Maine, Utah and Wisconsin want to put a time limit on coverage, the latter wants to drug-test people. Excluded: People with long-tern disabilities, the elderly, and children.  Isn’t it bad enough these people are in poverty ? 
      Vox Media reports that 9.8 million Medicaid recipients  don’t have jobs  due to: Illness/disabled (35%), retired (8%), taking care of home or family (28%), going to school (18%), cannot find work (8%). The remaining 60.2 million Americans on Medicaid work full-time of part-time.  I’m not sure what’s the Republican beef here.
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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)
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 ?
     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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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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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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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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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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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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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- Hope Hicks, 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 T. Flynn – Michael G. Flynn ( son)  – 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.” Initially, 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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*Business Insider – Bob Bryan  Nov.9, 2017
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Street Ignores Possibility Tax Bill Won’t Pass

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 24,508
S&P 500: 2,652
Nasdaq  Comp.:6,856
Russell 2000: 1,506
Friday, Dec. 15,    8:46 a.m.

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     Could the tax bill fail to pass ?   Don’t count on Doug Jones’ vote. He isn’t sworn in until 2018. Meanwhile, Republican  Sen. Luther Strange can be counted on to ditto the party line.  Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) and Sen.  Susan Collins (ME), Sen. Bob Corker (TN)  are on the fence.  Sen. John McCain (AZ) has not yet returned from cancer treatment, though he will probably support the bill.
     The Jones’ victory in Alabama two days ago may signal a sea change in voter sentiment for 2018 and beyond.  Does anyone in the Republican Party want to be perceived as rubber stamping Trump’s tax bill or any of his warped policies ?  I don’t expect Trump to be around four months from now.
     What happens to the stock market if tax reform is rejected  ? –  Whooosh !
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 Year-end crosscurrents to continue with upward bias
Spending bill:
       The spending bill deadline was extended to Dec. 22, following a two week “funding” bill that averted a government shutdown on Dec. 8. Assuming all Republicans vote for  it, eight Democratic votes will be needed for a 60-vote Senate passage. Some thorny issues put passage at risk, including immigration, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals  (DACA), defense, Obamacare, disaster aid, , Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
       More of the same, assuming no breaking news from the Mueller probe and North Korea.      
        The tax bill rules, and has ruled for a year, driving the S&P 500 up 23% since the 2016 Presidential Election, bringing the total bull market gain since early  March 2009 to 295%. That compares with the bull market record for the S&P 500 of plus 304.26% between 1990 and 1998, a total of 93 months.  The current bull market is 106 months old.
        Our economy and investment markets came within a whisker of TOTAL meltdown in 2008 – 2009. The recovery following a 58% drop in the S&P and the ugliest recession since the horrid 1930s, was fortunately gradual enough for key sectors of the economy to dig their cleats in and develop a sustainable recovery. As noted above, this economy and stock market recovery are long in the tooth, suggesting risk of reversal.
        Bull markets tend to run to ridiculous extremes where rank speculation is beyond belief.  This one is extreme, but the “fever” is hard to shut off.  Those who feel extended should sell down to the sleeping level.  Those who want to roll the dice, should at least sit close to the exit with an open mind that too many lemmings rushing in the same direction are headed for a fall.
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THE FED
    The Fed raised its benchmark (federal funds) rate one-quarter of a point yesterday to a range of 1.25 to 1.5 percent, and announced it is accelerating the shrink of its balance sheet to $20 billion per month from $10 billion. Its median forecast for economic growth in 2018 is upped to 2.5 percent from 2.1 percent but retained its longer growth rate for the economy at 1.8 percent, well short of Trump administration expectations.
      The Fed expects its fed funds rate to increase to 2.1 percent  by year-end 2018 after three hikes.  Longer term it expects its rate to rise to 2.7 percent in 2019 and 3.1 percent 2020.
 WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN ?

Not a whole lot. Rates will still be low this time next year.
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TODAY
       The major market averages began losing ground from the get-go yesterday, with the Russell 2000 getting clipped more than the others.
As I have repeatedly warned December is subjected to a lot of investment decisions that have little to do with sentiment. It’s a time to adjust portfolios for year-end reports to shareholders and anyone prospective clients who are making a decision which manager to select. It is also time to do some tax selling.
        Futures trading suggest a rebound at the open.  The key here is whether the message from Tuesday’s senatorial election is that the Republican’s agenda is entering a bear market of its own.  That said, do a few senatorial fence sitters want to support the Republican tax cut plan, which in the opinion of many is flawed ?
       So far, the Street is unconcerned.   Failure to pass would lop off some 14% from the market averages in less time than it takes to say – “bad bill.”
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SUPPORT “today”: DJIA:24,449; S&P 500:2,643; Nasdaq Comp.:6,835
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:24,578; S&P 500:2,659; Nasdaq Comp.:6,873

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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
Doug Jones’ defeat of favorite Roy Moore is yet another shot across Trump’s bow and the Republican Party, which has wantonly bulldozed much of what was accomplished in prior administrations in an effort to brand our government with a far right identity.
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Trump Administration dominos starting to tumble, tumble, tumble !
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STATES NEEDING FEDS THE MOST
       The twelve most federally dependent states are Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, West Virginia, South Carolina, Montana, Tennessee, Maine,  Indiana, Arizona, Louisiana.
      The twelve least federally dependent states are Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Kansas, Nevada, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Utah, and Nebraska.
  Red states (Republican) are 67% more dependent on federal government aid than Blue States (Democratic).

  So why all the whining about the Feds being in their space ?  Want to go it alone ?   Careful what you wish for.
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The BIG question is, do American morals and respect for our republic  have to hit bottom before Congress and the American voter opts for decency, honesty, integrity and a moral compass ?
    Currently, odds favor neither will have a change of heart even if the findings of the Mueller probe uncover untold crimes against the constitution and American people. 
     The current extremist Republican Party is morally bankrupt, as are many of its supporters. Much of the Republican Congress is comprised congressional  anarchists, determined to raze time-tested checks and balances, and oppose any and all new proposals that do not pass their muster.
      It wasn’t enough that they obstructed progress for eight years of the Obama administration, they are now dismantling the things he did accomplish. Our republic is being mugged in plain sight.
    
There are a lot of very fine Republicans out there, but someone needs to tell them someone hijacked their party.
       Our republic is being mugged in plain sight, and only a handful in Congress are putting up a fight, clearly none of them  Republicans. 
        Liberals need some spine, too many are appalled, but turn another cheek. I’ve heard it too often, “He’s our president, I don’t agree with what he says, but we need to wish him success, he’s our president now, we must support him.
       Rubbish !   This is WAR !
       This isn’t Reagan, this isn’t anything close to the Republican Party I grew up with.

       This is what the right wing has been waiting for – total control of the presidency, both Houses, and the Supreme Court. (and Fox News)  They want total control.  This is how democratic,  representative republics  perish.
      America is the biggest enchilada on earth.  Why wouldn’t a group of extremists want to wrest permanent control from its people ?  Americans must stop multitasking, and have the guts to endure the day-to-day angst that accompanies being well informed. They need to return to values.
       I am not sure the public knows  what is happening, increasing the odds we must hit bottom first, and that could be quite a ways down from here.
       Today’s senatorial election in Alabama should be telling. It would be refreshing if Christian values rejected accused sex offender Roy Moore’s bid for the U.S. Senate.
        Anything is possible.  A Gallup poll revealed that  people who identify themselves as Republican has dropped  to 37% from 42% since Trump’s election a year ago.  Dems held the line.

 

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IMHO: THE  TAX BILL IS A DISGRACE. IT WIDENS THE GAP BETWEEN UPPER INCOME LEVELS AND THE GREAT MAJORITY OF AMERICANS. 
       MAKING CORPORATION TAX CUTS PERMANENT ARE DESIGNED TO CREATE A MASSIVE DEFICIT, FAR GREATER THAN THE ADMINISTRATION’S $1.5 TRILLION.  
       REPUBLICAN LONG-TERM GOAL:  HUGE SLASHES IN SOCIAL SERVICE BENEFITS IN THE FUTURE,  INCLUDING SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN’T PAY ITS BILLS AND CAN’T RAISE TAXES TO DO SO. REPUBLICANS CANNOT BE TRUSTED WITH TOTAL CONTROL.
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COMPASSIONLESS: What is it with the well-heeled powerbase of the Republican Party  ?  Why do they want to deny people of modest means medical care, needed social benefits, an affordable education and a minimally comfortable retirement ?  Do they want it all for themselves ?  How Christian is favoring the rich over the poor ?
     
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) says there is no money to fund the Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP) which expired Oct. 1.
      Mic.com quotes Hatch as whining, about  it as a low-cost health insurance plan  for children of low-income families,  saying,  “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the Federal government to do everything.”   Yeah, right, Orrin. These impoverished, ill kids are always looking for a handout.
       What does this have to do with the stock market ?
       A divided country is not a strong country, not one that can move ahead to solve problems and grow economically and socially. In many ways we have opted out of objectively analyzing the issues, holding firm to bias and fear of “those” people. We are  led by a morally bankrupt president and too many enablers.
        Wake up, a diversified culture is upon us, people of all colors and beliefs are on both sides of us.  Don’t believe me ?
        Stand in the core of any airport (as I did) and watch.
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“He had it coming, he had it coming… he only had himself to blame” (Chicago – Cell Block Tango):   THERE IS DOWNSIDE RISK FOR WOMEN OF DISCLOSURES OF SEXUAL IMPROPRIETIES BY MEN: I am 100% for exposing these predators, it’s long overdue and worth the price of what may be the result.  Clearly there will be less abuse in and out of the workplace, but it may result in less willingness to hire and/or promote women. There will be a backlash, but women have demonstrated the ability to persevere against great odds before, and I suppose after such backlash and these creeps will get what’s coming to them.
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      I keep Fox Business News TV on by my desk during the day, since it has better data coverage than CNBC. I have it on “mute” since I can’t endure the senseless Republican hype.  Neil Cavuto hosts a portion of the show. While decidedly right-leaning, Neil is tolerable compared with his co-host, Stuart Varney, Varney & Co, who is constantly waxing right wing blither.
       I was a frequent guest analyst on CNBC-TV in the 1990s. It was different then. It was one-on-one with a lot of questions, but an independent without major firm backing like me had a chance to get some visibility.  The times Cavuto interviewed me, I sensed he was Republican, but not hard core, which is also the case today. He’s good, not given to partyline hype.
       What’s more, for some time, I sensed he was uncomfortable with the Trump administration and last week it came out per a report from “The HILL.”  Trump couldn’t resist tweeting about  LaVar Ball and Senator Jeff Flake, at a time more important presidential issues demanded attention.  Cavuto, criticized Trump for “using a bazooka to respond to a pea shooter.” “Is it really necessary,” he asked, adding, “Keep tweeting stuff like that, Mr. President, and those tax cuts just could be toast.” Cavuto then said, “the last time I checked, you are the president of the United States, why don’t you act like it ?”
      Whoa ! Why would a broadcaster with 25 years experience, a big name, in a comfortable time slot, lecture the president, and possibly rankle his party ?  Is this just another sign that Trump’s support is crumbling.
      Neil is a throwback to the days when most Republicans were more reasonable, not extremists. It’s good to see him say, “Enough.”
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SPUTNICK’S Back: Russia’s hacking and invasion of Twitter and Facebook are  America’s present day “Sputnick” challenge.
     The world was stunned in 1957 when the Soviet Union (Russia) launched the first unmanned satellite to orbit the earth. In 1961, the Soviet’s  launched cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin who became the first man to orbit the earth. This was the catalyst for President Kennedy’s space program designed to ultimately land a man on the moon, which was done on July 20, 1969 by Apollo II.
      America is just now finding out how deeply Russia has weaponized our social media and computer software programs at all levels. According to The New Republic’s December issue,  Russia’s “theory of war allows you to defeat the enemy without ever having to touch him.”
      The big question surrounding Russia’s ability to hack into Twitter (TWTR)  and Facebook (FB) is, did they have help from the Trump team to tilt the election in his favor ? 
       Whether this manipulation continues, depends on how quickly our nation responds. So far Trump denies it even happened – duh.
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TRUMP VOTER FRAUD COMMISSION is being SUED:
Matthew Dunlap, Maine’s Secretary of State is accusing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity of essentially “lacking integrity.”  It’s all about shutting Dunlap, a Democrat, out of the process and lack of transparency to the public.  What else can be expected of a SCAM, designed to data mine all 50 state’s voter records for political advantage and ensure the continuance of Republican‘s voter suppression efforts.
Have these people no shame ?  Americans ??  Or is this a bloodless coup ?  NOT ON OUR WATCH !
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Brian Benczkowski was nominated by President Trump in June to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. My  Sept. 15 post called attention to this since he previously represented one of Russia’s largest banks Russia’s Alfa Bank. Having  advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his nomination is pending full Senate confirmation. He once served under Jeff Sessions. If confirmed, he pledged independence, recusing himself for two years from any dealings with alfa Bank.  Sen. Feinstein voted against Benczkowski concerned that he never served as a federal prosecutor and the fact he would sit in on  meetings with special counsel Robert Mueller with Russia probe. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., was concerned his major qualification was his connection with Sessions.
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Mercer on the runBannon and Breitbart bankroller, Robert Mercer is rapidly severing financial ties to Breitbart News and support of Steve Bannon and alt-right’s Milo Yiannopoulos. Mercer was a major supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to gain the Republican nomination last year, but switched his allegiance to Trump when he won the nomination.
      In my March 21 post, I wrote, “Years from now, I suspect Mercer will be relaxing at his Long Island waterfront retreat, Owl’s Nest, or on his 200-foot yacht, Sea Owl, and look back over his illustrious career tarnished  by one regret – he backed the biggest con job in our nation’s history.”

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IT’S NEVER THE GUNS !
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Six states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Utah, Wisconsin),  are planning to require poverty stricken people on Medicaid  to get jobs  or lose the coverage. Maine, Utah and Wisconsin want to put a time limit on coverage, the latter wants to drug-test people. Excluded: People with long-tern disabilities, the elderly, and children.  Isn’t it bad enough these people are in poverty ? 
      Vox Media reports that 9.8 million Medicaid recipients  don’t have jobs  due to: Illness/disabled (35%), retired (8%), taking care of home or family (28%), going to school (18%), cannot find work (8%). The remaining 60.2 million Americans on Medicaid work full-time of part-time.  I’m not sure what’s the Republican beef here.
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      Paul Manafort and associate and Trump campaign aide, Rick Gates, were indicted Monday 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)
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 ?
     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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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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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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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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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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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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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- Hope Hicks, 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 T. Flynn – Michael G. Flynn ( son)  – 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.” Initially, 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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*Business Insider – Bob Bryan  Nov.9, 2017
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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.