Rally Must Hold…..or Straight Down

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA:26,076
S&P 500: 2,822
Nasdaq Comp.:7,402
Russell 2000: 1,582
Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018 9:11a.m.
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Trump’s State of the Union address calling for unity was simply an effort to convince House Republicans that no matter what the Mueller investigation finds, it isn’t bad enough to impeach him. He is a relentlessly divisive person, which he has demonstrated all his life. Our constitutionally anarchistic Congress will NOT ever impeach him, they are just as bad as he is.
The address had no substance, no details, just more bluster. It is sad that there are Americans who are too biased, too bigoted and too incapable of mentally and emotionally analyze issues objectively, even vote against their own interest, to be conned by this nonsense.
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TODAY
The computer algos on the Street have been in cruise control buy mode for over a year, which is why the market has not had a 3% correction in more than 14 months. This is rare !
At some point, these think-alike’s will all get a sell signal at the same time, and then it will be straight down. This is why a cash reserve is necessary.
Yesterday’s sharp plunge was a warning. When the Street begins to sell, it will be straight down.
Is this the beginning ? Don’t know. We will have to see if today’s post SUTO address rally holds
The major FLAW in the Republican’s economic game plan, which was touted to justify a massive, excessive corporate tax cut, is that no consideration has been made for the adverse impact of a recession.
The consumer is nearly tapped out. Credit card debt has doubled since 2013, the delinquency rate is rising sharply.
The Personal Savings rate as a percent of disposable income is 2.9%, down from 7.1% in July 2012. This rate tends to drop sharply prior to recessions. The lowest level of savings over the last 71 years was 2.7% in 2005.
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SUPPORT “today”: DJIA:26,005; S&P 500:2,819; Nasdaq Comp.:7,401
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:26,303; S&P 500:2,643; Nasdaq Comp.7,471;
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FYI: The S&P 500 gained 36.6% in Obama’s first year, but only 23.7 under Trump. Obama inherited the worst bear market since the 1930’s, Trump inherited an accelerating bull market supported by a stable economy. If Obama’s first year gain is calculated from the Bear market bottom March 6, 2009 shortly after he assumed office, the gain would be 74.2%., yet this bloviating sack of _ _ _ _ will rant about his great accomplishments, aided of course by control of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court and Fox News.
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I really can’t say it any better than the following
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I sense a constitutional crisis is imminent with Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicting high level Trump administration officials. I believe Trump will respond with an attempt to fire Mueller, or find another way to obstruct the progress of this investigation.
The key here is, how this will impact the market. Initially, a brief plunge followed by a sharp rally would be likely, since the Street is tuned-out on political, but as the severity of the constitutional crisis deepens, the market will take a huge hit with the DJIA giving up at least 3,578 to 22,735 (-13.6%) and the S&P 500 giving up 349 points to 2,500 (-12.2%).
That’s roughly one-third of what the market gained since the 2016 election. Markets frequently give up one-third of major upmoves. Obviously if the market gets hit with new negatives after a that pullback, the plunge would be greater.
The reason I think a crisis is imminent is because the Republicans have ramped up their efforts to discredit the FBI and the Mueller probe, and because Trump says he is willing to testify under oath to the Mueller commission.
Nonsense ! He has no intention to meet with Mueller or he would have done so months ago. He wants to give the impression he is willing to comply to orchestrate support from his base.
Our republic is being tested like never before. This is a battle for untethered control by what I view as constitutional anarchists who want to dismantle 75 years of progress toward developing a high quality of life for America as a whole. Why else would they gerrymander the Hell out of our electorate, make it difficult for people to vote, and stack the judicial system ?
This is the extremist right wing’s big chance; they know demographics are against them going forward. I doubt Congress will oust Trump regardless of the severity of his actions before and after talking office.
But Wall Street, corporate American and the BIG money got their tax cut, they may want to get rid of Trump before he ruins chances of the Republicans hanging on to control of Congress and the White House in 2020.
Late-stage bull markets offer opportunities to make money easier and faster, simply because speculative fever is ramped up and buyers are jumping on anything that gets favorable mention by the Street or in the press.
At some point, the BIG money will have to exit. They need eager buyers to do so without knocking stocks they are selling down. With reportedly $33.2 billion flowing into stocks in the January 24 week, this is the euphoria they have been waiting for.
TODAY
The computer algos on the Street have been in cruise control buy mode for over a year, which is why the market has not had a 3% correction in more than 14 months. This is rare !
At some point, these think-alike’s will all get a sell signal at the same time, and then it will be straight down. This is why a cash reserve is necessary.
Yesterday’s sharp plunge was a warning. When the Street begins to sell, it will be straight down.
Is this the beginning ? Don’t know. We will have to see if today’s post SUTO address rally holds
The major FLAW in the Republican’s economic game plan, which was touted to justify a massive, excessive corporate tax cut, is that no consideration has been made for the adverse impact of a recession.
The consumer is nearly tapped out. Credit card debt has doubled since 2013, the delinquency rate is rising sharply.
The Personal Savings rate as a percent of disposable income is 2.9%, down from 7.1% in July 2012. This rate tends to drop sharply prior to recessions. The lowest level of savings over the last 71 years was 2.7% in 2005.
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SUPPORT “today”: DJIA:26,005; S&P 500:2,819; Nasdaq Comp.:7,401
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:26,303; S&P 500:2,643; Nasdaq Comp.7,471;
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I am keeping the following posted for new readers
What is written below will be difficult to believe. It’s just a matter of time before a major correction sets is, and a bear market.
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No one is bearish, and that IS BEARISH ! Odds favor 12% to 18% correction not necessarily today, or this week, maybe not for months, but the market crossed the line above reasonable valuation months ago, and is vulnerable to one of those flash crashes I have prematurely warned about.
From November 2016 to December 2017, the market was driven by promises of a massive corporate and high-earner tax cut. The passage of the tax cut in December took stock prices an even greater extreme.
The economic recovery, that started in June 2009 after the Great Recession and 52% bear market decline, continues undeterred. But stock markets turn down well ahead of the start of recessions, generally with a lead time of 3 to 9 months.
I have wrongly warned of risk for the better part of 2017, even issued a Sell on August 29. Realizing I was wrong, I reversed that call two weeks later, headlining, “WRONG READ on timing – But Warning Stands.”
I have experienced 14 bull market tops, written about 12, and all came when “least” expected, when a downturn was dismissed as impossible.
What might be an extreme of over-valuation (or undervaluation) in one market, may not rank as one in the next market. Bear market bottoms are easier to read than bull market tops.
A severe correction, possibly a bear market, is out there. It will take a “trigger” to start it, or a sudden “no show” by the BIG money, followed by panicky selling to get it underway. The Street got its tax cut, what else is there to anticipate ? Most of the benefits of the tax cut are priced- in the market’s 31% gain in the S&P 500 over 15 months.
Yes, making money can be easy now, buying just about anything, even junk.
Warnings like mine are annoying, even provoke anger.
“Who is this jerk, talking about risk when people are making a killing in the market ?” one may ask.
“Aren’t there dozens of reports out there hyping what-to-buy after the tax cut ? Didn’t I just hear about someone making a bundle last year. Take a hike Brooks, I’m all-in !”
I am not alone in seeing risk.
I have enormous respect for James Stack of InvesTech Research (1-406-862-777). Stack is also warning of risk and has reduced exposure to the market. His set of economic and stock market indicators are near flawless. What’s startling about his last issue is the extremes to which many of his indicators have reached. While his economic indicators suggest a recession is not imminent, he also warns that stock markets turn down 6-9 months ahead of recessions. The market has not had a 3% correction in 14.4 months, which has not happened since stocks plunged in 2008, he writes.
What’s more, he says, the bearish sentiments of the Investment Advisors Sentiment Survey tracked by Investors Intelligence, just hit a 31-year low. This is a contrary indicator. Advisors are least bearish at market tops when they should be bearish and least bullish at market bottoms – that’s the pattern. Maybe that’s why it is so hard to buy-low/sell-high ! Maybe it’s just easier for these people to sell greed at market tops and fear at bottoms.
Then too, the S&P 500 price/earnings ratio based on earnings already reported is 26, well above the historic norm of 17.2, excluding the extremes of the 1990’s technology bubble and 2008-2009 financial crisis.
Finally, margin debt (borrowing to buy stocks). It has been hitting new highs. That spells leverage which is fine as long as stocks rise, but devastating in declines.
I am as concerned today about what I see, as I was in August 2007 before the Great Recession/Bear Market when I wrote:

Perfect Storm Looms

The perfect storm in our financial markets
is looming….It will take a heroic effort internationally
to avert a meltdown of huge magnitude…Trading in
everything may have to be stopped until some sort of
sanity is restored…This can get real ugly…No one has
a handle on the leverage amassed in derivatives ..No
one has a true handle on how precarious the situation out
there is, and that uncertainty feeds on itself prompting
increased selling…With few buyers, stocks tank…
Only when a cauldron of fear begins to boil do you have
a market that is reasonably safe to invest in.

George Brooks
August 19, 2007

I was two months early then, more so this time around. Conditions are a bit different now, but the odds that the Street will be blindsided this time are greater. They have blinders on – tunnel vision – in denial.
We are approaching perfect storm conditions, and I haven’t even touched on the total dysfunction of the Trump administration and Congress, and its imminent implosion in face of the findings of the Mueller investigation.
THE NATION’S BIGGEST EVER POLITICAL SCANDAL will hit in coming months, look for multiple constitutional crises, and possibly panic in the stock market.
SELL EVERYTHING ? That may work for some people, but the more nimble may be able to stay a while as euphoria takes stocks higher. For others, a healthy cash reserve is justified just in case a few of us, and historic precedence are right.
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
INFRASTRUCTURE:
Trump is expected to hype his infrastructure plan in Tuesday’s State of the Union address, but release details in a week or so.
Reportedly, the Federal government won’t be spending $1 trillion on the nation’s infrastructure, but rather $200 billion over 10 years, according to Newsweek and Politico. The Trump administration will expect the state, local and private sources to bankroll infrastructure rebuilds via public/private partnerships (expensive), taxes and fees while the Feds plan to streamline bureaucracy, cutting red tape that presumably has held up projects.
Three obstacles: How many states have the money, and how long would it take to develop other means to finance projects. Then there are the politics of the various issues that will arise, none the least of which would be finance projects on the backs of cuts to social programs.
This is yet another disgraceful blunder. The Trump administration had a chance to tie tax cuts and especially the repatriation of trillions of dollars abroad to infrastructure funding.
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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-.
There are a host of companies that could benefit over time. I have identified as many as 27. 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 since then. The following is a “starter” list for anyone planning to do in depth research. I am not recommending any for purchase.
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), Granite Const’n (GVA, Eagle Materials (EXP), Steel Dynamics (STLD).
one.
Go to www.infrastructure report card.org for details on the “problem.
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U.S. Ranking globally and domestically plunging under Trump
Global approval of U.S. leadership from 134 countries has plunged to 30% from 48% in just a year. Clearly, Trump isn’t making America Great Again in the eyes of all other countries. The downside of this is we need the support of those countries. Our nationalistic policies are opening doors throughout the world for China. A Gallup poll shows Germany replacing the U.S. as the top-rated power in the world.
Under Trump, the United States has dropped to 11th place in the Bloomberg Innovation Index, which in addition to R&D spending, includes post secondary, or tertiary, education-efficiency category, which includes the share of new science and engineering graduates. Value-added manufacturing also dropped. South Korea ranked first, followed by Sweden, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Finland, Denmark, France, Israel.
Also under Trump, Americans’ trust in institutions (government, companies and the media) has suffered the greatest loss on record according to a poll conducted by Edelman New York. The poll, including 33,000 “informed” individuals showed the U.S. dropping to 43 out of a possible 100, down 23 points in a year. He is a human wrecking ball.
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SOLUTION for our nation’s problems: Deport Trump’s base. Not the Republicans who vote their party because they are genuinely conservative, but the racist, violent, abusive element that opts for dumbing down solutions for issues because experienced and intelligent people remind them how incapable they are of emotionally and mentally developing rational, unbiased conclusions for issues without bias that serve the best interests of all Americans.
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According to the Washington Post, Trump’s false or misleading statements (lies) now exceed 2,000 after his first year.
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Trump ABANDONS voter fraud panel, but hands it off the Homeland Security where all the snooping can be done out of sight
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Mueller to be fired ? Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, he needs it to come from the Department of Justice. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from the DOJ who will. It is doubtful if Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia would do it. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the “investigation.” EPA’s Scott Pruit has shown an interest in the DOJ, and rumors indicate CIA’s Mike Pompeo, is a possibility for a post there. Are any of the two going to be Trump’s hatchet man ? (More below)
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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%
NOTE: The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School estimates the effective tax rate for corporates will drop to 9.2% as a result of tax reform.

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STATES NEEDING FED’s HELP 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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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 run ? Bannon 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.
FINALLY: If Trump resigns and Pence takes over, Pence could pardon Trump, as Ford did Nixon.
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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 respons.

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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 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 – Brad Parscale – 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.
However, as “Business Insider.com” noted on Jan. 9, 2018, Trump could simply fire the Cabinet members who voted to oust him from office.
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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.

I Repeat: Constitutional Crisis Imminent

I Repeat: Constitutional Crisis Imminent
Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA:26,439
S&P 500: 2,853
Nasdaq Comp.:7,466
Russell 2000: 1,598
Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018 9:07 a.m.
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I am sending TUESDAY’S blog tonight prior to any information on the “MEMO” and will not post Wednesday to cover the State of the Union.
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Trump will hype his infrastructure plan in the State of the Union address
(see below).
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FYI: The S&P 500 gained 36.6% in Obama’s first year, but only 23.7 under Trump. Obama inherited the worst bear market since the 1930’s, Trump inherited an accelerating bull market supported by a stable economy. If Obama’s first year gain is calculated from the Bear market bottom March 6, 2009 shortly after he assumed office, the gain would be 74.2%., yet this bloviating sack of _ _ _ _ will rant about his great accomplishments, aided of course by control of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court and Fox News.
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I really can’t say it any better than the following
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I sense a constitutional crisis is imminent with Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicting high level Trump administration officials. I believe Trump will respond with an attempt to fire Mueller, or find another way to obstruct the progress of this investigation.
The key here is, how this will impact the market. Initially, a brief plunge followed by a sharp rally would be likely, since the Street is tuned-out on political, but as the severity of the constitutional crisis deepens, the market will take a huge hit with the DJIA giving up at least 3,578 to 22,735 (-13.6%) and the S&P 500 giving up 349 points to 2,500 (-12.2%).
That’s roughly one-third of what the market gained since the 2016 election. Markets frequently give up one-third of major upmoves. Obviously if the market gets hit with new negatives after a that pullback, the plunge would be greater.
The reason I think a crisis is imminent is because the Republicans have ramped up their efforts to discredit the FBI and the Mueller probe, and because Trump says he is willing to testify under oath to the Mueller commission.
Nonsense ! He has no intention to meet with Mueller or he would have done so months ago. He wants to give the impression he is willing to comply to orchestrate support from his base.
Our republic is being tested like never before. This is a battle for untethered control by what I view as constitutional anarchists who want to dismantle 75 years of progress toward developing a high quality of life for America as a whole. Why else would they gerrymander the Hell out of our electorate, make it difficult for people to vote, and stack the judicial system ?
This is the extremist right wing’s big chance; they know demographics are against them going forward. I doubt Congress will oust Trump regardless of the severity of his actions before and after talking office.
But Wall Street, corporate American and the BIG money got their tax cut, they may want to get rid of Trump before he ruins chances of the Republicans hanging on to control of Congress and the White House in 2020.
Late-stage bull markets offer opportunities to make money easier and faster, simply because speculative fever is ramped up and buyers are jumping on anything that gets favorable mention by the Street or in the press.
At some point, the BIG money will have to exit. They need eager buyers to do so without knocking stocks they are selling down. With reportedly $33.2 billion flowing into stocks in the January 24 week, this is the euphoria they have been waiting for.
TODAY
Trump will hype an infrastructure plan in his State of the Union address, but wait a week or so to release details.
The computer algos on the Street have been in cruise control buy mode for over a year, which is why the market has not had a 3% correction in more than 14 months. This is rare !
At some point, these think-alikes will all get a sell signal at the same time, and then it will be straight down. This is why a cash reserve is necessary.
The major FLAW in the Republican’s economic game plan, which was touted to justify a massive, excessive corporate tax cut, is that no consideration has been made for the adverse impact of a recession.
The consumer is nearly tapped out. Credit card debt has doubled since 2013, the delinquency rate is rising sharply.
The Personal Savings rate as a percent of disposable income is 2.9%, down from 7.1% in July 2012. This rate tends to drop sharply prior to recessions. The lowest level of savings over the last 71 years was 2.7% in 2005.
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SUPPORT “today”: DJIA:26,354; S&P 500:2,845; Nasdaq Comp.:7,440
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:26,475; S&P 500:2,856; Nasdaq Comp. 7,469 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I am keeping the following posted for new readers
What is written below will be difficult to believe. It’s just a matter of time before a major correction sets is, and a bear market.
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No one is bearish, and that IS BEARISH ! Odds favor 12% to 18% correction not necessarily today, or this week, maybe not for months, but the market crossed the line above reasonable valuation months ago, and is vulnerable to one of those flash crashes I have prematurely warned about.
From November 2016 to December 2017, the market was driven by promises of a massive corporate and high-earner tax cut. The passage of the tax cut in December took stock prices an even greater extreme.
The economic recovery, that started in June 2009 after the Great Recession and 52% bear market decline, continues undeterred. But stock markets turn down well ahead of the start of recessions, generally with a lead time of 3 to 9 months.
I have wrongly warned of risk for the better part of 2017, even issued a Sell on August 29. Realizing I was wrong, I reversed that call two weeks later, headlining, “WRONG READ on timing – But Warning Stands.”
I have experienced 14 bull market tops, written about 12, and all came when “least” expected, when a downturn was dismissed as impossible.
What might be an extreme of over-valuation (or undervaluation) in one market, may not rank as one in the next market. Bear market bottoms are easier to read than bull market tops.
A severe correction, possibly a bear market, is out there. It will take a “trigger” to start it, or a sudden “no show” by the BIG money, followed by panicky selling to get it underway. The Street got its tax cut, what else is there to anticipate ? Most of the benefits of the tax cut are priced- in the market’s 31% gain in the S&P 500 over 15 months.
Yes, making money can be easy now, buying just about anything, even junk.
Warnings like mine are annoying, even provoke anger.
“Who is this jerk, talking about risk when people are making a killing in the market ?” one may ask.
“Aren’t there dozens of reports out there hyping what-to-buy after the tax cut ? Didn’t I just hear about someone making a bundle last year. Take a hike Brooks, I’m all-in !”
I am not alone in seeing risk.
I have enormous respect for James Stack of InvesTech Research (1-406-862-777). Stack is also warning of risk and has reduced exposure to the market. His set of economic and stock market indicators are near flawless. What’s startling about his last issue is the extremes to which many of his indicators have reached. While his economic indicators suggest a recession is not imminent, he also warns that stock markets turn down 6-9 months ahead of recessions. The market has not had a 3% correction in 14.4 months, which has not happened since stocks plunged in 2008, he writes.
What’s more, he says, the bearish sentiments of the Investment Advisors Sentiment Survey tracked by Investors Intelligence, just hit a 31-year low. This is a contrary indicator. Advisors are least bearish at market tops when they should be bearish and least bullish at market bottoms – that’s the pattern. Maybe that’s why it is so hard to buy-low/sell-high ! Maybe it’s just easier for these people to sell greed at market tops and fear at bottoms.
Then too, the S&P 500 price/earnings ratio based on earnings already reported is 26, well above the historic norm of 17.2, excluding the extremes of the 1990’s technology bubble and 2008-2009 financial crisis.
Finally, margin debt (borrowing to buy stocks). It has been hitting new highs. That spells leverage which is fine as long as stocks rise, but devastating in declines.
I am as concerned today about what I see, as I was in August 2007 before the Great Recession/Bear Market when I wrote:

Perfect Storm Looms

The perfect storm in our financial markets
is looming….It will take a heroic effort internationally
to avert a meltdown of huge magnitude…Trading in
everything may have to be stopped until some sort of
sanity is restored…This can get real ugly…No one has
a handle on the leverage amassed in derivatives ..No
one has a true handle on how precarious the situation out
there is, and that uncertainty feeds on itself prompting
increased selling…With few buyers, stocks tank…
Only when a cauldron of fear begins to boil do you have
a market that is reasonably safe to invest in.

George Brooks
August 19, 2007

I was two months early then, more so this time around. Conditions are a bit different now, but the odds that the Street will be blindsided this time are greater. They have blinders on – tunnel vision – in denial.
We are approaching perfect storm conditions, and I haven’t even touched on the total dysfunction of the Trump administration and Congress, and its imminent implosion in face of the findings of the Mueller investigation.
THE NATION’S BIGGEST EVER POLITICAL SCANDAL will hit in coming months, look for multiple constitutional crises, and possibly panic in the stock market.
SELL EVERYTHING ? That may work for some people, but the more nimble may be able to stay a while as euphoria takes stocks higher. For others, a healthy cash reserve is justified just in case a few of us, and historic precedence are right.
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
INFRASTRUCTURE:
Trump is expected to hype his infrastructure plan in Tuesday’s State of the Union address, but release details in a week or so.
Reportedly, the Federal government won’t be spending $1 trillion on the nation’s infrastructure, but rather $200 billion over 10 years, according to Newsweek and Politico. The Trump administration will expect the state, local and private sources to bankroll infrastructure rebuilds via public/private partnerships (expensive), taxes and fees while the Feds plan to streamline bureaucracy, cutting red tape that presumably has held up projects.
Three obstacles: How many states have the money, and how long would it take to develop other means to finance projects. Then there are the politics of the various issues that will arise, none the least of which would be finance projects on the backs of cuts to social programs.
This is yet another disgraceful blunder. The Trump administration had a chance to tie tax cuts and especially the repatriation of trillions of dollars abroad to infrastructure funding.
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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-.
There are a host of companies that could benefit over time. I have identified as many as 27. 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 since then. The following is a “starter” list for anyone planning to do in depth research. I am not recommending any for purchase.
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), Granite Const’n (GVA, Eagle Materials (EXP), Steel Dynamics (STLD).
one.
Go to www.infrastructure report card.org for details on the “problem.
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U.S. Ranking globally and domestically plunging under Trump
Global approval of U.S. leadership from 134 countries has plunged to 30% from 48% in just a year. Clearly, Trump isn’t making America Great Again in the eyes of all other countries. The downside of this is we need the support of those countries. Our nationalistic policies are opening doors throughout the world for China. A Gallup poll shows Germany replacing the U.S. as the top-rated power in the world.
Under Trump, the United States has dropped to 11th place in the Bloomberg Innovation Index, which in addition to R&D spending, includes post secondary, or tertiary, education-efficiency category, which includes the share of new science and engineering graduates. Value-added manufacturing also dropped. South Korea ranked first, followed by Sweden, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Finland, Denmark, France, Israel.
Also under Trump, Americans’ trust in institutions (government, companies and the media) has suffered the greatest loss on record according to a poll conducted by Edelman New York. The poll, including 33,000 “informed” individuals showed the U.S. dropping to 43 out of a possible 100, down 23 points in a year. He is a human wrecking ball.
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SOLUTION for our nation’s problems: Deport Trump’s base. Not the Republicans who vote their party because they are genuinely conservative, but the racist, violent, abusive element that opts for dumbing down solutions for issues because experienced and intelligent people remind them how incapable they are of emotionally and mentally developing rational, unbiased conclusions for issues without bias that serve the best interests of all Americans.
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According to the Washington Post, Trump’s false or misleading statements (lies) now exceed 2,000 after his first year.
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Trump ABANDONS voter fraud panel, but hands it off the Homeland Security where all the snooping can be done out of sight
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Mueller to be fired ? Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, he needs it to come from the Department of Justice. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from the DOJ who will. It is doubtful if Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia would do it. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the “investigation.” EPA’s Scott Pruit has shown an interest in the DOJ, and rumors indicate CIA’s Mike Pompeo, is a possibility for a post there. Are any of the two going to be Trump’s hatchet man ? (More below)
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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%
NOTE: The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School estimates the effective tax rate for corporates will drop to 9.2% as a result of tax reform.

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STATES NEEDING FED’s HELP 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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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 run ? Bannon 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.
FINALLY: If Trump resigns and Pence takes over, Pence could pardon Trump, as Ford did Nixon.
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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 respons.

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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 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 – Brad Parscale – 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.
However, as “Business Insider.com” noted on Jan. 9, 2018, Trump could simply fire the Cabinet members who voted to oust him from office.
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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.

Stock Market Out of Control

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA:26,616
S&P 500: 2,872
Nasdaq Comp.:7,505
Russell 2000: 1,608
Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 9:07 a.m.
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I will not post Tuesday, or possibly Wednesday
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FYI: The S&P 500 gained 36.6% in Obama’s first year, but only 23.7 under Trump. Obama inherited the worst bear market since the 1930’s, Trump inherited an accelerating bull market supported by a stable economy. If Obama’s first year gain is calculated from the Bear market bottom March 6, 2009 shortly after he assumed office, the gain would be 74.2%., yet this bloviating sack of _ _ _ _ will rant about his great accomplishments, aided of course by control of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court and Fox News.
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I really can’t say it any better than the following
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I sense a constitutional crisis is imminent with Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicting high level Trump administration officials. I believe Trump will respond with an attempt to fire Mueller, or find another way to obstruct the progress of this investigation.
The key here is, how this will impact the market. Initially, a brief plunge followed by a sharp rally would be likely, since the Street is tuned-out on political, but as the severity of the constitutional crisis deepens, the market will take a huge hit with the DJIA giving up at least 3,578 to 22,735 (-13.6%) and the S&P 500 giving up 349 points to 2,500 (-12.2%).
That’s roughly one-third of what the market gained since the 2016 election. Markets frequently give up one-third of major upmoves. Obviously if the market gets hit with new negatives after a that pullback, the plunge would be greater.
The reason I think a crisis is imminent is because the Republicans have ramped up their efforts to discredit the FBI and the Mueller probe, and because Trump says he is willing to testify under oath to the Mueller commission.
Nonsense ! He has no intention to meet with Mueller or he would have done so months ago. He wants to give the impression he is willing to comply to orchestrate support from his base.
Our republic is being tested like never before. This is a battle for untethered control by what I view as constitutional anarchists who want to dismantle 75 years of progress toward developing a high quality of life for America as a whole. Why else would they gerrymander the Hell out of our electorate, make it difficult for people to vote, and stack the judicial system ?
This is the extremist right wing’s big chance; they know demographics are against them going forward. I doubt Congress will oust Trump regardless of the severity of his actions before and after talking office.
But Wall Street, corporate American and the BIG money got their tax cut, they may want to get rid of Trump before he ruins chances of the Republicans hanging on to control of Congress and the White House in 2020.
Late-stage bull markets offer opportunities to make money easier and faster, simply because speculative fever is ramped up and buyers are jumping on anything that gets favorable mention by the Street or in the press.
At some point, the BIG money will have to exit. They need eager buyers to do so without knocking stocks they are selling down. With reportedly $33.2 billion flowing into stocks in the January 24 week, this is the euphoria they have been waiting for.
TODAY
Trump will hype an infrastructure plan in his State of the Union address, but wait a week or so to release details.
The computer algos on the Street have been in cruise control buy mode for over a year, which is why the market has not had a 3% correction in more than 14 months. This is rare !
At some point, these think-alikes will all get a sell signal at the same time, and then it will be straight down. This is why a cash reserve is necessary.
The major FLAW in the Republican’s economic game plan, which was touted to justify a massive, excessive corporate tax cut, is that no consideration has been made for the adverse impact of a recession.
The consumer is nearly tapped out. Credit card debt has doubled since 2013, the delinquency rate is rising sharply.
The Personal Savings rate as a percent of disposable income is 2.9%, down from 7.1% in July 2012. This rate tends to drop sharply prior to recessions. The lowest level of savings over the last 71 years was 2.7% in 2005.
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SUPPORT “today”: DJIA:26.581; S&P 500:2,870; Nasdaq Comp.:7,501
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:26,676; S&P 500:2,879; Nasdaq Comp.:7,517
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I am keeping the following posted for new readers
What is written below will be difficult to believe. It’s just a matter of time before a major correction sets is, and a bear market.
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No one is bearish, and that IS BEARISH ! Odds favor 12% to 18% correction not necessarily today, or this week, maybe not for months, but the market crossed the line above reasonable valuation months ago, and is vulnerable to one of those flash crashes I have prematurely warned about.
From November 2016 to December 2017, the market was driven by promises of a massive corporate and high-earner tax cut. The passage of the tax cut in December took stock prices an even greater extreme.
The economic recovery, that started in June 2009 after the Great Recession and 52% bear market decline, continues undeterred. But stock markets turn down well ahead of the start of recessions, generally with a lead time of 3 to 9 months.
I have wrongly warned of risk for the better part of 2017, even issued a Sell on August 29. Realizing I was wrong, I reversed that call two weeks later, headlining, “WRONG READ on timing – But Warning Stands.”
I have experienced 14 bull market tops, written about 12, and all came when “least” expected, when a downturn was dismissed as impossible.
What might be an extreme of over-valuation (or undervaluation) in one market, may not rank as one in the next market. Bear market bottoms are easier to read than bull market tops.
A severe correction, possibly a bear market, is out there. It will take a “trigger” to start it, or a sudden “no show” by the BIG money, followed by panicky selling to get it underway. The Street got its tax cut, what else is there to anticipate ? Most of the benefits of the tax cut are priced- in the market’s 31% gain in the S&P 500 over 15 months.
Yes, making money can be easy now, buying just about anything, even junk.
Warnings like mine are annoying, even provoke anger.
“Who is this jerk, talking about risk when people are making a killing in the market ?” one may ask.
“Aren’t there dozens of reports out there hyping what-to-buy after the tax cut ? Didn’t I just hear about someone making a bundle last year. Take a hike Brooks, I’m all-in !”
I am not alone in seeing risk.
I have enormous respect for James Stack of InvesTech Research (1-406-862-777). Stack is also warning of risk and has reduced exposure to the market. His set of economic and stock market indicators are near flawless. What’s startling about his last issue is the extremes to which many of his indicators have reached. While his economic indicators suggest a recession is not imminent, he also warns that stock markets turn down 6-9 months ahead of recessions. The market has not had a 3% correction in 14.4 months, which has not happened since stocks plunged in 2008, he writes.
What’s more, he says, the bearish sentiments of the Investment Advisors Sentiment Survey tracked by Investors Intelligence, just hit a 31-year low. This is a contrary indicator. Advisors are least bearish at market tops when they should be bearish and least bullish at market bottoms – that’s the pattern. Maybe that’s why it is so hard to buy-low/sell-high ! Maybe it’s just easier for these people to sell greed at market tops and fear at bottoms.
Then too, the S&P 500 price/earnings ratio based on earnings already reported is 26, well above the historic norm of 17.2, excluding the extremes of the 1990’s technology bubble and 2008-2009 financial crisis.
Finally, margin debt (borrowing to buy stocks). It has been hitting new highs. That spells leverage which is fine as long as stocks rise, but devastating in declines.
I am as concerned today about what I see, as I was in August 2007 before the Great Recession/Bear Market when I wrote:

Perfect Storm Looms

The perfect storm in our financial markets
is looming….It will take a heroic effort internationally
to avert a meltdown of huge magnitude…Trading in
everything may have to be stopped until some sort of
sanity is restored…This can get real ugly…No one has
a handle on the leverage amassed in derivatives ..No
one has a true handle on how precarious the situation out
there is, and that uncertainty feeds on itself prompting
increased selling…With few buyers, stocks tank…
Only when a cauldron of fear begins to boil do you have
a market that is reasonably safe to invest in.

George Brooks
August 19, 2007

I was two months early then, more so this time around. Conditions are a bit different now, but the odds that the Street will be blindsided this time are greater. They have blinders on – tunnel vision – in denial.
We are approaching perfect storm conditions, and I haven’t even touched on the total dysfunction of the Trump administration and Congress, and its imminent implosion in face of the findings of the Mueller investigation.
THE NATION’S BIGGEST EVER POLITICAL SCANDAL will hit in coming months, look for multiple constitutional crises, and possibly panic in the stock market.
SELL EVERYTHING ? That may work for some people, but the more nimble may be able to stay a while as euphoria takes stocks higher. For others, a healthy cash reserve is justified just in case a few of us, and historic precedence are right.
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
U.S. Ranking globally and domestically plunging under Trump
Global approval of U.S. leadership from 134 countries has plunged to 30% from 48% in just a year. Clearly, Trump isn’t making America Great Again in the eyes of all other countries. The downside of this is we need the support of those countries. Our nationalistic policies are opening doors throughout the world for China. A Gallup poll shows Germany replacing the U.S. as the top-rated power in the world.
Under Trump, the United States has dropped to 11th place in the Bloomberg Innovation Index, which in addition to R&D spending, includes post secondary, or tertiary, education-efficiency category, which includes the share of new science and engineering graduates. Value-added manufacturing also dropped. South Korea ranked first, followed by Sweden, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Finland, Denmark, France, Israel.
Also under Trump, Americans’ trust in institutions (government, companies and the media) has suffered the greatest loss on record according to a poll conducted by Edelman New York. The poll, including 33,000 “informed” individuals showed the U.S. dropping to 43 out of a possible 100, down 23 points in a year. He is a human wrecking ball.
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SOLUTION for our nation’s problems: Deport Trump’s base. Not the Republicans who vote their party because they are genuinely conservative, but the racist, violent, abusive element that opts for dumbing down solutions for issues because experienced and intelligent people remind them how incapable they are of emotionally and mentally developing rational, unbiased conclusions for issues without bias that serve the best interests of all Americans.
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According to the Washington Post, Trump’s false or misleading statements (lies) now exceed 2,000 after his first year.
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Trump ABANDONS voter fraud panel, but hands it off the Homeland Security where all the snooping can be done out of sight
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Mueller to be fired ? Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, he needs it to come from the Department of Justice. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from the DOJ who will. It is doubtful if Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia would do it. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the “investigation.” EPA’s Scott Pruit has shown an interest in the DOJ, and rumors indicate CIA’s Mike Pompeo, is a possibility for a post there. Are any of the two going to be Trump’s hatchet man ? (More below)
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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%
NOTE: The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School estimates the effective tax rate for corporates will drop to 9.2% as a result of tax reform.

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STATES NEEDING FED’s HELP 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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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 run ? Bannon 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.
FINALLY: If Trump resigns and Pence takes over, Pence could pardon Trump, as Ford did Nixon.
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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 respons.

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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 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 – Brad Parscale – 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.
However, as “Business Insider.com” noted on Jan. 9, 2018, Trump could simply fire the Cabinet members who voted to oust him from office.
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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.

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA:26,616
S&P 500: 2,872
Nasdaq Comp.:7,505
Russell 2000: 1,608
Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 9:07 a.m.
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I will not post Tuesday, or possibly Wednesday
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FYI: The S&P 500 gained 36.6% in Obama’s first year, but only 23.7 under Trump. Obama inherited the worst bear market since the 1930’s, Trump inherited an accelerating bull market supported by a stable economy. If Obama’s first year gain is calculated from the Bear market bottom March 6, 2009 shortly after he assumed office, the gain would be 74.2%., yet this bloviating sack of _ _ _ _ will rant about his great accomplishments, aided of course by control of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court and Fox News.
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I really can’t say it any better than the following
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I sense a constitutional crisis is imminent with Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicting high level Trump administration officials. I believe Trump will respond with an attempt to fire Mueller, or find another way to obstruct the progress of this investigation.
The key here is, how this will impact the market. Initially, a brief plunge followed by a sharp rally would be likely, since the Street is tuned-out on political, but as the severity of the constitutional crisis deepens, the market will take a huge hit with the DJIA giving up at least 3,578 to 22,735 (-13.6%) and the S&P 500 giving up 349 points to 2,500 (-12.2%).
That’s roughly one-third of what the market gained since the 2016 election. Markets frequently give up one-third of major upmoves. Obviously if the market gets hit with new negatives after a that pullback, the plunge would be greater.
The reason I think a crisis is imminent is because the Republicans have ramped up their efforts to discredit the FBI and the Mueller probe, and because Trump says he is willing to testify under oath to the Mueller commission.
Nonsense ! He has no intention to meet with Mueller or he would have done so months ago. He wants to give the impression he is willing to comply to orchestrate support from his base.
Our republic is being tested like never before. This is a battle for untethered control by what I view as constitutional anarchists who want to dismantle 75 years of progress toward developing a high quality of life for America as a whole. Why else would they gerrymander the Hell out of our electorate, make it difficult for people to vote, and stack the judicial system ?
This is the extremist right wing’s big chance; they know demographics are against them going forward. I doubt Congress will oust Trump regardless of the severity of his actions before and after talking office.
But Wall Street, corporate American and the BIG money got their tax cut, they may want to get rid of Trump before he ruins chances of the Republicans hanging on to control of Congress and the White House in 2020.
Late-stage bull markets offer opportunities to make money easier and faster, simply because speculative fever is ramped up and buyers are jumping on anything that gets favorable mention by the Street or in the press.
At some point, the BIG money will have to exit. They need eager buyers to do so without knocking stocks they are selling down. With reportedly $33.2 billion flowing into stocks in the January 24 week, this is the euphoria they have been waiting for.
TODAY
Trump will hype an infrastructure plan in his State of the Union address, but wait a week or so to release details.
The computer algos on the Street have been in cruise control buy mode for over a year, which is why the market has not had a 3% correction in more than 14 months. This is rare !
At some point, these think-alikes will all get a sell signal at the same time, and then it will be straight down. This is why a cash reserve is necessary.
The major FLAW in the Republican’s economic game plan, which was touted to justify a massive, excessive corporate tax cut, is that no consideration has been made for the adverse impact of a recession.
The consumer is nearly tapped out. Credit card debt has doubled since 2013, the delinquency rate is rising sharply.
The Personal Savings rate as a percent of disposable income is 2.9%, down from 7.1% in July 2012. This rate tends to drop sharply prior to recessions. The lowest level of savings over the last 71 years was 2.7% in 2005.
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SUPPORT “today”: DJIA:26.581; S&P 500:2,870; Nasdaq Comp.:7,501
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:26,676; S&P 500:2,879; Nasdaq Comp.:7,517
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I am keeping the following posted for new readers
What is written below will be difficult to believe. It’s just a matter of time before a major correction sets is, and a bear market.
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No one is bearish, and that IS BEARISH ! Odds favor 12% to 18% correction not necessarily today, or this week, maybe not for months, but the market crossed the line above reasonable valuation months ago, and is vulnerable to one of those flash crashes I have prematurely warned about.
From November 2016 to December 2017, the market was driven by promises of a massive corporate and high-earner tax cut. The passage of the tax cut in December took stock prices an even greater extreme.
The economic recovery, that started in June 2009 after the Great Recession and 52% bear market decline, continues undeterred. But stock markets turn down well ahead of the start of recessions, generally with a lead time of 3 to 9 months.
I have wrongly warned of risk for the better part of 2017, even issued a Sell on August 29. Realizing I was wrong, I reversed that call two weeks later, headlining, “WRONG READ on timing – But Warning Stands.”
I have experienced 14 bull market tops, written about 12, and all came when “least” expected, when a downturn was dismissed as impossible.
What might be an extreme of over-valuation (or undervaluation) in one market, may not rank as one in the next market. Bear market bottoms are easier to read than bull market tops.
A severe correction, possibly a bear market, is out there. It will take a “trigger” to start it, or a sudden “no show” by the BIG money, followed by panicky selling to get it underway. The Street got its tax cut, what else is there to anticipate ? Most of the benefits of the tax cut are priced- in the market’s 31% gain in the S&P 500 over 15 months.
Yes, making money can be easy now, buying just about anything, even junk.
Warnings like mine are annoying, even provoke anger.
“Who is this jerk, talking about risk when people are making a killing in the market ?” one may ask.
“Aren’t there dozens of reports out there hyping what-to-buy after the tax cut ? Didn’t I just hear about someone making a bundle last year. Take a hike Brooks, I’m all-in !”
I am not alone in seeing risk.
I have enormous respect for James Stack of InvesTech Research (1-406-862-777). Stack is also warning of risk and has reduced exposure to the market. His set of economic and stock market indicators are near flawless. What’s startling about his last issue is the extremes to which many of his indicators have reached. While his economic indicators suggest a recession is not imminent, he also warns that stock markets turn down 6-9 months ahead of recessions. The market has not had a 3% correction in 14.4 months, which has not happened since stocks plunged in 2008, he writes.
What’s more, he says, the bearish sentiments of the Investment Advisors Sentiment Survey tracked by Investors Intelligence, just hit a 31-year low. This is a contrary indicator. Advisors are least bearish at market tops when they should be bearish and least bullish at market bottoms – that’s the pattern. Maybe that’s why it is so hard to buy-low/sell-high ! Maybe it’s just easier for these people to sell greed at market tops and fear at bottoms.
Then too, the S&P 500 price/earnings ratio based on earnings already reported is 26, well above the historic norm of 17.2, excluding the extremes of the 1990’s technology bubble and 2008-2009 financial crisis.
Finally, margin debt (borrowing to buy stocks). It has been hitting new highs. That spells leverage which is fine as long as stocks rise, but devastating in declines.
I am as concerned today about what I see, as I was in August 2007 before the Great Recession/Bear Market when I wrote:

Perfect Storm Looms

The perfect storm in our financial markets
is looming….It will take a heroic effort internationally
to avert a meltdown of huge magnitude…Trading in
everything may have to be stopped until some sort of
sanity is restored…This can get real ugly…No one has
a handle on the leverage amassed in derivatives ..No
one has a true handle on how precarious the situation out
there is, and that uncertainty feeds on itself prompting
increased selling…With few buyers, stocks tank…
Only when a cauldron of fear begins to boil do you have
a market that is reasonably safe to invest in.

George Brooks
August 19, 2007

I was two months early then, more so this time around. Conditions are a bit different now, but the odds that the Street will be blindsided this time are greater. They have blinders on – tunnel vision – in denial.
We are approaching perfect storm conditions, and I haven’t even touched on the total dysfunction of the Trump administration and Congress, and its imminent implosion in face of the findings of the Mueller investigation.
THE NATION’S BIGGEST EVER POLITICAL SCANDAL will hit in coming months, look for multiple constitutional crises, and possibly panic in the stock market.
SELL EVERYTHING ? That may work for some people, but the more nimble may be able to stay a while as euphoria takes stocks higher. For others, a healthy cash reserve is justified just in case a few of us, and historic precedence are right.
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
U.S. Ranking globally and domestically plunging under Trump
Global approval of U.S. leadership from 134 countries has plunged to 30% from 48% in just a year. Clearly, Trump isn’t making America Great Again in the eyes of all other countries. The downside of this is we need the support of those countries. Our nationalistic policies are opening doors throughout the world for China. A Gallup poll shows Germany replacing the U.S. as the top-rated power in the world.
Under Trump, the United States has dropped to 11th place in the Bloomberg Innovation Index, which in addition to R&D spending, includes post secondary, or tertiary, education-efficiency category, which includes the share of new science and engineering graduates. Value-added manufacturing also dropped. South Korea ranked first, followed by Sweden, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Finland, Denmark, France, Israel.
Also under Trump, Americans’ trust in institutions (government, companies and the media) has suffered the greatest loss on record according to a poll conducted by Edelman New York. The poll, including 33,000 “informed” individuals showed the U.S. dropping to 43 out of a possible 100, down 23 points in a year. He is a human wrecking ball.
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SOLUTION for our nation’s problems: Deport Trump’s base. Not the Republicans who vote their party because they are genuinely conservative, but the racist, violent, abusive element that opts for dumbing down solutions for issues because experienced and intelligent people remind them how incapable they are of emotionally and mentally developing rational, unbiased conclusions for issues without bias that serve the best interests of all Americans.
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According to the Washington Post, Trump’s false or misleading statements (lies) now exceed 2,000 after his first year.
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Trump ABANDONS voter fraud panel, but hands it off the Homeland Security where all the snooping can be done out of sight
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Mueller to be fired ? Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, he needs it to come from the Department of Justice. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from the DOJ who will. It is doubtful if Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia would do it. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the “investigation.” EPA’s Scott Pruit has shown an interest in the DOJ, and rumors indicate CIA’s Mike Pompeo, is a possibility for a post there. Are any of the two going to be Trump’s hatchet man ? (More below)
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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%
NOTE: The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School estimates the effective tax rate for corporates will drop to 9.2% as a result of tax reform.

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STATES NEEDING FED’s HELP 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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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 run ? Bannon 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.
FINALLY: If Trump resigns and Pence takes over, Pence could pardon Trump, as Ford did Nixon.
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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 respons.

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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 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 – Brad Parscale – 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.
However, as “Business Insider.com” noted on Jan. 9, 2018, Trump could simply fire the Cabinet members who voted to oust him from office.
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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.

Constitutional Crisis Imminent

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA:26,392
S&P 500: 2,839
Nasdaq Comp.:7,411
Russell 2000: 1,601
Friday, Jan. 26, 2018 8:58 a.m.
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I sense a constitutional crisis is imminent with Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicting high level Trump administration officials. I believe Trump will respond with an attempt to fire Mueller, or find another way to obstruct the progress of this investigation.
The key here is, how this will impact the market. Initially, a brief plunge followed by a sharp rally would be likely, since the Street is tuned-out on political, but as the severity of the constitutional crisis deepens, the market will take a huge hit with the DJIA giving up at least 3,578 to 22,735 (-13.6%) and the S&P 500 giving up 349 points to 2,500 (-12.2%).
That’s roughly one-third of what the market gained since the 2016 election. Markets frequently give up one-third of major upmoves. Obviously if the market gets hit with new negatives after a that pullback, the plunge would be greater.
The reason I think a crisis is imminent is because the Republicans have ramped up their efforts to discredit the FBI and the Mueller probe, and because Trump says he is willing to testify under oath to the Mueller commission.
Nonsense ! He has no intention to meet with Mueller or he would have done so months ago. He wants to give the impression he is willing to comply to orchestrate support from his base.
Our republic is being tested like never before. This is a battle for untethered control by what I view as constitutional anarchists who want to dismantle 75 years of progress toward developing a high quality of life for America as a whole. Why else would they gerrymander the Hell out of our electorate, make it difficult for people to vote, and stack the judicial system ?
This is the extremist right wing’s big chance; they know demographics are against them going forward. I doubt Congress will oust Trump regardless of the severity of his actions before and after talking office.
But Wall Street, corporate American and the BIG money got their tax cut, they may want to get rid of Trump before he ruins chances of the Republicans hanging on to control of Congress and the White House in 2020.
Late-stage bull markets offer opportunities to make money easier and faster, simply because speculative fever is ramped up and buyers are jumping on anything that gets favorable mention by the Street or in the press.
At some point, the BIG money will have to exit. They need eager buyers to do so without knocking stocks they are selling down. With reportedly $33.2 billion flowing into stocks in the January 24 week, this is the euphoria they have been waiting for.
TODAY
Expect a strong open, as institutions rush to buy stocks before they rise to higher level. Classic panic.
It’s just about humanly impossible for an investor to raise cash when everyone is convinced the market will keep going up and rightly so – stocks will keep rising until the BIG money pulls the plug. They know how this works…been here before.
The computer algos on the Street have been in cruise control buy mode for over a year, which is why the market has not had a 3% correction in more than 14 months..
At some point, they will all get a sell signal at the same time, and then it will be straight down. This is why a cash reserve is necessary.
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SUPPORT “today”: DJIA:26,376; S&P 500:2,835; Nasdaq Comp.:7,401
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:26,437; S&P 500:2,844; Nasdaq Comp.:7,426
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I am keeping the following posted for new readers
What is written below will be difficult to believe. It’s just a matter of time before a major correction sets is, and a bear market.
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No one is bearish, and that IS BEARISH ! Odds favor 12% to 18% correction not necessarily today, or this week, maybe not for months, but the market crossed the line above reasonable valuation months ago, and is vulnerable to one of those flash crashes I have prematurely warned about.
From November 2016 to December 2017, the market was driven by promises of a massive corporate and high-earner tax cut. The passage of the tax cut in December took stock prices an even greater extreme.
The economic recovery, that started in June 2009 after the Great Recession and 52% bear market decline, continues undeterred. But stock markets turn down well ahead of the start of recessions, generally with a lead time of 3 to 9 months.
I have wrongly warned of risk for the better part of 2017, even issued a Sell on August 29. Realizing I was wrong, I reversed that call two weeks later, headlining, “WRONG READ on timing – But Warning Stands.”
I have experienced 14 bull market tops, written about 12, and all came when “least” expected, when a downturn was dismissed as impossible.
What might be an extreme of over-valuation (or undervaluation) in one market, may not rank as one in the next market. Bear market bottoms are easier to read than bull market tops.
A severe correction, possibly a bear market, is out there. It will take a “trigger” to start it, or a sudden “no show” by the BIG money, followed by panicky selling to get it underway. The Street got its tax cut, what else is there to anticipate ? Most of the benefits of the tax cut are priced- in the market’s 31% gain in the S&P 500 over 15 months.
Yes, making money can be easy now, buying just about anything, even junk.
Warnings like mine are annoying, even provoke anger.
“Who is this jerk, talking about risk when people are making a killing in the market ?” one may ask.
“Aren’t there dozens of reports out there hyping what-to-buy after the tax cut ? Didn’t I just hear about someone making a bundle last year. Take a hike Brooks, I’m all-in !”
I am not alone in seeing risk.
I have enormous respect for James Stack of InvesTech Research (1-406-862-777). Stack is also warning of risk and has reduced exposure to the market. His set of economic and stock market indicators are near flawless. What’s startling about his last issue is the extremes to which many of his indicators have reached. While his economic indicators suggest a recession is not imminent, he also warns that stock markets turn down 6-9 months ahead of recessions. The market has not had a 3% correction in 14.4 months, which has not happened since stocks plunged in 2008, he writes.
What’s more, he says, the bearish sentiments of the Investment Advisors Sentiment Survey tracked by Investors Intelligence, just hit a 31-year low. This is a contrary indicator. Advisors are least bearish at market tops when they should be bearish and least bullish at market bottoms – that’s the pattern. Maybe that’s why it is so hard to buy-low/sell-high ! Maybe it’s just easier for these people to sell greed at market tops and fear at bottoms.
Then too, the S&P 500 price/earnings ratio based on earnings already reported is 26, well above the historic norm of 17.2, excluding the extremes of the 1990’s technology bubble and 2008-2009 financial crisis.
Finally, margin debt (borrowing to buy stocks). It has been hitting new highs. That spells leverage which is fine as long as stocks rise, but devastating in declines.
Sunday’s AOL flash, “Bank of America has found the formula for a market meltdown – and we’re dangerously close” outlines 4 criteria – in brief 1-GDP rises above 3.0%, 2-wage inflation exceeds 3%, 2-10-year treasuries rise above 3%, 4- the S&P 500 crosses 30,000.
Yes, that may be when the BIG money bails, but without even a 3% correction in 14.2 months, does the bank really thing they will wait until then to sell. My guess is they have been carefully selling for weeks, using the surge in buying, estimated by the bank at $58 billion over four weeks to do so.
I am as concerned today about what I see, as I was in August 2007 before the Great Recession/Bear Market when I wrote:

Perfect Storm Looms

The perfect storm in our financial markets
is looming….It will take a heroic effort internationally
to avert a meltdown of huge magnitude…Trading in
everything may have to be stopped until some sort of
sanity is restored…This can get real ugly…No one has
a handle on the leverage amassed in derivatives ..No
one has a true handle on how precarious the situation out
there is, and that uncertainty feeds on itself prompting
increased selling…With few buyers, stocks tank…
Only when a cauldron of fear begins to boil do you have
a market that is reasonably safe to invest in.

George Brooks
August 19, 2007

I was two months early then, more so this time around. Conditions are a bit different now, but the odds that the Street will be blindsided this time are greater. They have blinders on – tunnel vision – in denial.
We are approaching perfect storm conditions, and I haven’t even touched on the total dysfunction of the Trump administration and Congress, and its imminent implosion in face of the findings of the Mueller investigation.
THE NATION’S BIGGEST EVER POLITICAL SCANDAL will hit in coming months, look for multiple constitutional crises, and possibly panic in the stock market.
SELL EVERYTHING ? That may work for some people, but the more nimble may be able to stay a while as euphoria takes stocks higher. For others, a healthy cash reserve is justified just in case a few of us, and historic precedence are right.
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
“Our country needs a good shutdown in September to fix this mess” Trump, May 2, 2017.
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U.S. Ranking globally and domestically plunging under Trump
Global approval of U.S. leadership from 134 countries has plunged to 30% from 48% in just a year. Clearly, Trump isn’t making America Great Again in the eyes of all other countries. The downside of this is we need the support of those countries. Our nationalistic policies are opening doors throughout the world for China. A Gallup poll shows Germany replacing the U.S. as the top-rated power in the world.
Under Trump, the United States has dropped to 11th place in the Bloomberg Innovation Index, which in addition to R&D spending, includes post secondary, or tertiary, education-efficiency category, which includes the share of new science and engineering graduates. Value-added manufacturing also dropped. South Korea ranked first, followed by Sweden, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Finland, Denmark, France, Israel.
Also under Trump, Americans’ trust in institutions (government, companies and the media) has suffered the greatest loss on record according to a poll conducted by Edelman New York. The poll, including 33,000 “informed” individuals showed the U.S. dropping to 43 out of a possible 100, down 23 points in a year. He is a human wrecking ball.
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NEEDEED !! Television host interviewers should simply cut off these Republicans who insist on repeating self-serving talking points and not answering a question – BZZZZT ! GONE ! Move on to something else – Repeat question twice – then it’s the GONG ! The network can even superimpose a hand waving bye-bye. This would attract enormous interest from people who are tired of evasive, untruthful responses to questions.
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SOLUTION for our nation’s problems: Deport Trump’s base. Not the Republicans who vote their party because they are genuinely conservative, but the racist, violent, abusive element that opts for dumbing down solutions for issues because experienced and intelligent people remind them how incapable they are emotionally and mentally developing rational, unbiased conclusions for issues that serve the best interests of all Americans.
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Mueller adds cyber prosecutor to his staff of 16 specialists. Ryan K. Dickey, suggesting one of the charges Mueller would bring would be the violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as the hacking. Dickey has been on board since November, but the news was only announced this week.
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Trump’s false or misleading statements (lies) now exceed 2,000 as his first year winds up, according to The Washington Post.
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Trump ABANDONS voter fraud panel, but hands it off the Homeland Security where all the snooping can be done out of sight
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Mueller to be fired ? Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, he needs it to come from the Department of Justice. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from the DOJ who will. It is doubtful if Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia would do it. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the “investigation.” EPA’s Scott Pruit has shown an interest in the DOJ, and rumors indicate CIA’s Mike Pompeo, is a possibility for a post there. Are any of the two going to be Trump’s hatchet man ?
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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%
NOTE: The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School estimates the effective tax rate for corporates will drop to 9.2% as a result of tax reform.
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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 FED’s HELP 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 run ? Bannon 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 respons.
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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 – Brad Parscale – 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.
However, as “Business Insider.com” noted on Jan. 9, 2018, Trump could simply fire the Cabinet members who voted to oust him from office.
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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.

U.S. Ranking Here and Abroad – Plunging

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA:26,252
S&P 500: 2,837
Nasdaq  Comp.:7,415
Russell 2000: 1,599
Thursday, Jan. 25,  2018    9:15 a.m.
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          Late-stage bull markets offer opportunities to make money easier and faster, simply because speculative fever is ramped up and buyers are jumping on anything that  gets favorable mention by the Street or in the press.

          At some point, the BIG money will have to exit.  They need eager buyers to do so without knocking stocks they are selling down.
         The biggest risk for the market is the counter moves to any indictment of one of Trump’s sons  or his son-in-law could trigger an attempt to fire Mueller.  That’s where you have a constitutional crisis with ongoing uncertainty.
         With the Republican effort to discredit the FBI, I think Trump is close to firing Mueller.  He has to, too much bad stuff could be coming down.  He claims to be glad to meet with Mueller, because he knows it will never happen.
         The tax cut has mostly been discounted by the 33%  surge in the S&P 500 since the 2016 election, and especially considering the market was overpriced before the election.  At some point there will be a correction  of one-third to one-half of that move, or 11% to 16%.  A bear market would be 36% to 45%.
          That will happen when least expected.  Every bull market in the past looked like it was going to last indefinitely. What is different today is the Mueller investigation, it has the potential to be far worse than Watergate.
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SUPPORT “today”: DJIA:26,161; S&P 500:2,827; Nasdaq Comp.:7,381
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:26,341; S&P 500:2,849; Nasdaq Comp.:7,458
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      I am keeping the following posted for new readers
 
What is written below will be difficult to believe. It’s just a matter of time before a major correction sets is, and a bear market.
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No one is bearish, and that IS BEARISH !  Odds favor 12% to 18% correction not necessarily today, or this week, maybe not for months, but the market crossed the line above reasonable valuation months ago, and is vulnerable to one of those flash crashes I have prematurely warned about.
      From November 2016 to December 2017, the market was driven by promises of a massive corporate and high-earner tax cut. The passage of the tax cut in December took stock prices an even greater extreme.
      The economic recovery, that started in June 2009 after the Great Recession and 52% bear market decline, continues undeterred.  But stock markets turn down well ahead of the start of  recessions, generally with a lead time of 3 to 9 months.
       I have wrongly warned of risk for the better part of 2017, even issued a Sell on August 29. Realizing I was wrong, I reversed that call two weeks later, headlining, “WRONG READ on timing – But Warning Stands.”
       I  have experienced 14 bull market tops, written about 12, and all came when “least” expected, when a downturn  was dismissed as impossible.
       What might be an extreme of over-valuation (or undervaluation)  in one market, may not rank as one in the next market. Bear market bottoms are easier to read than bull market tops.
       A severe correction, possibly a bear market, is out there. It will take a “trigger” to start it, or a sudden “no show” by the BIG money, followed by panicky selling to get it underway. The Street got its tax cut, what else is there to anticipate ?  Most of the benefits of the tax cut are priced- in the market’s 31% gain in the S&P 500 over 15 months.
       Yes, making money can be easy now, buying just about anything, even junk. 
      Warnings like mine are annoying, even provoke anger. 
      “Who is this jerk, talking about risk when people are making a killing in the market ?” one may ask.
        “Aren’t  there dozens of reports out there hyping what-to-buy after the tax cut ?  Didn’t I just hear about someone making a bundle last year.  Take a hike Brooks, I’m all-in !”
       
I am not alone in seeing risk.
        I have enormous respect for James Stack of  InvesTech Research (1-406-862-777). Stack is also warning of risk and has reduced exposure to the market. His set of economic and stock market indicators are near flawless. What’s startling about his last issue is the extremes to which many of his indicators have reached. While his economic indicators suggest a recession is not imminent, he also warns that  stock markets turn down 6-9 months ahead of recessions. The market has not had a 3% correction in 14.4 months, which has not  happened since stocks plunged in 2008, he writes.
       What’s more, he says, the bearish sentiments of the  Investment Advisors Sentiment Survey tracked by Investors Intelligence,  just hit a 31-year low.  This is a contrary indicator. Advisors are least bearish at market tops when they should be bearish and least bullish at market bottoms – that’s the pattern. Maybe that’s why it is so hard to buy-low/sell-high !  Maybe  it’s just easier for these people to sell greed at market tops and fear at bottoms.
       Then too, the S&P 500 price/earnings ratio based on earnings already reported is 26, well above the historic norm of 17.2, excluding the extremes of the 1990’s technology bubble and 2008-2009  financial crisis.
      Finally, margin debt (borrowing to buy stocks). It has been hitting new highs.  That spells leverage which is fine as long as stocks rise, but  devastating in declines.

      Sunday’s AOL flash, “Bank of America has found the formula for a market meltdown – and we’re dangerously close” outlines 4 criteria – in brief 1-GDP rises above 3.0%, 2-wage inflation exceeds 3%, 2-10-year treasuries rise above 3%, 4- the S&P 500 crosses 30,000.
       Yes, that may be when the BIG money bails, but without even a 3% correction in 14.2 months, does the bank really thing they will wait until then to sell.  My guess is they have been carefully selling for weeks, using the surge in buying, estimated by the bank  at $58 billion over four weeks to do so.
        I am as concerned today about what I see, as I was in August 2007 before the Great Recession/Bear Market when I wrote:
 

Perfect Storm  Looms

 

      The perfect storm in our financial markets

is looming….It will take a heroic effort internationally

 to avert a meltdown of  huge magnitude…Trading in

everything may have to be stopped until some sort of

sanity is restored…This can get real ugly…No one has

a handle on the leverage amassed in  derivatives  ..No

one has a true handle on how precarious the situation out

there is, and that uncertainty feeds on itself prompting

increased selling…With few buyers, stocks tank…

Only when a cauldron of fear begins to boil do you have

 a market that is reasonably safe to invest in.

 

George Brooks

August 19, 2007

 

     I was two months early then, more so this time around. Conditions are a bit different now, but the odds that the Street will be blindsided this time are greater. They have blinders on – tunnel vision – in denial.     
       We are approaching perfect storm conditions, and I haven’t even touched on the total dysfunction of the Trump administration and Congress, and its imminent implosion in face of the findings of the Mueller investigation.
       THE NATION’S BIGGEST EVER POLITICAL SCANDAL will hit in coming months, look for multiple constitutional crises, and possibly panic in the stock market.
        SELL EVERYTHING ?  That may work for some people, but the more nimble may be able to stay a while as euphoria takes stocks higher.   For others,  a healthy cash reserve is justified just in case a few of us, and historic precedence are right.
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
“Our country needs  a good shutdown in September to fix this mess”  Trump, May 2, 2017.
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U.S. Ranking globally and domestically plunging under Trump
      Global approval of U.S. leadership from 134 countries has plunged to 30% from 48% in just a year.  Clearly, Trump isn’t making America Great Again in the eyes of all other countries. 
The downside of this is we need the support of those countries.  Our nationalistic policies are opening doors throughout the world for China. A Gallup poll shows Germany replacing the U.S. as the top-rated power in the world.
      Under Trump, the United States has dropped to 11th place in the Bloomberg Innovation Index, which in addition  to  R&D spending, includes post secondary, or tertiary, education-efficiency category, which includes the share of new science and engineering graduates. Value-added manufacturing also dropped.  South Korea ranked first, followed by Sweden, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Finland, Denmark, France, Israel.
       Also under Trump, Americans’ trust in institutions (government, companies and the  media) has suffered the greatest loss on record according to a poll conducted by Edelman New York. The poll, including 33,000 “informed” individuals showed the U.S. dropping to 43 out of a possible 100, down 23 points in a year.  He is a human wrecking ball.
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NEEDEED !! Television host interviewers should simply cut off these Republicans who insist on repeating self-serving  talking points and not answering a question – BZZZZT !  GONE ! Move on to something else – Repeat question twice – then it’s the GONG !  The network  can even superimpose a hand waving bye-bye.   This would  attract enormous interest from people who are tired of evasive, untruthful  responses to questions.
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SOLUTION for our nation’s problems: Deport Trump’s base. Not the Republicans who vote their party because they are genuinely conservative, but the racist, violent, abusive element that opts for dumbing down solutions for issues because experienced and intelligent people remind them how incapable they are emotionally and mentally developing rational, unbiased conclusions for issues that serve the best interests of all Americans.
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Mueller adds cyber prosecutor  to  his staff of 16 specialists. Ryan K. Dickey, suggesting one of the charges Mueller would bring would be  the violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as the hacking.  Dickey has been on board since November, but the news was only announced this week.
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Trump’s false or misleading statements (lies) now exceed 2,000 as his first year winds up, according to The Washington Post.
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Trump ABANDONS voter fraud panel, but hands it off the Homeland Security where all the snooping can be done out of sight
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Mueller to be fired ?  Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, he needs it to come from the Department of Justice.  Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from the DOJ who will.  It is doubtful if Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia would do it. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the “investigation.”  EPA’s Scott Pruit has shown an interest in the DOJ, and rumors indicate CIA’s  Mike Pompeo, is a possibility for a post there.  Are any of the two going to be Trump’s hatchet man ?
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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%
NOTE: The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School estimates the  effective tax rate  for corporates will drop to 9.2% as a result of  tax reform.

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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 FED’s HELP 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 respons.
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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 – Brad Parscale – 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.  
        However, as “Business Insider.com” noted on Jan. 9, 2018, Trump could simply fire the Cabinet members who voted to oust him from office.
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mueller Closing In – Disruptive for the Market ?

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA:26,210
S&P 500: 2,839
Nasdaq  Comp.:7,460
Russell 2000: 1,610
Wednesday, Jan. 24,  2018    9:15 a.m.
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This is momentum, speculative frenzy and a scramble to buy just about anything that might move. This is what late-stage bull markets look like.
       I haven’t heard much about infrastructure spending, Clearly the administration will want to hype it before the mid-terms.
       I will re-publish my infrastructure section when appropriate, or sooner if it seems imminent.
        It looks like the Mueller investigation is closing in on Trump and immediate family, and that could be disruptive for the market, especially if V.P. Pence is vulnerable.
         Maybe not at first, this bull has not been deterred by any news, not even war.  Realistically, the Street and corporations got their tax cut, why should they care about  the biggest buffoon to ever occupy the White House ? He could take us down more so than any adversary.  Already polls show that respect and trust in  the United States and its institutions  dropped to all-time lows under his presidency.  A human wrecking ball, as noted here January 3, 2017.
         The biggest risk for the market is the counter moves to any indictment of one of Trump’s sons  or his son-in-law could trigger an attempt to fire Mueller.  That’s where you have a constitutional crisis with ongoing uncertainty.
         I am researching robots and artificial intelligence (AI) for new ideas.  This is the future for some, trouble for those whose careers are eliminated.  This is heavy stuff and hard to drill down into easy to understand material.  May take time.
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SUPPORT “today”: DJIA:26.191; S&P 500:2,836; Nasdaq Comp.:7,446
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:26,276; S&P 500:2,845; Nasdaq Comp.:7,456
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If you didn’t read the following yesterday, it would be a good idea to read it today. What is written below will be difficult to believe. It’s just a matter of time before a major correction sets is, and a bear market.
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No one is bearish, and that IS BEARISH !  Odds favor 12% to 18% correction not necessarily today, or this week, maybe not for months, but the market crossed the line above reasonable valuation months ago, and is vulnerable to one of those flash crashes I have prematurely warned about.
      From November 2016 to December 2017, the market was driven by promises of a massive corporate and high-earner tax cut. The passage of the tax cut in December took stock prices an even greater extreme.
      The economic recovery, that started in June 2009 after the Great Recession and 52% bear market decline, continues undeterred.  But stock markets turn down well ahead of the start of  recessions, generally with a lead time of 3 to 9 months.
       I have wrongly warned of risk for the better part of 2017, even issued a Sell on August 29. Realizing I was wrong, I reversed that call two weeks later, headlining, “WRONG READ on timing – But Warning Stands.”
       I  have experienced 14 bull market tops, written about 12, and all came when “least” expected, when a downturn  was dismissed as impossible.
       What might be an extreme of over-valuation (or undervaluation)  in one market, may not rank as one in the next market. Bear market bottoms are easier to read than bull market tops.
       A severe correction, possibly a bear market, is out there. It will take a “trigger” to start it, or a sudden “no show” by the BIG money, followed by panicky selling to get it underway. The Street got its tax cut, what else is there to anticipate ?  Most of the benefits of the tax cut are priced- in the market’s 31% gain in the S&P 500 over 15 months.
       Yes, making money can be easy now, buying just about anything, even junk. 
      Warnings like mine are annoying, even provoke anger. 
      “Who is this jerk, talking about risk when people are making a killing in the market ?” one may ask.
        “Aren’t  there dozens of reports out there hyping what-to-buy after the tax cut ?  Didn’t I just hear about someone making a bundle last year.  Take a hike Brooks, I’m all-in !”
       
I am not alone in seeing risk.
        I have enormous respect for James Stack of  InvesTech Research (1-406-862-777). Stack is also warning of risk and has reduced exposure to the market. His set of economic and stock market indicators are near flawless. What’s startling about his last issue is the extremes to which many of his indicators have reached. While his economic indicators suggest a recession is not imminent, he also warns that  stock markets turn down 6-9 months ahead of recessions. The market has not had a 3% correction in 14.4 months, which has not  happened since stocks plunged in 2008, he writes.
       What’s more, he says, the bearish sentiments of the  Investment Advisors Sentiment Survey tracked by Investors Intelligence,  just hit a 31-year low.  This is a contrary indicator. Advisors are least bearish at market tops when they should be bearish and least bullish at market bottoms – that’s the pattern. Maybe that’s why it is so hard to buy-low/sell-high !  Maybe  it’s just easier for these people to sell greed at market tops and fear at bottoms.
       Then too, the S&P 500 price/earnings ratio based on earnings already reported is 26, well above the historic norm of 17.2, excluding the extremes of the 1990’s technology bubble and 2008-2009  financial crisis.
      Finally, margin debt (borrowing to buy stocks). It has been hitting new highs.  That spells leverage which is fine as long as stocks rise, but  devastating in declines.

      Sunday’s AOL flash, “Bank of America has found the formula for a market meltdown – and we’re dangerously close” outlines 4 criteria – in brief 1-GDP rises above 3.0%, 2-wage inflation exceeds 3%, 2-10-year treasuries rise above 3%, 4- the S&P 500 crosses 30,000.
       Yes, that may be when the BIG money bails, but without even a 3% correction in 14.2 months, does the bank really thing they will wait until then to sell.  My guess is they have been carefully selling for weeks, using the surge in buying, estimated by the bank  at $58 billion over four weeks to do so.
        I am as concerned today about what I see, as I was in August 2007 before the Great Recession/Bear Market when I wrote:
 

Perfect Storm  Looms

 

      The perfect storm in our financial markets

is looming….It will take a heroic effort internationally

 to avert a meltdown of  huge magnitude…Trading in

everything may have to be stopped until some sort of

sanity is restored…This can get real ugly…No one has

a handle on the leverage amassed in  derivatives  ..No

one has a true handle on how precarious the situation out

there is, and that uncertainty feeds on itself prompting

increased selling…With few buyers, stocks tank…

Only when a cauldron of fear begins to boil do you have

 a market that is reasonably safe to invest in.

 

George Brooks

August 19, 2007

 

     I was two months early then, more so this time around. Conditions are a bit different now, but the odds that the Street will be blindsided this time are greater. They have blinders on – tunnel vision – in denial.     
       We are approaching perfect storm conditions, and I haven’t even touched on the total dysfunction of the Trump administration and Congress, and its imminent implosion in face of the findings of the Mueller investigation.
       THE NATION’S BIGGEST EVER POLITICAL SCANDAL will hit in coming months, look for multiple constitutional crises, and possibly panic in the stock market.
        SELL EVERYTHING ?  That may work for some people, but the more nimble may be able to stay a while as euphoria takes stocks higher.   For others,  a healthy cash reserve is justified just in case a few of us, and historic precedence are right.
TODAY
    
The market rallied unimpressively after the brief shutdown, more trouble in three weeks. Talk of Dow 30,000 will surface.
      Look for a mixed open, as the Street realizes this will be a year of real turmoil – WILD !
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
“Our country needs  a good shutdown in September to fix this mess”  Trump, May 2, 2017.
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Global approval of U.S. leadership from 134 countries has plunged to 30% from 48% in just a year.  Clearly, Trump isn’t making America Great Again in the eyes of all other countries.  The downside of this is we need the support of those countries.  Our nationalistic policies are opening doors throughout the world for China. A Gallup poll shows Germany replacing the U.S. as the top-rated power in the world.
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NEEDEED !! Television host interviewers should simply cut off these Republicans who insist on repeating self-serving  talking points and not answering a question – BZZZZT !  GONE ! Move on to something else – Repeat question twice – then it’s the GONG !  The network  can even superimpose a hand waving bye-bye.   This would  attract enormous interest from people who are tired of evasive, untruthful  responses to questions.
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SOLUTION for our nation’s problems: Deport Trump’s base. Not the Republicans who vote their party because they are genuinely conservative, but the racist, violent, abusive element that opts for dumbing down solutions for issues because experienced and intelligent people remind them how incapable they are emotionally and mentally developing rational, unbiased conclusions for issues that serve the best interests of all Americans.
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Mueller adds cyber prosecutor  to  his staff of 16 specialists. Ryan K. Dickey, suggesting one of the charges Mueller would bring would be  the violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as the hacking.  Dickey has been on board since November, but the news was only announced this week.
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Trump’s false or misleading statements (lies) now exceed 2,000 as his first year winds up, according to The Washington Post.
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Trump ABANDONS voter fraud panel, but hands it off the Homeland Security where all the snooping can be done out of sight
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Mueller to be fired ?  Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, he needs it to come from the Department of Justice.  Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from the DOJ who will.  It is doubtful if Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia would do it. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the “investigation.”  EPA’s Scott Pruit has shown an interest in the DOJ, and rumors indicate CIA’s  Mike Pompeo, is a possibility for a post there.  Are any of the two going to be Trump’s hatchet man ?
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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 ?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
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%
NOTE: The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School estimates the  effective tax rate  for corporates will drop to 9.2% as a result of  tax reform.

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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 FED’s HELP 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 respons.
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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 – Brad Parscale – 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.  
        However, as “Business Insider.com” noted on Jan. 9, 2018, Trump could simply fire the Cabinet members who voted to oust him from office.
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can Kicked Down the Road – Time Clock Ticking

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA:26,214
S&P 500: 2,832
Nasdaq  Comp.:7,408
Russell 2000: 1,605
Tuesday, Jan. 23,  2018    9:09 a.m.
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If you didn’t read the following yesterday, it would be a good idea to read it today.
What is written below will be difficult to believe. It’s just a matter of time before a major correction sets is, and a bear market.
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No one is bearish, and that IS BEARISH !  Odds favor 12% to 18% correction not necessarily today, or this week, maybe not for months, but the market crossed the line above reasonable valuation months ago, and is vulnerable to one of those flash crashes I have prematurely warned about.
      From November 2016 to December 2017, the market was driven by promises of a massive corporate and high-earner tax cut. The passage of the tax cut in December took stock prices an even greater extreme.
      The economic recovery, that started in June 2009 after the Great Recession and 52% bear market decline, continues undeterred.  But stock markets turn down well ahead of the start of  recessions, generally with a lead time of 3 to 9 months.
       I have wrongly warned of risk for the better part of 2017, even issued a Sell on August 29. Realizing I was wrong, I reversed that call two weeks later, headlining, “WRONG READ on timing – But Warning Stands.”
       I  have experienced 14 bull market tops, written about 12, and all came when “least” expected, when a downturn  was dismissed as impossible.
       What might be an extreme of over-valuation (or undervaluation)  in one market, may not rank as one in the next market. Bear market bottoms are easier to read than bull market tops.
       A severe correction, possibly a bear market, is out there. It will take a “trigger” to start it, or a sudden “no show” by the BIG money, followed by panicky selling to get it underway. The Street got its tax cut, what else is there to anticipate ?  Most of the benefits of the tax cut are priced- in the market’s 31% gain in the S&P 500 over 15 months.
       Yes, making money can be easy now, buying just about anything, even junk. 
      Warnings like mine are annoying, even provoke anger. 
      “Who is this jerk, talking about risk when people are making a killing in the market ?” one may ask.
        “Aren’t  there dozens of reports out there hyping what-to-buy after the tax cut ?  Didn’t I just hear about someone making a bundle last year.  Take a hike Brooks, I’m all-in !”
       
I am not alone in seeing risk.
        I have enormous respect for James Stack of  InvesTech Research (1-406-862-777). Stack is also warning of risk and has reduced exposure to the market. His set of economic and stock market indicators are near flawless. What’s startling about his last issue is the extremes to which many of his indicators have reached. While his economic indicators suggest a recession is not imminent, he also warns that  stock markets turn down 6-9 months ahead of recessions. The market has not had a 3% correction in 14.4 months, which has not  happened since stocks plunged in 2008, he writes.
       What’s more, he says, the bearish sentiments of the  Investment Advisors Sentiment Survey tracked by Investors Intelligence,  just hit a 31-year low.  This is a contrary indicator. Advisors are least bearish at market tops when they should be bearish and least bullish at market bottoms – that’s the pattern. Maybe that’s why it is so hard to buy-low/sell-high !  Maybe  it’s just easier for these people to sell greed at market tops and fear at bottoms.
       Then too, the S&P 500 price/earnings ratio based on earnings already reported is 26, well above the historic norm of 17.2, excluding the extremes of the 1990’s technology bubble and 2008-2009  financial crisis.
      Finally, margin debt (borrowing to buy stocks). It has been hitting new highs.  That spells leverage which is fine as long as stocks rise, but  devastating in declines.

      Sunday’s AOL flash, “Bank of America has found the formula for a market meltdown – and we’re dangerously close” outlines 4 criteria – in brief 1-GDP rises above 3.0%, 2-wage inflation exceeds 3%, 2-10-year treasuries rise above 3%, 4- the S&P 500 crosses 30,000.
       Yes, that may be when the BIG money bails, but without even a 3% correction in 14.2 months, does the bank really thing they will wait until then to sell.  My guess is they have been carefully selling for weeks, using the surge in buying, estimated by the bank  at $58 billion over four weeks to do so.
        I am as concerned today about what I see, as I was in August 2007 before the Great Recession/Bear Market when I wrote:
 

Perfect Storm  Looms

 

      The perfect storm in our financial markets

is looming….It will take a heroic effort internationally

 to avert a meltdown of  huge magnitude…Trading in

everything may have to be stopped until some sort of

sanity is restored…This can get real ugly…No one has

a handle on the leverage amassed in  derivatives  ..No

one has a true handle on how precarious the situation out

there is, and that uncertainty feeds on itself prompting

increased selling…With few buyers, stocks tank…

Only when a cauldron of fear begins to boil do you have

 a market that is reasonably safe to invest in.

 

George Brooks

August 19, 2007

 

     I was two months early then, more so this time around. Conditions are a bit different now, but the odds that the Street will be blindsided this time are greater. They have blinders on – tunnel vision – in denial.     
       We are approaching perfect storm conditions, and I haven’t even touched on the total dysfunction of the Trump administration and Congress, and its imminent implosion in face of the findings of the Mueller investigation.
       THE NATION’S BIGGEST EVER POLITICAL SCANDAL will hit in coming months, look for multiple constitutional crises, and possibly panic in the stock market.
        SELL EVERYTHING ?  That may work for some people, but the more nimble may be able to stay a while as euphoria takes stocks higher.   For others,  a healthy cash reserve is justified just in case a few of us, and historic precedence are right.
TODAY
    
The market rallied unimpressively after the brief shutdown, more trouble in three weeks. Talk of Dow 30,000 will surface.
      Look for a mixed open, as the Street realizes this will be a year of real turmoil – WILD !
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SUPPORT “today”:DJIA:26,163; S&P 500:2,826; Nasdaq Comp.:7,396
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:26,321; S&P 500:2,844; Nasdaq Comp.:7,437
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
“Our country needs  a good shutdown in September to fix this mess”  Trump, May 2, 2017.
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Global approval of U.S. leadership from 134 countries has plunged to 30% from 48% in just a year.  Clearly, Trump isn’t making America Great Again in the eyes of all other countries.  The downside of this is we need the support of those countries.  Our nationalistic policies are opening doors throughout the world for China. A Gallup poll shows Germany replacing the U.S. as the top-rated power in the world.
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NEEDEED !! Television host interviewers should simply cut off these Republicans who insist on repeating self-serving  talking points and not answering a question – BZZZZT !  GONE ! Move on to something else – Repeat question twice – then it’s the GONG !  The network  can even superimpose a hand waving bye-bye.   This would  attract enormous interest from people who are tired of evasive, untruthful  responses to questions.
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SOLUTION for our nation’s problems: Deport Trump’s base. Not the Republicans who vote their party because they are genuinely conservative, but the racist, violent, abusive element that opts for dumbing down solutions for issues because experienced and intelligent people remind them how incapable they are emotionally and mentally developing rational, unbiased conclusions for issues that serve the best interests of all Americans.
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Mueller adds cyber prosecutor  to  his staff of 16 specialists. Ryan K. Dickey, suggesting one of the charges Mueller would bring would be  the violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as the hacking.  Dickey has been on board since November, but the news was only announced this week.
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Trump’s false or misleading statements (lies) now exceed 2,000 as his first year winds up, according to The Washington Post.
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Trump ABANDONS voter fraud panel, but hands it off the Homeland Security where all the snooping can be done out of sight
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Mueller to be fired ?  Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, he needs it to come from the Department of Justice.  Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from the DOJ who will.  It is doubtful if Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia would do it. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the “investigation.”  EPA’s Scott Pruit has shown an interest in the DOJ, and rumors indicate CIA’s  Mike Pompeo, is a possibility for a post there.  Are any of the two going to be Trump’s hatchet man ?
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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%
NOTE: The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School estimates the  effective tax rate  for corporates will drop to 9.2% as a result of  tax reform.

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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 FED’s HELP 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 respons.
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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 – Brad Parscale – 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.  
        However, as “Business Insider.com” noted on Jan. 9, 2018, Trump could simply fire the Cabinet members who voted to oust him from office.
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Risk Rises to Dangerous Level

Investor’s first read Daily edge before the open
DJIA:26,071
S&P 500: 2,810
Nasdaq  Comp.:7,336
Russell 2000: 1,597
Monday, Jan. 22,  2018    6:14 a.m.
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I will have to release this blog early Monday morning and not be able to catch  futures trading and pre-open news after 7:00.

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No one is bearish, and that IS BEARISH !  Odds favor 12% to 18% correction not necessarily today, or this week, maybe not for months, but the market crossed the line above reasonable valuation months ago, and is vulnerable to one of those flash crashes I have prematurely warned about.
      From November 2016 to December 2017, the market was driven by promises of a massive corporate and high-earner tax cut. The passage of the tax cut in December took stock prices an even greater extreme.
      The economic recovery, that started in June 2009 after the Great Recession and 52% bear market decline, continues undeterred.  But stock markets turn down well ahead of the start of  recessions, generally with a lead time of 3 to 9 months.
       I have wrongly warned of risk for the better part of 2017, even issued a Sell on August 29. Realizing I was wrong, I reversed that call two weeks later, headlining, “WRONG READ on timing – But Warning Stands.”
       I  have experienced 14 bull market tops, written about 12, and all came when “least” expected, when a downturn  was dismissed as impossible.
       What might be an extreme of over-valuation (or undervaluation)  in one market, may not rank as one in the next market. Bear market bottoms are easier to read than bull market tops.
       A severe correction, possibly a bear market, is out there. It will take a “trigger” to start it, or a sudden “no show” by the BIG money, followed by panicky selling to get it underway. The Street got its tax cut, what else is there to anticipate ?  Most of the benefits of the tax cut are priced- in the market’s 31% gain in the S&P 500 over 15 months.
       Yes, making money can be easy now, buying just about anything, even junk. 
      Warnings like mine are annoying, even provoke anger. 
      “Who is this jerk, talking about risk when people are making a killing in the market ?” one may ask.
        “Aren’t  there dozens of reports out there hyping what-to-buy after the tax cut ?  Didn’t I just hear about someone making a bundle last year.  Take a hike Brooks, I’m all-in !”
       
I am not alone in seeing risk.
        I have enormous respect for James Stack of  InvesTech Research (1-406-862-777). Stack is also warning of risk and has reduced exposure to the market. His set of economic and stock market indicators are near flawless. What’s startling about his last issue is the extremes to which many of his indicators have reached. While his economic indicators suggest a recession is not imminent, he also warns that  stock markets turn down 6-9 months ahead of recessions. The market has not had a 3% correction in 14.4 months, which has not  happened since stocks plunged in 2008, he writes.
       What’s more, he says, the bearish sentiments of the  Investment Advisors Sentiment Survey tracked by Investors Intelligence,  just hit a 31-year low.  This is a contrary indicator. Advisors are least bearish at market tops when they should be bearish and least bullish at market bottoms – that’s the pattern. Maybe that’s why it is so hard to buy-low/sell-high !  Maybe  it’s just easier for these people to sell greed at market tops and fear at bottoms.
       Then too, the S&P 500 price/earnings ratio based on earnings already reported is 26, well above the historic norm of 17.2, excluding the extremes of the 1990’s technology bubble and 2008-2009  financial crisis.
      Finally, margin debt (borrowing to buy stocks). It has been hitting new highs.  That spells leverage which is fine as long as stocks rise, but  devastating in declines.

      Sunday’s AOL flash, “Bank of America has found the formula for a market meltdown – and we’re dangerously close” outlines 4 criteria – in brief 1-GDP rises above 3.0%, 2-wage inflation exceeds 3%, 2-10-year treasuries rise above 3%, 4- the S&P 500 crosses 30,000.
       Yes, that may be when the BIG money bails, but without even a 3% correction in 14.2 months, does the bank really thing they will wait until then to sell.  My guess is they have been carefully selling for weeks, using the surge in buying, estimated by the bank  at $58 billion over four weeks to do so.
        I am as concerned today about what I see, as I was in August 2007 before the Great Recession/Bear Market when I wrote:
 

Perfect Storm  Looms

 

      The perfect storm in our financial markets

is looming….It will take a heroic effort internationally

 to avert a meltdown of  huge magnitude…Trading in

everything may have to be stopped until some sort of

sanity is restored…This can get real ugly…No one has

a handle on the leverage amassed in  derivatives  ..No

one has a true handle on how precarious the situation out

there is, and that uncertainty feeds on itself prompting

increased selling…With few buyers, stocks tank…

Only when a cauldron of fear begins to boil do you have

 a market that is reasonably safe to invest in.

 

George Brooks

August 19, 2007

 

     I was two months early then, more so this time around. Conditions are a bit different now, but the odds that the Street will be blindsided this time are greater. They have blinders on – tunnel vision – in denial.      
       We are approaching perfect storm conditions, and I haven’t even touched on the total dysfunction of the Trump administration and Congress, and its imminent implosion in face of the findings of the Mueller investigation.
       THE NATION’S BIGGEST EVER POLITICAL SCANDAL will hit in coming months, look for multiple constitutional crises, and possibly panic in the stock market.
        SELL EVERYTHING ?  That may work for some people, but the more nimble may be able to stay a while as euphoria takes stocks higher.   For others,  a healthy cash reserve is justified just in case a few of us, and historic precedence are right.
TODAY
    
Odds favor a short shutdown.  When announced, the market should rally. Talk of Dow 30,000
should surface. What is written above will be difficult to believe. It’s just a matter of time before a major correction sets is.  If the market gets hit with bad news when the market is down and close to rebounding, the correction could turn into a bear market.

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SUPPORT “today”:DJIA:25,707; S&P 500:2,767; Nasdaq Comp.:7,217
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:26,232; S&P 500:2,827; Nasdaq Comp.:7,348
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
“Our country needs  a good shutdown in September to fix this mess”  Trump, May 2, 2017.
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Global approval of U.S. leadership from 134 countries has plunged to 30% from 48% in just a year.  Clearly, Trump isn’t making America Great Again in the eyes of all other countries.  The downside of this is we need the support of those countries.  Our nationalistic policies are opening doors throughout the world for China. A Gallup poll shows Germany replacing the U.S. as the top-rated power in the world.
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NEEDEED !! Television host interviewers should simply cut off these Republicans who insist on repeating self-serving  talking points and not answering a question – BZZZZT !  GONE ! Move on to something else – Repeat question twice – then it’s the GONG !  The network  can even superimpose a hand waving bye-bye.   This would  attract enormous interest from people who are tired of evasive, untruthful  responses to questions.
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SOLUTION for our nation’s problems: Deport Trump’s base. Not the Republicans who vote their party because they are genuinely conservative, but the racist, violent, abusive element that opts for dumbing down solutions for issues because experienced and intelligent people remind them how incapable they are emotionally and mentally developing rational, unbiased conclusions for issues that serve the best interests of all Americans.
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Mueller adds cyber prosecutor  to  his staff of 16 specialists. Ryan K. Dickey, suggesting one of the charges Mueller would bring would be  the violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as the hacking.  Dickey has been on board since November, but the news was only announced this week.
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Trump’s false or misleading statements (lies) now exceed 2,000 as his first year winds up, according to The Washington Post.
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Trump ABANDONS voter fraud panel, but hands it off the Homeland Security where all the snooping can be done out of sight
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Mueller to be fired ?  Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, he needs it to come from the Department of Justice.  Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from the DOJ who will.  It is doubtful if Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia would do it. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the “investigation.”  EPA’s Scott Pruit has shown an interest in the DOJ, and rumors indicate CIA’s  Mike Pompeo, is a possibility for a post there.  Are any of the two going to be Trump’s hatchet man ?
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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%
NOTE: The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School estimates the  effective tax rate  for corporates will drop to 9.2% as a result of  tax reform.

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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 FED’s HELP 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 respons.
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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 – Brad Parscale – 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.  
        However, as “Business Insider.com” noted on Jan. 9, 2018, Trump could simply fire the Cabinet members who voted to oust him from office.
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time to Raise a Little Cash

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 26,017
S&P 500: 2,798
Nasdaq  Comp.:7,296
Russell 2000: 1,576
Friday, Jan. 19,  2018    9:17 a.m.

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NOTE: Add to “Removing Trump From Office” (Sect. 4 of 25th Amendment) below that Trump could simply fire members of Cabinet who vote to oust him.
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        Congress is struggling to craft a spending bill before a partial shutdown occurs tonight.  Since October 1, the government has been running  on short-term, temporary  budget gimmicks.
        Both parties will have to find common ground on contentious issues, including, immigration (DACA), Trump’s “wall,” military and domestic spending caps, disaster relief, healthcare, and children’s health insurance (CHIP).  Passage of a spending bill will take 60 votes.
        A short-term spending bill, a continuing resolution (CR) is likely, but solves nothing – a decision will have to be made.
        A shutdown means non-essential government employees and services will  be shut down with a slow-down in  at federal agencies. Social Security and unemployment checks will NOT be affected, as well as food stamps. Federal loan programs, grants and research funding stalled.
         In an election year, no one wants to be blamed for  a shutdown.
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TODAY
        

       Will the government shut down at midnight ? I don’t think so. Expect an 11th hour decision to fund the government for a few more days or a month while the Senate zeroes-in on a compromise after the House approved an extension of federal funds, through Feb. 16.
       The takeaway from a shutdown is that our nation is ungovernable.  That’s nothing new. It’ll get worse.
       The Street got its tax cut, that’s all corporate America cares for. 

      As markets push higher and higher, investors begin to believe new buys are guaranteed to be profitable, i.e. no risk.
That’s when risk is at its highest.
       In runaway markets like this, no one wants to hear talk of risk, and for good reason – they are making money, easy money. 
       This market was overvalued a year ago, which says little for conventional yardsticks for valuing stocks.  But that has been true at all market tops  where they become overvalued before plunging. Today is different in that the market’s overvaluation has lasted longer than normal, owing to, first expectations of a massive tax cut, then to it actually passing.

        So, what does all that mean ?   Milk it for all you can but be aware the party can end abruptly.  Money can be more easily made in late stage bull markets due to the euphoria of rising prices up to a point.  That point ALWAYS comes when least expected.
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SUPPORT “today”:DJIA:25,956; S&P 500:2,791; Nasdaq Comp.:7,286
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:26,097; S&P 500:2,807; Nasdaq Comp.:7,280

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Without a spending bill, Congress cannot address the nation’s infrastructure needs. I’ll run this a bit longer.
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 INFRASTRUCTURE  PLANA DISSAPPOINTMENT ?
Republican Congressional  leaders met at Camp David over the weekend to address a number of key issues, including immigration, national security and defense spending, according to Mohamed A. El-Erian, Bloomberg News contributor.  Infrastructure was singled out as a top priority. 

     However, reports out of Newsweek and Politico.com indicate the Federal government won’t be spending $1 trillion on the nation’s infrastructure, but rather $200 billion over 10 years, according to Newsweek and Politico.  The Trump administration will expect the state, local  and private sources to bankroll infrastructure rebuilds via public/private partnerships (expensive), taxes and fees while the Feds  plan to streamline bureaucracy, cutting red tape that presumably has held up projects.
      Three obstacles: How many states have the money, and how long would it take to develop other means to finance projects.  Then there are the politics of the various issues that will arise, none the least of which would be finance projects on the backs of cuts to social programs.
      This is yet another disgraceful blunder.  The Trump administration had a chance to tie tax cuts and especially the repatriation of  trillions of dollars abroad to infrastructure funding.
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       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 27. 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), Granite Const’n (GVA, Eagle Materials (EXP), Steel Dynamics (STLD).
      one.
        Go to www.infrastructure report card.org for details on the “problem.

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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
Global approval of U.S. leadership from 134 countries has plunged to 30% from 48% in just a year. Clearly, Trump isn’t making America Great Again in the eyes of all other countries.  The downside of this is we need the support of those countries.  Our nationalistic policies are opening doors throughout the world for China. A Gallup poll shows Germany replacing the U.S. as the top-rated power in the world.
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SOLUTION for our nation’s problems: Deport Trump’s base. Not the Republicans who vote their party because they are genuinely conservative, but the racist, violent, abusive element that opts for dumbing down solutions for issues because experienced and intelligent people remind them how incapable they are emotionally and mentally developing rational, unbiased conclusions for issues that serve the best interests of all Americans.
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Mueller adds cyber prosecutor  to  his staff of 16 specialists. Ryan K. Dickey, suggesting one of the charges Mueller would bring would be  the violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as the hacking.  Dickey has been on board since November, but the news was only announced this week.
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Trump’s false or misleading statements (lies) now exceed 2,000 as his first year winds up, according to The Washington Post.
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Trump ABANDONS voter fraud panel, but hands it off the Homeland Security where all the snooping can be done out of sight
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Mueller to be fired ?  Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, he needs it to come from the Department of Justice.  Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from the DOJ who will.  It is doubtful if Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia would do it. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the “investigation.”  EPA’s Scott Pruit has shown an interest in the DOJ, and rumors indicate CIA’s  Mike Pompeo, is a possibility for a post there.  Are any of the two going to be Trump’s hatchet man ?
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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%
NOTE: The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School estimates the  effective tax rate  for corporates will drop to 9.2% as a result of  tax reform.

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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 FED’s HELP 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 respons.
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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 – Brad Parscale – 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.  
        However, as “Business Insider.com” noted on Jan. 9, 2018, Trump could simply fire the Cabinet members who voted to oust him from office.
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speculative Sentiment Increasing

Investor’s first read – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 26,115
S&P 500: 2,802
Nasdaq  Comp.:7,928
Russell 2000: 1,586
Thursday, Jan. 18,  2018    8:56 a.m.

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NOTE: Add to “Removing Trump From Office” (Sect. 4 of 25th Amendment) below that Trump could simply fire members of Cabinet who vote to oust him.
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        Congress is struggling to craft a spending bill before a partial shutdown occurs tomorrow.  Since October 1, the government has been running  on short-term, temporary  budget gimmicks.
        Both parties will have to find common ground on contentious issues, including, immigration (DACA), Trump’s “wall,” military and domestic spending caps, disaster relief, healthcare, and children’s health insurance (CHIP).  Passage of a spending bill will take 60 votes.
        A short-term spending bill, a continuing resolution (CR) until Feb. 16 is likely, but solves nothing – a decision will have to be made.
        A shutdown means non-essential government employees and services will  be shut down with a slow-down in  at federal agencies. Social Security and unemployment checks will NOT be affected, as well as food stamps. Federal loan programs, grants and research funding stalled.
         In an election year, no one wants to be blamed for  a shutdown.
         Expect at least a CR, but possibly a late night agreement with concessions on both sides.
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TODAY
         

      I have indicated 2018 would be a wild one, so far that is true. Expect volatility with sharp corrections and several great buying opportunities , especially for traders.
      
Look for a mixed open. The Street is nervous about a government shutdown, but it would be normal if the market gave back some of what it gained yesterday.  As expected, volatility has picked up, as earnings roll in, and analysts recalculate projections based on the tax bill.
       Investors are hanging tough on profit taking, hoping to catch ever higher prices before selling.  If the market starts to hit serious resistance, selling will increase.
      As markets push higher and higher, investors begin to believe new buys are guaranteed to be profitable, i.e. no risk.
That’s when risk is at its highest.
       In runaway markets like this, no one wants to hear talk of risk, and for good reason – they are making money, easy money. 
       This market was overvalued a year ago, which says little for conventional yardsticks for valuing stocks.  But that has been true at all market tops  where they become overvalued before plunging. Today is different in that the market’s overvaluation has lasted longer than normal, owing to, first expectations of a massive tax cut, then to it actually passing.

        So, what does all that mean ?   Milk it for all you can but be aware the party can end abruptly.  Money can be more easily made in late stage bull markets due to the euphoria of rising prices up to a point.  That point ALWAYS comes.
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SUPPORT “today”:DJIA:26,007; S&P 500:2,791; Nasdaq Comp.:7,269
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:26,146; S&P 500:2,806; Nasdaq Comp.:7,305

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Without a spending bill, Congress cannot address the nation’s infrastructure needs. I’ll run this a bit longer.
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 INFRASTRUCTURE  PLANA DISSAPPOINTMENT ?
Republican Congressional  leaders met at Camp David over the weekend to address a number of key issues, including immigration, national security and defense spending, according to Mohamed A. El-Erian, Bloomberg News contributor.  Infrastructure was singled out as a top priority. 

     However, reports out of Newsweek and Politico.com indicate the Federal government won’t be spending $1 trillion on the nation’s infrastructure, but rather $200 billion over 10 years, according to Newsweek and Politico.  The Trump administration will expect the state, local  and private sources to bankroll infrastructure rebuilds via public/private partnerships (expensive), taxes and fees while the Feds  plan to streamline bureaucracy, cutting red tape that presumably has held up projects.
      Three obstacles: How many states have the money, and how long would it take to develop other means to finance projects.  Then there are the politics of the various issues that will arise, none the least of which would be finance projects on the backs of cuts to social programs.
      This is yet another disgraceful blunder.  The Trump administration had a chance to tie tax cuts and especially the repatriation of  trillions of dollars abroad to infrastructure funding.
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       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 27. 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), Granite Const’n (GVA, Eagle Materials (EXP), Steel Dynamics (STLD).
      one.
        Go to www.infrastructure report card.org for details on the “problem.

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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
SOLUTION for our nation’s problems: Deport Trump’s base. Not the Republicans who vote their party because they are genuinely conservative, but the racist, violent, abusive element that opts for dumbing down solutions for issues because experienced and intelligent people remind them how incapable they are emotionally and mentally developing rational, unbiased conclusions for issues that serve the best interests of all Americans.
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Mueller adds cyber prosecutor  to  his staff of 16 specialists. Ryan K. Dickey, suggesting one of the charges Mueller would bring would be  the violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as the hacking.  Dickey has been on board since November, but the news was only announced this week.
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Trump’s false or misleading statements (lies) now exceed 2,000 as his first year winds up, according to The Washington Post.
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Trump ABANDONS voter fraud panel, but hands it off the Homeland Security where all the snooping can be done out of sight
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Mueller to be fired ?  Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, he needs it to come from the Department of Justice.  Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from the DOJ who will.  It is doubtful if Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia would do it. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the “investigation.”  EPA’s Scott Pruit has shown an interest in the DOJ, and rumors indicate CIA’s  Mike Pompeo, is a possibility for a post there.  Are any of the two going to be Trump’s hatchet man ?
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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%
NOTE: The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School estimates the  effective tax rate  for corporates will drop to 9.2% as a result of  tax reform.

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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 FED’s HELP 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 respons.
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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 – Brad Parscale – 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.  
        However, as “Business Insider.com” noted on Jan. 9, 2018, Trump could simply fire the Cabinet members who voted to oust him from office.
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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.