Doubts Surfacing on Growth Stocks

INVESTOR’S first read.com Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 25,306
S&P 500: 2,802
Nasdaq Comp.:7,603
Russell 2000: 1,653

Tuesday, July 31, 2018     8:58 a.m.

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 March 10, 2009 Special Bulletin (DJIA: 6,805) BUY !
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This volatility is EXACTLY what I meant when I Warned:
“2018: The Wildest One in Years.” December 27, 2017
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“No one is bearish, and that’s BEARISH…Odds favor a 12%-18% correction” – Jan. 22, 2018: DJIA:26,214.  (A 14-day 12.2% correction started 4 days later.)
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Trump – a human wrecking ball (1/3/17)
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What’s so Christian about favoring the rich over the poor ?

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“Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.”
                                         Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister.
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>“Digital distraction” (Internet and Smartphone addiction) disruptive in the workplace, education and our everyday lives.
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>Baby Trump threatens to shut down the government if he doesn’t get the funding he wants for his wall. With him in office, I can’t see who would want to come to the United States.  Trump may need a wall to keep Americans in.
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>Trump’s tariff tiff costing  US companies a bundle:
         Politico’s Doug Palmer noted yesterday that Trump would have to have the U.S. government shell out $39 billion, $27 bil. in addition to the $12 bil. for farmers, if he wanted to cover the current cost of his tariff tiff.
         U.S. Chamber EVP, Neil Bradley, blogged yesterday that the damage extends to manufacturers, input suppliers, fishermen, and numerous businesses who are finding it more difficult to sell abroad.
         More specifically, auto, parts and motorcycle mfrs. would need $7.6 bil.; chemical mfrs. $960 mil.; prepared foof $884 mil.; fishermen/crabbers $822 mil.; soap mfrs. $725 mil. beverage mfrs. $765 mil.; shipbuilders $632 mil.; furniture mfrs. $567 mil.
       WSJ’s McGroaty and Tita pointed out yesterday that consumers are beginning to see higher prices on beverages, recreational vehicles and products sensitive to an increase  of 33% in steel and 11% in aluminum
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>NAFTA talks with Mexico on fast track
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>Tax Cut and GDP jump Doesn’t help the average American. 
     
Just like the tax cut primarily benefitted corporations and big earners, leaving everyone else behind, the same thing can be said about Q2’s jump in GDP.  As reported in Alternet.org, Vox’s Emily Stewart noted on July 29, that after tax cuts were enacted between Q1 and Q2, real wages fell 1.8%. The big picture is really depressing. wages have risen 12.9% overall since 2009, but adjusted for inflation wages have fallen 9.3%.
       Once again the Republicans have screwed the blue collar people who voted for him.  Need more proof the working man/woman are getting the shaft from Republicans ? In May 2016, the Republican-controlled state legislature passed a law slashing a St. Louis  minimum wage  to 7.70/hour from $10/hour.
      Trump and European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker agreed last Wednesday to hold off on further tariffs  and work toward eliminating current tariffs on steel and aluminum.
        But a lot of damage has already been done by Trump’s impulsive trade decisions.  Companies can plan for good times and bad times, but not for uncertain times.  At best, companies will curb new orders and hold off on new expansion plans, all of this spelling reduced business activity.
        As I understand it, Trump still plans to pursue a 25% tariff on $200 billion in foreign produced autos.
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 Companies are buying back their own stock at a record clip, according to CNN Money.
      Why then are insiders selling $8 of stock for every $1 of stock they buy ?
       “They’re buying back from the front door, and shoveling shares out the back door,” says John Mousseau, CEO of Cumberland Advisers, a firm managing $3 billion.
      “Large US companies have become cash machines for top insiders who run them,” explains David Santschi, director of liquidity research at TrimTabs Research.
      “Insider selling accelerates immediately after buybacks are unveiled,” notes SEC’s, Robert Jackson, adding its study in 2017 and early 2018 found the percentage of insiders selling stock more than doubled immediately after buyback announcements.
      Buybacks  reward investors, and corporate executives whose  compensation is heavily leveraged in stock by supporting a stock’s price, as well as run it up higher.
The process inflates earnings by reducing shares outstanding. 
      So, let me get this straight –  the CFO is buying back $billions of his company’s stock and the CEO, COO, Chairman, et al are using the increase in the price of the stock to SELL.   Really ?  
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IT WILL TAKE YEARS BEFORE ANYONE CAN TRUST ANY PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AFTER Trump has told more than 3,000 LIES/MISTATEMENTSLying is now a craft without shame.
       Bill Clinton started this ball rolling, the Bush administration took it to new levels with weapons of mass destruction, but  Trump’s 3,000 lies (Washington Post) since taking office make lying the new normal.
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      Economies and the stock markets have always fluctuated with wide swings on both sides of the norm –bull market/bear market, economic expansion/recession.. 
      Only a few of us were hammering out the reasons to BUY in late February and early March 2009 with the DJIA under 7,000.
      From what I see, only a few of us are urging investors to raise cash now, as greedy momentum and an unsupported optimism runs stocks higher and higher, well beyond historic norms.

      We are on the edge. The Foxes are in all the henhouses and the public is clueless.
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TODAY                             
      Q2 earnings have  hit the Street, but doubts are surfing that they will fall short of  the lofty projections issued by the Street.
       The big-name growth stocks have been hammered  in the last three days. Facebook (FB) and Netflix (NFLX) have had disappointing results biting into the aura that they are indestructible.

     If the flow of good earnings fails to run stocks higher, or if earnings fail to meet aggressive projections, the market is in trouble.
      Earnings are not the only factor impacting the market.  The risk of a widening trade war, is a good bet.   A ramp up of Fed policy with rising interest rates is another. Bad news for Trump and Republicans in the midterms, yet another, and  war, or rumors of war would  be major negatives.  
      Was Iran one of the subjects Trump discussed in secret with Putin pursuant to his weekend tweet rant warning Iran’s President Rouhani to never, ever threaten the United States again or he will suffer the consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before ?
      Will Trump put the U.S. on a war footing going into the elections to orchestrate patriotic support ?  
      That could impact stock prices – BEWARE.

GDP:
      Q2 GDP was up 4.1% , primarily as a result of tax cuts, a tight labor market and more importantly a rush to buy ahead of higher prices brought about by tariffs and the potential for a trade war.  Exports increased 9.3%  in a surge of soybean sales, government purchases and increased business spending also contributed to the GDP’s strength.
      While Q2 GDP fell short of administration’s projections for a 5% growth rate, it was enough to ensure further interest rate bumps going forward.
       The GDP price index jumped well beyond expectations  of rising construction costs(labor shortage, lumber, oil), another reason for the Fed to bump rates.
       As expected, Trump credited his policies for the good number, but failed to mention that there were 8 quarters of 3% growth or higher and 3 quarters exceeding 4% and one that hit 5.2%.
TODAY’S MARKET
       Yesterday, I said the
biggest risk was  a rally failure, i.e., a rally that fizzles giving up all its gain for the day.
       That is exactly what happened, as a brief rally at the open was met by sellers with the market averages closing at their lows for the day.
       Again, there is a risk of a rally failure, making buying at the open risky.
        The plunge in the growth stocks is rattling nerves on the Street. A real wipe-out could force the money managers to stop new buying and accelerate selling sending the whole market into a tailspin. 
        This is a HUGE week for economic news, as well as, a news release from last month’s FOMC meeting.  That news is old and does not include a rise in the 10-year treasury to 2.98% and a jump in inflationary pressures.  There will be no press conference (a “presser”), at 2:30.
        Economic reports: Mon.: Tues.: Personal Income, Employment Cost, Chicago PMI, Consumer Confidence, State Street Investor Confidence; Wed.: Motor Vehicle Sales, ADP Employment, PMI Mfg.; Thur.: Jobless Claims, Factory Orders; Fri.: Employment Situation, Int’l Trade, PMI Services, ISM Non-Mfg..
         For details go to: mam.econoday.com
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SUPPORT “today”:DJIA:25,167 ;S&P 500:2,789;Nasdaq Comp.:7,557
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:25,374;S&P 500:2,809;Nasdaq Comp.:7,649

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BULLISH CASE
     
Corporate earnings are the only positive. Earnings reports will begin to flow in July and they will be good, 20%  for the S&P 500 over a year ago.
      But these earnings have been largely discounted by high stock prices. The Street will soon be looking out to 2019 when earnings increases will be 4% – 7%.
       Factset projects a Q2 earnings gain of  19.0%, that’s up from its projection of +17.1% on March 31.  For 2018 they see a gain of 20.0%.
       Thomson Reuters pegs Q2 earnings gain at +20.9% and something a bit above +19% for the year as a whole . HOWEVER,  it presently projects Q1 2019  increase at +4.4%, Q2 at +8.7%. Q3: +8.7%. Could it be the 19% jump in 2018 earnings is already  factored into the market ?   
         If the Democrats gain control of the House or Senate, or both, it could offset the fact that  we are in a tailspin, financially, economically and morally. It could be a game changer, though we are heading for a recession
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BEARISH CASE
RISING INTEREST RATES:
      The Fed is persistently raising its benchmark interest rate (federal funds), as well as reducing its inflated balance sheet,  which will drive other rates higher, which will adversely impact interest sensitive industries.  Banks will love it, but it will send shivers throughout the housing industry, which is reeling from the impact of tariff-induced higher lumber prices. 
      The 10-year treasury has been rising steadily and now stands at 2.856 %, it has recently been a smidge above 3%.
      Inflation is accelerating faster than expected with the core PCE rising to 2.0 in May, suggesting the Fed may ramp up its tightening. While  average  hourly earnings are not keeping pace, Friday’s Employment Report may show some catch up.
       The yield curve is flattening as short-term treasuries rise faster than long-tern governments just another warning sign of impending recession.
      Home prices have risen recouping most of losses incurred since the Great Recession, making houses even more unaffordable. Limited inventories of houses available for purchase is pushing prices higher.
      New buyers missed their once in a lifetime opportunity to buy when mortgage rates were at historic lows, they will have to pay-up to buy a house, if they can get the financing.
      OVERVALUED MARKET
     Thompson Reuters reports the S&P 500 sells at 19.1 times earnings and 16.7 times a year from now. All this versus a 10-year average of 14.3.
      The Shiller P/E runs much higher at 32.6  times earnings versus a mean of 16.9.  Shiller’s P/E is based on  inflation adjusted earnings over 10 years.
      The S&P 500 price to sales ratio is 2.24 vs.  an average of 1.49.  Before the 2007-2009 bear market it stood at 1.5 x.
      The Total Market Capitalization to GDP  stands at 147.3%, anything above 115% is “overvalued.”
       It looks like stock buy-backs are the only thing holding the market up. It was hoped that the 40% tax cut would trigger spending in capex.  Not yet, companies are buying back their own stock, pushing prices higher enhancing executive stock options.
       Corporate debt relative to GDP (45%) is higher now than before the 2007-2009 meltdown
       Corporations set a record in Q1, using benefits of tax cuts to buy back $189  billion of their own stock, beating the prior record of  $172 billion set in  the summer of 2007 right before the Great Bear Market/Recession.  This is a sign of speculative excess, as is a record amount of margin debt, investor borrowings to buy stock.
AGING BULL MARKET:
      The bull market is now  nine years and three months old (109 months).  That’s 3.5 times the average of the last 15 bull markets.
AGING ECONOMIC EXPANSION:
      The current economic expansion has lasted 108 months. That’s 48 months (1.8x) longer that the average expansion going back to 1945.  Nine out of the last 10 recessions have occurred with a Republican in the White House.
      The onset of bear markets have led the beginning of recessions by 8.5 months going back to 1956, so don’t look for a recession to signal a bear market. The longest lead time was 13 months (1968 – 1969) The “mode” (most frequent) is 12 months.
      1,100 economists WARN Trump is repeating biggest mistakes of Great Depression – tariffs, trade protectionism, according to conservative National Taxpayers’ Union.
      Former Fed Chair, Ben Bernanke, says economy to fall off a cliff in 2020, thanks to the $1.5 trillion corporate and individual tax cut and $300 billion increase in spending.              C
      Consumer spending slipped in May, as did Consumer Expectations and Consumer Confidence. It’s summer, maybe this slowing  is meaningless.
*******The Eurozone is in a slump. The IFO Business Climate Index has been soft all year, GDP is also sliding in face of a slump in retail sales.
      CNN.com reports Corporate America took advantage of low interest rates to load up on debt in recent years for acquisitions and to buy back their own stock. Excluding banks, the tally is $6.3trillion. The downside of this comes when these companies will need to refinance this debt at higher interest rates when it comes due.
      Existing home sales slumped in Q2, and are down in 5 of first 6 months
TRUMP’S TRADE WAR TANTRUM:
       He’s  a human wrecking ball, blustering without forethought of the consequences of  his actions. 
       Economists are minimizing the impact of  the flurry of tariffs, saying their impact is not significant. Perhaps when looking at the big picture but pain is being felt around the country as the stories roll in.
       This tariff jousting changes every several days.…..No one knows where this is going, and on top of aging economic expansions here and abroad, that’s scary.
        I crash-coursed this subject in recent days, as I  have done so many times with issues since Trump took office.   I am certain of one thing,  I do not know enough about this vast subject, nor could I condense what I know here to make any sense.
       What I do know is, today’s businesses are complex, especially supply chains that can involve a thousand parts that make up a whole product, many of which are sourced from different countries, sometimes crossing back and forth across the same border a number of times.
     Throw a wrench into the works and the gears start to gnash.  Managers are pressed to seek other sources, other outlets.  Efficiency and profitability begin to plummet.
      In fact, it doesn’t have to go that far.  Uncertain of the future, unable to plan, budgets get cut, sales orders construction projects cancelled, managers find planning more and more difficult.
      Enter the domino effect, and the pain spreads to other industries and finally to households threatened by unemployment, budgets there are cut, as well.   
      Trump’s hostility to globalization is ruining the U.S. as a place to do business, even invest.     
  
      Trump considering leaving World Trade Organization (WTO).
BREAKING: Trump and European Commission’s Jean-Claude Juncker agreed yesterday to hold off further tariffs and work toward eliminating present tariffs and barriers to trade
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IMPLODING:
      Will he fire Rosenstein, then Mueller ?  Resign ? Create a series of constitutional crises ? Will, Mueller release devastating information about him ?
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
What Trump and his base have in common: They both deplore the same people – people of color, the handicapped, liberals, foreigners.
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VOTES FLIPPED for TRUMP  in Key States in 2016
     
I am not  a conspiracy advocate, but I  suspect that not only did the Russians hack voter files, but they, or someone, tampered with the actual votes, also known as flipping.  Take one vote away from one candidate and give it to the other candidate and the net is two votes.
      Not to anyone’s surprise, Daily Kos’ Aldous Pennyfarthing (Pen name for Tom Breuer)  gave reasons in Alternet.org, July 27, why he thinks the Russians [or someone] flipped votes for Trump in 2016.
      The basis for this conclusion was comparing exit polls with actual out- come in North Carolina Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
      The differences between exit polls and the vote count in those states is pronounced.
Pennsylvania: Exit polls Clinton 50.5 – Trump 46.1.  Result: Clinton 46.1 –   Trump 48.8.
Wisconsin: Exit poll Clinton 48.2 – Trump 44.3  Result: Clinton 47.6 – Trump 48.8.
North Carolina: Exit poll Clinton  48.6 – Trump 46.5. Result: Clinton 46.1 – Trump 49.9.
      An FOI suit by Bradley Moss (cybersecurity lawyer) brought against the government  revealed Russians hacked inside voting systems in seven big states , which U.S. intelligence  denied at first then confirmed, but Homeland Security failed to report it to the states  for eight months.
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Sinclair Broadcast Group  (BEWARE !)   
      On July 16, 2018, Ajit Pai, appointed to FCC Chair by Trump, rejected  Sinclair’s acquisition of Tribune Broadcast Group which would greatly expand its reach into New York, La and Chicago markets with an addition of 42 more stations, saying he had serious concerns about the deal.
       Trump quickly criticized regulators for deferring their decision for the obvious reason, Sinclair is a right wing media  group  reportedly  intent on spreading its ideology across as much of America as possible.

      Sinclair Broadcast Group is using its clout as owner of  193 television stations as a lever to manipulate local station viewers’ minds pitching it’s right wing propaganda. Viewers tend to trust local stations programing over national networks.
       I called attention to this danger in my September 1, blog, warning that Sinclair’s reach to 80 markets gave it unfettered power. In recent days, Sinclair required news anchors in 200 of its local TV stations to warn viewers that unnamed media are always biased, and publishing fake news. This is a classic example of “projection” where one guilty of doing something wrong actually accuses another of that deed. Sinclair accuses liberal media of manipulation when in fact it is the one doing it.   EXPECT Sinclair to play a bunch of shell games to eventually get its way.
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      Sinclair Bank (no relation to the broadcast  group) has surfaced as a lender to Michael Cohen, Jared Kushner, his father and Trump.  Ivanka Trump no longer on board. 
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       U.S. Constitution: Article 3, section 3: Treason, briefly defined levying war against the U.S., or in adhering to its enemy, namely aid and comfort, also defined as any act that deliberately strengthens or tends to strengthen enemies of the U.S. or that weakens the power of the U.S. to resist and attack such enemies.
       Briefly, it requires a confession or matching testimony of two witnesses to conclude that an overt act occurred, but not to include “intent”. Congress decides one’s punishment.  
        Is Trump guilty of treason ?  Congressional Republicans that blatantly support him ?   
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TRUMP’S BASE:  Some are those voting because they always vote Republican, others hoped for a different outcome.  Then there are those whose opinions are based on emotional disorders, those who will never accept the truth no matter what (Confirmation Bias); those who accept bad behavior as the norm (Deviancy Down); and those who while stupid, ill informed who actually believe they are highly intelligent, competent (Dunning Krueger). These people don’t have enough knowledge to know they don’t have enough knowledge, i.e.,too dumb to know they are dumb.(alternet.com 7/23/18)
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 Russia’s Vladimir Putin coming to Washington in the fall ?  Is he running for office ?  He can count on support from the Republicans.
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July 19, 2018: Republicans refuse to renew election security funding over Russian hacking – Democrats livid, as all of us should be. Is this really happening ?  
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What !  John Bolton slashing Trump’s cybersecurity agent ?    Trump’s hawkish national security adviser is trying to abolish the role of special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator held by Rob Joyce, according to someone who didn’t want their name disclosed.
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Follow this one closely: The Dept. of Justice charged a Russian national, Mariia Butina, of illegally trying to influence American politics using the NRA, religious organizations and the National Prayer Breakfast  as a means of gaining backchannel access to the highest levels of the Republican Party.  Mother Jones says  Butina acted as a covert Russian agent, an unregistered foreign agent, participating in a multiyear conspiracy to infiltrate conservative political groups, including the NRA. The depth of her ties to Republicans and the NRA appear to be significant.  According to USA Today, Russian billionaire, Konstantin Nikolaev provided funds for a gun rights group Butina started years ago.

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      Since Deputy Atty Gen’l Rod Rosenstein would not fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Trump needed to find someone in the Dept. Of Justice who would assuming Trump first fired Rosenstein.
     On November 8, I noted Brian Benszkowski was nominated by President Trump in June [2017] to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. Along party lines, he was confirmed by the Senate recently, raising the question would he fire Mueller if Rosenstein was fired and he  was appointed in his place. He said he would not recuse himself from  questions in the Mueller investigation.
     The big question mark here is that Benczkowski had represented Russia’s Alfa Bank at some point in the past and had no prosecutorial experience.  He had worked for Atty Gen’l Jeff Sessions and the Bush administration and was not opposed by Rosenstein.

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A “MALEVOLENT FOOL” – Lt. Col. , Ret’d, Ralph Peters, ex-Fox analyst referring to Trump.   Malevolent: evil, harmful, injurious.
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Kavanaugh nominated for Supreme Court not to  overturn Roe v. Wade, but because he has written that a sitting President should be exempted from criminal prosecution, and investigation, including questioning by prosecutors.
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A majority vote in both the House and Senate can change the number of Justices on the Supreme Court. The number is fixed by statute, not by the Constitution. It has ranged between 6 and 10 since 1789.
       The question now is, will the Republicans attempt it to increase it in order to head off  any attempt by the Democrats in the future.
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Trump an agent of Russia ?  His actions suggest it. Read following:
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Un-American ! Trump claims writers of U.S. Constitution treated Him unfairly, adding we have the worst constitution writers in the world…Russia has better constitution writers than we do, says Trump . “I talked with Putin, and he said their constitution never gives him problems.” Andy Borowitz, (The Borowitz Report).
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      WE DON”T WANT TO GO THERE !  The Trump administration is taking the United States straight to a place none of us wants to be – civil unrest,  an extended recession, a fiscal crisis where we can’t pay our bills, ergo the need to slash healthcare, safety net programs, a host of programs that have improved our quality of life.
      This administration’s actions on trade (tariffs, TPP
), the intentional divisiveness of America along racial lines, and abandonment of our long-time allies have opened the door for China to dominate the world, economically and militarily.  That’s Un-American.  This has to be stopped.
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TRUMP’S LIES and misleading statements has reached 3,000 since taking office, according to the Washington Post
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The key for politicians to controlling people’s  minds is to lie relentlessly about everything and especially in response to criticism. Trump is a master at it, but he should be per the above.  He is the ultimate con man and so good at it he has millions of American suckers conned.  He is unprecedented, masterful, and he is destroying the very fabric of what has made us GREAT.
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Stockholm Syndrome ?  The extremists are trying to gut our Constitution, turn us into a fascist state. If Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi  had a smidgeon of the patriotism and spine Maxine Waters has, they would fight to save our republic. She’s one of ours, don’t cut her off at the knees.  FIGHT them, contest every lie, every disregard for the rule of law and humanityNFS !
Note: Stockholm Syndrome is decision by hostages (Dems) to develop a psychological alliance with their captors (Reps) as a survival strategy during captivity.
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Republican strategist, Steve Schmidt, leaves Republican Party after 29 years, saying the party is “corrupt, indecent and immoral,” and with a few exceptions  elected  Republicans are “feckless cowards who disgrace and dishonor the legacies of the party’s greatest leaders.” Others quitting Republican Party: George Will, “Morning” Joe Scarborough. To date, 35 senior Trump advisers have left.
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Immigrants and separation: It’s 90% Stephen Miller, a Breitfart alum, and acknowledged racist.. Former senior vice president of public affairs at Duke University where Miller attended said, He is the most sanctimonious student I ever encountered…absolutely sure of his own views and correctness of them, and if you were in disagreement with him , there was something malevolent or stupid about your thinking.
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President Donald Trump is NOT pro-business, he’s pro-Trump
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Liberal Dems must stop being so liberal, find some spine and  find three issues to fight for – my suggested rallying cry: “Before it’s too late……..” save healthcare, Social Security, our education system and identity as a world leader.
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TRUMP EXIT STRATEGY: The most important thing for King Donald is his image.  Currently he is scrambling to initiate as many perceived accomplishments as possible (taxes, anti-immigrant, anti-allies, deregulation, North Korea, Iran, ISIS, unemployment).
     
This way, if he is impeached, defeated in 2020, or forced to resign, he can claim to have been the greatest president of all-time – he’ll tweet it relentlessly, deviancy-downed Americans will believe it and every network in the country, whores that they are, (including MSNBC and CNN) will scramble to cover his tweets.  IMHO: he won’t risk losing in 2020, just not run – declare he has accomplished his mission and walk away..
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Wake up out there. These aren’t Republicans, they are anarchists, extremists  who have wrested control of the Republican party over the last 20 years and are intent on a party rule with no checks and balances.
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National security adviser, John Bolton, has added two  loyalists to the National Security Council, CNN reposts, referring to Sarah Tinsley and Garrett Marquis. Both have been associated with Bolton for years. Considered a hawk on international affairs, Bolton appears to be positioning his team to back up Trump in any military strike he sees would please his base, possibly in time for the midterm elections. Putting the country on a war footing tends to rally the country behind a president.
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POSSIBLE ! That the blue wave won’t happen in November.  Why? The American voter is still zoned out about what is happening – too busy with other stuff, not capable of  objectively analyzing issues accurately without bias.
     The result: The extremist Republicans and their president will run the economy, a constructive foreign relations policy, and America’s quality of life into the ground.  In order to get the American voter’s attention, we have to hit bottom first.
      That means an extended recession, a fiscal crisis (unable to pay bills), a 65% drop in the stock market and,  national unrest greater than that which the Vietnam War attracted.
       We are witnessing the unfolding of  the biggest scandal in our country’s history, including illegal financial transactions, vote tampering and  untethered collusion and obstruction of  justice at the highest level.  This may take years to unravel.
      Again, I say “possible,” not probable..  Probable would be all that but not as severe.
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Corporations got a 40% tax cut, John and Jane Q get a 1.2% – 1.8% cut, even so, Trump plans to introduce a “rescission package” to cut $15 billion in already approved spending on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation program, as well as 30 other programs. The  U.S. House will likely approve his  rescission  package, the Senate may not.
ANOTHER TRUMP BLUNDER !
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According to Bloomberg.com, 1,100 economists warn that Trump is repeating one of the biggest mistakes of the Great Depression – tariffs and trade protectionism. The warning came in a letter from the conservative-leaning National Taxpayers Union.
      China loves it !  Trump opened the door, China entered, capitalizing on Trump’s regressive “America First” mantra, with its far reaching Belt and Road outreach with investments encompassing infrastructure, education, construction materials, rail and hi-way, auto, real estate, power grid and iron and steel investments to 68 countries, 65% of the world’s population and 40% of global GDP.
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      Kim took Trump’s war with North Korea option off the table, so looks like Trump now has his sights set on IRAN – to please his base, of course, in time for the mid-terms, of course.
      None of this would happen if we still had the military draft.
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North Korea give up nuclear weapons ?  Never !  Kim wants a global stage, so does Trump, who will not risk being embarrassed by the little tyrant. Trump will bail.  He needs a villain to trash to please his base. Kim has what he wants, the recognition as a nuclear power, and he can thank a blundering Trump for it. If Trump deserves credit for the recent lovefest between the two Koreas, then is entitled to it.  Currently, he is taking 100% credit.  I think he has been played like a harp.  
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Impeachment of Trump unlikely with this Republican House. Trump has surrounded himself with newly appointed Cabinet members, so Section 4 of the 25th amendment is not a reality.   What’s left ?  A deal with Mueller for his RESIGNATION ?
      He could
tweet forever how he accomplished tax cuts, deregulation, a big spend on the military. He could claim that though he was mistreated by the press, he will still go down in history as the best President ever.
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Must Read: “Will Christian Nationalism Drive Trump’s Base to the Polls in November ?”  Truthout April 15, Bill Berkowitz. This explains why his base of Christians votes for an immoral person, one whose behavior is the antithesis of the teachings of Christ.
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Will Trump  Fire Mueller ?

LOOK FOR THIS  TIP-OFF:

      Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, it must be done by the Department of Justice.  Trump would have to find someone to do it.  Nixon did it in 1973 when he had to work through two attorney generals until  his solicitor general, Robert Bork fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. 
     
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from DOJ , or someone outside who has already been confirmed by the Senate who will do it.  Rachel Brand, a conservative who supported Sen. Cruz in 2017 would be in line to take over from Rosenstein, but she just announced she is resigning from DOJ (2/9/19)      
       DOJ’s Dana Bounte’s resignation last October and his recent  appointment by FBI Director Christopher Wray as general Counsel  for the FBI takes him out of the running, though it is doubtful he would have fired Mueller.   He served as the U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia, as well as, acting assistant attorney general  for the National Security Division of DOJ and may be a valuable source of information for the FBI, since he had an inside view.     
      Unconfirmed rumors are that EPA’s Scott Pruit (already confirmed) has shown an interest in the DOJ, is a possibility for a post there.  We now know that is a stretch given the baggage he carries. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russian/Trump  “investigation” March 2017.
       Philip Bump, Washington Post (WAPO) April 10, did a great job outlining possibilities in, “Why Trump can’t fire Mueller – at least not directly.”  I can only touch on a few of his points here.
       In his article, Georgetown University’s professor Paul Butler raises the interesting point that  firing Mueller may not be necessary if  Rosenstein is replaced by someone hostile to the Special Counsel’s investigation.  He would simply force a stall with lots of demands, even leak information to the White House.   
       REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER: Trump would have to have  good reason to fire Mueller.  Grounds must be, misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or other good cause, including violation of policies of the Department of Justice, and failure to follow Justice Departments guidelines and violation of applicable canons of ethics.
       CAN TRUMP RESCIND  SPECIAL COUNSEL REGULATION ?  Yes, it’s possible but many legal hurdles  would make it difficult and possibly so time consuming as to make the action worthless. There is no clear cut answer. This would be decided in court, the legal ramifications just very complex.
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FISCAL CRISIS LOOMS IN FUTURE:  Headlines:“Federal debt primed to explode”….”U.S. Deficit to Surpass $1 Trillion Two Years Ahead of Estimates”….”This Year’s budget deficit to hit $804 B after tax cuts and spending hikes”….
       This is all a Republican scheme to justify massive spending cuts to social, health, educational  and safety net programs. It is called “Starving the Beast,” and will lead to debilitating and prolonged recession/bear market, increased crime, rioting and civil unrest.  Republicans set the stage with massive, unnecessary tax cuts and a big budget spend (see below: “Corporate Tax Cut Irresponsible”)
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Cambridge Analytica (now in bankruptcy) is center stage again. Palmer.com  reports  someone behind the scenes is trying to block  Britain’s  Channel 4 News from airing an expose  into Cambridge’s role in using  Facebook (FB) to influence voters to vote for Trump and not Clinton.  On Friday,  Facebook  banned Cambridge’s access.  Palmer speculates the Mercers are behind the  attempt to prevent Channel 4’s expose.  I was on  Cambridge’s case back on June 22, 2017,  noting that billionaire Robert Mercer was connected to Cambridge through Canada’s Aggregate IQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked to influence voting  in the Brexit referendum.  Aggregate is a data mining company.  While Aggregate denies any connection,  the story won’t go away. Palmer sees a connection between Cambridge and John Bolton’s SUPER PAC.  Palmer notes that UK Parliament is investigating  the connection between Cambridge and Brexit and documents referred to by Cambridge whistleblower Christopher Wylie reveal  the firm gave stolen Facebook  user data to Bolton’s PAC  (receiving stolen goods ?), though it is not known how Bolton used the data if his PAC even received it.  (See below: Mercer on the run ?)

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Remember the name Felix Sater, former business associate of Trump, convicted  Russian mafia money laundering figure, and key FBI informant.
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Another name to watch is Ted Malloch who Palmer.com reports was served a subpoena relating to the Trump/Russia probe.  Malloch is a U. S. citizen living in London with close tire to Roger Stone, Brexit leader Nigel Farage and the Trump campaign.  As noted above in Cambridge Analytica, there is a connection to parties involved in Brexit and Trump’s campaign.
George Nader, Who he ?  Possibly a key source of information. This is highly complicated with new information pending. Nader has long-standing ties in the Mid-East and Washington over many years.  What appears to be important here is he is cooperating with the Mueller probe not as a wrongdoer, but as a source of information.  He has had ties with the Trump administration through Steve Bannon  and reportedly attended a meeting in the Seychelles Islands January 11, 2017 along with Blackwater founder and former Trump associate, Eric Prince, and Kirill Dmitriev head of a U.S. sanctioned investment firm with close ties to Putin.  Reportedly Nader represented United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
      I referred to the Seychilles meeting on April 5, 2017 noting  the Washington Post reported the meeting was intended to encourage Russia to curtail support for Iran and Syria (Trump wish list) in exchange for lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia.
We’ll see.
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Protecting guns and profits have become more important than protecting the lives of young people” Henry A. Giroux, Truthout ,  March 4.
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Why are so many Americans beholden to guns ? It could be their sense of security was rocked by 9/11 plus the Great Recession/Bear Market.  Then it could be racial, a fear that people of different colors will eventually outnumber them, prompting  the need (in their paranoid minds) to stage a forceful change in governance (revolution).  This makes little sense, but from their point of  simplemindedness, they feel more secure with a dozen guns and cases of ammunition in house just in case.
     What these whackos don’t understand is they can’t use their guns outside of their homes for fear of injuring or killing an innocent person which not only sends them to jail, but opens them up to a lawsuit where they lose their stock portfolio, car, house and all those “blankies” that  go bang.  ………………………………………

 

A quasi-fascist state would give Trump the untethered power he craves.
Read: The Ghost of Fascism in the Age of Trump

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43529-the-ghost-of-fascism-in-the-age-of-trump
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U.S. Ranking globally and domestically is 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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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, 2,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?.
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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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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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Red states In need of Fed government help the most

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’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 response.
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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. These are people were part of the Trump team, or in a position to know information relating to activities before or after the 2016 election, though  not necessarily in any way guilty of any wrongdoing.
       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 – Sam Nunberg – Dan Scavino – Keith Schiller –  Alex Van Der waan – Ted Malloch -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.
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIG Week for Economic Reports

INVESTOR’S first read.com – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 25,451
S&P 500: 2,818
Nasdaq Comp.:7,737
Russell 2000: 1,664

Friday, July 27, 2018     9:04 a.m.

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 March 10, 2009 Special Bulletin (DJIA: 6,805) BUY !
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This volatility is EXACTLY what I meant when I Warned:
“2018: The Wildest One in Years.” December 27, 2017
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“No one is bearish, and that’s BEARISH…Odds favor a 12%-18% correction” – Jan. 22, 2018: DJIA:26,214.  (A 14-day 12.2% correction started 4 days later.)
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Trump – a human wrecking ball (1/3/17)
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What’s so Christian about favoring the rich over the poor ?

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“Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.”
                                         Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister.
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Tax Cut and GDP jump Doesn’t help the average American. 
     
Just like the tax cut primarily benefitted corporations and big earners, leaving everyone else behind, the same thing can be said about Q2’s jump in GDP.  As reported in Alternet.org, Vox’s Emily Stewart noted on July 29, that after tax cuts were enacted between Q1 and Q2, real wages fell 1.8%. The big picture is really depressing. wages have risen 12.9% overall since 2009, but adjusted for inflation wages have fallen 9.3%.
       Once again the Republicans have screwed the blue collar people who voted for him.  Need more proof the working man/woman are getting the shaft from Republicans ? In May 2016, the Republican-controlled state legislature passed a law slashing a St. Louis  minimum wage  to 7.70/hour from $10/hour.
      Trump and European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker agreed last Wednesday to hold off on further tariffs  and work toward eliminating current tariffs on steel and aluminum.
        But a lot of damage has already been done by Trump’s impulsive trade decisions.  Companies can plan for good times and bad times, but not for uncertain times.  At best, companies will curb new orders and hold off on new expansion plans, all of this spelling reduced business activity.
        As I understand it, Trump still plans to pursue a 25% tariff on $200 billion in foreign produced autos.
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 Companies are buying back their own stock at a record clip, according to CNN Money.
      Why then are insiders selling $8 of stock for every $1 of stock they buy ?
       “They’re buying back from the front door, and shoveling shares out the back door,” says John Mousseau, CEO of Cumberland Advisers, a firm managing $3 billion.
      “Large US companies have become cash machines for top insiders who run them,” explains David Santschi, director of liquidity research at TrimTabs Research.
      “Insider selling accelerates immediately after buybacks are unveiled,” notes SEC’s, Robert Jackson, adding its study in 2017 and early 2018 found the percentage of insiders selling stock more than doubled immediately after buyback announcements.
      Buybacks  reward investors, and corporate executives whose  compensation is heavily leveraged in stock by supporting a stock’s price, as well as run it up higher.
The process inflates earnings by reducing shares outstanding. 
      So, let me get this straight –  the CFO is buying back $billions of his company’s stock and the CEO, COO, Chairman, et al are using the increase in the price of the stock to SELL.   Really ?  
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IT WILL TAKE YEARS BEFORE ANYONE CAN TRUST ANY PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AFTER Trump has told more than 3,000 LIES/MISTATEMENTSLying is now a craft without shame.
       Bill Clinton started this ball rolling, the Bush administration took it to new levels with weapons of mass destruction, but  Trump’s 3,000 lies (Washington Post) since taking office make lying the new normal.
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      Economies and the stock markets have always fluctuated with wide swings on both sides of the norm –bull market/bear market, economic expansion/recession.. 
      Only a few of us were hammering out the reasons to BUY in late February and early March 2009 with the DJIA under 7,000.
      From what I see, only a few of us are urging investors to raise cash now, as greedy momentum and an unsupported optimism runs stocks higher and higher, well beyond historic norms.

      We are on the edge. The Foxes are in all the henhouses and the public is clueless.
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TODAY
MARKET AVERAGE DISTORTION: (www;money.com/data/dow30)
      The major market averages can be distorted by big moves up or down in one or a few stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is “price-weighted,” so a move in Boeing (BA: 350) can have a 9.5 times the impact on the DJIA as Pfizer (PFE: 37) even though BA is smaller in market capitalization .
       To determine how much a stock impacts the DJIA, divide that stock’s point change by the Dow divisor (0.14748).
       During the day Wednesday, BA was down 10.50 points, which  lopped off 70 points from the DJIA which at the time was down 46 points.  If BA was unchanged, the DJIA would have been up 24 points.  The impact can be greater when 4 or 5 of the Dow’s high-priced stocks move several points.
        The S&P 500, Nasdaq Comp., and Russell 2000 are weighted based on their market value (shares outstanding times price), which means the larger companies and high fliers dominate the moves in the indices. The Nasdaq is dominated by the big name growth stocks – Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Alphabet (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook (FB), and big moves in these stocks can impact to Nasdaq averages..
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      Q2 earnings have  hit the Street and as expected here pushed the DJIA and S&P 500 higher, however the Nasdaq Comp. didn’t budge, and the small company Russell 2000 declined significantly.
      If the flow of good earnings fails to run stocks higher, or if earnings fail to meet aggressive projections, the market is in trouble.
      Earnings are not the only factor impacting the market.  The risk of a widening trade war, is a good bet.   A ramp up of Fed policy with rising interest rates is another. Bad news for Trump and Republicans in the midterms, yet another, and  war, or rumors of war would  be major negatives.  
      Was Iran one of the subjects Trump discussed in secret with Putin pursuant to his weekend tweet rant warning Iran’s President Rouhani to never, ever threaten the United States again or he will suffer the consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before ?
      Will Trump put the U.S. on a war footing going into the elections to orchestrate patriotic support ?  
      That could impact stock prices – BEWARE.

GDP:
      Q2 GDP was up 4.1% , primarily as a result of tax cuts, a tight labor market and more importantly a rush to buy ahead of higher prices brought about by tariffs and the potential for a trade war.  Exports increased 9.3%  in a surge of soybean sales, government purchases and increased business spending also contributed to the GDP’s strength.
      While Q2 GDP fell short of administration’s projections for a 5% growth rate, it was enough to ensure further interest rate bumps going forward.
       The GDP price index jumped well beyond expectations  of rising construction costs(labor shortage, lumber, oil), another reason for the Fed to bump rates.
       As expected, Trump credited his policies for the good number, but failed to mention that there were 8 quarters of 3% growth or higher and 3 quarters exceeding 4% and one that hit 5.2%.
TODAY’S MARKET
      
Biggest risk today is a rally failure, i.e., a rally that fizzles giving up all its gain for the day.
        This is a HUGE week for economic news, as well as, a news release from last month’s FOMC meeting.  That news is old and does not include a rise in the 10-year treasury to 2.98% and a jump in inflationary pressures.  There will be no press conference (a “presser”), at 2:30.
        Economic reports: Mon.: Pending Home Sales, Dallas Fed. Mfg.; Tues.: Personal Income, Employment Cost, Chicago PMI, Consumer Confidence, State Street Investor Confidence; Wed.: Motor Vehicle Sales, ADP Employment, PMI Mfg.; Thur.: Jobless Claims, Factory Orders; Fri.: Employment Situation, Int’l Trade, PMI Services, ISM Non-Mfg..
         For details go to: mam.econoday.com
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SUPPORT “today”:DJIA: 25,411;S&P 500:2,815;Nasdaq Comp.:7,653
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:25,536;S&P 500:2,827;Nasdaq Comp.:7,773

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BULLISH CASE
     
Corporate earnings are the only positive. Earnings reports will begin to flow in July and they will be good, 20%  for the S&P 500 over a year ago.
      But these earnings have been largely discounted by high stock prices. The Street will soon be looking out to 2019 when earnings increases will be 4% – 7%.
       Factset projects a Q2 earnings gain of  19.0%, that’s up from its projection of +17.1% on March 31.  For 2018 they see a gain of 20.0%.
       Thomson Reuters pegs Q2 earnings gain at +20.9% and something a bit above +19% for the year as a whole . HOWEVER,  it presently projects Q1 2019  increase at +4.4%, Q2 at +8.7%. Q3: +8.7%. Could it be the 19% jump in 2018 earnings is already  factored into the market ?    
         If the Democrats gain control of the House or Senate, or both, it could offset the fact that  we are in a tailspin, financially, economically and morally. It could be a game changer, though we are heading for a recession
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BEARISH CASE
RISING INTEREST RATES:
      The Fed is persistently raising its benchmark interest rate (federal funds), as well as reducing its inflated balance sheet,  which will drive other rates higher, which will adversely impact interest sensitive industries.  Banks will love it, but it will send shivers throughout the housing industry, which is reeling from the impact of tariff-induced higher lumber prices. 
      The 10-year treasury has been rising steadily and now stands at 2.856 %, it has recently been a smidge above 3%.
      Inflation is accelerating faster than expected with the core PCE rising to 2.0 in May, suggesting the Fed may ramp up its tightening. While  average  hourly earnings are not keeping pace, Friday’s Employment Report may show some catch up.
       The yield curve is flattening as short-term treasuries rise faster than long-tern governments just another warning sign of impending recession.
      Home prices have risen recouping most of losses incurred since the Great Recession, making houses even more unaffordable. Limited inventories of houses available for purchase is pushing prices higher.
      New buyers missed their once in a lifetime opportunity to buy when mortgage rates were at historic lows, they will have to pay-up to buy a house, if they can get the financing.
      OVERVALUED MARKET
     Thompson Reuters reports the S&P 500 sells at 19.1 times earnings and 16.7 times a year from now. All this versus a 10-year average of 14.3.
      The Shiller P/E runs much higher at 32.6  times earnings versus a mean of 16.9.  Shiller’s P/E is based on  inflation adjusted earnings over 10 years.
      The S&P 500 price to sales ratio is 2.24 vs.  an average of 1.49.  Before the 2007-2009 bear market it stood at 1.5 x.
      The Total Market Capitalization to GDP  stands at 147.3%, anything above 115% is “overvalued.”
       It looks like stock buy-backs are the only thing holding the market up. It was hoped that the 40% tax cut would trigger spending in capex.  Not yet, companies are buying back their own stock, pushing prices higher enhancing executive stock options.
       Corporate debt relative to GDP (45%) is higher now than before the 2007-2009 meltdown
       Corporations set a record in Q1, using benefits of tax cuts to buy back $189  billion of their own stock, beating the prior record of  $172 billion set in  the summer of 2007 right before the Great Bear Market/Recession.  This is a sign of speculative excess, as is a record amount of margin debt, investor borrowings to buy stock.
AGING BULL MARKET:
      The bull market is now  nine years and three months old (109 months).  That’s 3.5 times the average of the last 15 bull markets.
AGING ECONOMIC EXPANSION:
      The current economic expansion has lasted 108 months. That’s 48 months (1.8x) longer that the average expansion going back to 1945.  Nine out of the last 10 recessions have occurred with a Republican in the White House.
      The onset of bear markets have led the beginning of recessions by 8.5 months going back to 1956, so don’t look for a recession to signal a bear market. The longest lead time was 13 months (1968 – 1969) The “mode” (most frequent) is 12 months.
      1,100 economists WARN Trump is repeating biggest mistakes of Great Depression – tariffs, trade protectionism, according to conservative National Taxpayers’ Union.
      Former Fed Chair, Ben Bernanke, says economy to fall off a cliff in 2020, thanks to the $1.5 trillion corporate and individual tax cut and $300 billion increase in spending.              C
      Consumer spending slipped in May, as did Consumer Expectations and Consumer Confidence. It’s summer, maybe this slowing  is meaningless.
*******The Eurozone is in a slump. The IFO Business Climate Index has been soft all year, GDP is also sliding in face of a slump in retail sales.
      CNN.com reports Corporate America took advantage of low interest rates to load up on debt in recent years for acquisitions and to buy back their own stock. Excluding banks, the tally is $6.3trillion. The downside of this comes when these companies will need to refinance this debt at higher interest rates when it comes due.
      Existing home sales slumped in Q2, and are down in 5 of first 6 months
TRUMP’S TRADE WAR TANTRUM:
       He’s  a human wrecking ball, blustering without forethought of the consequences of  his actions. 
       Economists are minimizing the impact of  the flurry of tariffs, saying their impact is not significant. Perhaps when looking at the big picture but pain is being felt around the country as the stories roll in.
       This tariff jousting changes every several days.…..No one knows where this is going, and on top of aging economic expansions here and abroad, that’s scary.
        I crash-coursed this subject in recent days, as I  have done so many times with issues since Trump took office.   I am certain of one thing,  I do not know enough about this vast subject, nor could I condense what I know here to make any sense.
       What I do know is, today’s businesses are complex, especially supply chains that can involve a thousand parts that make up a whole product, many of which are sourced from different countries, sometimes crossing back and forth across the same border a number of times.
     Throw a wrench into the works and the gears start to gnash.  Managers are pressed to seek other sources, other outlets.  Efficiency and profitability begin to plummet.
      In fact, it doesn’t have to go that far.  Uncertain of the future, unable to plan, budgets get cut, sales orders construction projects cancelled, managers find planning more and more difficult.
      Enter the domino effect, and the pain spreads to other industries and finally to households threatened by unemployment, budgets there are cut, as well.   
      Trump’s hostility to globalization is ruining the U.S. as a place to do business, even invest.     
  
      Trump considering leaving World Trade Organization (WTO).
BREAKING: Trump and European Commission’s Jean-Claude Juncker agreed yesterday to hold off further tariffs and work toward eliminating present tariffs and barriers to trade
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IMPLODING:
      Will he fire Rosenstein, then Mueller ?  Resign ? Create a series of constitutional crises ? Will, Mueller release devastating information about him ?
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
What Trump and his base have in common: They both deplore the same people – people of color, the handicapped, liberals, foreigners.
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VOTES FLIPPED for TRUMP  in Key States in 2016
     
I am not  a conspiracy advocate, but I  suspect that not only did the Russians hack voter files, but they, or someone, tampered with the actual votes, also known as flipping.  Take one vote away from one candidate and give it to the other candidate and the net is two votes.
      Not to anyone’s surprise, Daily Kos’ Aldous Pennyfarthing (Pen name for Tom Breuer)  gave reasons in Alternet.org, July 27, why he thinks the Russians [or someone] flipped votes for Trump in 2016.
      The basis for this conclusion was comparing exit polls with actual out- come in North Carolina Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
      The differences between exit polls and the vote count in those states is pronounced.
Pennsylvania: Exit polls Clinton 50.5 – Trump 46.1.  Result: Clinton 46.1 –   Trump 48.8.
Wisconsin: Exit poll Clinton 48.2 – Trump 44.3  Result: Clinton 47.6 – Trump 48.8.
North Carolina: Exit poll Clinton  48.6 – Trump 46.5. Result: Clinton 46.1 – Trump 49.9.
      An FOI suit by Bradley Moss (cybersecurity lawyer) brought against the government  revealed Russians hacked inside voting systems in seven big states , which U.S. intelligence  denied at first then confirmed, but Homeland Security failed to report it to the states  for eight months.
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Sinclair Broadcast Group  (BEWARE !)   
      On July 16, 2018, Ajit Pai, appointed to FCC Chair by Trump, rejected  Sinclair’s acquisition of Tribune Broadcast Group which would greatly expand its reach into New York, La and Chicago markets with an addition of 42 more stations, saying he had serious concerns about the deal.
       Trump quickly criticized regulators for deferring their decision for the obvious reason, Sinclair is a right wing media  group  reportedly  intent on spreading its ideology across as much of America as possible.

      Sinclair Broadcast Group is using its clout as owner of  193 television stations as a lever to manipulate local station viewers’ minds pitching it’s right wing propaganda. Viewers tend to trust local stations programing over national networks.
       I called attention to this danger in my September 1, blog, warning that Sinclair’s reach to 80 markets gave it unfettered power. In recent days, Sinclair required news anchors in 200 of its local TV stations to warn viewers that unnamed media are always biased, and publishing fake news. This is a classic example of “projection” where one guilty of doing something wrong actually accuses another of that deed. Sinclair accuses liberal media of manipulation when in fact it is the one doing it.   EXPECT Sinclair to play a bunch of shell games to eventually get its way.
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      Sinclair Bank (no relation to the broadcast  group) has surfaced as a lender to Michael Cohen, Jared Kushner, his father and Trump.  Ivanka Trump no longer on board. 
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       U.S. Constitution: Article 3, section 3: Treason, briefly defined levying war against the U.S., or in adhering to its enemy, namely aid and comfort, also defined as any act that deliberately strengthens or tends to strengthen enemies of the U.S. or that weakens the power of the U.S. to resist and attack such enemies.
       Briefly, it requires a confession or matching testimony of two witnesses to conclude that an overt act occurred, but not to include “intent”. Congress decides one’s punishment.  
        Is Trump guilty of treason ?  Congressional Republicans that blatantly support him ?   
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TRUMP’S BASE:  Some are those voting because they always vote Republican, others hoped for a different outcome.  Then there are those whose opinions are based on emotional disorders, those who will never accept the truth no matter what (Confirmation Bias); those who accept bad behavior as the norm (Deviancy Down); and those who while stupid, ill informed who actually believe they are highly intelligent, competent (Dunning Krueger). These people don’t have enough knowledge to know they don’t have enough knowledge, i.e.,too dumb to know they are dumb.(alternet.com 7/23/18)
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 Russia’s Vladimir Putin coming to Washington in the fall ?  Is he running for office ?  He can count on support from the Republicans.
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July 19, 2018: Republicans refuse to renew election security funding over Russian hacking – Democrats livid, as all of us should be. Is this really happening ?  
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What !  John Bolton slashing Trump’s cybersecurity agent ?    Trump’s hawkish national security adviser is trying to abolish the role of special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator held by Rob Joyce, according to someone who didn’t want their name disclosed.
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Follow this one closely: The Dept. of Justice charged a Russian national, Mariia Butina, of illegally trying to influence American politics using the NRA, religious organizations and the National Prayer Breakfast  as a means of gaining backchannel access to the highest levels of the Republican Party.  Mother Jones says  Butina acted as a covert Russian agent, an unregistered foreign agent, participating in a multiyear conspiracy to infiltrate conservative political groups, including the NRA. The depth of her ties to Republicans and the NRA appear to be significant.  According to USA Today, Russian billionaire, Konstantin Nikolaev provided funds for a gun rights group Butina started years ago.

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      Since Deputy Atty Gen’l Rod Rosenstein would not fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Trump needed to find someone in the Dept. Of Justice who would assuming Trump first fired Rosenstein.
     On November 8, I noted Brian Benszkowski was nominated by President Trump in June [2017] to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. Along party lines, he was confirmed by the Senate recently, raising the question would he fire Mueller if Rosenstein was fired and he  was appointed in his place. He said he would not recuse himself from  questions in the Mueller investigation.
     The big question mark here is that Benczkowski had represented Russia’s Alfa Bank at some point in the past and had no prosecutorial experience.  He had worked for Atty Gen’l Jeff Sessions and the Bush administration and was not opposed by Rosenstein.

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A “MALEVOLENT FOOL” – Lt. Col. , Ret’d, Ralph Peters, ex-Fox analyst referring to Trump.   Malevolent: evil, harmful, injurious.
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Kavanaugh nominated for Supreme Court not to  overturn Roe v. Wade, but because he has written that a sitting President should be exempted from criminal prosecution, and investigation, including questioning by prosecutors.
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A majority vote in both the House and Senate can change the number of Justices on the Supreme Court. The number is fixed by statute, not by the Constitution. It has ranged between 6 and 10 since 1789.
       The question now is, will the Republicans attempt it to increase it in order to head off  any attempt by the Democrats in the future.
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Trump an agent of Russia ?  His actions suggest it. Read following:
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Un-American ! Trump claims writers of U.S. Constitution treated Him unfairly, adding we have the worst constitution writers in the world…Russia has better constitution writers than we do, says Trump . “I talked with Putin, and he said their constitution never gives him problems.” Andy Borowitz, (The Borowitz Report).
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      WE DON”T WANT TO GO THERE !  The Trump administration is taking the United States straight to a place none of us wants to be – civil unrest,  an extended recession, a fiscal crisis where we can’t pay our bills, ergo the need to slash healthcare, safety net programs, a host of programs that have improved our quality of life.
      This administration’s actions on trade (tariffs, TPP
), the intentional divisiveness of America along racial lines, and abandonment of our long-time allies have opened the door for China to dominate the world, economically and militarily.  That’s Un-American.  This has to be stopped.
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TRUMP’S LIES and misleading statements has reached 3,000 since taking office, according to the Washington Post
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The key for politicians to controlling people’s  minds is to lie relentlessly about everything and especially in response to criticism. Trump is a master at it, but he should be per the above.  He is the ultimate con man and so good at it he has millions of American suckers conned.  He is unprecedented, masterful, and he is destroying the very fabric of what has made us GREAT.
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Stockholm Syndrome ?  The extremists are trying to gut our Constitution, turn us into a fascist state. If Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi  had a smidgeon of the patriotism and spine Maxine Waters has, they would fight to save our republic. She’s one of ours, don’t cut her off at the knees.  FIGHT them, contest every lie, every disregard for the rule of law and humanityNFS !
Note: Stockholm Syndrome is decision by hostages (Dems) to develop a psychological alliance with their captors (Reps) as a survival strategy during captivity.
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Republican strategist, Steve Schmidt, leaves Republican Party after 29 years, saying the party is “corrupt, indecent and immoral,” and with a few exceptions  elected  Republicans are “feckless cowards who disgrace and dishonor the legacies of the party’s greatest leaders.” Others quitting Republican Party: George Will, “Morning” Joe Scarborough. To date, 35 senior Trump advisers have left.
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Immigrants and separation: It’s 90% Stephen Miller, a Breitfart alum, and acknowledged racist.. Former senior vice president of public affairs at Duke University where Miller attended said, He is the most sanctimonious student I ever encountered…absolutely sure of his own views and correctness of them, and if you were in disagreement with him , there was something malevolent or stupid about your thinking.
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President Donald Trump is NOT pro-business, he’s pro-Trump
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Liberal Dems must stop being so liberal, find some spine and  find three issues to fight for – my suggested rallying cry: “Before it’s too late……..” save healthcare, Social Security, our education system and identity as a world leader.
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TRUMP EXIT STRATEGY: The most important thing for King Donald is his image.  Currently he is scrambling to initiate as many perceived accomplishments as possible (taxes, anti-immigrant, anti-allies, deregulation, North Korea, Iran, ISIS, unemployment).
     
This way, if he is impeached, defeated in 2020, or forced to resign, he can claim to have been the greatest president of all-time – he’ll tweet it relentlessly, deviancy-downed Americans will believe it and every network in the country, whores that they are, (including MSNBC and CNN) will scramble to cover his tweets.  IMHO: he won’t risk losing in 2020, just not run – declare he has accomplished his mission and walk away..
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Wake up out there. These aren’t Republicans, they are anarchists, extremists  who have wrested control of the Republican party over the last 20 years and are intent on a party rule with no checks and balances.
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National security adviser, John Bolton, has added two  loyalists to the National Security Council, CNN reposts, referring to Sarah Tinsley and Garrett Marquis. Both have been associated with Bolton for years. Considered a hawk on international affairs, Bolton appears to be positioning his team to back up Trump in any military strike he sees would please his base, possibly in time for the midterm elections. Putting the country on a war footing tends to rally the country behind a president.
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POSSIBLE ! That the blue wave won’t happen in November.  Why? The American voter is still zoned out about what is happening – too busy with other stuff, not capable of  objectively analyzing issues accurately without bias.
     The result: The extremist Republicans and their president will run the economy, a constructive foreign relations policy, and America’s quality of life into the ground.  In order to get the American voter’s attention, we have to hit bottom first.
      That means an extended recession, a fiscal crisis (unable to pay bills), a 65% drop in the stock market and,  national unrest greater than that which the Vietnam War attracted.
       We are witnessing the unfolding of  the biggest scandal in our country’s history, including illegal financial transactions, vote tampering and  untethered collusion and obstruction of  justice at the highest level.  This may take years to unravel.
      Again, I say “possible,” not probable..  Probable would be all that but not as severe.
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Corporations got a 40% tax cut, John and Jane Q get a 1.2% – 1.8% cut, even so, Trump plans to introduce a “rescission package” to cut $15 billion in already approved spending on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation program, as well as 30 other programs. The  U.S. House will likely approve his  rescission  package, the Senate may not.
ANOTHER TRUMP BLUNDER !
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According to Bloomberg.com, 1,100 economists warn that Trump is repeating one of the biggest mistakes of the Great Depression – tariffs and trade protectionism. The warning came in a letter from the conservative-leaning National Taxpayers Union.
      China loves it !  Trump opened the door, China entered, capitalizing on Trump’s regressive “America First” mantra, with its far reaching Belt and Road outreach with investments encompassing infrastructure, education, construction materials, rail and hi-way, auto, real estate, power grid and iron and steel investments to 68 countries, 65% of the world’s population and 40% of global GDP.
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      Kim took Trump’s war with North Korea option off the table, so looks like Trump now has his sights set on IRAN – to please his base, of course, in time for the mid-terms, of course.
      None of this would happen if we still had the military draft.
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North Korea give up nuclear weapons ?  Never !  Kim wants a global stage, so does Trump, who will not risk being embarrassed by the little tyrant. Trump will bail.  He needs a villain to trash to please his base. Kim has what he wants, the recognition as a nuclear power, and he can thank a blundering Trump for it. If Trump deserves credit for the recent lovefest between the two Koreas, then is entitled to it.  Currently, he is taking 100% credit.  I think he has been played like a harp.  
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Impeachment of Trump unlikely with this Republican House. Trump has surrounded himself with newly appointed Cabinet members, so Section 4 of the 25th amendment is not a reality.   What’s left ?  A deal with Mueller for his RESIGNATION ?
      He could
tweet forever how he accomplished tax cuts, deregulation, a big spend on the military. He could claim that though he was mistreated by the press, he will still go down in history as the best President ever.
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Must Read: “Will Christian Nationalism Drive Trump’s Base to the Polls in November ?”  Truthout April 15, Bill Berkowitz. This explains why his base of Christians votes for an immoral person, one whose behavior is the antithesis of the teachings of Christ.
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Will Trump  Fire Mueller ?

LOOK FOR THIS  TIP-OFF:

      Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, it must be done by the Department of Justice.  Trump would have to find someone to do it.  Nixon did it in 1973 when he had to work through two attorney generals until  his solicitor general, Robert Bork fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. 
     
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from DOJ , or someone outside who has already been confirmed by the Senate who will do it.  Rachel Brand, a conservative who supported Sen. Cruz in 2017 would be in line to take over from Rosenstein, but she just announced she is resigning from DOJ (2/9/19)      
       DOJ’s Dana Bounte’s resignation last October and his recent  appointment by FBI Director Christopher Wray as general Counsel  for the FBI takes him out of the running, though it is doubtful he would have fired Mueller.   He served as the U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia, as well as, acting assistant attorney general  for the National Security Division of DOJ and may be a valuable source of information for the FBI, since he had an inside view.     
      Unconfirmed rumors are that EPA’s Scott Pruit (already confirmed) has shown an interest in the DOJ, is a possibility for a post there.  We now know that is a stretch given the baggage he carries. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russian/Trump  “investigation” March 2017.
       Philip Bump, Washington Post (WAPO) April 10, did a great job outlining possibilities in, “Why Trump can’t fire Mueller – at least not directly.”  I can only touch on a few of his points here.
       In his article, Georgetown University’s professor Paul Butler raises the interesting point that  firing Mueller may not be necessary if  Rosenstein is replaced by someone hostile to the Special Counsel’s investigation.  He would simply force a stall with lots of demands, even leak information to the White House.   
       REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER: Trump would have to have  good reason to fire Mueller.  Grounds must be, misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or other good cause, including violation of policies of the Department of Justice, and failure to follow Justice Departments guidelines and violation of applicable canons of ethics.
       CAN TRUMP RESCIND  SPECIAL COUNSEL REGULATION ?  Yes, it’s possible but many legal hurdles  would make it difficult and possibly so time consuming as to make the action worthless. There is no clear cut answer. This would be decided in court, the legal ramifications just very complex.
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FISCAL CRISIS LOOMS IN FUTURE:  Headlines:“Federal debt primed to explode”….”U.S. Deficit to Surpass $1 Trillion Two Years Ahead of Estimates”….”This Year’s budget deficit to hit $804 B after tax cuts and spending hikes”….
       This is all a Republican scheme to justify massive spending cuts to social, health, educational  and safety net programs. It is called “Starving the Beast,” and will lead to debilitating and prolonged recession/bear market, increased crime, rioting and civil unrest.  Republicans set the stage with massive, unnecessary tax cuts and a big budget spend (see below: “Corporate Tax Cut Irresponsible”)
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Cambridge Analytica (now in bankruptcy) is center stage again. Palmer.com  reports  someone behind the scenes is trying to block  Britain’s  Channel 4 News from airing an expose  into Cambridge’s role in using  Facebook (FB) to influence voters to vote for Trump and not Clinton.  On Friday,  Facebook  banned Cambridge’s access.  Palmer speculates the Mercers are behind the  attempt to prevent Channel 4’s expose.  I was on  Cambridge’s case back on June 22, 2017,  noting that billionaire Robert Mercer was connected to Cambridge through Canada’s Aggregate IQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked to influence voting  in the Brexit referendum.  Aggregate is a data mining company.  While Aggregate denies any connection,  the story won’t go away. Palmer sees a connection between Cambridge and John Bolton’s SUPER PAC.  Palmer notes that UK Parliament is investigating  the connection between Cambridge and Brexit and documents referred to by Cambridge whistleblower Christopher Wylie reveal  the firm gave stolen Facebook  user data to Bolton’s PAC  (receiving stolen goods ?), though it is not known how Bolton used the data if his PAC even received it.  (See below: Mercer on the run ?)

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Remember the name Felix Sater, former business associate of Trump, convicted  Russian mafia money laundering figure, and key FBI informant.
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Another name to watch is Ted Malloch who Palmer.com reports was served a subpoena relating to the Trump/Russia probe.  Malloch is a U. S. citizen living in London with close tire to Roger Stone, Brexit leader Nigel Farage and the Trump campaign.  As noted above in Cambridge Analytica, there is a connection to parties involved in Brexit and Trump’s campaign.
George Nader, Who he ?  Possibly a key source of information. This is highly complicated with new information pending. Nader has long-standing ties in the Mid-East and Washington over many years.  What appears to be important here is he is cooperating with the Mueller probe not as a wrongdoer, but as a source of information.  He has had ties with the Trump administration through Steve Bannon  and reportedly attended a meeting in the Seychelles Islands January 11, 2017 along with Blackwater founder and former Trump associate, Eric Prince, and Kirill Dmitriev head of a U.S. sanctioned investment firm with close ties to Putin.  Reportedly Nader represented United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
      I referred to the Seychilles meeting on April 5, 2017 noting  the Washington Post reported the meeting was intended to encourage Russia to curtail support for Iran and Syria (Trump wish list) in exchange for lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia.
We’ll see.
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Protecting guns and profits have become more important than protecting the lives of young people” Henry A. Giroux, Truthout ,  March 4.
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Why are so many Americans beholden to guns ? It could be their sense of security was rocked by 9/11 plus the Great Recession/Bear Market.  Then it could be racial, a fear that people of different colors will eventually outnumber them, prompting  the need (in their paranoid minds) to stage a forceful change in governance (revolution).  This makes little sense, but from their point of  simplemindedness, they feel more secure with a dozen guns and cases of ammunition in house just in case.
     What these whackos don’t understand is they can’t use their guns outside of their homes for fear of injuring or killing an innocent person which not only sends them to jail, but opens them up to a lawsuit where they lose their stock portfolio, car, house and all those “blankies” that  go bang.  ………………………………………

 

A quasi-fascist state would give Trump the untethered power he craves.
Read: The Ghost of Fascism in the Age of Trump

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43529-the-ghost-of-fascism-in-the-age-of-trump
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U.S. Ranking globally and domestically is 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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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, 2,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?.
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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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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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Red states In need of Fed government help the most

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’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 response.
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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. These are people were part of the Trump team, or in a position to know information relating to activities before or after the 2016 election, though  not necessarily in any way guilty of any wrongdoing.
       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 – Sam Nunberg – Dan Scavino – Keith Schiller –  Alex Van Der waan – Ted Malloch -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.
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At +4.1%, Q2 GDP Good But Short of Projections

INVESTOR’S first read.com – Daily edge before the open
DJIA:25,527
S&P 500: 2,837
Nasdaq Comp.:7,852
Russell 2000: 1,695

Friday, July 27, 2018     9:04 a.m.

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 March 10, 2009 Special Bulletin (DJIA: 6,805) BUY !
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This volatility is EXACTLY what I meant when I Warned:
“2018: The Wildest One in Years.” December 27, 2017
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“No one is bearish, and that’s BEARISH…Odds favor a 12%-18% correction” – Jan. 22, 2018: DJIA:26,214.  (A 14-day 12.2% correction started 4 days later.)
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Trump – a human wrecking ball (1/3/17)
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What’s so Christian about favoring the rich over the poor ?

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“Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.”
                                         Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister.
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Q2 GDP was up 4.1% , primarily as a result of tax cuts, a tight labor market and more importantly a rush to buy ahead of higher prices brought about by tariffs and the potential for a trade war.         

      Trump and European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker agreed Wednesday to hold off on further tariffs  and work toward eliminating current tariffs on steel and aluminum.
        But a lot of damage has already been done by Trump’s impulsive trade decisions.  Companies can plan for good times and bad times, but not for uncertain times.  At best, companies will curb new orders and hold off on new expansion plans, all of this spelling reduced business activity.
        As I understand it, Trump still plans to pursue a 25% tariff on $200 billion in foreign produced autos.
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 Companies are buying back their own stock at a record clip, according to CNN Money.
      Why then are insiders selling $8 of stock for every $1 of stock they buy ?
       “They’re buying back from the front door, and shoveling shares out the back door,” says John Mousseau, CEO of Cumberland Advisers, a firm managing $3 billion.
      “Large US companies have become cash machines for top insiders who run them,” explains David Santschi, director of liquidity research at TrimTabs Research.
      “Insider selling accelerates immediately after buybacks are unveiled,” notes SEC’s, Robert Jackson, adding its study in 2017 and early 2018 found the percentage of insiders selling stock more than doubled immediately after buyback announcements.
      Buybacks  reward investors, and corporate executives whose  compensation is heavily leveraged in stock by supporting a stock’s price, as well as run it up higher.
The process inflates earnings by reducing shares outstanding. 
      So, let me get this straight –  the CFO is buying back $billions of his company’s stock and the CEO, COO, Chairman, et al are using the increase in the price of the stock to SELL.   Really ?  
OPINION
       I am repeatedly asked why the stock market hangs tough in face of all of Trump’s outlandish behavior.
      I can only conclude that the Street’s algorithms favoring buying over selling is have not been programmed for Trump’s antics and the potential consequences – how could they, something bizarre happens every week.
      At some point, the Street will have to update their algos for the disruption to decision making as a result of uncertainties caused by trade wars with key trading entities, and the economic impact when supply chains break down, orders are cancelled, and growth plans postponed.
     This will result in lowered earnings projections for 2019, which will have to be factored in as we enter Q4.
     This will all dawn on most of the decision makers on the Street at the same time triggering a surge in selling. With little buying to support the market, prices will gap down to a level that discounts the damage done by the blundering of this administration.
      When will that happen ?   Don’t know.  It will be sudden with little warning, so investors should raise cash in line with their tolerance for risk..
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IT WILL TAKE YEARS BEFORE ANYONE CAN TRUST ANY PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AFTER Trump has told more than 3,000 LIES/MISTATEMENTSLying is now a craft without shame.
       Bill Clinton started this ball rolling, the Bush administration took it to new levels with weapons of mass destruction, but  Trump’s 3,000 lies (Washington Post) since taking office make lying the new normal.
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      Economies and the stock markets have always fluctuated with wide swings on both sides of the norm –bull market/bear market, economic expansion/recession.. 
      Only a few of us were hammering out the reasons to BUY in late February and early March 2009 with the DJIA under 7,000.
      From what I see, only a few of us are urging investors to raise cash now, as greedy momentum and an unsupported optimism runs stocks higher and higher, well beyond historic norms.

      We are on the edge. The Foxes are in all the henhouses and the public is clueless.
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TODAY
MARKET AVERAGE DISTORTION: (www;money.com/data/dow30)
      The major market averages can be distorted by big moves up or down in one or a few stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is “price-weighted,” so a move in Boeing (BA: 350) can have a 9.5 times the impact on the DJIA as Pfizer (PFE: 37) even though BA is smaller in market capitalization .
       To determine how much a stock impacts the DJIA, divide that stock’s point change by the Dow divisor (0.14748).
       During the day Wednesday, BA was down 10.50 points, which  lopped off 70 points from the DJIA which at the time was down 46 points.  If BA was unchanged, the DJIA would have been up 24 points.  The impact can be greater when 4 or 5 of the Dow’s high-priced stocks move several points.
        The S&P 500, Nasdaq Comp., and Russell 2000 are weighted based on their market value (shares outstanding times price), which means the larger companies and high fliers dominate the moves in the indices. The Nasdaq is dominated by the big name growth stocks – Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Alphabet (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook (FB), and big moves in these stocks can impact to Nasdaq averages..
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      Q2 earnings have  hit the Street and as expected here pushed the DJIA and S&P 500 higher, however the Nasdaq Comp. didn’t budge, and the small company Russell 2000 declined significantly.
      If the flow of good earnings fails to run stocks higher, or if earnings fail to meet aggressive projections, the market is in trouble.
      Earnings are not the only factor impacting the market.  The risk of a widening trade war, is a good bet.   A ramp up of Fed policy with rising interest rates is another. Bad news for Trump and Republicans in the midterms, yet another, and  war, or rumors of war would  be major negatives.  
      Was Iran one of the subjects Trump discussed in secret with Putin pursuant to his weekend tweet rant warning Iran’s President Rouhani to never, ever threaten the United States again or he will suffer the consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before ?
      Will Trump put the U.S. on a war footing going into the elections to orchestrate patriotic support ?  
      That could impact stock prices – BEWARE.
Q2 GDP was up 4.1% , primarily as a result of tax cuts, a tight labor market and more importantly a rush to buy ahead of higher prices brought about by tariffs and the potential for a trade war. Estimates for GDP were in the range of 5%
       The market did not initially greet the number with enthusiasm as the futures traded off in pre-market trading.  Information about the quarter needs closer scrutinizing, especially regarding its sustainability.

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SUPPORT “today”:DJIA: 25,473;S&P 500:2,836;Nasdaq Comp.:7,821
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:26,007;S&P 500:2,849;Nasdaq Comp.:7,873

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BULLISH CASE
     
Corporate earnings are the only positive. Earnings reports will begin to flow in July and they will be good, 20%  for the S&P 500 over a year ago.
      But these earnings have been largely discounted by high stock prices. The Street will soon be looking out to 2019 when earnings increases will be 4% – 7%.
       Factset projects a Q2 earnings gain of  19.0%, that’s up from its projection of +17.1% on March 31.  For 2018 they see a gain of 20.0%.
       Thomson Reuters pegs Q2 earnings gain at +20.9% and something a bit above +19% for the year as a whole . HOWEVER,  it presently projects Q1 2019  increase at +4.4%, Q2 at +8.7%. Q3: +8.7%. Could it be the 19% jump in 2018 earnings is already  factored into the market ?   
         If the Democrats gain control of the House or Senate, or both, it could offset the fact that  we are in a tailspin, financially, economically and morally. It could be a game changer, though we are heading for a recession
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BEARISH CASE
RISING INTEREST RATES:
      The Fed is persistently raising its benchmark interest rate (federal funds), as well as reducing its inflated balance sheet,  which will drive other rates higher, which will adversely impact interest sensitive industries.  Banks will love it, but it will send shivers throughout the housing industry, which is reeling from the impact of tariff-induced higher lumber prices. 
      The 10-year treasury has been rising steadily and now stands at 2.856 %, it has recently been a smidge above 3%.
      Inflation is accelerating faster than expected with the core PCE rising to 2.0 in May, suggesting the Fed may ramp up its tightening. While  average  hourly earnings are not keeping pace, Friday’s Employment Report may show some catch up.
       The yield curve is flattening as short-term treasuries rise faster than long-tern governments just another warning sign of impending recession.
      Home prices have risen recouping most of losses incurred since the Great Recession, making houses even more unaffordable. Limited inventories of houses available for purchase is pushing prices higher.
      New buyers missed their once in a lifetime opportunity to buy when mortgage rates were at historic lows, they will have to pay-up to buy a house, if they can get the financing.
      OVERVALUED MARKET
     Thompson Reuters reports the S&P 500 sells at 19.1 times earnings and 16.7 times a year from now. All this versus a 10-year average of 14.3.
      The Shiller P/E runs much higher at 32.6  times earnings versus a mean of 16.9.  Shiller’s P/E is based on  inflation adjusted earnings over 10 years.
      The S&P 500 price to sales ratio is 2.24 vs.  an average of 1.49.  Before the 2007-2009 bear market it stood at 1.5 x.
      The Total Market Capitalization to GDP  stands at 147.3%, anything above 115% is “overvalued.”
       It looks like stock buy-backs are the only thing holding the market up. It was hoped that the 40% tax cut would trigger spending in capex.  Not yet, companies are buying back their own stock, pushing prices higher enhancing executive stock options.
       Corporate debt relative to GDP (45%) is higher now than before the 2007-2009 meltdown
       Corporations set a record in Q1, using benefits of tax cuts to buy back $189  billion of their own stock, beating the prior record of  $172 billion set in  the summer of 2007 right before the Great Bear Market/Recession.  This is a sign of speculative excess, as is a record amount of margin debt, investor borrowings to buy stock.
AGING BULL MARKET:
      The bull market is now  nine years and three months old (109 months).  That’s 3.5 times the average of the last 15 bull markets.
AGING ECONOMIC EXPANSION:
      The current economic expansion has lasted 108 months. That’s 48 months (1.8x) longer that the average expansion going back to 1945.  Nine out of the last 10 recessions have occurred with a Republican in the White House.
      The onset of bear markets have led the beginning of recessions by 8.5 months going back to 1956, so don’t look for a recession to signal a bear market. The longest lead time was 13 months (1968 – 1969) The “mode” (most frequent) is 12 months.
      1,100 economists WARN Trump is repeating biggest mistakes of Great Depression – tariffs, trade protectionism, according to conservative National Taxpayers’ Union.
      Former Fed Chair, Ben Bernanke, says economy to fall off a cliff in 2020, thanks to the $1.5 trillion corporate and individual tax cut and $300 billion increase in spending.              C
      Consumer spending slipped in May, as did Consumer Expectations and Consumer Confidence. It’s summer, maybe this slowing  is meaningless.
*******The Eurozone is in a slump. The IFO Business Climate Index has been soft all year, GDP is also sliding in face of a slump in retail sales.
      CNN.com reports Corporate America took advantage of low interest rates to load up on debt in recent years for acquisitions and to buy back their own stock. Excluding banks, the tally is $6.3trillion. The downside of this comes when these companies will need to refinance this debt at higher interest rates when it comes due.
      Existing home sales slumped in Q2, and are down in 5 of first 6 months
TRUMP’S TRADE WAR TANTRUM:
       He’s  a human wrecking ball, blustering without forethought of the consequences of  his actions. 
       Economists are minimizing the impact of  the flurry of tariffs, saying their impact is not significant. Perhaps when looking at the big picture but pain is being felt around the country as the stories roll in.
       This tariff jousting changes every several days.…..No one knows where this is going, and on top of aging economic expansions here and abroad, that’s scary.
        I crash-coursed this subject in recent days, as I  have done so many times with issues since Trump took office.   I am certain of one thing,  I do not know enough about this vast subject, nor could I condense what I know here to make any sense.
       What I do know is, today’s businesses are complex, especially supply chains that can involve a thousand parts that make up a whole product, many of which are sourced from different countries, sometimes crossing back and forth across the same border a number of times.
     Throw a wrench into the works and the gears start to gnash.  Managers are pressed to seek other sources, other outlets.  Efficiency and profitability begin to plummet.
      In fact, it doesn’t have to go that far.  Uncertain of the future, unable to plan, budgets get cut, sales orders construction projects cancelled, managers find planning more and more difficult.
      Enter the domino effect, and the pain spreads to other industries and finally to households threatened by unemployment, budgets there are cut, as well.   
      Trump’s hostility to globalization is ruining the U.S. as a place to do business, even invest.     
  
      Trump considering leaving World Trade Organization (WTO).
BREAKING: Trump and European Commission’s Jean-Claude Juncker agreed yesterday to hold off further tariffs and work toward eliminating present tariffs and barriers to trade
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IMPLODING:
      Will he fire Rosenstein, then Mueller ?  Resign ? Create a series of constitutional crises ? Will, Mueller release devastating information about him ?
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
     Sinclair Broadcast Group  (BEWARE !)   
      On July 16, 2018, Ajit Pai, appointed to FCC Chair by Trump, rejected  Sinclair’s acquisition of Tribune Broadcast Group which would greatly expand its reach into New York, La and Chicago markets with an addition of 42 more stations, saying he had serious concerns about the deal.
       Trump quickly criticized regulators for deferring their decision for the obvious reason, Sinclair is a right wing media  group  reportedly  intent on spreading its ideology across as much of America as possible.

      Sinclair Broadcast Group is using its clout as owner of  193 television stations as a lever to manipulate local station viewers’ minds pitching it’s right wing propaganda. Viewers tend to trust local stations programing over national networks.
       I called attention to this danger in my September 1, blog, warning that Sinclair’s reach to 80 markets gave it unfettered power. In recent days, Sinclair required news anchors in 200 of its local TV stations to warn viewers that unnamed media are always biased, and publishing fake news. This is a classic example of “projection” where one guilty of doing something wrong actually accuses another of that deed. Sinclair accuses liberal media of manipulation when in fact it is the one doing it.   EXPECT Sinclair to play a bunch of shell games to eventually get its way.
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      Sinclair Bank (no relation to the broadcast  group) has surfaced as a lender to Michael Cohen, Jared Kushner, his father and Trump.  Ivanka Trump no longer on board. 
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       U.S. Constitution: Article 3, section 3: Treason, briefly defined levying war against the U.S., or in adhering to its enemy, namely aid and comfort, also defined as any act that deliberately strengthens or tends to strengthen enemies of the U.S. or that weakens the power of the U.S. to resist and attack such enemies.
       Briefly, it requires a confession or matching testimony of two witnesses to conclude that an overt act occurred, but not to include “intent”. Congress decides one’s punishment.  
        Is Trump guilty of treason ?  Congressional Republicans that blatantly support him ?   
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TRUMP’S BASE:  Some are those voting because they always vote Republican, others hoped for a different outcome.  Then there are those whose opinions are based on emotional disorders, those who will never accept the truth no matter what (Confirmation Bias); those who accept bad behavior as the norm (Deviancy Down); and those who while stupid, ill informed who actually believe they are highly intelligent, competent (Dunning Krueger). These people don’t have enough knowledge to know they don’t have enough knowledge, i.e.,too dumb to know they are dumb.(alternet.com 7/23/18)
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 Russia’s Vladimir Putin coming to Washington in the fall ?  Is he running for office ?  He can count on support from the Republicans.
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July 19, 2018: Republicans refuse to renew election security funding over Russian hacking – Democrats livid, as all of us should be. Is this really happening ?  
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What !  John Bolton slashing Trump’s cybersecurity agent ?    Trump’s hawkish national security adviser is trying to abolish the role of special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator held by Rob Joyce, according to someone who didn’t want their name disclosed.
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Follow this one closely: The Dept. of Justice charged a Russian national, Mariia Butina, of illegally trying to influence American politics using the NRA, religious organizations and the National Prayer Breakfast  as a means of gaining backchannel access to the highest levels of the Republican Party.  Mother Jones says  Butina acted as a covert Russian agent, an unregistered foreign agent, participating in a multiyear conspiracy to infiltrate conservative political groups, including the NRA. The depth of her ties to Republicans and the NRA appear to be significant.  According to USA Today, Russian billionaire, Konstantin Nikolaev provided funds for a gun rights group Butina started years ago.

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      Since Deputy Atty Gen’l Rod Rosenstein would not fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Trump needed to find someone in the Dept. Of Justice who would assuming Trump first fired Rosenstein.
     On November 8, I noted Brian Benszkowski was nominated by President Trump in June [2017] to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. Along party lines, he was confirmed by the Senate recently, raising the question would he fire Mueller if Rosenstein was fired and he  was appointed in his place. He said he would not recuse himself from  questions in the Mueller investigation.
     The big question mark here is that Benczkowski had represented Russia’s Alfa Bank at some point in the past and had no prosecutorial experience.  He had worked for Atty Gen’l Jeff Sessions and the Bush administration and was not opposed by Rosenstein.

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A “MALEVOLENT FOOL” – Lt. Col. , Ret’d, Ralph Peters, ex-Fox analyst referring to Trump.   Malevolent: evil, harmful, injurious.
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Kavanaugh nominated for Supreme Court not to  overturn Roe v. Wade, but because he has written that a sitting President should be exempted from criminal prosecution, and investigation, including questioning by prosecutors.
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A majority vote in both the House and Senate can change the number of Justices on the Supreme Court. The number is fixed by statute, not by the Constitution. It has ranged between 6 and 10 since 1789.
       The question now is, will the Republicans attempt it to increase it in order to head off  any attempt by the Democrats in the future.
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Trump an agent of Russia ?  His actions suggest it. Read following:
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Un-American ! Trump claims writers of U.S. Constitution treated Him unfairly, adding we have the worst constitution writers in the world…Russia has better constitution writers than we do, says Trump . “I talked with Putin, and he said their constitution never gives him problems.” Andy Borowitz, (The Borowitz Report).
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      WE DON”T WANT TO GO THERE !  The Trump administration is taking the United States straight to a place none of us wants to be – civil unrest,  an extended recession, a fiscal crisis where we can’t pay our bills, ergo the need to slash healthcare, safety net programs, a host of programs that have improved our quality of life.
      This administration’s actions on trade (tariffs, TPP
), the intentional divisiveness of America along racial lines, and abandonment of our long-time allies have opened the door for China to dominate the world, economically and militarily.  That’s Un-American.  This has to be stopped.
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TRUMP’S LIES and misleading statements has reached 3,000 since taking office, according to the Washington Post
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The key for politicians to controlling people’s  minds is to lie relentlessly about everything and especially in response to criticism. Trump is a master at it, but he should be per the above.  He is the ultimate con man and so good at it he has millions of American suckers conned.  He is unprecedented, masterful, and he is destroying the very fabric of what has made us GREAT.
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Stockholm Syndrome ?  The extremists are trying to gut our Constitution, turn us into a fascist state. If Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi  had a smidgeon of the patriotism and spine Maxine Waters has, they would fight to save our republic. She’s one of ours, don’t cut her off at the knees.  FIGHT them, contest every lie, every disregard for the rule of law and humanityNFS !
Note: Stockholm Syndrome is decision by hostages (Dems) to develop a psychological alliance with their captors (Reps) as a survival strategy during captivity.
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Republican strategist, Steve Schmidt, leaves Republican Party after 29 years, saying the party is “corrupt, indecent and immoral,” and with a few exceptions  elected  Republicans are “feckless cowards who disgrace and dishonor the legacies of the party’s greatest leaders.” Others quitting Republican Party: George Will, “Morning” Joe Scarborough. To date, 35 senior Trump advisers have left.
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Immigrants and separation: It’s 90% Stephen Miller, a Breitfart alum, and acknowledged racist.. Former senior vice president of public affairs at Duke University where Miller attended said, He is the most sanctimonious student I ever encountered…absolutely sure of his own views and correctness of them, and if you were in disagreement with him , there was something malevolent or stupid about your thinking.
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President Donald Trump is NOT pro-business, he’s pro-Trump
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Liberal Dems must stop being so liberal, find some spine and  find three issues to fight for – my suggested rallying cry: “Before it’s too late……..” save healthcare, Social Security, our education system and identity as a world leader.
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TRUMP EXIT STRATEGY: The most important thing for King Donald is his image.  Currently he is scrambling to initiate as many perceived accomplishments as possible (taxes, anti-immigrant, anti-allies, deregulation, North Korea, Iran, ISIS, unemployment).
     
This way, if he is impeached, defeated in 2020, or forced to resign, he can claim to have been the greatest president of all-time – he’ll tweet it relentlessly, deviancy-downed Americans will believe it and every network in the country, whores that they are, (including MSNBC and CNN) will scramble to cover his tweets.  IMHO: he won’t risk losing in 2020, just not run – declare he has accomplished his mission and walk away..
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Wake up out there. These aren’t Republicans, they are anarchists, extremists  who have wrested control of the Republican party over the last 20 years and are intent on a party rule with no checks and balances.
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National security adviser, John Bolton, has added two  loyalists to the National Security Council, CNN reposts, referring to Sarah Tinsley and Garrett Marquis. Both have been associated with Bolton for years. Considered a hawk on international affairs, Bolton appears to be positioning his team to back up Trump in any military strike he sees would please his base, possibly in time for the midterm elections. Putting the country on a war footing tends to rally the country behind a president.
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POSSIBLE ! That the blue wave won’t happen in November.  Why? The American voter is still zoned out about what is happening – too busy with other stuff, not capable of  objectively analyzing issues accurately without bias.
     The result: The extremist Republicans and their president will run the economy, a constructive foreign relations policy, and America’s quality of life into the ground.  In order to get the American voter’s attention, we have to hit bottom first.
      That means an extended recession, a fiscal crisis (unable to pay bills), a 65% drop in the stock market and,  national unrest greater than that which the Vietnam War attracted.
       We are witnessing the unfolding of  the biggest scandal in our country’s history, including illegal financial transactions, vote tampering and  untethered collusion and obstruction of  justice at the highest level.  This may take years to unravel.
      Again, I say “possible,” not probable..  Probable would be all that but not as severe.
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Corporations got a 40% tax cut, John and Jane Q get a 1.2% – 1.8% cut, even so, Trump plans to introduce a “rescission package” to cut $15 billion in already approved spending on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation program, as well as 30 other programs. The  U.S. House will likely approve his  rescission  package, the Senate may not.
ANOTHER TRUMP BLUNDER !
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According to Bloomberg.com, 1,100 economists warn that Trump is repeating one of the biggest mistakes of the Great Depression – tariffs and trade protectionism. The warning came in a letter from the conservative-leaning National Taxpayers Union.
      China loves it !  Trump opened the door, China entered, capitalizing on Trump’s regressive “America First” mantra, with its far reaching Belt and Road outreach with investments encompassing infrastructure, education, construction materials, rail and hi-way, auto, real estate, power grid and iron and steel investments to 68 countries, 65% of the world’s population and 40% of global GDP.
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      Kim took Trump’s war with North Korea option off the table, so looks like Trump now has his sights set on IRAN – to please his base, of course, in time for the mid-terms, of course.
      None of this would happen if we still had the military draft.
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North Korea give up nuclear weapons ?  Never !  Kim wants a global stage, so does Trump, who will not risk being embarrassed by the little tyrant. Trump will bail.  He needs a villain to trash to please his base. Kim has what he wants, the recognition as a nuclear power, and he can thank a blundering Trump for it. If Trump deserves credit for the recent lovefest between the two Koreas, then is entitled to it.  Currently, he is taking 100% credit.  I think he has been played like a harp.  
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Impeachment of Trump unlikely with this Republican House. Trump has surrounded himself with newly appointed Cabinet members, so Section 4 of the 25th amendment is not a reality.   What’s left ?  A deal with Mueller for his RESIGNATION ?
      He could
tweet forever how he accomplished tax cuts, deregulation, a big spend on the military. He could claim that though he was mistreated by the press, he will still go down in history as the best President ever.
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Must Read: “Will Christian Nationalism Drive Trump’s Base to the Polls in November ?”  Truthout April 15, Bill Berkowitz. This explains why his base of Christians votes for an immoral person, one whose behavior is the antithesis of the teachings of Christ.
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Will Trump  Fire Mueller ?

LOOK FOR THIS  TIP-OFF:

      Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, it must be done by the Department of Justice.  Trump would have to find someone to do it.  Nixon did it in 1973 when he had to work through two attorney generals until  his solicitor general, Robert Bork fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. 
     
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from DOJ , or someone outside who has already been confirmed by the Senate who will do it.  Rachel Brand, a conservative who supported Sen. Cruz in 2017 would be in line to take over from Rosenstein, but she just announced she is resigning from DOJ (2/9/19)      
       DOJ’s Dana Bounte’s resignation last October and his recent  appointment by FBI Director Christopher Wray as general Counsel  for the FBI takes him out of the running, though it is doubtful he would have fired Mueller.   He served as the U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia, as well as, acting assistant attorney general  for the National Security Division of DOJ and may be a valuable source of information for the FBI, since he had an inside view.     
      Unconfirmed rumors are that EPA’s Scott Pruit (already confirmed) has shown an interest in the DOJ, is a possibility for a post there.  We now know that is a stretch given the baggage he carries. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russian/Trump  “investigation” March 2017.
       Philip Bump, Washington Post (WAPO) April 10, did a great job outlining possibilities in, “Why Trump can’t fire Mueller – at least not directly.”  I can only touch on a few of his points here.
       In his article, Georgetown University’s professor Paul Butler raises the interesting point that  firing Mueller may not be necessary if  Rosenstein is replaced by someone hostile to the Special Counsel’s investigation.  He would simply force a stall with lots of demands, even leak information to the White House.   
       REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER: Trump would have to have  good reason to fire Mueller.  Grounds must be, misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or other good cause, including violation of policies of the Department of Justice, and failure to follow Justice Departments guidelines and violation of applicable canons of ethics.
       CAN TRUMP RESCIND  SPECIAL COUNSEL REGULATION ?  Yes, it’s possible but many legal hurdles  would make it difficult and possibly so time consuming as to make the action worthless. There is no clear cut answer. This would be decided in court, the legal ramifications just very complex.
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FISCAL CRISIS LOOMS IN FUTURE:  Headlines:“Federal debt primed to explode”….”U.S. Deficit to Surpass $1 Trillion Two Years Ahead of Estimates”….”This Year’s budget deficit to hit $804 B after tax cuts and spending hikes”….
       This is all a Republican scheme to justify massive spending cuts to social, health, educational  and safety net programs. It is called “Starving the Beast,” and will lead to debilitating and prolonged recession/bear market, increased crime, rioting and civil unrest.  Republicans set the stage with massive, unnecessary tax cuts and a big budget spend (see below: “Corporate Tax Cut Irresponsible”)
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Cambridge Analytica (now in bankruptcy) is center stage again. Palmer.com  reports  someone behind the scenes is trying to block  Britain’s  Channel 4 News from airing an expose  into Cambridge’s role in using  Facebook (FB) to influence voters to vote for Trump and not Clinton.  On Friday,  Facebook  banned Cambridge’s access.  Palmer speculates the Mercers are behind the  attempt to prevent Channel 4’s expose.  I was on  Cambridge’s case back on June 22, 2017,  noting that billionaire Robert Mercer was connected to Cambridge through Canada’s Aggregate IQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked to influence voting  in the Brexit referendum.  Aggregate is a data mining company.  While Aggregate denies any connection,  the story won’t go away. Palmer sees a connection between Cambridge and John Bolton’s SUPER PAC.  Palmer notes that UK Parliament is investigating  the connection between Cambridge and Brexit and documents referred to by Cambridge whistleblower Christopher Wylie reveal  the firm gave stolen Facebook  user data to Bolton’s PAC  (receiving stolen goods ?), though it is not known how Bolton used the data if his PAC even received it.  (See below: Mercer on the run ?)

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Remember the name Felix Sater, former business associate of Trump, convicted  Russian mafia money laundering figure, and key FBI informant.
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Another name to watch is Ted Malloch who Palmer.com reports was served a subpoena relating to the Trump/Russia probe.  Malloch is a U. S. citizen living in London with close tire to Roger Stone, Brexit leader Nigel Farage and the Trump campaign.  As noted above in Cambridge Analytica, there is a connection to parties involved in Brexit and Trump’s campaign.
George Nader, Who he ?  Possibly a key source of information. This is highly complicated with new information pending. Nader has long-standing ties in the Mid-East and Washington over many years.  What appears to be important here is he is cooperating with the Mueller probe not as a wrongdoer, but as a source of information.  He has had ties with the Trump administration through Steve Bannon  and reportedly attended a meeting in the Seychelles Islands January 11, 2017 along with Blackwater founder and former Trump associate, Eric Prince, and Kirill Dmitriev head of a U.S. sanctioned investment firm with close ties to Putin.  Reportedly Nader represented United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
      I referred to the Seychilles meeting on April 5, 2017 noting  the Washington Post reported the meeting was intended to encourage Russia to curtail support for Iran and Syria (Trump wish list) in exchange for lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia.
We’ll see.
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Protecting guns and profits have become more important than protecting the lives of young people” Henry A. Giroux, Truthout ,  March 4.
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Why are so many Americans beholden to guns ? It could be their sense of security was rocked by 9/11 plus the Great Recession/Bear Market.  Then it could be racial, a fear that people of different colors will eventually outnumber them, prompting  the need (in their paranoid minds) to stage a forceful change in governance (revolution).  This makes little sense, but from their point of  simplemindedness, they feel more secure with a dozen guns and cases of ammunition in house just in case.
     What these whackos don’t understand is they can’t use their guns outside of their homes for fear of injuring or killing an innocent person which not only sends them to jail, but opens them up to a lawsuit where they lose their stock portfolio, car, house and all those “blankies” that  go bang.  ………………………………………

 

A quasi-fascist state would give Trump the untethered power he craves.
Read: The Ghost of Fascism in the Age of Trump

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43529-the-ghost-of-fascism-in-the-age-of-trump
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U.S. Ranking globally and domestically is 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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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, 2,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?.
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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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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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Red states In need of Fed government help the most

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’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 response.
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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. These are people were part of the Trump team, or in a position to know information relating to activities before or after the 2016 election, though  not necessarily in any way guilty of any wrongdoing.
       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 – Sam Nunberg – Dan Scavino – Keith Schiller –  Alex Van Der waan – Ted Malloch -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.
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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.

 

 

Tariffs Disrupt Complex Supply Chains

INVESTOR’S first read.com Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 25,414
S&P 500: 2,846
Nasdaq Comp.:7,832
Russell 2000: 1,684

Thursday, July 26, 2018     9:04 a.m.
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 March 10, 2009 Special Bulletin (DJIA: 6,805) BUY !
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This volatility is EXACTLY what I meant when I Warned:
“2018: The Wildest One in Years.” December 27, 2017
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“No one is bearish, and that’s BEARISH…Odds favor a 12%-18% correction” – Jan. 22, 2018: DJIA:26,214.  (A 14-day 12.2% correction started 4 days later.)
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Trump – a human wrecking ball (1/3/17)
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What’s so Christian about favoring the rich over the poor ?

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“Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.”
                                         Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister.
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      Trump and European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker agreed yesterday to hold off on further tariffs  and work toward eliminating current tariffs on steel and aluminum.
        But a lot of damage has already been done by Trump’s impulsive trade decisions.  Companies can plan for good times and bad times, but not for uncertain times.  At best, companies will curb new orders and hold off on new expansion plans, all of this spelling reduced business activity.
        As I understand it, Trump still plans to pursue a 25% tariff on $200 billion in foreign produced autos.
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 Companies are buying back their own stock at a record clip, according to CNN Money.
      Why then are insiders selling $8 of stock for every $1 of stock they buy ?
       “They’re buying back from the front door, and shoveling shares out the back door,” says John Mousseau, CEO of Cumberland Advisers, a firm managing $3 billion.
      “Large US companies have become cash machines for top insiders who run them,” explains David Santschi, director of liquidity research at TrimTabs Research.
      “Insider selling accelerates immediately after buybacks are unveiled,” notes SEC’s, Robert Jackson, adding its study in 2017 and early 2018 found the percentage of insiders selling stock more than doubled immediately after buyback announcements.
      Buybacks  reward investors, and corporate executives whose  compensation is heavily leveraged in stock by supporting a stock’s price, as well as run it up higher.
The process inflates earnings by reducing shares outstanding. 
      So, let me get this straight –  the CFO is buying back $billions of his company’s stock and the CEO, COO, Chairman, et al are using the increase in the price of the stock to SELL.   Really ?  
OPINION
       I am repeatedly asked why the stock market hangs tough in face of all of Trump’s outlandish behavior.
      I can only conclude that the Street’s algorithms favoring buying over selling is have not been programmed for Trump’s antics and the potential consequences – how could they, something bizarre happens every week.
      At some point, the Street will have to update their algos for the disruption to decision making as a result of uncertainties caused by trade wars with key trading entities, and the economic impact when supply chains break down, orders are cancelled, and growth plans postponed.
     This will result in lowered earnings projections for 2019, which will have to be factored in as we enter Q4.
     This will all dawn on most of the decision makers on the Street at the same time triggering a surge in selling. With little buying to support the market, prices will gap down to a level that discounts the damage done by the blundering of this administration.
      When will that happen ?   Don’t know.  It will be sudden with little warning, so investors should raise cash in line with their tolerance for risk..
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IT WILL TAKE YEARS BEFORE ANYONE CAN TRUST ANY PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AFTER Trump has told more than 3,000 LIES/MISTATEMENTSLying is now a craft without shame.
       Bill Clinton started this ball rolling, the Bush administration took it to new levels with weapons of mass destruction, but  Trump’s 3,000 lies (Washington Post) since taking office make lying the new normal.
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      Economies and the stock markets have always fluctuated with wide swings on both sides of the norm –bull market/bear market, economic expansion/recession.. 
      Only a few of us were hammering out the reasons to BUY in late February and early March 2009 with the DJIA under 7,000.
      From what I see, only a few of us are urging investors to raise cash now, as greedy momentum and an unsupported optimism runs stocks higher and higher, well beyond historic norms.

      We are on the edge. The Foxes are in all the henhouses and the public is clueless.
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TODAY
MARKET AVERAGE DISTORTION: (www;money.com/data/dow30)
      The major market averages can be distorted by big moves up or down in one or a few stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is “price-weighted,” so a move in Boeing (BA: 350) can have a 9.5 times the impact on the DJIA as Pfizer (PFE: 37) even though BA is smaller in market capitalization .
       To determine how much a stock impacts the DJIA, divide that stock’s point change by the Dow divisor (0.14748).
       During the day Wednesday, BA was down 10.50 points, which  lopped off 70 points from the DJIA which at the time was down 46 points.  If BA was unchanged, the DJIA would have been up 24 points.  The impact can be greater when 4 or 5 of the Dow’s high-priced stocks move several points.
        The S&P 500, Nasdaq Comp., and Russell 2000 are weighted based on their market value (shares outstanding times price), which means the larger companies and high fliers dominate the moves in the indices. The Nasdaq is dominated by the big name growth stocks – Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Alphabet (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook (FB), and big moves in these stocks can impact to Nasdaq averages..
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      Q2 earnings have  hit the Street and as expected here pushed the DJIA and S&P 500 higher, however the Nasdaq Comp. didn’t budge, and the small company Russell 2000 declined significantly.
      If the flow of good earnings fails to run stocks higher, or if earnings fail to meet aggressive projections, the market is in trouble.
      Earnings are not the only factor impacting the market.  The risk of a widening trade war, is a good bet.   A ramp up of Fed policy with rising interest rates is another. Bad news for Trump and Republicans in the midterms, yet another, and  war, or rumors of war would  be major negatives.  
      Was Iran one of the subjects Trump discussed in secret with Putin pursuant to his weekend tweet rant warning Iran’s President Rouhani to never, ever threaten the United States again or he will suffer the consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before ?
      Will Trump put the U.S. on a war footing going into the elections to orchestrate patriotic support ?  
      That could impact stock prices – BEWARE.

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SUPPORT “today”:DJIA:25,353 ;S&P 500:2,837;Nasdaq Comp.:7,911
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:24,476;S&P 500:2,863;Nasdaq Comp.:7,949

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BULLISH CASE
     
Corporate earnings are the only positive. Earnings reports will begin to flow in July and they will be good, 20%  for the S&P 500 over a year ago.
      But these earnings have been largely discounted by high stock prices. The Street will soon be looking out to 2019 when earnings increases will be 4% – 7%.
       Factset projects a Q2 earnings gain of  19.0%, that’s up from its projection of +17.1% on March 31.  For 2018 they see a gain of 20.0%.
       Thomson Reuters pegs Q2 earnings gain at +20.9% and something a bit above +19% for the year as a whole . HOWEVER,  it presently projects Q1 2019  increase at +4.4%, Q2 at +8.7%. Q3: +8.7%. Could it be the 19% jump in 2018 earnings is already  factored into the market ?   
         If the Democrats gain control of the House or Senate, or both, it could offset the fact that  we are in a tailspin, financially, economically and morally. It could be a game changer, though we are heading for a recession
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BEARISH CASE
RISING INTEREST RATES:
      The Fed is persistently raising its benchmark interest rate (federal funds), as well as reducing its inflated balance sheet,  which will drive other rates higher, which will adversely impact interest sensitive industries.  Banks will love it, but it will send shivers throughout the housing industry, which is reeling from the impact of tariff-induced higher lumber prices. 
      The 10-year treasury has been rising steadily and now stands at 2.856 %, it has recently been a smidge above 3%.
      Inflation is accelerating faster than expected with the core PCE rising to 2.0 in May, suggesting the Fed may ramp up its tightening. While  average  hourly earnings are not keeping pace, Friday’s Employment Report may show some catch up.
       The yield curve is flattening as short-term treasuries rise faster than long-tern governments just another warning sign of impending recession.
      Home prices have risen recouping most of losses incurred since the Great Recession, making houses even more unaffordable. Limited inventories of houses available for purchase is pushing prices higher.
      New buyers missed their once in a lifetime opportunity to buy when mortgage rates were at historic lows, they will have to pay-up to buy a house, if they can get the financing.
      OVERVALUED MARKET
     Thompson Reuters reports the S&P 500 sells at 19.1 times earnings and 16.7 times a year from now. All this versus a 10-year average of 14.3.
      The Shiller P/E runs much higher at 32.6  times earnings versus a mean of 16.9.  Shiller’s P/E is based on  inflation adjusted earnings over 10 years.
      The S&P 500 price to sales ratio is 2.24 vs.  an average of 1.49.  Before the 2007-2009 bear market it stood at 1.5 x.
      The Total Market Capitalization to GDP  stands at 147.3%, anything above 115% is “overvalued.”
       It looks like stock buy-backs are the only thing holding the market up. It was hoped that the 40% tax cut would trigger spending in capex.  Not yet, companies are buying back their own stock, pushing prices higher enhancing executive stock options.
       Corporate debt relative to GDP (45%) is higher now than before the 2007-2009 meltdown
       Corporations set a record in Q1, using benefits of tax cuts to buy back $189  billion of their own stock, beating the prior record of  $172 billion set in  the summer of 2007 right before the Great Bear Market/Recession.  This is a sign of speculative excess, as is a record amount of margin debt, investor borrowings to buy stock.
AGING BULL MARKET:
      The bull market is now  nine years and three months old (109 months).  That’s 3.5 times the average of the last 15 bull markets.
AGING ECONOMIC EXPANSION:
      The current economic expansion has lasted 108 months. That’s 48 months (1.8x) longer that the average expansion going back to 1945.  Nine out of the last 10 recessions have occurred with a Republican in the White House.
      The onset of bear markets have led the beginning of recessions by 8.5 months going back to 1956, so don’t look for a recession to signal a bear market. The longest lead time was 13 months (1968 – 1969) The “mode” (most frequent) is 12 months.
      1,100 economists WARN Trump is repeating biggest mistakes of Great Depression – tariffs, trade protectionism, according to conservative National Taxpayers’ Union.
      Former Fed Chair, Ben Bernanke, says economy to fall off a cliff in 2020, thanks to the $1.5 trillion corporate and individual tax cut and $300 billion increase in spending.              C
      Consumer spending slipped in May, as did Consumer Expectations and Consumer Confidence. It’s summer, maybe this slowing  is meaningless.
*******The Eurozone is in a slump. The IFO Business Climate Index has been soft all year, GDP is also sliding in face of a slump in retail sales.
      CNN.com reports Corporate America took advantage of low interest rates to load up on debt in recent years for acquisitions and to buy back their own stock. Excluding banks, the tally is $6.3trillion. The downside of this comes when these companies will need to refinance this debt at higher interest rates when it comes due.
      Existing home sales slumped in Q2, and are down in 5 of first 6 months
TRUMP’S TRADE WAR TANTRUM:
       He’s  a human wrecking ball, blustering without forethought of the consequences of  his actions. 
       Economists are minimizing the impact of  the flurry of tariffs, saying their impact is not significant. Perhaps when looking at the big picture but pain is being felt around the country as the stories roll in.
       This tariff jousting changes every several days.…..No one knows where this is going, and on top of aging economic expansions here and abroad, that’s scary.
        I crash-coursed this subject in recent days, as I  have done so many times with issues since Trump took office.   I am certain of one thing,  I do not know enough about this vast subject, nor could I condense what I know here to make any sense.
       What I do know is, today’s businesses are complex, especially supply chains that can involve a thousand parts that make up a whole product, many of which are sourced from different countries, sometimes crossing back and forth across the same border a number of times.
     Throw a wrench into the works and the gears start to gnash.  Managers are pressed to seek other sources, other outlets.  Efficiency and profitability begin to plummet.
      In fact, it doesn’t have to go that far.  Uncertain of the future, unable to plan, budgets get cut, sales orders construction projects cancelled, managers find planning more and more difficult.
      Enter the domino effect, and the pain spreads to other industries and finally to households threatened by unemployment, budgets there are cut, as well.   
      Trump’s hostility to globalization is ruining the U.S. as a place to do business, even invest.     
  
      Trump considering leaving World Trade Organization (WTO).
BREAKING: Trump and European Commission’s Jean-Claude Juncker agreed yesterday to hold off further tariffs and work toward eliminating present tariffs and barriers to trade
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IMPLODING:
      Will he fire Rosenstein, then Mueller ?  Resign ? Create a series of constitutional crises ? Will, Mueller release devastating information about him ?
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
       Sinclair Bank has surfaced as a lender to Michael Cohen, Jared Kushner, his father and Trump.  Ivanka Trump no longer on board. 
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 U.S. Constitution: Article 3, section 3: Treason, briefly defined levying war against the U.S., or in adhering to its enemy, namely aid and comfort, also defined as any act that deliberately strengthens or tends to strengthen enemies of the U.S. or that weakens the power of the U.S. to resist and attack such enemies.
       Briefly, it requires a confession or matching testimony of two witnesses to conclude that an overt act occurred, but not to include “intent”. Congress decides one’s punishment.  
        Is Trump guilty of treason ?  Congressional Republicans that blatantly support him ?   
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TRUMP’S BASE:  Some are those voting because they always vote Republican, others hoped for a different outcome.  Then there are those whose opinions are based on emotional disorders, those who will never accept the truth no matter what (Confirmation Bias); those who accept bad behavior as the norm (Deviancy Down); and those who while stupid, ill informed who actually believe they are highly intelligent, competent (Dunning Krueger). These people don’t have enough knowledge to know they don’t have enough knowledge, i.e.,too dumb to know they are dumb.(alternet.com 7/23/18)
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 Russia’s Vladimir Putin coming to Washington in the fall ?  Is he running for office ?  He can count on support from the Republicans.
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July 19, 2018: Republicans refuse to renew election security funding over Russian hacking – Democrats livid, as all of us should be. Is this really happening ?  
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What !  John Bolton slashing Trump’s cybersecurity agent ?    Trump’s hawkish national security adviser is trying to abolish the role of special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator held by Rob Joyce, according to someone who didn’t want their name disclosed.
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Follow this one closely: The Dept. of Justice charged a Russian national, Mariia Butina, of illegally trying to influence American politics using the NRA, religious organizations and the National Prayer Breakfast  as a means of gaining backchannel access to the highest levels of the Republican Party.  Mother Jones says  Butina acted as a covert Russian agent, an unregistered foreign agent, participating in a multiyear conspiracy to infiltrate conservative political groups, including the NRA. The depth of her ties to Republicans and the NRA appear to be significant.  According to USA Today, Russian billionaire, Konstantin Nikolaev provided funds for a gun rights group Butina started years ago.

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      Since Deputy Atty Gen’l Rod Rosenstein would not fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Trump needed to find someone in the Dept. Of Justice who would assuming Trump first fired Rosenstein.
     On November 8, I noted Brian Benszkowski was nominated by President Trump in June [2017] to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. Along party lines, he was confirmed by the Senate recently, raising the question would he fire Mueller if Rosenstein was fired and he  was appointed in his place. He said he would not recuse himself from  questions in the Mueller investigation.
     The big question mark here is that Benczkowski had represented Russia’s Alfa Bank at some point in the past and had no prosecutorial experience.  He had worked for Atty Gen’l Jeff Sessions and the Bush administration and was not opposed by Rosenstein.

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A “MALEVOLENT FOOL” – Lt. Col. , Ret’d, Ralph Peters, ex-Fox analyst referring to Trump.   Malevolent: evil, harmful, injurious.
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Kavanaugh nominated for Supreme Court not to  overturn Roe v. Wade, but because he has written that a sitting President should be exempted from criminal prosecution, and investigation, including questioning by prosecutors.
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A majority vote in both the House and Senate can change the number of Justices on the Supreme Court. The number is fixed by statute, not by the Constitution. It has ranged between 6 and 10 since 1789.
       The question now is, will the Republicans attempt it to increase it in order to head off  any attempt by the Democrats in the future.
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Trump an agent of Russia ?  His actions suggest it. Read following:
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Un-American ! Trump claims writers of U.S. Constitution treated Him unfairly, adding we have the worst constitution writers in the world…Russia has better constitution writers than we do, says Trump . “I talked with Putin, and he said their constitution never gives him problems.” Andy Borowitz, (The Borowitz Report).
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      WE DON”T WANT TO GO THERE !  The Trump administration is taking the United States straight to a place none of us wants to be – civil unrest,  an extended recession, a fiscal crisis where we can’t pay our bills, ergo the need to slash healthcare, safety net programs, a host of programs that have improved our quality of life.
      This administration’s actions on trade (tariffs, TPP
), the intentional divisiveness of America along racial lines, and abandonment of our long-time allies have opened the door for China to dominate the world, economically and militarily.  That’s Un-American.  This has to be stopped.
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TRUMP’S LIES and misleading statements has reached 3,000 since taking office, according to the Washington Post
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The key for politicians to controlling people’s  minds is to lie relentlessly about everything and especially in response to criticism. Trump is a master at it, but he should be per the above.  He is the ultimate con man and so good at it he has millions of American suckers conned.  He is unprecedented, masterful, and he is destroying the very fabric of what has made us GREAT.
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Stockholm Syndrome ?  The extremists are trying to gut our Constitution, turn us into a fascist state. If Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi  had a smidgeon of the patriotism and spine Maxine Waters has, they would fight to save our republic. She’s one of ours, don’t cut her off at the knees.  FIGHT them, contest every lie, every disregard for the rule of law and humanityNFS !
Note: Stockholm Syndrome is decision by hostages (Dems) to develop a psychological alliance with their captors (Reps) as a survival strategy during captivity.
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Republican strategist, Steve Schmidt, leaves Republican Party after 29 years, saying the party is “corrupt, indecent and immoral,” and with a few exceptions  elected  Republicans are “feckless cowards who disgrace and dishonor the legacies of the party’s greatest leaders.” Others quitting Republican Party: George Will, “Morning” Joe Scarborough. To date, 35 senior Trump advisers have left.
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Immigrants and separation: It’s 90% Stephen Miller, a Breitfart alum, and acknowledged racist.. Former senior vice president of public affairs at Duke University where Miller attended said, He is the most sanctimonious student I ever encountered…absolutely sure of his own views and correctness of them, and if you were in disagreement with him , there was something malevolent or stupid about your thinking.
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President Donald Trump is NOT pro-business, he’s pro-Trump
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Liberal Dems must stop being so liberal, find some spine and  find three issues to fight for – my suggested rallying cry: “Before it’s too late……..” save healthcare, Social Security, our education system and identity as a world leader.
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TRUMP EXIT STRATEGY: The most important thing for King Donald is his image.  Currently he is scrambling to initiate as many perceived accomplishments as possible (taxes, anti-immigrant, anti-allies, deregulation, North Korea, Iran, ISIS, unemployment).
     
This way, if he is impeached, defeated in 2020, or forced to resign, he can claim to have been the greatest president of all-time – he’ll tweet it relentlessly, deviancy-downed Americans will believe it and every network in the country, whores that they are, (including MSNBC and CNN) will scramble to cover his tweets.  IMHO: he won’t risk losing in 2020, just not run – declare he has accomplished his mission and walk away..
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Wake up out there. These aren’t Republicans, they are anarchists, extremists  who have wrested control of the Republican party over the last 20 years and are intent on a party rule with no checks and balances.
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National security adviser, John Bolton, has added two  loyalists to the National Security Council, CNN reposts, referring to Sarah Tinsley and Garrett Marquis. Both have been associated with Bolton for years. Considered a hawk on international affairs, Bolton appears to be positioning his team to back up Trump in any military strike he sees would please his base, possibly in time for the midterm elections. Putting the country on a war footing tends to rally the country behind a president.
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POSSIBLE ! That the blue wave won’t happen in November.  Why? The American voter is still zoned out about what is happening – too busy with other stuff, not capable of  objectively analyzing issues accurately without bias.
     The result: The extremist Republicans and their president will run the economy, a constructive foreign relations policy, and America’s quality of life into the ground.  In order to get the American voter’s attention, we have to hit bottom first.
      That means an extended recession, a fiscal crisis (unable to pay bills), a 65% drop in the stock market and,  national unrest greater than that which the Vietnam War attracted.
       We are witnessing the unfolding of  the biggest scandal in our country’s history, including illegal financial transactions, vote tampering and  untethered collusion and obstruction of  justice at the highest level.  This may take years to unravel.
      Again, I say “possible,” not probable..  Probable would be all that but not as severe.
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Corporations got a 40% tax cut, John and Jane Q get a 1.2% – 1.8% cut, even so, Trump plans to introduce a “rescission package” to cut $15 billion in already approved spending on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation program, as well as 30 other programs. The  U.S. House will likely approve his  rescission  package, the Senate may not.
ANOTHER TRUMP BLUNDER !
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According to Bloomberg.com, 1,100 economists warn that Trump is repeating one of the biggest mistakes of the Great Depression – tariffs and trade protectionism. The warning came in a letter from the conservative-leaning National Taxpayers Union.
      China loves it !  Trump opened the door, China entered, capitalizing on Trump’s regressive “America First” mantra, with its far reaching Belt and Road outreach with investments encompassing infrastructure, education, construction materials, rail and hi-way, auto, real estate, power grid and iron and steel investments to 68 countries, 65% of the world’s population and 40% of global GDP.
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      Kim took Trump’s war with North Korea option off the table, so looks like Trump now has his sights set on IRAN – to please his base, of course, in time for the mid-terms, of course.
      None of this would happen if we still had the military draft.
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North Korea give up nuclear weapons ?  Never !  Kim wants a global stage, so does Trump, who will not risk being embarrassed by the little tyrant. Trump will bail.  He needs a villain to trash to please his base. Kim has what he wants, the recognition as a nuclear power, and he can thank a blundering Trump for it. If Trump deserves credit for the recent lovefest between the two Koreas, then is entitled to it.  Currently, he is taking 100% credit.  I think he has been played like a harp.  
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Impeachment of Trump unlikely with this Republican House. Trump has surrounded himself with newly appointed Cabinet members, so Section 4 of the 25th amendment is not a reality.   What’s left ?  A deal with Mueller for his RESIGNATION ?
      He could
tweet forever how he accomplished tax cuts, deregulation, a big spend on the military. He could claim that though he was mistreated by the press, he will still go down in history as the best President ever.
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Must Read: “Will Christian Nationalism Drive Trump’s Base to the Polls in November ?”  Truthout April 15, Bill Berkowitz. This explains why his base of Christians votes for an immoral person, one whose behavior is the antithesis of the teachings of Christ.
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Will Trump  Fire Mueller ?

LOOK FOR THIS  TIP-OFF:

      Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, it must be done by the Department of Justice.  Trump would have to find someone to do it.  Nixon did it in 1973 when he had to work through two attorney generals until  his solicitor general, Robert Bork fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. 
     
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from DOJ , or someone outside who has already been confirmed by the Senate who will do it.  Rachel Brand, a conservative who supported Sen. Cruz in 2017 would be in line to take over from Rosenstein, but she just announced she is resigning from DOJ (2/9/19)      
       DOJ’s Dana Bounte’s resignation last October and his recent  appointment by FBI Director Christopher Wray as general Counsel  for the FBI takes him out of the running, though it is doubtful he would have fired Mueller.   He served as the U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia, as well as, acting assistant attorney general  for the National Security Division of DOJ and may be a valuable source of information for the FBI, since he had an inside view.     
      Unconfirmed rumors are that EPA’s Scott Pruit (already confirmed) has shown an interest in the DOJ, is a possibility for a post there.  We now know that is a stretch given the baggage he carries. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russian/Trump  “investigation” March 2017.
       Philip Bump, Washington Post (WAPO) April 10, did a great job outlining possibilities in, “Why Trump can’t fire Mueller – at least not directly.”  I can only touch on a few of his points here.
       In his article, Georgetown University’s professor Paul Butler raises the interesting point that  firing Mueller may not be necessary if  Rosenstein is replaced by someone hostile to the Special Counsel’s investigation.  He would simply force a stall with lots of demands, even leak information to the White House.   
       REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER: Trump would have to have  good reason to fire Mueller.  Grounds must be, misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or other good cause, including violation of policies of the Department of Justice, and failure to follow Justice Departments guidelines and violation of applicable canons of ethics.
       CAN TRUMP RESCIND  SPECIAL COUNSEL REGULATION ?  Yes, it’s possible but many legal hurdles  would make it difficult and possibly so time consuming as to make the action worthless. There is no clear cut answer. This would be decided in court, the legal ramifications just very complex.
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FISCAL CRISIS LOOMS IN FUTURE:  Headlines:“Federal debt primed to explode”….”U.S. Deficit to Surpass $1 Trillion Two Years Ahead of Estimates”….”This Year’s budget deficit to hit $804 B after tax cuts and spending hikes”….
       This is all a Republican scheme to justify massive spending cuts to social, health, educational  and safety net programs. It is called “Starving the Beast,” and will lead to debilitating and prolonged recession/bear market, increased crime, rioting and civil unrest.  Republicans set the stage with massive, unnecessary tax cuts and a big budget spend (see below: “Corporate Tax Cut Irresponsible”)
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Sinclair Broadcast Group  (BEWARE !)

One of my greatest concerns has become reality – Sinclair Broadcast Group is using its clout as owner of  193 television stations as a lever to manipulate local station viewers’ minds pitching it’s right wing propaganda. Viewers tend to trust local stations programing over national networks.
       I called attention to this danger in my September 1, blog, warning that Sinclair’s reach to 80 markets gave it unfettered power. In recent days, Sinclair required news anchors in 200 of its local TV stations to warn viewers that unnamed media are always biased, and publishing fake news. This is a classic example of “projection” where one guilty of doing something wrong actually accuses another of that deed. Sinclair accuses liberal media of manipulation when in fact it is the one doing it.  
          On July 16, 2018, Ajit Pai, appointed to FCC Chair by Trump, rejected  Sinclair’s acquisition of Tribune Broadcast Group which would greatly expand its reach into New York, La and Chicago markets with an addition of 42 more stations, saying he had serious concerns about the deal.
 
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Cambridge Analytica (now in bankruptcy) is center stage again. Palmer.com  reports  someone behind the scenes is trying to block  Britain’s  Channel 4 News from airing an expose  into Cambridge’s role in using  Facebook (FB) to influence voters to vote for Trump and not Clinton.  On Friday,  Facebook  banned Cambridge’s access.  Palmer speculates the Mercers are behind the  attempt to prevent Channel 4’s expose.  I was on  Cambridge’s case back on June 22, 2017,  noting that billionaire Robert Mercer was connected to Cambridge through Canada’s Aggregate IQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked to influence voting  in the Brexit referendum.  Aggregate is a data mining company.  While Aggregate denies any connection,  the story won’t go away. Palmer sees a connection between Cambridge and John Bolton’s SUPER PAC.  Palmer notes that UK Parliament is investigating  the connection between Cambridge and Brexit and documents referred to by Cambridge whistleblower Christopher Wylie reveal  the firm gave stolen Facebook  user data to Bolton’s PAC  (receiving stolen goods ?), though it is not known how Bolton used the data if his PAC even received it.  (See below: Mercer on the run ?)

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Remember the name Felix Sater, former business associate of Trump, convicted  Russian mafia money laundering figure, and key FBI informant.
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Another name to watch is Ted Malloch who Palmer.com reports was served a subpoena relating to the Trump/Russia probe.  Malloch is a U. S. citizen living in London with close tire to Roger Stone, Brexit leader Nigel Farage and the Trump campaign.  As noted above in Cambridge Analytica, there is a connection to parties involved in Brexit and Trump’s campaign.
George Nader, Who he ?  Possibly a key source of information. This is highly complicated with new information pending. Nader has long-standing ties in the Mid-East and Washington over many years.  What appears to be important here is he is cooperating with the Mueller probe not as a wrongdoer, but as a source of information.  He has had ties with the Trump administration through Steve Bannon  and reportedly attended a meeting in the Seychelles Islands January 11, 2017 along with Blackwater founder and former Trump associate, Eric Prince, and Kirill Dmitriev head of a U.S. sanctioned investment firm with close ties to Putin.  Reportedly Nader represented United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
      I referred to the Seychilles meeting on April 5, 2017 noting  the Washington Post reported the meeting was intended to encourage Russia to curtail support for Iran and Syria (Trump wish list) in exchange for lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia.
We’ll see.
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Protecting guns and profits have become more important than protecting the lives of young people” Henry A. Giroux, Truthout ,  March 4.
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Why are so many Americans beholden to guns ? It could be their sense of security was rocked by 9/11 plus the Great Recession/Bear Market.  Then it could be racial, a fear that people of different colors will eventually outnumber them, prompting  the need (in their paranoid minds) to stage a forceful change in governance (revolution).  This makes little sense, but from their point of  simplemindedness, they feel more secure with a dozen guns and cases of ammunition in house just in case.
     What these whackos don’t understand is they can’t use their guns outside of their homes for fear of injuring or killing an innocent person which not only sends them to jail, but opens them up to a lawsuit where they lose their stock portfolio, car, house and all those “blankies” that  go bang.  ………………………………………

 

A quasi-fascist state would give Trump the untethered power he craves.
Read: The Ghost of Fascism in the Age of Trump

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43529-the-ghost-of-fascism-in-the-age-of-trump
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U.S. Ranking globally and domestically is 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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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, 2,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?.
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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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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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Red states In need of Fed government help the most

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’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 response.
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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. These are people were part of the Trump team, or in a position to know information relating to activities before or after the 2016 election, though  not necessarily in any way guilty of any wrongdoing.
       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 – Sam Nunberg – Dan Scavino – Keith Schiller –  Alex Van Der waan – Ted Malloch -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.
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insiders Selling as Companies Buyback Shares

INVESTOR’S first read.com – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 25,241
S&P 500: 2,820
Nasdaq Comp.:7,840
Russell 2000: 1,680

Wednesday, July 25, 2018     9:04 a.m.

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 March 10, 2009 Special Bulletin (DJIA: 6,805) BUY !
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This volatility is EXACTLY what I meant when I Warned:
“2018: The Wildest One in Years.” December 27, 2017
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“No one is bearish, and that’s BEARISH…Odds favor a 12%-18% correction” – Jan. 22, 2018: DJIA:26,214.  (A 14-day 12.2% correction started 4 days later.)
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Trump – a human wrecking ball (1/3/17)
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What’s so Christian about favoring the rich over the poor ?

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“Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.”
                                         Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister.
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     Companies are buying back their own stock at a record clip, according to CNN Money.
      Why then are insiders selling $8 of stock for every $1 of stock they buy ?
       “They’re buying back from the front door, and shoveling shares out the back door,” says John Mousseau, CEO of Cumberland Advisers, a firm managing $3 billion.
      “Large US companies have become cash machines for top insiders who run them,” explains David Santschi, director of liquidity research at TrimTabs Research.
      “Insider selling accelerates immediately after buybacks are unveiled,” notes SEC’s, Robert Jackson, adding its study in 2017 and early 2018 found the percentage of insiders selling stock more than doubled immediately after buyback announcements.
      Buybacks  reward investors, and corporate executives whose  compensation is heavily leveraged in stock by supporting a stock’s price, as well as run it up higher.
The process inflates earnings by reducing shares outstanding.  
      So, let me get this straight –  the CFO is buying back $billions of his company’s stock and the CEO, COO, Chairman, et al are using the increase in the price of the stock to SELL.   Really ?  
OPINION
       I am repeatedly asked why the stock market hangs tough in face of all of Trump’s outlandish behavior.
      I can only conclude that the Street’s algorithms favoring buying over selling is have not been programmed for Trump’s antics and the potential consequences – how could they, something bizarre happens every week.
      At some point, the Street will have to update their algos for the disruption to decision making as a result of uncertainties caused by trade wars with key trading entities, and the economic impact when supply chains break down, orders are cancelled, and growth plans postponed.
     This will result in lowered earnings projections for 2019, which will have to be factored in as we enter Q4.
     This will all dawn on most of the decision makers on the Street at the same time triggering a surge in selling. With little buying to support the market, prices will gap down to a level that discounts the damage done by the blundering of this administration.
      When will that happen ?   Don’t know.  It will be sudden with little warning, so investors should raise cash in line with their tolerance for risk..
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IT WILL TAKE YEARS BEFORE ANYONE CAN TRUST ANY PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AFTER Trump has told more than 3,000 LIES/MISTATEMENTSLying is now a craft without shame.
       Bill Clinton started this ball rolling, the Bush administration took it to new levels with weapons of mass destruction, but  Trump’s 3,000 lies (Washington Post) since taking office make lying the new normal.
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      Economies and the stock markets have always fluctuated with wide swings on both sides of the norm –bull market/bear market, economic expansion/recession.. 
      Only a few of us were hammering out the reasons to BUY in late February and early March 2009 with the DJIA under 7,000.
      From what I see, only a few of us are urging investors to raise cash now, as greedy momentum and an unsupported optimism runs stocks higher and higher, well beyond historic norms.

      We are on the edge. The Foxes are in all the henhouses and the public is clueless.
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TODAY
      Q2 earnings have  hit the Street and as expected here pushed the DJIA and S&P 500 higher, however the Nasdaq Comp. didn’t budge, and the small company Russell 2000 declined significantly.
      If the flow of good earnings fails to run stocks higher, or if earnings fail to meet aggressive projections, the market is in trouble.
      Earnings are not the only factor impacting the market.  The risk of a widening trade war, is a good bet.   A ramp up of Fed policy with rising interest rates is another. Bad news for Trump and Republicans in the midterms, yet another, and  war, or rumors of war would  be major negatives.  
      Was Iran one of the subjects Trump discussed in secret with Putin pursuant to his weekend tweet rant warning Iran’s President Rouhani to never, ever threaten the United States again or he will suffer the consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before ?
      Will Trump put the U.S. on a war footing going into the elections to orchestrate patriotic support ?  
      That could impact stock prices – BEWARE.
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SUPPORT “today”:DJIA: 25,171;S&P 500:2,817;Nasdaq Comp.:7,831
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:25,297;S&P 500:2,837;Nasdaq Comp.:7,867

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BULLISH CASE
     
Corporate earnings are the only positive. Earnings reports will begin to flow in July and they will be good, 20%  for the S&P 500 over a year ago.
      But these earnings have been largely discounted by high stock prices. The Street will soon be looking out to 2019 when earnings increases will be 4% – 7%.
       Factset projects a Q2 earnings gain of  19.0%, that’s up from its projection of +17.1% on March 31.  For 2018 they see a gain of 20.0%.
       Thomson Reuters pegs Q2 earnings gain at +20.9% and something a bit above +19% for the year as a whole . HOWEVER,  it presently projects Q1 2019  increase at +4.4%, Q2 at +8.7%. Q3: +8.7%. Could it be the 19% jump in 2018 earnings is already  factored into the market ?   
         If the Democrats gain control of the House or Senate, or both, it could offset the fact that  we are in a tailspin, financially, economically and morally. It could be a game changer, though we are heading for a recession
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BEARISH CASE
RISING INTEREST RATES:
      The Fed is persistently raising its benchmark interest rate (federal funds), as well as reducing its inflated balance sheet,  which will drive other rates higher, which will adversely impact interest sensitive industries.  Banks will love it, but it will send shivers throughout the housing industry, which is reeling from the impact of tariff-induced higher lumber prices. 
      The 10-year treasury has been rising steadily and now stands at 2.856 %, it has recently been a smidge above 3%.
      Inflation is accelerating faster than expected with the core PCE rising to 2.0 in May, suggesting the Fed may ramp up its tightening. While  average  hourly earnings are not keeping pace, Friday’s Employment Report may show some catch up.
       The yield curve is flattening as short-term treasuries rise faster than long-tern governments just another warning sign of impending recession.
      Home prices have risen recouping most of losses incurred since the Great Recession, making houses even more unaffordable. Limited inventories of houses available for purchase is pushing prices higher.
      New buyers missed their once in a lifetime opportunity to buy when mortgage rates were at historic lows, they will have to pay-up to buy a house, if they can get the financing.
      OVERVALUED MARKET
     Thompson Reuters reports the S&P 500 sells at 19.1 times earnings and 16.7 times a year from now. All this versus a 10-year average of 14.3.
      The Shiller P/E runs much higher at 32.6  times earnings versus a mean of 16.9.  Shiller’s P/E is based on  inflation adjusted earnings over 10 years.
      The S&P 500 price to sales ratio is 2.24 vs.  an average of 1.49.  Before the 2007-2009 bear market it stood at 1.5 x.
      The Total Market Capitalization to GDP  stands at 147.3%, anything above 115% is “overvalued.”
       It looks like stock buy-backs are the only thing holding the market up. It was hoped that the 40% tax cut would trigger spending in capex.  Not yet, companies are buying back their own stock, pushing prices higher enhancing executive stock options.
       Corporate debt relative to GDP (45%) is higher now than before the 2007-2009 meltdown
       Corporations set a record in Q1, using benefits of tax cuts to buy back $189  billion of their own stock, beating the prior record of  $172 billion set in  the summer of 2007 right before the Great Bear Market/Recession.  This is a sign of speculative excess, as is a record amount of margin debt, investor borrowings to buy stock.
AGING BULL MARKET:
      The bull market is now  nine years and three months old (109 months).  That’s 3.5 times the average of the last 15 bull markets.
AGING ECONOMIC EXPANSION:
      The current economic expansion has lasted 108 months. That’s 48 months (1.8x) longer that the average expansion going back to 1945.  Nine out of the last 10 recessions have occurred with a Republican in the White House.
      The onset of bear markets have led the beginning of recessions by 8.5 months going back to 1956, so don’t look for a recession to signal a bear market. The longest lead time was 13 months (1968 – 1969) The “mode” (most frequent) is 12 months.
      1,100 economists WARN Trump is repeating biggest mistakes of Great Depression – tariffs, trade protectionism, according to conservative National Taxpayers’ Union.
      Former Fed Chair, Ben Bernanke, says economy to fall off a cliff in 2020, thanks to the $1.5 trillion corporate and individual tax cut and $300 billion increase in spending.              C
      Consumer spending slipped in May, as did Consumer Expectations and Consumer Confidence. It’s summer, maybe this slowing  is meaningless.
*******The Eurozone is in a slump. The IFO Business Climate Index has been soft all year, GDP is also sliding in face of a slump in retail sales.
      CNN.com reports Corporate America took advantage of low interest rates to load up on debt in recent years for acquisitions and to buy back their own stock. Excluding banks, the tally is $6.3trillion. The downside of this comes when these companies will need to refinance this debt at higher interest rates when it comes due.
      Existing home sales slumped in Q2, and are down in 5 of first 6 months
TRUMP’S TRADE WAR TANTRUM:
       He’s  a human wrecking ball, blustering without forethought of the consequences of  his actions. 
       Economists are minimizing the impact of  the flurry of tariffs, saying their impact is not significant. Perhaps when looking at the big picture but pain is being felt around the country as the stories roll in.
       This tariff jousting changes every several days.…..No one knows where this is going, and on top of aging economic expansions here and abroad, that’s scary.
        I crash-coursed this subject in recent days, as I  have done so many times with issues since Trump took office.   I am certain of one thing,  I do not know enough about this vast subject, nor could I condense what I know here to make any sense.
       What I do know is, today’s businesses are complex, especially supply chains that can involve a thousand parts that make up a whole product, many of which are sourced from different countries, sometimes crossing back and forth across the same border a number of times.
     Throw a wrench into the works and the gears start to gnash.  Managers are pressed to seek other sources, other outlets.  Efficiency and profitability begin to plummet.
      In fact, it doesn’t have to go that far.  Uncertain of the future, unable to plan, budgets get cut, sales orders construction projects cancelled, managers find planning more and more difficult.
      Enter the domino effect, and the pain spreads to other industries and finally to households threatened by unemployment, budgets there are cut, as well.   
      Trump’s hostility to globalization ius ruining the U.S. as a place to do business, even invest.     
  
      Trump considering leaving World Trade Organization (WTO).
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IMPLODING:
      Will he fire Rosenstein, then Mueller ?  Resign ? Create a series of constitutional crises ? Will, Mueller release devastating information about him ?
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
       Sinclair Bank has surfaced as a lender to Michael Cohen, Jared Kushner, his father and Trump.  Ivanka Trump no longer on board. 
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 U.S. Constitution: Article 3, section 3: Treason, briefly defined levying war against the U.S., or in adhering to its enemy, namely aid and comfort, also defined as any act that deliberately strengthens or tends to strengthen enemies of the U.S. or that weakens the power of the U.S. to resist and attack such enemies.
       Briefly, it requires a confession or matching testimony of two witnesses to conclude that an overt act occurred, but not to include “intent”. Congress decides one’s punishment.  
        Is Trump guilty of treason ?  Congressional Republicans that blatantly support him ?   
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TRUMP’S BASE:  Some are those voting because they always vote Republican, others hoped for a different outcome.  Then there are those whose opinions are based on emotional disorders, those who will never accept the truth no matter what (Confirmation Bias); those who accept bad behavior as the norm (Deviancy Down); and those who while stupid, ill informed who actually believe they are highly intelligent, competent (Dunning Krueger). These people don’t have enough knowledge to know they don’t have enough knowledge, i.e.,too dumb to know they are dumb.(alternet.com 7/23/18)
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 Russia’s Vladimir Putin coming to Washington in the fall ?  Is he running for office ?  He can count on support from the Republicans.
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July 19, 2018: Republicans refuse to renew election security funding over Russian hacking – Democrats livid, as all of us should be. Is this really happening ?  
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What !  John Bolton slashing Trump’s cybersecurity agent ?    Trump’s hawkish national security adviser is trying to abolish the role of special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator held by Rob Joyce, according to someone who didn’t want their name disclosed.
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Follow this one closely: The Dept. of Justice charged a Russian national, Mariia Butina, of illegally trying to influence American politics using the NRA, religious organizations and the National Prayer Breakfast  as a means of gaining backchannel access to the highest levels of the Republican Party.  Mother Jones says  Butina acted as a covert Russian agent, an unregistered foreign agent, participating in a multiyear conspiracy to infiltrate conservative political groups, including the NRA. The depth of her ties to Republicans and the NRA appear to be significant.  According to USA Today, Russian billionaire, Konstantin Nikolaev provided funds for a gun rights group Butina started years ago.

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      Since Deputy Atty Gen’l Rod Rosenstein would not fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Trump needed to find someone in the Dept. Of Justice who would assuming Trump first fired Rosenstein.
     On November 8, I noted Brian Benszkowski was nominated by President Trump in June [2017] to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. Along party lines, he was confirmed by the Senate recently, raising the question would he fire Mueller if Rosenstein was fired and he  was appointed in his place. He said he would not recuse himself from  questions in the Mueller investigation.
     The big question mark here is that Benczkowski had represented Russia’s Alfa Bank at some point in the past and had no prosecutorial experience.  He had worked for Atty Gen’l Jeff Sessions and the Bush administration and was not opposed by Rosenstein.

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A “MALEVOLENT FOOL” – Lt. Col. , Ret’d, Ralph Peters, ex-Fox analyst referring to Trump.   Malevolent: evil, harmful, injurious.
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Kavanaugh nominated for Supreme Court not to  overturn Roe v. Wade, but because he has written that a sitting President should be exempted from criminal prosecution, and investigation, including questioning by prosecutors.
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A majority vote in both the House and Senate can change the number of Justices on the Supreme Court. The number is fixed by statute, not by the Constitution. It has ranged between 6 and 10 since 1789.
       The question now is, will the Republicans attempt it to increase it in order to head off  any attempt by the Democrats in the future.
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Trump an agent of Russia ?  His actions suggest it. Read following:
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Un-American ! Trump claims writers of U.S. Constitution treated Him unfairly, adding we have the worst constitution writers in the world…Russia has better constitution writers than we do, says Trump . “I talked with Putin, and he said their constitution never gives him problems.” Andy Borowitz, (The Borowitz Report).
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      WE DON”T WANT TO GO THERE !  The Trump administration is taking the United States straight to a place none of us wants to be – civil unrest,  an extended recession, a fiscal crisis where we can’t pay our bills, ergo the need to slash healthcare, safety net programs, a host of programs that have improved our quality of life.
      This administration’s actions on trade (tariffs, TPP
), the intentional divisiveness of America along racial lines, and abandonment of our long-time allies have opened the door for China to dominate the world, economically and militarily.  That’s Un-American.  This has to be stopped.
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TRUMP’S LIES and misleading statements has reached 3,000 since taking office, according to the Washington Post
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The key for politicians to controlling people’s  minds is to lie relentlessly about everything and especially in response to criticism. Trump is a master at it, but he should be per the above.  He is the ultimate con man and so good at it he has millions of American suckers conned.  He is unprecedented, masterful, and he is destroying the very fabric of what has made us GREAT.
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Stockholm Syndrome ?  The extremists are trying to gut our Constitution, turn us into a fascist state. If Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi  had a smidgeon of the patriotism and spine Maxine Waters has, they would fight to save our republic. She’s one of ours, don’t cut her off at the knees.  FIGHT them, contest every lie, every disregard for the rule of law and humanityNFS !
Note: Stockholm Syndrome is decision by hostages (Dems) to develop a psychological alliance with their captors (Reps) as a survival strategy during captivity.
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Republican strategist, Steve Schmidt, leaves Republican Party after 29 years, saying the party is “corrupt, indecent and immoral,” and with a few exceptions  elected  Republicans are “feckless cowards who disgrace and dishonor the legacies of the party’s greatest leaders.” Others quitting Republican Party: George Will, “Morning” Joe Scarborough. To date, 35 senior Trump advisers have left.
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Immigrants and separation: It’s 90% Stephen Miller, a Breitfart alum, and acknowledged racist.. Former senior vice president of public affairs at Duke University where Miller attended said, He is the most sanctimonious student I ever encountered…absolutely sure of his own views and correctness of them, and if you were in disagreement with him , there was something malevolent or stupid about your thinking.
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President Donald Trump is NOT pro-business, he’s pro-Trump
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Liberal Dems must stop being so liberal, find some spine and  find three issues to fight for – my suggested rallying cry: “Before it’s too late……..” save healthcare, Social Security, our education system and identity as a world leader.
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TRUMP EXIT STRATEGY: The most important thing for King Donald is his image.  Currently he is scrambling to initiate as many perceived accomplishments as possible (taxes, anti-immigrant, anti-allies, deregulation, North Korea, Iran, ISIS, unemployment).
     
This way, if he is impeached, defeated in 2020, or forced to resign, he can claim to have been the greatest president of all-time – he’ll tweet it relentlessly, deviancy-downed Americans will believe it and every network in the country, whores that they are, (including MSNBC and CNN) will scramble to cover his tweets.  IMHO: he won’t risk losing in 2020, just not run – declare he has accomplished his mission and walk away..
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Wake up out there. These aren’t Republicans, they are anarchists, extremists  who have wrested control of the Republican party over the last 20 years and are intent on a party rule with no checks and balances.
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National security adviser, John Bolton, has added two  loyalists to the National Security Council, CNN reposts, referring to Sarah Tinsley and Garrett Marquis. Both have been associated with Bolton for years. Considered a hawk on international affairs, Bolton appears to be positioning his team to back up Trump in any military strike he sees would please his base, possibly in time for the midterm elections. Putting the country on a war footing tends to rally the country behind a president.
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POSSIBLE ! That the blue wave won’t happen in November.  Why? The American voter is still zoned out about what is happening – too busy with other stuff, not capable of  objectively analyzing issues accurately without bias.
     The result: The extremist Republicans and their president will run the economy, a constructive foreign relations policy, and America’s quality of life into the ground.  In order to get the American voter’s attention, we have to hit bottom first.
      That means an extended recession, a fiscal crisis (unable to pay bills), a 65% drop in the stock market and,  national unrest greater than that which the Vietnam War attracted.
       We are witnessing the unfolding of  the biggest scandal in our country’s history, including illegal financial transactions, vote tampering and  untethered collusion and obstruction of  justice at the highest level.  This may take years to unravel.
      Again, I say “possible,” not probable..  Probable would be all that but not as severe.
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Corporations got a 40% tax cut, John and Jane Q get a 1.2% – 1.8% cut, even so, Trump plans to introduce a “rescission package” to cut $15 billion in already approved spending on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation program, as well as 30 other programs. The  U.S. House will likely approve his  rescission  package, the Senate may not.
ANOTHER TRUMP BLUNDER !
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According to Bloomberg.com, 1,100 economists warn that Trump is repeating one of the biggest mistakes of the Great Depression – tariffs and trade protectionism. The warning came in a letter from the conservative-leaning National Taxpayers Union.
      China loves it !  Trump opened the door, China entered, capitalizing on Trump’s regressive “America First” mantra, with its far reaching Belt and Road outreach with investments encompassing infrastructure, education, construction materials, rail and hi-way, auto, real estate, power grid and iron and steel investments to 68 countries, 65% of the world’s population and 40% of global GDP.
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      Kim took Trump’s war with North Korea option off the table, so looks like Trump now has his sights set on IRAN – to please his base, of course, in time for the mid-terms, of course.
      None of this would happen if we still had the military draft.
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North Korea give up nuclear weapons ?  Never !  Kim wants a global stage, so does Trump, who will not risk being embarrassed by the little tyrant. Trump will bail.  He needs a villain to trash to please his base. Kim has what he wants, the recognition as a nuclear power, and he can thank a blundering Trump for it. If Trump deserves credit for the recent lovefest between the two Koreas, then is entitled to it.  Currently, he is taking 100% credit.  I think he has been played like a harp.  
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Impeachment of Trump unlikely with this Republican House. Trump has surrounded himself with newly appointed Cabinet members, so Section 4 of the 25th amendment is not a reality.   What’s left ?  A deal with Mueller for his RESIGNATION ?
      He could
tweet forever how he accomplished tax cuts, deregulation, a big spend on the military. He could claim that though he was mistreated by the press, he will still go down in history as the best President ever.
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Must Read: “Will Christian Nationalism Drive Trump’s Base to the Polls in November ?”  Truthout April 15, Bill Berkowitz. This explains why his base of Christians votes for an immoral person, one whose behavior is the antithesis of the teachings of Christ.
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Will Trump  Fire Mueller ?

LOOK FOR THIS  TIP-OFF:

      Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, it must be done by the Department of Justice.  Trump would have to find someone to do it.  Nixon did it in 1973 when he had to work through two attorney generals until  his solicitor general, Robert Bork fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. 
     
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from DOJ , or someone outside who has already been confirmed by the Senate who will do it.  Rachel Brand, a conservative who supported Sen. Cruz in 2017 would be in line to take over from Rosenstein, but she just announced she is resigning from DOJ (2/9/19)      
       DOJ’s Dana Bounte’s resignation last October and his recent  appointment by FBI Director Christopher Wray as general Counsel  for the FBI takes him out of the running, though it is doubtful he would have fired Mueller.   He served as the U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia, as well as, acting assistant attorney general  for the National Security Division of DOJ and may be a valuable source of information for the FBI, since he had an inside view.     
      Unconfirmed rumors are that EPA’s Scott Pruit (already confirmed) has shown an interest in the DOJ, is a possibility for a post there.  We now know that is a stretch given the baggage he carries. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russian/Trump  “investigation” March 2017.
       Philip Bump, Washington Post (WAPO) April 10, did a great job outlining possibilities in, “Why Trump can’t fire Mueller – at least not directly.”  I can only touch on a few of his points here.
       In his article, Georgetown University’s professor Paul Butler raises the interesting point that  firing Mueller may not be necessary if  Rosenstein is replaced by someone hostile to the Special Counsel’s investigation.  He would simply force a stall with lots of demands, even leak information to the White House.   
       REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER: Trump would have to have  good reason to fire Mueller.  Grounds must be, misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or other good cause, including violation of policies of the Department of Justice, and failure to follow Justice Departments guidelines and violation of applicable canons of ethics.
       CAN TRUMP RESCIND  SPECIAL COUNSEL REGULATION ?  Yes, it’s possible but many legal hurdles  would make it difficult and possibly so time consuming as to make the action worthless. There is no clear cut answer. This would be decided in court, the legal ramifications just very complex.
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FISCAL CRISIS LOOMS IN FUTURE:  Headlines:“Federal debt primed to explode”….”U.S. Deficit to Surpass $1 Trillion Two Years Ahead of Estimates”….”This Year’s budget deficit to hit $804 B after tax cuts and spending hikes”….
       This is all a Republican scheme to justify massive spending cuts to social, health, educational  and safety net programs. It is called “Starving the Beast,” and will lead to debilitating and prolonged recession/bear market, increased crime, rioting and civil unrest.  Republicans set the stage with massive, unnecessary tax cuts and a big budget spend (see below: “Corporate Tax Cut Irresponsible”)
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Sinclair Broadcast Group  (BEWARE !)

One of my greatest concerns has become reality – Sinclair Broadcast Group is using its clout as owner of  193 television stations as a lever to manipulate local station viewers’ minds pitching it’s right wing propaganda. Viewers tend to trust local stations programing over national networks.
       I called attention to this danger in my September 1, blog, warning that Sinclair’s reach to 80 markets gave it unfettered power. In recent days, Sinclair required news anchors in 200 of its local TV stations to warn viewers that unnamed media are always biased, and publishing fake news. This is a classic example of “projection” where one guilty of doing something wrong actually accuses another of that deed. Sinclair accuses liberal media of manipulation when in fact it is the one doing it.  
          On July 16, 2018, Ajit Pai, appointed to FCC Chair by Trump, rejected  Sinclair’s acquisition of Tribune Broadcast Group which would greatly expand its reach into New York, La and Chicago markets with an addition of 42 more stations, saying he had serious concerns about the deal.
 
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Cambridge Analytica (now in bankruptcy) is center stage again. Palmer.com  reports  someone behind the scenes is trying to block  Britain’s  Channel 4 News from airing an expose  into Cambridge’s role in using  Facebook (FB) to influence voters to vote for Trump and not Clinton.  On Friday,  Facebook  banned Cambridge’s access.  Palmer speculates the Mercers are behind the  attempt to prevent Channel 4’s expose.  I was on  Cambridge’s case back on June 22, 2017,  noting that billionaire Robert Mercer was connected to Cambridge through Canada’s Aggregate IQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked to influence voting  in the Brexit referendum.  Aggregate is a data mining company.  While Aggregate denies any connection,  the story won’t go away. Palmer sees a connection between Cambridge and John Bolton’s SUPER PAC.  Palmer notes that UK Parliament is investigating  the connection between Cambridge and Brexit and documents referred to by Cambridge whistleblower Christopher Wylie reveal  the firm gave stolen Facebook  user data to Bolton’s PAC  (receiving stolen goods ?), though it is not known how Bolton used the data if his PAC even received it.  (See below: Mercer on the run ?)

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Remember the name Felix Sater, former business associate of Trump, convicted  Russian mafia money laundering figure, and key FBI informant.
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Another name to watch is Ted Malloch who Palmer.com reports was served a subpoena relating to the Trump/Russia probe.  Malloch is a U. S. citizen living in London with close tire to Roger Stone, Brexit leader Nigel Farage and the Trump campaign.  As noted above in Cambridge Analytica, there is a connection to parties involved in Brexit and Trump’s campaign.
George Nader, Who he ?  Possibly a key source of information. This is highly complicated with new information pending. Nader has long-standing ties in the Mid-East and Washington over many years.  What appears to be important here is he is cooperating with the Mueller probe not as a wrongdoer, but as a source of information.  He has had ties with the Trump administration through Steve Bannon  and reportedly attended a meeting in the Seychelles Islands January 11, 2017 along with Blackwater founder and former Trump associate, Eric Prince, and Kirill Dmitriev head of a U.S. sanctioned investment firm with close ties to Putin.  Reportedly Nader represented United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
      I referred to the Seychilles meeting on April 5, 2017 noting  the Washington Post reported the meeting was intended to encourage Russia to curtail support for Iran and Syria (Trump wish list) in exchange for lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia.
We’ll see.
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Protecting guns and profits have become more important than protecting the lives of young people” Henry A. Giroux, Truthout ,  March 4.
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Why are so many Americans beholden to guns ? It could be their sense of security was rocked by 9/11 plus the Great Recession/Bear Market.  Then it could be racial, a fear that people of different colors will eventually outnumber them, prompting  the need (in their paranoid minds) to stage a forceful change in governance (revolution).  This makes little sense, but from their point of  simplemindedness, they feel more secure with a dozen guns and cases of ammunition in house just in case.
     What these whackos don’t understand is they can’t use their guns outside of their homes for fear of injuring or killing an innocent person which not only sends them to jail, but opens them up to a lawsuit where they lose their stock portfolio, car, house and all those “blankies” that  go bang.  ………………………………………

 

A quasi-fascist state would give Trump the untethered power he craves.
Read: The Ghost of Fascism in the Age of Trump

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43529-the-ghost-of-fascism-in-the-age-of-trump
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U.S. Ranking globally and domestically is 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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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, 2,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?.
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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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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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Red states In need of Fed government help the most

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’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 response.
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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. These are people were part of the Trump team, or in a position to know information relating to activities before or after the 2016 election, though  not necessarily in any way guilty of any wrongdoing.
       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 – Sam Nunberg – Dan Scavino – Keith Schiller –  Alex Van Der waan – Ted Malloch -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.
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q2 Earnings “Should” Juice Market

INVESTOR’S first read.com – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 25,044
S&P 500:2,806
Nasdaq Comp.: 7,841
Russell 2000: 1,698

Tuesday, July 24, 2018     8:58 a.m.

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 March 10, 2009 Special Bulletin (DJIA: 6,805) BUY !
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This volatility is EXACTLY what I meant when I Warned:
“2018: The Wildest One in Years.” December 27, 2017
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“No one is bearish, and that’s BEARISH…Odds favor a 12%-18% correction” – Jan. 22, 2018: DJIA:26,214.  (A 14-day 12.2% correction started 4 days later.)
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Trump – a human wrecking ball (1/3/17)
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What’s so Christian about favoring the rich over the poor ?

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“Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.”
                                         Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister.
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OPINION:
      I am repeatedly asked why the stock market hangs tough in face of all of Trump’s outlandish behavior.
      I can only conclude that the Street’s algorithms favoring buying over selling is have not been programmed for Trump’s antics and the potential consequences – how could they, something bizarre happens every week.
      At some point, the Street will have to update their algos for the disruption to decision making as a result of uncertainties caused by trade wars with key trading entities, and the economic impact when supply chains break down, orders are cancelled, and growth plans postponed.
     This will result in lowered earnings projections for 2019, which will have to be factored in as we enter Q4.
     This will all dawn on most of the decision makers on the Street at the same time triggering a surge in selling. With little buying to support the market, prices will gap down to a level that discounts the damage done by the blundering of this administration.
      When will that happen ?   Don’t know.  It will be sudden with little warning, so investors should raise cash in line with their tolerance for risk..
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IT WILL TAKE YEARS BEFORE ANYONE CAN TRUST ANY PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AFTER 3,000 LIES/MISTATEMENTS TOLD BY TRUMP.  Lying is now a craft without shame.
       Bill Clinton started this ball rolling, the Bush administration took it to new levels with weapons of mass destruction, but  Trump’s 3,000 lies (Washington Post) since taking office make lying the new normal.
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      Economies and the stock markets have always fluctuated with wide swings on both sides of the norm –bull market/bear market, economic expansion/recession.. 
      Only a few of us were hammering out the reasons to BUY in late February and early March 2009 with the DJIA under 7,000.
      From what I see, only a few of us are urging investors to raise cash now, as greedy momentum and an unsupported optimism runs stocks higher and higher, well beyond historic norms.

      We are on the edge. The Foxes are in all the henhouses and the public is clueless.
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TODAY
      Q2 earnings will hit the Street and should push stocks higher, even though they are  significantly overvalued on a historical basis.
      If the flow of good earnings fails to run stocks higher, it would be a huge warning signal.
      Earnings are not the only factor impacting the market.  The risk of a widening trade war, is a good bet.   A ramp up of Fed policy with rising interest rates is another. Bad news for Trump and Republicans in the midterms, yet another, and  war, or rumors of war would  be major negatives.  
      Was Iran one of the subjects Trump discussed in secret with Putin pursuant to his weekend tweet rant warning Iran’s President Rouhani to never, ever threaten the United States again or he will suffer the consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before ?
      Will Trump put the U.S. on a war footing going into the elections to orchestrate patriotic support ?  
      That could impact stock prices – BEWARE.
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SUPPORT “today”:DJIA:25,076 ;S&P 500:2,812;Nasdaq Comp.:7,856
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:25,154;S&P 500:2,818;Nasdaq Comp.:7,875

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BULLISH CASE
     
Corporate earnings are the only positive. Earnings reports will begin to flow in July and they will be good, 20%  for the S&P 500 over a year ago.
      But these earnings have been largely discounted by high stock prices. The Street will soon be looking out to 2019 when earnings increases will be 4% – 7%.
       Factset projects a Q2 earnings gain of  19.0%, that’s up from its projection of +17.1% on March 31.  For 2018 they see a gain of 20.0%.
       Thomson Reuters pegs Q2 earnings gain at +20.9% and something a bit above +19% for the year as a whole . HOWEVER,  it presently projects Q1 2019  increase at +4.4%, Q2 at +8.7%. Q3: +8.7%. Could it be the 19% jump in 2018 earnings is already  factored into the market ?   
         If the Democrats gain control of the House or Senate, or both, it could offset the fact that  we are in a tailspin, financially, economically and morally. It could be a game changer, though we are heading for a recession
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BEARISH CASE
RISING INTEREST RATES:
      The Fed is persistently raising its benchmark interest rate (federal funds), as well as reducing its inflated balance sheet,  which will drive other rates higher, which will adversely impact interest sensitive industries.  Banks will love it, but it will send shivers throughout the housing industry, which is reeling from the impact of tariff-induced higher lumber prices. 
      The 10-year treasury has been rising steadily and now stands at 2.856 %, it has recently been a smidge above 3%.
      Inflation is accelerating faster than expected with the core PCE rising to 2.0 in May, suggesting the Fed may ramp up its tightening. While  average  hourly earnings are not keeping pace, Friday’s Employment Report may show some catch up.
       The yield curve is flattening as short-term treasuries rise faster than long-tern governments just another warning sign of impending recession.
      Home prices have risen recouping most of losses incurred since the Great Recession, making houses even more unaffordable. Limited inventories of houses available for purchase is pushing prices higher.
      New buyers missed their once in a lifetime opportunity to buy when mortgage rates were at historic lows, they will have to pay-up to buy a house, if they can get the financing.
      OVERVALUED MARKET
     Thompson Reuters reports the S&P 500 sells at 19.1 times earnings and 16.7 times a year from now. All this versus a 10-year average of 14.3.
      The Shiller P/E runs much higher at 32.6  times earnings versus a mean of 16.9.  Shiller’s P/E is based on  inflation adjusted earnings over 10 years.
      The S&P 500 price to sales ratio is 2.24 vs.  an average of 1.49.  Before the 2007-2009 bear market it stood at 1.5 x.
      The Total Market Capitalization to GDP  stands at 147.3%, anything above 115% is “overvalued.”
       It looks like stock buy-backs are the only thing holding the market up. It was hoped that the 40% tax cut would trigger spending in capex.  Not yet, companies are buying back their own stock, pushing prices higher enhancing executive stock options.
       Corporate debt relative to GDP (45%) is higher now than before the 2007-2009 meltdown
       Corporations set a record in Q1, using benefits of tax cuts to buy back $189  billion of their own stock, beating the prior record of  $172 billion set in  the summer of 2007 right before the Great Bear Market/Recession.  This is a sign of speculative excess, as is a record amount of margin debt, investor borrowings to buy stock.
AGING BULL MARKET:
      The bull market is now  nine years and three months old (109 months).  That’s 3.5 times the average of the last 15 bull markets.
AGING ECONOMIC EXPANSION:
      The current economic expansion has lasted 108 months. That’s 48 months (1.8x) longer that the average expansion going back to 1945.  Nine out of the last 10 recessions have occurred with a Republican in the White House.
      The onset of bear markets have led the beginning of recessions by 8.5 months going back to 1956, so don’t look for a recession to signal a bear market. The longest lead time was 13 months (1968 – 1969) The “mode” (most frequent) is 12 months.
      1,100 economists WARN Trump is repeating biggest mistakes of Great Depression – tariffs, trade protectionism, according to conservative National Taxpayers’ Union.
      Former Fed Chair, Ben Bernanke, says economy to fall off a cliff in 2020, thanks to the $1.5 trillion corporate and individual tax cut and $300 billion increase in spending.              C
      Consumer spending slipped in May, as did Consumer Expectations and Consumer Confidence. It’s summer, maybe this slowing  is meaningless.
*******The Eurozone is in a slump. The IFO Business Climate Index has been soft all year, GDP is also sliding in face of a slump in retail sales.
      CNN.com reports Corporate America took advantage of low interest rates to load up on debt in recent years for acquisitions and to buy back their own stock. Excluding banks, the tally is $6.3trillion. The downside of this comes when these companies will need to refinance this debt at higher interest rates when it comes due.
TRUMP’S TRADE WAR TANTRUM:
       He’s  a human wrecking ball, blustering without forethought of the consequences of  his actions. 
       Economists are minimizing the impact of  the flurry of tariffs, saying their impact is not significant. Perhaps when looking at the big picture but pain is being felt around the country as the stories roll in.
       This tariff jousting changes every several days.…..No one knows where this is going, and on top of aging economic expansions here and abroad, that’s scary.
        I crash-coursed this subject in recent days, as I  have done so many times with issues since Trump took office.   I am certain of one thing,  I do not know enough about this vast subject, nor could I condense what I know here to make any sense.
       What I do know is, today’s businesses are complex, especially supply chains that can involve a thousand parts that make up a whole product, many of which are sourced from different countries, sometimes crossing back and forth across the same border a number of times.
     Throw a wrench into the works and the gears start to gnash.  Managers are pressed to seek other sources, other outlets.  Efficiency and profitability begin to plummet.
      In fact, it doesn’t have to go that far.  Uncertain of the future, unable to plan, budgets get cut, sales orders construction projects cancelled, managers find planning more and more difficult.
      Enter the domino effect, and the pain spreads to other industries and finally to households threatened by unemployment, budgets there are cut, as well.         
  
      Trump considering leaving World Trade Organization (WTO).
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IMPLODING:
      Will he fire Rosenstein, then Mueller ?  Resign ? Create a series of constitutional crises ? Will, Mueller release devastating information about him ?
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
      U.S. Constitution: Article 3, section 3: Treason, briefly defined levying war against the U.S., or in adhering to its enemy, namely aid and comfort, also defined as any act that deliberately strengthens or tends to strengthen enemies of the U.S. or that weakens the power of the U.S. to resist and attack such enemies.
       Briefly, it requires a confession or matching testimony of two witnesses to conclude that an overt act occurred, but not to include “intent”. Congress decides one’s punishment.  
        Is Trump guilty of treason ?  Congressional Republicans that blatantly support him ?   
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TRUMP’S BASE:  Some are those voting because they always vote Republican, other hoped for a different outcome.  Then there are those whose opinions are based on emotional disorders, those who will never accept the truth no matter what (Confirmation Bias); those who accept bad behavior as the norm (Deviancy Down); and those who while stupid, ill informed who actually believe they are highly intelligent, competent (Dunning Krueger). These people don’t have enough knowledge to know they don’t have enough knowledge, i.e.,too dumb to know they are dumb.(alternet.com 7/23/18)
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 Russia’s Vladimir Putin coming to Washington in the fall ?  Is he running for office ?  He can count on support from the Republicans.
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July 19, 2018: Republicans refuse to renew election security funding over Russian hacking – Democrats livid, as all of us should be. Is this really happening ?  
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What !  John Bolton slashing Trump’s cybersecurity agent ?    Trump’s hawkish national security adviser is trying to abolish the role of special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator held by Rob Joyce, according to someone who didn’t want their name disclosed.
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Follow this one closely: The Dept. of Justice charged a Russian national, Mariia Butina, of illegally trying to influence American politics using the NRA, religious organizations and the National Prayer Breakfast  as a means of gaining backchannel access to the highest levels of the Republican Party.  Mother Jones says  Butina acted as a covert Russian agent, an unregistered foreign agent, participating in a multiyear conspiracy to infiltrate conservative political groups, including the NRA. The depth of her ties to Republicans and the NRA appear to be significant.  According to USA Today, Russian billionaire, Konstantin Nikolaev provided funds for a gun rights group Butina started years ago.

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      Since Deputy Atty Gen’l Rod Rosenstein would not fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Trump needed to find someone in the Dept. Of Justice who would assuming Trump first fired Rosenstein.
     On November 8, I noted Brian Benszkowski was nominated by President Trump in June [2017] to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. Along party lines, he was confirmed by the Senate recently, raising the question would he fire Mueller if Rosenstein was fired and he  was appointed in his place. He said he would not recuse himself from  questions in the Mueller investigation.
     The big question mark here is that Benczkowski had represented Russia’s Alfa Bank at some point in the past and had no prosecutorial experience.  He had worked for Atty Gen’l Jeff Sessions and the Bush administration and was not opposed by Rosenstein.

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A “MALEVOLENT FOOL” – Lt. Col. , Ret’d, Ralph Peters, ex-Fox analyst referring to Trump.   Malevolent: evil, harmful, injurious.
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Kavanaugh nominated for Supreme Court not to  overturn Roe v. Wade, but because he has written that a sitting President should be exempted from criminal prosecution, and investigation, including questioning by prosecutors.
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A majority vote in both the House and Senate can change the number of Justices on the Supreme Court. The number is fixed by statute, not by the Constitution. It has ranged between 6 and 10 since 1789.
       The question now is, will the Republicans attempt it to increase it in order to head off  any attempt by the Democrats in the future.
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Trump an agent of Russia ?  His actions suggest it. Read following:
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Un-American ! Trump claims writers of U.S. Constitution treated Him unfairly, adding we have the worst constitution writers in the world…Russia has better constitution writers than we do, says Trump . “I talked with Putin, and he said their constitution never gives him problems.” Andy Borowitz, (The Borowitz Report).
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      WE DON”T WANT TO GO THERE !  The Trump administration is taking the United States straight to a place none of us wants to be – civil unrest,  an extended recession, a fiscal crisis where we can’t pay our bills, ergo the need to slash healthcare, safety net programs, a host of programs that have improved our quality of life.
      This administration’s actions on trade (tariffs, TPP
), the intentional divisiveness of America along racial lines, and abandonment of our long-time allies have opened the door for China to dominate the world, economically and militarily.  That’s Un-American.  This has to be stopped.
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TRUMP’S LIES and misleading statements has reached 3,000 since taking office, according to the Washington Post
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The key for politicians to controlling people’s  minds is to lie relentlessly about everything and especially in response to criticism. Trump is a master at it, but he should be per the above.  He is the ultimate con man and so good at it he has millions of American suckers conned.  He is unprecedented, masterful, and he is destroying the very fabric of what has made us GREAT.
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Stockholm Syndrome ?  The extremists are trying to gut our Constitution, turn us into a fascist state. If Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi  had a smidgeon of the patriotism and spine Maxine Waters has, they would fight to save our republic. She’s one of ours, don’t cut her off at the knees.  FIGHT them, contest every lie, every disregard for the rule of law and humanityNFS !
Note: Stockholm Syndrome is decision by hostages (Dems) to develop a psychological alliance with their captors (Reps) as a survival strategy during captivity.
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Republican strategist, Steve Schmidt, leaves Republican Party after 29 years, saying the party is “corrupt, indecent and immoral,” and with a few exceptions  elected  Republicans are “feckless cowards who disgrace and dishonor the legacies of the party’s greatest leaders.” Others quitting Republican Party: George Will, “Morning” Joe Scarborough. To date, 35 senior Trump advisers have left.
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Immigrants and separation: It’s 90% Stephen Miller, a Breitfart alum, and acknowledged racist.. Former senior vice president of public affairs at Duke University where Miller attended said, He is the most sanctimonious student I ever encountered…absolutely sure of his own views and correctness of them, and if you were in disagreement with him , there was something malevolent or stupid about your thinking.
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President Donald Trump is NOT pro-business, he’s pro-Trump
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Liberal Dems must stop being so liberal, find some spine and  find three issues to fight for – my suggested rallying cry: “Before it’s too late……..” save healthcare, Social Security, our education system and identity as a world leader.
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TRUMP EXIT STRATEGY: The most important thing for King Donald is his image.  Currently he is scrambling to initiate as many perceived accomplishments as possible (taxes, anti-immigrant, anti-allies, deregulation, North Korea, Iran, ISIS, unemployment).
     
This way, if he is impeached, defeated in 2020, or forced to resign, he can claim to have been the greatest president of all-time – he’ll tweet it relentlessly, deviancy-downed Americans will believe it and every network in the country, whores that they are, (including MSNBC and CNN) will scramble to cover his tweets.  IMHO: he won’t risk losing in 2020, just not run – declare he has accomplished his mission and walk away..
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Wake up out there. These aren’t Republicans, they are anarchists, extremists  who have wrested control of the Republican party over the last 20 years and are intent on a party rule with no checks and balances.
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National security adviser, John Bolton, has added two  loyalists to the National Security Council, CNN reposts, referring to Sarah Tinsley and Garrett Marquis. Both have been associated with Bolton for years. Considered a hawk on international affairs, Bolton appears to be positioning his team to back up Trump in any military strike he sees would please his base, possibly in time for the midterm elections. Putting the country on a war footing tends to rally the country behind a president.
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POSSIBLE ! That the blue wave won’t happen in November.  Why? The American voter is still zoned out about what is happening – too busy with other stuff, not capable of  objectively analyzing issues accurately without bias.
     The result: The extremist Republicans and their president will run the economy, a constructive foreign relations policy, and America’s quality of life into the ground.  In order to get the American voter’s attention, we have to hit bottom first.
      That means an extended recession, a fiscal crisis (unable to pay bills), a 65% drop in the stock market and,  national unrest greater than that which the Vietnam War attracted.
       We are witnessing the unfolding of  the biggest scandal in our country’s history, including illegal financial transactions, vote tampering and  untethered collusion and obstruction of  justice at the highest level.  This may take years to unravel.
      Again, I say “possible,” not probable..  Probable would be all that but not as severe.
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Corporations got a 40% tax cut, John and Jane Q get a 1.2% – 1.8% cut, even so, Trump plans to introduce a “rescission package” to cut $15 billion in already approved spending on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation program, as well as 30 other programs. The  U.S. House will likely approve his  rescission  package, the Senate may not.
ANOTHER TRUMP BLUNDER !
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According to Bloomberg.com, 1,100 economists warn that Trump is repeating one of the biggest mistakes of the Great Depression – tariffs and trade protectionism. The warning came in a letter from the conservative-leaning National Taxpayers Union.
      China loves it !  Trump opened the door, China entered, capitalizing on Trump’s regressive “America First” mantra, with its far reaching Belt and Road outreach with investments encompassing infrastructure, education, construction materials, rail and hi-way, auto, real estate, power grid and iron and steel investments to 68 countries, 65% of the world’s population and 40% of global GDP.
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      Kim took Trump’s war with North Korea option off the table, so looks like Trump now has his sights set on IRAN – to please his base, of course, in time for the mid-terms, of course.
      None of this would happen if we still had the military draft.
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North Korea give up nuclear weapons ?  Never !  Kim wants a global stage, so does Trump, who will not risk being embarrassed by the little tyrant. Trump will bail.  He needs a villain to trash to please his base. Kim has what he wants, the recognition as a nuclear power, and he can thank a blundering Trump for it. If Trump deserves credit for the recent lovefest between the two Koreas, then is entitled to it.  Currently, he is taking 100% credit.  I think he has been played like a harp.  
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Impeachment of Trump unlikely with this Republican House. Trump has surrounded himself with newly appointed Cabinet members, so Section 4 of the 25th amendment is not a reality.   What’s left ?  A deal with Mueller for his RESIGNATION ?
      He could
tweet forever how he accomplished tax cuts, deregulation, a big spend on the military. He could claim that though he was mistreated by the press, he will still go down in history as the best President ever.
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Must Read: “Will Christian Nationalism Drive Trump’s Base to the Polls in November ?”  Truthout April 15, Bill Berkowitz. This explains why his base of Christians votes for an immoral person, one whose behavior is the antithesis of the teachings of Christ.
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Will Trump  Fire Mueller ?

LOOK FOR THIS  TIP-OFF:

      Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, it must be done by the Department of Justice.  Trump would have to find someone to do it.  Nixon did it in 1973 when he had to work through two attorney generals until  his solicitor general, Robert Bork fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. 
     
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from DOJ , or someone outside who has already been confirmed by the Senate who will do it.  Rachel Brand, a conservative who supported Sen. Cruz in 2017 would be in line to take over from Rosenstein, but she just announced she is resigning from DOJ (2/9/19)      
       DOJ’s Dana Bounte’s resignation last October and his recent  appointment by FBI Director Christopher Wray as general Counsel  for the FBI takes him out of the running, though it is doubtful he would have fired Mueller.   He served as the U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia, as well as, acting assistant attorney general  for the National Security Division of DOJ and may be a valuable source of information for the FBI, since he had an inside view.     
      Unconfirmed rumors are that EPA’s Scott Pruit (already confirmed) has shown an interest in the DOJ, is a possibility for a post there.  We now know that is a stretch given the baggage he carries. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russian/Trump  “investigation” March 2017.
       Philip Bump, Washington Post (WAPO) April 10, did a great job outlining possibilities in, “Why Trump can’t fire Mueller – at least not directly.”  I can only touch on a few of his points here.
       In his article, Georgetown University’s professor Paul Butler raises the interesting point that  firing Mueller may not be necessary if  Rosenstein is replaced by someone hostile to the Special Counsel’s investigation.  He would simply force a stall with lots of demands, even leak information to the White House.   
       REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER: Trump would have to have  good reason to fire Mueller.  Grounds must be, misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or other good cause, including violation of policies of the Department of Justice, and failure to follow Justice Departments guidelines and violation of applicable canons of ethics.
       CAN TRUMP RESCIND  SPECIAL COUNSEL REGULATION ?  Yes, it’s possible but many legal hurdles  would make it difficult and possibly so time consuming as to make the action worthless. There is no clear cut answer. This would be decided in court, the legal ramifications just very complex.
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FISCAL CRISIS LOOMS IN FUTURE:  Headlines:“Federal debt primed to explode”….”U.S. Deficit to Surpass $1 Trillion Two Years Ahead of Estimates”….”This Year’s budget deficit to hit $804 B after tax cuts and spending hikes”….
       This is all a Republican scheme to justify massive spending cuts to social, health, educational  and safety net programs. It is called “Starving the Beast,” and will lead to debilitating and prolonged recession/bear market, increased crime, rioting and civil unrest.  Republicans set the stage with massive, unnecessary tax cuts and a big budget spend (see below: “Corporate Tax Cut Irresponsible”)
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Sinclair Broadcast Group  (BEWARE !)

One of my greatest concerns has become reality – Sinclair Broadcast Group is using its clout as owner of  193 television stations as a lever to manipulate local station viewers’ minds pitching it’s right wing propaganda. Viewers tend to trust local stations programing over national networks.
       I called attention to this danger in my September 1, blog, warning that Sinclair’s reach to 80 markets gave it unfettered power. In recent days, Sinclair required news anchors in 200 of its local TV stations to warn viewers that unnamed media are always biased, and publishing fake news. This is a classic example of “projection” where one guilty of doing something wrong actually accuses another of that deed. Sinclair accuses liberal media of manipulation when in fact it is the one doing it.  
          On July 16, 2018, Ajit Pai, appointed to FCC Chair by Trump, rejected  Sinclair’s acquisition of Tribune Broadcast Group which would greatly expand its reach into New York, La and Chicago markets with an addition of 42 more stations, saying he had serious concerns about the deal.
 
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Cambridge Analytica (now in bankruptcy) is center stage again. Palmer.com  reports  someone behind the scenes is trying to block  Britain’s  Channel 4 News from airing an expose  into Cambridge’s role in using  Facebook (FB) to influence voters to vote for Trump and not Clinton.  On Friday,  Facebook  banned Cambridge’s access.  Palmer speculates the Mercers are behind the  attempt to prevent Channel 4’s expose.  I was on  Cambridge’s case back on June 22, 2017,  noting that billionaire Robert Mercer was connected to Cambridge through Canada’s Aggregate IQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked to influence voting  in the Brexit referendum.  Aggregate is a data mining company.  While Aggregate denies any connection,  the story won’t go away. Palmer sees a connection between Cambridge and John Bolton’s SUPER PAC.  Palmer notes that UK Parliament is investigating  the connection between Cambridge and Brexit and documents referred to by Cambridge whistleblower Christopher Wylie reveal  the firm gave stolen Facebook  user data to Bolton’s PAC  (receiving stolen goods ?), though it is not known how Bolton used the data if his PAC even received it.  (See below: Mercer on the run ?)

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Remember the name Felix Sater, former business associate of Trump, convicted  Russian mafia money laundering figure, and key FBI informant.
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Another name to watch is Ted Malloch who Palmer.com reports was served a subpoena relating to the Trump/Russia probe.  Malloch is a U. S. citizen living in London with close tire to Roger Stone, Brexit leader Nigel Farage and the Trump campaign.  As noted above in Cambridge Analytica, there is a connection to parties involved in Brexit and Trump’s campaign.
George Nader, Who he ?  Possibly a key source of information. This is highly complicated with new information pending. Nader has long-standing ties in the Mid-East and Washington over many years.  What appears to be important here is he is cooperating with the Mueller probe not as a wrongdoer, but as a source of information.  He has had ties with the Trump administration through Steve Bannon  and reportedly attended a meeting in the Seychelles Islands January 11, 2017 along with Blackwater founder and former Trump associate, Eric Prince, and Kirill Dmitriev head of a U.S. sanctioned investment firm with close ties to Putin.  Reportedly Nader represented United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
      I referred to the Seychilles meeting on April 5, 2017 noting  the Washington Post reported the meeting was intended to encourage Russia to curtail support for Iran and Syria (Trump wish list) in exchange for lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia.
We’ll see.
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Protecting guns and profits have become more important than protecting the lives of young people” Henry A. Giroux, Truthout ,  March 4.
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Why are so many Americans beholden to guns ? It could be their sense of security was rocked by 9/11 plus the Great Recession/Bear Market.  Then it could be racial, a fear that people of different colors will eventually outnumber them, prompting  the need (in their paranoid minds) to stage a forceful change in governance (revolution).  This makes little sense, but from their point of  simplemindedness, they feel more secure with a dozen guns and cases of ammunition in house just in case.
     What these whackos don’t understand is they can’t use their guns outside of their homes for fear of injuring or killing an innocent person which not only sends them to jail, but opens them up to a lawsuit where they lose their stock portfolio, car, house and all those “blankies” that  go bang.  ………………………………………

 

A quasi-fascist state would give Trump the untethered power he craves.
Read: The Ghost of Fascism in the Age of Trump

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43529-the-ghost-of-fascism-in-the-age-of-trump
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U.S. Ranking globally and domestically is 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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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, 2,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?.
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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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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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Red states In need of Fed government help the most

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’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 response.
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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. These are people were part of the Trump team, or in a position to know information relating to activities before or after the 2016 election, though  not necessarily in any way guilty of any wrongdoing.
       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 – Sam Nunberg – Dan Scavino – Keith Schiller –  Alex Van Der waan – Ted Malloch -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.
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

War Footing with Iran for Patriotic Support

INVESTOR’S first read.com – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 25,058
S&P 500:2,801
Nasdaq Comp.7,820
Russell 2000: 1,696

Monday, July 23, 2018     9:10 a.m.
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 March 10, 2009 Special Bulletin (DJIA: 6,805) BUY !
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This volatility is EXACTLY what I meant when I Warned:
“2018: The Wildest One in Years.” December 27, 2017
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“No one is bearish, and that’s BEARISH…Odds favor a 12%-18% correction” – Jan. 22, 2018: DJIA:26,214.  (A 14-day 12.2% correction started 4 days later.)
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Trump – a human wrecking ball (1/3/17)
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What’s so Christian about favoring the rich over the poor ?

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“Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.”
                                         Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister.
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OPINION:
The deeper I dig, the more alarmed I get. This is a phony stock market, manipulated and highly overvalued, a phony economy, its major engine, the consumer, is tapped out, and a phony administration, headed up by a President with serious emotional disorders and misplaced loyalties.
      At some point, the truth will out and whoooosh, it’ll all return to reality, and in hindsight people wonder why they didn’t see all the warning signs there in bold, uppercase, 55-point print.
       Try googling election security, for one, just don’t do it at bedtime.
       This is a right wing (AINO’s) attempt to wrest control of our republic, to rig elections, gut checks and balances, and widen the gap at warp speed between the nation’s power/wealth structure and everyone else.
        With total control of the Presidency, both Houses of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court and Fox News, this administration has the power to seriously undermine the strengths of our republic.
        Before it’s too late, they must be stopped. This is what the Mueller investigation is all about. Do I sense an uprising of resistance, Americans who are determined to save our republic and all the wonderful things real Americans lived and died for  to achieve over many years ?
         I think so, if it turns out to be a groundswell of Americans determined to save our country from  these anarchists, they will be trampled, run into the ground and never heard from again.
         These extremists are outnumbered, hold power only by the leverage gained by financial strength and ruthless guile. It’s time to run them out of town.
      Economies and the stock markets have always fluctuated with wide swings on both sides of the norm –bull market/bear market, economic expansion/recession.. 
      Only a few of us were hammering out the reasons to BUY in late February and early March 2009 with the DJIA under 7,000.
      From what I see, only a few of us are urging investors to raise cash now, as greedy momentum and an unsupported optimism runs stocks higher and higher, well beyond historic norms.

      We are on the edge. The Foxes are in all the henhouses and the public is clueless.
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TODAY
      CONFIDENCE in our nation’s economic future and ability to withstand all threats going forward is vital for the stability of the preservation of our republic.
       That goes double for a stock market that is so highly overvalued so late in the stock market economic cycle.
       GREEDY MOMENTUM
      While the stock market is highly overvalued even based on year ahead earnings, it can run higher.
      Q2 earnings are expected to be good. The question is, are they already priced in the stack market.
      Yes they are, but the momentum, driven by lust for greater gains will attract buyers, some for the first time.
       We are treading water here. The market should be able to move higher in face of stellar Q2 earnings reports. A disappointment would stun the market which may already have discounted these good earnings in advance.      
        Was Iran one of the subjects Trump discussed in secret with Putin pursuant to his weekend tweet rant warning Iran’s President Rouhani to never, ever threaten the United States again or he will suffer the consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before ?
        Will Trump put the U.S. on a war footing going into the elections to orchestrate patriotic support ?  
      That could impact stock prices – BEWARE.
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SUPPORT “today”:DJIA: 25,133 ;S&P 500:2,796;Nasdaq Comp.:7,796
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:25,113;S&P 500:2,807;Nasdaq Comp.:7,837

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BULLISH CASE
     
Corporate earnings are the only positive. Earnings reports will begin to flow in July and they will be good, 20%  for the S&P 500 over a year ago.
      But these earnings have been largely discounted by high stock prices. The Street will soon be looking out to 2019 when earnings increases will be 4% – 7%.
       Factset projects a Q2 earnings gain of  19.0%, that’s up from its projection of +17.1% on March 31.  For 2018 they see a gain of 20.0%.
       Thomson Reuters pegs Q2 earnings gain at +20.9% and something a bit above +19% for the year as a whole . HOWEVER,  it presently projects Q1 2019  increase at +4.4%, Q2 at +8.7%. Q3: +8.7%. Could it be the 19% jump in 2018 earnings is already  factored into the market ?   
         If the Democrats gain control of the House or Senate, or both, it could offset the fact that  we are in a tailspin, financially, economically and morally. It could be a game changer, though we are heading for a recession
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BEARISH CASE
RISING INTEREST RATES:
      The Fed is persistently raising its benchmark interest rate (federal funds), as well as reducing its inflated balance sheet,  which will drive other rates higher, which will adversely impact interest sensitive industries.  Banks will love it, but it will send shivers throughout the housing industry, which is reeling from the impact of tariff-induced higher lumber prices. 
      The 10-year treasury has been rising steadily and now stands at 2.856 %, it has recently been a smidge above 3%.
      Inflation is accelerating faster than expected with the core PCE rising to 2.0 in May, suggesting the Fed may ramp up its tightening. While  average  hourly earnings are not keeping pace, Friday’s Employment Report may show some catch up.
       The yield curve is flattening as short-term treasuries rise faster than long-tern governments just another warning sign of impending recession.
      Home prices have risen recouping most of losses incurred since the Great Recession, making houses even more unaffordable. Limited inventories of houses available for purchase is pushing prices higher.
      New buyers missed their once in a lifetime opportunity to buy when mortgage rates were at historic lows, they will have to pay-up to buy a house, if they can get the financing.
      OVERVALUED MARKET
     Thompson Reuters reports the S&P 500 sells at 19.1 times earnings and 16.7 times a year from now. All this versus a 10-year average of 14.3.
      The Shiller P/E runs much higher at 32.6  times earnings versus a mean of 16.9.  Shiller’s P/E is based on  inflation adjusted earnings over 10 years.
      The S&P 500 price to sales ratio is 2.24 vs.  an average of 1.49.  Before the 2007-2009 bear market it stood at 1.5 x.
      The Total Market Capitalization to GDP  stands at 147.3%, anything above 115% is “overvalued.”
       It looks like stock buy-backs are the only thing holding the market up. It was hoped that the 40% tax cut would trigger spending in capex.  Not yet, companies are buying back their own stock, pushing prices higher enhancing executive stock options.
       Corporate debt relative to GDP (45%) is higher now than before the 2007-2009 meltdown
       Corporations set a record in Q1, using benefits of tax cuts to buy back $189  billion of their own stock, beating the prior record of  $172 billion set in  the summer of 2007 right before the Great Bear Market/Recession.  This is a sign of speculative excess, as is a record amount of margin debt, investor borrowings to buy stock.
AGING BULL MARKET:
      The bull market is now  nine years and three months old (109 months).  That’s 3.5 times the average of the last 15 bull markets.
AGING ECONOMIC EXPANSION:
      The current economic expansion has lasted 108 months. That’s 48 months (1.8x) longer that the average expansion going back to 1945.  Nine out of the last 10 recessions have occurred with a Republican in the White House.
      The onset of bear markets have led the beginning of recessions by 8.5 months going back to 1956, so don’t look for a recession to signal a bear market. The longest lead time was 13 months (1968 – 1969) The “mode” (most frequent) is 12 months.
      1,100 economists WARN Trump is repeating biggest mistakes of Great Depression – tariffs, trade protectionism, according to conservative National Taxpayers’ Union.
      Former Fed Chair, Ben Bernanke, says economy to fall off a cliff in 2020, thanks to the $1.5 trillion corporate and individual tax cut and $300 billion increase in spending.              C
      Consumer spending slipped in May, as did Consumer Expectations and Consumer Confidence. It’s summer, maybe this slowing  is meaningless.
*******The Eurozone is in a slump. The IFO Business Climate Index has been soft all year, GDP is also sliding in face of a slump in retail sales.
      CNN.com reports Corporate America took advantage of low interest rates to load up on debt in recent years for acquisitions and to buy back their own stock. Excluding banks, the tally is $6.3trillion. The downside of this comes when these companies will need to refinance this debt at higher interest rates when it comes due.
TRUMP’S TRADE WAR TANTRUM:
       He’s  a human wrecking ball, blustering without forethought of the consequences of  his actions. 
       Economists are minimizing the impact of  the flurry of tariffs, saying their impact is not significant. Perhaps when looking at the big picture but pain is being felt around the country as the stories roll in.
       This tariff jousting changes every several days.…..No one knows where this is going, and on top of aging economic expansions here and abroad, that’s scary.
        I crash-coursed this subject in recent days, as I  have done so many times with issues since Trump took office.   I am certain of one thing,  I do not know enough about this vast subject, nor could I condense what I know here to make any sense.
       What I do know is, today’s businesses are complex, especially supply chains that can involve a thousand parts that make up a whole product, many of which are sourced from different countries, sometimes crossing back and forth across the same border a number of times.
     Throw a wrench into the works and the gears start to gnash.  Managers are pressed to seek other sources, other outlets.  Efficiency and profitability begin to plummet.
      In fact, it doesn’t have to go that far.  Uncertain of the future, unable to plan, budgets get cut, sales orders construction projects cancelled, managers find planning more and more difficult.
      Enter the domino effect, and the pain spreads to other industries and finally to households threatened by unemployment, budgets there are cut, as well.         
  
      Trump considering leaving World Trade Organization (WTO).
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IMPLODING:
      Will he fire Rosenstein, then Mueller ?  Resign ? Create a series of constitutional crises ? Will, Mueller release devastating information about him ?
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
      U.S. Constitution: Article 3, section 3: Treason, briefly defined levying war against the U.S., or in adhering to its enemy, namely aid and comfort, also defined as any act that deliberately strengthens or tends to strengthen enemies of the U.S. or that weakens the power of the U.S. to resist and attack such enemies.
       Briefly, it requires a confession or matching testimony of two witnesses to conclude that an overt act occurred, but not to include “intent”. Congress decides one’s punishment.  
        Is Trump guilty of treason ?  Congressional Republicans that blatantly support him ?   
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 Russia’s Vladimir Putin coming to Washington in the fall ?  Is he running for office ?  He can count on support from the Republicans.
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July 19, 2018: Republicans refuse to renew election security funding over Russian hacking – Democrats livid, as all of us should be. Is this really happening ?  
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What !  John Bolton slashing Trump’s cybersecurity agent ?    Trump’s hawkish national security adviser is trying to abolish the role of special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator held by Rob Joyce, according to someone who didn’t want their name disclosed.
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Follow this one closely: The Dept. of Justice charged a Russian national, Mariia Butina, of illegally trying to influence American politics using the NRA, religious organizations and the National Prayer Breakfast  as a means of gaining backchannel access to the highest levels of the Republican Party.  Mother Jones says  Butina acted as a covert Russian agent, an unregistered foreign agent, participating in a multiyear conspiracy to infiltrate conservative political groups, including the NRA. The depth of her ties to Republicans and the NRA appear to be significant.  According to USA Today, Russian billionaire, Konstantin Nikolaev provided funds for a gun rights group Butina started years ago.

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      Since Deputy Atty Gen’l Rod Rosenstein would not fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Trump needed to find someone in the Dept. Of Justice who would assuming Trump first fired Rosenstein.
     On November 8, I noted Brian Benszkowski was nominated by President Trump in June [2017] to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. Along party lines, he was confirmed by the Senate recently, raising the question would he fire Mueller if Rosenstein was fired and he  was appointed in his place. He said he would not recuse himself from  questions in the Mueller investigation.
     The big question mark here is that Benczkowski had represented Russia’s Alfa Bank at some point in the past and had no prosecutorial experience.  He had worked for Atty Gen’l Jeff Sessions and the Bush administration and was not opposed by Rosenstein.

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A “MALEVOLENT FOOL” – Lt. Col. , Ret’d, Ralph Peters, ex-Fox analyst referring to Trump.   Malevolent: evil, harmful, injurious.
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Kavanaugh nominated for Supreme Court not to  overturn Roe v. Wade, but because he has written that a sitting President should be exempted from criminal prosecution, and investigation, including questioning by prosecutors.
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A majority vote in both the House and Senate can change the number of Justices on the Supreme Court. The number is fixed by statute, not by the Constitution. It has ranged between 6 and 10 since 1789.
       The question now is, will the Republicans attempt it to increase it in order to head off  any attempt by the Democrats in the future.
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Trump an agent of Russia ?  His actions suggest it. Read following:
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Un-American ! Trump claims writers of U.S. Constitution treated Him unfairly, adding we have the worst constitution writers in the world…Russia has better constitution writers than we do, says Trump . “I talked with Putin, and he said their constitution never gives him problems.” Andy Borowitz, (The Borowitz Report).
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      WE DON”T WANT TO GO THERE !  The Trump administration is taking the United States straight to a place none of us wants to be – civil unrest,  an extended recession, a fiscal crisis where we can’t pay our bills, ergo the need to slash healthcare, safety net programs, a host of programs that have improved our quality of life.
      This administration’s actions on trade (tariffs, TPP
), the intentional divisiveness of America along racial lines, and abandonment of our long-time allies have opened the door for China to dominate the world, economically and militarily.  That’s Un-American.  This has to be stopped.
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TRUMP’S LIES and misleading statements has reached 3,000 since taking office, according to the Washington Post
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The key for politicians to controlling people’s  minds is to lie relentlessly about everything and especially in response to criticism. Trump is a master at it, but he should be per the above.  He is the ultimate con man and so good at it he has millions of American suckers conned.  He is unprecedented, masterful, and he is destroying the very fabric of what has made us GREAT.
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Stockholm Syndrome ?  The extremists are trying to gut our Constitution, turn us into a fascist state. If Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi  had a smidgeon of the patriotism and spine Maxine Waters has, they would fight to save our republic. She’s one of ours, don’t cut her off at the knees.  FIGHT them, contest every lie, every disregard for the rule of law and humanityNFS !
Note: Stockholm Syndrome is decision by hostages (Dems) to develop a psychological alliance with their captors (Reps) as a survival strategy during captivity.
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Republican strategist, Steve Schmidt, leaves Republican Party after 29 years, saying the party is “corrupt, indecent and immoral,” and with a few exceptions  elected  Republicans are “feckless cowards who disgrace and dishonor the legacies of the party’s greatest leaders.” Others quitting Republican Party: George Will, “Morning” Joe Scarborough. To date, 35 senior Trump advisers have left.
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Immigrants and separation: It’s 90% Stephen Miller, a Breitfart alum, and acknowledged racist.. Former senior vice president of public affairs at Duke University where Miller attended said, He is the most sanctimonious student I ever encountered…absolutely sure of his own views and correctness of them, and if you were in disagreement with him , there was something malevolent or stupid about your thinking.
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President Donald Trump is NOT pro-business, he’s pro-Trump
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Liberal Dems must stop being so liberal, find some spine and  find three issues to fight for – my suggested rallying cry: “Before it’s too late……..” save healthcare, Social Security, our education system and identity as a world leader.
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TRUMP EXIT STRATEGY: The most important thing for King Donald is his image.  Currently he is scrambling to initiate as many perceived accomplishments as possible (taxes, anti-immigrant, anti-allies, deregulation, North Korea, Iran, ISIS, unemployment).
     
This way, if he is impeached, defeated in 2020, or forced to resign, he can claim to have been the greatest president of all-time – he’ll tweet it relentlessly, deviancy-downed Americans will believe it and every network in the country, whores that they are, (including MSNBC and CNN) will scramble to cover his tweets.  IMHO: he won’t risk losing in 2020, just not run – declare he has accomplished his mission and walk away..
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Wake up out there. These aren’t Republicans, they are anarchists, extremists  who have wrested control of the Republican party over the last 20 years and are intent on a party rule with no checks and balances.
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National security adviser, John Bolton, has added two  loyalists to the National Security Council, CNN reposts, referring to Sarah Tinsley and Garrett Marquis. Both have been associated with Bolton for years. Considered a hawk on international affairs, Bolton appears to be positioning his team to back up Trump in any military strike he sees would please his base, possibly in time for the midterm elections. Putting the country on a war footing tends to rally the country behind a president.
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POSSIBLE ! That the blue wave won’t happen in November.  Why? The American voter is still zoned out about what is happening – too busy with other stuff, not capable of  objectively analyzing issues accurately without bias.
     The result: The extremist Republicans and their president will run the economy, a constructive foreign relations policy, and America’s quality of life into the ground.  In order to get the American voter’s attention, we have to hit bottom first.
      That means an extended recession, a fiscal crisis (unable to pay bills), a 65% drop in the stock market and,  national unrest greater than that which the Vietnam War attracted.
       We are witnessing the unfolding of  the biggest scandal in our country’s history, including illegal financial transactions, vote tampering and  untethered collusion and obstruction of  justice at the highest level.  This may take years to unravel.
      Again, I say “possible,” not probable..  Probable would be all that but not as severe.
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Corporations got a 40% tax cut, John and Jane Q get a 1.2% – 1.8% cut, even so, Trump plans to introduce a “rescission package” to cut $15 billion in already approved spending on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation program, as well as 30 other programs. The  U.S. House will likely approve his  rescission  package, the Senate may not.
ANOTHER TRUMP BLUNDER !
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According to Bloomberg.com, 1,100 economists warn that Trump is repeating one of the biggest mistakes of the Great Depression – tariffs and trade protectionism. The warning came in a letter from the conservative-leaning National Taxpayers Union.
      China loves it !  Trump opened the door, China entered, capitalizing on Trump’s regressive “America First” mantra, with its far reaching Belt and Road outreach with investments encompassing infrastructure, education, construction materials, rail and hi-way, auto, real estate, power grid and iron and steel investments to 68 countries, 65% of the world’s population and 40% of global GDP.
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      Kim took Trump’s war with North Korea option off the table, so looks like Trump now has his sights set on IRAN – to please his base, of course, in time for the mid-terms, of course.
      None of this would happen if we still had the military draft.
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North Korea give up nuclear weapons ?  Never !  Kim wants a global stage, so does Trump, who will not risk being embarrassed by the little tyrant. Trump will bail.  He needs a villain to trash to please his base. Kim has what he wants, the recognition as a nuclear power, and he can thank a blundering Trump for it. If Trump deserves credit for the recent lovefest between the two Koreas, then is entitled to it.  Currently, he is taking 100% credit.  I think he has been played like a harp.  
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Impeachment of Trump unlikely with this Republican House. Trump has surrounded himself with newly appointed Cabinet members, so Section 4 of the 25th amendment is not a reality.   What’s left ?  A deal with Mueller for his RESIGNATION ?
      He could
tweet forever how he accomplished tax cuts, deregulation, a big spend on the military. He could claim that though he was mistreated by the press, he will still go down in history as the best President ever.
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Must Read: “Will Christian Nationalism Drive Trump’s Base to the Polls in November ?”  Truthout April 15, Bill Berkowitz. This explains why his base of Christians votes for an immoral person, one whose behavior is the antithesis of the teachings of Christ.
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Will Trump  Fire Mueller ?

LOOK FOR THIS  TIP-OFF:

      Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, it must be done by the Department of Justice.  Trump would have to find someone to do it.  Nixon did it in 1973 when he had to work through two attorney generals until  his solicitor general, Robert Bork fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. 
     
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from DOJ , or someone outside who has already been confirmed by the Senate who will do it.  Rachel Brand, a conservative who supported Sen. Cruz in 2017 would be in line to take over from Rosenstein, but she just announced she is resigning from DOJ (2/9/19)      
       DOJ’s Dana Bounte’s resignation last October and his recent  appointment by FBI Director Christopher Wray as general Counsel  for the FBI takes him out of the running, though it is doubtful he would have fired Mueller.   He served as the U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia, as well as, acting assistant attorney general  for the National Security Division of DOJ and may be a valuable source of information for the FBI, since he had an inside view.     
      Unconfirmed rumors are that EPA’s Scott Pruit (already confirmed) has shown an interest in the DOJ, is a possibility for a post there.  We now know that is a stretch given the baggage he carries. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russian/Trump  “investigation” March 2017.
       Philip Bump, Washington Post (WAPO) April 10, did a great job outlining possibilities in, “Why Trump can’t fire Mueller – at least not directly.”  I can only touch on a few of his points here.
       In his article, Georgetown University’s professor Paul Butler raises the interesting point that  firing Mueller may not be necessary if  Rosenstein is replaced by someone hostile to the Special Counsel’s investigation.  He would simply force a stall with lots of demands, even leak information to the White House.   
       REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER: Trump would have to have  good reason to fire Mueller.  Grounds must be, misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or other good cause, including violation of policies of the Department of Justice, and failure to follow Justice Departments guidelines and violation of applicable canons of ethics.
       CAN TRUMP RESCIND  SPECIAL COUNSEL REGULATION ?  Yes, it’s possible but many legal hurdles  would make it difficult and possibly so time consuming as to make the action worthless. There is no clear cut answer. This would be decided in court, the legal ramifications just very complex.
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FISCAL CRISIS LOOMS IN FUTURE:  Headlines:“Federal debt primed to explode”….”U.S. Deficit to Surpass $1 Trillion Two Years Ahead of Estimates”….”This Year’s budget deficit to hit $804 B after tax cuts and spending hikes”….
       This is all a Republican scheme to justify massive spending cuts to social, health, educational  and safety net programs. It is called “Starving the Beast,” and will lead to debilitating and prolonged recession/bear market, increased crime, rioting and civil unrest.  Republicans set the stage with massive, unnecessary tax cuts and a big budget spend (see below: “Corporate Tax Cut Irresponsible”)
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Sinclair Broadcast Group  (BEWARE !)

One of my greatest concerns has become reality – Sinclair Broadcast Group is using its clout as owner of  193 television stations as a lever to manipulate local station viewers’ minds pitching it’s right wing propaganda. Viewers tend to trust local stations programing over national networks.
       I called attention to this danger in my September 1, blog, warning that Sinclair’s reach to 80 markets gave it unfettered power. In recent days, Sinclair required news anchors in 200 of its local TV stations to warn viewers that unnamed media are always biased, and publishing fake news. This is a classic example of “projection” where one guilty of doing something wrong actually accuses another of that deed. Sinclair accuses liberal media of manipulation when in fact it is the one doing it.  
          On July 16, 2018, Ajit Pai, appointed to FCC Chair by Trump, rejected  Sinclair’s acquisition of Tribune Broadcast Group which would greatly expand its reach into New York, La and Chicago markets with an addition of 42 more stations, saying he had serious concerns about the deal.
 
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Cambridge Analytica (now in bankruptcy) is center stage again. Palmer.com  reports  someone behind the scenes is trying to block  Britain’s  Channel 4 News from airing an expose  into Cambridge’s role in using  Facebook (FB) to influence voters to vote for Trump and not Clinton.  On Friday,  Facebook  banned Cambridge’s access.  Palmer speculates the Mercers are behind the  attempt to prevent Channel 4’s expose.  I was on  Cambridge’s case back on June 22, 2017,  noting that billionaire Robert Mercer was connected to Cambridge through Canada’s Aggregate IQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked to influence voting  in the Brexit referendum.  Aggregate is a data mining company.  While Aggregate denies any connection,  the story won’t go away. Palmer sees a connection between Cambridge and John Bolton’s SUPER PAC.  Palmer notes that UK Parliament is investigating  the connection between Cambridge and Brexit and documents referred to by Cambridge whistleblower Christopher Wylie reveal  the firm gave stolen Facebook  user data to Bolton’s PAC  (receiving stolen goods ?), though it is not known how Bolton used the data if his PAC even received it.  (See below: Mercer on the run ?)

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Remember the name Felix Sater, former business associate of Trump, convicted  Russian mafia money laundering figure, and key FBI informant.
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Another name to watch is Ted Malloch who Palmer.com reports was served a subpoena relating to the Trump/Russia probe.  Malloch is a U. S. citizen living in London with close tire to Roger Stone, Brexit leader Nigel Farage and the Trump campaign.  As noted above in Cambridge Analytica, there is a connection to parties involved in Brexit and Trump’s campaign.
George Nader, Who he ?  Possibly a key source of information. This is highly complicated with new information pending. Nader has long-standing ties in the Mid-East and Washington over many years.  What appears to be important here is he is cooperating with the Mueller probe not as a wrongdoer, but as a source of information.  He has had ties with the Trump administration through Steve Bannon  and reportedly attended a meeting in the Seychelles Islands January 11, 2017 along with Blackwater founder and former Trump associate, Eric Prince, and Kirill Dmitriev head of a U.S. sanctioned investment firm with close ties to Putin.  Reportedly Nader represented United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
      I referred to the Seychilles meeting on April 5, 2017 noting  the Washington Post reported the meeting was intended to encourage Russia to curtail support for Iran and Syria (Trump wish list) in exchange for lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia.
We’ll see.
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Protecting guns and profits have become more important than protecting the lives of young people” Henry A. Giroux, Truthout ,  March 4.
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Why are so many Americans beholden to guns ? It could be their sense of security was rocked by 9/11 plus the Great Recession/Bear Market.  Then it could be racial, a fear that people of different colors will eventually outnumber them, prompting  the need (in their paranoid minds) to stage a forceful change in governance (revolution).  This makes little sense, but from their point of  simplemindedness, they feel more secure with a dozen guns and cases of ammunition in house just in case.
     What these whackos don’t understand is they can’t use their guns outside of their homes for fear of injuring or killing an innocent person which not only sends them to jail, but opens them up to a lawsuit where they lose their stock portfolio, car, house and all those “blankies” that  go bang.  ………………………………………

 

A quasi-fascist state would give Trump the untethered power he craves.
Read: The Ghost of Fascism in the Age of Trump

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43529-the-ghost-of-fascism-in-the-age-of-trump
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U.S. Ranking globally and domestically is 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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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, 2,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?.
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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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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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Red states In need of Fed government help the most

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’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 response.
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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. These are people were part of the Trump team, or in a position to know information relating to activities before or after the 2016 election, though  not necessarily in any way guilty of any wrongdoing.
       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 – Sam Nunberg – Dan Scavino – Keith Schiller –  Alex Van Der waan – Ted Malloch -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.
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

America’s Biggest Crisis Looms

INVESTOR’S first read.com – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 25,064
S&P 500:2,824
Nasdaq Comp.7,825:
Russell 2000: 1,701

Thursday, July 20, 2018     9:15 a.m.

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 March 10, 2009 Special Bulletin (DJIA: 6,805) BUY !
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This volatility is EXACTLY what I meant when I Warned:
“2018: The Wildest One in Years.” December 27, 2017
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“No one is bearish, and that’s BEARISH…Odds favor a 12%-18% correction” – Jan. 22, 2018: DJIA:26,214.  (A 14-day 12.2% correction started 4 days later.)
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Trump – a human wrecking ball (1/3/17)
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What’s so Christian about favoring the rich over the poor ?

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“Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.”
                                         Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister.
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OPINION:
The deeper I dig, the more alarmed I get. This is a phony stock market, manipulated and highly overvalued, a phony economy, its major engine, the consumer, is tapped out, and a phony administration, headed up by a President with serious emotional disorders and misplaced loyalties.
      At some point, the truth will out and whoooosh, it’ll all return to reality, and in hindsight people wonder why they didn’t see all the warning signs there in bold, uppercase, 55-point print.
       Try googling election security, for one, just don’t do it at bedtime.
       This is a right wing (AINO’s) attempt to wrest control of our republic, to rig elections, gut checks and balances, and widen the gap at warp speed between the nation’s power/wealth structure and everyone else.
        With total control of the Presidency, both Houses of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court and Fox News, this administration has the power to seriously undermine the strengths of our republic.
        Before it’s too late, they must be stopped. This is what the Mueller investigation is all about. Do I sense an uprising of resistance, Americans who are determined to save our republic and all the wonderful things real Americans lived and died for  to achieve over many years ?
         I think so, if it turns out to be a groundswell of Americans determined to save our country from  these anarchists, they will be trampled, run into the ground and never heard of again.
         These extremists are outnumbered, hold power only by the leverage gained by financial strength and ruthless guile. It’s time to run them out of town.
      Economies and the stock markets have always fluctuated with wide swings on both sides of the norm –bull market/bear market, economic expansion/recession.. 
      Only a few of us were hammering out the reasons to BUY in late February and early March 2009 with the DJIA under 7,000.
      From what I see, only a few of us are urging investors to raise cash now, as greedy momentum and an unsupported optimism runs stocks higher and higher, well beyond historic norms.
      We are on the edge. The Foxes are in all the henhouses and the public is clueless.
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       Q2 earnings  are projected to be up sharply over a year ago. Should there be too many that disappoint the Street, a sustained sharp correction will result.
       That is nearly impossible for anyone to believe with all the news flow is positive, but it isn’t what we see now that counts, it is how things look a year from now.
      CONFIDENCE in our nation’s economic future and ability to withstand all threats going forward is vital for the stability of the preservation of our republic.
       That goes double for a stock market that is so highly overvalued so late in the stock market economic cycle.
       GREEDY MOMENTUM
      While the stock market is highly overvalued even based on year ahead earnings, it can run higher.
      Q2 earnings are expected to be good. The question is, are they already priced in the stack market.
      Yes they are, but the momentum, driven by lust for greater gains will attract buyers, some for the first time.
       This is classic late-stage bull market behavior and it’s hard to shut off.
       It’s really a game, more so than investing, but will suddenly be over.
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SUPPORT “today”:DJIA: 25,006 ;S&P 500:2,794;Nasdaq Comp.:7,801
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:5,116;S&P 500:2,810;Nasdaq Comp.:7,837

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BULLISH CASE
     
Corporate earnings are the only positive. Earnings reports will begin to flow in July and they will be good, 20%  for the S&P 500 over a year ago.
      But these earnings have been largely discounted by high stock prices. The Street will soon be looking out to 2019 when earnings increases will be 4% – 7%.
       Factset projects a Q2 earnings gain of  19.0%, that’s up from its projection of +17.1% on March 31.  For 2018 they see a gain of 20.0%.
       Thomson Reuters pegs Q2 earnings gain at +20.9% and something a bit above +19% for the year as a whole . HOWEVER,  it presently projects Q1 2019  increase at +4.4%, Q2 at +8.7%. Q3: +8.7%. Could it be the 19% jump in 2018 earnings is already  factored into the market ?   
         If the Democrats gain control of the House or Senate, or both, it could offset the fact that  we are in a tailspin, financially, economically and morally. It could be a game changer, though we are heading for a recession
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BEARISH CASE
RISING INTEREST RATES:
      The Fed is persistently raising its benchmark interest rate (federal funds), as well as reducing its inflated balance sheet,  which will drive other rates higher, which will adversely impact interest sensitive industries.  Banks will love it, but it will send shivers throughout the housing industry, which is reeling from the impact of tariff-induced higher lumber prices. 
      The 10-year treasury has been rising steadily and now stands at 2.856 %, it has recently been a smidge above 3%.
>>>>>>Inflation is accelerating faster than expected with the core PCE rising to 2.0 in May, suggesting the Fed may ramp up its tightening. While  average  hourly earnings are not keeping pace, Friday’s Employment Report may show some catch up.
       The yield curve is flattening as short-term treasuries rise faster than long-tern governments just another warning sign of impending recession.
Home prices have risen recouping most of losses incurred since the Great Recession, making houses even more unaffordable. Limited inventories of houses available for purchase is pushing prices higher.
      New buyers missed their once in a lifetime opportunity to buy when mortgage rates were at historic lows, they will have to pay-up to buy a house, if they can get the financing.
      OVERVALUED MARKET
     Thompson Reuters reports the S&P 500 sells at 19.7times earnings and 16.8 times a year from now. All this versus a 10-year average of 14.3.
      The Shiller P/E runs much higher at 32.8  times earnings versus a mean of 16.7.  Shiller’s P/E is based on  inflation adjusted earnings over 10 years.
      The S&P 500 price to sales ratio is 2.24 vs.  an average of 1.49.  Before the 2007-2009 bear market it stood at 1.5 x.
      The Total Market Capitalization to GDP  stands at 145.6%, anything above 115% is “overvalued.”
       It looks like stock buy-backs are the only thing holding the market up. It was hoped that the 40% tax cut would trigger spending in capex.  Not yet, companies are buying back their own stock, pushing prices higher enhancing executive stock options.
       Corporate debt relative to GDP (45%) is higher now than before the 2007-2009 meltdown
       Corporations set a record in Q1, using benefits of tax cuts to buy back $189  billion of their own stock, beating the prior record of  $172 billion set in  the summer of 2007 right before the Great Bear Market/Recession.  This is a sign of speculative excess, as is a record amount of margin debt, investor borrowings to buy stock.
AGING BULL MARKET:
      The bull market is now  nine years and three months old (109 months).  That’s 3.5 times the average of the last 15 bull markets.
AGING ECONOMIC EXPANSION:
      The current economic expansion has lasted 108 months. That’s 48 months (1.8x) longer that the average expansion going back to 1945.  Nine out of the last 10 recessions have occurred with a Republican in the White House.
      The onset of bear markets have led the beginning of recessions by 8.5 months going back to 1956, so don’t look for a recession to signal a bear market. The longest lead time was 13 months (1968 – 1969) The “mode” (most frequent) is 12 months.
 *****1,100 economists WARN Trump is repeating biggest mistakes of Great Depression – tariffs, trade protectionism, according to conservative National Taxpayers’ Union.
****** Former Fed Chair, Ben Bernanke, says economy to fall off a cliff in 2020, thanks to the $1.5 trillion corporate and individual tax cut and $300 billion increase in spending.              C
      Consumer spending slipped in May, as did Consumer Expectations and Consumer Confidence. It’s summer, maybe this slowing  is meaningless.
*******The Eurozone is in a slump. The IFO Business Climate Index has been soft all year, GDP is also sliding in face of a slump in retail sales.
      CNN.com reports Corporate America took advantage of low interest rates to load up on debt in recent years for acquisitions and to buy back their own stock. Excluding banks, the tally is $6.3trillion. The downside of this comes when these companies will need to refinance this debt at higher interest rates when it comes due.
TRUMP’S TRADE WAR TANTRUM:
       He’s  a human wrecking ball, blustering without forethought of the consequences of  his actions. 
       Economists are minimizing the impact of  the flurry of tariffs, saying their impact is not significant. Perhaps when looking at the big picture but pain is being felt around the country as the stories roll in.
       This tariff jousting changes every several days.…..No one knows where this is going, and on top of aging economic expansions here and abroad, that’s scary.
        I crash-coursed this subject in recent days, as I  have done so many times with issues since Trump took office.   I am certain of one thing,  I do not know enough about this vast subject, nor could I condense what I know here to make any sense.
       What I do know is, today’s businesses are complex, especially supply chains that can involve a thousand parts that make up a whole product, many of which are sourced from different countries, sometimes crossing back and forth across the same border a number of times.
     Throw a wrench into the works and the gears start to gnash.  Managers are pressed to seek other sources, other outlets.  Efficiency and profitability begin to plummet.
      In fact, it doesn’t have to go that far.  Uncertain of the future, unable to plan, budgets get cut, sales orders construction projects cancelled, managers find planning more and more difficult.
      Enter the domino effect, and the pain spreads to other industries and finally to households threatened by unemployment, budgets there are cut, as well.         
  
      Trump considering leaving World Trade Organization (WTO).
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IMPLODING:
      Will he fire Rosenstein, then Mueller ?  Resign ? Create a series of constitutional crises ? Will, Mueller release devastating information about him ?
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
      Russia’s Vladimir Putin coming to Washington in the fall ?  Is he running for office ?  He can count on support from the Republicans.
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July 19, 2018: Republicans refuse to renew election security funding over Russian hacking – Democrats livid, as all of us should be. Is this really happening ?  
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What !  John Bolton slashing Trump’s cybersecurity agent ?    Trump’s hawkish national security adviser is trying to abolish the role of special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator held by Rob Joyce, according to someone who didn’t want their name disclosed.
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Follow this one closely: The Dept. of Justice charged a Russian national, Mariia Butina, of illegally trying to influence American politics using the NRA, religious organizations and the National Prayer Breakfast  as a means of gaining backchannel access to the highest levels of the Republican Party.  Mother Jones Butina acted as a covert Russian agent, an unregistered foreign agent, participating in a multiyear conspiracy to infiltrate conservative political groups, including the NRA. The depth of her ties to Republicans and the NRA appear to be significant.  More will come on this one.  
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 Last November 8, I posted the following, since I believed Trump would find someone to appoint subject to confirmation, to serve in the Dept. of Justice (DOJ), who may be willing to fire Special Counsel Robert. Mueller.
      Unable to find an update on Benczkowski by May 7, I deleted the post.  Yesterday, I discovered he was confirmed along party lines Wednesday to head up DOJ’s criminal division.
       My concern has been that Deputy Atty. Gen’l Rod Rosenstein would be fired by Trump and be replaced by someone (Benczkowski) who would then fire Mueller.
This is what I had posted between Nov.8, 2017 and May 7, this year.

Brian Benczkowski was nominated by President Trump in June [2017]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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A “MALEVOLENT FOOL” – Lt. Col. , Ret’d, Ralph Peters, ex-Fox analyst referring to Trump.   Malevolent: evil, harmful, injurious.
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Kavanaugh nominated for Supreme Court not to  overturn Roe v. Wade, but because he has written that a sitting President should be exempted from criminal prosecution, and investigation, including questioning by prosecutors.
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A majority vote in both the House and Senate can change the number of Justices on the Supreme Court. The number is fixed by statute, not by the Constitution. It has ranged between 6 and 10 since 1789.
       The question now is, will the Republicans attempt it to increase it in order to head off  any attempt by the Democrats in the future.
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Trump an agent of Russia ?  His actions suggest it. Read following:
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Un-American ! Trump claims writers of U.S. Constitution treated Him unfairly, adding we have the worst constitution writers in the world…Russia has better constitution writers than we do, says Trump . “I talked with Putin, and he said their constitution never gives him problems.” Andy Borowitz, (The Borowitz Report).
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      WE DON”T WANT TO GO THERE !  The Trump administration is taking the United States straight to a place none of us wants to be – civil unrest,  an extended recession, a fiscal crisis where we can’t pay our bills, ergo the need to slash healthcare, safety net programs, a host of programs that have improved our quality of life.
      This administration’s actions on trade (tariffs, TPP
), the intentional divisiveness of America along racial lines, and abandonment of our long-time allies have opened the door for China to dominate the world, economically and militarily.  That’s Un-American.  This has to be stopped.
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TRUMP’S LIES and misleading statements has reached 3,000 since taking office, according to the Washington Post
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The key for politicians to controlling people’s  minds is to lie relentlessly about everything and especially in response to criticism. Trump is a master at it, but he should be per the above.  He is the ultimate con man and so good at it he has millions of American suckers conned.  He is unprecedented, masterful, and he is destroying the very fabric of what has made us GREAT.
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Stockholm Syndrome ?  The extremists are trying to gut our Constitution, turn us into a fascist state. If Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi  had a smidgeon of the patriotism and spine Maxine Waters has, they would fight to save our republic. She’s one of ours, don’t cut her off at the knees.  FIGHT them, contest every lie, every disregard for the rule of law and humanityNFS !
Note: Stockholm Syndrome is decision by hostages (Dems) to develop a psychological alliance with their captors (Reps) as a survival strategy during captivity.
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Republican strategist, Steve Schmidt, leaves Republican Party after 29 years, saying the party is “corrupt, indecent and immoral,” and with a few exceptions  elected  Republicans are “feckless cowards who disgrace and dishonor the legacies of the party’s greatest leaders.” Others quitting Republican Party: George Will, “Morning” Joe Scarborough. To date, 35 senior Trump advisers have left.
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Immigrants and separation: It’s 90% Stephen Miller, a Breitfart alum, and acknowledged racist.. Former senior vice president of public affairs at Duke University where Miller attended said, He is the most sanctimonious student I ever encountered…absolutely sure of his own views and correctness of them, and if you were in disagreement with him , there was something malevolent or stupid about your thinking.
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President Donald Trump is NOT pro-business, he’s pro-Trump
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Liberal Dems must stop being so liberal, find some spine and  find three issues to fight for – my suggested rallying cry: “Before it’s too late……..” save healthcare, Social Security, our education system and identity as a world leader.
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TRUMP EXIT STRATEGY: The most important thing for King Donald is his image.  Currently he is scrambling to initiate as many perceived accomplishments as possible (taxes, anti-immigrant, anti-allies, deregulation, North Korea, Iran, ISIS, unemployment).
     
This way, if he is impeached, defeated in 2020, or forced to resign, he can claim to have been the greatest president of all-time – he’ll tweet it relentlessly, deviancy-downed Americans will believe it and every network in the country, whores that they are, (including MSNBC and CNN) will scramble to cover his tweets.  IMHO: he won’t risk losing in 2020, just not run – declare he has accomplished his mission and walk away..
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Wake up out there. These aren’t Republicans, they are anarchists, extremists  who have wrested control of the Republican party over the last 20 years and are intent on a party rule with no checks and balances.
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National security adviser, John Bolton, has added two  loyalists to the National Security Council, CNN reposts, referring to Sarah Tinsley and Garrett Marquis. Both have been associated with Bolton for years. Considered a hawk on international affairs, Bolton appears to be positioning his team to back up Trump in any military strike he sees would please his base, possibly in time for the midterm elections. Putting the country on a war footing tends to rally the country behind a president.
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POSSIBLE ! That the blue wave won’t happen in November.  Why? The American voter is still zoned out about what is happening – too busy with other stuff, not capable of  objectively analyzing issues accurately without bias.
     The result: The extremist Republicans and their president will run the economy, a constructive foreign relations policy, and America’s quality of life into the ground.  In order to get the American voter’s attention, we have to hit bottom first.
      That means an extended recession, a fiscal crisis (unable to pay bills), a 65% drop in the stock market and,  national unrest greater than that which the Vietnam War attracted.
       We are witnessing the unfolding of  the biggest scandal in our country’s history, including illegal financial transactions, vote tampering and  untethered collusion and obstruction of  justice at the highest level.  This may take years to unravel.
      Again, I say “possible,” not probable..  Probable would be all that but not as severe.
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Corporations got a 40% tax cut, John and Jane Q get a 1.2% – 1.8% cut, even so, Trump plans to introduce a “rescission package” to cut $15 billion in already approved spending on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation program, as well as 30 other programs. The  U.S. House will likely approve his  rescission  package, the Senate may not.
ANOTHER TRUMP BLUNDER !
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According to Bloomberg.com, 1,100 economists warn that Trump is repeating one of the biggest mistakes of the Great Depression – tariffs and trade protectionism. The warning came in a letter from the conservative-leaning National Taxpayers Union.
      China loves it !  Trump opened the door, China entered, capitalizing on Trump’s regressive “America First” mantra, with its far reaching Belt and Road outreach with investments encompassing infrastructure, education, construction materials, rail and hi-way, auto, real estate, power grid and iron and steel investments to 68 countries, 65% of the world’s population and 40% of global GDP.
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      Kim took Trump’s war with North Korea option off the table, so looks like Trump now has his sights set on IRAN – to please his base, of course, in time for the mid-terms, of course.
      None of this would happen if we still had the military draft.
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North Korea give up nuclear weapons ?  Never !  Kim wants a global stage, so does Trump, who will not risk being embarrassed by the little tyrant. Trump will bail.  He needs a villain to trash to please his base. Kim has what he wants, the recognition as a nuclear power, and he can thank a blundering Trump for it. If Trump deserves credit for the recent lovefest between the two Koreas, then is entitled to it.  Currently, he is taking 100% credit.  I think he has been played like a harp.  
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Impeachment of Trump unlikely with this Republican House. Trump has surrounded himself with newly appointed Cabinet members, so Section 4 of the 25th amendment is not a reality.   What’s left ?  A deal with Mueller for his RESIGNATION ?
      He could
tweet forever how he accomplished tax cuts, deregulation, a big spend on the military. He could claim that though he was mistreated by the press, he will still go down in history as the best President ever.
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Must Read: “Will Christian Nationalism Drive Trump’s Base to the Polls in November ?”  Truthout April 15, Bill Berkowitz. This explains why his base of Christians votes for an immoral person, one whose behavior is the antithesis of the teachings of Christ.
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Will Trump  Fire Mueller ?

LOOK FOR THIS  TIP-OFF:

      Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, it must be done by the Department of Justice.  Trump would have to find someone to do it.  Nixon did it in 1973 when he had to work through two attorney generals until  his solicitor general, Robert Bork fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. 
     
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from DOJ , or someone outside who has already been confirmed by the Senate who will do it.  Rachel Brand, a conservative who supported Sen. Cruz in 2017 would be in line to take over from Rosenstein, but she just announced she is resigning from DOJ (2/9/19)      
       DOJ’s Dana Bounte’s resignation last October and his recent  appointment by FBI Director Christopher Wray as general Counsel  for the FBI takes him out of the running, though it is doubtful he would have fired Mueller.   He served as the U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia, as well as, acting assistant attorney general  for the National Security Division of DOJ and may be a valuable source of information for the FBI, since he had an inside view.     
      Unconfirmed rumors are that EPA’s Scott Pruit (already confirmed) has shown an interest in the DOJ, is a possibility for a post there.  We now know that is a stretch given the baggage he carries. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russian/Trump  “investigation” March 2017.
       Philip Bump, Washington Post (WAPO) April 10, did a great job outlining possibilities in, “Why Trump can’t fire Mueller – at least not directly.”  I can only touch on a few of his points here.
       In his article, Georgetown University’s professor Paul Butler raises the interesting point that  firing Mueller may not be necessary if  Rosenstein is replaced by someone hostile to the Special Counsel’s investigation.  He would simply force a stall with lots of demands, even leak information to the White House.   
       REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER: Trump would have to have  good reason to fire Mueller.  Grounds must be, misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or other good cause, including violation of policies of the Department of Justice, and failure to follow Justice Departments guidelines and violation of applicable canons of ethics.
       CAN TRUMP RESCIND  SPECIAL COUNSEL REGULATION ?  Yes, it’s possible but many legal hurdles  would make it difficult and possibly so time consuming as to make the action worthless. There is no clear cut answer. This would be decided in court, the legal ramifications just very complex.
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FISCAL CRISIS LOOMS IN FUTURE:  Headlines:“Federal debt primed to explode”….”U.S. Deficit to Surpass $1 Trillion Two Years Ahead of Estimates”….”This Year’s budget deficit to hit $804 B after tax cuts and spending hikes”….
       This is all a Republican scheme to justify massive spending cuts to social, health, educational  and safety net programs. It is called “Starving the Beast,” and will lead to debilitating and prolonged recession/bear market, increased crime, rioting and civil unrest.  Republicans set the stage with massive, unnecessary tax cuts and a big budget spend (see below: “Corporate Tax Cut Irresponsible”)
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Sinclair Broadcast Group  (BEWARE !)

One of my greatest concerns has become reality – Sinclair Broadcast Group is using its clout as owner of  193 television stations as a lever to manipulate local station viewers’ minds pitching it’s right wing propaganda. Viewers tend to trust local stations programing over national networks.
       I called attention to this danger in my September 1, blog, warning that Sinclair’s reach to 80 markets gave it unfettered power. In recent days, Sinclair required news anchors in 200 of its local TV stations to warn viewers that unnamed media are always biased, and publishing fake news. This is a classic example of “projection” where one guilty of doing something wrong actually accuses another of that deed. Sinclair accuses liberal media of manipulation when in fact it is the one doing it.  
          On July 16, 2018, Ajit Pai, appointed to FCC Chair by Trump, rejected  Sinclair’s acquisition of Tribune Broadcast Group which would greatly expand its reach into New York, La and Chicago markets with an addition of 42 more stations, saying he had serious concerns about the deal.
 
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Cambridge Analytica (now in bankruptcy) is center stage again. Palmer.com  reports  someone behind the scenes is trying to block  Britain’s  Channel 4 News from airing an expose  into Cambridge’s role in using  Facebook (FB) to influence voters to vote for Trump and not Clinton.  On Friday,  Facebook  banned Cambridge’s access.  Palmer speculates the Mercers are behind the  attempt to prevent Channel 4’s expose.  I was on  Cambridge’s case back on June 22, 2017,  noting that billionaire Robert Mercer was connected to Cambridge through Canada’s Aggregate IQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked to influence voting  in the Brexit referendum.  Aggregate is a data mining company.  While Aggregate denies any connection,  the story won’t go away. Palmer sees a connection between Cambridge and John Bolton’s SUPER PAC.  Palmer notes that UK Parliament is investigating  the connection between Cambridge and Brexit and documents referred to by Cambridge whistleblower Christopher Wylie reveal  the firm gave stolen Facebook  user data to Bolton’s PAC  (receiving stolen goods ?), though it is not known how Bolton used the data if his PAC even received it.  (See below: Mercer on the run ?)

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Remember the name Felix Sater, former business associate of Trump, convicted  Russian mafia money laundering figure, and key FBI informant.
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Another name to watch is Ted Malloch who Palmer.com reports was served a subpoena relating to the Trump/Russia probe.  Malloch is a U. S. citizen living in London with close tire to Roger Stone, Brexit leader Nigel Farage and the Trump campaign.  As noted above in Cambridge Analytica, there is a connection to parties involved in Brexit and Trump’s campaign.
George Nader, Who he ?  Possibly a key source of information. This is highly complicated with new information pending. Nader has long-standing ties in the Mid-East and Washington over many years.  What appears to be important here is he is cooperating with the Mueller probe not as a wrongdoer, but as a source of information.  He has had ties with the Trump administration through Steve Bannon  and reportedly attended a meeting in the Seychelles Islands January 11, 2017 along with Blackwater founder and former Trump associate, Eric Prince, and Kirill Dmitriev head of a U.S. sanctioned investment firm with close ties to Putin.  Reportedly Nader represented United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
      I referred to the Seychilles meeting on April 5, 2017 noting  the Washington Post reported the meeting was intended to encourage Russia to curtail support for Iran and Syria (Trump wish list) in exchange for lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia.
We’ll see.
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Protecting guns and profits have become more important than protecting the lives of young people” Henry A. Giroux, Truthout ,  March 4.
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Why are so many Americans beholden to guns ? It could be their sense of security was rocked by 9/11 plus the Great Recession/Bear Market.  Then it could be racial, a fear that people of different colors will eventually outnumber them, prompting  the need (in their paranoid minds) to stage a forceful change in governance (revolution).  This makes little sense, but from their point of  simplemindedness, they feel more secure with a dozen guns and cases of ammunition in house just in case.
     What these whackos don’t understand is they can’t use their guns outside of their homes for fear of injuring or killing an innocent person which not only sends them to jail, but opens them up to a lawsuit where they lose their stock portfolio, car, house and all those “blankies” that  go bang.  ………………………………………

 

A quasi-fascist state would give Trump the untethered power he craves.
Read: The Ghost of Fascism in the Age of Trump

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43529-the-ghost-of-fascism-in-the-age-of-trump
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U.S. Ranking globally and domestically is 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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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, 2,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?.
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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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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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Red states In need of Fed government help the most

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’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 response.
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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. These are people were part of the Trump team, or in a position to know information relating to activities before or after the 2016 election, though  not necessarily in any way guilty of any wrongdoing.
       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 – Sam Nunberg – Dan Scavino – Keith Schiller –  Alex Van Der waan – Ted Malloch -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.
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncertainty Mounts as Mueller Closes IN

INVESTOR’S first read.com – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 25,199
S&P 500:2,815
Nasdaq Comp.7,854:
Russell 2000: 1,691

Thursday, July 19, 2018     9:15 a.m.

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 March 10, 2009 Special Bulletin (DJIA: 6,805) BUY !
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This volatility is EXACTLY what I meant when I Warned:
“2018: The Wildest One in Years.” December 27, 2017
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“No one is bearish, and that’s BEARISH…Odds favor a 12%-18% correction” – Jan. 22, 2018: DJIA:26,214.  (A 14-day 12.2% correction started 4 days later.)
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Trump – a human wrecking ball (1/3/17)
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What’s so Christian about favoring the rich over the poor ?

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“Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.”
                                         Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister.
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TODAY
       Uncertainty will increase in coming months as bad news continues to flow about the adverse effects of Trump’s tariff policy, his lack of support for long-standing allies, his own and his administration’s ties to Russia, a growing realization that Russia will once again hack into our election process in November, and the persistence of the Fed to raise interest rates.  
       Q2 earnings  are projected to be up sharply over a year ago. Should there be too many that disappoint the Street, a sustained sharp correction will result.
       That is nearly impossible for anyone to believe with all the news flow is positive, but it isn’t what we see now that counts, it is how things look a year from now.
      CONFIDENCE in our nation’s economic future and ability to withstand all threats going forward is vital for the stability of the preservation of our republic.
       That goes double for a stock market that is so highly overvalued so late in the stock market economic cycle.
       GREEDY MOMENTUM
      While the stock market is highly overvalued even based on year ahead earnings, it can run higher.
      Q2 earnings are expected to be good. The question is, are they already priced in the stack market.
      Yes they are, but the momentum, driven by lust for greater gains will attract buyers, some for the first time.
       This is classic late-stage bull market behavior and it’s hard to shut off.
       It’s really a game, more so than investing, but will suddenly be over.
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SUPPORT “today”:DJIA: 25,117 ;S&P 500:2,804;Nasdaq Comp.:7,839
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:25,210;S&P 500:2,816;Nasdaq Comp.:7,855

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BULLISH CASE
     
Corporate earnings are the only positive. Earnings reports will begin to flow in July and they will be good, 20%  for the S&P 500 over a year ago.
      But these earnings have been largely discounted by high stock prices. The Street will soon be looking out to 2019 when earnings increases will be 4% – 7%.
       Factset projects a Q2 earnings gain of  19.0%, that’s up from its projection of +17.1% on March 31.  For 2018 they see a gain of 20.0%.
       Thomson Reuters pegs Q2 earnings gain at +20.9% and something a bit above +19% for the year as a whole . HOWEVER,  it presently projects Q1 2019  increase at +4.4%, Q2 at +8.7%. Q3: +8.7%. Could it be the 19% jump in 2018 earnings is already  factored into the market ?   
         If the Democrats gain control of the House or Senate, or both, it could offset the fact that  we are in a tailspin, financially, economically and morally. It could be a game changer, though we are heading for a recession
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BEARISH CASE
RISING INTEREST RATES:
      The Fed is persistently raising its benchmark interest rate (federal funds), as well as reducing its inflated balance sheet,  which will drive other rates higher, which will adversely impact interest sensitive industries.  Banks will love it, but it will send shivers throughout the housing industry, which is reeling from the impact of tariff-induced higher lumber prices. 
      The 10-year treasury has been rising steadily and now stands at 2.856 %, it has recently been a smidge above 3%.
>>>>>>Inflation is accelerating faster than expected with the core PCE rising to 2.0 in May, suggesting the Fed may ramp up its tightening. While  average  hourly earnings are not keeping pace, Friday’s Employment Report may show some catch up.
       The yield curve is flattening as short-term treasuries rise faster than long-tern governments just another warning sign of impending recession.
Home prices have risen recouping most of losses incurred since the Great Recession, making houses even more unaffordable. Limited inventories of houses available for purchase is pushing prices higher.
      New buyers missed their once in a lifetime opportunity to buy when mortgage rates were at historic lows, they will have to pay-up to buy a house, if they can get the financing.
      OVERVALUED MARKET
     Thompson Reuters reports the S&P 500 sells at 19.7times earnings and 16.8 times a year from now. All this versus a 10-year average of 14.3.
      The Shiller P/E runs much higher at 32.8  times earnings versus a mean of 16.7.  Shiller’s P/E is based on  inflation adjusted earnings over 10 years.
      The S&P 500 price to sales ratio is 2.24 vs.  an average of 1.49.  Before the 2007-2009 bear market it stood at 1.5 x.
      The Total Market Capitalization to GDP  stands at 145.6%, anything above 115% is “overvalued.”
       It looks like stock buy-backs are the only thing holding the market up. It was hoped that the 40% tax cut would trigger spending in capex.  Not yet, companies are buying back their own stock, pushing prices higher enhancing executive stock options.
       Corporate debt relative to GDP (45%) is higher now than before the 2007-2009 meltdown
       Corporations set a record in Q1, using benefits of tax cuts to buy back $189  billion of their own stock, beating the prior record of  $172 billion set in  the summer of 2007 right before the Great Bear Market/Recession.  This is a sign of speculative excess, as is a record amount of margin debt, investor borrowings to buy stock.
AGING BULL MARKET:
      The bull market is now  nine years and three months old (109 months).  That’s 3.5 times the average of the last 15 bull markets.
AGING ECONOMIC EXPANSION:
      The current economic expansion has lasted 108 months. That’s 48 months (1.8x) longer that the average expansion going back to 1945.  Nine out of the last 10 recessions have occurred with a Republican in the White House.
      The onset of bear markets have led the beginning of recessions by 8.5 months going back to 1956, so don’t look for a recession to signal a bear market. The longest lead time was 13 months (1968 – 1969) The “mode” (most frequent) is 12 months.
 *****1,100 economists WARN Trump is repeating biggest mistakes of Great Depression – tariffs, trade protectionism, according to conservative National Taxpayers’ Union.
****** Former Fed Chair, Ben Bernanke, says economy to fall off a cliff in 2020, thanks to the $1.5 trillion corporate and individual tax cut and $300 billion increase in spending.              C
      Consumer spending slipped in May, as did Consumer Expectations and Consumer Confidence. It’s summer, maybe this slowing  is meaningless.
*******The Eurozone is in a slump. The IFO Business Climate Index has been soft all year, GDP is also sliding in face of a slump in retail sales.
      CNN.com reports Corporate America took advantage of low interest rates to load up on debt in recent years for acquisitions and to buy back their own stock. Excluding banks, the tally is $6.3trillion. The downside of this comes when these companies will need to refinance this debt at higher interest rates when it comes due.
TRUMP’S TRADE WAR TANTRUM:
       He’s  a human wrecking ball, blustering without forethought of the consequences of  his actions. 
       Economists are minimizing the impact of  the flurry of tariffs, saying their impact is not significant. Perhaps when looking at the big picture but pain is being felt around the country as the stories roll in.
       This tariff jousting changes every several days.…..No one knows where this is going, and on top of aging economic expansions here and abroad, that’s scary.
        I crash-coursed this subject in recent days, as I  have done so many times with issues since Trump took office.   I am certain of one thing,  I do not know enough about this vast subject, nor could I condense what I know here to make any sense.
       What I do know is, today’s businesses are complex, especially supply chains that can involve a thousand parts that make up a whole product, many of which are sourced from different countries, sometimes crossing back and forth across the same border a number of times.
     Throw a wrench into the works and the gears start to gnash.  Managers are pressed to seek other sources, other outlets.  Efficiency and profitability begin to plummet.
      In fact, it doesn’t have to go that far.  Uncertain of the future, unable to plan, budgets get cut, sales orders construction projects cancelled, managers find planning more and more difficult.
      Enter the domino effect, and the pain spreads to other industries and finally to households threatened by unemployment, budgets there are cut, as well.         
  
      Trump considering leaving World Trade Organization (WTO).
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IMPLODING:
      Will he fire Rosenstein, then Mueller ?  Resign ? Create a series of constitutional crises ? Will, Mueller release devastating information about him ?
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
The Dept. of Justice charged a Russian national, Mariia Butina, of illegally trying to influence American politics using the NRA, religious organizations and the National Prayer Breakfast  as a means of gaining backchannel access to the highest levels of the Republican Party.  The depth of her ties to Republicans and the NRA appear to be significant.  
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 Last November 8, I posted the following, since I believed Trump would find someone to appoint subject to confirmation, to serve in the Dept. of Justice (DOJ), who may be willing to fire Special Counsel Robert. Mueller.
      Unable to find an update on Benczkowski by May 7, I deleted the post.  Yesterday, I discovered he was confirmed along party lines Wednesday to head up DOJ’s criminal division.
       My concern has been that Deputy Atty. Gen’l Rod Rosenstein would be fired by Trump and be replaced by someone (Benczkowski) who would then fire Mueller.
This is what I had posted between Nov.8, 2017 and May 7, this year.

Brian Benczkowski was nominated by President Trump in June [2017]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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A “MALEVOLENT FOOL” – Lt. Col. , Ret’d, Ralph Peters, ex-Fox analyst referring to Trump.   Malevolent: evil, harmful, injurious.
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Kavanaugh nominated for Supreme Court not to  overturn Roe v. Wade, but because he has written that a sitting President should be exempted from criminal prosecution, and investigation, including questioning by prosecutors.
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A majority vote in both the House and Senate can change the number of Justices on the Supreme Court. The number is fixed by statute, not by the Constitution. It has ranged between 6 and 10 since 1789.
       The question now is, will the Republicans attempt it to increase it in order to head off  any attempt by the Democrats in the future.
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Trump an agent of Russia ?  His actions suggest it. Read following:
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Un-American ! Trump claims writers of U.S. Constitution treated Him unfairly, adding we have the worst constitution writers in the world…Russia has better constitution writers than we do, says Trump . “I talked with Putin, and he said their constitution never gives him problems.” Andy Borowitz, (The Borowitz Report).
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      WE DON”T WANT TO GO THERE !  The Trump administration is taking the United States straight to a place none of us wants to be – civil unrest,  an extended recession, a fiscal crisis where we can’t pay our bills, ergo the need to slash healthcare, safety net programs, a host of programs that have improved our quality of life.
      This administration’s actions on trade (tariffs, TPP
), the intentional divisiveness of America along racial lines, and abandonment of our long-time allies have opened the door for China to dominate the world, economically and militarily.  That’s Un-American.  This has to be stopped.
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TRUMP’S LIES and misleading statements has reached 3,000 since taking office, according to the Washington Post
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The key for politicians to controlling people’s  minds is to lie relentlessly about everything and especially in response to criticism. Trump is a master at it, but he should be per the above.  He is the ultimate con man and so good at it he has millions of American suckers conned.  He is unprecedented, masterful, and he is destroying the very fabric of what has made us GREAT.
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Stockholm Syndrome ?  The extremists are trying to gut our Constitution, turn us into a fascist state. If Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi  had a smidgeon of the patriotism and spine Maxine Waters has, they would fight to save our republic. She’s one of ours, don’t cut her off at the knees.  FIGHT them, contest every lie, every disregard for the rule of law and humanityNFS !
Note: Stockholm Syndrome is decision by hostages (Dems) to develop a psychological alliance with their captors (Reps) as a survival strategy during captivity.
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Republican strategist, Steve Schmidt, leaves Republican Party after 29 years, saying the party is “corrupt, indecent and immoral,” and with a few exceptions  elected  Republicans are “feckless cowards who disgrace and dishonor the legacies of the party’s greatest leaders.” Others quitting Republican Party: George Will, “Morning” Joe Scarborough. To date, 35 senior Trump advisers have left.
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Immigrants and separation: It’s 90% Stephen Miller, a Breitfart alum, and acknowledged racist.. Former senior vice president of public affairs at Duke University where Miller attended said, He is the most sanctimonious student I ever encountered…absolutely sure of his own views and correctness of them, and if you were in disagreement with him , there was something malevolent or stupid about your thinking.
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President Donald Trump is NOT pro-business, he’s pro-Trump
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Liberal Dems must stop being so liberal, find some spine and  find three issues to fight for – my suggested rallying cry: “Before it’s too late……..” save healthcare, Social Security, our education system and identity as a world leader.
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TRUMP EXIT STRATEGY: The most important thing for King Donald is his image.  Currently he is scrambling to initiate as many perceived accomplishments as possible (taxes, anti-immigrant, anti-allies, deregulation, North Korea, Iran, ISIS, unemployment).
     
This way, if he is impeached, defeated in 2020, or forced to resign, he can claim to have been the greatest president of all-time – he’ll tweet it relentlessly, deviancy-downed Americans will believe it and every network in the country, whores that they are, (including MSNBC and CNN) will scramble to cover his tweets.  IMHO: he won’t risk losing in 2020, just not run – declare he has accomplished his mission and walk away..
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Wake up out there. These aren’t Republicans, they are anarchists, extremists  who have wrested control of the Republican party over the last 20 years and are intent on a party rule with no checks and balances.
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National security adviser, John Bolton, has added two  loyalists to the National Security Council, CNN reposts, referring to Sarah Tinsley and Garrett Marquis. Both have been associated with Bolton for years. Considered a hawk on international affairs, Bolton appears to be positioning his team to back up Trump in any military strike he sees would please his base, possibly in time for the midterm elections. Putting the country on a war footing tends to rally the country behind a president.
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POSSIBLE ! That the blue wave won’t happen in November.  Why? The American voter is still zoned out about what is happening – too busy with other stuff, not capable of  objectively analyzing issues accurately without bias.
     The result: The extremist Republicans and their president will run the economy, a constructive foreign relations policy, and America’s quality of life into the ground.  In order to get the American voter’s attention, we have to hit bottom first.
      That means an extended recession, a fiscal crisis (unable to pay bills), a 65% drop in the stock market and,  national unrest greater than that which the Vietnam War attracted.
       We are witnessing the unfolding of  the biggest scandal in our country’s history, including illegal financial transactions, vote tampering and  untethered collusion and obstruction of  justice at the highest level.  This may take years to unravel.
      Again, I say “possible,” not probable..  Probable would be all that but not as severe.
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Corporations got a 40% tax cut, John and Jane Q get a 1.2% – 1.8% cut, even so, Trump plans to introduce a “rescission package” to cut $15 billion in already approved spending on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation program, as well as 30 other programs. The  U.S. House will likely approve his  rescission  package, the Senate may not.
ANOTHER TRUMP BLUNDER !
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According to Bloomberg.com, 1,100 economists warn that Trump is repeating one of the biggest mistakes of the Great Depression – tariffs and trade protectionism. The warning came in a letter from the conservative-leaning National Taxpayers Union.
      China loves it !  Trump opened the door, China entered, capitalizing on Trump’s regressive “America First” mantra, with its far reaching Belt and Road outreach with investments encompassing infrastructure, education, construction materials, rail and hi-way, auto, real estate, power grid and iron and steel investments to 68 countries, 65% of the world’s population and 40% of global GDP.
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      Kim took Trump’s war with North Korea option off the table, so looks like Trump now has his sights set on IRAN – to please his base, of course, in time for the mid-terms, of course.
      None of this would happen if we still had the military draft.
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North Korea give up nuclear weapons ?  Never !  Kim wants a global stage, so does Trump, who will not risk being embarrassed by the little tyrant. Trump will bail.  He needs a villain to trash to please his base. Kim has what he wants, the recognition as a nuclear power, and he can thank a blundering Trump for it. If Trump deserves credit for the recent lovefest between the two Koreas, then is entitled to it.  Currently, he is taking 100% credit.  I think he has been played like a harp.  
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Impeachment of Trump unlikely with this Republican House. Trump has surrounded himself with newly appointed Cabinet members, so Section 4 of the 25th amendment is not a reality.   What’s left ?  A deal with Mueller for his RESIGNATION ?
      He could
tweet forever how he accomplished tax cuts, deregulation, a big spend on the military. He could claim that though he was mistreated by the press, he will still go down in history as the best President ever.
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Must Read: “Will Christian Nationalism Drive Trump’s Base to the Polls in November ?”  Truthout April 15, Bill Berkowitz. This explains why his base of Christians votes for an immoral person, one whose behavior is the antithesis of the teachings of Christ.
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Will Trump  Fire Mueller ?

LOOK FOR THIS  TIP-OFF:

      Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, it must be done by the Department of Justice.  Trump would have to find someone to do it.  Nixon did it in 1973 when he had to work through two attorney generals until  his solicitor general, Robert Bork fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. 
     
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from DOJ , or someone outside who has already been confirmed by the Senate who will do it.  Rachel Brand, a conservative who supported Sen. Cruz in 2017 would be in line to take over from Rosenstein, but she just announced she is resigning from DOJ (2/9/19)      
       DOJ’s Dana Bounte’s resignation last October and his recent  appointment by FBI Director Christopher Wray as general Counsel  for the FBI takes him out of the running, though it is doubtful he would have fired Mueller.   He served as the U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia, as well as, acting assistant attorney general  for the National Security Division of DOJ and may be a valuable source of information for the FBI, since he had an inside view.     
      Unconfirmed rumors are that EPA’s Scott Pruit (already confirmed) has shown an interest in the DOJ, is a possibility for a post there.  We now know that is a stretch given the baggage he carries. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russian/Trump  “investigation” March 2017.
       Philip Bump, Washington Post (WAPO) April 10, did a great job outlining possibilities in, “Why Trump can’t fire Mueller – at least not directly.”  I can only touch on a few of his points here.
       In his article, Georgetown University’s professor Paul Butler raises the interesting point that  firing Mueller may not be necessary if  Rosenstein is replaced by someone hostile to the Special Counsel’s investigation.  He would simply force a stall with lots of demands, even leak information to the White House.   
       REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER: Trump would have to have  good reason to fire Mueller.  Grounds must be, misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or other good cause, including violation of policies of the Department of Justice, and failure to follow Justice Departments guidelines and violation of applicable canons of ethics.
       CAN TRUMP RESCIND  SPECIAL COUNSEL REGULATION ?  Yes, it’s possible but many legal hurdles  would make it difficult and possibly so time consuming as to make the action worthless. There is no clear cut answer. This would be decided in court, the legal ramifications just very complex.
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FISCAL CRISIS LOOMS IN FUTURE:  Headlines:“Federal debt primed to explode”….”U.S. Deficit to Surpass $1 Trillion Two Years Ahead of Estimates”….”This Year’s budget deficit to hit $804 B after tax cuts and spending hikes”….
       This is all a Republican scheme to justify massive spending cuts to social, health, educational  and safety net programs. It is called “Starving the Beast,” and will lead to debilitating and prolonged recession/bear market, increased crime, rioting and civil unrest.  Republicans set the stage with massive, unnecessary tax cuts and a big budget spend (see below: “Corporate Tax Cut Irresponsible”)
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Sinclair Broadcast Group  (BEWARE !)

One of my greatest concerns has become reality – Sinclair Broadcast Group is using its clout as owner of  193 television stations as a lever to manipulate local station viewers’ minds pitching it’s right wing propaganda. Viewers tend to trust local stations programing over national networks.
       I called attention to this danger in my September 1, blog, warning that Sinclair’s reach to 80 markets gave it unfettered power. In recent days, Sinclair required news anchors in 200 of its local TV stations to warn viewers that unnamed media are always biased, and publishing fake news. This is a classic example of “projection” where one guilty of doing something wrong actually accuses another of that deed. Sinclair accuses liberal media of manipulation when in fact it is the one doing it.  
          On July 16, 2018, Ajit Pai, appointed to FCC Chair by Trump, rejected  Sinclair’s acquisition of Tribune Broadcast Group which would greatly expand its reach into New York, La and Chicago markets with an addition of 42 more stations, saying he had serious concerns about the deal.
 
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Cambridge Analytica (now in bankruptcy) is center stage again. Palmer.com  reports  someone behind the scenes is trying to block  Britain’s  Channel 4 News from airing an expose  into Cambridge’s role in using  Facebook (FB) to influence voters to vote for Trump and not Clinton.  On Friday,  Facebook  banned Cambridge’s access.  Palmer speculates the Mercers are behind the  attempt to prevent Channel 4’s expose.  I was on  Cambridge’s case back on June 22, 2017,  noting that billionaire Robert Mercer was connected to Cambridge through Canada’s Aggregate IQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked to influence voting  in the Brexit referendum.  Aggregate is a data mining company.  While Aggregate denies any connection,  the story won’t go away. Palmer sees a connection between Cambridge and John Bolton’s SUPER PAC.  Palmer notes that UK Parliament is investigating  the connection between Cambridge and Brexit and documents referred to by Cambridge whistleblower Christopher Wylie reveal  the firm gave stolen Facebook  user data to Bolton’s PAC  (receiving stolen goods ?), though it is not known how Bolton used the data if his PAC even received it.  (See below: Mercer on the run ?)

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Remember the name Felix Sater, former business associate of Trump, convicted  Russian mafia money laundering figure, and key FBI informant.
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Another name to watch is Ted Malloch who Palmer.com reports was served a subpoena relating to the Trump/Russia probe.  Malloch is a U. S. citizen living in London with close tire to Roger Stone, Brexit leader Nigel Farage and the Trump campaign.  As noted above in Cambridge Analytica, there is a connection to parties involved in Brexit and Trump’s campaign.
George Nader, Who he ?  Possibly a key source of information. This is highly complicated with new information pending. Nader has long-standing ties in the Mid-East and Washington over many years.  What appears to be important here is he is cooperating with the Mueller probe not as a wrongdoer, but as a source of information.  He has had ties with the Trump administration through Steve Bannon  and reportedly attended a meeting in the Seychelles Islands January 11, 2017 along with Blackwater founder and former Trump associate, Eric Prince, and Kirill Dmitriev head of a U.S. sanctioned investment firm with close ties to Putin.  Reportedly Nader represented United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
      I referred to the Seychilles meeting on April 5, 2017 noting  the Washington Post reported the meeting was intended to encourage Russia to curtail support for Iran and Syria (Trump wish list) in exchange for lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia.
We’ll see.
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Protecting guns and profits have become more important than protecting the lives of young people” Henry A. Giroux, Truthout ,  March 4.
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Why are so many Americans beholden to guns ? It could be their sense of security was rocked by 9/11 plus the Great Recession/Bear Market.  Then it could be racial, a fear that people of different colors will eventually outnumber them, prompting  the need (in their paranoid minds) to stage a forceful change in governance (revolution).  This makes little sense, but from their point of  simplemindedness, they feel more secure with a dozen guns and cases of ammunition in house just in case.
     What these whackos don’t understand is they can’t use their guns outside of their homes for fear of injuring or killing an innocent person which not only sends them to jail, but opens them up to a lawsuit where they lose their stock portfolio, car, house and all those “blankies” that  go bang.  ………………………………………

 

A quasi-fascist state would give Trump the untethered power he craves.
Read: The Ghost of Fascism in the Age of Trump

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43529-the-ghost-of-fascism-in-the-age-of-trump
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U.S. Ranking globally and domestically is 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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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, 2,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?.
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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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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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Red states In need of Fed government help the most

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’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 response.
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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. These are people were part of the Trump team, or in a position to know information relating to activities before or after the 2016 election, though  not necessarily in any way guilty of any wrongdoing.
       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 – Sam Nunberg – Dan Scavino – Keith Schiller –  Alex Van Der waan – Ted Malloch -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.
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storm Clouds Loom

INVESTOR’S first read.com – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 25,116
S&P 500:2,809
Nasdaq Comp.:7,885
Russell 2000: 1,687

Wednesday, July 18, 2018     9:15 a.m.
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 March 10, 2009 Special Bulletin (DJIA: 6,805) BUY !
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This volatility is EXACTLY what I meant when I Warned:
“2018: The Wildest One in Years.” December 27, 2017
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“No one is bearish, and that’s BEARISH…Odds favor a 12%-18% correction” – Jan. 22, 2018: DJIA:26,214.  (A 14-day 12.2% correction started 4 days later.)
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Trump – a human wrecking ball (1/3/17)
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What’s so Christian about favoring the rich over the poor ?

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“Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.”
                                         Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister.
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        I am running the following again for any current reader who missed it, or for new readers.
        How can anyone believe President misspoke about not trusting our own intelligence operatives, when he has a history of lying (3,000 to-date–Washington Post).
        The real test of his loyalty is the fact he refused to implement  the “Countering America’s Adversities Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which was approved by a 419-3 vote in the House in May 2017 and a 98-2 vote in the Senate on August 2, 2017.  While the Act was also directed at Iran and North Korea, it specifically targeted  Russia for its meddling in our 2016 election.
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Published Tuesday, July 17:

    That the President of the United States would feebly submit to Russia’s Vladimir Putin yesterday at the Helsinki summit should scare the wits out of any American investor with a smidgeon of intelligence.
      What does this say about America’s position in the world, its strength as an economic and military power ?
      The question begs – Why ?
      Does Putin have something on Trump so big that Trump  will yield America’s best interests to avoid exposure ?
      Is Trump so enamored with the raw, untethered power of a dictator, he  submits in its presence ?
      Is Trump a Russian agent, brainwashed years ago to  abandon our critical allies handing over our destiny to Russia ?

    Does Russia hold some highly sophisticated military power over the U.S., so great that its leader has no choice but to submit to its every wish.
      I have said this before. This is a phony stock market, historically highly overvalued. This is a phony economy, its engine, the consumer, is tapped out as the gap between the middle class and big earners widens with no respite in sight.                        This is phony government, with a deluded, pathological liar for president and a gutless Congress intent on tipping the scales even further in favor of corporations, special interests and big money by gutting environmental, worker safety, individual healthcare programs intact for decades and time-tested  as in the best interests of America.
       Trump’s performance at the summit’s conference yesterday was a national disgrace, pathetic, shameful, and scary. This is the most powerful leader on earth. Anyone watching with a smidgeon of intelligence, has to conclude our nation is in trouble.
       The U.S. economy continues to be strong, but that is typical of economies in the late stages of an economic expansion.
      Conclusion: We are in the late innings of both an economic recovery and bull market.
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TODAY (Unchanged, it’s too much on target)
     
CONFIDENCE in our nation’s economic future and ability to withstand all threats going forward is vital for the stability of the preservation of our republic.
       That goes double for a stock market that is so highly overvalued so late in the stock market economic cycle.
       Trump’s delusional and submissive behavior at the feet of Russia’s Putin yesterday suggests our future is not in our hands, but in Russia’s.
        So, so many indicators of a market top and impending long drawn out recession are all there for any open mind to see.
         Put another way, it’s time for investors to run for the hills. Let the Street’s computers, which can’t possibly be programmed for such disgraceful behavior by a nation’s President, run stocks higher.
         When the computers get their sell signal. they will all get it at the same time – that spells –STRAIGHT DOWN.
GREEDY MOMENTUM
      While the stock market is highly overvalued even based on year ahead earnings, it can run higher.
      Q2 earnings are expected to be good. The question is, are they already priced in the stack market.
      Yes they are, but the momentum, driven by lust for greater gains will attract buyers, some for the first time.
       This is classic late-stage bull market behavior and it’s hard to shut off.
       It’s really a game, more so than investing, but will suddenly be over.
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SUPPORT “today”:DJIA:25,027 ;S&P 500:2,804;Nasdaq Comp.:7,823
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:25,187;S&P 500:2,813;Nasdaq Comp.:7,876

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BULLISH CASE
     
Corporate earnings are the only positive. Earnings reports will begin to flow in July and they will be good, 20%  for the S&P 500 over a year ago.
      But these earnings have been largely discounted by high stock prices. The Street will soon be looking out to 2019 when earnings increases will be 4% – 7%.
       Factset projects a Q2 earnings gain of  19.0%, that’s up from its projection of +17.1% on March 31.  For 2018 they see a gain of 20.0%.
       Thomson Reuters pegs Q2 earnings gain at +20.9% and something a bit above +19% for the year as a whole . HOWEVER,  it presently projects Q1 2019  increase at +4.4%, Q2 at +8.7%. Q3: +8.7%. Could it be the 19% jump in 2018 earnings is already  factored into the market ?   
         If the Democrats gain control of the House or Senate, or both, it could offset the fact that  we are in a tailspin, financially, economically and morally. It could be a game changer, though we are heading for a recession
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BEARISH CASE
RISING INTEREST RATES:
      The Fed is persistently raising its benchmark interest rate (federal funds), as well as reducing its inflated balance sheet,  which will drive other rates higher, which will adversely impact interest sensitive industries.  Banks will love it, but it will send shivers throughout the housing industry, which is reeling from the impact of tariff-induced higher lumber prices. 
      The 10-year treasury has been rising steadily and now stands at 2.856 %, it has recently been a smidge above 3%.
>>>>>>Inflation is accelerating faster than expected with the core PCE rising to 2.0 in May, suggesting the Fed may ramp up its tightening. While  average  hourly earnings are not keeping pace, Friday’s Employment Report may show some catch up.
       The yield curve is flattening as short-term treasuries rise faster than long-tern governments just another warning sign of impending recession.
Home prices have risen recouping most of losses incurred since the Great Recession, making houses even more unaffordable. Limited inventories of houses available for purchase is pushing prices higher.
      New buyers missed their once in a lifetime opportunity to buy when mortgage rates were at historic lows, they will have to pay-up to buy a house, if they can get the financing.
      OVERVALUED MARKET
     Thompson Reuters reports the S&P 500 sells at 19.7times earnings and 16.8 times a year from now. All this versus a 10-year average of 14.3.
      The Shiller P/E runs much higher at 32.8  times earnings versus a mean of 16.7.  Shiller’s P/E is based on  inflation adjusted earnings over 10 years.
      The S&P 500 price to sales ratio is 2.24 vs.  an average of 1.49.  Before the 2007-2009 bear market it stood at 1.5 x.
      The Total Market Capitalization to GDP  stands at 145.6%, anything above 115% is “overvalued.”
       It looks like stock buy-backs are the only thing holding the market up. It was hoped that the 40% tax cut would trigger spending in capex.  Not yet, companies are buying back their own stock, pushing prices higher enhancing executive stock options.
       Corporate debt relative to GDP (45%) is higher now than before the 2007-2009 meltdown
       Corporations set a record in Q1, using benefits of tax cuts to buy back $189  billion of their own stock, beating the prior record of  $172 billion set in  the summer of 2007 right before the Great Bear Market/Recession.  This is a sign of speculative excess, as is a record amount of margin debt, investor borrowings to buy stock.
AGING BULL MARKET:
      The bull market is now  nine years and three months old (109 months).  That’s 3.5 times the average of the last 15 bull markets.
AGING ECONOMIC EXPANSION:
      The current economic expansion has lasted 108 months. That’s 48 months (1.8x) longer that the average expansion going back to 1945.  Nine out of the last 10 recessions have occurred with a Republican in the White House.
      The onset of bear markets have led the beginning of recessions by 8.5 months going back to 1956, so don’t look for a recession to signal a bear market. The longest lead time was 13 months (1968 – 1969) The “mode” (most frequent) is 12 months.
 *****1,100 economists WARN Trump is repeating biggest mistakes of Great Depression – tariffs, trade protectionism, according to conservative National Taxpayers’ Union.
****** Former Fed Chair, Ben Bernanke, says economy to fall off a cliff in 2020, thanks to the $1.5 trillion corporate and individual tax cut and $300 billion increase in spending.              C
      Consumer spending slipped in May, as did Consumer Expectations and Consumer Confidence. It’s summer, maybe this slowing  is meaningless.
*******The Eurozone is in a slump. The IFO Business Climate Index has been soft all year, GDP is also sliding in face of a slump in retail sales.
      CNN.com reports Corporate America took advantage of low interest rates to load up on debt in recent years for acquisitions and to buy back their own stock. Excluding banks, the tally is $6.3trillion. The downside of this comes when these companies will need to refinance this debt at higher interest rates when it comes due.
TRUMP’S TRADE WAR TANTRUM:
       He’s  a human wrecking ball, blustering without forethought of the consequences of  his actions. 
       Economists are minimizing the impact of  the flurry of tariffs, saying their impact is not significant. Perhaps when looking at the big picture but pain is being felt around the country as the stories roll in.
       This tariff jousting changes every several days.…..No one knows where this is going, and on top of aging economic expansions here and abroad, that’s scary.
        I crash-coursed this subject in recent days, as I  have done so many times with issues since Trump took office.   I am certain of one thing,  I do not know enough about this vast subject, nor could I condense what I know here to make any sense.
       What I do know is, today’s businesses are complex, especially supply chains that can involve a thousand parts that make up a whole product, many of which are sourced from different countries, sometimes crossing back and forth across the same border a number of times.
     Throw a wrench into the works and the gears start to gnash.  Managers are pressed to seek other sources, other outlets.  Efficiency and profitability begin to plummet.
      In fact, it doesn’t have to go that far.  Uncertain of the future, unable to plan, budgets get cut, sales orders construction projects cancelled, managers find planning more and more difficult.
      Enter the domino effect, and the pain spreads to other industries and finally to households threatened by unemployment, budgets there are cut, as well.         
  
      Trump considering leaving World Trade Organization (WTO).
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IMPLODING:
      Will he fire Rosenstein, then Mueller ?  Resign ? Create a series of constitutional crises ? Will, Mueller release devastating information about him ?
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
The Dept. of Justice charged a Russian national, Mariia Butina, of illegally trying to influence American politics using the NRA, religious organizations and the National Prayer Breakfast  as a means of gaining backchannel access to the highest levels of the Republican Party.    
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 Last November 8, I posted the following, since I believed Trump would find someone to appoint subject to confirmation, to serve in the Dept. of Justice (DOJ), who may be willing to fire Special Counsel Robert. Mueller.
      Unable to find an update on Benczkowski by May 7, I deleted the post.  Yesterday, I discovered he was confirmed along party lines Wednesday to head up DOJ’s criminal division.
       My concern has been that Deputy Atty. Gen’l Rod Rosenstein would be fired by Trump and be replaced by someone (Benczkowski) who would then fire Mueller.
This is what I had posted between Nov.8, 2017 and May 7, this year.

Brian Benczkowski was nominated by President Trump in June [2017]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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A “MALEVOLENT FOOL” – Lt. Col. , Ret’d, Ralph Peters, ex-Fox analyst referring to Trump.   Malevolent: evil, harmful, injurious.
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Kavanaugh nominated for Supreme Court not to  overturn Roe v. Wade, but because he has written that a sitting President should be exempted from criminal prosecution, and investigation, including questioning by prosecutors.
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A majority vote in both the House and Senate can change the number of Justices on the Supreme Court. The number is fixed by statute, not by the Constitution. It has ranged between 6 and 10 since 1789.
       The question now is, will the Republicans attempt it to increase it in order to head off  any attempt by the Democrats in the future.
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Trump an agent of Russia ?  His actions suggest it. Read following:
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Un-American ! Trump claims writers of U.S. Constitution treated Him unfairly, adding we have the worst constitution writers in the world…Russia has better constitution writers than we do, says Trump . “I talked with Putin, and he said their constitution never gives him problems.” Andy Borowitz, (The Borowitz Report).
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      WE DON”T WANT TO GO THERE !  The Trump administration is taking the United States straight to a place none of us wants to be – civil unrest,  an extended recession, a fiscal crisis where we can’t pay our bills, ergo the need to slash healthcare, safety net programs, a host of programs that have improved our quality of life.
      This administration’s actions on trade (tariffs, TPP
), the intentional divisiveness of America along racial lines, and abandonment of our long-time allies have opened the door for China to dominate the world, economically and militarily.  That’s Un-American.  This has to be stopped.
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TRUMP’S LIES and misleading statements has reached 3,000 since taking office, according to the Washington Post
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The key for politicians to controlling people’s  minds is to lie relentlessly about everything and especially in response to criticism. Trump is a master at it, but he should be per the above.  He is the ultimate con man and so good at it he has millions of American suckers conned.  He is unprecedented, masterful, and he is destroying the very fabric of what has made us GREAT.
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Stockholm Syndrome ?  The extremists are trying to gut our Constitution, turn us into a fascist state. If Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi  had a smidgeon of the patriotism and spine Maxine Waters has, they would fight to save our republic. She’s one of ours, don’t cut her off at the knees.  FIGHT them, contest every lie, every disregard for the rule of law and humanityNFS !
Note: Stockholm Syndrome is decision by hostages (Dems) to develop a psychological alliance with their captors (Reps) as a survival strategy during captivity.
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Republican strategist, Steve Schmidt, leaves Republican Party after 29 years, saying the party is “corrupt, indecent and immoral,” and with a few exceptions  elected  Republicans are “feckless cowards who disgrace and dishonor the legacies of the party’s greatest leaders.” Others quitting Republican Party: George Will, “Morning” Joe Scarborough. To date, 35 senior Trump advisers have left.
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Immigrants and separation: It’s 90% Stephen Miller, a Breitfart alum, and acknowledged racist.. Former senior vice president of public affairs at Duke University where Miller attended said, He is the most sanctimonious student I ever encountered…absolutely sure of his own views and correctness of them, and if you were in disagreement with him , there was something malevolent or stupid about your thinking.
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President Donald Trump is NOT pro-business, he’s pro-Trump
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Liberal Dems must stop being so liberal, find some spine and  find three issues to fight for – my suggested rallying cry: “Before it’s too late……..” save healthcare, Social Security, our education system and identity as a world leader.
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TRUMP EXIT STRATEGY: The most important thing for King Donald is his image.  Currently he is scrambling to initiate as many perceived accomplishments as possible (taxes, anti-immigrant, anti-allies, deregulation, North Korea, Iran, ISIS, unemployment).
     
This way, if he is impeached, defeated in 2020, or forced to resign, he can claim to have been the greatest president of all-time – he’ll tweet it relentlessly, deviancy-downed Americans will believe it and every network in the country, whores that they are, (including MSNBC and CNN) will scramble to cover his tweets.  IMHO: he won’t risk losing in 2020, just not run – declare he has accomplished his mission and walk away..
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Wake up out there. These aren’t Republicans, they are anarchists, extremists  who have wrested control of the Republican party over the last 20 years and are intent on a party rule with no checks and balances.
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National security adviser, John Bolton, has added two  loyalists to the National Security Council, CNN reposts, referring to Sarah Tinsley and Garrett Marquis. Both have been associated with Bolton for years. Considered a hawk on international affairs, Bolton appears to be positioning his team to back up Trump in any military strike he sees would please his base, possibly in time for the midterm elections. Putting the country on a war footing tends to rally the country behind a president.
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POSSIBLE ! That the blue wave won’t happen in November.  Why? The American voter is still zoned out about what is happening – too busy with other stuff, not capable of  objectively analyzing issues accurately without bias.
     The result: The extremist Republicans and their president will run the economy, a constructive foreign relations policy, and America’s quality of life into the ground.  In order to get the American voter’s attention, we have to hit bottom first.
      That means an extended recession, a fiscal crisis (unable to pay bills), a 65% drop in the stock market and,  national unrest greater than that which the Vietnam War attracted.
       We are witnessing the unfolding of  the biggest scandal in our country’s history, including illegal financial transactions, vote tampering and  untethered collusion and obstruction of  justice at the highest level.  This may take years to unravel.
      Again, I say “possible,” not probable..  Probable would be all that but not as severe.
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Corporations got a 40% tax cut, John and Jane Q get a 1.2% – 1.8% cut, even so, Trump plans to introduce a “rescission package” to cut $15 billion in already approved spending on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation program, as well as 30 other programs. The  U.S. House will likely approve his  rescission  package, the Senate may not.
ANOTHER TRUMP BLUNDER !
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According to Bloomberg.com, 1,100 economists warn that Trump is repeating one of the biggest mistakes of the Great Depression – tariffs and trade protectionism. The warning came in a letter from the conservative-leaning National Taxpayers Union.
      China loves it !  Trump opened the door, China entered, capitalizing on Trump’s regressive “America First” mantra, with its far reaching Belt and Road outreach with investments encompassing infrastructure, education, construction materials, rail and hi-way, auto, real estate, power grid and iron and steel investments to 68 countries, 65% of the world’s population and 40% of global GDP.
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      Kim took Trump’s war with North Korea option off the table, so looks like Trump now has his sights set on IRAN – to please his base, of course, in time for the mid-terms, of course.
      None of this would happen if we still had the military draft.
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North Korea give up nuclear weapons ?  Never !  Kim wants a global stage, so does Trump, who will not risk being embarrassed by the little tyrant. Trump will bail.  He needs a villain to trash to please his base. Kim has what he wants, the recognition as a nuclear power, and he can thank a blundering Trump for it. If Trump deserves credit for the recent lovefest between the two Koreas, then is entitled to it.  Currently, he is taking 100% credit.  I think he has been played like a harp.  
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Impeachment of Trump unlikely with this Republican House. Trump has surrounded himself with newly appointed Cabinet members, so Section 4 of the 25th amendment is not a reality.   What’s left ?  A deal with Mueller for his RESIGNATION ?
      He could
tweet forever how he accomplished tax cuts, deregulation, a big spend on the military. He could claim that though he was mistreated by the press, he will still go down in history as the best President ever.
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Must Read: “Will Christian Nationalism Drive Trump’s Base to the Polls in November ?”  Truthout April 15, Bill Berkowitz. This explains why his base of Christians votes for an immoral person, one whose behavior is the antithesis of the teachings of Christ.
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Will Trump  Fire Mueller ?

LOOK FOR THIS  TIP-OFF:

      Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, it must be done by the Department of Justice.  Trump would have to find someone to do it.  Nixon did it in 1973 when he had to work through two attorney generals until  his solicitor general, Robert Bork fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. 
     
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from DOJ , or someone outside who has already been confirmed by the Senate who will do it.  Rachel Brand, a conservative who supported Sen. Cruz in 2017 would be in line to take over from Rosenstein, but she just announced she is resigning from DOJ (2/9/19)      
       DOJ’s Dana Bounte’s resignation last October and his recent  appointment by FBI Director Christopher Wray as general Counsel  for the FBI takes him out of the running, though it is doubtful he would have fired Mueller.   He served as the U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia, as well as, acting assistant attorney general  for the National Security Division of DOJ and may be a valuable source of information for the FBI, since he had an inside view.     
      Unconfirmed rumors are that EPA’s Scott Pruit (already confirmed) has shown an interest in the DOJ, is a possibility for a post there.  We now know that is a stretch given the baggage he carries. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russian/Trump  “investigation” March 2017.
       Philip Bump, Washington Post (WAPO) April 10, did a great job outlining possibilities in, “Why Trump can’t fire Mueller – at least not directly.”  I can only touch on a few of his points here.
       In his article, Georgetown University’s professor Paul Butler raises the interesting point that  firing Mueller may not be necessary if  Rosenstein is replaced by someone hostile to the Special Counsel’s investigation.  He would simply force a stall with lots of demands, even leak information to the White House.   
       REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER: Trump would have to have  good reason to fire Mueller.  Grounds must be, misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or other good cause, including violation of policies of the Department of Justice, and failure to follow Justice Departments guidelines and violation of applicable canons of ethics.
       CAN TRUMP RESCIND  SPECIAL COUNSEL REGULATION ?  Yes, it’s possible but many legal hurdles  would make it difficult and possibly so time consuming as to make the action worthless. There is no clear cut answer. This would be decided in court, the legal ramifications just very complex.
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FISCAL CRISIS LOOMS IN FUTURE:  Headlines:“Federal debt primed to explode”….”U.S. Deficit to Surpass $1 Trillion Two Years Ahead of Estimates”….”This Year’s budget deficit to hit $804 B after tax cuts and spending hikes”….
       This is all a Republican scheme to justify massive spending cuts to social, health, educational  and safety net programs. It is called “Starving the Beast,” and will lead to debilitating and prolonged recession/bear market, increased crime, rioting and civil unrest.  Republicans set the stage with massive, unnecessary tax cuts and a big budget spend (see below: “Corporate Tax Cut Irresponsible”)
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Sinclair Broadcast Group  (BEWARE !)

One of my greatest concerns has become reality – Sinclair Broadcast Group is using its clout as owner of  193 television stations as a lever to manipulate local station viewers’ minds pitching it’s right wing propaganda. Viewers tend to trust local stations programing over national networks.
       I called attention to this danger in my September 1, blog, warning that Sinclair’s reach to 80 markets gave it unfettered power. In recent days, Sinclair required news anchors in 200 of its local TV stations to warn viewers that unnamed media are always biased, and publishing fake news. This is a classic example of “projection” where one guilty of doing something wrong actually accuses another of that deed. Sinclair accuses liberal media of manipulation when in fact it is the one doing it.  
          On July 16, 2018, Ajit Pai, appointed to FCC Chair by Trump, rejected  Sinclair’s acquisition of Tribune Broadcast Group which would greatly expand its reach into New York, La and Chicago markets with an addition of 42 more stations, saying he had serious concerns about the deal.
 
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Cambridge Analytica (now in bankruptcy) is center stage again. Palmer.com  reports  someone behind the scenes is trying to block  Britain’s  Channel 4 News from airing an expose  into Cambridge’s role in using  Facebook (FB) to influence voters to vote for Trump and not Clinton.  On Friday,  Facebook  banned Cambridge’s access.  Palmer speculates the Mercers are behind the  attempt to prevent Channel 4’s expose.  I was on  Cambridge’s case back on June 22, 2017,  noting that billionaire Robert Mercer was connected to Cambridge through Canada’s Aggregate IQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked to influence voting  in the Brexit referendum.  Aggregate is a data mining company.  While Aggregate denies any connection,  the story won’t go away. Palmer sees a connection between Cambridge and John Bolton’s SUPER PAC.  Palmer notes that UK Parliament is investigating  the connection between Cambridge and Brexit and documents referred to by Cambridge whistleblower Christopher Wylie reveal  the firm gave stolen Facebook  user data to Bolton’s PAC  (receiving stolen goods ?), though it is not known how Bolton used the data if his PAC even received it.  (See below: Mercer on the run ?)

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Remember the name Felix Sater, former business associate of Trump, convicted  Russian mafia money laundering figure, and key FBI informant.
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Another name to watch is Ted Malloch who Palmer.com reports was served a subpoena relating to the Trump/Russia probe.  Malloch is a U. S. citizen living in London with close tire to Roger Stone, Brexit leader Nigel Farage and the Trump campaign.  As noted above in Cambridge Analytica, there is a connection to parties involved in Brexit and Trump’s campaign.
George Nader, Who he ?  Possibly a key source of information. This is highly complicated with new information pending. Nader has long-standing ties in the Mid-East and Washington over many years.  What appears to be important here is he is cooperating with the Mueller probe not as a wrongdoer, but as a source of information.  He has had ties with the Trump administration through Steve Bannon  and reportedly attended a meeting in the Seychelles Islands January 11, 2017 along with Blackwater founder and former Trump associate, Eric Prince, and Kirill Dmitriev head of a U.S. sanctioned investment firm with close ties to Putin.  Reportedly Nader represented United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
      I referred to the Seychilles meeting on April 5, 2017 noting  the Washington Post reported the meeting was intended to encourage Russia to curtail support for Iran and Syria (Trump wish list) in exchange for lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia.
We’ll see.
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Protecting guns and profits have become more important than protecting the lives of young people” Henry A. Giroux, Truthout ,  March 4.
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Why are so many Americans beholden to guns ? It could be their sense of security was rocked by 9/11 plus the Great Recession/Bear Market.  Then it could be racial, a fear that people of different colors will eventually outnumber them, prompting  the need (in their paranoid minds) to stage a forceful change in governance (revolution).  This makes little sense, but from their point of  simplemindedness, they feel more secure with a dozen guns and cases of ammunition in house just in case.
     What these whackos don’t understand is they can’t use their guns outside of their homes for fear of injuring or killing an innocent person which not only sends them to jail, but opens them up to a lawsuit where they lose their stock portfolio, car, house and all those “blankies” that  go bang.  ………………………………………

 

A quasi-fascist state would give Trump the untethered power he craves.
Read: The Ghost of Fascism in the Age of Trump

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43529-the-ghost-of-fascism-in-the-age-of-trump
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U.S. Ranking globally and domestically is 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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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, 2,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?.
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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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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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Red states In need of Fed government help the most

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’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 response.
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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. These are people were part of the Trump team, or in a position to know information relating to activities before or after the 2016 election, though  not necessarily in any way guilty of any wrongdoing.
       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 – Sam Nunberg – Dan Scavino – Keith Schiller –  Alex Van Der waan – Ted Malloch -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.
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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.com – Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 25,116
S&P 500:2,809
Nasdaq Comp.:7,885
Russell 2000: 1,687

Wednesday, July 18, 2018     9:15 a.m.
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 March 10, 2009 Special Bulletin (DJIA: 6,805) BUY !
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This volatility is EXACTLY what I meant when I Warned:
“2018: The Wildest One in Years.” December 27, 2017
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“No one is bearish, and that’s BEARISH…Odds favor a 12%-18% correction” – Jan. 22, 2018: DJIA:26,214.  (A 14-day 12.2% correction started 4 days later.)
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Trump – a human wrecking ball (1/3/17)
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What’s so Christian about favoring the rich over the poor ?

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“Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.”
                                         Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister.
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        I am running the following again for any current reader who missed it, or for new readers.
        How can anyone believe President misspoke about not trusting our own intelligence operatives, when he has a history of lying (3,000 to-date–Washington Post).
        The real test of his loyalty is the fact he refused to implement  the “Countering America’s Adversities Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which was approved by a 419-3 vote in the House in May 2017 and a 98-2 vote in the Senate on August 2, 2017.  While the Act was also directed at Iran and North Korea, it specifically targeted  Russia for its meddling in our 2016 election.
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Published Tuesday, July 17:

    That the President of the United States would feebly submit to Russia’s Vladimir Putin yesterday at the Helsinki summit should scare the wits out of any American investor with a smidgeon of intelligence.
      What does this say about America’s position in the world, its strength as an economic and military power ?
      The question begs – Why ?
      Does Putin have something on Trump so big that Trump  will yield America’s best interests to avoid exposure ?
      Is Trump so enamored with the raw, untethered power of a dictator, he  submits in its presence ?
      Is Trump a Russian agent, brainwashed years ago to  abandon our critical allies handing over our destiny to Russia ?

    Does Russia hold some highly sophisticated military power over the U.S., so great that its leader has no choice but to submit to its every wish.
      I have said this before. This is a phony stock market, historically highly overvalued. This is a phony economy, its engine, the consumer, is tapped out as the gap between the middle class and big earners widens with no respite in sight.                        This is phony government, with a deluded, pathological liar for president and a gutless Congress intent on tipping the scales even further in favor of corporations, special interests and big money by gutting environmental, worker safety, individual healthcare programs intact for decades and time-tested  as in the best interests of America.
       Trump’s performance at the summit’s conference yesterday was a national disgrace, pathetic, shameful, and scary. This is the most powerful leader on earth. Anyone watching with a smidgeon of intelligence, has to conclude our nation is in trouble.
       The U.S. economy continues to be strong, but that is typical of economies in the late stages of an economic expansion.
      Conclusion: We are in the late innings of both an economic recovery and bull market.
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TODAY (Unchanged, it’s too much on target)
     
CONFIDENCE in our nation’s economic future and ability to withstand all threats going forward is vital for the stability of the preservation of our republic.
       That goes double for a stock market that is so highly overvalued so late in the stock market economic cycle.
       Trump’s delusional and submissive behavior at the feet of Russia’s Putin yesterday suggests our future is not in our hands, but in Russia’s.
        So, so many indicators of a market top and impending long drawn out recession are all there for any open mind to see.
         Put another way, it’s time for investors to run for the hills. Let the Street’s computers, which can’t possibly be programmed for such disgraceful behavior by a nation’s President, run stocks higher.
         When the computers get their sell signal. they will all get it at the same time – that spells –STRAIGHT DOWN.
GREEDY MOMENTUM
      While the stock market is highly overvalued even based on year ahead earnings, it can run higher.
      Q2 earnings are expected to be good. The question is, are they already priced in the stack market.
      Yes they are, but the momentum, driven by lust for greater gains will attract buyers, some for the first time.
       This is classic late-stage bull market behavior and it’s hard to shut off.
       It’s really a game, more so than investing, but will suddenly be over.
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SUPPORT “today”:DJIA:25,027 ;S&P 500:2,804;Nasdaq Comp.:7,823
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:25,187;S&P 500:2,813;Nasdaq Comp.:7,876

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BULLISH CASE
     
Corporate earnings are the only positive. Earnings reports will begin to flow in July and they will be good, 20%  for the S&P 500 over a year ago.
      But these earnings have been largely discounted by high stock prices. The Street will soon be looking out to 2019 when earnings increases will be 4% – 7%.
       Factset projects a Q2 earnings gain of  19.0%, that’s up from its projection of +17.1% on March 31.  For 2018 they see a gain of 20.0%.
       Thomson Reuters pegs Q2 earnings gain at +20.9% and something a bit above +19% for the year as a whole . HOWEVER,  it presently projects Q1 2019  increase at +4.4%, Q2 at +8.7%. Q3: +8.7%. Could it be the 19% jump in 2018 earnings is already  factored into the market ?   
         If the Democrats gain control of the House or Senate, or both, it could offset the fact that  we are in a tailspin, financially, economically and morally. It could be a game changer, though we are heading for a recession
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BEARISH CASE
RISING INTEREST RATES:
      The Fed is persistently raising its benchmark interest rate (federal funds), as well as reducing its inflated balance sheet,  which will drive other rates higher, which will adversely impact interest sensitive industries.  Banks will love it, but it will send shivers throughout the housing industry, which is reeling from the impact of tariff-induced higher lumber prices. 
      The 10-year treasury has been rising steadily and now stands at 2.856 %, it has recently been a smidge above 3%.
>>>>>>Inflation is accelerating faster than expected with the core PCE rising to 2.0 in May, suggesting the Fed may ramp up its tightening. While  average  hourly earnings are not keeping pace, Friday’s Employment Report may show some catch up.
       The yield curve is flattening as short-term treasuries rise faster than long-tern governments just another warning sign of impending recession.
Home prices have risen recouping most of losses incurred since the Great Recession, making houses even more unaffordable. Limited inventories of houses available for purchase is pushing prices higher.
      New buyers missed their once in a lifetime opportunity to buy when mortgage rates were at historic lows, they will have to pay-up to buy a house, if they can get the financing.
      OVERVALUED MARKET
     Thompson Reuters reports the S&P 500 sells at 19.7times earnings and 16.8 times a year from now. All this versus a 10-year average of 14.3.
      The Shiller P/E runs much higher at 32.8  times earnings versus a mean of 16.7.  Shiller’s P/E is based on  inflation adjusted earnings over 10 years.
      The S&P 500 price to sales ratio is 2.24 vs.  an average of 1.49.  Before the 2007-2009 bear market it stood at 1.5 x.
      The Total Market Capitalization to GDP  stands at 145.6%, anything above 115% is “overvalued.”
       It looks like stock buy-backs are the only thing holding the market up. It was hoped that the 40% tax cut would trigger spending in capex.  Not yet, companies are buying back their own stock, pushing prices higher enhancing executive stock options.
       Corporate debt relative to GDP (45%) is higher now than before the 2007-2009 meltdown
       Corporations set a record in Q1, using benefits of tax cuts to buy back $189  billion of their own stock, beating the prior record of  $172 billion set in  the summer of 2007 right before the Great Bear Market/Recession.  This is a sign of speculative excess, as is a record amount of margin debt, investor borrowings to buy stock.
AGING BULL MARKET:
      The bull market is now  nine years and three months old (109 months).  That’s 3.5 times the average of the last 15 bull markets.
AGING ECONOMIC EXPANSION:
      The current economic expansion has lasted 108 months. That’s 48 months (1.8x) longer that the average expansion going back to 1945.  Nine out of the last 10 recessions have occurred with a Republican in the White House.
      The onset of bear markets have led the beginning of recessions by 8.5 months going back to 1956, so don’t look for a recession to signal a bear market. The longest lead time was 13 months (1968 – 1969) The “mode” (most frequent) is 12 months.
 *****1,100 economists WARN Trump is repeating biggest mistakes of Great Depression – tariffs, trade protectionism, according to conservative National Taxpayers’ Union.
****** Former Fed Chair, Ben Bernanke, says economy to fall off a cliff in 2020, thanks to the $1.5 trillion corporate and individual tax cut and $300 billion increase in spending.              C
      Consumer spending slipped in May, as did Consumer Expectations and Consumer Confidence. It’s summer, maybe this slowing  is meaningless.
*******The Eurozone is in a slump. The IFO Business Climate Index has been soft all year, GDP is also sliding in face of a slump in retail sales.
      CNN.com reports Corporate America took advantage of low interest rates to load up on debt in recent years for acquisitions and to buy back their own stock. Excluding banks, the tally is $6.3trillion. The downside of this comes when these companies will need to refinance this debt at higher interest rates when it comes due.
TRUMP’S TRADE WAR TANTRUM:
       He’s  a human wrecking ball, blustering without forethought of the consequences of  his actions. 
       Economists are minimizing the impact of  the flurry of tariffs, saying their impact is not significant. Perhaps when looking at the big picture but pain is being felt around the country as the stories roll in.
       This tariff jousting changes every several days.…..No one knows where this is going, and on top of aging economic expansions here and abroad, that’s scary.
        I crash-coursed this subject in recent days, as I  have done so many times with issues since Trump took office.   I am certain of one thing,  I do not know enough about this vast subject, nor could I condense what I know here to make any sense.
       What I do know is, today’s businesses are complex, especially supply chains that can involve a thousand parts that make up a whole product, many of which are sourced from different countries, sometimes crossing back and forth across the same border a number of times.
     Throw a wrench into the works and the gears start to gnash.  Managers are pressed to seek other sources, other outlets.  Efficiency and profitability begin to plummet.
      In fact, it doesn’t have to go that far.  Uncertain of the future, unable to plan, budgets get cut, sales orders construction projects cancelled, managers find planning more and more difficult.
      Enter the domino effect, and the pain spreads to other industries and finally to households threatened by unemployment, budgets there are cut, as well.         
  
      Trump considering leaving World Trade Organization (WTO).
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IMPLODING:
      Will he fire Rosenstein, then Mueller ?  Resign ? Create a series of constitutional crises ? Will, Mueller release devastating information about him ?
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
The Dept. of Justice charged a Russian national, Mariia Butina, of illegally trying to influence American politics using the NRA, religious organizations and the National Prayer Breakfast  as a means of gaining backchannel access to the highest levels of the Republican Party.    
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 Last November 8, I posted the following, since I believed Trump would find someone to appoint subject to confirmation, to serve in the Dept. of Justice (DOJ), who may be willing to fire Special Counsel Robert. Mueller.
      Unable to find an update on Benczkowski by May 7, I deleted the post.  Yesterday, I discovered he was confirmed along party lines Wednesday to head up DOJ’s criminal division.
       My concern has been that Deputy Atty. Gen’l Rod Rosenstein would be fired by Trump and be replaced by someone (Benczkowski) who would then fire Mueller.
This is what I had posted between Nov.8, 2017 and May 7, this year.

Brian Benczkowski was nominated by President Trump in June [2017]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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A “MALEVOLENT FOOL” – Lt. Col. , Ret’d, Ralph Peters, ex-Fox analyst referring to Trump.   Malevolent: evil, harmful, injurious.
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Kavanaugh nominated for Supreme Court not to  overturn Roe v. Wade, but because he has written that a sitting President should be exempted from criminal prosecution, and investigation, including questioning by prosecutors.
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A majority vote in both the House and Senate can change the number of Justices on the Supreme Court. The number is fixed by statute, not by the Constitution. It has ranged between 6 and 10 since 1789.
       The question now is, will the Republicans attempt it to increase it in order to head off  any attempt by the Democrats in the future.
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Trump an agent of Russia ?  His actions suggest it. Read following:
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Un-American ! Trump claims writers of U.S. Constitution treated Him unfairly, adding we have the worst constitution writers in the world…Russia has better constitution writers than we do, says Trump . “I talked with Putin, and he said their constitution never gives him problems.” Andy Borowitz, (The Borowitz Report).
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      WE DON”T WANT TO GO THERE !  The Trump administration is taking the United States straight to a place none of us wants to be – civil unrest,  an extended recession, a fiscal crisis where we can’t pay our bills, ergo the need to slash healthcare, safety net programs, a host of programs that have improved our quality of life.
      This administration’s actions on trade (tariffs, TPP
), the intentional divisiveness of America along racial lines, and abandonment of our long-time allies have opened the door for China to dominate the world, economically and militarily.  That’s Un-American.  This has to be stopped.
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TRUMP’S LIES and misleading statements has reached 3,000 since taking office, according to the Washington Post
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The key for politicians to controlling people’s  minds is to lie relentlessly about everything and especially in response to criticism. Trump is a master at it, but he should be per the above.  He is the ultimate con man and so good at it he has millions of American suckers conned.  He is unprecedented, masterful, and he is destroying the very fabric of what has made us GREAT.
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Stockholm Syndrome ?  The extremists are trying to gut our Constitution, turn us into a fascist state. If Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi  had a smidgeon of the patriotism and spine Maxine Waters has, they would fight to save our republic. She’s one of ours, don’t cut her off at the knees.  FIGHT them, contest every lie, every disregard for the rule of law and humanityNFS !
Note: Stockholm Syndrome is decision by hostages (Dems) to develop a psychological alliance with their captors (Reps) as a survival strategy during captivity.
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Republican strategist, Steve Schmidt, leaves Republican Party after 29 years, saying the party is “corrupt, indecent and immoral,” and with a few exceptions  elected  Republicans are “feckless cowards who disgrace and dishonor the legacies of the party’s greatest leaders.” Others quitting Republican Party: George Will, “Morning” Joe Scarborough. To date, 35 senior Trump advisers have left.
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Immigrants and separation: It’s 90% Stephen Miller, a Breitfart alum, and acknowledged racist.. Former senior vice president of public affairs at Duke University where Miller attended said, He is the most sanctimonious student I ever encountered…absolutely sure of his own views and correctness of them, and if you were in disagreement with him , there was something malevolent or stupid about your thinking.
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President Donald Trump is NOT pro-business, he’s pro-Trump
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Liberal Dems must stop being so liberal, find some spine and  find three issues to fight for – my suggested rallying cry: “Before it’s too late……..” save healthcare, Social Security, our education system and identity as a world leader.
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TRUMP EXIT STRATEGY: The most important thing for King Donald is his image.  Currently he is scrambling to initiate as many perceived accomplishments as possible (taxes, anti-immigrant, anti-allies, deregulation, North Korea, Iran, ISIS, unemployment).
     
This way, if he is impeached, defeated in 2020, or forced to resign, he can claim to have been the greatest president of all-time – he’ll tweet it relentlessly, deviancy-downed Americans will believe it and every network in the country, whores that they are, (including MSNBC and CNN) will scramble to cover his tweets.  IMHO: he won’t risk losing in 2020, just not run – declare he has accomplished his mission and walk away..
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Wake up out there. These aren’t Republicans, they are anarchists, extremists  who have wrested control of the Republican party over the last 20 years and are intent on a party rule with no checks and balances.
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National security adviser, John Bolton, has added two  loyalists to the National Security Council, CNN reposts, referring to Sarah Tinsley and Garrett Marquis. Both have been associated with Bolton for years. Considered a hawk on international affairs, Bolton appears to be positioning his team to back up Trump in any military strike he sees would please his base, possibly in time for the midterm elections. Putting the country on a war footing tends to rally the country behind a president.
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POSSIBLE ! That the blue wave won’t happen in November.  Why? The American voter is still zoned out about what is happening – too busy with other stuff, not capable of  objectively analyzing issues accurately without bias.
     The result: The extremist Republicans and their president will run the economy, a constructive foreign relations policy, and America’s quality of life into the ground.  In order to get the American voter’s attention, we have to hit bottom first.
      That means an extended recession, a fiscal crisis (unable to pay bills), a 65% drop in the stock market and,  national unrest greater than that which the Vietnam War attracted.
       We are witnessing the unfolding of  the biggest scandal in our country’s history, including illegal financial transactions, vote tampering and  untethered collusion and obstruction of  justice at the highest level.  This may take years to unravel.
      Again, I say “possible,” not probable..  Probable would be all that but not as severe.
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Corporations got a 40% tax cut, John and Jane Q get a 1.2% – 1.8% cut, even so, Trump plans to introduce a “rescission package” to cut $15 billion in already approved spending on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation program, as well as 30 other programs. The  U.S. House will likely approve his  rescission  package, the Senate may not.
ANOTHER TRUMP BLUNDER !
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According to Bloomberg.com, 1,100 economists warn that Trump is repeating one of the biggest mistakes of the Great Depression – tariffs and trade protectionism. The warning came in a letter from the conservative-leaning National Taxpayers Union.
      China loves it !  Trump opened the door, China entered, capitalizing on Trump’s regressive “America First” mantra, with its far reaching Belt and Road outreach with investments encompassing infrastructure, education, construction materials, rail and hi-way, auto, real estate, power grid and iron and steel investments to 68 countries, 65% of the world’s population and 40% of global GDP.
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      Kim took Trump’s war with North Korea option off the table, so looks like Trump now has his sights set on IRAN – to please his base, of course, in time for the mid-terms, of course.
      None of this would happen if we still had the military draft.
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North Korea give up nuclear weapons ?  Never !  Kim wants a global stage, so does Trump, who will not risk being embarrassed by the little tyrant. Trump will bail.  He needs a villain to trash to please his base. Kim has what he wants, the recognition as a nuclear power, and he can thank a blundering Trump for it. If Trump deserves credit for the recent lovefest between the two Koreas, then is entitled to it.  Currently, he is taking 100% credit.  I think he has been played like a harp.  
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Impeachment of Trump unlikely with this Republican House. Trump has surrounded himself with newly appointed Cabinet members, so Section 4 of the 25th amendment is not a reality.   What’s left ?  A deal with Mueller for his RESIGNATION ?
      He could
tweet forever how he accomplished tax cuts, deregulation, a big spend on the military. He could claim that though he was mistreated by the press, he will still go down in history as the best President ever.
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Must Read: “Will Christian Nationalism Drive Trump’s Base to the Polls in November ?”  Truthout April 15, Bill Berkowitz. This explains why his base of Christians votes for an immoral person, one whose behavior is the antithesis of the teachings of Christ.
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Will Trump  Fire Mueller ?

LOOK FOR THIS  TIP-OFF:

      Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, it must be done by the Department of Justice.  Trump would have to find someone to do it.  Nixon did it in 1973 when he had to work through two attorney generals until  his solicitor general, Robert Bork fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. 
     
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, so Trump must find someone from DOJ , or someone outside who has already been confirmed by the Senate who will do it.  Rachel Brand, a conservative who supported Sen. Cruz in 2017 would be in line to take over from Rosenstein, but she just announced she is resigning from DOJ (2/9/19)      
       DOJ’s Dana Bounte’s resignation last October and his recent  appointment by FBI Director Christopher Wray as general Counsel  for the FBI takes him out of the running, though it is doubtful he would have fired Mueller.   He served as the U.S. Attorney General from the Eastern Dist. of Virginia, as well as, acting assistant attorney general  for the National Security Division of DOJ and may be a valuable source of information for the FBI, since he had an inside view.     
      Unconfirmed rumors are that EPA’s Scott Pruit (already confirmed) has shown an interest in the DOJ, is a possibility for a post there.  We now know that is a stretch given the baggage he carries. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russian/Trump  “investigation” March 2017.
       Philip Bump, Washington Post (WAPO) April 10, did a great job outlining possibilities in, “Why Trump can’t fire Mueller – at least not directly.”  I can only touch on a few of his points here.
       In his article, Georgetown University’s professor Paul Butler raises the interesting point that  firing Mueller may not be necessary if  Rosenstein is replaced by someone hostile to the Special Counsel’s investigation.  He would simply force a stall with lots of demands, even leak information to the White House.   
       REASONS NEEDED TO FIRE MUELLER: Trump would have to have  good reason to fire Mueller.  Grounds must be, misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or other good cause, including violation of policies of the Department of Justice, and failure to follow Justice Departments guidelines and violation of applicable canons of ethics.
       CAN TRUMP RESCIND  SPECIAL COUNSEL REGULATION ?  Yes, it’s possible but many legal hurdles  would make it difficult and possibly so time consuming as to make the action worthless. There is no clear cut answer. This would be decided in court, the legal ramifications just very complex.
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FISCAL CRISIS LOOMS IN FUTURE:  Headlines:“Federal debt primed to explode”….”U.S. Deficit to Surpass $1 Trillion Two Years Ahead of Estimates”….”This Year’s budget deficit to hit $804 B after tax cuts and spending hikes”….
       This is all a Republican scheme to justify massive spending cuts to social, health, educational  and safety net programs. It is called “Starving the Beast,” and will lead to debilitating and prolonged recession/bear market, increased crime, rioting and civil unrest.  Republicans set the stage with massive, unnecessary tax cuts and a big budget spend (see below: “Corporate Tax Cut Irresponsible”)
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Sinclair Broadcast Group  (BEWARE !)

One of my greatest concerns has become reality – Sinclair Broadcast Group is using its clout as owner of  193 television stations as a lever to manipulate local station viewers’ minds pitching it’s right wing propaganda. Viewers tend to trust local stations programing over national networks.
       I called attention to this danger in my September 1, blog, warning that Sinclair’s reach to 80 markets gave it unfettered power. In recent days, Sinclair required news anchors in 200 of its local TV stations to warn viewers that unnamed media are always biased, and publishing fake news. This is a classic example of “projection” where one guilty of doing something wrong actually accuses another of that deed. Sinclair accuses liberal media of manipulation when in fact it is the one doing it.  
          On July 16, 2018, Ajit Pai, appointed to FCC Chair by Trump, rejected  Sinclair’s acquisition of Tribune Broadcast Group which would greatly expand its reach into New York, La and Chicago markets with an addition of 42 more stations, saying he had serious concerns about the deal.
 
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Cambridge Analytica (now in bankruptcy) is center stage again. Palmer.com  reports  someone behind the scenes is trying to block  Britain’s  Channel 4 News from airing an expose  into Cambridge’s role in using  Facebook (FB) to influence voters to vote for Trump and not Clinton.  On Friday,  Facebook  banned Cambridge’s access.  Palmer speculates the Mercers are behind the  attempt to prevent Channel 4’s expose.  I was on  Cambridge’s case back on June 22, 2017,  noting that billionaire Robert Mercer was connected to Cambridge through Canada’s Aggregate IQ through an intellectual property agreement and worked to influence voting  in the Brexit referendum.  Aggregate is a data mining company.  While Aggregate denies any connection,  the story won’t go away. Palmer sees a connection between Cambridge and John Bolton’s SUPER PAC.  Palmer notes that UK Parliament is investigating  the connection between Cambridge and Brexit and documents referred to by Cambridge whistleblower Christopher Wylie reveal  the firm gave stolen Facebook  user data to Bolton’s PAC  (receiving stolen goods ?), though it is not known how Bolton used the data if his PAC even received it.  (See below: Mercer on the run ?)

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Remember the name Felix Sater, former business associate of Trump, convicted  Russian mafia money laundering figure, and key FBI informant.
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Another name to watch is Ted Malloch who Palmer.com reports was served a subpoena relating to the Trump/Russia probe.  Malloch is a U. S. citizen living in London with close tire to Roger Stone, Brexit leader Nigel Farage and the Trump campaign.  As noted above in Cambridge Analytica, there is a connection to parties involved in Brexit and Trump’s campaign.
George Nader, Who he ?  Possibly a key source of information. This is highly complicated with new information pending. Nader has long-standing ties in the Mid-East and Washington over many years.  What appears to be important here is he is cooperating with the Mueller probe not as a wrongdoer, but as a source of information.  He has had ties with the Trump administration through Steve Bannon  and reportedly attended a meeting in the Seychelles Islands January 11, 2017 along with Blackwater founder and former Trump associate, Eric Prince, and Kirill Dmitriev head of a U.S. sanctioned investment firm with close ties to Putin.  Reportedly Nader represented United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
      I referred to the Seychilles meeting on April 5, 2017 noting  the Washington Post reported the meeting was intended to encourage Russia to curtail support for Iran and Syria (Trump wish list) in exchange for lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia.
We’ll see.
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Protecting guns and profits have become more important than protecting the lives of young people” Henry A. Giroux, Truthout ,  March 4.
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Why are so many Americans beholden to guns ? It could be their sense of security was rocked by 9/11 plus the Great Recession/Bear Market.  Then it could be racial, a fear that people of different colors will eventually outnumber them, prompting  the need (in their paranoid minds) to stage a forceful change in governance (revolution).  This makes little sense, but from their point of  simplemindedness, they feel more secure with a dozen guns and cases of ammunition in house just in case.
     What these whackos don’t understand is they can’t use their guns outside of their homes for fear of injuring or killing an innocent person which not only sends them to jail, but opens them up to a lawsuit where they lose their stock portfolio, car, house and all those “blankies” that  go bang.  ………………………………………

 

A quasi-fascist state would give Trump the untethered power he craves.
Read: The Ghost of Fascism in the Age of Trump

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43529-the-ghost-of-fascism-in-the-age-of-trump
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U.S. Ranking globally and domestically is 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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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, 2,000 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?.
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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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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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Red states In need of Fed government help the most

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’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 response.
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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. These are people were part of the Trump team, or in a position to know information relating to activities before or after the 2016 election, though  not necessarily in any way guilty of any wrongdoing.
       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 – Sam Nunberg – Dan Scavino – Keith Schiller –  Alex Van Der waan – Ted Malloch -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.
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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.