Fasten Seat Belts

Investor’s first read Daily edge before the open
DJIA: 21,987
S&P 500: 2,476
Nasdaq  Comp.:6,435
Russell 2000: 1,413
Tuesday,  Sept. 5, 2017   9:01 a.m.
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      The market enters the historically  turbulent month of September with a plate heaped with uncertainties, including DACA, North Korea, Tax Reform, the budget and possible government shutdown, the debt ceiling and possible default, Trade, Hurricanes Harvey and possibly Irma, the Mueller investigation, and worst of all, Trump himself.
       Uncertainties like this can hammer a market, but if met with solutions, the damage can be reversed.
      President Trump is expected to end DACA, President Obama’s 2012 executive order that protected from deportation 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Reportedly, he would then give Congress six months to work out a solution.
      This way Trump gets credit from his base for the dreamers’ nightmare, but Congress takes the hit from the public for being racist.

      Tax reform will take time, but could buoy the Street’s dwindling hopes for a while longer.  A military solution to North Korea is  unthinkable except in self defense of the United States.  
      A constitutional crisis looms: Devastating news for Trump, his family, Pence, and other leading Republicans stands to surface  from the Mueller investigation at any time.
      Investors who are on top of this issue, as well as “deniers,”  must be prepared for a big market hit in the event this administration falls apart. The Street seems to gain comfort from Mike Pence’s position as successor to Trump if he is forced out of office.  But what if Pence goes down too ?     
TODAY

      Friday’s market pressed higher, but ran into late day selling, probably traders closing out positions before the three-day weekend. Typically, the first five trading days of a month feature increased buying as institutions place orders marked for the new month.

      According to the Stock Trader’s Almanac September has been the worst month for stocks since 1950. As such, it has also provided buying opportunities if stocks get clobbered.  
     
The norm may be up for grabs this year due to the convergence of several severe crises – the decision on DACA, North Korea, the budget and government shutdown, raising the debt ceiling vs. default, the Mueller investigation, and the wild card – Trump.
      The market should open mixed, but with a down bias. Institutions putting cash to work scheduled for investment in September may offset some of that bias.
       As mentioned in recent posts, a cash position in line with one’s tolerance for risk is wise in light of September’s bad rep. The month is burdened with more uncertainties than usual.
       So far, the Street is hanging tough, but someone is selling. If this hang tough crowd has a change of heart, September, even part of October could be straight down.
        It would be healthier, less dangerous, if we had a choppier market with a higher level of selling that averts everyone selling at the same time, which is possible here considering the long list of uncertainties some of which could become serious negatives.
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SUPPORT “today”:DJIA:21,943;S&P 500:2,468; Nasdaq Comp.:6,376
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:21,999;S&P 500:2,478;Nasdaq Comp.:6,441

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      This bull is more than three times the average going back 60 years, and it is fundamentally overvalued.  The S&P 500 sells at 17.4 timed “forward” earnings compared to a ten year average of 14.
      Our economic expansion is 98 months old, well in excess of the average of 62 months for 9 cycles going back 60 years to 1957. While it hasn’t overheated, it is getting up in years.
       President Trump and certain members present and past, are under intense investigation for serious wrongdoing before, during and after the 2016 election.  I think Trump will be gone in two years.  If Vice President Pence is clean, he will take over and the adversity of Trump’s departure reduced. If Pence is forced out, it could be an utter disaster.
      How much to sell is a personal decision based on one’s tolerance for risk. For some, selling is not a consideration, since they plan to ride out any correction/bear market. Nimble traders can navigate the swings, others may take precautions just in case the market plunges. My point here is to trace out the options, to make readers aware of the risks and let them decide what is best for them.
       This is especially important if the market heads higher.  So far, the Street is in buy mode, but someone is selling into their buying.
        If I am wrong, I will admit it as soon as I become aware of it. That is a lesson one learns early on in this business.
        RECAP:
      With the DJIA at 22,024 and the S&P 500 at 2,468 on August 17, I headlined “Catharsis Needed – Raise Cash !”
      On August 24, I headlined, “Risk Increases – Healthy Cash Reserve a  Must” and gave my reasons along with ”What Could Change My Mind.” (see below).   Tuesday, I headlined, “SELL,” giving a host of reasons, in brief – the market is overvalued and President Trump is a human wrecking ball, based on what I have heard him say and how he has acted.

       If I am premature, it is because the Street still expects a massive stimulus and keeps buying stocks in anticipation of corporate benefits.
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I WILL RETAIN THE FOLLOWING FOR A WHILE FOR NEW READERS
DANGER SIGNS:

       This market can plunge at any point.  It is vulnerable for the following reasons.  It may get another push up as a result of optimistic comments coming out of the Jackson Hole economic symposium, or renewed hope that tax reform can be crafted before year end.
        While I don’t think President Trump would veto the spending bill if it does not include funding for his wall, there will be heated debate on that issue and others before the September debt ceiling deadline.
        Overvalued markets continue in a state of vulnerability until something triggers a correction.  We are looking at the prospect for a 12% + correction, possibly a bear market (20%+) depending on how dysfunctional the Trump administration and Congress gets. September should be rough, in fact, the next 12 months should be divisive and turbulent.
        Especially disturbing is the possibility of a flash crash type plunge, a straight down 10% – 15% plunge that gives no one a chance to raise cash.  Most institutions are in a automatic pilot buy mode.  All would get a sell signal at the same time, ergo no buying support and heavy selling.
        The downside here is far greater than the upside. For that reason, a 70% cash position is warranted. Of course that depends on one’s tolerance for risk.  My point is preserve capital for less precarious and uncertain times.
>this market ran into selling when good Q2 earnings were announced

>the transportation index is so much weaker than the industrials
>The market was overvalued before the November election, much more so now.
>at 98 months, our economic expansion exceeds the average of  62 months for 9 cycles going back 60 years to 1957. Eight of the last nine recessions have occurred under a Republican President.
>at 101 months, this bull market is more than 3 times longer than the average of 30 months going back to 1957. To date, its gain of 267% is more than 3 times the average bull gain since 1957 (82%).
>decisions on Wall Street are mostly based on bullish algorithms. I doubt any are programmed to factor in President Trump’s divisiveness, unpredictability, and unsuitability for the office he holds. If most switch to a more cautious buying strategy, worse yet to a SELL, the market will get hammered.
>the public is still oblivious to the dangers of the dysfunction of this administration. Congress refuses to accept  reality. The New York Times has documented more than 1,000 falsehoods  by President Trump since taking office January 20. Is anyone “thinking” ?  If so, what are they thinking ?
>as a nation, we are as divided as during the Vietnam War, but in a worse way. Then it was Americans vs. the U.S. government.  Now it is American vs. American, and the biggest contributor is President Trump. Confidence drives the economy and stock market, not divisiveness.
>no one on Wall Street, in the media, or many of the blogs is talking MUELLER.  The outcome of the Mueller investigation could be the worst scandal ever.  
      How big is the elephant in the room. Why do so few see him ? 
>Even with control of the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court and Fox News, the Republicans cannot legislate. With Bannon’s exit and position of power at Breitbart News, the government will become even more divided and dysfunctional.
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WHAT COULD CHANGE MY MIND ?
>Trump must go !  He will not change, grow in the job, etc. – an absolute human wrecking ball.  He must be impeached, removed from office by way of Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, or forced to resign.
     The latter is most likely, possibly as part of a deal struck with Special Counsel Robert Mueller to keep him and/or people close to him out of jail.
>If the outcome of the Mueller investigation comes up with nothing of significance, the market will jump sharply but then sell off, because we would  still be left with Trump.
>If, somehow, Congress can pull off tax reform, significant deregulation and a big spend on the infrastructure within a year, the major correction or bull market top I am warning about here will be delayed. Just the perception it can be done can help stabilize it.
>if Trump is suddenly removed from office the market would plunge briefly then rebound.

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       This is one of those situations that would be so 20-20 visible in hindsight.  All the signs were there, people will ask why didn’t they see it ?
       One of the lessons I learned early on many years ago is “it is better to be wrong with money in your pocket, than in stocks.” It can take years to recover losses sustained in a bear market.  A 50% loss takes a double to recover from, and doubles are hard to pull off. A 50% loss occurred in the 1973 – 1974 and 2007 – 2009 bear markets.
        It is hard to sell at the top when everything look great. I is equally hard to buy at the bottom when all the news is bad. In late stage bull markets, it is wise to have a cash reserve.                                                                                                                                                   
        This is déjà vu for me taking me back to February and early March 2009 when I urgently blogged for readers to get ready to buy at a time I was fully aware no one would listen – after a 50% drop, few had any interest in my March 10, 2009 Special Bulletin “BUY” the day the DJIA hit its bear market low of  6,440.
       There is a difference between saying something and putting it in print. The latter cannot be denied. If wrong, it cuts deeply.
        Bull markets tend to go to slightly greater extremes than this one in terms of rank speculation and public participation.                                                                                                                                                                                                             

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SUPPORT “today”:DJIA:;S&P 500:; Nasdaq Comp.:
RESISTANCE “today” DJIA:;S&P 500:;Nasdaq Comp.:

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CORPORATE EARNINGS
(updated Aug. 18 , 2017)
Factset
      Q2 earnings growth  is projected at +10.2%,up from 6.5% at June 30. Q3 is projected at +4.2%, and Q4 at +5.3%. For 2017 as a whole growth is projected at a plus 9.4%.  Currently, the P/E on forward  earnings is 17.4 x. That compares with a 10-year average P/E of 14.0.
Note: These numbers change frequently. Factset.com is well worth a visit, it breaks its projections down by industry
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MY TECHNICAL ANALYSIS  of the 30 DJIA Companies
:  (UPDATED 7/14/17)
      On occasion, I technically analyze each of the 30 DJIA stocks  for a reasonable risk, a more extreme risk, and an upside potential over the near-term. I add the results of each, then divide by the new DJIA “divisor” (0.14602) to get the DJIA for those levels. This gives me an internal check on the DJIA itself, especially if certain higher priced stocks are distorting the averages.
      As of  Aug 19, 2017,  a reasonable risk is 21,547 extreme risk is 21,337. Near-term upside potential 21,856
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
NOTE: Due to the seriousness of political developments, I find it necessary to retain the following issues here, even though it gets cumbersome, since past commentary  continues to be confirmed by unfolding events.  Prior to January, I have never injected my personal political feelings into a stock market blog.  What is happening has the potential to adversely impact stock prices.
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IS PRESIDENT TRUMP BROKE ? Bill Palmer, Palmerreport.com thinks so.
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REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE – WHAT GIVES ?
Sara Armstrong, RNC’S chief of staff, is leaving. This marks the sixth RNC staffer to leave in a month.
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We have a new head of the Justice Department’s criminal division. It’s Brian Benczkowski, previously an attorney for Russia’s Alfa Bank.   hmmmm !
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NO !  two-thirds of Hurricane Sandy’s emergency federal aid did not include “pork” as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas told NBC’s Katy Tur Monday Aug. 28. Sandy’s damage caused New Jersey and parts of New York, New England and North Carolina up to $65 billion in 2012. Before  Harvey even hit this week, Texas senators Cruz and John Cornyn pressed President Trump to approve disaster relief for the imminent hurricane in order to speed up the process. Both Cruz and Cronyn voted against providing aid for Sandy, as well as 18 other Texas representatives and senators.  Lawmakers from New Jersey and New York have been quick to back aid to Texas for Harvey.
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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 a day, 1,000 lies since inauguration on January 20 ?
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PARDON ME,
but  giving former Sheriff Joe Arpaio a pardon after being convicted  by a federal judge for  contempt  of court  suggests, Trump won’t hesitate to pardon anyone including himself who becomes  liable as a result of finding by the Mueller investigations and/or the House and senate committee investigations.  Presidents pardon all kinds of people, none ever was in a position to give a “get out of jail free” card to people guilty of rigging an election or committing serious financial crimes.
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TAX REFORM  – “Potholes and sinkholes”*
      Trump campaigned in  Missouri last week for  tax reform, including middle-class tax cuts,  and a simpler tax code.
Few specifics are mentioned. The border-adjusted tax is off the table. The mortgage, charity and retirement deductions are safe. The big question is whether the tax cuts would be temporary or permanent. If th latter, the cuts may not increase the deficit.
      An August 4 – 9  Bloomberg poll of economists reveals 28 of 39 polled expect Congress to pass tax cut legislation by November 2018. Unfortunately this action is not expected to add more than  0.2 percentage points to the GDP, and that growth is forecast  to only slightly exceed  that this year’s 2.1 percent, this forecast coming from 71 economists.  Worse yet, 2019 is projected to fall back to the 2 percent level. Referring to a corporate tax rate for developed nations of 24%, Trump says…”We have no choice….we must lower our taxes.
       Facts from mic.com: In 2016 the Government Accounting Office (GAO) found at least two-thirds of U.S. corporations did not pay federal income tax between 2006 and 2012.  One-fifth of America’s largest profitable corporations didn’t pay any income tax in 2012.
      Another study released earlier this year found the effective tax rate for consistently profitable Fortune 500 companies is 21.2%
      All told, U.S. corporations pay slightly less  in overall taxes than companies  in comparable countries.
      This begs the question of how much impact would  corporate tax cuts have on the S&P 500.       
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Trump, Bannon Gone By 2019  (Investor’s first read:  3/21/2017)
      Right winger and Breitbart grad, Sebastian Gorka is now gone,  Gorka’s  exit closely follows the departure of Steve Bannon, another  Breitfart grad,  hopefully leading to the firing  of Stephen Miller, a brash, caustic right wing extremist and Breitbart supporter  cuddler. 

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DONT READ THIS AT BEDTIME ! – Radical right wing broadcaster, Sinclair Broadcast Group,  is on track to reach 70% of US households in its effort to match Fox News for neo-conservative impact with its pro-Trump media fake news. (Mother Jones 8/15/17)
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CLOSET BIGOTS

     Charlottesville was not the bombshell I warned about before leaving, however investors must be aware one or more are hovering.
    If white supremacists, Nazis, KKK, anti-semites, and haters of people of color think their ideas have a chance of developing a meaningful  following, let them watch people at the Newark airport for two hours. 
    My rough count put two-thirds of the people as people of color.  The terminal was packed, but everyone got along. Maybe all the trouble makers were in Charlottesville.
    What concerns me more than those out demonstrating are the
closet bigots. They talk equality and profess tolerance, but inwardly condone the behavior we saw in Virginia.
     Why should anyone be surprised if President Trump was slow to take on the white nationalists ? 
      He craves conflict between others, the kind of mentality that watches cock fights, dog fights. Yet he was too cowardly to serve in the military, getting 5 deferments during the Vietnam War.
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ALT-RIGHT (Investor’s first read Jan. 27, 2017)       

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

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

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WAR – North Korea
      Sen. Lindsey Graham says a U.S. military strike of N. Korea is possible
,* that we cannot allow “this madman [Kim Jong-un] to have a missile to hit America.” His Tuesday, Aug 1, interview on the Today Show, follows N. Korea’s ICBM test days ago. Graham also said the Chinese  can stop such an attack. While such a war would take place on North Korean soil, South Korea  would incur huge casualties from N. Korean artillery.
OBSERVATION: Since January, I have warned Trump would put the U.S. on a war footing (see below) for political reasons, namely the mid-terms. Now I am convinced it is front burner because the Meuller investigations are  closing in.  
      Nuclear deterrence has been effective since the 1950s, for the obvious reasons.  The countries with the largest nuclear arsenals  and estimated warheads include United States (7,500), Russia (7,200), France (300), China (250), UK (215), Pakistan (110), India (100),Israel (80).
       The uncertainty of war would JOLT the market, especially if it disrupted  trade alliances. Reportedly, it would only take 33 minutes for a ballistic missile to reach the U.S.. If detonated high over the center of the U.S., it would cause an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) which would shut down “everything”  A-to-Z indefinitely.
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WILL TRUMP MOVE SESSIONS to Dept. of Homeland Security *to appease conservatives, and open up the slot of Attorney General for him to pick his replacement who may be able to  and possibly impede Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, worse yet fire him ?  But Mueller, can only be fired for cause (dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, good cause ?(?), violation of Department policy).
       If Trump fires Mueller, it may trigger  the revival of the US Office of the Independent Counsel, which reports to Congress.
       I THINK TRUMP WILL TRY AND WORRY ABOUT THE REPERCUSSIONS LATER.
       When Rosenstein appointed Mueller, he gave him plenty of leeway to investigate ”any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated” with Trump’s campaign, but also to examine “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation, including perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses”
       Wall Street and Congress clearly cannot ignore that, since it really smacks of “consciousness of guilt,”  small wonder why Trump is exploring the possibility of  PARDONING HIMSELF AND FAMILY.  Holy smoke, is this really happening ?
       Portions of this were provided by Businessinsider.com.
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TRUMP – EARLY STAGE DEMENTIA ?  
Don’t know. Clearly he has personality disorder (Narcissism), but the question is being asked more and more with references to speech, use of words, disorientation, irritability, memory loss, late night tweets, confusion, paranoia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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