Investor Hazard – Bear Market Rallies

INVESTORS first read.com – Daily edge before the open        
DJIA: 22,686
S&P 500: 2,447
Nasdaq Comp.:6,463
Russell 2000: 1,230
Friday
, January 4,   2019    9:08 a.m.
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gbifr79@gmail.com
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Sept. 21, 2018 :  Raise cash to 50% (DJIA: 26,656)
Nov. 8, 2018: Raise cash to 75% (DJIA: 26,180)
Dec. 26, 2018 Doom Thick Enough for a Rally (DJIA:  21,792)
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Market Status:
Bear market rallies can suck investors with cash reserves back into the market  long before the bear has run its course.  No one wants to miss a buying opportunity.  Nimble traders can hit ‘n run, but the average investor isn’t quick enough.
Current candidates that can trigger a rally are: trade talks, end of the partial shutdown, and comments by the Fed.
       Today, we have a surge in optimism that next week’s trade talks between the U.S. and China will lead to the end of tariffs. Both sides will voice optimism, but egos and face-saving rule.
The Democrat controlled House passed legislation to end the shutdown, but it is expected to be rejected by the Republican-controlled Senate and Trump.
The Fed Chair, Jerome Powell, will speak today at 10:30 and will be expected to tiptoe between continued rate hikes and a move to ease, even suggest a cut in rates is not out of the question later this year, if conditions justify it.
But, today’s employment numbers show 312,000 jobs added, well above projections, which would make it hard for the Fed to cut rates, in fact, it would justify two rate hikes this year – not good.
The rise in the fed funds rate since December 2015 has been less intense than any since the 1950s, though it started at a lower level.  Rate cuts have tended to precede the beginning of recessions going back to the 1980s, so any cut is no guarantee a recovery will result, quite the opposite.

We are in a recession, the dominos are beginning to tumble. One at a time.
Institutions have new monies to invest, as well as cash raised from year-end selling and must put it to work. Their buying will produce brief rallies and bigger rallies if triggered by news.
Overhead supply will be formidable for any attempt to rally, especially in light of the many uncertainties  and negatives overhanging the market, including  a trade war, government shutdown, looming recession, a lower growth rate for the GDP and corporate earnings, rising interest rates, aging economy, likely constitutional crisis, housing industry crunch, debt at all levels, international hotspots, global slowdown, and Trump.
I do not think a 16% decline in the S&P 500 adequately discounts a recession, or these uncertainties/negatives, as outlined below in my “Bearish Case” below.
The Shiller price/earnings ratio is 27.51 compared with an average of 16.6.
That’s 66% above average, indicating a huge down move if the market is going to adjust to the average.
BUT, why stop there ? The average is based on numbers above and below that level.  I have never seen so much ineptness, chaos and un-American behavior at the highest levels of our government in my 56 years in this business, so why not a P/E below average ?
At some point, the Street will realize there is the potential for a 30% – 40% loss from current levels which are off 16% from the 2018 highs. They will panic and then it is straight down.
Potential for the Current Rally:
DJIA: 23,067
SPX: 2,517
Nasdaq Comp.:6,611
Rally failures here spell lower prices, especially if the market averages lose all of the gain for the day;
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In the early stages of a bear market, it is wise to avoid buying news-producing rallies.  That’s really tough to do, it flies in the face of human nature.
That is an understatement, it is almost impossible to resist the temptation to buy. In some cases, an investor can limit the damage of buying a rally only to see the market plunge afterwards, by buying just a minor partial position in a stock. If right, the investor can add to the position when the rally is confirmed. If wrong, the investor can wait and average the cost of the position at lower prices.
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      A sharp, unexpected plunge in December’s Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index released yesterday just confirms my warnings in 2018 of a recession already underway. The index dropped to 54.1% in December from 59.3% in November. The new orders component dropped 11 points to 51.1. What’s more, in addition to Apple’s (AAPL) woes, Delta Airlines (DAL) is admitting business is lagging.
This is how recessions get underway – piece by piece, not all at once. Some indicators will continue to look good, but the stock market, the king of all leading indicators, made a statement in October when it topped out, leading to a 3-month, 20% plunge in the S&P 500 Index.
After 9 ½ years the economic recovery is sucking wind.
No one wants the 10-year bull market ( 2009 – 2018) to end. At ten years of age, there are investors and professionals who have never experienced a bear market.
      There are those who got pummeled by the last bear market, down 56%, and some who sold out at the bottom when the daily beatings reached the point they just couldn’t stand it anymore. Some never got back in, and some rode it out but had to wait years before breaking even.
At some point, the blinders must come off, our country is rudderless, We cannot afford this delusion for another day. This is a phony stock market, phony economy, and phony administration. 
Our country, economy and stock market will survive, but it will take time, damage has been done by devious, clueless and greedy leaders.            
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A. Gary Shilling  is bearish believes we are headed for a recession and noted his reasons December issue, headlining his issue of “INSIGHT“ with “Looming Recession ?”   I have tracked Shilling for decades. He nailed the 2007 – 2009 Great Recession Bear Market before anyone else. For him to suddenly turn negative is  a shocker.  He details his reasons in a 50-page analysis that  is overwhelming in detail and backed up with stats and graphs. No one in my experience has more economic/investing integrity than Shilling.
Shillings reasons for forecasting a recession are:
1. Output exceeds capacity
2. Stocks fall
3. Central banks tighten
4. Yield curve inversion near
5. Junk bond-Treasury yield spread opens
6. Housing activity declines
7. Corporate profits growth falls
8. Consumers are optimistic
9. Global leading indicators drop
10. Commodity prices decline
11. Downward data revisions
12. Emerging-market troubles mount
13. U.S.-China trade war escalates
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THE PRESIDENCY PROBLEM

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is closing in on Trump, et al, and  this is going to get ugly.
The daily disclosure of wrongdoing by this administration will weigh heavily on the market at a time the economy is going in the tank and the stock market  on the verge of a bear market.
      An even bigger issue is about to hit the Street right between its eyes and that is, what will happen to stock prices when President Trump is removed from office, or he resigns ?
There are other issues that can crush the market (debt, fiscal crisis, depression), but extended dysfunction in the highest office in our country has the potential for immeasurable damage to stock prices.
      Investors must be prepared for the possibility of this happening. If it doesn’t play out that way, be very grateful.
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Investors must be ready for a resignation by President Trump who would cut a deal to trade his presidency for a get out of jail “sort of free” card, in face of incredible string of illegal activities.
The deal would include family members.
Who would succeed Trump as President ?
       It is possible, Vice President Pence would also be at risk and forced to resign, since he was Chair of the President-Elect Trump campaign, which is now under intense scrutiny.
According to the Succession Act of 1947, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi,  would be next in line to become President if both Trump and Pence are forced out of office, and that would cause a monstrous firestorm.
What if Pence resigns first and Trump appoints another Vice President who would then become President ?
It gets complicated and divisive, and that wouldn’t be good for stock prices.
      All this is possible, in my opinion – probable, and would  most likely crush stock prices until resolved.
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We are in the late innings of an economic expansion, so a recession is a good bet. The current expansion started in June 2009, has lasted 126 months, the longest on record and more than twice as long as the average length of 11 cycles since 1945.
Bear markets lead the beginning of recessions by 3 to 12 months.  The current bull market at 130 months is four times the average of the last 15 bulls going back to 1957.
Any rally here MUST be overwhelmingly powerful and unrelenting.  Like all rallies in face of major unresolved problems, it carries great risks.
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Technical Note: Frequently, there is what I refer to as a mid-afternoon counter move (2:30 – 3:00 where the market rallies or declines against the prevailing trend for the day.   This can be a fake out for investors thinking the market has turned (up or down).

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Economic Status: Late stage expansion with recession starting in late 2019. Bull markets hit peak 6 to 12 months ahead of recessions. Republicans were in White House in 9 of  the last 10 recessions. Their rosy projections ignore the likelihood of a recession within a year to 18 months. Housing and auto industries already in recession. The crunch can gain momentum ahead of schedule. U.S. fiscal crisis looms 2-3 years out.
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YIELD CURVE:
News of the yield curve flattening, worse yet “inverting”  has begun to weigh heavily on the stock market. The curve is measured by the difference between short, and long-term interest rates.
The curve flattens when the short and long-term rates are nearly  the same. They invert when short rates exceed long rates.
An inverted yield curve has preceded  9 recessions since 1955.
However, this event’s forecasting problem is that there can be a lag time before a recession hits of one to three years. An inversion predicted the 2007 financial crisis by 24 months.
      So what is a flattening or inverted really telling us /
It is indicating the Federal Reserve is tightening credit by forcing short-term treasury rates close to or higher than long-term rates.in an effort to slow growth in the economy so it doesn’t overheat and trigger a surge in the inflation rate.
It is also saying that investors expect a recession, which will result in lower rates and they want to lock those in before that happens.
      Should we be concerned ?
Yes, because the Street gets spooked when the curve flattens, it is a warning that the Fed is getting serious about tapping the brakes on the economy, and buy programs cut back, or sell programs initiated.
This has probably already started, however I think the Fed may be concerned it has gone too far and may want to tap the brakes on its own policy ! >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
IMPORTANT NOTES:
How high is high, how long is long
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Through September, this bull market is 116 months old, or 3.5 times longer than the average of the last  15  bull markets..
>Bear markets start 6 – 12 months ahead of the onset of a recession.

>Nine out of the last 10 recessions have occurred with a Republican in the White House
>The current economic expansion has lasted 123 months. That’s 65 months (2.1x) longer than the average expansion (58.4 months) going back to 1945.
>Of the 10 recessions since 1950,the average time between the low point in the unemployment rate and the start of a recession was 3.8 Months.
> Of the 10 recessions since 1950, the average time between the low point in the unemployment rate and the start of a recession was just 3.8 months.
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Bear Market Perspective

Officially, we are not in a bear market until the S&P 500 declines 20% (2,352).  That would translate into DJIA 21,560 – “ouch” !
That’s the minimum drop for a bear, but the last two bears crushed the S&P 500 by 57% (2007-2009) and 50% (2000-2002).  
Currently, my bear market target
would be declines to:
DJIA: 18,500 (-31.4%)
S&P 500 :  2,150 (-27.0%)
Nasdaq Comp.:5,200 (-36.1%)
But, depending on what new negatives hit the market when it gets down there, the bear market could reach much, much  lower levels.
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BULLISH CASE
      The case for the bulls has been weakening. The stellar earnings increases in 2018 in excess of 20%  will be followed by increases less than one-third  as great .
FactSet has been lowering its projections for 2019 in recent weeks.
It is possible the Fed has backpedaled from a policy of tightening credit through increases in its fed funds rate.  But another rate increase in December keeps the squeeze on, and  a projected two rate hikes in 2019 instead of four is clearly no help for an economy that is showing signs of serious weakening.
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BEARISH CASE
RISING INTEREST RATES:
>The Fed may be retreating from its policy of increasing its benchmark interest rate (federal funds), though more information is needed. It has raised rates eight times since December 2015. That policy has led to an ugly slump in the housing industry.  It raised its benchmark federal funds rate in December to 2.25-2.50m percent and plans two more hikes in 2019.
>Year/year existing home sales down 8 straight months. New home sales  fell 8.9% in October.  Single family starts fell  for third straight month to an 18-month low.
>The yield curve is flattening as short-term treasuries rise faster than long-tern governments just another warning sign of impending recession.
OVERVALUED MARKET:
> 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.
> If companies were buying back their own stock at a record clip, pushing stocks higher, why then are insiders selling $8 of stock for every $1 of stock they buy ?
.> Companies 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.
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Earnings growth myth:  The Street is counting on earnings growth to reduce the overvaluation of equities.   Look again.
A 20% increase in S&P 500 earnings this year will  be tough to beat next year.  The quarter versus year ago in 2019 will make poor reading going up against the 2018 earnings .  So far, the Street is not factoring in the likelihood of a recession, which could mean negative growth.
> The S&P 500 price to sales ratio at 1.92 is 19% higher than in 2007 before the devastating bear market, and is even higher than in March 2000 before the dot-com bubble burst leading to a bear market. Both bear markets dropped 50%.
> The Shiller P/E is 27.5  times earnings versus a mean of 16.6.  Shiller’s P/E is based on  inflation adjusted earnings over 10 years.
> The Total Market Capitalization to GDP  stands at 147.3%, anything above 115% is  considered “overvalued.”
> Thompson Reuters reports the S&P 500 sells at 17.1 times earnings and 16.8 times a year from now. All this versus a 10-year average of 14.3.
AGING BULL MARKET:
> The bull market is now  nine years and six months old (117 months).  That’s 3.5 times the average of the last 15 bull markets.
AGING ECONOMIC EXPANSION:
> Republicans – the recession party. Nine of last 10 recession have been with a Republican in the White House.  Odds favor Trump will make 10 for 11.
> The current economic expansion has lasted 115 months. That’s 53 months (1.9 x) longer than the average expansion going back to 1945.  Nine out of the last 10 recessions have occurred with a Republican in the White House.
> GDP expected to slow in 2019 to 2.7%, CAPEX to 5% from 7%.
> Of the 10 recessions since 1950, the average time between the low point in the unemployment rate and the start of a recession was just 3.8 months.
> Housing stocks have been in a prolonged slump since January.

>Year/year existing home sales down 8 straight months. New home sales  fell 8.9% in October.  Single family starts fell  for third straight month to an 18-month low.   The 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate is projected to hit 5.3% in 2019.
The iShares  home construction ETF has dropped 30.5%, as interest rates rise. Not only is it  major employer, its health affects other industries, especially furniture and appliances.
> Household debt increased for the 16th straight quarter to 13.3 trillion, that’s 19%  above the post-financial-crisis low.
> Jamie Dimon, CEO J.P. Morgan Chase,  thinks the benchmark  10-yearTreasury note , now 2.95%, should be 5%. The rate impacts lending for autos, mortgages and businesses.
> Personal loans have soared   18% to  a record 120 billion, Personal savings as percent of disposable income at 3%, down from 9% in 2012.
> Low interest rates have encouraged US companies to go on a debt binge, amassing  $6.3 trillion. With rates on the increase, refinancing will get more costly, according to S&P analyst, Andrew Chang, who points out that this amounts to $8 for every $1 in cash.
> Recently, 1,100 economists Warned that  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.
TRUMP’S TRADE WAR TANTRUM
> Trump’s tariff tiff costing  US companies a bundle:  The damage extends to manufacturers, input suppliers, fishermen, and numerous businesses who are finding it more difficult to sell abroad.
> 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.
>  Trump is considering leaving World Trade Organization (WTO).
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IMPLODING:
So far, the stock market has not wavered in face of the increasing likelihood, Trump and many present and former associates are in legal trouble.
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POLITICAL/STOCK MARKET
FORECAST !  Nikki Haley will challenge Trump in 2020 “if” he is even around.
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7,546 !!!  That’s the number of false and misleading claims made by Trump so far while in office.  Geeeeez !
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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,  4,200 lies since his inauguration on January 20 ?. 
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Why do Republicans deny someone else affordable healthcare ?
How sick is that ?  What is their problem ?  Want it all for themselves ?
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More Problems for Trump
It just keeps getting worse. Yesterday a U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C circuit ruled in favor of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s action to subpoena an unnamed foreign entity for something that happened abroad, but directly affects the United States.
The Trump Foundation was forced to dissolve in face of a lawsuit accusing it of  “willful self-dealing” in an abuse of power  resulting in a “shocking pattern of illegality” that also includes Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is closing in on Trump, et al, and  this is going to get ugly, real ugly.
The daily disclosure of wrongdoing by this administration will weigh heavily on the market at a time the economy is going in the tank and the stock market  on
the verge of a bear market. ……………………………………………………….
Butina cuts plea deal – bad news for NRA and Republicans:
Alleged Russian spy, Maria Butina,  has just cut a plea deal to cooperate with federal prosecutors (not Mueller), which is bad news for Certain Republicans who accepted Russian money through the NRA, which bankrolled Trump’s campaign to the tune of $30 million, as well as other Republicans. …………………………………………………………
PENCE is TOAST, as well  ?  Trump had planned to replace Chief of Staff, John Kelly, with V.P. Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff, Nick Ayers, but suddenly Ayers backed out of both, citing the need to spend more time with family.
hmmmmm.
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COWARDS ? Now is the time for the Republican-controlled Senate to do the American thing and protect the Special Counsel from  President Trump’s effort to undermine it.  This is no longer politics in general, this is about whether or not we are a nation of laws.
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Rogue wave…. or monstrous blue wave ?
Real Americans are rising up to save our republic, and all the quality of life things worked and died for over the years.   After 2020, the right wing Republicans will be irrelevant, forced to climb back under the rock from which they emerged.
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What is wrong with us ?  These Central American peoples of all ages are willing to trek thousands of miles to attempt to enter America  – SHAME on our President, the selfish Republican party.  By their admirable efforts, they are demonstrating the kind of resolve we want in our workforce.
Christian ?
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Trump has proposed a  5 percent budget cut for each Cabinet agency yesterday.
Wait just a minute !
Didn’t Congress pass a $1.3trillion catchall spending bill earlier in the year after passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December, which gave corporations a 40% tax cut, and was skewed heavily in favor of big earners with the rest of the country getting a cut around 1%.
According to the Treasury Dept. the federal deficit for FY Sept. 30 was $779 billion, up 17% from a year ago primarily due to the shortfall in revenues from corporations as a result of their huge tax cuts.
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Bath Iron Works (Maine) Gets $3.9 billion Navy Award 7 days before Sen. Collin’s “Yes” Vote for Kavanaugh
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Breaking: Concern that right wingers are set to rewrite the United States Constitution via an Article V Convention, or Amendments Convention, called by two-thirds of the state legislatures (34).  A three-quarter vote is required for an amendment to become part of the Constitution.   Reportedly, right wingers want to convert our system of government to a confederation of “supreme” states, essentially minimizing the present amount of federal control.
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Trump in hot water on tax evasion and the legitimacy of his inheritance ?
We’ll see !!
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As if Trump did not have enough problems, here comes Allen Weisselberg, long-time CFO of the Trump Organization and now a recipient of “immunity” from  the Attorney General of New York.
This is especially significant, notes PalmerReports.com, since he is testifying about state level charges in addition to federal charges, which cannot be nullified by a Trump pardon.
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NO ATTORNEY CLIENT PRIVILEGE: Palmerreport.com reminds readers that Trump has NO attorney-Client privilege with Ty Cobb who he hired on July 14, 2017 to help with the Russia scandal. To save personal funds, Trump put Cobb on the White House payroll, so Cobb is free to disclose any information Special Counsel Mueller wants him to.
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HEADS UP !   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.
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DAMN  IT !   I miss decency.
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Orwellian: George Orwell’s 1984 wretched society was controlled by denial of the truth,  the dissemination of  misinformation, propaganda, and surveillance, i.e., Big Brother is watching.    “Just remember what you are seeing  and what you are reading is not what’s happening.” Trump  told the VFW July 24
“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears…” George Orwell’s  dystopian novel – “1984”  published in 1949.
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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
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 outcome in North Carolina Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
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.
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Wake up out there. These aren’t conservative 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.  This is  a bloodless coup.
If  they can lock up control of both Houses, the Presidency, Supreme Court and strategic lower court appointments, and a major news media broadcaster, survival of our republic will depend on whose side the military and police forces take.
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Sinclair Broadcast Group  (BEWARE !)
Sinclair Broadcast Group is using its clout as owner of  193 television stations in 80 markets 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.  A July 16, 2018 FCC decision denied Sinclair’s acquisition of the Tribune Broadcast Group, which would have expanded its reach into New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago markets
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Treason is defined by Article 3, section 3: Treason, as 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.
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TRUMP’S BASE:  Some voted for Trump because they always vote Republican. 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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July 19, 2018: Republicans refuse to renew election security funding over Russian hacking – Democrats livid, as all of us should be.
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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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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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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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President Donald Trump is NOT pro-business, he’s pro-Trump.
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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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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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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.  I think Trump has been played like a harp.
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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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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 tie 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.
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George 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.  …………………………………….
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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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 – Neal Kaytel, J.Corsi, Edward Burke, 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 Nancy Pelosi 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

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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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