Monday Reads: America Held Hostage Day 53
Posted: March 13, 2017 Filed under: Congress, corporate greed, corporatism, corruption | Tags: Linkalicious
Well, things are not looking up at all. We continue to have Pressers based on questions from Right Wing Conspiratorial Web sites. Our allies continue to question our rationality and priorities as a nation. Millions of people face the very real possibility they may not have their healthcare, retirement funds, or any kind of service or help from their government in the near future.
One of the things that I’ve been very worried about is the continual disconnect between the performance of the equities market and what’s going on in the bond markets. This is usual a symptom of what we call “animal spirits” and often a sign that a crash is imminent on Wall Street.
Bond investors and those concentrated in Equities have very different priorities. Bonds are usually safe and liquid assets while Equities are risky. Their prices can be volatile. Here’s something I read about a week ago as a lead up to something I read this morning.
Are stocks and U.S. Treasurys sending mixed signals? Treasury prices have rebounded since Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration in January, pushing down yields, as stocks continue to ascend record heights. That’s in contrast with the bond market rout that followed the November election.
Why is a simultaneous rally a problem? Some investors see it as a sign that investors are losing faith in the so-called Trump trade, in which investors bet on aggressive fiscal stimulus and other growth-friendly measures from the new administration.
Much of the boom in equities has been due to speculation that deregulation and expansive fiscal policy favorable to private businesses may fuel business profits. None of this has come to fruition yet so it’s basically speculative. The economy is healthy and growing strong at the moment but is it enough to support the increased levels seen in the stock markets? Is it real and sustainable?
Historical patterns suggest that it’s not and we may be looking at a future crash which would not bode well for any one who is or soon to be reliant on 401ks. This is when I’m happy about my small but very stable pension coming in monthly. I’ve lived through way too many bubbles now and seen my 401k bounce around like a jumping bean. My Uncle was one of the pioneer gnomes of the chartist movement after Black Friday. I loved to see his huge charts that frequently blanketed the tables of his Kansas City mansion. It could be why I ended up doing something similar.
It’s already been a big year for the Dow industrials, which have stretched a near-decade-long bull market to historic heights.
But if the technical stars collide, as one chartist predicts, the blue-chip gauge could soon plunge by more than 6,000 points to 14,800. That’s nearly 30% lower, based on Friday’s close.
Sandy Jadeja, chief market strategist at Master Trading Strategies, claims several predicted stock market crashes to his name — all of them called days, or even weeks, in advance. (He told CNBC viewers, for example, that the August 2015 “Flash Crash” was coming 18 days before it hit.) He’s also made prescient calls on gold and crude oil.
And he’s extremely concerned about what this year could bring for investors. “The timeline is rapidly approaching” for the next potential Dow meltdown, said Jadeja, who shares his techniques via workshops and seminars. Timelines are at the heart of his predictions, which he bases on repeating cycles in the market that are connected to specific times.
“People need to look for three things,” Jadeja told MarketWatch in a late-January interview and follow-up conversations. “Price, pattern, and … time. You can get the price pattern wrong, but if you get in at the right time, the other two don’t matter.”
He sees 2017 as littered with pitfalls for the Dow DJIA, -0.18% . Below is his so-called “timelines” chart of the stock index, defined by green horizontal lines. He’s currently on the lookout for the benchmark to approach that upper green line, which represents a range of 21,800 to 22,000.
For me, it starts with a small alarm in my gut that says what are these people smoking? Where are they seeing all this good news? The Trumpcare fiasco alone should be sending signals that say things are not looking up. Removing the ACA and replacing it with any thing close to what the Republicans are offering is going to severely disturb the healthcare markets as well as the labor markets. Purchases by Households are still the primary driver of any US economy. They represent nearly 70% of all spending.
Trump has made it clear that his budget will eliminate a significant part of the Federal workforce. This is a really really recessionary move. The states of Kansas and Louisiana have done this and its created significant economic distress in both places. Plus, it’s created a distinct lack of service and action in crucial public services. For example, the state of Louisiana cannot train as many doctors and provide as many residents to hospitals. That’s not good at all.
President Trump’s budget proposal this week would shake the federal government to its core if enacted, culling back numerous programs and expediting a historic contraction of the federal workforce.
This would be the first time the government has executed cuts of this magnitude — and all at once — since the drawdown following World War II, economists and budget analysts said.
The spending budget Trump is set to release Thursday will offer the clearest snapshot of his vision for the size and role of government. Aides say that the president sees a new Washington emerging from the budget process, one that prioritizes the military and homeland security while slashing many other areas, including housing, foreign assistance, environmental programs, public broadcasting and research. Simply put, government would be smaller and less involved in regulating life in America, with private companies and states playing a much bigger role.
Meanwhile, the Trump Family Syndicate continues to score. The Trump Economy appears to be wonderful for the Trumps. The Kushners are getting a windfall from the Chinese that is a deal that’s more than just a little suspicious.
A company owned by the family of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, stands to receive more than $400 million from a prominent Chinese company that is investing in the Kushners’ marquee Manhattan office tower at 666 Fifth Ave.
The planned $4-billion transaction includes terms that some real estate experts consider unusually favorable for the Kushners. It provides them with both a sizable cash payout from Anbang Insurance Group for a property that has struggled financially and an equity stake in a new partnership.
The details of the agreement, which is being circulated to attract additional investors, were shared with Bloomberg. It would make business partners of Kushner Cos. and Anbang, whose murky links to the Chinese power structure have raised national security concerns over its U.S. investments. In the process, an existing mortgage owed by the Kushners will be slashed to about a fifth of its current amount.
The document offers a rare look at a major deal by a close Trump associate and family member. It’s unclear whether the deal could prompt federal review, as occurred when Anbang bought other properties, like the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan. Anbang could also face review by the Chinese government, which has been clamping down on overseas investments and which has a range of pending issues with the Trump administration.
Check out how the controversial EB-5 VISA program works its way into the numbers. I’m still appalled at the idea that Camp David sits idle while Kremlin Caligula profits from using his private resort as a cash cow dressed up as a mini-White House.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, exposed Donald Trump’s claims about his so-called “Winter White House” today, pointing out that Mar-a-Lago is not a winter white house but a private for-profit business, with all the ethical and security problems that entails …
As Schiff says, Mar-a-Lago is “one ethical quagmire” out of many in the Trump empire. He is right when he points out that Trump is a “walking, talking violation of the Emoluments Clause” and has been since Day 1 of his administration.
There is no question that Trump’s business interests will not always align with American interests or with National Security needs (and forget for a moment the security risk his holding court in public places poses).
Donald Trump has shown Americans and the world that he cannot be trusted to place what’s best for America above his own interests. This is a basic problem of corporations, which see not the public good but their bottom line as what matters.
Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey has just asked the ethics office to look into T-Rump’s foreign business deals for conflicts of interest.
Democratic Sen. Bob Casey asked a government ethics office Monday to assess whether President Donald Trump’s business dealings make his administration vulnerable to conflicts of interest.
“President Trump has exposed his administration to possible conflicts of interest on an unprecedented scale,” the Pennsylvania lawmaker says in a letter to the Office of Government Ethics.
Casey asked whether any of Trump’s foreign business deals could violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits U.S. officeholders from accepting gifts from foreign countries.The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Walter Shaub, the director of the ethics office, strongly criticized Trump earlier this year for not divesting from his businesses. Shaub said Trump was breaking decades of tradition by presidents who set up blind trusts for their assets.
There’s currently a call to investigate the possibilities that that the Trump Family Thug Syndicate has been laundering Russian Thug money through Deustche Bank. Calls have been made by Democrats to the DOJ to investigate the Bank itself. Congresswoman Maxine Waters is leading the charge on this.
Senior Democrats on Capitol Hill are calling for a congressional investigation into the justice department’s handling of an ongoing inquiry into Deutsche Bank
, saying that Donald Trump had conflicts of interest with the German bank, his biggest creditor.
Maxine Waters, the top Democrat on the House financial services committee, urged her Republican colleagues to launch their own investigation into the nature of Deutsche Bank’s money-laundering scheme, who participated in the arrangement and whether it involved any other violations of US law beyond the failure to maintain anti-money laundering controls.
Deutsche Bank has already been ordered to pay more than $800m (£660m) in fines in the US and UK for failing to stop the improper and corrupt transfer of more than $10bn out of Russia. It is also being investigated by the justice department (DoJ).
The Guardian reported last month
that the German bank undertook a close examination of the president’s personal bank account and those held by his family, in order to ascertain whether they had any suspicious links to Russia. None were found.
According to an analysis by Bloomberg
, Trump now owes Deutsche about $300m. He has four large mortgages, all issued by Deutsche’s private bank.
Waters said in a letter to Jeb Hensarling, the chairman of the House financial services committee, that she was concerned “about the integrity of this criminal probe” given Trump’s “conflicts of interest” and the “suspicious ties” between Trump’s inner circle and the Russian government.
The Atlantic has printed a ‘crib sheet’ of all the Trump conflicts of interest. The list is huge. The demand for forensic accountants is also going to be huge.
When it comes to President Donald Trump’s constellation of foreign investments, properties, and companies, much of the attention so far has been on his business’s apparent violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which bars officeholders from taking gifts from foreign leaders. According to numerous ethics experts, the clause takes an expansive definition of gifts, encompassing everything from a direct bribe to a foreign official’s approval of construction of a new Trump property. But some of the Trump Organization’s properties raise additional red flags due to the specific partners involved. That’s true in Indonesia, for example, where Trump’s affiliates have been involved in bribery scandals and radical Islamic nationalist parties, and Brazil, where the company pulled out of a branding agreement amid a criminal investigation of a local business partner.
Such is the case in Azerbaijan, which Transparency International ranks as among the most corrupt countries in the world, where the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Baku remains unopened. Though the long-stalled development has generated a steady drip of news and rumors for years, an overview by Adam Davidson in The New Yorker, entitled “Donald Trump’s Worst Deal,” puts into perspective just how convoluted the situation is, and just how much the project has led Trump and his company into a partnership with numerous corrupt officials in the Middle East. The details suggest that, on top of the continual underlying breach of the Emoluments Clause, the Trump Organization’s involvement may also violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, which forbids American companies from participating, even unknowingly, in bribery schemes in other countries, with a penalty of up to $2 million and up to five years in jail.
When all of this finally begins to unravel in a manner befitting of such a serious level of scandal, it can’t help but take our economy with it. How much damage can Trump, Ryan et al inflict on us and at what point will ‘enough’ actually be ‘ENOUGH!!!!’? Take these examples.
The price of drinks at his new hotel in Washington DC has reportedly increased significantly since it opened last September. His sons, Donald Jr and Eric Trump, have opened new hotels in Dubai and Vancouver since their father’s Inauguration, and told The New York Times that the Trump brand is “the hottest it’s ever been”. The initiation fee to join the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, named the “Winter White House”, where the President has spent several weekends, has recently soared.
The President’s motivation for choosing the six countries to include in his newly-reworded travel ban – Iran, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Somalia – will more likely be featured in lawsuits which challenge the constitutionality of the executive order than in the lawsuit from Mr Eisen and Mr Painter.
Asked how much the travel ban was motivated by racism and business interests, Mr Eisen replied: “I believe the predominant motivations for the ban are illegitimate, but I’m unable to isolate the different strains of the unsavoury virus that produced this legal inflammation.”
The original travel ban, signed in late January, was struck down by a federal judge in Washington state for being unconstitutional. Mr Trump’s emergency appeal was denied. The ban was re-written, taking Iraq off the list and scrapping the indefinite suspension of Syrian refugees. Green card and visa holders were no longer affected.
Several states have already indicated they will sue, joining Washington state’s original effort.
Mr Painter told Business Insider that the six countries still on the list are “quite poor and have no dealings with the Trump Organisation”.