04/21/17

Bill de Blasio Is Right

By: Kent Engelke | Capitol Securities

Did NYC’s mayor Bill de Blasio just make the Democratic Party case for lower taxes? The mayor is pushing to raise the price of cigarettes from $10.50 to $13.00 in an attempt to drastically reduce the number of smokers by 2020. The “progressive” mayor stated higher prices will cause lower demand, thus saving lives.

I do not know if the 25% increase will be treated as a tax—something in itself… it is very regressive given the preponderance of smokers earn less than $48,000 a year and can least afford an increase — but his rationalization is correct based upon Econ 101.

Higher prices/taxes dictate less demand.

Based upon almost every sentiment survey, President Trump is The Hope and Change President. Can this sentiment be transformed into increased economic activity?

I believe it depends upon tax and regulatory change. Perhaps the most progressive American mayor, the mayor of the nation’s largest city, inadvertently just made a strong case for lower taxes—tax something more, there is less demand and vice versa.

Will tax reform occur? The Establishment is against this type of change. Society is for it. Much emphasis has been placed upon the first 100 days of any administration, a vestige of FDR’s “first one hundred days” eighty-five years ago. Today, nothing occurs in 100 days, except major market transitions, the result of technology based trading where momentum is the primary variable. In my view, rarely is there any type of macroeconomic thesis followed.

The explosion of the ETF industry is incredible over the past decade. According to Credit Suisse, in 2006 there were 16 iShares funds globally that had more than $1 billion in assets and traded an average of more than $100 million day. Ten years later, 77 funds meet those criteria. Seven of the 10 most actively traded securities in the US last year were ETFs.

Wow!

Yesterday, stocks staged an advance predicated by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin comments that a tax reform proposal will be made shortly. The comments had a large impact on the small capitalized issues. The Russell 2000 was precariously on support near the lows of the year. This small cap index is now bumping against the downtrend line off of the early March highs.

Last week I had referenced a Bloomberg article stating that short futures contracts on the Russell 2000 had grown the most since 2008.

I ask how much of the change is the result of algorithmic trading? What happens if ETFs enter the fray, the result of tax and regulatory reform that would greatly benefit Main Street America?

Based upon yesterday’s market action, Bill de Blasio is right. The more you tax an item, the less demand there is for that item. And vice versa.

Last night the foreign markets were up. London was up 0.10%, Paris was down 0.12% and Frankfurt was up 0.4`5. China was up 0.03%, Japan was up 1.03% and Hang Sang was down 0.06%.

The Dow should open flat ahead of Sunday’s vote in France. Earnings are continuing to paint a mixed picture on the health of the economy. The 10-year is unchanged at 2.24%.

03/27/17

WAS THE HEALTHCARE VOTE A LOT TO DO ABOUT NOTHING?

By: Kent Engelke | Capitol Securities

The outcome on the healthcare bill is known. Broad based conclusions have been drawn about the ability to legislate the Trump agenda. I may differ from consensus, but I think the markets will not be held hostage to this bill. Tax reform will quickly move to become center stage.

In my view, there is little doubt about the Republican enthusiasm for deregulation and tax reform, the center piece of Trump’s agenda and this is what should drive the markets.

Radical thought? Why have the markets not sold substantially off in the face of potential defeat?

The first quarter is rapidly coming to an end. Will the markets begin to focus upon results? As noted many times, the ultimate driver of equity and bond prices are interest rates and earnings, both of which are influenced by macroeconomic and geopolitical events.

This week’s economic calendar is comprised of preliminary estimates of first quarter GDP, trade gap, several confidence surveys and personal income/spending data.

Last night the foreign markets were down. London was down 0.66%, Paris was down 0.26% and Frankfurt was down 0.71%. China was down 0.08%, Japan was down 1.44% and Hang Sang was down 0.68%.

The Dow should open lower on concerns that Trump’s pro-growth agenda is in jeopardy given the healthcare defeat. Will US equities rebound after the market’s opening as was the case with European shares? The 10-year is up 11/32 to yield 3.26%.

03/22/17

CAN ANY CONCLUSIONS BE MADE FROM YESTERDAY’S DECLINE, THE GREATEST SINCE OCTOBER 11?

By: Kent Engelke | Capitol Securities

Equities, led by the financials and technologies, fell by the greatest amount since October 11th over concerns that the Trump agenda may become stalled. House Republicans warned failure to a pass a healthcare bill could imperil tax and spending reforms.

Such delays and politicking should be expected, especially with an agenda as radical as Trump’s that wants to greatly reduce the size of the administrative state.

Most would agree the markets are over extended and profit taking should be expected at any juncture. The question at hand is will this profit taking morph into something of more significance?

I am concerned that the 10-year Treasury yields considerably more than the S & P 500 dividend yield. I am also concerned about the intense concentration of funds in a handful of names, the result of ETFs. I am also fearful about technology/algorithmic based trading that can cause great short term volatility.

However, consumer and business sentiment has not waned, monetary velocity is accelerating and outside of a handful of widely owned names, valuations are reasonable.

For a myriad of reasons I believe growth will surprise on the upside, partially the result of an increase in monetary velocity and rising home values. This will in turn support Main Street over Wall Street with the smaller capitalized names outperforming the mega capitalized growth issues, a nomenclature in itself is oxymoronic.

Because of the above backdrop, I think monetary policy will evolve into a more hawkish stance, the first such evolution in over 10 years.

All of the above should support the vast majority of names not mentioned a gazillion times a day in the financial media. Will this view materialize? Unfortunately, only history can answer this question.

What will happen today?

Last night the foreign markets were down. London was down 0.82%, Paris was down 0.43% and Frankfurt was down 0.47%. China was down 0.50%, Japan was down 2.13% and Hang Sang was down 1.11%.

The Dow should open nominally lower as questions are arising as to whether or not President Trump can enact his pro-growth policies. As stated above, such uncertainty should be expected given his plans to gut the proverbial administrative state, a gutting that has a high probability of being met with great bureaucratic resistance. The 10-year is up 3/32 to yield 2.41%.

02/28/17

THE PRESIDENT PROPOSED SOMETHNG RADICAL YESTERDAY…WHAT ABOUT TODAY

By: Kent Engelke | Capitol Securities

Will the President disappoint? Equities advanced on the premise of tax reform, the details that may be released today. As noted many times, the averages have been buoyed by great expectations of a Trump presidency that lowers regulations, simplifies the tax code, increases infrastructure spending and reduces the size of government.

Commenting on the above, increased infrastructure spending has bipartisan support. What about reducing the size of government?

Yesterday, the President announced his dictum that government agencies reduce their budget, but not in the Washington sense. For most organizations a 10% reduction in spending is a 10% reduction in spending. In Washington a 10% spending cut is historically a 10% reduction in the rate of growth. In other words, it is largely ceremonial.

The President’s spending cut is radical for Washington. He has proposed an actual reduction in spending, not a reduction in the the rate of a spending increase.

How will the bureaucracy respond? Probably disdainfully.

As stated above, many are expecting Trump today to announce his tax reform plans.

I have commented many times that globalism is on death’s bed. Yesterday it received another direct hit as Scotland stated it will vote to leave the United Kingdom. A similar referendum failed in September 2014. I will argue if this plebiscite is passed and if Le Penn is victorious in France, both of which is a distinct possibility, globalism has died a traumatic and swift death. Wow! Talk about the unexpected occurring.

If this does occur, the investing landscape has radically changed where yesterday’s rules no longer apply. Economic nationalism will dictate sovereign’s policies.

This implosion of an economic order coupled with perhaps the ending of a 30-year bull market for sovereign debt has and will continue to create uncertainty. How will such uncertainty be manifested in the markets?

Historically negatively, but again expect the unexpected where growth may exceed forecasts.

There is little to write about on yesterday’s market activity. Equities were flat, treasuries fell, the dollar erased losses as the odds of an interest rate next month rose past 50% and oil advanced to the highest level since July 2015.

Last night the foreign markets were mixed. London was up 0.03%, Paris down 0.05% and Frankfurt down 0.19%. China was up 0.40%, Japan was up 0.06% and Hang Sang was down 0.77%.

The Dow should open quietly lower. The 10-year is unchanged at a 2.36% yield.

02/27/17

WILL THE PRESIDENT PUT FORWARD HIS TAX PLAN IN TOMORROW’S ADDRESS?

By: Kent Engelke | Capitol Securities

President Trump addresses a joint session of Congress tomorrow. It has been about 3 weeks since the President stated that there will be “massive tax reform,” the precursor for the recent advance. Will Trump put forward his tax proposals?

As stated many times, the averages have advanced believing the President will be able to pass his legislative agenda, a tall order given the utter rancor in Washington. Business and consumer confidence has also surged because of Trump’s pledge to roll back taxes and regulations.

To write the obvious, the current advance may be the epitome of “buy on rumor and sell on fact” or “averages priced to perfection” for as stated last week, the rally since Trump was elected is the greatest since LBJ’s election. Wow! This is in the face of an Administration that is in total chaos according to The Establishment.

Speaking of confidence, the University of Michigan Confidence Survey dropped from January’s level which was the highest since 2004. February’s level still exceeded the consensus view and is regarded as “very optimistic,” an environment I think is incredible given the utter rancor in the media, politics and in society overall. As inferred, confidence levels are still higher than they were before the election.

There is little I can write about Friday. Markets are vastly overbought, perhaps searching for a catalyst for some much needed profit taking.

What will happen this week?

Last night, the foreign markets were mixed. London was up 0.12%, Paris down 0.06% and Frankfurt up 0.16%t. China was down 0.54%, Japan down 0.91% and Hang Sang down 0.17%.

The Dow should open flat ahead of tomorrow’s speech by the President. The 10-year is off 4/32 to yield 2.32%.

10/28/16

John Podesta’s New Global Order

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

podesta

In one of her secret speeches, Hillary Clinton said, “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders…” Before this comment was revealed, Adam Taylor of The Washington Post tried to assure everyone that the idea of a North American Union, like the meddlesome and bureaucratic European Union, was dead. Such talk, he said, emanated from “fringe websites” and “conspiracy theorists.”

The Hillary speech was made to a Brazilian bank known as Itaú BBA, which describes itself as “Latin America’s largest Corporate & Investment Bank” and part of the Itaú Unibanco group, “one of the world’s largest financial conglomerates.”

The problem for Taylor and other faux journalists is that there is a whole body of research on the topic of a “North American Law Project,” designed to integrate the legal systems of the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The project is run out of American University’s Center for North American Studies, where students can concentrate in North American Studies. As a matter of fact, such degrees are being offered by several different colleges and universities, including Canada’s McGill University.

Passed in 1993, NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, began the process of harmonizing laws among the U.S., Canada and Mexico. But the Council on Foreign Relations admits that the U.S.-Mexico trade balance swung from a $1.7 billion U.S. surplus in 1993 to a $54 billion deficit by 2014. This has led to a loss of about 600,000 jobs.

In addition to shipping jobs to Mexico, NAFTA constituted subversion of our constitutional system. President Clinton submitted NAFTA as an agreement, requiring only a majority of votes in both Houses of Congress for passage, and not a treaty, which would have required a two-thirds vote in favor in the Senate. NAFTA passed by votes of 234-200 in the House and 61-38 in the Senate.

A money crash soon followed in 1995 as Mexico was hit by a peso crisis, and a U.S. bailout was arranged. Congress would not bail out Mexico, so Clinton arranged for loans and guarantees to Mexico totaling almost $40 billion through the International Monetary Fund and the “Exchange Stabilization Fund.”

Meanwhile, pressure has been building for the creation of a “North American Community”—also known as a “North American Union”—with regular meetings involving the leaders of the three countries. On June 29, 2016, the Obama White House issued a fact sheet on this year’s “North American Leaders’ Summit.” It said, “The economies of the United States, Canada, and Mexico are deeply integrated. Canada and Mexico are our second and third largest trading partners. Our trade with them exceeds $1.2 trillion dollars annually.”

The leaders of these countries agreed to establish a “North American Caucus” to “more effectively work in concert on regional and global issues by holding semi-annual coordination meetings among our foreign ministries.” One item on the agenda was for the leaders to reaffirm “North America’s strong support for [Colombian] President Santos’s efforts to finalize a peace accord with the FARC guerrillas.” That fell apart on October 2 when a “peace deal” with the communist terrorists was voted down by the people of Colombia.

But notice how these leaders claim to speak for “North America.”

Going global, they also declared, “North America is committed to joint and coordinated actions to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.”

This is U.N.-speak for global taxes and other forms of foreign aid from the U.S. to the rest of the world.

We noted in a column last year that the American people, through their elected representatives, have had absolutely no input in developing the new global agenda that President Obama has tried to implement without the input or approval of Congress.

Interestingly, one of those deeply involved in this global agenda, as we noted at the time, was John Podesta, the chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign who previously served as counselor to Obama. Podesta’s emails are at the center of the WikiLeaks disclosures about the operations of the Clinton campaign, the Clinton Foundation and the Democratic Party.

Podesta, founder of the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress and a member of the elitist Trilateral Commission, went to work for Obama as a senior policy consultant on climate change. A liberal Catholic, he has been a professor at Georgetown Law School. One of the leaked emails shows Podesta saying that he applauds the work of Pope Francis on climate change and that “all my Jesuit friends say the Pope is the real deal.”

Podesta was picked by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to be a member of the “high-level panel” of “eminent persons” planning the future of the globe. This so-called “High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda” released an 81-page report titled, “A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development.”

“In simplest terms,” explains Patrick Wood, author of Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation, “Sustainable Development is a replacement economic system for capitalism and free enterprise. It is a system based on resource allocation and usage rather than on supply and demand and free economic market forces.”

In this context, Wood argues that the major significance of the transfer of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is not the immediate need by the U.N. or some countries to censor websites, but to generate revenue for global purposes. ICANN will do this, he argues, through management of the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), the links between the Internet and networks, electronic devices and embedded technology with IP addresses. “IoT are the connections between inanimate objects and the humans that depend upon them,” he notes. To accomplish this, ICANN has devised a new IP numbering system called IPV6, described as the “vital expansion” of the Internet.

“In terms of ‘follow the money,’ IoT is expected to generate upwards of $3 trillion by 2025 and is growing at a rate of at least 30 percent per year,” Wood argues. “In other words, it is a huge market and money is flying everywhere. If the UN can figure out a way to tax this market, and they will, it will provide a windfall of income and perhaps enough to make it self-perpetuating.”

He adds, “Congress never understood this when they passively let Obama fail to renew our contract with ICANN. However, Obama and his globalist handlers understood it perfectly well, which makes the deception and treachery of it even worse.”

Under the cover of “sustainable development,” Wood predicts the Internet will be used to construct a massive database on human activities, in order to monitor and control nations’ and peoples’ access to resources. It will constitute ultimate socialist control and a form of “digital slavery,” from which he warns there may be no return.


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at cliff.kincaid@aim.org. View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

10/6/16

Media Judgment Corrupted by Desire to Defeat Trump

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

media

The mainstream media are delighted to saturate the news cycle with a story that potentially injures Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, with many news organizations making a big deal about Trump’s 1995 tax returns which could have, they argue, allowed Trump to skip paying his fair share of taxes for 18 years. Some reporters argue that this is the sort of story that will turn the average worker, who pays his share of taxes, against the elitist Trump.

“The fact that Trump, a self-proclaimed billionaire, could have paid nothing in taxes for nearly 20 years, should offend the many working-class folks he counts among his supporters: After all, they’re paying their taxes and struggling to get by while he’s raked in fortunes and quite likely paid nothing,” writes Adam Chodorow for Slate Magazine.

Of course, how much Trump actually paid in taxes over the last two decades will remain a mystery unless he releases his tax returns in full—or someone else releases them in part—as just happened. But that hasn’t kept the mainstream media from speculating.

“If Trump were truly smart—and wanted to lead by example—he would have disclosed his tax returns, showed the loopholes he used, and vowed to close them,” argues Allan Sloan for The Washington Post.

The American Thinker website has an excellent piece putting this tax issue into perspective. The article, titled, “What Hillary, Kaine, and the New York Times do not understand about taxes,” argues that “It is clear from the attacks on Trump about his deduction of legitimate losses that the media, Hillary, and Tim Kaine, need a lesson on the difference between proper, sensible, necessary loss deductions and tax loopholes.”

The New York Times, which broke the story, calls the issue of the tax returns a “central issue in the campaign.” But it turns out that the Times took advantage of the tax laws too, and turned one year, 2014—in which they made a pre-tax profit of $29.9 million—into a year in which they paid no income taxes, and even got a $3.5 million tax refund. The point is, the Times is being hypocritical for attacking Trump. Most everyone, and especially every company, pays as little in taxes as they are legally required to. If this issue receives heightened scrutiny, it is because a biased and corrupt news media prefer Trump controversies to ones that might weaken Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.

Consider, for example, the current tensions between Russia and the United States. Under Secretary of State Clinton there was supposed to be a reset of relations between America and Russia. The reset failed, miserably. Now ABC News is reporting that the Obama administration has “suspended direct contacts with Russia on halting the war in Syria.” Going forward, Secretary of State John Kerry has agreed to multilateral talks on this issue, but refuses bilateral ones, according to ABC News. Kerry revealed a rift in the Obama administration when he was caught on tape last week saying that he had pushed for the use of military force to back up his diplomatic efforts in Syria, but that he had lost that argument.

“In exchange for saving [Bashar] Assad’s neck and enabling Iran and Hezbollah to control Syria, Russia has received the capacity to successfully challenge U.S. power,” writes Caroline Glick for The Jerusalem Post. A recent agreement between the Syrian government and Russia, she writes, “permits—indeed invites—Russia to set up a permanent air base in Khmeimim [Syria], outside the civilian airport in Latakia.”

“Russian politicians, media and security experts have boasted” this base will be able to challenge both the U.S. Navy and NATO, Glick writes.

President Obama’s foreign policy incompetence and appeasement has once again weakened American power abroad. The media should be asking whether Mrs. Clinton would as president be able to improve relations with Russia given her former failures.

The Syrian government is currently bombarding Aleppo to get rid of rebel forces. Glick argues for The Jerusalem Post that Bashar Assad’s goal is to “defeat the rebel forces by destroying the sheltering civilian populations.” Nancy Youssef reports for The Daily Beast that the assault in Aleppo by Assad and his ally Russia will leave only the terrorists standing. Part of the problem today is figuring out who are the so-called moderate rebels, in a complex battlefield that includes civilians, ISIS, al Qaeda and other supposedly more “moderate” opposition groups. If we don’t know who to bomb, why are we bombing there, with our make-believe coalition of 62 countries that was organized to degrade and defeat ISIS?

Compared to the nearly half-million deaths, and millions suffering, displaced, or who have fled from Syria because of this conflict, focusing on Trump’s tax returns seems like trivial nonsense. The morass in Syria is part of President Obama’s legacy of ineptitude, or worse, appeasing Iran to achieve a phony nuclear deal. Yet Mrs. Clinton promises her legacy would be one of regime change. The UK Telegraph reported this July that the “first key task” of a Hillary Clinton presidency would be to work toward regime change in Syria.

Americans have heard this line before—most notably on Libya, where Clinton played a key role in ousting Muammar Qaddafi. Libya, without Qaddafi, is now a conflict ridden, haven state for terrorists.

This demonstrates how the media are dwelling on tax returns, and a line about PTSD taken out of context, to defeat Trump while the disastrous Obama and Clinton legacies foster danger and insecurity abroad. The media should be asking key questions of Mrs. Clinton, including about her support for the disastrous, unsigned Iran deal. Not only did the Obama administration pay Iran $1.7 billion in cash as a ransom payment for four American prisoners that Iran was holding, but recent reporting has revealed that the Obama administration supported the UN lifting sanctions on the regime’s Bank Sepah and Bank Sepah International on January 17.

“Lifting the sanctions on Sepah was part of the package,” an unnamed senior U.S. official told The Wall Street Journal. “The timing of all this isn’t coincidental. Everything was linked to some degree.”

“The secret agreement to lift sanctions against the Iranian banks also violated U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, passed in July 2015 which endorsed the JCPOA,” writes Fred Fleitz of the Center for Security Policy. “This resolution stipulated that U.N. missile-related sanctions against Iran would remain in place for eight years. In addition, lifting sanctions against the two banks broke promises to Congress by Obama officials that the nuclear deal would only lift nuclear-related sanctions against Iran and that U.N. missile sanctions would remain in place for eight years.” This story got virtually no coverage on any of the weekend news shows.

Despite concession after concession made by the U.S. to please Iran, this totalitarian regime has “has conducted up to 10 ballistic missile tests since the forging of the nuclear agreement,” reports the Journal.

We have reported time and again that, despite media reporting to the contrary, the Iran deal remains an unsigned agreement based only on political commitments. It seems that the only thing that became a signed document were these side deals with Iran.

“As secretary of state, Clinton helped facilitate the talks that eventually led to the nuclear deal, dispatching a top adviser to participate in the secret meetings with Iran through the sultan of Oman that started the international negotiations,” reported CBS News. Where, now, is the reporting on how disastrous this deal has been and Mrs. Clinton’s role in forging it?

If the mainstream media consider only domestic scandals worthy of coverage, then recent revelations about the FBI’s shoddy investigation of Hillary Clinton should make front page news. Fox News reports that the FBI agreed to destroy Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills’ and Clinton aide Heather Samuelson’s laptops after searching them for evidence. “Judiciary Committee aides told FoxNews.com that the destruction of the laptops is particularly troubling as it means that the computers could not be used as evidence in future legal proceedings, should new information or circumstances arise,” reports Fox News.

That the mainstream media are not covering these many pressing stories in detail, and instead limit themselves to observations about a candidate’s tax returns, makes a mockery of investigative journalism. Journalists also have a duty to cover stories that reflect poorly on the Obama/Clinton agenda. But they view that as self-defeating, since their mission is to defeat and destroy Trump, not prioritize and report the biggest news stories of the day.


Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at roger.aronoff@aim.org. View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.

07/27/16

Trump’s Deep Involvement With Russian Oligarchs: Follow The Money

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
Hat Tip: Trevor Loudon / Renee Nal

For some time now, I have been pointing out the connections between Donald Trump and Russia. Long before it was popular with the Left by the way. He has literally populated his campaign with those who are deeply involved with Russia’s dealings and intentions. See my piece here on the Russian Connection. But that is not the only thing I suspect that is connecting Donald Trump to Vladimir Putin. As George Will points out below, his tax returns almost assuredly show a deep connection to financial dealings with Russia.

Vladimir Putin

From RealClearPolitics:

BRET BAIER: Both the campaign chair and anybody you talk to, including Senator Murphy would not go down that road once pressed on the connection between Russia and the Trump campaign. But they have thrown it out there. George?

GEORGE WILL: Well, it’s the sort of thing we might learn if we saw the candidates’ tax returns. Perhaps one more reason why we’re not seeing his tax returns because he is deeply involved in dealing with Russia oligarchs and others. Whether that’s good, bad or indifferent it’s probably the reasonable surmise.

Right now, Hillary Clinton is playing up Trump’s connections to Russia. But people in glass houses should not throw Vodka. Clinton is also deeply tied to Vladimir Putin through her uranium dealings and since WikiLeaks has hacked her emails, he surely has a ton of material to blackmail her with should he choose to do so. And if she becomes president, trust me, Putin will. The Kremlin is not denying the email hack by the way. The Russians are expert wordsmiths and very accomplished liars.

Just because Democrats are now using that as a weapon doesn’t also mean it isn’t true. Follow the money. During a time when the casino and hotel industries are struggling, Trump claims to be making money. But does anyone know really where that money is coming from? The Russian and Chinese mobs are big in those industries and it is a good bet that money from those entities is involved somehow, some way.

When you have the likes of Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and RT claiming Russia has nothing to do with the email leaks or pushing Trump as president, my BS monitor goes off big time. You can pretty much count on the opposite being true.

Josh Marshall, at Talking Points Meme, laid it out in succinct terms:

…At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties. There is also something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of evidence suggesting Putin-backed financial support for Trump or a non-tacit alliance between the two men.

2. Post-bankruptcy Trump has been highly reliant on money from Russia, most of which has over the years become increasingly concentrated among oligarchs and sub-garchs close to Vladimir Putin. Here’s a good overview from The Washington Post, with one morsel for illustration …

Since the 1980s, Trump and his family members have made numerous trips to Moscow in search of business opportunities, and they have relied on Russian investors to buy their properties around the world.
“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Trump’s son, Donald Jr., told a real estate conference in 2008, according to an account posted on the website of eTurboNews, a trade publication. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

Read both articles: After his bankruptcy and business failures roughly a decade ago Trump has had an increasingly difficult time finding sources of capital for new investments. As I noted above, Trump has been blackballed by all major US banks with the exception of Deutschebank, which is of course a foreign bank with a major US presence. He has steadied and rebuilt his financial empire with a heavy reliance on capital from Russia. At a minimum the Trump organization is receiving lots of investment capital from people close to Vladimir Putin.

Trump’s tax returns would likely clarify the depth of his connections to and dependence on Russian capital aligned with Putin. And in case you’re keeping score at home: no, that’s not reassuring.

4. Then there’s Paul Manafort, Trump’s nominal ‘campaign chair’ who now functions as campaign manager and top advisor. Manafort spent most of the last decade as top campaign and communications advisor for Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian Ukrainian Prime Minister and then President whose ouster in 2014 led to the on-going crisis and proxy war in Ukraine. Yanukovych was and remains a close Putin ally. Manafort is running Trump’s campaign.

5. Trump’s foreign policy advisor on Russia and Europe is Carter Page, a man whose entire professional career has revolved around investments in Russia and who has deep and continuing financial and employment ties to Gazprom. If you’re not familiar with Gazprom, imagine if most or all of the US energy industry were rolled up into a single company and it were personally controlled by the US President who used it as a source of revenue and patronage. That is Gazprom’s role in the Russian political and economic system. It is no exaggeration to say that you cannot be involved with Gazprom at the very high level which Page has been without being wholly in alignment with Putin’s policies. Those ties also allow Putin to put Page out of business at any time.

6. Over the course of the last year, Putin has aligned all Russian state controlled media behind Trump.

7. Here’s where it gets more interesting. This is one of a handful of developments that tipped me from seeing all this as just a part of Trump’s larger shadiness to something more specific and ominous about the relationship between Putin and Trump. … The Trump Camp was totally indifferent to the platform. So party activists were able to write one of the most conservative platforms in history. Not with Trump’s backing but because he simply didn’t care. With one big exception: Trump’s team mobilized the nominee’s traditional mix of cajoling and strong-arming on one point: changing the party platform on assistance to Ukraine against Russian military operations in eastern Ukraine. (editor’s note: see my post on this for more details) For what it’s worth (and it’s not worth much) I am quite skeptical of most Republicans call for aggressively arming Ukraine to resist Russian aggression. But the single-mindedness of this focus on this one issue – in the context of total indifference to everything else in the platform – speaks volumes.

This does not mean Trump is controlled by or in the pay of Russia or Putin. It can just as easily be explained by having many of his top advisors having spent years working in Putin’s orbit and being aligned with his thinking and agenda. But it is certainly no coincidence. …

Add to this that his most conspicuous foreign policy statements track not only with Putin’s positions but those in which Putin is most intensely interested. Aside from Ukraine, Trump’s suggestion that the US and thus NATO might not come to the defense of NATO member states in the Baltics in the case of a Russian invasion is a case in point.

To put this all into perspective, if Vladimir Putin were simply the CEO of a major American corporation and there was this much money flowing in Trump’s direction, combined with this much solicitousness of Putin’s policy agenda, it would set off alarm bells galore. That is not hyperbole or exaggeration. And yet Putin is not the CEO of an American corporation. He’s the autocrat who rules a foreign state, with an increasingly hostile posture towards the United States and a substantial stockpile of nuclear weapons. The stakes involved in finding out ‘what’s going on’ as Trump might put it are quite a bit higher.

That’s funny, because you have Trump’s son saying one thing and Trump saying another. Here it is again: Trump’s son, Donald Jr., told a real estate conference in 2008, according to an account posted on the website of eTurboNews, a trade publication. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” And yet, yesterday, Trump came out and denied ANY investments in Russia. Sounds like word games to me and exceedingly dishonest and downright alarming.

Trump2

All of this makes you wonder whether Trump is owned by the Kremlin, or merely rented as a useful idiot. Only a fool would believe that as much Russian cash as has flowed through Trump’s accounts wouldn’t have a marker that would be called in at some point. That day is almost here I fear.

From the beginning I have said that Trump has no morals or ethics, therefore he would have no qualms about striking lucrative deals with the likes of oligarchs and dictators. Ask yourself why Trump won’t release his tax returns. If you are honest with yourself, you will come to the conclusion that either he’s not worth what he claims to be worth and/or he has dealings with people he would rather not expose. Having been involved in and connected to the gaming industry for decades, I will tell you that I find it highly credible that Trump has mob connections in the industry and I’m betting on the Russian mob here. I’m not the only one who suspects it either. Both Romney and Cruz have brought up the same issue.

In the end, whether Clinton or Trump wins, it is a win for Russia and a brutal loss for America. If Russia is seeking to cause chaos and collapse within the US, they must see this election as an opportunity undreamed of. Both sides are selling America out to the highest bidder and our bill is about to come due.

06/6/16

Hillary Clinton vs. the Second Amendment

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
Hat Tip: The New Americana

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton just outright refused to say during an interview yesterday that owning a gun was a constitutionally protected right. I’m not surprised in the least, but she is certainly getting more and more brazen about it.

George Stephanopoulos asked her point blank concerning the issue: “Do you believe that an individual’s right to bear arms is a constitutional right, that it’s not linked to service in a militia?” She gave a very weaselly answer: “I think that for most of our history, there was a nuanced reading of the Second Amendment until the decision by the late Justice [Antonin] Scalia, and there was no argument until then that localities and states and the federal government had a right, as we do with every amendment, to impose reasonable regulations,” Clinton responded. That is a flat out lie. The federal government does not have a right period in regards to constitutional amendments to impose regulations. That has never been true. The rights are granted to the people, not the government. Not only did she sidestep the question, she gave an even worse answer here. She is basing an outrageous answer on the fact that the federal government has gotten away with overreach forever and since they have, she feels that it is now the ‘right’ of the government to keep doing so. No… it is not. The government is granted certain powers that the people giveth and the people can taketh from them.

She added, “So I believe we can have common-sense gun safety measures consistent with the Second Amendment.” Not the way she means it and not mandated by the government. Common sense measures are those such as: don’t point the gun at things you don’t mean to shoot; keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot; be absolutely sure of your target and what’s behind it… and then there is Rule #1… all guns are always loaded.

Clinton’s lapdog Stephanopoulos wasn’t done though: “But that’s not what I asked,” Stephanopoulos interjected. “I said, do you believe that their conclusion that an individual’s right to bear arms is a constitutional right?” She didn’t answer once again, but notice the use of ‘if’: “If it is a constitutional right, then it, like every other constitutional right, is subject to reasonable regulations, and what people have done with that decision is to take it as far as they possibly can and reject what has been our history from the very beginning of the republic, where some of the earliest laws that were passed were about firearms.” It is a constitutional right and it is not automatically subject to regulations. It does not say that in the Constitution. The Constitution restrains the government, it does not give them carte blanche to control our rights. Per the Constitution, the government is supposed to keep its damned hands to itself. Constitutionalists interpret the Second Amendment the way it was written and intended… not redefined to fit the agendas of politicians and the federal government. That’s called tyranny.

Clinton

Hillary Clinton did suggest that gun owners do have a right, but then she claimed “the rest of the American public has a right to require certain kinds of regulatory, responsible actions to protect everyone else.” Again, no… they do not. There is no constitutional provision that says that. Clinton simply wants to do away with the Second Amendment altogether, or at the very least, redefine it progressively, so she can disarm America. It’s just that simple.

The Second Amendment states: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Hillary’s deflections aside, she chooses not to interpret the meaning of this amendment in the spirit it was meant because it does not fit her political views.

Here’s the full exchange between Clinton and Stephanopoulos:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s talk about the Second Amendment. As you know, Donald Trump has also been out on the stump talking about the Second Amendment and saying you want to abolish the Second Amendment. I know you reject that. But I want to ask you a specific question: Do you believe that an individual’s right to bear arms is a constitutional right – that it’s not linked to service in a militia?

CLINTON: I think that for most of our history there was a nuanced reading of the Second Amendment until the decision by the late Justice (Antonin) Scalia. And there was no argument until then that localities and states and the federal government had a right – as we do with every amendment – to impose reasonable regulations. So I believe we can have common-sense gun safety measures consistent with the Second Amendment. And, in fact, what I have proposed is supported by 90 percent of the American people and more than 75 percent of responsible gun owners. So that is exactly what I think is constitutionally permissible and, once again, you have Donald Trump just making outright fabrications, accusing me of something that is absolutely untrue. But I’m going to continue to speak out for comprehensive background checks; closing the gun show loophole; closing the online loophole; closing the so-called Charleston loophole; reversing the bill that Sen. (Bernie) Sanders voted for and I voted against, giving immunity from liability to gun makers and sellers. I think all of that can and should be done, and it is, in my view, consistent with the Constitution.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, and the Heller decision also says there can be some restrictions. But that’s not what I asked. I said, do you believe their conclusion that the right to bear arms is a constitutional right?

CLINTON: If it is a constitutional right, then it – like every other constitutional right – is subject to reasonable regulations. And what people have done with that decision is to take it as far as they possible can and reject what has been our history from the very beginning of the republic, where some of the earliest laws that were passed were about firearms. So I think it’s important to recognize that reasonable people can say, as I do, responsible gun owners have a right. I have no objection to that. But the rest of the American public has a right to require certain kinds of regulatory, responsible actions to protect everyone else.

Clinton also defended the idea of a gun tax, but stopped short of endorsing a proposal she first embraced in 1993. Stephanopoulos pressed her on the issue and she demure yet again: “I’m not going to commit to any specific proposal,” she deferred. “That was in the context of health care. When you have mass shootings, you not only have the terrible deaths, you have people who are injured.” Clinton claims the issue came up during a weekend meeting with survivors of the December 2015 terrorist massacre in San Bernardino, CA. “What they talked to me about was, where do they get the financial support to deal with both the physical and the emotional trauma?” she said. “There are real costs that people incur because of the terrible gun violence epidemic. And we have to deal with it. And I’m going to be looking for ways to deal with it.” “I’m not committed to anything other than what I’ve said in this campaign,” she added, “but I do want people to ask themselves, can’t we do better than to have 33,000 people killed every year by guns and many thousands more injured? And I think we can.” Translation… yes, she is all for a gun tax. A massive and crippling one – 25% to be specific.

Via Twitchy:

Hillary’s stance on guns has never changed. She has always been against them.

From Americans for Tax Reform:

In passionate Senate testimony on Sept. 30, 1993, Clinton endorsed a new national 25 percent retail sales tax on guns. Americans for Tax Reform has released footage of Clinton’s visceral facial expressions which shows her nodding fiercely as she endorses the gun tax and as gun owners and dealers are described as “purveyors of violence.”

Clinton’s gun tax endorsement came in response to a question from then-Senator Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), who lamented the “accessibility that guns have in the country today.” He said to Hillary:

There are 276,000 gun dealers in America. There are more gun dealers in America than there are gas stations. That, to me, is a remarkable number and I think it is directly related to the accessibility that guns have in the country today. And if we simply put a 25 percent sales tax on the sale of a gun and raise the dealer’s fees from $30-$75 to $2,500, we would raise $600 million. That would be a tax directly on the purveyors of violence in terms of the sales of the means of violence.

Clinton gave her strong endorsement of the tax, saying, “I am all for that.” She concluded by saying, “I am speaking personally, but I feel very strongly about that.”

Hillary Clinton is one of the most anti-constitutional politicians that has ever disgraced America. Her own words and actions prove it. You should probably listen to more of what she doesn’t say, than what she does say and pay attention to how she nuances her answers. Words matter… the Constitution matters more. The Founding Fathers would have despised Hillary Clinton and would have considered her an enemy of the Republic.