Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Daily Donald 6/15/2017

Based on Special Prosecutor Mueller's testimony, Donald Trump is now under investigation for obstruction of justice. This is the same charge that ended the Nixon presidency. The Special Prosecutor is investigating money laundering by Trump's companies. The logic at work here seems to be that the cover of a licit financial relationship was pulled over a gold seam.

Per reports of former DHS secy Jeh Johnson, several attempts by RIS to modify voter records in US states prior to the 2016 election were detected and contained. As the electoral infrastructure was not deemed as "nationally critical", the DHS remains unsure if other attempts succeeded. This opens the discussion on whether RIS hacked voter totals to make Donald Trump win.

Donald Trump seems to be questioning the loyalty of those closest to him. This is a sign that he knows he is in big trouble. That is why all the people around him led by the Chief of Staff Reinhold Priebus offered a very public oath of fealty. This is reminiscent of dictatorial regimes where the likelihood of a palace coup is very high. It is even more interesting to note that while DCIA Pompeo offered his loyalties effusively, the SecDef was silent. That is a rift that will come to matter a lot more in the days ahead.

All this is doing very little for Trump's overall job approval numbers. These have dipped to hitherto unseen lows - exceeding anything any other president has ever seen in the time such numbers were available. As the TrumpRussia investigation progresses, these numbers will get worse. It appears Donald Trump threatened Prosecutor Mueller with dismissal and the complicit GOP political machine attempted to target Prosecutor Mueller's integrity. This apparently was part of a strategy by Trump to intimidate Mueller into a publicly exoneration. This strategy has failed and as the testimony of the intelligence chiefs and the Special Prosecutor indicates Trump is now in the hot seat.  At this point the options have narrowed fast for Trump. If he does not move against Mueller, he will lose face.

The GOP for its part seems to be learning some hard lessons.

  1. The entire saga of the Sessions' testimony cast the GOP in a very bad light. It seemed that they had nominated an aging mentally incompetent man  or a criminal collaborator as AG. 
  2. The pressure on the ACA repeal is so intense that even Trump has tried to distance himself from it by making vague statements about how "mean" the bill is. The GOP has tried to hide the bill from all scrutiny, but if Donald Trump vetoes it just to boost his failing job approval ratings - that will be a very bad own goal for the GOP. 
  3.  Trump friendly candidates in various primaries and special elections are facing a poor response among GOP voters. Trump is having the opposite effect of 2016 - he is driving voters away from GOP ranks. 
  4. Yesterday GOP Whip in the house and several staffers were shot and injured by an irate Bernie Sanders supporter. 
I wonder how long it will be before the GOP attempts to hang Trump out to dry and save itself. The manner in which the Senate has passed a set of RU specific sanctions is a sign that there is no stomach in the GOP controlled Senate to go through with Trump's Russia agendas. 

On the issues of yesterday's tragic and terrible events at the baseball field in Virginia, I feel bad for the police officers who were injured. I am glad that there were no fatalities in the police. As the GOP goes however, while it is sad that GOP guys were hurt, I can't help wondering what the GOP was thinking when it relaxed gun control laws and repealed Obamacare. To the GOP people this should be treated as a teachable moment. 

If you take away a sick person's healthcare you are more/less sentencing them to a painful death.Now if you make it easy for them to get guns - they will simply get a gun and shoot you. What do they have to lose? - they are going to die anyway - you made certain of that. 

These kinds of flaws in GOP thinking have been pointed out before, for example what happens when an "Open Carry" advocate meets a "Stand Your Ground" advocate in a place full of random people? Does everyone die in the crossfire? 

But the GOP has a talent for shutting off its brain when it comes to simple logic. They don't want to address that obvious inconsistencies in their platform. They seem convinced that there is a sufficiently stupid base in the country that can be distracted with an appeal to an emotionally charged issue when logical flaws are pointed out. 

The GOP needs to use yesterday's experience to re-evaluate the net effect of its stance on Obamacare repeal and relaxed gun control. You can't have both and still remain alive. The vast numbers of terminally ill poor will hunt down GOP persons, their families and friends and shoot them. Even if the GOP hires private guards like that idiot in Montana wants to do, the Guards can't catch bullets. Somewhere a bullet will get through and even if it doesn't kill the person - it is will leave them crippled for life. 

In other news - the Fed has hiked its rates and it appears to be getting ready to release a fraction of its bonds. I am not sure how the market will react to this. A particular scenario that bothers me is that a rise in the cost of borrowing happening at the exact same time as the price of bonds drops will drive people away from the stock market and into the bond market.  If the Fed get the $4.5 Tn bonds off its books, then people that would have bought stocks would sell the stocks to buy these bonds.  Investors would continue to shift out of stocks until the net gain of selling stocks and buying bonds diminishes to the transaction cost levels.  

I also do not understand why the balance sheet normalization announcement cannot be in the FOMC minutes. To leave that to a press conference comment is a bit odd.

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