Monday, 1 May 2017

America First, Payment Second.

Baltic Dry Index. 1109 -25    Brent Crude 51.91

LIR Gold Target in 2019: $30,000.  Revised due to QE programs.

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

President Trump, with apologies to Lewis Carroll and Alice.

With the EUSSR, of which Great Britain still remains a reluctant part, off celebrating May Day, the communist worker’s holiday, time to take a look at the USA after the erratic President Trump’s first 100 days. President Trump is "essentially a 70-year old kid in a candy store who wants one of everything: More for defense, veterans, border walls, law enforcement, infrastructure and 'phenomenal' tax cuts, too—without the inconvenience of paying for any of it," says David Stockman.

David Stockman: Trump's tax plan is 'dead on arrival' and Wall St. is 'delusional' for believing it

David Stockman has a stern message for investors: They're living in a fantasy land about Trump.

In a recent interview on CNBC's "Futures Now," the former director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan said that "Wall Street is totally misreading Washington," and President Trump's promises of tax reform will be "dead before arrival."

The president is "essentially a 70-year old kid in a candy store who wants one of everything: More for defense, veterans, border walls, law enforcement, infrastructure and 'phenomenal' tax cuts, too—without the inconvenience of paying for any of it," said Stockman.

Of the proposed tax bill announced this week, he said, "It's a wonderful fantasy…but there's no way to pay for the $7.5 trillion cost of the main features."

'Total calamity'

The White House announced a one-page tax reform plan on Wednesday, and some of the points Stockman highlighted include: Three tax brackets, double standard deduction and the reduction of corporate and non-corporate business taxes down to 15 percent.

In a research note this week, Goldman Sachs pegged the cost of the tax plan to just under $5 trillion, when factoring in key changes such as repealing of the state and local tax, and a 35 percent top marginal rate instead of 33 percent. Goldman analysts expect the tax bill is "fairly likely" to become law, but warned progress could be slow.

"I like [the tax plan] but you have to pay for it either with a new tax like the border adjustment tax, which is dead, or spending cuts which Trump has ruled off the table," Stockman explained. "What you have down there is a total fiscal calamity that is going to basically dominate Washington."

Stockman expects a "constant fiscal crisis and stalemate" in D.C., which will ultimately delay the "good stuff," like a tax cut, from ever happening.

Of Trump's first 100 days in office, Stockman again referred to the White House as a "pop up store giving out candy before the 100th day to say they've accomplished something." Adding, "this isn't a serious plan, it can't be done. And I think it's only indicative of the huge trouble that's brewing down there in the beltway."

In other US news this past weekend, President Trump took three days to reverse his position on South Korea paying for the cost of deploying the latest anti-missile defence system. And while apparently wooing President Xi to get China’s help in getting a diplomatic solution to the problem of North Korea, accused China, not Russia, of hacking the Democratic Party last year, even though there’s no evidence of any hacking, though strong suspicions of an internal leak.

Sun Apr 30, 2017 | 9:46pm EDT

South Korea says U.S. reaffirms it will pay THAAD costs; Trump calls Asia allies

South Korea said the United States had reaffirmed it would shoulder the cost of deploying the THAAD anti-missile system, days after President Donald Trump said Seoul should pay for the $1 billion battery designed to defend against North Korea.

In a telephone call on Sunday, Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, reassured his South Korean counterpart, Kim Kwan-jin, that the U.S. alliance with South Korea was its top priority in the Asia-Pacific region, the South's presidential office said.

The conversation followed another North Korean missile test-launch on Saturday which Washington and Seoul said was unsuccessful, but which drew widespread international condemnation.

Trump, asked about his message to North Korea after the latest missile test, told reporters: "You'll soon find out," but did not elaborate on what the U.S. response would be.

Trump stepped up his outreach to allies in Asia over the weekend to discuss the North Korean nuclear threat and make sure all are "on the same page" if action is needed, a top White House official said.

The president spoke on Sunday to Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who heads a military government that took power in a 2014 coup, and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and invited both of them to Washington. He talked on Saturday night with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who was also invited for talks. The White House defended the Duterte call, saying his cooperation was needed to counter North Korea, even as the administration faced criticism for its overture to Manila. Duterte has been accused by human rights groups of supporting an anti-drug campaign of extrajudicial killings, which his government denies.

----Trump's comments in an interview with Reuters on Thursday that he wanted Seoul to pay for the THAAD deployment perplexed South Koreans and raised questions about his commitment to the two countries' alliance.

South Korean officials responded that the cost was for Washington to bear, under the bilateral agreement.

Sun Apr 30, 2017 | 2:31pm EDT

Trump says China could have hacked Democratic emails

President Donald Trump said China may have hacked the emails of Democratic officials to meddle with the 2016 presidential election, countering the view of U.S. intelligence officials who have said Moscow orchestrated the hacks.

In an interview transcript published on Sunday, Trump gave no evidence backing his allegation, first made on the eve of the Nov. 8 presidential election, that China could have hacked the emails of his rivals.

"If you don't catch a hacker, okay, in the act, it's very hard to say who did the hacking," the president said in an interview with CBS "Face the Nation." "(It) could have been China, could have been a lot of different groups."

The hackers roiled the presidential campaign by making public embarrassing emails sent by Democratic operatives and aides to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. One email showed party leaders favoring Clinton over her rival in the campaign for the party's internal nomination contest.

Trump has been dismissive of the statements by intelligence officials that Moscow hacked the emails to help Trump win the election. During the Sept 26 presidential debate with Clinton, Trump said China was one of many actors that could have been behind the hack, including "somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds."

U.S. Looks at Sanctions, Military Action to Counter North Korea

by Nafeesa Syeed and Ben Brody
30 April 2017, 18:05 GMT+1
The U.S. is considering a range of options, from expanded economic sanctions to military operations, as it reaches out to allies in confronting North Korea’s latest provocations, according to a senior Trump administration official. 

North Korea’s ballistic missile test early Saturday was in “open defiance” of the international community, and the risk to the U.S. will not be tolerated, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Sunday.

“We do have to do something” with partners in the region and globally “that involves enforcement of the UN sanctions that are in place,” McMaster said on the “Fox News Sunday” program. “It may mean ratcheting up those sanctions even further. And it also means being prepared for military operations, if necessary.”

----McMaster said Trump has been “masterful” in courting China, which accounts for the vast majority of trade with Pyongyang.

 “We do see China starting to do something,” including in public statements and the Chinese press, he said. “But it is clear more needs to be done, and we’re going to ask China to do more as we do more as our South Korean and Japanese allies -- but really all nations -- have to take a look at this regime.”

Trump, in an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS’s “Face The Nation,” called the latest launch “a small missile” while declining to say whether he’d take military action if Kim conducts a nuclear test.

President Trump, having talked himself into a corner over North Korea, now seems to be begging China’s President Xi to bail him out without starting a war.

“First, however, he waited for a few minutes to see if he was going to shrink any further: he felt a little nervous about this; ‘for it might end, you know,’ said the Donald to himself; ‘in my going out altogether, like a candle. I wonder what I should be like then?’”

With apologies to Lewis Carroll and Alice.

At the Comex silver depositories Friday final figures were: Registered 32.53 Moz, Eligible 164.03 Moz, Total 196.56 Moz.

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, the usual suspects, the dithering US Congress. So who blinked?
“Off with their heads!”
President Trump, with apologies to Lewis Carroll and Alice.
 Sun Apr 30, 2017 | 11:29pm EDT

U.S. congressional talks yield deal to fund government through September: source

U.S. congressional negotiators have hammered out a bipartisan agreement on a spending package to keep the federal government funded through the end of the current fiscal year on Sept. 30, a senior congressional aide said on Sunday.

The House of Representatives and Senate must approve the deal before the end of Friday and send it to President Donald Trump for his signature to avoid the first government shutdown since 2013.

On Friday, congressional sources familiar with the negotiations said the deal could include an increase in defense spending for this year totaling around $15 billion. But details of the defense portion of the agreement that was struck over the weekend were not immediately available.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the agreement would increase funding for Puerto Rico's Medicaid healthcare program for the poor, which is facing shortfalls later this year. She did not specify how much more money Puerto Rico would get, however.

Pelosi added that the massive spending bill will also increase funding for several Democratic priorities, including the National Institutes of Health by $2 billion this year. The measure would deliver permanent health benefits for coal miners and their families who faced losing their insurance next month.

During the negotiations, Democrats pushed to protect funding for women's healthcare provider Planned Parenthood, but details were not yet available.

The House is likely to vote first on the package, probably early in the week and send the measure to the Senate for approval before Friday's midnight deadline when existing funds expire.

Republicans who control Congress and opposition Democrats have been in intensive negotiations for weeks over the legislation that would provide around $1 trillion in Washington money for an array of federal programs, from airport and border security operations to soldiers' pay, medical research, foreign aid and domestic education programs.

If this deal passes Congress and the president signs it into law, as expected, it would mark the first significant bipartisan legislation passing Congress this year and since Trump took office on Jan. 20.

Congress averted a U.S. government shutdown last Friday by voting for a stop-gap spending bill that gave lawmakers another week to work out federal spending over the final five months of the fiscal year.

Even with the new progress, lawmakers are running far behind schedule, as legislation funding government operations in fiscal year 2017 were supposed to have been completed by last Oct. 1.

Stocks Advance, Yen Erases Gains on Congress Deal: Markets Wrap

by Adam Haigh and Min Jeong Lee
30 April 2017, 23:18 GMT+1
Asian stocks climbed with U.S. futures, bonds retreated and the yen erased gains as U.S. Congress negotiators reached a tentative deal to avert a shutdown of government this week.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose, after capping a fourth straight month of gains on Friday. Japanese shares advanced after its best week of the year. The yen weakened for the fifth day out of six, while Treasuries retreated with gold. Oil climbed from its lowest level in a month.

----“It’s a good thing a tentative deal was reached without too much trouble,” says Naoki Fujiwara, chief fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “It seems that we’re able to put behind some of the things that the market’s recently been worried about. But U.S. economic data on jobs and the GDP is reason for caution.”

Trading volumes may be lower than average due to the Labor Day or May Day holiday in many countries, including China, India, Russia, U.K., Hong Kong, Germany, Singapore and Mexico. Later on this week Japan will be closed for a three-day holiday.

China data from the weekend showed a decline in manufacturing and services sectors. That followed weaker-than-expected U.S. growth in the first quarter, casting doubts on the strength of the global expansion after optimism on the economy and earnings pushed stocks to records last month.

Investors will be watching comments from a policy meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee this week and the monthly U.S. employment report on Friday, with the second round of the French presidential election on May 7.
“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
With apologies.
Technology Update.
With events happening fast in the development of solar power and graphene, I’ve added this section. Updates as they get reported. Is converting sunlight to usable cheap AC or DC energy mankind’s future from the 21st century onwards? DC? A quantum computer next?
Today something a little different for our American and Canadian readers.

Firing Order Swaps: What’s Best For Your Engine?

Posted on Apr 25, 2017 By Mike Magda
A firing order swap is one of those modifications that has become popular based on the potential of an often-corroborated performance upgrade; however, its true value to the engine builder may be obscured by those power promises.

“The main reason people like the 4-7 swap or the 4-7/2-3 is really about cooling and torsion of the crankshaft,” explains Billy Godbold of Comp Cams. “Other issues involving air and fuel distribution can be addressed with manifold design or in the fuel system. If you hear someone say, ‘I picked up 30 horsepower,’ then they just had the air-fuel all wrong.”

The topic of firing-order swap is rather narrow in the high-performance and racing industry. It’s usually limited to 90-degree V8 engines, both gas and diesel. You rarely hear Nissan GT-R or Buick Grand National owners asking engine builders if there’s a better firing order for their V6 engines. And if they did ask, the answer is likely to be “no.” Same for straight-6s, straight-8s and I4s.

Just what is a firing order swap?

First, we know that a conventional V8 engine is designed to generate a power stroke every 90 degrees of crankshaft rotation. Remember, it’s a 4-stroke engine, so, a full cycle of eight firings requires two complete crankshaft rotations, or 720 degrees (8 x 90 = 720).
Most V8 engines have a cross-plane crankshaft, which phases the connecting rod pins at 90-degree intervals. This compares to a flat-plane crankshaft where the pins are phased at 180 degrees. The flat-plane crankshaft style will be discussed later since they’re used only in high-end racing and exotic production vehicles.
Based on an engine configuration of a 90-degree V8 block spinning a cross-plane crankshaft, there are only eight possible firing-order combinations. Actually, there are 16 because GM and Chrysler engines are left-bank forward and the automakers number their cylinders differently than Ford, which is right-bank forward. With a little math and comparison mapping, we can find the common ground for the eight firing orders (see chart below) available to the manufacturers.
Four of these possible combinations are generally thought to be ineffective in performance applications, as they fire four cylinders in various sequence orders on one bank before the four cylinders on the opposing bank are fired. Such a bank-to-bank combustion cycles would create considerable engine shake and therefore is rarely used by engine builders. That doesn’t mean they haven’t been tried. Godbold knows of former a Pro Stock Truck racer and a NASCAR team experimenting with such an order–most likely 1-8-4-2-6-5-7-3. And a Top Fuel team once asked Godbold for a bank-to-bank camshaft, but he was understandably hesitant to turn a 25-foot-long digger into a 10,000-horsepower, 300-mph vibrator.
“Think of all the downforce the exhaust produces on a Top Fuel engine,” reminds Godbold. “Four massive pulses from one side, then four from the other. I knew the driver and I wasn’t going to see him get killed.”

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished April

DJIA: 20,941 +149 Up. NASDAQ:  6,048 +190 Up. SP500: 2,384 +152 Up.

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