Wednesday, 17 May 2017

USA - Blood In The Water.

Baltic Dry Index. 980 -14     Brent Crude 51.26

When the President does it, that means that it's not illegal.

Richard M. Nixon

We open today with the “deep state” war against Trump taking its toll against American economic interests. A house divided cannot stand, and America is a house divided, like no other time since its civil war. Things are about to get uglier yet. Stay long fully paid up physical gold and silver. The American War Party, the Clintonistas, and the Democrats all smell blood in the water and are circling for the kill. But Trump and the “deplorables” are not through yet. This fight will go on and get vicious. Did the Democrats murder one of their own last year? The phony war over, the real war is just starting. Don’t expect a good outcome. Nero and the Senators fiddle, while Rome burns.

I have not yet begun to fight!

John Paul Jones.

Asian markets mostly down as dollar continues to fall

Published: May 16, 2017 11:37 p.m. ET
A falling U.S. dollar pressured stocks in Japan and cast broader concern over equity markets in the region, as turmoil in Washington continued to raise doubts about the Trump administration’s ability to make progress on policy.

The WSJ Dollar Index has fallen for five straight sessions, putting it at its lowest level since November. It fell a further 0.1% in Asian trading Wednesday.

The revelation that President Donald Trump shared sensitive intelligence obtained from a close ally with Russian officials at the White House last week has proved to be a major distraction for his legislative agenda, which includes plans to overhaul the health-care system and tax code. In addition, Trump faces questions about why he fired James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

With that as a backdrop, the Japanese yen USDJPY, -0.52%   has been the biggest mover of the past 24 hours, rising a full yen against the dollar after pulling back for much of May.

With the dollar back down around ¥112.45 and Treasury yields falling, the Nikkei NIK, -0.55%   fell 0.4%. Life insurers, who are large investors in bonds, need higher yields to help cover claims. Life insurance stocks often fall when yields drop.

Dai-ichi Life 8750, -3.72%   was down nearly 4% Wednesday, while T&D Holdings 8795, -3.04%   was 2.5% lower.

“U.S. dollar weakness has been a key feature of the market landscape over the past 24 hours,” noted Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

Here's What the Latest Trump-Comey News Is Doing to Markets

by Eric Lam
Financial markets are stirring after the extended lull of the past few weeks, with deepening political tensions in Washington triggering a bout of risk aversion.

The latest developments in the saga of President Donald Trump and ousted FBI Director James Comey is weighing on a number of assets. S&P 500 Index futures flagged early concerns among investors, which were reinforced by declines in Asian equities. And the dollar has all but erased its Trump-trade rally as expectations for policy stimulus fade.

Volatility gauges are starting to tick higher, with uncertainty over how the latest developments will play out sending investors to gold.

U.S. stocks could be in for a weak Wednesday if index futures are any guide, with S&P 500 e-mini futures down 0.6 percent as of 12:46 p.m. Tokyo time.

----“A further deterioration in the U.S. political climate may hurt sentiment more broadly,” Citigroup Inc. analysts including Johanna Chua wrote in a note. “Despite a still-supportive fundamental backdrop for emerging markets, investors are likely to be reluctant to add risk to portfolios just yet,” they said, noting that up to now currencies from developing nations have been stable.

Reports that Trump asked Comey to drop an investigation into his former national security adviser started to filter in at the end of the U.S. trading day, meaning the fallout is mostly being felt in Asian trading.

Seth Rich murder theories resurface as Fox News report draws family’s ire

Published: May 16, 2017 3:34 p.m. ET
While President Donald Trump’s leak of sensitive information to the Russians dominated much of the news cycle early Tuesday, Fox News and other outlets were featuring a wholly different, but equally politically charged, story.

According to “investigative sources” cited in the story, Seth Rich, the Democratic National Committee staffer who was gunned down last summer by unknown assailants in the streets of Washington, D.C., leaked thousands of internal emails to WikiLeaks before he was killed.

“My investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks,” Rod Wheeler, a former District of Columbia homicide detective and Fox News contributor, told Fox News. “I do believe that the answers to who murdered Seth Rich sits on his computer on a shelf at the D.C police or FBI headquarters. ... [S]omeone within the D.C. government, DNC or Clinton team is blocking the murder investigation from going forward.”

This, of course, plays nicely into the narrative of “Crooked Hillary” Clinton, which was one of the internet’s — and Trump’s — favorite talking points during the election. And it was, once again, as “Seth Rich” emerged Tuesday as a top trending hashtag:

Montage: The Media Can’t Stop Asking Democratic Guests If They’re Ready to Impeach Trump

‘Are we getting closer to the possibility of yet another impeachment?’’
May 16, 2017
Since the Washington Post's report Monday that President Trump shared classified information with the Russian ambassador during an Oval Office meeting last week, the major media seems to smell blood in the water. Over the last 24 hours, almost every interview with Democratic politicians has included a question about whether we're getting closer to impeaching the president.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer is leading the charge, bringing up impeachment three separate times Tuesday evening alone.

During an interview with Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) about a New York Times report alleging Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to drop the agency's investigation into General Michael Flynn, Blitzer asked hopefully, "Are we getting closer to the possibility of yet another impeachment?"

Blitzer also flatly told Sen. King that if the Times' report is accurate, it's "an impeachable offense," not even phrasing the statement as a question.

Moments later, Blitzer asked Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) if the New York Times report would provide enough ammunition for impeachment proceedings against Trump. "Is that impeachable if it is an obstruction of justice?” Blitzer asked.

And that's just Tuesday night.

As the montage above shows, many in the media are frequently attempting to bait their Democratic guests into calling for impeachment proceedings.

Take a look.
UPDATE ... the drumbeat continues:

Eight days that shook Trump's Washington

It was supposed to be a quiet week.
The White House had just earned its first legislative victory when the House voted to repeal and replace ObamaCare and President Trump was gearing up for his first trip abroad since winning the White House.
Instead, the last eight days have been marked by rolling crises that have left Trump’s staff on edge, emboldened Democrats talking impeachment, put the media in a frenzy and sent Republicans running scared.

Here’s a timeline of the eight days that shook Trump’s Washington:

Tuesday, May 9
The news hit the wire at about 5:40 p.m.

Trump had fired FBI director James Comey, whose agency was investigating whether Trump campaign officials colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.

Only four days earlier, Comey had detailed before a Senate panel the tortured decision-making process that eventually led him to reveal that the FBI had reopened an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server just days before the election.

The Trump administration hung Comey’s firing on the strength of a six-page letter from deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein that detailed how Comey had mishandled that investigation.

The Smoking Gun That Took Down Nixon: One From the History Books

by Andrew Martin
The latest revelation that former FBI Director James Comey kept notes of his conversations with Donald Trump has sparked a fury over whether the president tried to shut down an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The White House denies there was any attempt to halt the inquiry.

Some Democrats asked whether such actions might amount to obstruction of justice, and it calls to mind the most famous example of presidential meddling.

On June 23, 1972, President Richard Nixon met with H.R. "Bob" Haldeman, his chief of staff, and discussed the progress of the FBI’s investigation into the Watergate break-in, particularly efforts to trace money used by the burglars. The recording of that meeting became known as the "smoking gun” tape. Nixon wasn't prosecuted but resigned in August 1974 as the House of Representatives considered impeachment.
Haldeman was convicted of obstruction of justice, among other charges.

In the meeting in the Oval Office, they propose asking the CIA to pressure the FBI to shut down the Watergate investigation by saying the break-in was a national-security operation. Haldeman said then Acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray III couldn’t control his agents.

What follows is a transcript of that meeting, from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.

It seems to be a law of nature, inflexible and inexorable, that those who will not risk cannot win.

John Paul Jones

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, more on the Great Farce of Europe. Does anyone seriously think anything good can come from GB negotiating with 5 jealous EU president’s, one of them an admitted liar, Barnier, the EU Parliament, 27 governments, many of which hate each other, plus Belgium’s 5 regional assemblies, one of which is the Walloonatics. It makes guessing President Trump’s next foreign policy adventure seem like child’s play.
Brexit at year end, stop paying Danegeld to Brussels, and let the businesses in the market, and Adam Smith’s invisible hand work it all out.  As for Ireland, simply declare “all of Ireland to be a traditional integral part of these Islands, with exactly the same UK rights throughout these islands.” Someone may need to refine it more and define “these Islands,” but it should accommodate Ireland if it excluded any duty to be a subject of the Crown, or any duty of conscription to H.M armed forces. 
“When it becomes serious, you have to lie.”

Jean-Claude Juncker. Failed former Luxembourg P.M., serial liar, president of the European Commission.

Tue May 16, 2017 | 7:47am EDT

Not so fast: EU court ensures 32 vetoes on Brexit trade

Britain may have to wait -- and hope -- for every single one of its European Union neighbors to give full legislative consent before it can fully benefit from any post-Brexit free trade deal, EU judges ruled on Tuesday.
In a verdict that may also delay and potentially obstruct a string of other EU trade pacts, notably with Japan and in Latin America, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said an agreement struck with Singapore in 2014 cannot take full effect until ratified by 33 national and regional parliaments across the 28-nation bloc.
The European Commission, which runs trade policy for the EU, had hoped Brussels -- where national governments also have a say -- might get more freedom to implement deals without the vagaries that saw an accord with Canada nearly wrecked last year by the Walloon assembly in Belgium. The Commission sought the ruling and said it clarified divisions between EU and national powers.
London wants a trade agreement to keep much of its current access to Europe's single market once it quits the EU in March 2019. But Brussels negotiators have warned such deals typically take five or more years to negotiate and longer to ratify, creating pressure to agree transitional arrangements when Brexit negotiations get under way following Britain's June 8 election.
Verbal skirmishing between the two sides this month over the EU's refusal to open trade talks until Britain agrees to settle payments to Brussels and guarantee European immigrants' rights has generated new warnings that negotiations could simply fail.
Any trade pact with Britain would need to be signed off in Brussels by all 27 EU governments after Brexit, but the ECJ ruling implies that national parliaments would also get a veto. So would federal Belgium's five regional assemblies, among them Wallonia and German-speaking East Belgium (population 77,000).
Among elements of the Singapore deal that the ECJ said fell beyond the centralized powers of the Union and so requires the separate national ratifications, was its creation of a judicial mechanism to settle disputes between businesses and governments.
Such supranational legal powers have been at the heart of opposition in Europe to recent free trade deals -- including the last-ditch move by Wallonia's left-wing leaders to halt the EU's CETA pact with Canada last year. EU officials want to ease concerns that such powers favor big multinationals by ensuring future deals more clearly protect states' rights to regulate.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has made rejecting EU regulation and non-British courts, like the ECJ in Luxembourg, priorities for Brexit.
Dear Juncker, utterly unspoilt by failure.

With apologies to Noel Coward and Randolph Churchill.
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?

Gas gives laser-induced graphene super properties

Inexpensive material can be superhydrophilic or superhydrophobic

Date: May 15, 2017

Source: Rice University

Summary: Introducing gas to fabrication changes the water-reacting properties of laser-induced graphene, making it either superhydrophilic or superhydrophobic.
Rice University scientists who invented laser-induced graphene (LIG) for applications like supercapacitors have now figured out a way to make the spongy graphene either superhydrophobic or superhydrophilic.
And it's a gas.
Until recently, the Rice lab of James Tour made LIG only in open air, using a laser to burn part of the way through a flexible polyimide sheet to get interconnected flakes of graphene. But putting the polymer in a closed environment with various gases changed the product's properties.
Forming LIG in argon or hydrogen makes it superhydrophobic, or water-avoiding, a property highly valued for separating water from oil or de-icing surfaces. Forming it in oxygen or air makes it superhydrophilic, or water-attracting, and that makes it highly soluble.
The research at Rice and at Ben-Gurion University in Israel is the subject of a paper in Advanced Materials.
"Labs could make graphene either hydrophobic or hydrophilic before, but it involved multiple steps of either wet-chemical or chemical vapor deposition processes," Tour said. "We're doing this in one step with relatively cheap materials in a homemade atmosphere chamber."
The labs got a bonus when they discovered that fabricating LIG in oxygen increased the number of defects -- 5- and 7-atom rings -- in the graphene flakes, improving its capacitance and its performance when used as an electrode material for microsupercapacitors.
Changes in the chemical content of the gas and even changes in the direction of the laser raster pattern altered the material, leading the researchers to believe LIG's hydrophobic or -philic properties could be tuned.
They also discovered when they scraped graphene off of a hydrophilic sheet of polymer and turned it into a film, the result was hydrophobic instead. "That leads us to believe the surface orientation of LIG's flakes have a lot to do with how it reacts with water," Tour said. "If the edges are more exposed, it appears to be hydrophilic; if the basal planes are more exposed, their hydrophobic properties take over."

The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.

Henry Kissinger.

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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