It is Saturday morning January 5, 2019 as I pen this and return to my version of “live blogging” having taken the last few weeks off. To say a lot happened while I was “away” is a huge understatement. 2019 commenced with an unnecessary government shutdown in progress, the almost certain promise of a presidential impeachment and what I feel are the first signs of a worldwide economic recession triggered by the American economy. I’m certain I will be incomplete but let’s explore.
Trump shutdown 3.0 is in effect as I write this with its end an uncertainty. A deal had been struck in Congress to pass a continuing resolution that Vice President Mike Pence, Senior Advisor Jared Kushner and Acting White House Chief-of-Staff Mick Mulvaney had assured members the President would sign. Then the right wing media got to Trump and he reneged on the deal. It is important to note that this is the third government shutdown in less than two years of Trump. If I hired a manager for a shop I owned at minimum I’d expect them to keep the doors open during business hours.
In particular House Republicans protected Trump by stifling their “investigations” into Russiagate. For example when you know a witness called a blocked number wouldn’t it be prudent to find out whom that blocked number belonged to? When witnesses refused to answer questions either by flat out refusing, inventing privileges or claiming privileges they were not entitled to claim wouldn’t it be prudent to use the full authority of the committee to compel them to answer? With the Democrats controlling the House the fix is no longer in and I doubt Trump can survive real investigations. There is also the matter of Robert Mueller’s probe. Consider the fact that the presiding judge just extended the sitting grand jury beyond the 18 month mark. Conviction in the Senate and removal from office is still a matter for debate at this point, but impeachment in the House is simply a matter of timing and circumstances in my opinion.
I’m not sure if Vladimir Putin wants to reconstruct the old Soviet Union or not (I heavily learn toward the affirmative) but I know he wants to restore Russia as a major global power. In reality Russia, while militarily strong, is a third rate economic power. It is simply much too small to take on the United States or the European Union in a full frontal attack. What Putin is obviously trying to do is weaken his opposition to the point of bringing them down to his level. Russian interference in democratic elections around the western world is the main offensive weapon in this asymmetrical warfare. In the United States Putin helped elect a compliant and incompetent Donald Trump who is well on his way to seriously damaging the American economy as well as destroying Putin’s main military fear – NATO. In Europe, Russia has funded and aided various right wing candidates who ran as isolationists. The prime example of successful Russian interference is their involvement in the Brexit movement. The UK leaving the EU will weaken both. Putin prefers several smaller opponents that he feels he can manipulate and intimidate to facing a union of the American and EU economies militarily backed by NATO.
My lack of respect for the stock market is an open secret. With that said, the volatility we have seen recently is a bad indication of the future. One thing markets do not like is uncertainty and Trump is an uncertainty machine! The stock market had its worst year since 2008 in 2018. You might recall 2008 was the year that George W. Bush’s economic policies finally caught up with him and nearly tanked the global economy. That crisis may have cemented the victory for Barack Obama because John McCain obviously had no idea of what to do and was caught in several idiotic statements and actions. (Had it not been for his reaction to the Great Recession along with the naming of Sarah Palin as his running mate I think McCain would have won in 2008.)
A great December 2018 jobs report notwithstanding, I feel Trump is well on his way to tanking the American economy. I feel the Trump recession will manifest itself during 2019. Irresponsible spending via the tax code coupled with detrimental trade wars featuring tariffs that are in essence a tax on the American consumer will have our economic engine sputtering soon.
I didn’t get to a lot of events I want to cover. There were so many sins and revelations of them in the past fortnight or so that I will need another day. “See” you tomorrow.
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