Joint Address: On Fair Trade vs. Free Trade, President Trump Sounds Like a College Leftist

TrumpWhen I was a college student at the University of Michigan (a mere 10 years ago), fair trade was a talking point deployed by leftists who hated capitalism and free markets. Today, fair trade is the official position of the Republican president.

“I believe strongly in free trade but it also has to be FAIR TRADE,” said President Trump in his remarks to a special joint session of Congress Tuesday night.

His remarks stressed one key theme above all others: the U.S. must enact a form of robust economic protectionism that is directly at odds with everything the Republican Party supposedly believed for the last 40 years.

“Currently, when we ship products out of America, many other countries make us pay very high tariffs and taxes, but when foreign companies ship their products into America, we charge them almost nothing,” said Trump—signaling that he would like to even the playing field.

Trump cited President Lincoln, not in service of racial harmony, or civil rights, or even national unity, but on trade.

“The first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, warned that the ‘abandonment of the protective policy by the American Government [will] produce want and ruin among our people,'” said Trump. “Lincoln was right—and it is time we heeded his words. I am not going to let America and its great companies and workers, be taken advantage of anymore.”

Lincoln had a lot of virtues, but his economic policy wasn’t one of them.

Trump vowed to punish companies who try to move jobs overseas (or prevent them from doing so outright). Such a policy would not help American workers. When government prevents businesses from making decisions that benefit them, it drives up the cost of goods—and workers, like the rest of us, are ultimately consumers.

This is Economics 101. It also used to be Republican Policy 101. For decades, the GOP was the party of Milton Friedman. Now it’s just the party of Donald Trump—a man whose economic views would have been warmly embraced by the University of Michigan’s self-described socialists circa 2007.

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Trump Speech Post-Mortem – From Rebellion To Pouting Pelosi: “We Bleed The Same Blood”

Just under 70 minutes, 4,825 words, and the message was clear – the speech was about "will" and "Americans"

Additionally "Obamacare" was mentioned 5 times, "Historic" was mentioned 3 times, and "massive" twice.

..

President Trump got a warm welcome…

To start with, for some reason Nancy Pelosi thought that Democratic women wearing white would make a statement…

President Trump did not wear a red tie!!!

 

Trump began by referring to his election as a "rebellion" against "mistakes of recent decades"

Then, in 2016, the earth shifted beneath our feet. The rebellion started as a quiet protest, spoken by families of all colors and creeds -– families who just wanted a fair shot for their children, and a fair hearing for their concerns.

 

But then the quiet voices became a loud chorus — as thousands of citizens now spoke out together, from cities small and large, all across our country.

 

Finally, the chorus became an earthquake – and the people turned out by the tens of millions, and they were all united by one very simple, but crucial demand, that America must put its own citizens first … because only then, can we truly MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.

Trump then reminded Congress of his market gains…

Since my election, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors, Sprint, Softbank, Lockheed, Intel, Walmart, and many others, have announced that they will invest billions of dollars in the United States and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs.

The stock market has gained almost three trillion dollars in value since the election on November 8th, a record. We’ve saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by bringing down the price of the fantastic new F-35 jet fighter, and will be saving billions more dollars on contracts all across our government.

We have placed a hiring freeze on non-military and non-essential federal workers.

Which Nancy Pelosi did not appreciate…

"Draining the swamp" got a somewhat subdued rund of applause…

We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a five year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials –- and a lifetime ban on becoming lobbyists for a foreign government.

Nancy Pelosi was not impressed…

As Trump turned to immigration

 

It is not compassionate, but reckless, to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur. Those given the high honor of admission to the United States should support this country and love its people and its values.

 

We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America — we cannot allow our Nation to become a sanctuary for extremists.

 

I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible, as long as we focus on the following goals: to improve jobs and wages for Americans, to strengthen our nation’s security, and to restore respect for our laws.

 

If we are guided by the well-being of American citizens then I believe Republicans and Democrats can work together to achieve an outcome that has eluded our country for decades.

And free trade, quoting Lincoln…

“The first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, warned that the “abandonment of the protective policy by the American Government [will] produce want and ruin among our people,” he says.

 

Lincoln was right — and it is time we heeded his words. I am not going to let America and its great companies and workers, be taken advantage of anymore.

 

I am going to bring back millions of jobs. Protecting our workers also means reforming our system of legal immigration. The current, outdated system depresses wages for our poorest workers, and puts great pressure on taxpayers.

Obamacare was up next…The Republican side of the chamber jumps to their feet and cheers.

The Democrats all remain seated, with some female politicians in white suits seen giving the thumbs down to Trump’s comments.

 

Mandating every American to buy government-approved health insurance was never the right solution for America. The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance, and that is what we will do.

Trump offers some details on this…

First, we should ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage, and that we have a stable transition for Americans currently enrolled in the healthcare exchanges.

 

Secondly, we should help Americans purchase their own coverage, through the use of tax credits and expanded Health Savings Accounts –- but it must be the plan they want, not the plan forced on them by the Government.

 

Thirdly, we should give our great State Governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid to make sure no one is left out.

 

Fourthly, we should implement legal reforms that protect patients and doctors from unnecessary costs that drive up the price of insurance – and work to bring down the artificially high price of drugs and bring them down immediately.

 

Finally, the time has come to give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across State lines –- creating a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring cost way down and provide far better care.

Trump then discusses education, positioning it as a race issue.

Education is the civil rights issue of our time.

 

I am calling upon members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children. These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them.

Ron Paul had some things to say on that…

Trump then turned to Military and veterans:

“I am sending the Congress a budget that rebuilds the military, eliminates the Defense sequester, and calls for one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history,” says Trump.

 

“My budget will also increase funding for our veterans.

 

“Our veterans have delivered for this Nation –- and now we must deliver for them.”

Carryn Owens, the widow of a US Navy Special Operator, Senior Chief William “Ryan” Owens, who died in a raid in Yemen in January, shortly after Trump’s inauguration, was in attendance and received a very length standing ovation as Trump paid him (and her) tribute…

But Ron Paul once again made a noteworthy point…

Trump ended on a much more upbeat optimistic tone (especialy compared to his inaugural address)

"My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America."

"Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed"

 

 

 

*  *  *

Read the full Transcript here: President Donald Trump's address to Congress Tuesday as prepared for delivery.

We leave it to Ron Paul – who has been very vocal tonight – to sum it up:


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This Chart Signals China’s Housing Bubble May Burst Soon

Via MauldinEconomics.com,

The probability that a real estate bubble may burst in China is rising. The financial sector heavily depends on real estate, which in turn exposes the entire Chinese economy to systemic risk.

This link means that a downturn in real estate could soon spread to other areas of the Chinese economy if banks face liquidity shortfalls.

Also, falling housing prices could result in more non-performing loans (NPLs). While NPLs officially account for only 1.75 percent of all Chinese loans, the government is likely understating the figure. BMI Research, a financial consulting firm, estimated in a 2016 report that NPLs could be close to 20 percent of loans.

As banks gave more credit to real estate developers and buyers, their profitability stalled. In theory, China’s economy is not based on capitalism and thus doesn’t revolve around profitability; but in practice, money needs to come from somewhere. A company that doesn’t make a profit can’t survive in the long run. The Chinese government can’t afford to let banks fail since it would threaten both the financial system’s health and the key lifeline to state-owned enterprises that provide jobs.

This surge in China’s real estate prices, fueled by ongoing credit expansion, are forcing the government to choose between deflating the housing market and slowing growth.

*  *  *

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Dallas Police Pension ‘Wins’ $2mm Settlement From Real Estate Fund That Lost Them Roughly $320mm

In the first bit of good news to surface for the Dallas Police and Fire Pension (DPFP) in quite some time, the Dallas News is reporting the pension board has “won” a $2 million settlement against their former real estate fund advisor, CDK Realty Advisors.  Of course, the settlement falls slightly short of the $320mm in losses allegedly caused by CDK, but a win’s a win, right?

Meanwhile, city officials who complain they had little control over the fund’s activities but are now being forced to find a way to bail it out, had mixed reactions to the settlement.

“We need every dime possible coming into the fund, especially from those that played a role in its downfall,” Mayor Mike Rawlings said in a statement. “This settlement appears to be a small step in the right direction, though I still hope to see more transparency and details about the scope of the alleged wrongdoing by CDK.”

 

Lee Kleinman, a City Council member and former member of the fund’s board, said he was “shocked CDK got off the hook for a mere $2 million considering the amount of fees they bilked out of the system over the past decade.”

 

But others highlighted the importance of getting CDK’s cooperation. “We could have hammered these guys a lot harder perhaps” by taking the matter to trial, said Philip Kingston, another city councilman who serves on the fund’s board. “But getting their cooperation to chase down other potential sources of recovery I think was really important.”

For those who missed it, here is some background on how CDK Realty same to find themselves to be the target of an FBI raid in April 2016 related to their management of real estate investments on behalf of the DPFP…turns out they may have had some issues marking their real estate portfolio to market (see “Dallas Cops’ Pension Fund Nears Insolvency In Wake Of Shady Real Estate Deals, FBI Raid“).

To provide a little background, per the Dallas Morning News, Richard Tettamant served as the DPFP’s administrator for a couple of decades right up until he was forced out in June 2014.  Starting in 2005, Tettamant oversaw a plan to “diversify” the pension into “hard assets” and away from the “risky” stock market…because there’s no risk if you don’t have to mark your book every day.  By the time the “diversification” was complete, Tettamant had invested half of the DPFP’s assets in, effectively, the housing bubble.  Investments included a $200mm luxury apartment building in Dallas, luxury Hawaiian homes, a tract of undeveloped land in the Arizona desert, Uruguayan timber, the American Idol production company and a resort in Napa. 

Despite huge exposure to bubbly 2005/2006 vintage real estate investments, DPFP assets “performed” remarkably well throughout the “great recession.”  But as it turns out, Tettamant’s “performance” was only as good as the illiquidity of his investments.  We guess returns are easier to come by when you invest your whole book in illiquid, private assets and have “discretion” over how they’re valued. 

In 2015, after Tettamant’s ouster, $600mm of DPFP real estate assets were transferred to new managers away from the fund’s prior real estate manager, CDK Realty Advisors.  Turns out the new managers were not “comfortable” with CDK’s asset valuations and the mark downs started.  According to the Dallas Morning News, one such questionable real estate investment involved a piece of undeveloped land in the Arizona desert near Tucson which was purchased for $27mm in 2006 and subsequently sold in 2014 for $7.5mm.  Per the DPFP 2015 Annual Report:

In August 2014, the Board initiated a real estate portfolio reallocation process with goals of more broadly diversifying the investment manager base and adding third party fiduciary management of separate account and direct investment real estate assets where an investment manager was previously not in place. The reallocation process resulted in the transfer of approximately $600 million in DPFP real estate investments to four new investment managers during 2015. The newly appointed managers conducted detailed asset-level reviews of their takeover portfolios and reported their findings and strategic recommendations to the Board over the course of 2015 and into 2016. A significant portion of the real estate losses in 2015 were a direct result of the new managers’ evaluations of the assets.

Then the plot thickened when, in April 2016, according the Dallas Morning News, FBI raided the offices of the pension’s former investment manager, CDK Realty Advisors.  There has been little disclosure on the reason for the FBI raid but one could speculate that it might have something to do with all the markdowns the pension was forced to take in 2015 on its real estate book.  At it’s peak, CDK managed $750mm if assets for the DPFP.

And for those curious what an actual FBI raid looks like…here you go…though it’s slightly less exciting than you might think.

 

Of course, as you might expect, CDK has denied any wrong doing…

A lawyer for CDK stressed Monday that the settlement is not an “admission of any wrongdoing or liability for any claims.”

 

“CDK Realty Advisors was one of several commercial real estate managers hired by the Pension System,” Steven A. Schneider said in a statement. “CDK was not involved in or responsible for the design and construction” of the controversial  Museum Tower in the city’s Arts District. He said the firm was also not involved in the fund’s high-profile investments in luxury homes in Hawaii and a resort and vineyard in Napa County, Calif.

 

The firm has contended in a court filing that the real-estate investments it recommended were profitable for the fund.

…and it’s previous managers were able to quickly launch a new firm called “Harvest Interests” which is actively pitching the Lubbock Fire Pension Fund for new capital.

CDK’s principals started a new firm last year called Harvest Interests. Cooley spoke to the Lubbock Fire Pension Fund in November about moving forward with real estate investments, according to meeting minutes.

 

Cooley said “they had settled with Dallas Police and Fire, but the paperwork was still being worked through,” according to the minutes. Cooley told the Lubbock fund that CDK will become defunct at some point in the future after investments it manages are sold, the minutes say.

What more is there to say really?

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President Trump’s Address To Congress: Full Text

President Donald Trump’s address to Congress Tuesday as prepared for delivery.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and Citizens of America:

Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our Nation’s path toward civil rights and the work that still remains.

Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a Nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.

Each American generation passes the torch of truth, liberty and justice –- in an unbroken chain all the way down to the present.

That torch is now in our hands. And we will use it to light up the world. I am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength, and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart.

A new chapter of American Greatness is now beginning.

A new national pride is sweeping across our Nation.

And a new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp.

What we are witnessing today is the Renewal of the American Spirit.

Our allies will find that America is once again ready to lead.

All the nations of the world — friend or foe — will find that America is strong, America is proud, and America is free.

In 9 years, the United States will celebrate the 250th anniversary of our founding — 250 years since the day we declared our Independence.

It will be one of the great milestones in the history of the world.

But what will America look like as we reach our 250th year? What kind of country will we leave for our children?

I will not allow the mistakes of recent decades past to define the course of our future.

For too long, we’ve watched our middle class shrink as we’ve exported our jobs and wealth to foreign countries.

We’ve financed and built one global project after another, but ignored the fates of our children in the inner cities of Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit — and so many other places throughout our land.

We’ve defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open, for anyone to cross — and for drugs to pour in at a now unprecedented rate.

And we’ve spent trillions of dollars overseas, while our infrastructure at home has so badly crumbled.

Then, in 2016, the earth shifted beneath our feet. The rebellion started as a quiet protest, spoken by families of all colors and creeds -– families who just wanted a fair
shot for their children, and a fair hearing for their concerns.

But then the quiet voices became a loud chorus — as thousands of citizens now spoke out together, from cities small and large, all across our country.

Finally, the chorus became an earthquake – and the people turned out by the tens of millions, and they were all united by one very simple, but crucial demand, that America must put its own citizens first … because only then, can we truly MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.

Dying industries will come roaring back to life. Heroic veterans will get the care they so desperately need.

Our military will be given the resources its brave warriors so richly deserve.

Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways gleaming across our beautiful land.

Our terrible drug epidemic will slow down and ultimately, stop.

And our neglected inner cities will see a rebirth of hope, safety, and opportunity.

Above all else, we will keep our promises to the American people.

It’s been a little over a month since my inauguration, and I want to take this moment to update the Nation on the progress I’ve made in keeping those promises.

Since my election, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors, Sprint, Softbank, Lockheed, Intel, Walmart, and many others, have announced that they will invest billions of dollars in the United States and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs.

The stock market has gained almost three trillion dollars in value since the election on November 8th, a record. We’ve saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by bringing down the price of the fantastic new F-35 jet fighter, and will be saving billions more dollars on contracts all across our Government. We have placed a hiring freeze on non-military and non-essential Federal workers.

We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a 5 year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials –- and a lifetime ban on becoming lobbyists for a foreign government.

We have undertaken a historic effort to massively reduce job?crushing regulations, creating a deregulation task force inside of every Government agency; imposing a new rule which mandates that for every 1 new regulation, 2 old regulations must be eliminated; and stopping a regulation that threatens the future and livelihoods of our great coal miners.

We have cleared the way for the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines — thereby creating tens of thousands of jobs — and I’ve issued a new directive that new American pipelines be made with American steel.

We have withdrawn the United States from the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership.

With the help of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, we have formed a Council with our neighbors in Canada to help ensure that women entrepreneurs have access to the networks, markets and capital they need to start a business and live out their financial dreams.

To protect our citizens, I have directed the Department of Justice to form a Task Force on Reducing Violent Crime.

I have further ordered the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, along with the Department of State and the Director of National Intelligence, to coordinate an aggressive strategy to dismantle the criminal cartels that have spread across our Nation.

We will stop the drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth — and we will expand treatment for those who have become so badly addicted.

At the same time, my Administration has answered the pleas of the American people for immigration enforcement and border security. By finally enforcing our immigration laws, we will raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions of dollars, and make our communities safer for everyone. We want all Americans to succeed –- but that can’t happen in an environment of lawless chaos. We must restore integrity and the rule of law to our borders.

For that reason, we will soon begin the construction of a great wall along our southern border. It will be started ahead of schedule and, when finished, it will be a very effective weapon against drugs and crime.

As we speak, we are removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our citizens. Bad ones are going out as I speak tonight and as I have promised.

To any in Congress who do not believe we should enforce our laws, I would ask you this question: what would you say to the American family that loses their jobs, their income, or a loved one, because America refused to uphold its laws and defend its borders?

Our obligation is to serve, protect, and defend the citizens of the United States. We are also taking strong measures to protect our Nation from Radical Islamic Terrorism.

According to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted for terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country. We have seen the attacks at home -– from Boston to San Bernardino to the Pentagon and yes, even the World Trade Center.

We have seen the attacks in France, in Belgium, in Germany and all over the world.

It is not compassionate, but reckless, to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur. Those given the high honor of admission to the United States should support this country and love its people and its values.

We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America — we cannot allow our Nation to become a sanctuary for extremists.

That is why my Administration has been working on improved vetting procedures, and we will shortly take new steps to keep our Nation safe — and to keep out those who would do us harm.

As promised, I directed the Department of Defense to develop a plan to demolish and destroy ISIS — a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians, and men, women, and children of all faiths and beliefs. We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy from our planet.

I have also imposed new sanctions on entities and individuals who support Iran’s ballistic missile program, and reaffirmed our unbreakable alliance with the State of Israel.

Finally, I have kept my promise to appoint a Justice to the United States Supreme Court — from my list of 20 judges — who will defend our Constitution. I am honored to have Maureen Scalia with us in the gallery tonight. Her late, great husband, Antonin Scalia, will forever be a symbol of American justice. To fill his seat, we have chosen Judge Neil Gorsuch, a man of incredible skill, and deep devotion to the law. He was confirmed unanimously to the Court of Appeals, and I am asking the Senate to swiftly approve his nomination.

Tonight, as I outline the next steps we must take as a country, we must honestly acknowledge the circumstances we inherited.

Ninety-four million Americans are out of the labor force.

Over 43 million people are now living in poverty, and over 43 million Americans are on food stamps.

More than 1 in 5 people in their prime working years are not working.

We have the worst financial recovery in 65 years.

In the last 8 years, the past Administration has put on more new debt than nearly all other Presidents combined.

We’ve lost more than one-fourth of our manufacturing jobs since NAFTA was approved, and we’ve lost 60,000 factories since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Our trade deficit in goods with the world last year was nearly $800 billion dollars.

And overseas, we have inherited a series of tragic foreign policy disasters.

Solving these, and so many other pressing problems, will require us to work past the differences of party. It will require us to tap into the American spirit that has overcome every challenge throughout our long and storied history.

But to accomplish our goals at home and abroad, we must restart the engine of the American economy — making it easier for companies to do business in the United States, and much harder for companies to leave.

Right now, American companies are taxed at one of the highest rates anywhere in the world.

My economic team is developing historic tax reform that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone. At the same time, we will provide massive tax relief for the middle class.

We must create a level playing field for American companies and workers.

Currently, when we ship products out of America, many other countries make us pay very high tariffs and taxes — but when foreign companies ship their products into America, we charge them almost nothing.

I just met with officials and workers from a great American company, Harley-Davidson. In fact, they proudly displayed five of their magnificent motorcycles, made in the USA, on the front lawn of the White House.

At our meeting, I asked them, how are you doing, how is business? They said that it’s good. I asked them further how they are doing with other countries, mainly international sales. They told me — without even complaining because they have been mistreated for so long that they have become used to it — that it is very hard to do business with other countries because they tax our goods at such a high rate. They said that in one case another country taxed their motorcycles at 100 percent.

They weren’t even asking for change. But I am.

I believe strongly in free trade but it also has to be FAIR TRADE.

The first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, warned that the “abandonment of the protective policy by the American Government [will] produce want and ruin among our people.”

Lincoln was right — and it is time we heeded his words. I am not going to let America and its great companies and workers, be taken advantage of anymore.

I am going to bring back millions of jobs. Protecting our workers also means reforming our system of legal immigration. The current, outdated system depresses wages for our poorest workers, and puts great pressure on taxpayers.

Nations around the world, like Canada, Australia and many others –- have a merit-based immigration system. It is a basic principle that those seeking to enter a country ought to be able to support themselves financially. Yet, in America, we do not enforce this rule, straining the very public resources that our poorest citizens rely upon. According to the National Academy of Sciences, our current immigration system costs America’s taxpayers many billions of dollars a year.

Switching away from this current system of lower-skilled immigration, and instead adopting a merit-based system, will have many benefits: it will save countless dollars, raise workers’ wages, and help struggling families –- including immigrant families –- enter the middle class.

I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible, as long as we focus on the following goals: to improve jobs and wages for Americans, to strengthen our nation’s security, and to restore respect for our laws.

If we are guided by the well-being of American citizens then I believe Republicans and Democrats can work together to achieve an outcome that has eluded our country for decades.

Another Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, initiated the last truly great national infrastructure program –- the building of the interstate highway system. The time has come for a new program of national rebuilding.

America has spent approximately six trillion dollars in the Middle East, all this while our infrastructure at home is crumbling. With this six trillion dollars we could have rebuilt our country –- twice. And maybe even three times if we had people who had the ability to negotiate.

To launch our national rebuilding, I will be asking the Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in the infrastructure of the United States — financed through both public and private capital –- creating millions of new jobs.

This effort will be guided by two core principles: Buy American, and Hire American.

Tonight, I am also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better Healthcare.

Mandating every American to buy government-approved health insurance was never the right solution for America. The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance, and that is what we will do.

Obamacare premiums nationwide have increased by double and triple digits. As an example, Arizona went up 116 percent last year alone. Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky just said Obamacare is failing in his State — it is unsustainable and collapsing.

One third of counties have only one insurer on the exchanges –- leaving many Americans with no choice at all.

Remember when you were told that you could keep your doctor, and keep your plan?

We now know that all of those promises have been broken.

Obamacare is collapsing –- and we must act decisively to protect all Americans. Action is not a choice –- it is a necessity.

So I am calling on all Democrats and Republicans in the Congress to work with us to save Americans from this imploding Obamacare disaster.

Here are the principles that should guide the Congress as we move to create a better healthcare system for all Americans:

First, we should ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage, and that we have a stable transition for Americans currently enrolled in the healthcare exchanges.

Secondly, we should help Americans purchase their own coverage, through the use of tax credits and expanded Health Savings Accounts –- but it must be the plan they want, not the plan forced on them by the Government.

Thirdly, we should give our great State Governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid to make sure no one is left out.

Fourthly, we should implement legal reforms that protect patients and doctors from unnecessary costs that drive up the price of insurance – and work to bring down the artificially high price of drugs and bring them down immediately.

Finally, the time has come to give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across State lines –- creating a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring cost way down and provide far better care.

Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed. Every problem can be solved. And every hurting family can find healing, and hope.

Our citizens deserve this, and so much more –- so why not join forces to finally get it done? On this and so many other things, Democrats and Republicans should get together and unite for the good of our country, and for the good of the American people.

My administration wants to work with members in both parties to make childcare accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents have paid family leave, to invest in women’s health, and to promote clean air and clear water, and to rebuild our military and our infrastructure.

True love for our people requires us to find common ground, to advance the common good, and to cooperate on behalf of every American child who deserves a brighter future.

An incredible young woman is with us this evening who should serve as an inspiration to us all.

Today is Rare Disease day, and joining us in the gallery is a Rare Disease Survivor, Megan Crowley. Megan was diagnosed with Pompe Disease, a rare and serious illness, when she was 15 months old. She was not expected to live past 5.

On receiving this news, Megan’s dad, John, fought with everything he had to save the life of his precious child. He founded a company to look for a cure, and helped develop the drug that saved Megan’s life. Today she is 20 years old — and a sophomore at Notre Dame.

Megan’s story is about the unbounded power of a father’s love for a daughter.

But our slow and burdensome approval process at the Food and Drug Administration keeps too many advances, like the one that saved Megan’s life, from reaching those in need.

If we slash the restraints, not just at the FDA but across our Government, then we will be blessed with far more miracles like Megan.

In fact, our children will grow up in a Nation of miracles.

But to achieve this future, we must enrich the mind –- and the souls –- of every American child.

Education is the civil rights issue of our time.

I am calling upon Members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children. These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them.

Joining us tonight in the gallery is a remarkable woman, Denisha Merriweather. As a young girl, Denisha struggled in school and failed third grade twice. But then she was able to enroll in a private center for learning, with the help of a tax credit scholarship program. Today, she is the first in her family to graduate, not just from high school, but from college. Later this year she will get her masters degree in social work.

We want all children to be able to break the cycle of poverty just like Denisha.

But to break the cycle of poverty, we must also break the cycle of violence.

The murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century.

In Chicago, more than 4,000 people were shot last year alone –- and the murder rate so far this year has been even higher.

This is not acceptable in our society.

Every American child should be able to grow up in a safe community, to attend a great school, and to have access to a high-paying job.

But to create this future, we must work with –- not against -– the men and women of law enforcement.

We must build bridges of cooperation and trust –- not drive the wedge of disunity and division.

Police and sheriffs are members of our community. They are friends and neighbors, they are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters – and they leave behind loved ones every day who worry whether or not they’ll come home safe and sound.

We must support the incredible men and women of law enforcement.

And we must support the victims of crime.

I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American Victims. The office is called VOICE –- Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement. We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests.

Joining us in the audience tonight are four very brave Americans whose government failed them.

Their names are Jamiel Shaw, Susan Oliver, Jenna Oliver, and Jessica Davis.
Jamiel’s 17-year-old son was viciously murdered by an illegal immigrant gang member, who had just been released from prison. Jamiel Shaw Jr. was an incredible young man, with unlimited potential who was getting ready to go to college where he would have excelled as a great quarterback. But he never got the chance. His father, who is in the audience tonight, has become a good friend of mine.

Also with us are Susan Oliver and Jessica Davis. Their husbands –- Deputy Sheriff Danny Oliver and Detective Michael Davis –- were slain in the line of duty in California. They were pillars of their community. These brave men were viciously gunned down by an illegal immigrant with a criminal record and two prior deportations.
Sitting with Susan is her daughter, Jenna. Jenna: I want you to know that your father was a hero, and that tonight you have the love of an entire country supporting you and praying for you.

To Jamiel, Jenna, Susan and Jessica: I want you to know –- we will never stop fighting for justice. Your loved ones will never be forgotten, we will always honor their memory.

Finally, to keep America Safe we must provide the men and women of the United States military with the tools they need to prevent war and –- if they must –- to fight and to win.

I am sending the Congress a budget that rebuilds the military, eliminates the Defense sequester, and calls for one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.

My budget will also increase funding for our veterans.

Our veterans have delivered for this Nation –- and now we must deliver for them.

The challenges we face as a Nation are great. But our people are even greater.

And none are greater or braver than those who fight for America in uniform.

We are blessed to be joined tonight by Carryn Owens, the widow of a U.S. Navy Special Operator, Senior Chief William “Ryan” Owens. Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero –- battling against terrorism and securing our Nation.

I just spoke to General Mattis, who reconfirmed that, and I quote, “Ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemies.” Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity. For as the Bible teaches us, there is no greater act of love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Ryan laid down his life for his friends, for his country, and for our freedom –- we will never forget him.

To those allies who wonder what kind of friend America will be, look no further than the heroes who wear our uniform.

Our foreign policy calls for a direct, robust and meaningful engagement with the world. It is American leadership based on vital security interests that we share with our allies across the globe.

We strongly support NATO, an alliance forged through the bonds of two World Wars that dethroned fascism, and a Cold War that defeated communism.

But our partners must meet their financial obligations.

And now, based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning to do just that.

We expect our partners, whether in NATO, in the Middle East, or the Pacific –- to take a direct and meaningful role in both strategic and military operations, and pay their fair share of the cost.

We will respect historic institutions, but we will also respect the sovereign rights of nations.

Free nations are the best vehicle for expressing the will of the people –- and America respects the right of all nations to chart their own path. My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America. But we know that America is better off, when there is less conflict — not more.

We must learn from the mistakes of the past –- we have seen the war and destruction that have raged across our world.

The only long-term solution for these humanitarian disasters is to create the conditions where displaced persons can safely return home and begin the long process of rebuilding.

America is willing to find new friends, and to forge new partnerships, where shared interests align. We want harmony and stability, not war and conflict.

We want peace, wherever peace can be found. America is friends today with former enemies. Some of our closest allies, decades ago, fought on the opposite side of these World Wars. This history should give us all faith in the possibilities for a better world.

Hopefully, the 250th year for America will see a world that is more peaceful, more just and more free.

On our 100th anniversary, in 1876, citizens from across our Nation came to Philadelphia to celebrate America’s centennial. At that celebration, the country’s builders and artists and inventors showed off their creations.

Alexander Graham Bell displayed his telephone for the first time.

Remington unveiled the first typewriter. An early attempt was made at electric light.

Thomas Edison showed an automatic telegraph and an electric pen.

Imagine the wonders our country could know in America’s 250th year.

Think of the marvels we can achieve if we simply set free the dreams of our people.

Cures to illnesses that have always plagued us are not too much to hope.

American footprints on distant worlds are not too big a dream.

Millions lifted from welfare to work is not too much to expect.

And streets where mothers are safe from fear — schools where children learn in peace — and jobs where Americans prosper and grow — are not too much to ask.

When we have all of this, we will have made America greater than ever before. For all Americans.

This is our vision. This is our mission.

But we can only get there together.

We are one people, with one destiny.

We all bleed the same blood.

We all salute the same flag.

And we are all made by the same God.

And when we fulfill this vision; when we celebrate our 250 years of glorious freedom, we will look back on tonight as when this new chapter of American Greatness began.

The time for small thinking is over. The time for trivial fights is behind us.

We just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts.

The bravery to express the hopes that stir our souls.

And the confidence to turn those hopes and dreams to action.

From now on, America will be empowered by our aspirations, not burdened by our fears –- inspired by the future, not bound by the failures of the past –- and guided by our vision, not blinded by our doubts.

I am asking all citizens to embrace this Renewal of the American Spirit. I am asking all members of Congress to join me in dreaming big, and bold and daring things for our country. And I am asking everyone watching tonight to seize this moment and —

Believe in yourselves.

Believe in your future.

And believe, once more, in America.

Thank you, God bless you, and God Bless these United States.

via http://ift.tt/2m5p3EE Tyler Durden

“Time For Small-Thinking Is Over”: President Trump’s First Address To Congress – Live Feed

"It's T-Day" as one trader put it this morning. President Trump will address a joint session of Congress tonight for the first time as president in a much anticipated speech in which he will tell lawmakers the “time for small thinking is over,” and “the time for trivial fights is behind us,” as he lays out his policy agenda.

The Guardian reports that in a contrast to Trump’s gloomy inauguration day “American carnage” speech, the mood this evening is expected to be lighter.

“My speech will be a message of optimism, hope, and love for the greatest country in history. I will lay out our agenda for a stronger, freer, and more prosperous America,” Trump said in an email to supporters this afternoon, calling on donations for his re-election.

 

But while the administration is touting it as optimistic, advisor Steve Bannon, seen as Trump’s most influential advisor, spoke this week at CPAC about the three “verticals” the Trump administration will focus on, and it’s a less positive affair: national security and sovereignty; economic nationalism; and “deconstruction of the administrative state”.

Bloomberg notes:

  • Trump to outline what he’ll pitch as benefits of more stringent immigration enforcement – it will “save billions of dollars and make our community safer for everyone
  • Will pitch what he’ll call a “historic tax reform” plan in development; promising “massive tax relief for the middle class”
  • Trump to say U.S. needs to learn lessons of the past on foreign policy and conflict; adding “only long-term solution for these humanitarian disasters is to create the conditions where displaced persons can safely return home and begin the long process of rebuilding”
  • In possible nod to Russia, which he has said U.S. should have friendlier ties with: “America is willing to find new friends and to forge new partnerships were shared interests align”
  • On Islamic State, to say will work with allies incl. in Muslim world to “extinguish” ISIS

Some key excerpts have been released (h/t @BradJaffy):

Excerpt 1:

 

The time for small thinking is over.

 

The time for trivial fights is behind us.

 

We just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts.

 

Excerpt 2:

 

Think of the marvels we can achieve if we simply set free the dreams of our people, cures to illnesses that have always plagued us are not too much to hope.

 

Excerpt 3:

 

My budget will also increase funding for our veterans.

 

Our veterans have delivered for this nation and now we must deliver for them.

 

The challenges we face as a nation are great, but our people are  even greater and none are greater or braver than those who fight  for America in uniform.

Live Feed (the president is due to speak at 9pmET)…

*  *  *

As The Hill notes, the speech isn’t an official State of the Union – that will come next year – but it’s a chance for Trump to set out his legislative priorities after a tumultuous first month that has at times rattled congressional Republicans.

Here are five things to watch for in Trump’s speech…

Will Trump stay dark or go light?

The president’s first major address to the American people offered a grim view of the country he was elected to lead. At his inauguration, Trump painted a picture of a nation in decline, marked by “American carnage” such as “rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape” and marauding criminal gangs plaguing major cities. Stephen Miller, the influential White House aide who wrote that speech, has been tasked with authoring this one, too. But White House officials say the address to Congress will present “an optimistic vision” aimed at how his administration will help Americans of all races, parties and economic status. He will also stress how his early actions, while controversial, have fulfilled campaign promises. Offering a positive message that appeals to people outside his base could help bring together a country that remains deeply divided over a presidential election in which Trump lost the popular vote. It would also break with the style that got Trump elected. And previous “pivots” telegraphed by his team have not panned out. Before the inaugural address, White House press secretary Sean Spicer, then a spokesman for the Trump transition effort, told reporters it would focus on “areas where he can unite the country.”

Will there be specifics?

After spending his first month handing down a flurry of executive orders, Trump looks ready to get down to business with Congress. Trump is not a policy wonk, and the White House says he’ll reaffirm his desire to work on broad goals such as tax reform and repealing and replacing ­ObamaCare .  But Trump will eventually need to take a side in specific policy debates if he wants to get his agenda passed. For example, he’s been grappling with what to do about Medicaid if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. Millions of Americans gained coverage under the healthcare law’s Medicaid expansion. Figuring out if or how to provide coverage to those people if federal funds supporting the expansion are eliminated is a difficult question for the GOP. The White House has largely left the specifics to congressional Republicans. “Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated,” Trump said during a meeting Monday with a group of governors.

Will Trump challenge the congressional GOP?

Trump’s relationship with the Republican Congress has been far from perfect, from the rocky rollout of his travel ban to simmering disagreements over tax policy, infrastructure and trade. Lawmakers have publicly and privately complained about Trump’s bombastic style and penchant to go it alone. And members are taking some heat themselves from the right. “Republican party should be sued for fraud,” Matt Drudge, founder of the conservative Drudge Report, tweeted earlier this month. “NO discussion of tax cuts now. Just lots of crazy. Back to basics, guys!” It’s unlikely that Trump will voice those same frustrations with the lawmakers he needs to pass his agenda. But they might not like what the president has to say on some issues. For example, Trump has been reluctant to throw his support behind the border-adjustment tax that’s at the center of Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) tax reform plan. Trump also hinted Monday that he would make a “big” announcement on infrastructure spending during his speech, something that could give heartburn to fiscal conservatives. Separately, GOP defense hawks said Trump’s plan to boost military spending in his 2018 budget didn’t go far enough. Despite those disagreements, GOP leaders emerged from a meeting with Trump Monday afternoon insisting they are on the same page. “We’re looking forward to a positive, upbeat presentation tomorrow night and then proceeding with our agenda, which is exactly the same as the Trump agenda,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters.

Will Trump break with protocol?

Trump has shown a penchant for shaking up staid Washington traditions, but it’s unclear whether he will veer from the usual format for State of the Union-style speeches. The joint-address format has remained relatively unchanged for years. The president makes a dramatic entrance into the House chamber and then delivers his speech from the Speaker’s rostrum to members of both chambers, Supreme Court justices, military brass and handpicked guests, with tens of millions of people watching live on television. Some past presidents have tinkered around the edges. Former President Obama released the entire text of his 2015 State of the Union on the online publishing platform Medium ahead of its delivery. The White House has not yet indicated what, if any, changes it will make, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if the former reality television star did something different. “The Trump address won’t be boring, because Donald Trump’s not boring,” counselor Kellyanne Conway said last week on Fox News.

How will Democrats react?

Democrats have vocally opposed nearly everything Trump has done in his first weeks as president. And the president has responded in kind by lobbing personal insults at top Senate Democrats. Many are wondering whether that feud will boil over in his Tuesday night address. If it does, it would certainly break with the typically civil tone during presidential joint addresses. Some Democrats are planning quiet forms of protests by filling the gallery with immigrants, ethnic minorities and LGBT individuals. In 2009, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) shouted “You lie!” at Obama during an address on healthcare reform, a shocking moment at the time that earned him an official admonishment from the House. Trump has shown no qualms about verbally confronting critics and protesters at his campaign rallies, so such a disruption could cause him to break from his prepared remarks and respond. A typical speech to a joint session includes passages that win standing ovations from both parties, but it seems possible that some Democrats will sit for the entirety of Trump’s speech. “I hope a very robust and applause-filled reception,” Spicer said Monday when asked how Trump hopes he will be received by Democrats.

We suspect it will look a little more like this…

Axios reports some chatter of possible compromises on Obamacare and Immigration, but warns don't get too excited about the idea that President Trump is having a last-minute conversion to Jeb Bush-style immigration reform. We've been talking with conservatives in his orbit, and here's what you need to understand about how Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions view the issue:

  1. The people who are in this country illegally who haven't committed crimes have always been viewed as points of leverage in a negotiation over immigration, whether that's border security or any other deal that can be struck with Congress. As we've seen in the opening weeks of his administration, Trump is also willing to use existing law to get started on deportations without Congress.
  2. But that bargaining chip is down the road, and Trumpworld is wary about the example of Ronald Reagan, who is remembered by populist conservatives for allowing an amnesty before locking down better immigration enforcement.
  3. When Trump talks about comprehensive immigration reform, it's not on the terms of the Gang of 8. His orbit believes any deal will include extreme vetting and border security.
  4. Remember Trump's trip to Mexico, where Trump said nice things to President Nieto and then went to Arizona and delivered one of the most red meat speeches of his campaign.

Remember: People will hear what they want to hear from Trump tonight, particularly on immigration. Some can take away that he's converting to Marco Rubio or Lindsey Graham-style conservatism, but his people still believe any immigration deal will be on the terms he set on the campaign.

*  *  *

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg always hugged President Barack Obama before his speeches to Congress; but sadly for President Trump, as Bloomberg reports, she doesn’t even plan to attend his first one.

Ginsburg, who called Trump a "faker" during his campaign, intends to skip Tuesday night’s speech, leaving it to five of her colleagues to represent the court.

 

Chief Justice John Roberts will join Justices Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan in attendance, court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg confirmed. All are regulars at the annual event. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito aren’t planning to attend, continuing their past practice.

 

Alito hasn’t gone to a speech since 2010, the year Obama criticized the justices’ just-issued Citizens United campaign-finance ruling. Obama accused the court of ignoring a century of precedent, a claim that prompted Alito to shake his head and mouth "not true" as Democratic lawmakers directly behind the justices rose to cheer.

 

Thomas has gone sporadically over the years and hasn’t attended since Obama’s first speech in 2009. He said in 2010 the event had become so partisan that "it’s very uncomfortable for a judge to sit there."

 

Roberts later likened the presidential addresses to a “political pep rally” and questioned whether justices should continue to attend. Even so, the chief justice hasn’t missed a speech.

 

Ginsburg, a 1993 appointee of Democrat Bill Clinton, also skipped Republican President George W. Bush’s speeches. She attended all eight of Obama’s.

 

Her attendance Tuesday night could have created an awkward moment given that the president typically greets members of the court before the speech. Trump called on Ginsburg to resign after she made the “faker” comment during the campaign.

*  *  *

The bond market is beginning to lose faith, will stocks?

*  *  *

For those who want to play along, here is the "President Trump Addresses Congress Official Bingo Game"

 

And finally, thanks to Geoffrey Dickens at NewBusters, here is your reminder of the media gushing all over President Obama's first address to congress in 2009

"He took us to the mountain tops.”

 

“Big and bold.”   

 

“He wowed us!”

 

No, these aren’t movie critic blurbs on a movie poster praising a star actor’s performance, these were the immediate reactions from the liberal media to President Barack Obama’s first address to Congress. Will Donald Trump’s speech tonight receive similar accolades? Given the press’s hostility to the new president, it seems unlikely.    

 

But back in 2009, the first takes on Obama’s speech were effusive. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews gushed “He wowed us!” CNN’s Jack Cafferty proclaimed “He’s got what it takes to lead this country back into the sunlight.”ABC’s George Stephanopoulos cheered that Obama “began on hope” and “ended on hope.”

 

Stephanopoulos’s colleague Terry Moran called the speech “big and bold” but never called it liberal, even though it was a wish list of leftist policies. On the other hand, Governor Bobby Jindal, who delivered the GOP response that night, was called a “Debbie Downer” by CBS’s Maggie Rodriguez. 

The following is just a sampling of the most enthusiastic responses to Obama’s first address to Congress from the MRC archives:

“He Wowed Us!”

“It was his debut and he wowed us. That’s the running headline from last night’s presidential address to the Congress.”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews opening Hardball, February 25, 2009.

Applauding Obama’s “Start at Inspiring Hope”

“[President Obama] came right out of the box and said, ‘make no mistake about it, we are going to recover.’ That’s the most important thing he wanted the country to hear last night. He began on hope. He ended on hope. Now, in between, there’s an awful lot of hard things to be done….But I think he made a start at inspiring hope out in the country.”
— ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America, February 25, 2009.

Obama the “Excellent” Centrist

MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann: “What can the Republican response be?…How do you come out against recovering the nation’s sense of self and its optimism? How do you come out against words like ‘boldly,’ ‘wisely,’ ‘swiftly,’ and ‘aggressively?’”

Co-anchor Chris Matthews: “[Bobby Jindal]….is running for the outside rail of the Republican Party, the right-wing rail….That’s all the room that’s left on that side because Barack has grabbed the center with the charm he showed tonight in his excellent rhetoric.”
— MSNBC’s live coverage following Obama’s speech to Congress, February 24, 2009.

“Serene” Obama Will Lead Country “Back Into the Sunlight”

“But our president seems remarkably unruffled by all of this, serene in an inner confidence that he’s got what it takes to lead this country back into the sunlight….It was quite a performance….It occurred to me watching the president last night, Wolf, that he was born to do exactly what he was doing. He had that place in the palm of his hand for the entire time he was in that room, and that can be a tough audience, a tough room to work.”
— Host Jack Cafferty on CNN’s The Situation Room, February 25, 2009.

Obama “Took Us Up to The Mountaintops”

“A rousing speech, took us up to the mountaintops.”
— Senior political analyst David Gergen on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, February 25, 2009.

“Big and Bold” Obama

“It was a big and bold speech by a new President facing deep challenges and huge expectations, delivered at a crucial moment when the country has been battered by talk of bailouts and the reality, the harsh reality of recession. And while President Barack Obama didn’t sugarcoat it —  he found bad guys on Wall Street and in Washington —  he did try to strike an optimistic tone and a hopeful note that with patience and personal responsibility and by working together, the country can prevail and thrive.”
— ABC’s Terry Moran on Nightline, February 24, 2009. Moran offered no “liberal” label of Obama’s agenda.

We Have a President Again

“It made me feel pretty good. I mean, I thought it was a great speech….You know, a friend of mine said, ‘Oh my God, we have a President again!’ Now, in some ways, that’s not fair to Bush, but that’s the way you felt. You felt this was a guy who was totally in charge.”
— NPR’s Nina Totenberg discussing President Obama’s address to Congress, February 27, 2009 Inside Washington.  

Adoring “Ambitious” Obama’s Liberal Agenda

“This was the most ambitious President we’ve heard in this chamber in decades. The first half of the speech was FDR, fighting for the New Deal. The second half was Lyndon Johnson fighting for the Great Society, and we’ve never seen those two presidents rolled together in quite this way before….’ I think we’re watching one of the greatest political dramas of our time.”
— Senior political analyst David Gergen on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, February 24, 2009.

Obama’s  FDR-Like Fireside Chat

“This was actually a fireside chat. This is what I found so fascinating. From the very first sentence he basically said to the Congress ‘I’m not talking to you, I’m talking to the people who sent us here.’ And it reminded me, in some sense, of the radio speeches FDR gave where he talked about complicated issues in simple ways. Obama tried to explain how he got into this mess, why will my program make it better. Very intensely personal in the sense of talking to people at home watching one or two at a time in front of their TVs.”
— Correspondent Jeff Greenfield during CBS’s live coverage of Obama speech, February 24, 2009.

Public Loved Obama, Jindal Was “Debbie Downer”

“And Americans loved it. The polls show that they’re very optimistic, and then out comes Bobby Jindal, Debbie Downer, saying ‘hated it, it’s not going to work.’” 
— Co-host Maggie Rodriguez on CBS’s Early Show, February 25, 2009.

We suspect the media's response – no matter what Trump says or does – will not be any of the above.

via http://ift.tt/2mbaQq9 Tyler Durden

No More Outrage Over Steaks and Couches, Please: Let’s Talk Budget

To date, Donald Trump hasn’t exactly inspired confidence as president. He can’t open his yap for more than 30 seconds (or less than 30 minutes) without spending much of his time haranguing the press or complaining about being treated “very” poorly by this or that lesser being. He can’t forget slights, real and imagined. If his executive order on immigration and refugees was any indication, he can’t be bothered to communicate with the very government agencies who are supposed to implement his policies.

Then again, the media—print, cable, online—can’t seem to maintain a serious purpose, either. Take for instance the two most recent outrages in the news and the Twitters recently. First up is the incredibly idiotic discussion of Kellyanne Conway putting her shoes on a couch in the Oval Office. Seriously. From the Washington Post:

Conway also addressed the controversy during an appearance on “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” which aired on the Fox Business Network, saying she was being asked to “take a picture in a crowded room with the press behind us.”

“And I was asked to take a certain angle and was doing exactly that,” she said. “I certainly meant no disrespect, I didn’t mean to have my feet on the couch.”

WTF, really. Let me be blunt: If this is the sort of crap we spend talking about, we deserve every plague visited upon Pharaoh and worse. Really, WTF?

Thanks for stating the obvious, Dreyfuss. I rush only to add that this isn’t the dumbest outrage ever. It’s simply the most recent outrage so far. Sadly.

The other recent flap not worth giving a flying fuck about? That would be the president’s habit of ordering his steaks well-done and then drowning them in ketchup. The Washington Post again:

For real, Mr. President? In a market where residents can practically point to a spot on a globe and find a nearby dining room that serves its cuisine? In a city where some of the country’s best contemporary Greek, Indian and, hello, even American restaurants are about as close to your door as the steakhouse in the Trump International Hotel?…

Food is often referred to as a bridge, a form of communion, a way to connect with people. Trump, a Queens native known to eat pizza with a knife and fork, views food in tinier terms. Unlike his pie-loving, almond-popping, restaurant-savvy predecessor, the current occupant of the White House appears to see food as something to be dispatched without much thought, like tweeting reviews of “Saturday Night Live.”…

Everything the leader of the free world does — the books he chooses to read (or not), the clothes he opts to wear, the food he reaches for — is examined for meaning. If Trump’s maiden D.C. dinner is any indication, we’re looking at four years of imitation vanilla.

I genuinely dislike most of Trump’s agenda. I’m good with expanding school choice and reducing regulations, but I’m dumbfounded and disgusted by most of the rest, including his stance on immigration, refugees, trade, war, and much more. All of which is trivialized by mocking the billionaire for his eating habits or whether one of his advisers put her feet on the couch.

We’re $20 trillion in debt and the country elected a president who has shown very little ability to act professionally or with a gravitas befitting his office. We get the chief executive we deserve, just like we get the House and the Senate and the governors and legislatures we deserve. We should be asking for more and better politicians and policies.

There’s a rumor going around that Trump is actually going to act presidentially in tonight’s speech. I’ll believe it when I see it but barring that, it would also be a good thing to start demanding he get serious about the federal budget and rethink his nativism and nostalgia for all those good old-fashioned factory jobs that are never coming back. One thing we’ll have to give up is pretending that how a guy eats his meat has anything to do with anything other than his dinners.

It shouldn’t be that hard. But it probably will be, especially among media types who want to show that they get it in a way that Donald Trump—“a poor person’s idea of a rich person” HAW HAW HAW—never will.

On with the show.

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Trump Speech Excerpts Leaked: Few Details, Promises Of “Historic” Tax Reform, “Massive” Tax Cuts

Yesterday we asked in lieu of actual details in today’s Trump speech, what adjective(s) would Trump pick to spark S&P and USDJPY momentum igniition algos, while overemphasizing his fiscal plan and deflecting from the lack of substance:

The answer at first glance, according to a leaked draft of select speech excerpts, appears to be “historic” and “massive” as in “historic tax reform” and “massive tax relief for the middle class.” Alas, as so many traders have dreaded, there does not appear to be any actionable detail how Trump will achieve this “historic”, “massive” tax relief.

Among the other topics discussed are immigration laws, Obamacare (which Trump calls to repeal and replace), child care, promoting clean air and water, rebuilding military infrastructure, and of course, plain old rhetoric.

Here are the select excerpts from the speech which while they may lead to a kneejerk reaction higher in risk assets, will – absent elaboration – likely result in a disappointment market shortly thereafter:

My economic team is developing historic tax reform that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone. At the same time, we will provide massive tax relief for the middle class.

* * *

By finally enforcing our immigration laws, we will raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions of dollars, and make our communities safer for everyone.

* * *

Tonight, I am also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time provide better healthcare.

Mandating every American to buy government approved health insurance was never the right solution for America. The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance and that is what we will do.

* * *

My administration wants to work with members in both parties to make child care accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents have paid family leave, to invest in women’s health, and to promote clean air and clean water and rebuild our military infrastructure.

* * *

The time for small thinking is over, the time for trivial fights is behind us, we just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts, the bravery to express the hopes that stir our souls, and the confidence to turn those hopes and dreams to action. From now on, America will be empowered by our aspirations not burdened by our fears.

* * *

But we know that America is better off when there is less conflict not more. We must learn from the mistakes of the past. We must have seen the war and destruction that have raged across our world. The only long-term solution for these humaniatrian disasters is to create the conditions where displaced persons can safely return home and begin the long process of rebuilding. America is willing to find new friends and to forge new partnerships were shared interest aling.

* * *

As promised I directed the department of defense to develop a plan to demolish and destroy ISIS, a netrosk of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians and men women and children of all faiths and beliefs. We will work with our allies including our friends and allies in the Muslim world to extinguish this file (sic) enemy from our planet.

* * *

And so on. For the full speech tune in at 9pm ET.

via http://ift.tt/2mqJJHY Tyler Durden

US-Backed Siege Of Mosul Shows How The Hypocritical Media Manipulates Us

Via Darius Shahtahmasebi of TheAntiMedia.org,

In order to determine the truth when it comes to the mainstream media’s coverage of American-led offensives in the Middle East, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of any article. This is where the most important information can be found. As can be seen in a BBC report on the U.S.-backed offensive to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State, the last line of the article reads:

“The UN said in late January that almost half of all the casualties in Mosul were civilians. At least 1,096 have been killed and 694 injured across Nineveh province since the start of October.” [emphasis added]

Compared with a separate BBC report on the Russian-backed offensive to retake the Syrian city of Aleppo, the media’s coverage of these two military operations can hardly be viewed as balanced. In that report, the idea that Russia is constantly killing civilians is laid out in almost every paragraph.

A spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)  reportedly told Russian state-owned news site RT that the situation in Mosul is “incredibly desperate.”

In Mosul, 650,000 civilians are reportedly at risk, and as the U.N. has indicated, half of those being killed in the U.S.-backed operation are civilians. The notion that American bombs are safer and more precise than Russia’s has no evidentiary basis, nor does any suggestion that the troops the U.S. military is fighting alongside are less violent than Russian or Syrian authorities. In fact, the troops fighting alongside the U.S. in Iraq are more or less aligned with those attempting to liberate parts of Syria from terrorist groups, anyway. This demonstrates America’s completely bipolar approach to the Middle East given the U.S. has consistently opposed advances made by these troops in Syria.

In a press briefing, the Pentagon’s Baghdad-based spokesperson, Colonel John Dorrian, admitted that American troops on the front lines have come under fire in Iraq. The Trump administration, with full knowledge of this, is nonetheless reportedly considering a “long-term commitment” to Iraq.

According to a report compiled by a think tank founded by alleged war criminal Tony Blair, at least 65,000 fighters “share key parts of the ideology of ISIS, with 15 of its rivals ready to take its place if it is defeated.”

No matter what the U.S. does in Syria and Iraq regarding combating terror groups, there will always be another group just as deadly and willing to replace its predecessor. The U.S. has clearly used this dynamic their advantage as these terror groups consistently give the American military a cause to intervene, which can provide a smokescreen for the real motives behind the war.

Currently, it is possible that the push to move ISIS out of Mosul is actually an attempt to drive ISIS back into Syria so they can put added pressure on the Syrian regime.

That’s something worth looking forward to.

via http://ift.tt/2lwzZbh Tyler Durden

US Auto Dealers Forced To Rent First “Overflow Lots” In 37 Years Amid Inventory Glut

Yesterday we noted that GM launched an aggressive incentive program in the month of February to clear out some of its pickup truck inventory.  In fact, incentives on the company’s Silverado were up 56% YoY to $6,996, while discounts on the Sierra were up 82% to $5,315 (see “GM Pickup Incentives Surge Over 80% As Auto Bubble Continues To Show Signs Of An Imminent Bust“). 

But apparently GM isn’t the only auto OEM who may have had to splurge on incentive spending in February to clear out inventory piling up on dealer lots.  Inventory days across the industry are up massively YoY and stood at 85 days at the beginning of February, up 22 days from January 1st and up 8 days compared to the same time last year.  As one Honda dealer told Bloomberg, the inventory pile up at his dealership has become so excessive that for the first time in 37 years of business he was forced to rent an overflow lot to park unsold cars in February.

For the first time in his 37 years working at New Jersey car dealerships, Larry Kull had to rent extra space to store unsold new Honda vehicles — one of the latest signs that the record U.S. auto market is cooling.

 

Across dealer lots in America, inventory is piling up as automakers produce more cars than are being bought. Dealers had about 85 days worth of cars and trucks on hand at the beginning of February — about 22 days more than at the beginning of 2017 and eight days more than a year earlier, according to Automotive News Data Center.

 

“The sales are good, I just have more product on the ground than I’ve had before,” said Kull, who has about 60 days of passenger cars including Civic compacts and Accord sedans stocked at an office parking lot down the road from his Honda store in Marlton, New Jersey. He prefers to have just 45 days worth of cars on hand.

Meanwhile, this news comes just as wall street prepares to digest new car sales data tomorrow.  Overall sales for February are expected to be down slightly while GM is expected to perform ‘best’  among the D3 on their massive incentive spending (though we’re not sure it’s much of a victory if you’re giving the cars way).

Auto Sales

 

And the import brands are expected to have mixed results as well with VW benefiting from an easy YoY comp associated with their emissions scandal that effectively halted sales a year ago.

Auto Sales

 

As we noted yesterday, there are only two ways to deal with the rising inventory conundrum: i) cut production or ii) splurge on incentives to sell more cars.  Unfortunately, financing terms for autos are about as loose as they can get and interest rates are now headed in the wrong direction so selling more cars the old fashioned way seems unlikely. 

Production cutbacks also have already begun. GM and Fiat Chrysler have eliminated shifts, laid off employees or scheduled days off early this year at plants making slower selling models including the Chevrolet Cruze compacts, Chrysler Pacifica minivans and Buick Lacrosse sedans.

 

While heavy inventory is a signal of potential pressure on automakers’ profits, it also boosts costs for dealers, which pay interest on inventory as well as any extra expense to store vehicles.

 

“No one likes to cut production or dial up incentives, and we’re seeing a bit of both,” Thomas King, an analyst with J.D. Power, said by phone. “We’ve got a lot of cars on the ground when the market is moving away from cars.”

Meanwhile, as one dealer points out, part of the inventory problem is a heavy mix towards cars when buyers are now looking to take advantage of low fuel prices and trade up to an SUV.

Raj Murjani, a sales manager at a Lexus dealership in Queens, said he’s selling about 40 or 50 fewer vehicles than usual this month. He sees the gap in popularity between SUVs and sedans continuing to widen, as low gasoline prices encourage consumers to switch to bigger vehicles.

 

“If it’s a person who’s been in a sedan and they got just the slightest taste of an SUV, they don’t ever want to go back,” he said. “They think going back into a sedan is a downgrade.”

Of course, we’re sure each of these buyers has done extensive modeling on the long-term equilibrium price for crude oil…

via http://ift.tt/2m5e264 Tyler Durden