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Gun Smoke


Exhibit One:

As I said on @ThisWeekABC to give some perspective: “Benghazi was a 4 year investigation, there were zero indictments. The Clinton emails was a 2 year investigation, there were zero indictments. The Mueller investigation has been 14 months, there have been 23 indictments.”

— Matthew Dowd (@matthewjdowd) May 6, 2018

Exhibit Two:

We All Have History:
Oliver North, (New head of the NRA) who sold weapons to Iran so he could buy guns from a Syrian terrorist and then give the guns to farmer-murdering death squads, with the help of a drug-dealing Panamanian dictator. Then lied about it.
The face of law-abiding gun ownership.
— zeddy (@Zeddary) May 7, 2018

Exhibit Three:

Paul Ryan, Best Drone attack ever:

Bought and groomed from a young age, he was sent by his masters to Congress for one purpose and one purpose only, cutting corporate taxes. And after his glowing success, he retires to bask in the glow and the rich rewards lavished on him for his efforts.

The U.S. Just Borrowed $488 Billion, a Record High for the First Quarter
     -Sven Henrich (@NorthmanTrader) April 30, 2018
Fiscal conservatism is pretty cool, huh?
     -Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) April 30, 2018
The Butt Hurt Rich:

As national Republicans scramble their resources for a high-stakes midterm election year, some of the party’s biggest and most reliable donors have quietly withheld their support for Senate and House Republican groups out of frustration with the new tax law, CNN has learned…

Some of the Republican Party’s powerhouse donors in fact feel deeply stung by the law and have made their displeasure known to party leaders by keeping their wallets shut, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation, who spoke with CNN on condition of anonymity.

The donors who have boycotted, all of whom are leaders of prominent hedge funds, include Paul Singer, of Elliott Management; Citadel’s Ken Griffin; Warren Stephens of Stephens Inc.; Cliff Asness of AQR; Bruce Kovner, formerly of Caxton; and Third Point’s Daniel Loeb. Combined, their donations accounted for more than $50 million to Republican groups during the 2016 election cycle; Singer ranked among the top 10 donors of either party, while Griffin and Stephens ranked in the top 20.

Collectively, they have bristled at what they view as favored treatment for corporations under the law. While the corporate tax rate was slashed from 35% to 21%, hedge funds are largely taxed at the top individual rate, which ticked down from 39.6% to 37%…

Trickle Down:

Michael Patcher, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, “The tax law didn’t do anything to provide an incentive to employers to create jobs. There’s nothing in there that would suggest that employers have a particular incentive to hire more people or pay the ones that they have more money.”

Instead there have been huge stock buybacks.

Here are some of the biggest stock buyback announcements so far in 2018, according to Kiplinger.

1. Apple – $100 billion

2. Cisco – $25 billion

3. Wells Fargo – $22.6 billion

4. Pepsi – $15 billion

5. AbbVie – $10 billion

6. Amgen – $10 billion

7. Google parent Alphabet – $8.6 billion

8. Visa – $7.5 billion

9. eBay – $6 billion

Investors can expect even bigger buybacks after the first half of the year ends, says Silverblatt.

“Buybacks are a short-term win-win situation with immediate net gratification,” he said. “Buybacks move quicker and have more flexibility. So we’re seeing those increase quicker in response to shareholder demands.”

Harley Davison’s response is instructive. Close a US plant, plans to open one in Thailand, and use the Tax money for a $700 million dollar stock buyback.

Exhibit Four:

In the Rose Garden, Melania Trump launches her BE BEST initiative on child well-being, saying that “too often,” social media is “used in negative ways.”

Meanwhile, Trump asks Congress to cut $7Bil from the Children's health Insurance program
— 7H3_W1Z4RD (@_7H3_W1Z4RD_) May 7, 2018
Within an hour of First Lady Melania Trump saying that children deserve every opportunity to enjoy their innocence, Jeff Sessions announced that it is the official policy of the U.S. to rip children out of the arms of their parents and lock them up.
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) May 8, 2018
Exhibit Five:
Republicans didn’t even recognize Obama freed these 11 American hostages from North Korea: E. Lee, L. Ling, R. Park, A. Gomes, E. Yong Su Jun, M. Newman, J. Fowle, K. Bae, M. Miller, S. Suh, A. Pierre Martinez, but watch them react with Trump…
— Christopher Zullo (@ChrisJZullo) May 10, 2018
However, it must be noted that President Obama did failed to free the two guys who were imprisoned during Trump’s first year in office.

Exhibit Six:

Austin Frakt had a very interesting piece in the Upshot the other day, on U.S. health spending – and U.S. health — in international perspective. Everyone knows that U.S. spending is more or less literally off the charts compared with everyone else, while many are aware that we have also diverged, in the wrong direction, on measures like life expectancy: we’re falling further than further behind the rest of the advanced world.

What Frakt points out is that it was not always thus. The dismal U.S. combination of high costs and poor results only began to emerge around 1980, which poses a mystery

What changed? In a subsequent post, Frakt suggests that U.S. exceptionalism may be related to income inequality. And it’s true that income inequality began its huge rise just about the same time that U.S. health care apparently went off the rails.

Hello Japan:

There were only 3.85 million U.S. babies born in 2017, a 2 percent drop from the previous year and a 30-year low. This isn’t a problem now, but it will be; aging societies that have declining birthrates and low immigration rates have more difficulties sustaining social services with decreased economic output and increased numbers of retired people. [The Associated Press]

At the Exit:

Eddie Devine voted for Trump because he thought he would be good for American business. Now, he says, the Trump administration’s restrictions on seasonal foreign labor may put him out of business. “I feel like I’ve been tricked by the devil,” said Devine, owner of Devine Creations Landscaping. I feel so stupid.”

That’s why Devine thinks the Trump administration’s stifling of guest-worker programs has more to do with racism than economics. “I think there’s a war on brown people.” He said.

But what makes him most angry is that Trump’s properties in Florida and New York have used 144 H-2B workers since 2016. “I want to know why it’s OK for him to get his workers, but supporters like me don’t get theirs.” Devine said.




Uncle Willie loves to have feedback from both readers who appreciate his point of view as well as from missguided souls who disagree.