DONALD TALKS ABOUT FIGHTING STREET CRIME, BUT HIS ACTIONS SAY OTHERWISE!

Donald Trump spoke today, in Washington, D. C., at a memorial service for police officers, who were killed in the line-of-duty.  As usual, I personally didn’t care much for Trump’s style; because, however well-intentioned his words might have been, they did not correlate with any plan to understand it.  

In amongst his rhetoric, Donald Trump always seems to have an “Us-versus-Them” scenario in mind, especially when it comes to the Black-White relations on our nation’s streets, which is generally were police officers are killed.  Additionally, he always seems to side with the police officers, in any confrontation  ,without considering the possibility that, perhaps in some cases, the officer might have acted without provocation.

I have several relatives, as well as friends, who are either active or retired from law enforcement.  And, I sincerely believe that most in their profession are dedicated men and women, and they are deeply committed to serving and safeguarding the public.  But, I believe that Donald Trump should work toward understanding the situation, including all possible causes, and only then can he work toward solving the long standing problem.

Donald Trump, and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions; however, seem to be escalating the street crime problem, rather than diffusing it.  The whole “Black Lives Matter” movement reflects the evils of Racism, which had never been settled—400 years since Black Africans were first forcibly brought to America, and sold into Slavery.

For instance, many of the incidents of police officers shooting Black Men have stemmed from the police harassing the Black Men, rather than just giving them a ticket or a warning, as they generally would to a White Man.  AG Sessions further raised the level of distrust last week, when he announced that he was asking the Courts to hand-down the harshest sentences possible, even for non-violent crimes.  WHY?

Part of the racial distrust, which is at the heart of the heightened street crime, is due to the fact that many more Blacks and Latinos are in prison, than Whites.  Also, minorities often get harsher sentences for the same crimes.  A rational person might conclude that the Trump Regime intends to make the problem worse, rather than better.  Is that how Donald Trump might chose to remember those officers who were killed in the line-of-duty?

NOTE:  Please consider me a rational person.

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MIGHT DONALD TRUMP’S DISREGARD FOR MEXICO JEOPARDIZE OUR BORDER SECURITY?

Last January, I compared the current disastrous situation with Mexico, which Donald Trump created, when he announced his candidacy in June of 2015.  Mr. Trump always seems to need objects, which he can later blame for his own mistakes or inadequacies.  In fact, ever since Trump’s irrational attacks on Mexico began, the possible reaction could present a much clearer and more dangerous situation.

In October of 1962, President John F. Kennedy averted the Soviet Union’s installation of Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles in Cuba, by establishing a blockade of U. S. naval ships around the island nation.  Allowing ICBMs, just 90 miles from our shares, would have been courting a similarly dangerous situation, between the two nuclear superpowers.  Luckily, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev “blinked”, and the ships returned to Russia.

Given Trump’s raucous attacks over the past two years, current Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who had previously been lagging in popularity, has dropped even farther in the polls.  The Mexican economy has stagnated, partially due to a halt in corporate investments until Donald Trump decides, for sure, what the status of NAFTA will be!  Keep in mind, as well, that Russia and now China, have b been building trading relationships throughout South America, and Mexico might be of interest to them.

Ironically, as America tries to determine whether there was any possible Russian involvement in our Election, last November, Donald Trump has apparently contributed toward a probable Presidential turn-over in Mexico.  If Donald would have considered the facts—only 5.6 million undocumented Mexicans were in the U. S. in 2016, as compared to 6.4 million in 2009, according to a new Pew Research Report—we wouldn’t be in this situation.

Senior Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the leftist former Mayor of Mexico City, appears favored to win the Presidential Election on July 1.  Andres Oppenheimer writes that, when he interviewed Lopez Obrador, two years ago for the Miami Herald, he sounded exactly like Communist Hugo Chavez, the deceased former President of Venezuela.  Lopez Obrador further places the blame, for the current deadly riots in Venezuela, on the political opponents of current President, Nicolas Maduro.

U. S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s comment, earlier this week, announced that the Trump Regime would no longer insist that countries we deal with, must abide by our values.  Those would include Democracy and Human Rights.  In that case, Donald Trump; might develop a closer relationship with Mexico, if the favored Lopez Obrador, who might have Communist tendencies. is elected President.  Of course, Donald might then have to accept the ramifications—of having either China or Russia, literally on our doorstep!

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WHAT IS RISKIER, GLOBAL INVESTMENT-WISE, THAN DEVELOPING MARKETS?

Many people assume that there are just two types of national economies, “Developed” or “Developing”.  But that is certainly not the case, at all. There are still nations, mostly in Africa, where people subsist on just a few dollars per day.  Such economies haven’t even begun to develop!

And other people have observed the rising tides, year-by-year, and realize that their homes, and their towns, will be inundated, within a decade or so.  I will try to explain more of this, in future posts—from personal observation and study—about why some nations are evolving, and others are not.

There are three main categories of market development:—Developed, Developing and Frontier.  A brief explanation is follows:

Developed Markets:  are the easiest to identify, since they are the generally some of the largest economies; have attained a certain level of industrialization; posses reasonably large and efficient stock, and oftentimes bond, markets, and a stable currency.. Relatively high levels of education prevail, thus enabling a more capable labor force.  As you can, the top investments in rude many global companies.

Developing Markets display economic advancement in the above-cited categories; however, they might be more advanced in some areas, and less so in others.  Because there is more risk in less-advanced economies, home-grown large corporations are scarce, due to the more elementary capital structure, and a shortage of foreign investment.  At least here, there are a few names of corporations that you are familiar with.

Categorization is somewhat judgmental, since South Korea is considered “developing” by some indexers; however, it is home to some of the world’s largest corporations, has a per capita income of 79% that of Japan, a highly educated labor force, and its per capita GDP is expected to surpass that of Japan and France perhaps by around 2020.

Frontier Markets are a catch-all category for nations that generally have: poorly-functioning economies; stock and capital markets, if any, are inefficient; most economic functions take place at the village level, often by barter; central governments are usually dysfunctional; and education is minimal.  I doubt there are any familiar corporations in this group.

I have linked Fact Sheets of an ETF for each of the three categories. The iShares
ETFs have some of the highest trading volume; which, I believe makes them more liquid. Also, by using the same company’s ETFs, at least for my purposed in this post, the companies, countries and industries represented would be in the same location on the Fact Sheets.

NOTE:  There are other ETFs, as well as actively-managed mutual funds, which would provide a range of investments in the same market categories.  Please compare the various options in the event that you invest overseas.

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DONALD TRUMP DOESN’T SEEM TO UNDERSTAND THE CONNECTION BETWEEN HUMAN RIGHTS AND IMMIGRATION

Most Peoples of the world love their country, and don’t want to leave it!  It’s what they know, their friends and livelihood are there, and all of their memories are there.  But, when they suffer from political or religious persecution, economic insecurity, or a dangerous environment, they must do what is best for them and their families. That’s just common sense—and survival!

Last Wednesday, however, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, declared that in our dealings with other countries, we cannot expect them to adopt our values, such as Human Rights.  Without providing details, Tillerson said that diplomats would emerge from the Government’s changes with a “much more satisfying, fulfilling career.”  Hmm: Did he really say that?

Perhaps preferring to overlook how nations we deal with treat their own people, is part of the “America First!” mantra; but, I believe that it also sends a message as to Who we in America are!   Both NATO and the United Nations require that member countries govern within a democratically and humane manner; however, that might mean little more than lip service to some UN members.

Donald Trump has signed several Executive Orders, attempting to block Muslims from certain Middle Eastern nations, from entering the United States.  Each time, however, his directives had been “stayed” (blocked) by the Federal Courts, apparently for the potential religious discrimination aspects. Trying to stop, either visitors or immigrants, from entering with Visas, makes Donald appear to be even outdoing his own current deportation plans

Just to maintain his unpredictability, however, Donald Trump has extended the special EB-5 Visa, which allows anyone who can invest $500,000 in America to migrate here.  Many, especially wealthy Chinese, come here to give birth to their American Babies.  People who profit from this Visa program extol its benefits; bur, as always, it just demonstrates how money can generally open any door.

So now, let’s tie Human Rights and Immigration together.  Venezuela is a failed state; which is located just 1,350 miles south of Miami.  It is a powder keg, just waiting to blow!  Dictator/President Nicolas Maduro has jailed his political opponents, disbanded the Congress, taken over the media, nationalized much of the industry, and he totally ruined the economy.

Back in 1981, when Fidel Castro freed 121,000 Cubans to leave the Island, from Mariel, they mostly arrived in Miami, just 90 miles away.  That required them to risk treacherous seas in small boats and on unstable rafts.  Our large Cuban Diaspora took them in and, in time, they have contributed admirably to both the society and the economy.

Most of the leaders of the Organization of American States (OAS), which is composed of the nations in the Western Hemisphere, have been trying to negotiate a solution in Venezuela.  They are trying to convince Maduro to free the political prisoners, grant human rights, hold fair elections and abide by them. The United States should join in in order to provide a united OAS against Maduro.  The question is, if civil war starts in Venezuela, how many of its 33 million will Come to America?

Back before America was a nation, several groups of Christians, as it happens, arrived on our shores, seeking religious freedom, and escape from an overbearing kingdom, which taxed without giving representation.  Native Americans taught them how to survive in this new environment, France provided financing and advice as we fought to separate ourselves from the horrible tyrant and, in time, that tyrant became one of closest allies.

Mr. Trump, we are no longer that group of “tired, poor, huddled masses”; but, one of the largest, wealthiest, strongest nations on earth.  Couldn’t it possibly be in our own best interest to give the Peoples of Syria and Venezuela a helping hand?  Just think: Britain no longer rules the waves and, perhaps, we should be forward thinking. as well!

NOTE:  Greetings to all the blokes down under.

 

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WHY DOES RUSSIA SEEM TO CARE SO MUCH ABOUT THE FRENCH ELECTION?

As I write this, it is already early Sunday morning in France, on the day of the Final Round of the French Presidential Election.  The candidates from the two major parties have been eliminated, and the 2017 Presidential Election will choose between: Marion Anne “Marine” Le Pen, of Ultra-Right “Le Front National”, against Emmanuel (Jean-Michel Frederic) Macron of the Centrist “En Marche!” Party.

The Russian cyber-prints seem to be all over the French Election, as was the case in the     U. S., Germany and perhaps elsewhere in Europe.  Unlike Donald Trump, however, who sent his “Special Advisors” to meet with the Russians, Madam Le Pen made a personal visit to President Vladimir Putin, and even had her photograph taken with him.   So, why does Russia care about the French Election?

President Putin seems to have two major problems with the Atlantic Alliance, which includes:  Canada; the U. S; and Europe.  Following the implosion of he Soviet Union, some of it’s former Soviet satellites either claimed independence, or joined NATO and/or the European Union.  Additionally, when Russia annexed Crimea, and began interfering in Eastern Ukraine, the Alliance toughened its economic sanctions on Russia.

The sanctions have greatly hindered Russia’s trade:  either for importing goods that its economy needs; or selling its exports—primarily oil and gas—to acquire necessary dollars, or other reserve currencies.  The Russian economy, which had never diversified much beyond the energy sector, was further devastated when the price of oil—its major cash source—was cut in half, on local markets, from the $90 per barrel three years ago.

Although Monsieur Macron appears favored to win; as we saw in the U. S. Election, strange things can happen.  If Marine Le Pen were to become President, and her avowed Referendum to leave the E. U. were successful, that would mean that two of the three major economies—and largest nations—would be gone.

Also, a FRexit would be even worse than Britain leaving, since breaking-up the 19 member Euro, the common currency, would cause even more of an upheaval—both for France and the E. U.  At that point, losing 30% of the trade pact’s GDP—between France and U. K., would certainly cause the relevance of the E. U. to come into question.  And then, nations that leave, as they look for trading options, might begin to cozy-up to Russia and, thus, reduce the impact of the economic sanctions.

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DONALD TRUMP PLANS TO EVISCERATE THE STATE DEPARTMENT BUDGET, BY 30%! DOES HE STILL HATE HILLARY CLINTON THAT MUCH?

When Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, heard that the State Department Budget would be slashed by 30%, he said: “I’m going to need a lot more bullets!”   As a retired Marine General, Secretary Mattis understands that the dollars spent by State are worth more than those in the Pentagon’s Budget.  Similarly, 150 retired generals and admirals signed a letter to Mr. Trump, asking him to re-consider this down-sizing; because, they know how State Department programs can partially offset the need for Military action!

Throughout the entire Trump Regime, there are only a handful of key staff positions—Deputy and Assistant Secretaries—that are filled.  Also, since these are political appointments, they would need to go through the often tedious Confirmation Process.
While 200 key positions remain vacant at State, it is expected that the Department might not be up to full-strength, at the key levels, until well into 2018.

Due to the size of the State Department, with some 170 overseas locations, the void at the top is especially debilitating.  Secretary Tillerson must travel quite extensively, mostly out of the country.  Who, then, would be in-charge when the Secretary of State is overseas?  He surely needs several key assistants to keep things functioning properly.

Donald Trump appears to know nothing about Foreign Policy, nor does he seem intent on learning.  Rex Tillerson, his Secretary of State—who should be his Chief Foreign Policy Advisor, was the CEO of Exxon-Mobil Corporation, and is a diplomatic novice, as well.  With both Trump and Tillerson lacking in any form of Foreign Policy experience, who do they call when they need help…NOW?

Secretary Tillerson, in his former career at Exxon, knows that any confident executive would have screamed holy murder at a 30% budget cut.—especially for no apparent reason!  Budget-size reflects relative importance—in government, as well as business. Mr. Tillerson, however, apparently didn’t bat an eye.  What kind of message does that down-sizing send to the world, at large, about how America views Diplomacy?

Besides America’s vast global network of Embassies and Consulates, the State Department provides leadership and financing for numerous vital programs: eradicating illnesses such as malaria and diphtheria; empowering women in combatting rape, incest, honor-killings and sex-trafficking; promoting education and micro-banking; and providing clean water and sewer systems to rural area.  Such programs help enable disadvantaged regions to become more economically aligned with the rest of the world.

Given the Importance of the State Department, as the face of America to the rest of the world, I can only wonder why its Budget was slashed so significantly.  Besides the many geopolitical trouble spots, let’s not forget growing starvation due to Climate Change, and the potential for medical pandemics. Why…WHY is Donald Trump trying to eviscerate the very Department of State?  Does he hate Secretary Hillary R. Clinton that much?

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CREATING A “FINANCIAL TERMS” TAB

Over the five years of this blogs existence, I have often wondered how to treat certain financial terms.  When I stop and provide a short description (of the term), that can break the flow of the discussion.   So, how do I inform or educate all readers, without annoying those with a greater financial awareness?

For instance, the media may take different approaches in reporting various economic statistic, such as the GDP—Gross Domestic Product: which is the total of all goods and service produced by a country (or other entity).  The general print or broadcast media might provide a brief explanation of the particular statistic, when announcing it.

Print media snd cable TV stations, which regularly report on financial topics; however, would not.  Rather, they might place the particular item into some form of context, such as: adding the quarterly GDP; its advance or decline for the Year; or perhaps the actual, versus the projected, GDP statistics.

I have decided to create a “Financial Terms” Tab, which may be accessed at the top-left of this blog. For anyone seeking more in-depth information on the term, they might link on Investopedia, or any of a number of other financial-related web sites.  Rather than try to include a wide range of terms, all at once, I will build upon the terms to be included, over time.

NOTE:  Keep in mind that financial terms and concepts might be included in posts, which discuss other than financial topics.

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