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Wall Street Ends Its Worst Year Since The 2008 Financial Crisis


      There is no doubt that Trump's chaotic form of "governing" is anxiety provoking, dangerous and often inhumane, but in spite of all his grandiose talking points to the contrary, 2018 has been the stock market's worst year since the financial crisis that Obama inherited, and if Trump is allowed to continue his poor decisions, 2019 is predicted to be as bad or worse.

      So much for the oft touted accolades the Right keeps giving to Trump the "business man!"

      Wall Street's moderate gains in New Year's Eve trading were nowhere near enough to avert the worst year for American stocks since the financial crisis.

      The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 5.6 percent in 2018, its first annual drop since a 2.2 percent decrease in 2015 but a mere fraction of the 34 percent slide in 2008. The broader S&P 500 tumbled 6.2 percent, its first year in the red since a 0.7 percent slip in 2015, while the Nasdaq is down 3.9 percent. Both indexes lost more than a third of their value in 2008.

      The dour performance, which undercuts one of President Trump's favorite economic talking points during his first year in the White House, reflects concern about Federal Reserve interest rate hikes, fallout from tariffs the administration has posed on allies and rivals alike, and speculation that growth will slow in 2019.

      "We know the economy is likely to slow because you have the waning effects of tax cuts, you have the impact of higher rates already, and you have trade friction," said Fred Cannon, director of research at New York brokerage Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. Still, "the Fed and most people looking at the U.S. economy don't believe it's going to fall into a recession."

      The central bank has raised short-term interest rates nine times, to a range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent, since cutting them to nearly zero during the financial crisis. The last 25 basis-point increase, occurring the week before Christmas, dragged markets lower and prompted bitter criticism of Fed Chariman Jerome Powell from Trump, who appointed him to succeed Janet Yellen.

      Indeed, the president's musings about whether he could fire Powell injected further volatility into the markets, which rely on the central bank's independent management of the U.S. economy.

      "Tension between the Fed and the president is obvious," said David Bianco, Americas chief investment officer for New York-based wealth-management firm DWS. "This is not a first for the Fed," he added, noting market frustration with the Christmas hike. "The Fed must make the right decision for the economy, not its credibility or autonomy."

      Along with interest rates, corporate executives and economists will pay close attention during the coming year to trade policy, given Trump's threats to add tariffs to another $267 billion in Chinese imports. The president vows to add the tariffs unless he's able to strike a deal with Beijing that addresses a trade imbalance and Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property.

      The White House has already imposed duties on $250 billion of Chinese goods, driving up supply costs for U.S. businesses, as well as double-digit levies on steel and aluminum. Trump has also threatened tariffs on imports of automobiles and parts.

      "We see slowing across the board, and we think tariffs are driving much of that slowdown," said Rob Martin, an economist with the Swiss lender UBS.


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      Pundit Post

      1968 Thoughts On A New Year



          Thoughts on a New Year

          On Christmas Eve 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 took this iconic photo that became known as "Earthrise",

          arguably one of the most profoundly influential images in human history.

          NASA/Bettmann/Getty Images

          By Ray Cunneff

          December 31, 2018

          I hadn't planned on writing anything today. In fact, I've been avoiding the computer for over a week.

          Our plans for New Year's Eve were simple, an early dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and home before the party-hearty revelers were on the road.

          We'd been binge-watching some of our favorite movies over the last few days, so while my wife wanted to catch up on some of the TV shows she likes, shows in which I'm less interested, I went looking for documentaries On Demand and came upon a four-part CNN series "1968".

          Days of rioting erupted in cities across the United States, including Chicago, seen here.

          Lee Balterman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

          It seemed somehow appropriate as we approach a new year, one that may prove pivotal in so many respects, to be reminded of perhaps the most eventful, tumultuous and in many ways frightening year in my life and in the life of our country.

          Anti-war protesters confront federal troops during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

          Raymond Depardon/Magnum Photos

          I was serving on active duty in the U.S. Army in 1968, having been drafted a year before, and it seemed the country was being torn apart by the war in Vietnam, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, racial polarization, political upheaval, campus demonstrations, cities burning in protests and generational challenges to authority that seemed to tear at the very fabric of America.

          Civil rights leaders point in the direction of the gunshot after Martin Luther King Jr.

          was struck by an assassin’s bullet on the balcony of Memphis’ Lorraine Motel.

          Joseph Louw/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

          Sen. Robert Kennedy, brother of former President John F. Kennedy, shakes hands with

          supporters during a presidential campaign appearance in Philadelphia.

          Warren M. Winterbottom/AP

          For those of us old enough to remember 1968, the series of body-blows that challenged us as individuals and as a nation, the sense of foreboding and disorientation, a general sense of despair that rocked so many of our assumptions, it may seem tempting to approach the unknown territory we now face, the "unprecedented" (the word of the year) dangers facing us in 2019 with a sense of dread.

          But while it's important as we begin a new year to remember such a perilous time as we faced in 1968, it's no less important to remember that we survived it. History will judge whether we learned from it or have become a more just society because of it.

          A rally in front of the Washington Monument for the Poor People’s Campaign, a cause

          started by Martin Luther King Jr. Paul Slade/Paris Match/Getty Images

          Wishing us all a safe, secure, and possibly transformative, 2019.

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          Pundit Post

          Not Sure Why. Or How. But The Court Ruled...


              Seriously. It's one thing to define abortion and not restrict it - I get that. We do that here in Oregon. But it's another wholly and completely to intentionally do harm to one's child with no "intent" to abort them - only to feed one's addiction or to get high knowing as someone who is pregnant, illegal drug ingestion will harm life that is separate from your own.

              And for the highest court in one of our state's to suggest no ABUSE occurred by doing so?

              Whoa.... this one will end up in the US Supreme Court - because of this ruling. And I do believe by ruling this way - Pennsylvania's highest court affirmed that most of all - they want the highest court in the land to rule on this. What can and can't you do to one's body - while pregnant with another? Pennsylvania's highest court knowing the US Supreme Court isn't fully sympathetic to abuse by illegal drug ingestion by pregnant mothers - what is Pennsylvania's highest court really saying - other than they punted? It is what it is. That's what I am saying... surely Pennsylvania's highest court couldn't have found some level of abuse. Surely they can't say they couldn't see abuse by intent - at all?


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              Poor Baby


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