2018-05-20

Did Bush Spy on Perot?

If George H.W. Bush was Halper's handler in 1980 and Halper tried setting up Trump in 2016, is it possible that G.W. Bush would have run an intelligence operation against Ross Perot in 1992?

NYTimes 1992: THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: The Overview; PEROT SAYS HE QUIT IN JULY TO THWART G.O.P. 'DIRTY TRICKS'
Marlin Fitzwater, the White House spokesman, told reporters in Billings, Mont.: "It's all nonsense. There's nothing to it. I don't want to attack Perot, but I don't know where he's getting it from. I mean, fantastic stories about his daughter and disrupting her wedding and the C.I.A. -- it's all loony."

No matter whether any of Mr. Perot's assertions are proved, they are bound to influence the final stretch of the Presidential campaign. With barely more than a week left, some analysts said the accusations could damage him by creating in the minds of voters a man who is forever imagining plots.

But the accusations also seemed calculated to feed a perception, fueled by Democrats and earlier in the race by Mr. Perot, that Republicans will do anything to win the White House.
The wedding story still sounds a little loony, but not the more important CIA part.
"I couldn't believe that anyone representing the President of the United States would stoop to these lows," he said on "60 Minutes," referring to a purported scheme to wiretap his office.

...Mr. Perot said that even after he left the race the Bush campaign cooked up a plan to install eavesdropping devices in his business office in Dallas. He said "a source" sent him "a floor plan, layout of my floor, and telephone numbers they wanted to tap."

...The Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed in August that it was investigating accusations that someone had bugged Mr. Perot's office telephone and then had offered the tapes to Mr. Bush's campaign chairman in Texas. The Bush campaign chairman refused the tapes and notified the F.B.I., Federal officials said.
Well, Mr. Perot, you may be owed an apology. And the U.S. may be about to have a constitutional crisis of epic proportions.

In case you're wondering why Bush might help Clinton, there's two reasons. George H.W. Bush didn't like Trump and he's become friends with the Clintons, including voting for Hillary.

I can't find the clip, but George W. Bush once said in an interview while smiling, "Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton" when discussing who was next up for President. That doesn't mean he knew his father was working to make that a reality, but it does reveal that he wasn't at all bothered by the possibility and in fact seemed to think it was a good idea.

WaPo: How Bill Clinton and George W. Bush got over their politics and became BFFs

BBC: George Bush Sr calls Trump a 'blowhard' and voted for Clinton

Bush Spy Games? Carter Spy Campaign Template For Trump Set Up

UPI 1983: A former Ronald Reagan campaign official charged Thursday
A former Ronald Reagan campaign official charged Thursday administration conservatives are trying to manipulate the Jimmy Carter papers controversy to force the ouster of White House Chief of Staff James Baker.

The charge was leveled as two junior officials of the 1980 Reagan campaign were singled out as receiving inside information from Carter's campaign camp and one was labeled the head of a network of former CIA agents who spied on the Carter administration.
The source in the Carter administration had a grudge:
The station quoted Ed Coyle, deputy director of John Anderson's independent presidential campaign, as saying a former Carter campaign worker with 'a vendetta' against Carter approached him during the campaign and offered to provide information about Carter's political strategy.

'He clearly implied that he had access to campaign strategy memos, personal, political memorandum from various people in the White House during the campaign,' Coyle said in the interview. 'He also suggested that his woman friend was in a position to know personal information about people with whom she worked and for whom she worked in the White House.

'He was never very specific. He struck me as being just obsessed with the idea of hurting Jimmy Carter's re-election.' Coyle said he believed the man, who was not identified, was upset because he was refused some kind of grant. He said he told the man to leave and informed Carter officials in the summer of 1980 about the incident.
NYTimes 1984: A BANK THAT BANKS ON CONSERVATIVE DOLLARS
Mr. Halper worked on Mr. Bush's campaign, and the bank grew out of a conversation in 1980 between Mr. Halper and Mr. McLean, according to Mr. Halper. Mr. Halper was also policy director of the Reagan-Bush campaign that year, and he later figured in the investigations into the unauthorized transfers of campaign strategy information from the Carter camp to the Reagan camp.

A report by a House committee earlier this year said, ''Halper appears to have claimed that he saw Carter debate briefing material during the 1980 campaign.'' But Mr. Halper gave an affidavit to the committee saying he did not recall seeing any debate-related information or material or having made statements to that effect to anyone.
Halper had a grudge against Carter. And he was a "Never Trumper" who hates Trump

The Intercept, today: The FBI Informant Who Monitored the Trump Campaign, Stefan Halper, Oversaw a CIA Spying Operation in the 1980 Presidential Election
But now, as a result of some very odd choices by the nation’s largest media outlets, everyone knows the name of the FBI’s informant: Stefan Halper. And Halper’s history is quite troubling, particularly his central role in the scandal in the 1980 election. Equally troubling are the DOJ and FBI’s highly inflammatory and, at best, misleading claims that they made to try to prevent Halper’s identity from being reported.

To begin with, it’s obviously notable that the person the FBI used to monitor the Trump campaign is the same person who worked as a CIA operative running that 1980 Presidential election spying campaign.

It was not until several years after Reagan’s victory over Carter did this scandal emerge. It was leaked by right-wing officials inside the Reagan administration who wanted to undermine officials they regarded as too moderate, including then White House Chief of Staff James Baker, who was a Bush loyalist.
One point being overlooked is the role of the Bushes. Halper was with the Bush campaign, not the Reagan campaign. It was the Jeb Bush campaign that initially paid Fusion GPS for dirt on Trump.
When the scandal first broke in 1983, the UPI suggested that Halper’s handler for this operation was Reagan’s Vice Presidential candidate, George H.W. Bush, who had been the CIA Director and worked there with Halper’s father-in-law, former CIA Deputy Director Ray Cline, who worked on Bush’s 1980 presidential campaign before Bush ultimately became Reagan’s Vice President. It quoted a former Reagan campaign official as blaming the leak on “conservatives [who] are trying to manipulate the Jimmy Carter papers controversy to force the ouster of White House Chief of Staff James Baker.”

Halper, through his CIA work, has extensive ties to the Bush family. Few remember that the CIA’s perceived meddling in the 1980 election – its open support for its former Director, George H.W. Bush to become President – was a somewhat serious political controversy. And Halper was in that middle of that, too.

...Whatever else is true, the CIA operative and FBI informant used to gather information on the Trump campaign in the 2016 campaign has, for weeks, been falsely depicted as a sensitive intelligence asset rather than what he actually is: a long-time CIA operative with extensive links to the Bush family who was responsible for a dirty and likely illegal spying operation in the 1980 presidential election. For that reason, it’s easy to understand why many people in Washington were so desperate to conceal his identity, but that desperation had nothing to do with the lofty and noble concerns for national security they claimed were motivating them.
The irony now is that if there aren't major jail sentences for those involved in this operation and all the poison fruit that came from it (Mueller investigation), then the world will have a hearty laugh next time the United States crows about "free and fair elections." If you want to see who is the greatest threat to democracy, look no further than the U.S. government and its media enablers.

2018-05-18

None Dare Call it Sedition, Yet: Russia Collusion Investigate Takes Dark Turn

ZH: WSJ Asks "Was Trump's Campaign 'Set Up'?"
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes appeared on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday, where he provided a potentially explosive hint at what’s driving his demand to see documents related to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Trump-Russia probe. “If the campaign was somehow set up,” he told the hosts, “I think that would be a problem.”
If the government and members of the Democrat party colluded to influence the election and derail the Trump administration, it is guilty of major crimes.

Sedition is "incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority." I doubt anyone will be charged with sedition, but if the Democrat/Anti-Trump "Resistance" has used the FBI, DOJ and possible NSA or CIA to set up a Republican presidential candidate and wreck his administration, then all hell is about to break loose.

A constitutional crisis would be very negative for the U.S. dollar. Stocks could fall 70 to 90 percent , this would be orders of magnitude larger than Watergate and that coincided with a nearly 50 percent bear market from 1973 to 1974. That crisis was solved by removing the president. One can't simply remove the FBI and IRS (if this Russia scandal is true, then odds are the Obama admin was using the IRS to target political enemies.) Even if one wanted to eliminate them, it would require major changes to U.S. law and a wholesale revision of the tax code.

Update: The one flaw in the set up argument is the amount of planning, success, and willingness to break laws well before Trump is the nominee. If there wasn't a fear over a Trump candidacy, thehn it's odds to target him alone. There would likely be something similar going on with other candidates such as Cruz and Rubio. I still believe the most likely story is there was some smoke with Russia because of some meetings, this was blown up into collusion. All the real criminal activity was done after Trump won and the Obama admin rushed to cover its tracks for whatever legal violations may have been committed. This spiraled out of control, or was kept alive because it was politically useful for thwarting Trump. As with Watergate, the major crimes are all an extension of the cover-up.

Nothing Is Funny Anymore, China Martyrs Edition

A Chinese satire site was shut down for using a famous Chinese martyr in a 2014 video. The new law passed May 1 made such content illegal.

Inkstone: Y U NO TOE PARTY LINE? Rage comic site shut down for insulting Communist martyr
“We wrongly mentioned the martyr’s name,” said the rage comic star. “We will strictly follow and passionately embrace the Heroes and Martyrs Protection Law. We will refrain from making fun of martyrs, no matter what.”
I'm not defending this law, but which would you prefer, having a law that explicitly tells you things you can't say, or roving bands of Twitter mobs that enforce the same punishment based on sometimes random whims? The only difference between Chinese and American speech codes is Chinese don't pretend as if they believe in free speech.

More broadly, the curtailing of speech in China and the USA is a sign of intensifying negative social mood.

Fed Balance Sheets Down $20.6 B, Treasuries $8.6B

The Fed rolled $20.6 billion off its balance sheet this past week, $8.6 billion in Treasuries and $14.0 billion in MBS. This leaves about $11 billion in assets to go in May. There's another substantial amount of Treasuries maturing on May 31.

This week the S&P 500 diverged from the Fed balance sheet although the treasuries rolled off on Tuesday (the Fed publishes the maturity of Treasuries here: System Open Market Account (SOMA) Holdings of Domestic Securities and that was a sizable down day for the market, for what it's worth.


Bonus chart: the S&P 500 versus all commercial bank assets.

2018-05-17

Socionomics Suggests Stock Market Way Overvalued

Socionomics uses the stock market as an indicator of social mood. Mood tends to peak with the stock market and bottom with it. That said, the graph I put up yesterday of the S&P 500 Index versus the Fed's balance sheet indicates the level of the stock market may be artificially high.
Social mood is in a rising trend (at least as of January), but it is a bear market rally. Furthermore, the level of stock prices is elevated because of Federal Reserve intervention. It follows that the bear market could be extremely intense as both Fed supported overvaluation tumbles along with social mood.

Here are a couple of stories to consider.

CNN: Almost half of US families can't afford basics like rent and food
The economy may be chugging along, but many Americans are still struggling to afford a basic middle class life.
Nearly 51 million households don't earn enough to afford a monthly budget that includes housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and a cell phone, according to a study released Thursday by the United Way ALICE Project. That's 43% of households in the United States.
The economy is not doing well and it hasn't been doing well for a decade. The election of Donald Trump was clearly a negative mood indicator, not a positive one.

Fertility also points to negative mood. Fertility gives us a report on social mood with a 9-month lag. Stocks went nowhere for 2-years into the November election, hence a dip in birth rates in early 2017 wouldn't surprise. But instead there was a relatively large downturn in fertility.

CBS: U.S. births hit a 30-year low as fertility rate drops in most age groups
A decade ago, the estimated rate was 2.1 kids per U.S. woman. In 2017, it fell below 1.8, hitting its lowest level since 1978. "That's a pretty remarkable decline," said Dr. John Santelli, a Columbia University professor of population and family health and pediatrics.
A drop in fertility isn't a big shock, but it also comes with the economy doing relatively well and stocks near all-time highs. It's possible there will be an uptick in 2018 births thanks to the rising market and slightly better economic data in 2017. Either way, if the bull market has peaked or is topping, the economy will soon follow. If this is the fertility rate at post-2008 social mood highs, the low will shock demographers.

30-Year Bond Yield Bullish Breakout

If it holds, it's lights out for the equity markets and the economy barring a rise in inflation. Aside from oil, there's not much sign of sustained acceleration in inflation.

Credit Fears as Developers Struggle to Raise Funds

iFeng: 房地产“钱袋子”被扎紧 40家房企融资2726亿元
Guo Yi said that in terms of increasing capital inflows, on the one hand, the housing enterprises actively seeking new business areas that are supported by policies, such as collective housing leases, old renovations, and shed renovations, to secure credit support; on the other hand, Reasonable pricing should be adopted to accelerate the destocking of stocks and speed up the withdrawal of funds.

In terms of cost-saving, since the beginning of this year, housing companies have changed their past large-scale expansion strategies. They have adopted a conservative approach. Beijing, Hangzhou, Chengdu and other cities have witnessed the phenomenon of land flow shooting. Among them, the number of land flowing in Beijing has accumulated to 6 There are many cases. In addition, at the same time as multi-project rolling development, developers are accelerating the start-up to realize the cash flow of the project as soon as possible, and use the funds for the development of the next project. After the slow construction and slow development, the developer can pay the development cost after the payment node. Moves, thereby maximizing the efficiency of capital use and improving corporate profits.
Reliance on overseas funds also likely to dry up with a rising dollar.