Nikki Haley: A Job Well Done

Nikki Haley: A Job Well Done

Nikki Haley’s service to our country has been an exemplary record of accomplishment and success.  Best known for her commanding performances as United States Ambassador to the UN, she is also the proud representative of immigrant and minority success.  She is the proverbial “… only in America” story.

Nikki Haley: A Job Well Done

Ambassador Haley was born, “Nimrata Randhawa” in Bamberg, South Carolina, to an Indian-American Sikh mother and father.  Her parents emigrated from Punjab, India to Canada, where her father had received a scholarship offer from the University of British Columbia. When her father received his Ph.D. degree in 1969, the family moved to South Carolina, where he became a professor at the historically black Voorhees College. Her mother, Raj Randhawa, earned a master’s degree in education and taught for seven years in the Bamberg public schools before starting a clothing company, Exotica International, in 1976.

Haley, a Clemson graduate and a Republican, ran her first race for the South Carolina State House in 2004, winning a run-off 55-45 over Larry Koons.  She was the first Indian-American to ever serve in a legislative seat in South Carolina.  She won the Governorship in 2010, and re-election in 2014 by a 55-41 margin.  Her voting record was that of a moderate conservative, and she remained popular throughout her tenure as the Governor of South Carolina.

The Presidential campaign of Mitt Romney in 2012 considered her on the short list of Vice-Presidential candidates, but Haley asked for her name to be removed so that she could finish her first term as governor.  When Trump came calling in 2016, UN Ambassador was a prestigious and important role that kept her far away from domestic politics.  Haley accepted, and was a stellar representative of US interests for the last two years.

Lots of speculation has swirled in DC as to the timing and meaning of her departure…. the Trump team is rightfully concerned about Haley as a political rival in 2020, and that she would consider challenging Trump for the Republican nomination.  Putting aside the DC gossip, there is no question that our nation was served very well at the UN by the leadership and moral persuasion of Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Here are Nikki Haley’s Top 3 Moments at the UN:

3. “The American Response to the Syrian Chemical weapons attack”: When dealing with the Syrian dictator Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Haley outlined the horrific attacks on their own people by the Syrian regime, and the Russian’s complicit support in the attacks. Haley did what her Obama administration predecessor did not:  she showed the world the immorality of what Putin and Assad are doing in Syria. This effort has prevented Russia from setting the narrative on the Syrian civil war, and it served as one of many actions taken by the administration to combat Russian adventurism.

2. “The US-North Korean Nuclear Standoff”: At the height of Trump’s taunting of North Korean Kim Jong Un, referring to him as “Rocket Man”, and threatening North Korea with “fire and fury” for failing to accede to American demands to dismantle their nuclear program, Ambassador Haley was the calm during the storm. Evidencing a steely resolve while enunciating US demands and expectations, it was clear that the US was standing strong on our de-nuclearization expectations.  Haley was quoted as saying at the Security Council:  “If we act together, we can still prevent a catastrophe and we can rid the world of a grave threat. If we fail to act in a serious way, there will be a different response.”  That different response, as we know, would be a US military strike.  Seldom have we seen such clarity from US Ambassadors under such tension-filled circumstances.

1. “From Russia with Love”:  Perhaps the greatest standoff and quote in history of global diplomacy occurred during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when US Adlai Stevenson confronted Soviet Ambassador Valerian Zorin at the UN with this famous line:

 “…Do you, Ambassador Zorin, deny that the U.S.S.R. has placed and is placing medium- and intermediate-range missiles and sites in Cuba? Yes or no — don’t wait for the translation — yes or no?”

 The great Russian-American standoffs at the UN has a new favorite line, however, and it comes from Russia’s boss – Nikki Haley:

“…. I’m in awe, Vasily, of how you say what you say with a straight face.”

 Any proud patriotic American would laugh from joy and beam with pride at such strong moral leadership from our UN Ambassador.  The occasion was the on-going debates regarding the Syrian Civil War.  The Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya blamed the United States for the current situation and the plight of the Syrian people.  Ambassador Haley put him in his place.

From the moments listed above, to the movement of our embassy to the Israeli capital of Jerusalem, to the elimination of US funding for the Palestinians (UNRWA) – and much more … Nikki Haley has been at the forefront of some of the more pivotal moments in UN history for the 21st century.  She has represented herself, and her country, in spectacular fashion.

From a grateful nation, thank you Nikki Haley – for a job well done.

The Booming Economy vs. Real-World Danger

The Booming Economy vs. Real-World Danger

“You can’t handle the truth!”

 Everyone’s favorite courtroom scene from Jack Nicholson – portraying Colonel Nathan R. Jessup – while he spars with Tom Cruise’s character in the military/legal drama, “A Few Good Men.”

It was riveting theater, and for those who have seen the movie, almost all agree it was great acting and superior story-telling. Colonel Jessup’s line was to point out that the world had many dangers, and to keep the dangers out we need walls. It was people like Jessup who stood on the walls to keep the barbarians at the gates, not inside them.

But in today’s real world geo-political conflicts, there are neither walls nor gates, nor anything else that is keeping real danger from reaching the homeland. This week we saw a book released once again describing the Trump White House in less than flattering terms. The Brett Kavanaugh hearings for confirmation to the Supreme Court were riddled with obstruction from the Democrats and outside protesters. These distractions are trying to keep the body politic from focusing on the good and bad news which should most matter to them.

Contrast this less than rosy picture with an economy which continues to boom at Reagan-era levels of growth. It begs the question as to what will eventually win out:  the booming economy or real-world threats that the American people have little understanding or knowledge of.  North Korea may get the foreign policy headlines – but other serious risks have grown and are now rising to the forefront.

So, what gives – unrestrained optimism or actual geopolitical threats?  Here are our top three of each:

I. Top Three Indicators that The Economy will Keep on Booming:

  1. “Institute of Supply Management has another record month!”: ISM has manufacturing production in the United States rising to 61.3% capacity, the highest number since 2004! This is a direct result of deregulation, tax reform, and steel industry policy. This is great and continued good news for America.
  2. “Construction spending up 5.8% year-over-year”: The housing market price level has recovered from the 2008 banking collapse, and prices have remained elevated for some time. Construction spending has remained a consistent positive marker for the economy and GDP growth. And speaking of GDP growth…
  3. “3rd Quarter GDP growth projections are now at 4.7%!”: Back to back 4%+ growth? Everyone said this would be impossible!  New normal … secular stagnation … all of the media reports that America could no longer grow at Regan-era levels of growth appear to be wrong.  We still have September before the 3rd quarter ends, but the projections appear to be heading towards a rising growth number for the economy.

II. Top Three Real-World Dangers that are Flying Under the Public Radar:

  1. “Russian adventurism is more than just Ukraine”: The American public gets most of their Russia news through one filter – The Mueller Probe of alleged Trump-Russia Election Collusion. On the periphery, the invasion of the eastern part of Ukraine remains a major concern in the European theater, as does Russian deployments in the Middle East.  But their growing alliance with Iran … the movement of an entire fleet into the Mediterranean for the first time since 1989 … they have cheated on, and no longer abide by the INF Treaty – this was known by the previous administration and now NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg has stated that Russia could launch a first strike using battlefield nuclear weapons and defeat NATO within 24 hours.  The US and NATO have never faced such a predicament, since pre-INF the US had equivalent forces in theater to respond.  Not anymore.
  2. “Chinese Navy now controls South China Sea”: The Chinese have ignored international law, court rulings, and treaties to seize several islands belonging to the Philippines. They spent the better part of 2010 through 2014 building artificial islands in the South China Sea with zero push back from the United States.  There nuclear force has increased in size, and now has Multiple Re-entry capacity (MIRV’s) that can send multiple warheads onto multiple targets. Leading members of the PLAN (People’s Liberation Army Navy) have been quoted as saying they are war-planning for nuclear strikes on the US homeland.  Russia and China have nuclear stockpiles that, combined, could overwhelm a US defense system and defeat US ballistic missile forces. The majority of the American people believe we have the largest, most advanced arsenal in the world. That is no longer the case, and our enemies continue to build more and more.
  3. “North Korea, Iran, failed states, Venezuela …. the list of large problems for American policy is not shrinking”: It is very hard to understand the fact that while progress has been made on North Korean nukes, we are where near a resolution … the US gave Iran billions of dollars for the now defunct Iran deal, and they have used it to expand terror activities throughout the Middle East … Russia, Iran and supposed NATO member and ally, Turkey, have been devising the plans for the final rebel holdout in Syria, as all parties inch closer to Israel.

The economic boom is unprecedented, and with obvious structural strength, not inflated money printing.  But your optimism must be off-set by an ever-increasing set of dangers on the global stage.  Whichever direction the market goes, having your money in principal protection products is a safe strategy for your portfolio. Give us a call at (877) 912-1919.

Great Week of News…With a Few Warning Signs- Trade Deal

Great Week of News…With a Few Warning Signs

The country lost a war hero this week.  Senator John McCain finally succumbed to the brain cancer he was fighting for some time.  He suffered unimaginable torment at the hands of the communists during the Vietnam War.  His bravery and heroism during that time is representative of the legendary greatness exhibited by the American war fighter, and we are all grateful for his service and what he went through on behalf of all of us.

His politics were quite combative with his own party, and to a significant degree with President Trump.  That conflict headlined some of the news media this week, along with the convictions of former Presidential campaign Chair Paul Manafort and Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

But if you search deep into the Google pages, or watch a number of cable news shows, then you can find some very positive and quite intriguing news stories that are good for the country and for the economy!

 I. Top 5 news headlines for this week:

5.“Deregulation leads to expansion of energy access and rare-earth minerals”:  It should be well-known now that the energy industry, coal mining, fracking, and much more has been deregulated.  These industries are required through numerous laws and regulation to be protective of the environment, but the regulatory regime had led to restrictions in market access and profitability.  The Administration’s deregulation initiative has spurred economic growth, jobs and innovation.  In addition, restrictions on the mining of rare-earth materials have been lifted.  Everything from clean energy batteries to advanced weaponry that the Pentagon relies upon were being imported from sources abroad because mining for them in the US had been restricted.  This upside-down, dangerous threat to national security has finally been lifted.   This is a win for capitalism, and a win for national security.

4.“Mexico and the United States agree in principal on a new trade deal to replace NAFTA”:  Much of our political unrest can be attributed to many factors.  Most agree social media has exacerbated or even served as the root cause.  But the primary reason has been economic:  free trade and globalization has driven corporations to search for cheap labor, and that has negatively impacted blue collar employment in the US over the last 25 years.  The free market was only working in one direction:  if you pursue cheap labor across state lines, then you cannot have protected markets or the theft of intellectual property, or you get trade that is neither free nor fair.  The result is a populist revolt.  President Trump rode that wave and his primary target – going back to the early 90s – was NAFTA.  The trade deal between Mexico and the US this week probably means the end of NAFTA as we knew it, and that drove the market surge this week.

3.“Canada rushes to get a deal before its too late”:  Sound and fury, signifying…nothing.  Europe, Mexico, now Canada…everyone wanted to stick their chest out and say how they weren’t going to let the Americans dictate terms – and then we dictated the terms.  The Canadian Foreign Minister literally got on a plane to come to Washington after the President and Mexico announced their new trade agreement.  Simply put – apparently lost on the establishment and the elites of the last 26 years – no one can afford to NOT have a trade relationship with the country that has the largest economy, the freest economy, the most innovative economy, the fairest rule of law (although weakened), the largest multi-national banks, and the deepest capital markets.  Simply put – apparently lost on the establishment and the elites of the last 26 years – pursuing a strategy of economic confrontation with the United States has always been suicidal and self-defeating.  Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be on TV claiming they prefer no deal to a bad deal…and shortly will sign a good deal for everyone that puts the American worker first.

2.“Nasdaq 8000”:  For the first time in the tech-index’s history, it broke 8000 on the big board.  While previous tech high’s scare investors – such as the dot.com bubble – the technology market has matured since that time, with larger and a more diverse set of companies which drive valuations.

1.“Growth revised upward”:  Not 4.1%, but actually 4.2% GDP growth in quarter number two.  This growth is predicated on actual deregulation, tax reform, and strong dollar policies.  It is based upon wage growth (2.8% year-over-year, first time since 2007) and actual economic activity as opposed to printing money or zero interest rates.  What goes up must come down, but the growth we are seeing is positive business expansion, it represents a healthy economy.

Not everything is rosy or hunky dory – the Mueller investigation never ends….China shows no signs of relenting in this trade war…Russian warships are back in the Mediterranean for the first time since 1990…the Congress remains incapable of addressing our debt problems nor even passing a regular budget…hopes for a deal in North Korea are waning…and, we are due for a market correction.

But America’s economic vitality and strength, and our role as the “indispensable nation,” is allowing the capitalist engine to power on as we near the end of 2018.