Let’s jump right into “how to read the news.”

We can begin with any news story you please. A good one this morning is yet-another Trump-bash: “Experts: Trump Undermines Judiciary With Twitter Attack on Judge Robart.”

We can approach this in several ways. Most people, when they read the news will simply take it at face value.

Very few people spend any time reflecting on the various dimensions of a story.

News does have history, however. And in this case when Donald Trump tweeted “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” he was voicing an opinion.

News also has a Future, not just a past – a past we outlined in the “Immigration Board Game, Home Edition” Monday.

Here’s the problem in a nutshell: When other organizations are critical of judicial decisions that don’t agree with and announce plans to appeal, it’s no big deal.

But now, in the Trump-bashing media, suddenly an “expert” is presented arguing the president of the United States is not entitled to his opinion – if stated in very direct street-level ways…

Seems to me it is a crooked game. Why can’t Trump have an opinion? It’s why people voted for him.

The OTHER side doesn’t have problems busting windows in Berkeley, or raising money with panic-inducing emails, or lawyering up to challenge the Trump Executive Order – which they reckoned as ridiculous and ought to be overturned… so why the double-standard application when comes to Trump?

Remember what I told you about the Left being anti free speech?  If it isn’t in their agenda, no free speech allowed – including Trump?

Thus, we commend to any reader of news the notion that when you read the news, spend at least as much time reflecting one its history and likely future direction – as well as motivations and underlying economics – as you do reading the story itself.

Swamp Creatures

Next item has to do with how when the “swamp begins to drain” we learn a lot more about what creatures in the Swamp have been up to all these years.

Want to know why Paul Ryan has been such an Obama-backer on budget matters and why he’s been so wishy-washy on border security?

Well, Breitbart’s headline this morning “Records: Soros Fund Execs Funded Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, John McCain, John Kasich, Lindsey Graham in 2016…”

Yes…the likely reason, near as the economics seem to suggest, is that George Soros et al where trying to buy fractions of the next President.

And that’s why the Left/Soros (masquerading as progressives) are so pissed about Trump and won’t let go of his election: He wasn’t for sale.

The others?

A visit to www.opensecrets.org will answer a few questions, but it will raise many more. What is the price of a U.S. president? We can look back on Obama’s campaigns to answer that. But when a self-funder who’s running on principles comes along, well, that screws up all the assumption tables, doesn’t it?

But it doesn’t stop: The Washington Post is headlining about how “Trump’s loose talk about Muslims gets weaponized in court against travel ban.”

Curiosity here: How many H1-b’s does parent Amazon employ?

One source says Amazon has 2,622 H1b holders with an average salary of $121,850…

As our “board game” suggested yesterday, there are a number of options Trump might take to side-step the court showdown and de-fang detractors.

Only momentarily, however.

Trade Deficit Improves a Bit

Very little to talk about on the pure economic front this morning.

We do have an international trade report just out. Press release, please?

The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, through the Department of Commerce, announced today that the goods and services deficit was $44.3 billion in December, down $1.5 billion from $45.7 billion in November, revised. December exports were $190.7 billion, $5.0 billion more than November exports. December imports were $235.0 billion, $3.6 billion more than November imports.

Words not cutting it?  A picture, then:


Other than that, about the most revealing economic news left this week will be the Fed report and balance sheet out Thursday (after the close). Depending on what’s in that, we might see some market action Friday, but I’m not putting any money on it.

The markets have had a dandy run since November and is now waiting to see how (or if) the GOP “swamp creatures” will close ranks with Trump on things like the DeVos nomination which may be voted on today.

Futures hint at +65 on the Dow at the open.

Speaking of DeVos

The NY Times covers it over here with lots of jabs at her lack of experience in dealing with public schools. The NY Times (perhaps its fad in journos now) refers to her as Ms. but she is a Mrs. Husband Dick is a multi-billionaire heir to the Amway fortune who ran Alticor, Amway’s parent company from 1993 to 2002. Dick’s dad owns the Orlando Magic.

One thing to say about the big east coast papers is they don’t often ask enough of the right questions for my tastes. I’ll give you an example. Take this bit out of Wikipedia:

“Betsy and her husband Dick are chief investors in and board members of Neurocore, a group of brain performance centers offering biofeedback therapy for disorders such as depression, attention deficit disorder, autism, and anxiety. The therapy consists of showing movies to patients and interrupting them when they become distracted, in an effort to retrain their brains.

According to The New York Times, a review of Neurocore’s claims and interviews with medical experts suggest that the company’s conclusions are unproven and its methods questionable. Democratic senators raised concerns about a potential conflict of interest and questioned whether she and her family members would “benefit financially from actions” she could take as education secretary. DeVos announced that she would step down from the company’s board but would retain her investment in the company, valued at $5 million to $25 million.”

When one takes a few minutes to ponders the DeVos nomination – and her background – the real questions come to the fore.

Does the Neurocore approach to “depression, attention deficit disorder, autism, and anxiety” really work? Clearly, the NY Times is skeptical.

But could there be something else – something systemic at work??

I think the odds are good: Shoveling medicine into children to get them on the life-long ride on the Pharmacopeia Highway has been a major thrust of drug company marketing. I won’t go into the litany of how even my own son was “hooked-up” early in life on ADHD meds, but it was a chemical solution shoved onto the parents by the dual marketing efforts of teachers and administrators of schools and the medical community.

(*Ask your doctor who pays for annual conferences and “continuing ed” sessions and then ask is it all education or, is there some marketing in there?)

To my way of thinking two likely “truths” come to the fore: One is that Mrs. DeVos doesn’t have a lot of big organizational experience, but I expect if she ran into difficult issues she’s more than capable of getting high-caliber advice.

The second point is that I expect the Big Pharma lobby might have an interest in seeing her nomination turned down. After all, anyone who is open to alternative/complimentary therapies (which Neurocore is) must be rooted out early, lest the primary school pipeline to pill-pushing profits be reconsidered.

And that’s why I expect the “Swamp Creatures” to attempt to block her in today’s vote.

Principles of Principals are at stake? Not so much as a financial shake-up of the “old way of doing things.” Is it possible that real change at D.E. could hurt cashflow of some very lucrative drugs.

Not to mention the student loan servicing profits? Go back to last summer and read about how former president Obama allowed “Student Loan Borrowers’ Costs To Jump As Education Department Reaps Huge Profit.”

But no, the message put out by the East Coast media has been simplified to ‘DeVos is bad…take our word for it.’

Thanks, but no thanks. We’ll do our own thinking.