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Nearly two weeks after Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential Election — and month before the Electoral College is set to vote, making the results permanent — a new movement wants to audit the November 8 vote, to investigate whether Trump won the election fair and square, or whether error and even fraud may have placed him in the White House.

One element of the vote audit movement is a Change.org online petition calling for election officials to “double-check the electronic results by conducting a ‘risk-limiting’ audit of the presidential election in every state that uses paper ballots.”

Even a United States Senator, South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, has called for a congressional investigation into possible election tampering, particularly by Russian intelligence agencies.

Audit Vote, #AuditTheVote, Was election rigged, Donald Trump wins election, Russian election hack, vote fraud

A vote-counting computer used to tabulate ballots in the 2016 presidential election.

The petition started by the Verified Voting Foundation seeks 75,000 signatures which will be forwarded to Secretaries of State, election officials, and state governors. As of Sunday morning, November 20, the petition had received 65,199 supporters.

“The FBI determined some months ago that hacking, originating from Russia, was having an influence on our electoral process,” the petition states. “These hackers interfered with our presidential election through attempted and successful penetration of email and voter registration databases, among other systems. This created fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the safety of our electoral processes.”

In fact, it was not only the FBI but the National Security Agency itself — the intelligence bureau responsible for America’s online and digital spying and counter-espionage efforts — which detected attempts to tip the United States election by what NSA chief Michael Rogers called “a nation state,” as seen in the excerpted interview with Rogers in the video below.

“This was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance,” Rogers said in the Wall Street Journal interview. “This was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily.”

While Russian ties to hacked emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee that were subsequently released online by the document-dumping site WikiLeaks were confirmed by U.S. intelligence agencies as well as independent investigators weeks before the election, hackers connected to the Russian government are also known to have broken into a voter registration system in Illinois.

The Russian hackers also entered at least one other state’s voter database — and in theory could have penetrated many more which have yet to be detected. Once inside, the hackers could have altered voter information to create fake registrations and alter voting patterns.

Audit Vote, #AuditTheVote, Was election rigged, Donald Trump wins election, Russian election hack, vote fraud

Russian President Vladimir Putin, suspected of engineering manipulation of the presidential election that tipped the vote to Donald Trump.

According to Alexandra Chalupa, a consultant to the DNC investigating the Russian hacks, told the Gothamist news site that in Pennsylvania, especially, the voting results appeared strange, with between 50 and 75 percent of provisional ballots rejected. Even more alarming, “a large number of voters who voted for a Republican president and senator, but voted for Democrats down the rest of the ballot.”

“That’s not usually the pattern,” Chalupa said.

Trump ended up beating Clinton in Pennsylvania by a mere 57,588 votes — less than one percentage point — winning the state’s crucial 20 electoral votes, despite the fact that Pennsylvania had voted for the Democrat in six consecutive presidential elections.

A new Twitter hashtag, #AuditTheVote, appeared on Saturday, and one of the hashtag creators, Melinda Byerley, explained that the purpose was to collect public information and data that could either verify or disprove claims of election tampering and fraud.

“This is not about (Hillary Clinton) or (Donald Trump),” Byerley wrote. “This is about national sovereignty and a potential foreign breach of our voting system. “America is a beacon to the world for free and fair elections. Our ability to remain a superpower rests on the trust the world has in us.”

Author:  Jonathan Vankin

Source:  http://www.inquisitr.com/

Categorized in News & Politics

Washington (CNN)President-elect Donald Trump unveiled plans Monday for his first 100 days in office, including proposals related to immigration, trade deals and defense policy, using a video published online to briefly outline his proposals.

Trump promised to withdraw from negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, cancel environmental restrictions put in place by President Barack Obama, ask his national security team to buttress against infrastructure attacks, have the Labor Department investigate federal worker visas and impose broad new bans on lobbying by government employees.

The six items Trump detailed Monday are all somewhat easy lifts inside Washington -- because they can be done with a simple signature by Trump and do not require congressional approval.

But Trump also left out his biggest campaign promises -- including promises to build a wall along the Mexican border, establish a "deportation force," place new restrictions on immigration from some majority Muslim countries, repeal Obamacare and spend $1 trillion on infrastructure.

Mexico readies for possible mass deportations

Mexico readies for possible mass deportations 06:39

Unlike his items unveiled Monday, those measures would require the approval of Congress and are likely to take significantly more work.

Time and speed are very likely to be key factors as the new president looks for bigger, more durable wins in his first year. Republicans control the House and Senate, as well as the White House -- but Democrats struggled to pass key items, like Obamacare, when they were in a similar position eight years ago.

Republicans hold a firm majority in the House, but could struggle in the Senate, where Democrats will hold 48 seats next year, enough to blockade Trump measures.

Trump cast his measures as completely focused on American workers.

"Whether it's producing steel, building cars, or curing disease, I want the next generation of production and innovation to happen right here, in our great homeland: America -- creating wealth and jobs for American workers," Trump said in the two-and-a-half-minute video statement. "As part of this plan, I've asked my transition team to develop a list of executive actions we can take on day one to restore our laws and bring back our jobs."

Among his first actions, the Republican said he would "issue our notification of intent to withdraw from the Transpacific Partnership" and replace it with negotiating "fair bilateral trade deals."

Trump campaigned on a promise to halt the progress of the TPP trade deal, an agreement President Barack Obama had hoped would be a part of his administration's trade legacy.

Some of the first international reaction came from Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"The TPP without the United States is meaningless," he said during a press conference at the APEC summit in Peru on Monday.

"Renegotiation is impossible, because the TPP without the United States will collapse the balance of the benefit," Abe said, according to a translator.

"As for the policy of the new US government, I don't want to discuss with any assumption."

What the heck is TPP?
What the heck is TPP? 02:03

On immigration, Trump promised to "investigate all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker," but did not mention his signature campaign promise of building a wall along the US border with Mexico.

The items are all measures he broadly campaigned on, though Trump has begun moderating some of the toughest stances he took on the campaign trail. In an interview with "60 Minutes," he said that he would likely keep key portions of Obamacare.

Report: 1 in 4 kids lack proper healthcare

Report: 1 in 4 kids lack proper healthcare 01:54

And not long after his election win, his campaign took down the web page with his earlier promise to ban all Muslims from entering the country -- he has since moderated that view greatly, but left major questions on how precisely he would limit immigration.

Author:  Tom LoBianco

Source:  http://edition.cnn.com/

Categorized in News & Politics

As the world turns to prophetic predictions, a Bulgarian blind psychic seems to have foreseen the future of the U.S., while predicting political aspects of the 2016 elections. The psychic was called Nostradamus from the Balkans" and her name was Baba Vanda.

Many of her predictions became increasingly popular after 1996 when she passed away - at 85 years old. The blind woman called a prophet apparently had an 85 percent success rate among her prediction, which makes people around the globe turn to her opinions whenever social or political events raise questions.

 The Blind Prophet Of the Balkans

Among the predictions that made her famous, the woman's idea that the 44th U.S. president will be African-American was by far the most popular. However, she also stated that the man who we know to have been Obama will be the last president of the U.S.

Other predictions included the idea that Muslim people would "invade" Europe in 2016. According to the blind woman ,the increased immigration rates will end in chemical warfare that will be employed against the European population as a result of this trend.

 Currently, people around the U.S. are thrilled to read about her predictions, especially the ones who do not acknowledge Donald Trump as their president. While this problem is related to the way people feel about their national political situation, the dead blind psychic has gained their attention.

The idea that Donald Trump is the man following "the last U.S. president" encourages people to follow the woman's predictions, and read the tremendous amount of information available online about her biography and her ideas, the self-claimed insights on what the world will go through.

Among her predictions, the economic crisis of 2008 was also very popular at that time .The fact that she suggested the economic implications of the Bush Jr. administration is no less than  Surprising, and believers in her gift worldwide had turned to her visions to a better understanding of what will follow.

 Baba Vanga: International Phenomenon

While her words were not always very specific when it came to the event she predicted, people always correlated the woman's words with occurrences from further in time.

"A huge wave will cover a big coast covered with people and towns," for instance, is a phrase that was used in correlation to the tsunamis in 2004.

While, from a scientific point of view, her predictions were merely words that were given context depending on the world's events, it is also true that she gained a lot of popularity, having the website baba-vanga.com exclusively dedicated to her art of predicting the future.

Author:  Livia Rusu

Source:  http://www.techtimes.com/

Categorized in Future Trends

Neither candidate spoke much about space during the 2016 election, but just before Trump was elected president, he outlined a plan for NASA to move from an Earth-monitoring agency to one devoted to exploration.

When Obama took office, he told NASA to ditch the plan to revisit the moon and concentrate on sending humans to Mars in the 2030s, but Trump has set the space agency only one goal.

The president-elect wants NASA to explore the furthest reaches of the solar system by the end of the century, according to Space Policy Online.

“I will free NASA from the restriction of serving primarily as a logistics agency for low Earth orbit activity… Instead we will refocus its mission on space exploration.”

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Trump’s new space plan, still a little short on details, focuses on eliminating bureaucratic waste, promoting a private-public partnership, and setting ambitious goals for NASA that will force the agency to stretch itself.

It’s the same kind of goal Kennedy gave NASA in 1961 when he instructed the agency to catch up and overtake the Soviet Union to win the space race.

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

In the weeks and months leading up to the election, neither candidate had much to say about space and the presidential debates didn’t even mention NASA.

After the second debate, SpaceNews sent both Clinton and Trump a series of questions asking about their plans for NASA, which was followed up by a questionnaire from Scientific American a few weeks later. Clinton praised NASA and dropped the names of space super stars like a pro while Trump gave short vaguely worded answers devoid of any specifics.

 Then, shortly before Election Day, the new president-elect recruited former Republican congressman Robert Walker, who chaired the Science, Space, and Technology Committee in the 1990s, to help draft a plan for NASA.

Trump’s new space policy, heavily influenced by Walker, is designed to coordinate public and private efforts to maximize American efforts to explore the entire solar system. That includes mining valuable minerals from the asteroid belt and visiting Jupiter’s moon Europa, perhaps the best place to find alien life near Earth.

Trump plans to bring back the National Space Council, last in operation under George H.W. Bush, explore deep space, and encourage commercial partners to build a new economy in low Earth orbit, Walker told Mother Jones.

“If you’re looking at technology that looks for the solar system, you are then likely to move toward plasma rockets, toward nuclear-powered rockets, certainly toward solar sails.”

The space council, headed by the vice president, would be charged with making sure each partner, NASA, the military, and commercial partners, are all playing their proper role.

The new president-elect also has plans to abandon climate research, transfer Earth monitoring funding from NASA to NOAA, and strengthen the U.S. military’s stance in orbit.

Space-Exploration-Trump

Trump’s administration plans to eliminate many of the redundancies facing the American space program today. NASA is currently building a massive rocket known as the Space Launch System (SLS), but there are private companies also working on heavy rockets capable of deep space travel.

Ditching the NASA launch vehicle and relying on private spaceships would free up federal funds for other space-related projects, which would reduce costs, create jobs, and promote growth.

With better cooperation between the government and private companies, federal funds could be better utilized to help America explore the solar system, U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, who is on the short list to head NASA, told SpaceNews.

“The United States of America is the only nation that can protect space for the free world and for responsible entities, and preserves space for generations to come. America must forever be the preeminent spacefaring nation.”

Source:  inquisitr.com

Categorized in News & Politics

What does Edward Snowden think the future will look like with a President Donald Trump at the helm of the US National Security Agency?

"This is a dark moment in our nation's history, but it is not the end of history," said Snowden, the former NSA contractor who revealed widespread government surveillance, including the bulk collection of internet user information and phone records.

Speaking remotely from Russia to an event hosted by search engine company StartPage in Amsterdam, Snowden urged the audience to get involved in protecting online privacy. Snowden appears regularly at events via video conference. His lawyers recently launched a campaign asking President Barack Obama to pardon him of espionage and other criminal charges Snowden faces for taking and leaking NSA secrets.

"We have to be political," Snowden said. "You have to talk about these things."

Snowden pointed to 2008, when many believed President-elect Obama would pump the brakes on surveillance programs developed by the administration of President George W. Bush. Obama's efforts fell short, Snowden said, as he urged the crowd not to count on politicians to rein in government overreach.

"This will never be the work of politicians. This will only be the work of the people," he said. "We cannot hope for an Obama and we should not fear a Donald Trump -- rather, we should build it ourselves."

Snowden went on to encourage the young people watching to start working on technology that could "guarantee human rights," and not leave it up to governments check their own power.

Before noting that he enjoys his own role as an advocate for freedom from government surveillance, Snowden urged others to respond to the US election by getting involved in pro-privacy causes.

"A vote is a start," he said, "but it will never be enough."

Source:  cnet.com

Categorized in Others

The search for “how to impeach a president” has increased by 5,000%.

Only hours after Donald Trump won the election, many people were already looking for ways to impeach him.

Searches for “how to impeach a president” saw a 4,850% increase after the president-elect’s victory, notes the Independent. Yesterday, the top states searching for this were Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado—all of which Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won in the election.

View image on Twitter

Today, the search term “impeach Trump” is No.8 on Trump-related queries, according to Google Trends. People in Oregon, California, Washington, and Colorado are also searching for this, as are those in Vermont. Clinton won Vermont on Tuesday night with 61% of the vote.

Searches for “how to move to Canada” also increased in the U.S. the night of Trump’s win, according to the Independent. So much so, the country’s immigration and citizenship website crashed. The same search also surged 350% after Trump’s victory on Super Tuesday, leading the immigration and citizenship site to display a warning that said users “may experience delays while using the website.”

Source:  fortune.com

Categorized in Search Engine

When billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel bucked the trend of Silicon Valley by throwing his cash and support behind Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg had some explaining to do.

As one of Facebook’s board members, Thiel’s move sparked criticism among the ultra liberal tech community of California. “There are many reasons a person might support Trump that do not involve racism, sexism, xenophobia or accepting sexual assault,” Zuckerberg, who launched Facebook in 2004, wrote in an internal company memo.

While Trump’s views on building walls and lack of belief in climate change are well documented, the president elect’s stance on the issues that will directly affect technology firms, and by extension, much of the world are less obvious.

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Cybersecurity

Trump has promised to immediately make cybersecurity a top priority, citing concerns about cyberattacks from the likes of China and North Korea. His written policies on cybersecurity are summed up in four bullet points that lack any concrete detail, but include the promise to develop cyber weapons.

It states: “Develop the offensive cyber capabilities we need to deter attacks by both state and non-state actors and, if necessary, to respond appropriately.”

According to Uri Rivner, head of cyber strategy at biometrics firm BioCatch, Trump will take such threats seriously and combating them will be high on the future administration’s agenda.

“Cyber threats to both critical infrastructure and financial systems are just the sort of clear and present danger that requires decisive action—the likes of which the president elect has been advocating,” Rivner tells Newsweek . “This in turn may lead to more aggressive cyber security policies, faster response to cyber attack campaigns, and greater investment in cyber security defenses.”

It remains unclear how clued up Trump is on the actual issues and specific threats facing his administration. On the occasion that he has vocalized his thoughts on cybersecurity, there is little to suggest a clear or informed perspective.

This is what Trump had to say at the first debate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton: “I have a son. He’s 10 years old. He has computers, it’s unbelievable. The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe it’s hardly doable.”Barron Trump to head his father’s administration on cybersecurity, anyone?

Net Neutrality and Internet Freedom

Trump’s anti-regulation stance may well have an effect on internet service providers and the Federal Communications Commission's rules on net neutrality—the principle that Internet Service Providers should treat all internet traffic equally..

In 2014, Trump described the rules as an “attack on the internet” by President Obama, suggesting he may roll back the rules once in office.

Source:  newsweek.com

Categorized in News & Politics

2:55 a.m. ET: Republican Donald Trump has been elected the 45th president of the United States, according to the New York Times and Associated Press, who called the election in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday. Trump’s ascendance to the White House came after a sweep of many hard fought swing states in the midwest, southeast, and rust belt, capping one of the biggest upsets in modern American political history.

At 2:50 a.m. ET, Trump took the stage at the Hilton hotel in midtown Manhattan to announce that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton conceded defeat. In his remarks, Trump attempted to mend fences after a long and bitter presidential election. “It is time for us to come together as one united people,” Trump said. “I pledge to every citizen in the land that I will be president to all Americans,” he added, before describing an agenda he characterized as ‘America first’ while on the campaign trail.

As the votes rolled in for Trump, U.S. stock markets plunged with futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 506 points, or roughly 4%, as investors began to brace for Trump’s agenda and his anti-free trade views. Those losses were paired when Trump struck a conciliatory tone in accepting Clinton’s concession.

Fear of a Trump presidency was evident at the open of trading in Europe, where stocks in London plunged 2%, after futures indicated losses as high as 4%. The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong tumbled 2.7%, the South Korean Kospi fell 2.5% and the Japanese Nikkei 225 was down 5.1%. Australian and New Zealand markets fell by a similar measure.

Assets that rise in value during periods of market upheaval, for instance the U.S. dollar, gold, and government bonds, surged. Gold rose $41 to $1,316 a troy ounce, or over 3.2%. Ten-year U.S. Treasury note yields fell 12 basis points to 1.73%, indicating an investor flight to the safety of government bonds. The euro fell 2%, while the Japanese yen fell 3%.

The Mexican peso, the asset that has swung most violently depending on prospects for the presidential vote, plunged. On Tuesday, as Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton showed strength in early voting, the peso rose to two-week highs. However, it tumbled over 13.07% after midnight when CNN called a string of states for Trump including Ohio, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina and Utah.

States that continue to hang in the balance include Virginia and Michigan are trending in Clinton’s direction, while Pennsylvania is moving in Trump’s favor. New Hampshire remains too close to call. But Trump has won a clear path to the presidency with 288 electoral college votes.

As voting has come in decidedly in favor of Trump, defying the expectations of almost every national poll and many state polls, it was the IBD/TIPP Tracking poll that may have won Tuesday. It predicted Trump’s victory in a final national survey on Tuesday afternoon.

Others who foresaw Trump’s outperformance in the general election, for instance DoubleLine Capital’s Jeffrey Gundlach, did not back down from their calls on Tuesday.

“I think we can all agree that Donald J. Trump has massively outperformed expectations in the past,” said Gundlach on a conference call with investors Tuesday evening. Such an outcome would “cause a downgrade of global growth expectations or maybe even a global growth scare,” Gundlach told FORBES earlier in the year.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Dan Loeb of Third Point LLC also said last week he reduced his market exposure and increased hedges ahead of the election, comparing the vote to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in June.

“We clearly didn’t predict the outcome of Brexit, but we definitely saw that as a point in time where you had to ascribe some percentage to a scenario where there was a surprise. So we’ve done the same thing here,” he said on Nov. 4.

9:53 p.m. ET: Stock futures turned sharply negative and the Mexican Peso plunged against the U.S. dollar, reversing gains as Donald Trump expanded his lead on Hillary Clinton in the state of Florida. At 9:35 p.m. ET it was Republican nominee Trump who was in the lead by roughly 125,000 votes in Florida. The peso plunged over 7.9%, while stock futures were beginning to trade down sharply. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell over 489 points, or nearly 3%. Democrat leaning counties such as Broward and Miami-Dade hold most votes remaining to be counted, however over 95% of the vote is in. Fear proxies like gold and futures on the CBOE volatility index are surging as Trump gains a path to the presidency. Gold rose 2.34% after 9 p.m. ET.

CNN has called New York and Connecticut for Clinton, while Trump won three of five electoral votes in Nebraska, in addition to the states of North Dakota, South Dakota and Louisiana. States that are too close to call include North Carolina, Virginia and New Hampshire, while Trump is expanding leads in Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.

8:35 p.m. ET: Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pared gains as the state of Florida was up for grabs with over 90% of the vote in. As of 8:35 p.m. ET, Trump was winning Florida by roughly 83,000 votes with 48.9% of the vote versus Clinton’s 48% of the vote. Dow futures, which were up over 100 points, pared gains to 36 points. Trump has won Alabama and South Carolina, according to CNN. Clinton remains in the lead in North Carolina, Ohio and Michigan as the vote begins to come in. The U.S. dollar has begun to strengthen against the Mexican peso, rising 0.7% as Florida has tightened.

8:19 p.m. ET: Stock futures hit session highs after voting results from Florida and North Carolina showed Clinton clinging onto leads with well over half of the vote in. Clinton has won Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Washington D.C. and Massachusetts, while Trump has won Oklahoma, Mississippi and Tennessee, according to CNN.

7:35 p.m. ET: Trump has won Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, according to CNN. Clinton has won the state of Vermont, while races in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina and Ohio remain too close to call, according to CNN. Early voting calls caused weakness in Australian stock markets as they opened Wednesday trading, and rising investor jitters reflected by a rally in gold and a 1.1% slump in the Mexican peso versus the U.S. dollar after it closed at two-week highs on Tuesday.

6:05 p.m. ET: Futures for the CBOE Volatility Index continued to fall in trading after the market close, while the Mexican peso continued its surge against the dollar. As of 6:05 p.m. ET, the peso was trading up 0.22% against the dollar. This trading indicates investors have maintained an expectation of a victory by Clinton over Trump.

4:00 p.m. ET: Stocks closed higher heading into U.S. presidential election results with the S&P 500 Index closing up 8 points, or 0.39%, at 2,139. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4%, closing at 18,332 and paring some gains near the end of trading. Indications of investor fear such as the CBOE Volatility Index, gold, and the Swiss franc all fell on Tuesday, locking in a two-day risk rally ahead of the election. “The market expectation is a Clinton presidency,” said Joseph P. Quinlan, chief market strategist at U.S. Trust, at the close of trading.

The Mexican peso, the asset most correlated to investor perceptions of who will take the White House, rose 1.2% versus the dollar. Stocks rallied after futures trading opened lower on Tuesday morning and volatility was on the rise. Those fears mitigated as traders took in polling data, which showed resilience from Clinton. In a Clinton win over Trump, U.S. Trust’s Quinlan expects a rally heading into 2017. “The global economy is being run by the U.S.” Quinlan said, noting improving employment and income data. “With this big event behind us we are positioned for higher equity prices by the end of the year, and I think dramatically so,” he added.

3:30 p.m. ET: The CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, rallied in late trading as investors sought a way to buy protection against market risk heading into the close of trading. The VIX has tumbled over the past few trading sessions, in concert with rising equity markets, as investors began to price in a win by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The VIX rallied from down as much as 6% on Tuesday to slightly in the green by 3:15 p.m. ET, but equity markets held onto their gains. Confidence was bolstered when a Las Vegas judge denied a request by the Trump campaign to impound ballots from some polling stations in Clark County, Nevada.

2:28 p.m. ET: 

Markets began to sell-off in mid-afternoon trading after Republican nominee Donald Trump sued the Clark County Registrar of Voters, seeking to impound and segregate ballots from early voting on Friday, Nov. 4. Trump alleged in a suit the registrar “unlawfully”  extended voting hours by allowing voters to enter lines after an 8 p.m. deadline. The lawsuit, targeting areas of heavy reported early voting, sent the S&P 500 Index off intra-day highs to 2,139, up 0.39%, and caused fear gauges like the CBOE Volatility Index to pare early losses.

Earlier

It’s Election Day in the United States and voters are taking to polling stations across the country to decide the balance of power in the White House, in addition to races in the Senate and House of Representatives. In global markets, a bumper Monday rally on strength by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton took of the thunder out of early Election Day trading.

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

U.S. equity markets opened up moderately in early trading Tuesday after gaining over 2% on Monday as traders began to price in a Clinton victory. (Read FORBES’ Election Day Live Blog)

The S&P 500 Index was up 0.38% by noontime, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.44%, or 81-points, at 18,342. In Europe and Asia most large marked indices closed trading higher. Trading prices across assets indicated a bullish bias from traders.

Oil gained slightly in the morning trading session, rising 0.16% at 45.05 a barrel for West Texas Intermediate and gold fell slightly to 1,277 a troy ounce. Meanwhile, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury rose for a second day and similar duration government bonds in Brazil and Mexico fell. Safe haven currencies like the Swiss franc fell. The CBOE Volatility Index, meanwhile, fell 3% adding to Monday losses as traders took off their hedges.

Volatility in early trading was mostly confined to Tuesday stock blowups from Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Hertz and OneMain Financial, which all used Election Day to dump significantly negative earnings and guidance on their investors.

Embattled Valeant slashed its 2016 financial outlook, provided a cagey picture into its 2017 earnings expectations, and recorded a billion dollar writedown related to a recent acquisition. The stock, a top holding of hedge funds Pershing Square and ValueAct Capital, plunged 18% to new multi-year lows below $16 a share. It has fallen nearly 85% year-to-date, battered by an accounting and price gouging scandal that’s spawned numerous criminal and regulatory probes.

The picture was even worse for OneMain and Hertz, which both saw their shares fall more than 30% in early trading. OneMain, a consumer finance company, reported third quarter earnings that shows a significant deterioration in the credit of its customers as charge-off ratios on loans surged. The stock plunged 38% in early trading, putting year-to-date declines at 60%.

Car rental giant Hertz, meanwhile, plunged over 30% after the company significantly missed third quarter earnings estimates. The company reported third quarter earnings of 49-cents, down from the $2.60 it earned a year ago, and well below the $1.58 a share analysts were expecting. Hertz also slashed its full-year earnings guidance, causing investors to fret its $15 billion debt load.

Stock blowups aside, as midday trading began markets were trending higher and signs of investor fear mitigated. The Mexican Peso and the CBOE Volatility Index have been the two most volatile gauges of investors’ election expectations in what’s seen as a binary choice. As of now, a Trump presidency is seen as causing a volatility spike and a tumble in the peso given his anti-free trade views and temperament. So far, markets are siding with Clinton. By 12:30 pm, the Mexican Peso was trading 0.84% higher versus the dollar, while the VIX was down 4.65%.

Expect trading volatility to increase later in the afternoon or overnight as election data comes in.

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Investment strategists at RBC Capital Markets have laid out a baseline for a Clinton and a Trump victory, arguing that the S&P 500 should rally 3%-to–4% upon a Clinton win and decline 10%-to–12% on a Trump victory. At current levels, RBC feels the VIX should decline to 13–14 upon a Clinton victory and rise to 20–25 if Trump prevails, while emerging markets such as Mexico and China should rally under a Clinton presidency and sell off sharply if Trump wins.

Source : forbes

Categorized in Others

Washington: On Wednesday, Americans will awake from a nightmare. Donald Trump will not be their president.

But relief will be short-lived. It will be more a "ha, ha, gotcha" moment appropriate to a lingering Halloween mood; because Trump is likely to be a sore loser, ready to inflict serial new nightmares on the US before he's done with politics.

What's all this based on? The losing part is a gut feel, supplemented by the late polling and high turnout numbers in early voting, especially on a Latino surge that is especially ominous for Trump.

And those nightmares to come? That's based on what I suspect will be Trump's inability to walk away from the crater of his campaign, without attempting to make it into something else – remember his claim that he always makes success from failure?

Even before FBI chief James Comey reversed away from his bizarre intervention in the campaign, which was a body blow to Hillary Clinton, national polls had begun edging back to the Democrat, as were the local polls in swing states. A Gallup poll out just a week before election day was most telling – after 16 months of intense exposure, Trump had failed to convince 67 per cent of registered voters that he had the personality and leadership qualities for the White House.

As a man with a need to be acting a role, but who doesn't seem to know his real self, Trump will be desperate for an immediate new gig and a new spotlight after Tuesday's vote.

The Trump that greets America on Wednesday, actually, he's more likely to be snarling, will not be the slightly less objectionable candidate on view in the last week of the campaign – that guy was a product of the fact that he was up because Clinton was down; and his advisers were keeping him dosed up on political tranquilisers.

That being the case, there's no guarantee that an angry Trump will tend to what ought to be his first essential duty as a losing candidate – to make clear to his many supporters who have threatened various stages of uprising if he is defeated, that violence is not an acceptable response.

A dog urinates on a graffiti of Donald Trump at a laneway in Melbourne.

The American electoral process doesn't anoint the loser in a presidential race as a Westminster-style, leader of the opposition.

But with his "I-alone…" bravura amped up by a campaign that seemingly started in a fit of pique, Americans are likely to find themselves living through a sequel to The Apprentice, in which Trump has director's prerogative to designate himself as he likes.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by three percentage points among likely voters ...

Some of the anti-leadership qualities that he will bring to bear in that self-appointed office are – selfishness, a lack of discipline, vindictiveness, intellectual sloth, mendacity, greed, bigotry, misogyny and racism.

We've heard that in contemplating defeat, he's been mulling a new "super PAC", with vengeance as its core mission.

In defeat, Trump will have much to get even about.

This is a man who went all the way to the hallowed ground of Gettysburg , ostensibly to make a campaign-saving speech on good governance, but was unable to resist the indulgence of devoting a big chunk of his speech to how he was going to get even with the dozen women who complained of him sexually abusing them.

That's what you get with Trump – asked about great feelings in life, his response was "I love getting even…if you don't get even, you're just a schmuck."

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up a Donald Trump mask during a campaign speech on Monday.

In defeat, Trump will have much to get even about.

Losing spectacularly before the eyes of the nation and the world will be a severe psychological blow, probably prompting a "wounded animal" or "cunning rat" response – or a mix of the two. The fall from would-be leader of the Western world to feather duster will take a considerable adjustment.

The former secretary of state was leading Trump by about 45 per cent to 42 per cent in the popular vote.

The former secretary of state was leading Trump by about 45 per cent to 42 per cent in the popular vote. Photo: AP

Already Trump has refused to commit to accepting the election outcome, despite his efforts to qualify his refusal by throwing in the word "reasonable". He will challenge the outcome at the slightest opportunity, for these reasons:

  • Trump didn't invest all that campaign energy in claiming the election was rigged against him just to prove that he could be a victim of the rigging, without attempting to capitalise on that victimhood
  • Presenting himself as a victim in challenging the outcome would serve as a platform on which Loser Trump would build his post election political career
  • Any challenge would help to cast doubt on the legitimacy of a Clinton presidency and pose more questions about her mandate

Trump must win North Carolina to have a realistic chance of winning the White House.

Much of Trump's "it's rigged" argument is based on the Democratic Party's control in predominantly black communities in Pennsylvania – that's where he's demanding that his supporters mount vote 'watching" operations.

Politico magazine sets out a troubling scenario: "Suppose on Election Night, Pennsylvania's secretary of state announces that Clinton has won the state, and with it the presidency, but Trump says, 'Prove it.' The secretary of state responds, 'That's what the machines tell us'. Trump responds, 'Well, how do I know that the machines weren't hacked?' What is the secretary of state supposed to say then?

Donald Trump arrives to speak to a campaign rally on Monday in Raleigh, North Carolina.

"So who will resolve the conflict if Trump loses Pennsylvania and insists on seeing proof, and the state can't provide it? The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, despite being dominated by Democrats? The US Supreme Court, despite being hamstrung by a vacancy and thus at risk of a 4-4 split? Congress, paralysed by partisan gridlock?"

The extent to which the GOP establishment backs any trump challenge will be the first post-election measure of how seriously the GOP establishment will be in fighting to regain control of the Republican Party.

A natural segue from a Trump challenge to the result would be for him to assume a leader-of-the-opposition role, to become a freewheeling face and voice of all opposition to the Clinton presidency – its existence and all that she might do.

When Trump was not running his "rigged" argument in the last days of the campaign, he was crying "constitutional crisis" – warning of back-to-back congressional committees investigating Clinton and likely efforts to impeach her.

Loser Trump will be deeply conflicted – wait for the Twitter storm.

On the one hand he's not the kind of guy to hang around after he's taken a beating.

As we've learnt in this campaign, he'll take the business losses he's inflicted on others and claim them as a billion-dollar tax write-off for himself; he doesn't pony up half of what he's promised for his own campaign; and he'll scam his own charity foundation

So if there's no money to be made, why keep skin in the game?

An option that reportedly is being seriously massaged at Trump Tower is a media operation that would leverage Trump's vote, his millions of Twitter followers and his supporter's email list, who conceivably could be cajoled into paying subscriptions for cable or internet-based programs packaged around Trump, his policies and his family.

The campaign is already doing a crude version of what Trump TV might look like on its Facebook page. But a long term TV operation would be predicated on cannibalising existing TV audiences, especially that of Fox News, which would not happen without the Murdochs putting up a fight.

Any TV operation will be dictated by myriad variables – the extent to which Trump controls it; the extent to which his brand is damaged by an election defeat; who ponies up the probable hundreds of millions in investment and start-up costs; and the extent to which it absorbs all or part of the internet-based Breitbart News established by Steve Bannon, who is chief executive of Trump's presidential campaign.

On the other hand, Trump is the kind of guy who wants to keep fighting, who says that the best feeling in life is getting even; and who, some argue, would prefer the arm-to-arm combat of perpetual campaigning over the enormity of decision-making in the Oval Office.

For now, at least, Trump owns the Republican Party. With millions of primary and general election votes in the bank, his hostile take-over is complete and it's up to the GOP establishment to wrestle it back – if it can.

That prospective political terrain suits Trump's bullying style, notwithstanding his self-billing as a "deal-maker". The nature of the party's post-poll implosion will be more akin to the primaries in which Trump was more comfortable, making his pitch to party diehards than to the breadth of the general electorate.

But in pitching to white voters, Trump is up against a demographic brick wall – it's an electoral sector that shrinks at each election, as Hispanics numbers in particular grow and, in the face of GOP candidates like Trump, become more likely Democratic voters.

In an internal struggle, or in the event of a party break-up, Trump would pick up white supremacists and neo-Nazis and maybe, for a time at least, Christian Evangelicals. But all are demographic groups that are on the wrong side of that demographic wall.

The party risks finding itself as gridlocked as the congress.

The party that traditionally was capable of compromise has abandoned even the pretense of comity – if Republicans were not going to let a black president have his way, what chance a woman who already has been promised gridlock and chaos induced by endless committee investigations?

In Congress, check progress on Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland – in the old days, he'd at least have been given a confirmation hearing; these days, GOP senators simply refuse to discuss it.

In the Republican party, check progress on climate change – in the course of the primaries there was at least the semblance of a debate; these days Trump prevails, telling the world it's a Chinese hoax.

If the GOP emerges from the election intact, it will only do so by dramatically rewriting its policies, to accommodate the Trump supporters. For decades it had screwed them on economic and industry policy while throwing them unwinnable policies that didn't carry a dollar price – abortion, same-sex marriage, religious freedom.

That policy turf will be conceded reluctantly. But before the GOP gets to that internal brawl, which some insiders are casting as a "civil war", the establishment can be expected to heap blame for the election defeat on Trump and his campaign. But as Trump had demonstrated, he has become adept at whipping up rank-and-file anger at the party's leaders.

"That is the existential threat to the party," Tim Miller, a former Jeb Bush staffer and a fierce critic of Trump, told Vox. "Some candidates and elected officials will want to go down the Trump path, in ways that viscerally turn off young voters and minorities, because there would be short-term gain. And if that faction wins out, the party is going to die."

Conservative commentator Peter Wehner is at the barricades already, writing in The New York Times: "The forces that propelled Trump's rise need to be confronted and defeated. It won't be easy, given that tens of millions of Americans will vote for him and believe deeply in him. But if these forces are not defeated, what happened this year will be replicated in one form or another, and the Republican Party will continue to inflict great harm on our republic".

Unclear in all of this is whether Trump has the stamina or the inclination.

His options for remaining in politics amount to continual presidential campaigning – and for what?

He caught the GOP napping when he sought the 2016 nomination. But is the party likely to let him barnstorm his way through another primaries season, to steal the 2020 nomination? And if the electorate has opted for Clinton in 2016, what chance does he have of being preferred over in the next go-round?

The risk for the GOP is that it's working class and some of its middle class voters will break away – either to a new Trump-led party or to a reformed Democratic Party, from whence a good number of them came in the Nixon and Reagan years.

It took confiscation of Trump's Twitter account to make Trump focus in the last week of the campaign. What'll they have to do to make him pay attention next week – take away his Tic Tacs?

Source: smh.com.au

Categorized in News & Politics

Many think the value of the dollar will initially sink against the currencies of developed countries such as the UK, Japan and Switzerland if Trump edges the contest.

The mighty US dollar has been gradually strengthening against most other currencies since May 2016.

This is mainly because the American economy has been performing relatively well (compared with much of Europe and Japan), with employment growing quite strongly.

This momentum has increased expectations of another interest rate hike by the American central bank, the Federal Reserve, which has supported the value of the currency.

Yet the dollar index, which measures the value of the greenback against a basket of global currencies, has slipped slightly in the past week.

This coincides with a tightening of the polls and the higher implied possibility of a Donald Trump victory.

So what will happen to the greenback after the result of the election is announced?

We look below at the two scenarios.

Hillary Clinton wins….

A victory for the experienced Democrat politician is expected to prompt a dollar rally.

Since she was cleared by the FBI of wrongdoing in relation to her emails at the weekend the dollar has already strengthened. 

This trend is expected to continue if Clinton wins the White House.

Notwithstanding her tacking to the left on economic policy in her Presidential campaign to gain the votes of disaffected Americans, few expect any economic policy shocks from Clinton.

Donald Trump wins…

Here the impact is vastly more uncertain – both in the short-term and medium term. 

Many analysts think the value of the dollar will initially sink against the currencies of developed countries such as the UK, Japan and Switzerland if Trump edges the contest.

It will also probably fall against the euro, the second most important global currency.

But some think the dollar could strengthen against developing nation currencies – such as the Mexican peso –  due to anticipation that Trump will push through new protectionist trade policies, which will damage their economies.

There might well also be serious volatility in the dollar if Trump prevails because so little is known about his likely economic policy or who his economic advisers would be.

Signals of major domestic tax cuts or big spending pledges in the following weeks and months could have large impacts on the value of the greenback – but, rather like Trump himself, it is very hard to say in which direction the dollar would move.

Source : independent

Categorized in News & Politics
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