Për të gjithë të interesuarit…(Reklamë).
Për të gjithë të interesuarit…(Reklamë).
Sophia Ankel Insider
Trump said on Thursday he dispatched an “envoy ambassador” to the Kosovo-Serbia border.
In response, a White House official said the former president had a “very active imagination.”
Trump’s so-called “envoy ambassador” is Richard Grenell, a former diplomat and staunch ally.
The White House mocked former President Donald Trump after he said he had an “envoy ambassador” still making foreign trips for him. In a Thursday statement, Trump said he sent his “envoy ambassador” Richard Grenell to the Kosovo-Serbia border on his behalf to “highlight” an agreement brokered there during his presidency.
“The agreements my administration brokered are historic and should not be abandoned, many lives are at stake,” Trump wrote in the statement.
An unnamed White House official dismissed the statement immediately, telling RealClearPolitics reporter Philip Wegmann: “Outside of his very active imagination, Donald Trump is no longer president and doesn’t have any ‘envoy ambassadors’ representing the United States.”
In 2019, Trump named Grenell a special envoy for Serbia-Kosovo peace negotiations that resulted in a historic agreement to resume flights between the two country’s capitals, The New York Times reported.
Grenell, a staunch Trump ally, also served as the US ambassador to Germany from 2018 to 2020 and became acting director of national intelligence for about four months in 2020.
Vivian Salama, a national security reporter for The Wall Street Journal, tweeted that former presidents should not have active envoys, adding: “In reality, I suspect Grenell’s visit is more a courtesy than anything serious.”
Trump and his allies have previously acted as though he was running a sort of shadow presidency since he left the White House in January.
In July, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said he and Trump were meeting “cabinet members” at Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey to discuss his political future.
He also described Trump as “a president who is fully engaged, highly focused, and remaining on task,” HuffPost reported.
The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
By Nick Markola CIMA®
2012 turned out to be a lot better than most predicted this time last year. We are grateful the Mayan’s and their calendar skills were subpar.
2012 was a centennial year for Albanians with global commemorations and many great events. Centennial events reminded us all of our rich history, great accomplishments, of centuries of all struggles and victories and of our European roots. We should always celebrate our rich history and traditions, but always remember that we need to work hard and smart to achieve even more in the future. Each one of us should give our contribution. In my view, it is important for all of us to invest wisely, create a strong society of successful investors in various fields globally, starting from the United States to Europe and as far as Australia. Having strong investor portfolios on individual basis provides for our families. It further provides for the common good and gives us all more leverage. As 2012 is winding down, taking a closer look at our portfolios and positioning them for 2012 is prudent. Europe, despite all of its woes, maybe a good place to consider investing. Exploring going back to our roots, going back to Europe, always makes sense.
In positioning investment portfolios for the coming year, Wall Street professionals and investors are looking across the globe. There are walls of worries about the Fiscal Cliff and deficits in the US, sovereign debt in Europe, soft or hard landing in China, commodity crisis in Latin America and the nuclear issues in the Middle East, just to name a few. However, there are also investment opportunities throughout the world investors can capitalize on despite the challenges. Europe has been in the news extensively. Images of rioting folks in Greece or workers demonstrating in Italy, France or Spain may be fresh in our minds. There are arguments that Europe has entered into a depression and that may lead some to argue why considering investing in an area, in or on the brink of depression may profitable. They may argue for investments in economies that are growing at healthy rates.
For starters, it is very important to draw a clear distinction and delineation between economies and stock markets. While the performance of economies and markets may coincide during some periods, it is crucial to understand that often their performance diverges and goes in opposite direction. In support of this, one should look at the US in 2012. GDP growth has been anemic, but the equity markets have been very strong, returning well over 10%. China’s growth in the past has been very strong but equity markets have not. Brazil’s economy has grown at attractive rates but the equity market has not behaved the same. If one needs more evidence to understand that economic growth and stock market performance don’t behave the same way, a look at Europe in 2012 is a case in point. The European economy put up negative growth, while equity markets across Germany, France and UK were up in double digits with the Pan European Stoxx Europe 600 Index up almost 20%.
Debt crisis is still raging in Europe and some of the European governments are in very difficult financial situation. However, some European companies, unlike their government, are in much better financial position and flush with cash. Barron’s reports that companies in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, had approximately €600 billion ($800 billion) in cash at the end of 2011, substantial increase from the €540 billion at the end of 2007, according to data from Thompson Reuters Eikon. Approximately a third of the companies in the index are currently debt free which means that they have plenty of cash on the sidelines waiting to be deployed. Corporate earnings are further forecasted to rise by 5% to 10% in 2013. Price to earnings multiples, a frequently used measure to analyze investments, have significantly improved in 2012 for European companies. The real catalyst for such an improvement may be the actions of the European Central Bank (ECB). The ECB tried on numerous occasions in the past to deal with the crisis but not with much access. Over the summer, it appears that the markets were encouraged with the actions and comments of the ECB President Mario Draghi that they will spare no measure and will do everything possible to deal with the European debt crisis. The July 2012 pledge by Mr. Draghi that they will do “whatever it takes” appears to have soothed the market participants in Europe.
With the negative news out of Europe and with the recession then potential depression, many European companies have suffered. There are still risks in Europe, especially on the political side. Political risks have somehow diminished but Greece is still a mess. Italy has significant issues to deal with, and Spain and Portugal are on the brink of needing rescue packages. France also has real issues. There has been a lot of chatter about austerity measures in Europe, however, a closer look at government budges reveals anything but austerity as expenses aren’t reined in while spending has increased. The US has seen real issues in getting just two political parties to agree on anything meaningful. Therefore, getting all the European governments to agree on anything meaningful is a challenge.
One of the important tenets of investing is that one should always look for good investments. A more important tenet is to look for good investments in bad places because most will shy away difficult environments. Europe may be considered anything but a good investment place for many, but it is where our roots are. Going back to our roots always makes sense. Some of the companies in Europe I am contemplating on taking a closer look at are the German chemicals producer, Bayer; Swiss luxury goods maker Richemont; Danish drug maker, Novo Nordisk or the Spanish utility Enagas. Investing in stocks is always risky. Taking a closer look at companies in places such as Europe which is going through challenging times from an economic standpoint may provide attractive opportunities in 2013. It will provide an opportunity to go back to our roots and possibly generate attractive returns in this turbulent world.
With best wishes for a wonderful Holiday Season and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year, be well and invest wisely.
* The writer is the Co-Founder of APEN
By Nick Markola CIMA®
Year 2012 is slowly drawing to an end. The media appears to be mesmerized with the Fiscal Cliff which is set to take place on the first day of the new year, and rightfully so. Unless Washington politicians from both parties come up with an agreement, consequences could be murky. What is the fiscal cliff? Many investors are unclear about the repercussions if the United States were to go over the cliff and what that would do to the country, the economy and their investments. Media outlets are busy pointing out that if the US were to go over the Fiscal Cliff, it could be devastating for all.
What is the Fiscal Cliff? It is a collection of laws currently on the books, that if unchanged, could result in tax increases, spending cuts and a corresponding reduction in the budget deficit beginning in 2013. These laws include tax increases due to the expiration of the Bush era tax cuts and spending cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011. Such tax increases will affect the rich the most but they are expected to impact a very broad range of taxpayers. The Budget Control Act of 2011 was passed after the two parties could not agree on how to control the US deficit. The thought was that deep cuts would be unacceptable to democrats while sharp tax increases would be objected by republicans thus forcing both parties to negotiate a deficit solution. The year-over-year changes for fiscal years 2012–2013 include a 19.63% increase in tax revenue and 0.25% reduction in spending. Some major programs, such as Social Security, Medicaid, federal and military pay and pensions as well as veterans’ benefits, are exempted from the spending cuts. Spending for federal agencies and cabinet departments would be reduced through broad based cuts. In terms of cuts, cuts to the US military are mostly talked about and are referred to as budget sequestration.
The Great Recession of 2008/2009 had a profound impact on the US and the world. It also impacted severely people from Wall Street to Main Street. Since the Great Recession, the US has turned the corner and had worked on the recovery although the recovery has been slow. If the US goes over the Fiscal Cliff, there is a high probability that the current slow US growth will slow further and the country may enter into yet another recession. The reasons for such a potential negative move are the events that will be triggered if no agreement is reached. On the spending side, cuts to the military and other programs will have an adverse impact on the economy as there will be less money to be spent across the board. In terms of raising taxes, that term seems to be banned in Washington and the term of the day is raising revenues. Raising revenues is nothing else but tax increase. Increasing taxes during the time when the economy is teetering on the brink and growing at an anemic rate may not be the most prudent step forward.
The US fiscal house is not in order and it may be helpful to simplify the numbers. We are hearing about billion dollar deficits or 16 trillion dollar debt, but that may be hard for some to relate to. A trillion is an enormous number. For example, if a million dollars was spent every day (not every year) since the day Jesus was born about two thousand years ago, by today that figure would not reach a trillion. Let’s assume the US is an average household, or it could be your household. This household takes in net $26,000 in income from various sources on an annual basis. The same household is also accustomed to a certain lifestyle and luxuries that it doesn’t want to part ways with. The lifestyle and all expenditures cost the household $37,000. Therefore on annual basis, this average household takes in $26,000, spends $37,000 and has a deficit of $11,000. It does not take a genius from a prestigious Albanian university to realize that this is not sustainable on long term basis to spend more than what you take in. This average household has had the bad habit of spending more in the past and financed its spending by borrowing on the credit card. Now the debt on the family credit card has surpassed $160,000. By any measure, this is a family on shaky financial grounds with such large debt and annual deficit. An average person understands that they cannot survive for long without making some real changes if their annual income is $26,000, annual expenditures are $37,000 and their total debt exceeds $160,000 with no assets.
The average household in the above example is unfortunately the United States of America, the leader of the free world and the economic powerhouse of the 20th century. Take the numbers in the above example and add eight zeros and the financial picture of the US emerges with a $16 trillion current debt, $3.7 trillion annual budget (expenditures) and $2.6 trillion annual revenues (tax collections). Going over the Fiscal Cliff could be very painful and impact many adversely. But as the numbers above show, the financial position is challenging. Some tough choices need to be made and the road ahead could be very bumpy. On the other side, the US is still the global economic powerhouse. Innovation still lives in the US and developments in the energy sector are very promising. With the discovery of vast natural gas reserves and oils shales, we could be on a short path to energy independence and turning the US to a low cost manufactures due to potential inexpensive energy. Until then, the hope is that politicians will make the right decisions and lead us through the bumps.
* The writer is the Co-Founder of APEN and the Treasurer of the Mark Gjonaj 2012 Campaign