-

the DON JONES INDEX…

 

 

GAINS POSTED in GREEN

LOSSES POSTED in RED

 

    4/29/24...     14,860.44

    4/22/24...     14,879.35

     6/27/13…    15,000.00

 

(THE DOW JONES INDEX: 4/29/24... 38/239.81; 4/22/24... 37,986.40; 6/27/13… 15,000.00)

 

LESSON for APRIL TWENTY NINTH, 2024

AH HAH HAH HAH HAH... AH HAH HAH HAH HAH!  IT’S the CATCH-‘N-KILL-PECKER SHOW

 

Despite his four criminal and more civil cases, a total of 91 indictments (and rising) and denunciations from all of the usual suspects as well as disgruntled Haley voters (namely the moderately conservative suburban women whom Djonald UnFlustered dismisses), former President Trump appears to be in an (unhung) neck and neck race with current President Joe.

Not even the news that leading Veep candidates Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and failed-to-make Gov. Kari Lake (R-Az) have exploded their potentially by boasting of shooting an “untrainable” dog or backing off from glorifying the Arizona abortion decision and, thus, revealing her RINO horn has impacted his polling or fundraising.  After  all, there are still plenty of crazy MAGAmoms out there if Trump wants to twerk female (“hey... I’m MTG and I’m available!!!”) or he can back a black or just play safe with a vanilla fruitcake in a suit.  Still, even though he said that the government’s latest witness in the only case likely to conclude before November... the alleged $130,000 hush money payoff to porn star Stormy Daniels... was still “a nice guy”, he has to be pecked off by the betrayal of his old friend and former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker who ruled the roost (the witness box) all week recounting details small and smaller about how Trump (or, as the defendant claimed, his lawyers and his lawyers only) forked over the cash for failing to catch or kill Stormy’s sordid story.

As the government... in this case, New York AyGee Bragg and prosecutor Colangelo... would have the jury believe, the lonely billionaire sought the solace of poor porn star Stormy, then paid her $130,000, then cooked the books to make it seem a business expsnse.

Stormy Monday (and the rest of the week)

Timelines and takeaways from the Criminal Trial of Donald Trump in Manhattan – April 25th through 30th

A historic trial begins. Donald Trump, who faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first degree to cover up a sex scandal, is on trial in Manhattan. He is the first former U.S. president to be criminally prosecuted. Here are answers to some key questions about the case:

What is Trump accused of? The charges trace back to a $130,000 hush-money payment that Trump’s fixer, Michael Cohen, made to the porn actress Stormy Daniels in 2016 to suppress her story of a sexual liaison with Trump in 2006. While serving as president, Trump reimbursed Cohen, and how he did so constituted fraud, prosecutors say.

Why did prosecutors cite other hush-money payments? Although the charges relate to the payment to Daniels, Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, is expected to highlight two other hush-money deals. Prosecutors say that the deals show that Trump had orchestrated a wide-ranging scheme to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Who will the key witnesses be? Cohen is expected to be a crucial witness for prosecutors. Bragg is also expected to call David Pecker, the former publisher of The National Enquirer, as well as Hope Hicks, a former Trump aide, to shed light on the tumultuous period surrounding the payments. Trump said he plans to testify in his own defense.

Who is the judge? Juan Merchan, the judge, is a veteran of the bench known as a no-nonsense, drama-averse jurist. During the trial, Justice Merchan will be in charge of keeping order in the courtroom and ruling on objections made by prosecutors and Trump’s lawyers. The jury will decide whether Trump is guilty.

What happens if Trump is convicted? The charges against Trump are all Class E felonies, the least severe felony category in New York. If convicted, Trump faces prison sentence of four years or less, or he could receive probation.

How is The New York Times covering the trial? The Times will provide comprehensive coverage of the trial, which is set to last six to eight weeks. Expect live updates from the courtroom in Manhattan, daily takeaways, explainers and analysis from our reporting team.

 

Lawyers for Donald J. Trump on Friday grilled the former publisher of The National Enquirer, casting doubt on his explanation for why he suppressed salacious stories about the Republican presidential candidate before the 2016 election.

The witness, David Pecker, who has known Mr. Trump for decades, had faced a stern cross-examination from one of the former president’s defense lawyers, Emil Bove, who pressed Mr. Pecker

Mr. Bove sought to convince the jury of two fundamental points about the stories, which Mr. Pecker bought and then buried: Such arrangements, characterized by prosecutors as “catch and kill,” were standard for the publisher, and that Mr. Pecker had previously misled jurors about the details of the transactions.  (New York Times, 4/24/24, Attachment One)

Mr. Bove sought to convince the jury of two fundamental points about the stories, which Mr. Pecker bought and then buried: Such arrangements, characterized by prosecutors as “catch and kill,” were standard for the publisher, and that Mr. Pecker had previously misled jurors about the details of the transactions.

 

A “nice guy”...

Legally, the most damaging aspect of Pecker’s occurred on Thursday, when... on the third day of his testimony... the former National Enquirer boss who used the publication to buoy Trump ahead of the 2016 election. “While Pecker’s testimony earlier this week contained plenty of damning evidence, the former tabloid boss dropped an under-oath bombshell when he recalled that Trump complained to him that Stormy Daniels had breached the hush-money deal she’d made with Trump fixer Michael Cohen after the porn star gave a televised interview about her alleged affair with the former president.”  (Rolling Stone, April 25, 2024, Attachment Two)

Pecker testified to Trump’s knowledge of the Daniels agreement on Thursday. “He said that we have an agreement with Stormy Daniels that she cannot mention my name or anything like this and that each time she breaches the agreement it is a $1 million penalty, and based on the interview with Anderson Cooper, she owes me $24 million dollars,” Pecker said, according to NBC News.

Rolling Stone also reported that the Enquirer had previouslybought, and then killed, Playboy model Karen McDougal‘s story about her alleged affair with Trump. Pecker said on Thursday that Trump knew about the deal, which sent $150,000 to McDougal in exchange for her silence.

 “Do you know whether anyone other than Michael Cohen had knowledge of this contract?” the prosecution asked Pecker. “Yes, I believe Donald Trump did,” he replied.

Pecker also testified that he refused to purchase the story because he didn’t “want the National Enquirer to be associated with a porn star.”

“I am not a bank,” he said he told Cohen, advising the lawyer to “buy this story and take it off the market, because if you don’t and it gets out, I think the boss is going to be very angry with you.”

This allegedly led Cohen to buy Daniels’ silence himself, and Trump later reimbursed his lawyer for “servi,ces rendered.” Prosecutors say this was a crime, as the payment amounts to an illegal campaign expenditure. “They agreed to cook the books,” prosecutor Matthew Colangelo said during opening arguments, calling the scheme “election fraud, pure and simple.”

Reuters (April 24, Attachment Three) reported that Pecker’s quashed Stormy’s story “even though it would have boosted sales of his tabloid”.

"You killed the story because it helped the candidate, Donald Trump?" prosecutor Joshua Steinglass asked him.

Pecker said yes.

After Pecker's testimony, prosecutors called two more witnesses to boost their case.

Rhona Graff, who worked as Trump's business assistant from 1987 to 2021, testified she once saw Daniels at Trump Tower before he ran for president. She said she heard Trump say he was interested in casting her on "The Apprentice," the reality TV show he hosted.

She said the email addresses of Daniels and McDougal were stored in the computer systems of Trump's company.

Next, banker Gary Farro testified that Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, set up accounts with him shortly before the election for two shell companies, including one that was used to pay Daniels.

During cross-examination, Trump lawyer Emil Bove sought to undermine Pecker's credibility and sought to illustrate that Pecker's checkbook journalism was not confined to Trump... and the witness acknowledged that he’d also killed stories on Arnold Schwarzenegger and Marla Maples, Trump’s former wife.

Despite the testimony, Pecker’s still... according to his own statement as noted in The Hill (Attachment Four)... in Trump’s “good graces”.

“David’s been very nice,” the former president said Thursday morning, hours before the publisher would retake the witness stand for a third day, where he would reveal even more details of the backroom deals at the heart of the case. “He’s a nice guy.”  

“Do you have any bad feelings or ill will about the defendant?” prosecutor Joshua Steinglass asked the publisher as the last question of his direct examination. 

“On the contrary,” Pecker said. “I felt that Donald Trump was my mentor.” 

Trump would introduce Pecker to other New York executives and tip him off about news from his show, “The Apprentice,” which Pecker’s magazine readers would “religiously” follow. 

“He helped me throughout my career,” Pecker testified.  

Nonetheless, Pecker “gave a damning account of the tabloid’s role in helping stifle negative stories about Trump and elevate bad press – often untrue – about his political opponents” and unspooled a spooky story about killing a Trump Tower doorman’s accusation that Trump purportedly had an illegitimate child which... although proven false... motivated the publisher to buy it for $30,000 – knowing it would be “very embarrassing” to Trump’s campaign if it got out.

But he refused Cohen’s request for Stormy money, saying that he’d told the fixer that : “I am not a bank” which led to Cohen having to front the payoff out of his own pocket – the accounting upon which comprising the crime which seems most likely to send the Republican candidate to prison before November.

Djonald UnFazed also exuded benevolence on Friday afternoon as Rhona Graff began her testimony; the former president “smiling and chuckling” at Graff as she spoke positively of her former boss, calling him “fair and respectful.”

Next up, next week The Hill predicted... more FOTs (“friends of Trump”... including former spokeswoman Hope Hicks and Jeffrey McConney, the Trump Organization’s former comptroller.  Otherwise engaged are former attorney and NYC Mayor Rudy G. and Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff.

Both Giuliani and Meadows are each fighting two separate election-related indictments, one in Georgia, alongside Trump as a defendant, and now one in Arizona, for their alleged efforts in trying to illegally overturn the 2020 election.

Pecker, as depicted in a WikiBio (Attachment Five) is a born and bred New Yorker... born in the Bronx and graduating from Pace University in 1973.  He toiled as an accountant for Price Waterhouse, then CBS and, in 1999, convinced investors to help him purchase American Media, Inc. (AMI), publisher of the Star, the Globe, the National Enquirer, and the Weekly World News.

There, he came under fire for allegedly extorting Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and journalist Ronan Farrow and, after El Patron was charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records by DA Bragg after reimbursed Cohen $420,000, for the payoff, “fees, a bonus and taxes, and illegally recorded the payments as legal fees. Proving that the payments were inherently linked to Trump’s political aspirations is critical to prosecutors’ ability to charge Trump with felonies in the case, as the falsifying business records charges are typically misdemeanors. Prosecutors must prove that Trump committed the alleged misdemeanors in conjunction with another crime—in this case violating campaign finance laws since the payment to Daniels exceeded federal contribution limits.”

Axios (April 25th, Attachment Seven) reported that Pecker “was granted immunity from prosecution by the DOJ in 2018 for providing information to federal prosecutors about the hush money payments.”  His jousting with Schwarzenegger (a more-or-less-failed “Apprentice” rival) was further explicated in the Independent U.K. – Attachment Eight (A) – while what the New York as “strong-arming” against Tiger Woods after catching him in a “sex romp” with mistress Mindy Lawton in his Escalade in 2007, “years before his extramarital affairs became public,” was depicted in the New York Post - Attachment Eight (B).

“He always said that they were all snakes,” a Woods insider tracked down by the Post recalled. “They promised to protect him, but that only went so far. When they had the chance, they ran the story of his cheating anyway. They really f—d him in the end.”

 

Even more partisan was today’s AP expose in which the politician and peckerman alleged colluded in numerous media scams... an “astonishing level of corruption at America’s best-known tabloid (which) may one day be seen as the moment it effectively died.”  (Attachment Nine)

“It just has zero credibility,” said Lachlan Cartwright, executive editor of the Enquirer from 2014 to 2017. “Whatever sort of credibility it had was totally damaged by what happened in court this week.”

That courtroom testimonty could kill off or even seriously obstruct the reputation of a tabloid tell-alls like the Enquirer (or its even more squamous nephew, the Weekly World News) was catnip to the “sober” AP which hailed its premature burial after Pecker’s progress to another world – AP’s David Bauder declaring that, however its stories “danced on the edge of credulity”, the Enquirer was a cultural fixture from the 1960s onward in its place on racks at supermarket checkout lines, “where people could see headlines about UFO abductions or medical miracles while waiting for their milk and bread to be bagged” or, at its most grating and most profitable, displaying pix of Elvis Presley in his coffin for its front cover of the issue that sold 6.9 million copies, according to the 2020 documentary, “Scandalous: The Untold Story of the National Enquirer.”

“Celebrity news was a staple,” the AP said, and the Enquirer paid sources around Hollywood to learn what the stars’ publicists wouldn’t say. “It may have been true. It may have had just a whiff of truth. It was rarely boring.”

The tabloid busted and broke the careers of Gary Hart and John Edwards and only the catch-and-kill saved Schwarzenegger during his chase of California’s governorship; a template for Pecker’s comfort and joy to Trump at the expense of political rivals like the Clintons or, later, Ted Cruz.

On Thursday, Pecker was back on the witness stand to tell more about the arrangement he made “to boost Trump’s presidential candidacy in 2016, tear down his rivals and silence any revelations that may have damaged him.” (Elizabeth Williams via AP – Attachment Eleven)

His exodus from American Media in 2020 was - recalled the New York Post, (August 21, 2020 Attachment Twelve) – conditional to a deal to sell off the company to a hedge fund that enriched, but disempowered, the disgraced catch-and-killer... himelf caught and killed when Amazon founder Jeff Bezos claimed that Pecker and the National Enquirer were trying to blackmail him over his affair with Lauren Sanchez and Federal investigators were pumping up the pressure on Woody.

“In exchange for turning rat, Pecker and former Enquirer editor Dylan Howard were granted immunity in the federal case in the US Southern District of New York.”

Under the restructuring, the wholesale distributorwas to be renamed Accelerate 360 which, in addition to magazines, also distributes candy, gum, health bars mini-hand sanitizers and other items sold at the front of 55,000 retail outlets nationally.  The Enquirer, Star, Life & Style, OK! and other will now be headed by former group publisher Chris Scardino; Pecker was demoted to “senior executive advisor.”

 

As the trial closed for the weekend, “secret deals, six-figure payoffs, salacious stories -- the testimony of former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker in Donald Trump’s hush money trial this week has offered a rare window into the tabloid practice of checkbook journalism, where a publication pays its sources.”  (ABC, April 26th, Attachment Twelve)

The scheme to “catch and kill” unflattering stories about Trump now lies at the heart of the prosecutors’ case, “alleging Pecker arranged to pay sources for the rights to such stories to suppress them.”

Editors at the magazine could spend up to $10,000 to get ahold of a story, but any payment exceeding that amount required sign-off from Pecker, he testified.

Pecker said that he retained "the final say on the celebrity side of the magazines."

“We used checkbook journalism and we paid for stories,” Pecker added.

Ridiculous condemnations sprouted up from Jane Kirtley, a professor of media ethics and law at the University of Minnesota, who told ABC News that: “It’s definitely not within the bounds of journalistic practice,” and pompously preaching that:  “Journalists exist to report the news, not suppress it.”  Or just make it up.

The Society of Professional Journalists, a nationwide organization representing journalists, further condemned checkbook journalism in a statement on Tuesday in response to testimony in the hush money trial.

“It is clearly unethical,” SPJ National President Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins said in a stirring but equally ridiculous statement.

And, amidst many more self-serving statements from the untabloid press, checkbook journalism is protected by the First Amendment.  John Watson, a professor of journalism at American University who focuses on ethics, told ABC News, told ABC that the press enjoys wide latitude around how and what to publish.

"The First Amendment protects any sort of expression, outside of obscenity," Watson said, while acknowledging other exemptions for false and defamatory speech.

Over the waters in France, the august and influential Le Monde cited Pecker’s “fabricated scoops (and) concerted attacks on the billionaire's rivals” (April 24, 2024, Attachment Thirteen)... perhaps falling short of the mark only in failing to note that Djonald is probably not a billionaire any more... pending the litany of litigation he is facing.

Even the once-friendly Fox piled on the abuse... reporting that, in addition to the Stormy scandal-turned-crime, Pecker, on his second day of testimony, calmly described forking over cash in two such instances: one for a story that turned out to be flatly untrue, and one to buy the silence of former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal, who’d alleged a 10-month affair that Trump denies.

Pecker said former Trump fixer Michael Cohen invited him to the candidate’s June 2015 launch, part of an effort to show how close he was to Trump and his team. (The personal Fox favorite: He pitched a magazine called Trump Style, and Trump would leak him the ratings for "The Apprentice," which the Enquirer would publish.)

Stormy-fixer Cohen would call, the Fox said, and ask for a negative story on, say, Ted Cruz, send the information, "and we’d embellish it from there."  This placeholderled to the infamous “Daddy Killed JFK” fiasco as well as "Ted Cruz Sex Scandal: 5 Secret Mistresses" Or there would be a request for a hit piece on another Trump rival (turned dogsbody): "Bungling Surgeon Ben Carson Left Sponge in Patient’s Brain."

 

Still, The Hill said Trump was in an apparently forgiving mood Thursday morning, hours before the publisher would retake the witness stand for a third day, where he would reveal even more details of the backroom deals at the heart of the case. “David’s been very nice,” the former president said.”  (Attachment Fifteen)  “He’s a nice guy.”  

In return, the liberal and normally combative Slate played it straight as the week’s testimony(Attachment Sixteen) opining that Daddy DA Bragg’s strategy was evolving into that dark hole of prosecutorial adventure... an official conspiracy theory.

“The word “conspiracy” was not a prominent feature of Bragg’s pretrial legal filings. But it came up again and again in the first two days of presentation to the jury this week. The idea of a “conspiracy” was so central to the prosecution’s case—and maybe so ominous-sounding—that Trump’s defense team even tried to get prosecutors to stop using the word.

“It’s understandable why they’d do that,” Slater Jeremy Stahl stated. “Taking part in a “criminal conspiracy” sounds a lot worse than allegedly violating Byzantine campaign finance laws that nobody really understands and that might not normally even be enforced properly anyhow.”

Baby Doc DA Matthew Colangelo’s opening arguments focused heavily on an August 2015 meeting among Trump, Cohen, and Pecker, who has also been the prosecution’s first witness against Trump. “During this, the word “conspiracy” came up more than a few times. “The defendant, Donald Trump, orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election,” Colangelo argued. “Then he covered up that criminal conspiracy by lying in his New York business records over and over and over again.” Colangelo said “conspiracy” more than a dozen times during that opening argument.

At one point in the testimony on Tuesday, Slate pointed out, the prosecution “tried to add that 2016 Trump campaign chairman Steve Bannon also may have conspired with Pecker. Defense attorney Emil Bove objected, and complained to the judge that the “whole line of questioning” about co-conspirators should be inadmissible because conspiracy was never charged, meaning the defense was resultingly not given fair notice about who might be considered a co-conspirator.

“But prosecutor Joshua Steinglass stepped in to argue that “there is conspiracy language” in one of the election statutes charged, which makes his team’s use of the word fair game. Justice Merchan agreed. The problem for the defense is that “conspiracy” sure sounds worse than friends working together to “influence” an election.”

Slate ruminated that Trump’s legal team intended to counter Pecker’s testimony on cross-examination, portraying Pecker as a sleazebag who betrayed his friend—a “rat” in Trump parlance—to save his own skin.  And this is exactly what they did... despite Trump’s own forgiving attitude.  The defense also portrayed the unusual cooperation deal that Trump had with Pecker as what Slated called “typical of journalist–source relationships, which often involve reporters trying to curry favor with the people they cover in exchange for information.”

At the close of Friday’s cross-examination, the Explainer (April 26th, Attachment Seventeen) propounded six “key takeaways” from Pecke’s pronouncements... these being...

 

Pecker grilled on editorial process, 2015 meeting

Term ‘catch-and-kill’ not used in 2015 meeting

Karen McDougal deal

Longtime Trump aide testifies about Daniels, McDougal contacts

Trial hears from third witness

Gag order hearing next week

 

The WashPost’s review of Friday’s development noted that that last which, like a conviction for fraud might have resulted in his serving time at New York’s jail complex on Rikers Island or in state prison (if only for a few hours, or days).

The former president’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, said there was "absolutely no willful violation of a gag order" and that his client was allowed to respond to attacks by Cohen and Daniels.

It was "silly," Merchan said, to assume the gag order was somehow waived because Trump had been attacked.

Finally, the judge scolded Blanche: "You’re losing all credibility with the court. You’ve presented nothing."

 

Monday morning’s outcome found Marchan... who coulda, mighta locked Djonald up for the weekend and spoil his weekend of campaigning and fundraising chose, instead, to fine him... all of $9,000.

Another wet blanker!

 

 

Our Lesson: April Twenty Second through Twenty Eighth, 2024

 

Monday, April 22, 2024

Dow: 38,239,98

It’s Earth Day.  CBS tells Don Jones to stop hating on sharks because they kill fish that would damage the endangered coral reefs.  President Joe celebrates by allocating $7B to solar power.  One publicity scooping app is the powering up of powerless Navaho communities in the Southwest.

   As Stormy Davis trial begins, Biden also says that Donald Trump “corrupted” the 2016 election, countering Djonald’s contention that Joe stole 2020.  On the stand, Catch-and-Kill Pecker pecks out a story to help the prosecution (and save his own red, woody arse) and admits to having used “checkbook journalism”.   Ahhh hah hah ahhh hah!  Team Trump’s lawyers say that any crimes are the fault of... other lawyers.

   SCOTUS kicks off a busy week taking on the homeless (whose numbers are increasing by leaps and bounds as high rents, foreclosures and evictions increase).  Republicans like Saint Ron in Florida and liberals like Gavin Newsome in California say: “Lock them up!”  Police are otherwise busy fighting mobs of pro-Hamas anti-Semitic rich students at elite universities, demonstrating against Israel.  Speaker Mike, nonetheless, approves military aid to Tel Aviv, as to Kyev and Taipei, earning enmity (and strange harmony with the left) from MTG and the Maga Mob.

   In other crime news, a criminally country culprit in Vancouver throws a cellphone at Luke Bryan, causing him to take a pratfall worthy of Canada’s funniest videos.

 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Dow:  38,503.69

   It’s the first full day of Passover.  While elite student mobs call for destruction of Israel and extermination of the Jews, the donor class passes over George Santos who reports a treasure chest of... zero... and quietly abandons his restoration bid.

   The talking class responds to Trump’s first day in court by contending that he looks “diminished and defeated”.  Jonathan Karl opines that not only is he not concerned about the $1,000/day fines for violating his gag order, he actually hopes that Judge Marchan will send him to jail so he can double down on martyrdom claims.  On Pecker’s second day on the stand, he implicates Michael Cohen as well as Djonald.

   With his November foe stuck in court (and complaining about the thermostat), President Joe goes to toasty Florida to seek votes, blame Trump for extreme anti-abortion laws and congratulate himself for the arms bill – including the provision to make the ChiComs sell TikTok.  He may regret it because Gen. Z social mediots are so afraid of losing their forum for fun and trivia that they will turn out and vote for Trump.

   But there is more to teenage activism... while the serious kids are rioting against the cops and Jews, the Tik Tok toenails are fighting for their right to party and Swifties are even dipping their toes in economic waters to protest the  “funflation” of concert ticket prices.

 

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Dow:  38,460.92

Under a “pink” or “frog” full moon, the young are still croaking out against  Israel while the middle aged and elderly are protesting the extension of the proposed anti-abortion ban in Idaho to the country and, then, the world.  But there may be hope... Supreme scryers say Amy Coney Barrett may be escaping Camp Trump and even perhaps joining the three female liberals... which would place defeat within reach.  But Himself says the Supremes have “handled the matter brilliantly.”

   The Senate passes the pro-war toy and anti-TikTok legislation 79 to 18 despite the teenage TT addicts complaining that “...TikTok just helps me to be myself in front of a large audience.”  (Of ChiCom spies!)

   Speaker Mike, after securing the arms deal, becomes collateral damage to the elite university pro-Hamas ultra liberal protesters who boo and heckle him wherever he goes, screaming that “we do not want our tuition money going for genocide” and joining MTG in denouncing Jews and calling for universities to boycott any company that does business with Israel.  Their icons in Hamas release videos of Hershel Goldberg Polin with his blown off arm on the 201st day of his captivity.

   The Hamastages in Gaza cannot escape but police horses in London do and race through the streets awhile before the authorities rein them in.

 

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Dow:  38,460.72

New wave of pitched battles on campuses between police and pro-Palestinian (and now and again left-wing neo-Nazi) protesters demanding American sanctions and University divestiture against and from Israel – a bizarre replay of 1968 anti-Vietnam War protests.  As violence mounts, Speaker Johnson threatens to call in the National Guard (for a Kent State redux?).  Emory police use tasers and stun guns (and, according to the liberal Guardian UK) rubber bullets on tent city occupiers.

   Trekking further back in time, Americans and Arizona politicians pivot and propagandize on hyper-extreme 1864 abortion law as legislators debate repeal.  Many pro-lifers love the law, but fear it may destroy Team Trump in November (as well as legions of local Republicans).

   Nostalgia also takes a bow as Ohio police do a George Floyd on black man after a traffic accident, another Boeing (a 747 sold to Lufthansa) narrowly escapes crash at LAX and... on the brighter side... the NCAA gives Reggie Bush back his Heisman now that his crime (marketing his name and likeness) is no longer criminal.  This enables the NFL draft to begin without (or with fewer) distractions.

 

Friday, April 26, 2024

Dow:  38,085.80

It’s National Pretzal Day and lawyers for and against Donald Trump are twisting and turning technicalities into salty snacks to bedazzle the Stormy jury (above).  Amidst the other civil and criminal trials, SCOTUS seems hesitant to support Presidential immunity, and partisan furor over the One Six might mean the cases of all of those “patriots” (or “insurrectionists” if you will) will have to be kicked back down to lower courts,

   In other, perhaps related, news, a NY appeals court vacates the sex crime convictions of Harvey Weinstein, causing violated women... the famous and squamous... to howl.  Ashley Judd says, of Harvey and his ilk: “First they take your body, then they steal your time.” The DA promises to hold another trial and, since Weinstein is also serving a California sentence, the good news for women is that he won’t be out on bond in the near future.

   There’s good and bad news for travelers – male and female.  Carnival Cruise rehabilitates its image (somewhat) when sailors rescue shipwrecked and drowning Cuban refugees.  The bad is that Americans who go to the Turks and Caicos Islands (where the money goes) are arrested for forgotten bullets in their luggage and sentenced to 12 years.  And the ugly is that there’s another near disaster at JFK airport where five planes engage on a death dance on the runway.  (At least Boeing is not at fault; authorities blame tired and stressed air traffic controllers.)

 

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Dow:  Closed

President Joe meets and greets a four year hostage relased in the earlier cease fire deal and begs Bibi to go back to negotiating with Hams (and various other playets) and not to invade Rafah.  According to the Hamas government in Gaza, 34,000 Palestinians have been killed so far – some Hamas, most not (including 14,000 children).  With starvation at hand, America is working on its floating pier to offload food and medicines.

   Boeing blunders causing Southwest to cut back on flights, close presence at some airports and lay off employees without pay so they can’t pay their rents, become homeless and... depending on another SCOTUS scuffle... get arrested for sleeping, hide under bushes from police and be fined money they don’t have if the Supremes rule on an Oregon “lock up the homeless” bill. 

   Two million Teslas are recalled for autopilots that, as repairmen say: “provide a false sense of security.”  The UAW scores a double, winning a new contract in the South (Tennessee) and against foreign car and truckmakers in the U.S.  And if they move offshore, there’s always the Stagecoach... not an 1864 vehicle but a festival in Palm Springs that opens with Jellyroll and with rumours that Queen Bee or even Taylor will show up.

 

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Dow: Closed

TV Sunday talk begins Saturday night with the Correspondents’ Dinner (aka Nerd Prom) where, unlike Djonald UnMirthful, President Joe give and takes jokes with Jost (SNL’s Colin – Trump’s new go against guy, replacing Kimmel) and cracks ‘em up with lines like: “I’m a grown man running against a six year old.”

  And then dawn brings the serious stuff (as well as tornadoes, Hamas hostage videos and reports of black bears invading small Northern California towns.

   George Stephanopolous djenounces Djonald (he was Clinton’s former SecPress,duh!) with the scale of his criminality being “so staggering that it may become numbing” while Justice Kagan opines, off the bench, that: “The President is not a Monarch!”  (More on Trumptrials above)

   Talking head Dan Abrams calls the Stormy case “a souped up misdemeanor” and predicts a hung jury – but Norm Eisen (a Brookings fellow) says he’s headed for “conviction and jail.”  (And re-election?)  Former Trump lawyer Tim Parlatone opines that “politics has devolved.”

   At least there’s next year... the NFL holds its yearly draft.  Caleb Williams goes to Da Bears as Number One and, days later, Alabama safety Jalen Key goes to the Jets as Mister Irrelevant.

 

In another slow week marked by deals pending (arms for Israel and Ukraine), peace not pending (for Israel and Ukraine), Stormy (Daniels) squibbets (above) and stormy weather (that, fortunately, killed only one American) and the Wayback Machine taking Arizona way back to 1864, the Don fell a little further below bedrock... primarily because of all that spending (worthy or not) with no source of revenue to accommodate it.  As private and public debt teeters on the brink of the trillion dollar cliff, Don Jones sat, entranced, at the NFL draft as Mrs. Jones (perhaps) celebrated Caitlin’s Nike deal and Nazis, in disguise as sweet, rich college kids, denounced the Jews on Passover Week.

 

 

THE DON JONES INDEX

 

CHART of CATEGORIES w/VALUE ADDED to EQUAL BASELINE of 15,000

(REFLECTING… approximately… DOW JONES INDEX of June 27, 2013)

 

Negative/harmful indices in RED.  See a further explanation of categories here

 

ECONOMIC INDICES 

 

(60%)

CATEGORY

VALUE

BASE

RESULTS by PCTG.

SCORE

OUR SOURCES and COMMENTS

INCOME

(24%)

6/17/13 [revsd. 1/1/22

LAST

CHANGE

NEXT

LAST WEEK

THIS WEEK

RESULTS by STATISTIC.

Wages (hrly. Per cap)

9%

1350 points

4/22/24

 +0.27%

5/24

1,501.89

1,501.89

https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/wages   29.79 nc

Median Inc. (yearly)

4%

600

4/22/24

 +0.033%

5/6/24

669.73

669.95

http://www.usdebtclock.org/   39,492

Unempl. (BLS – in mi)

4%

600

4/22/24

 +2.63%

5/24

600.31

600.31

http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000   3.8

Official (DC – in mi)

2%

300

4/22/24

  +0.18%

5/6/24

236.65

236.23

http://www.usdebtclock.org/      6,757

Unofficl. (DC – in mi)

2%

300

4/22/24

  +0.10%

5/6/24

250.53

250.27

http://www.usdebtclock.org/      12,768

Workforce Participation

   Number

   Percent

2%

300

4/22/24

 

 +0.343%

+0.0006%

5/6/24

302.27

302.27

In 161,840 Out 100,082 Total: 261,922

http://www.usdebtclock.org/   61.789

WP %  (ycharts)*

1%

150

4/22/24

  +0.32%

5/24

151.43

151.43

https://ycharts.com/indicators/labor_force_participation_rate  62.70

OUTGO

(15%)

Total Inflation

7%

1050

4/24

+0.4%

5/24

962.47

962.47

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.4

Food

2%

300

4/24

+0.1%

5/24

273.80

273.80

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.1

Gasoline

2%

300

4/24

+1.7%

5/24

233.15

233.15

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +1.7

Medical Costs

2%

300

4/24

+0.5%

5/24

290.49

290.49

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.6

Shelter

2%

300

4/24

+0.4%

5/24

264.72

264.72

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.4

WEALTH

Dow Jones Index

2%

300

4/22/24

 +0.666%

5/6/24

318.63

320.75

https://www.wsj.com/market-data/quotes/index/   38,239.61

Home (Sales)

(Valuation)

1%

1%

150

150

4/22/24

 +9.50%

 +1.42%

5/24

142.13

277.27

142.13

277.27

https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics

Sales (M):  4.38 Valuations (K):  384.5

Debt (Personal)

2%

300

4/22/24

  +0.95%

5/6/24

266.77

264.24

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    75,925

GOVERNMENT

(10%)

Revenue (trilns.)

2%

300

4/22/24

  +0.29%

5/6/24

407.37

408.56

debtclock.org/       4,807

Expenditures (tr.)

2%

300

4/22/24

  +2.41%

5/6/24

312.83

305.29

debtclock.org/       6,766

National Debt tr.)

3%

450

4/22/24

 +0.063%

5/6/24

387.95

387.70

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    34,695

Aggregate Debt (tr.)

3%

450

4/22/24

 +0.12%

5/6/24

397.98

397.49

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    99,895

TRADE

(5%)

Foreign Debt (tr.)

2%

300

4/22/24

  +0.07%

5/6/24

298.34

298.12

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    8,280

Exports (in billions)

1%

150

4/22/24

  +2.26%

5/24

163.34

163.34

https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/current/index.html  263.0

Imports (in billions))

1%

150

4/22/24

   -2.20%

5/24

165.05

165.05

https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/current/index.html  331.9

Trade Surplus/Deficit (blns.)

1%

150

4/22/24

  +2.18% 

5/24

305.05

305.05

https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/current/index.html    68.9

 

SOCIAL INDICES 

 

(40%)

ACTS of MAN

(12%)

 

World Affairs

3%

450

4/22/24

  -0.1%

5/6/24

448.47

448.02

With too many tourists, Venice begins thwacking them with fines and fees.  American tourists arrested in Turks & Caicos for having forgotten bullets in luggage – face twelve years.  Passover begins in the MidEast as Ramadan ends.  A “ruling council” attempts to stabilize Haiti while India’s Trumpish PM Modi destabilizes relations with Muslims, calling them “infiltra(i)tors”. 

War and terrorism

2%

300

4/22/24

    -0.1%

5/6/24

287.24

285.95

Hamas releases more taunting coerced videos of tortured American hostage as SecState Blinken asserts, as ever, that a deal is near then goes to China to warn Xi about arms for Russia.  (TikTok goes unmentioned.)  Israel scapegoats two IDF officers in World Food Center massacre as “miracle baby” dies amidst Rafah rubble and President Joe shows off a 4 year old hostage survivor.

Politics

3%

450

4/22/24

    +0.1%

5/6/24

477.62

478.10

Zelenskyy praises Speaker Mike, who prayed then pivoted to support aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan over screechings from the Freedom Caucus and pro-Hamas protesters at elite American colleges who accuse Jews of genocide.  Pro-Israel politicians claim many are “outside agitators” and philosophy professors.  Papua New Guinea criticized Biden for suggesting that cannibals on the island had eaten his uncle during World War II.

Economics

3%

450

4/22/24

      +0.1%

5/6/24

442.36

442.80

Fed reports interest rates rise again to 7.17%.  Liberal FTC revises overtime and non-compete laws to favor workers as UAW celebrates first Southern wins in Tennessee and North Carolina and first unionization of foreign (German) auto factories in America.  But wage incrases in California cause fast food prices to rise and Swifties protest “funflation” concert ticket price spikes.

Crime

1%

150

4/22/24

  +0.4%

5/6/24

235.20

236.14

Secret Service blames “Eastern Europe gangs” for EBT/food stamp cards and causing poor Americans to starve.  Attack on LA Mayor called crime, not terror but overall shootings, scams, robberies and sex crimes are down for the week except that one naked man causes consternation at Starbucks.

ACTS of GOD

(6%)

Environment/Weather

3%

450

4/22/24

 +0.1%

5/6/24

386.03

386.42

Earth Day kicks off with people advocating kindness to... sharks?  President Joe announces grants for solar power to install the grid in shut out Navajo Nation and opens applications for the American Climate Corps.  Tornadoes batter the Midwest, destroying Sulphur (Ok) and Waterloo (Nb) but killing only one.

Disasters

3%

450

4/22/24

  -0.2%

5/6/24

419.67

418.83

Travel good: Carnival Cruise rescues shipwrecked Cuban refugees.  Travel bad: Near airplane catastrophes at JFK runway while, also in New  York, emergency chute falls off Delta’s Boeing 767. (There are now so many Boing blunders that Southwest is chasing bankruptcy, cutting flights, closing airport stations, firing employees without compensation.)  On the ground, fiery train derailment in Ohio spreads clouds of toxic gas.

LIFESTYLE/JUSTICE INDEX

(15%)

Science, Tech, Education

4%

600

4/22/24

     -0.1%

5/6/24

635.91

635.27

Student rioters party like it’s 1968 – except that it’s against the Jews.  They’ll have more time since Congress told the ChiComs: sell TikTok or we’ll ban it.  In the Senate, Mark Warner (D-Va) calls it “creative... but Chinese” while Ed Markey (D-Ma) cites First Amendment protections.  Quiet students voice their quiet resentments over losing graduation ceremonies after losing their high school graduations to plague... even quieter youth pass up college altogether as too expensive and full of useless courses that don’t prepare grads for Life After.  But don’t act out your grievances in school – Tennessee votes to let teachers carry guns.

Equality (econ/social)

4%

600

4/22/24

     -0.2%

5/6/24

648.77

647.47

Caitlin Clark is NikeRich but now new and old WNBA fans are asking what about the rest of the players?  In Ohio, George Floyd “can’t breathe” sequel, cop accused of choking and murdering black driver after traffic stop.

Health

4%

600

4/22/24

 -0.2%

5/6/24

466.20

465.27

FDA announces Bird Flu has spread to humans, dolphins and cows.  Bad burgers recalled for E. Coli while two million Teslas are recalled for autopilot systems that “offer a false sense of security” and Hyundai recalls cars that just stop for no reason on busy freeways.  Longest haul plague patient dies after 613 days. 

Freedom and Justice

3%

450

4/22/24

 +0.2%

5/6/24

466.01

466.94

Busy week for SCOTUS: jailing the homeless, Idaho abortion law. and immunity law, causing MAGA to charge: “If you don’t have immunity, you have a ceremonial Presidency.  139 Nassar sex crime victims share $1B settlements from NCAA, Michigan and DOJ.  NY appeals court exonerates Harvey Weinstein of sex crimes but sends him to California to serve his sentence there as Ashley Judd recalls his crimes.

CULTURAL and MISCELLANEOUS INCIDENTS

(6%)

Cultural Incidents

3%

450

4/22/24

 +0.2%

5/6/24

527.22

528.27

Stagecoach Fest in Palm Springs opens with Jellyroll and rumours that Taylor and/or Queen Bee might perform.  Fanthing throws a cellphone at Luke Bryan whose pratfall doesn’t cause serious injuries.  A chockablock sports week as MLB gets underway, NFL draft week highlights QB Caleb Williams going to the Bears as Number One; NBA playoffs continue as Caitlin supplements her 76K WNBA salary with $28M Nike deal.  Reggie Bush gets his Heisman back after college athlete marching laws eased.  And the Library of Congress has inducted 25 more Masters of Music ranging from Perry Como to the Notorious B.I.G. (see attachment below)

   RIP: TV stars Marla Adams (“The Young and the Restless”) and Partridge Family’s rocker David Cassidy, conjoined twins Lori and George Schappell, journalist Terry Anderson (six years a hostage in Lebanon).

Misc. Incidents

3%

450

4/22/24

 -0.1%

5/6/24

512.57

512.06

As National Fertility Week ends, the CDC says American fertility is down.  (See last week’s Lesson)  Famous French Moulin Rouge windmill collapses, as does famous American windbag George Santos, who ends his quest to retun to Congress after raising zero money.  A lot of Joneses will miss the Lyin’ King and his comic relief... but not enough to give him a dime.

 

The Don Jones Index for the week of April 22nd through April 28, 2024 was DOWN 9.91 points

 

The Don Jones Index is sponsored by the Coalition for a New Consensus: retired Congressman and Independent Presidential candidate Jack “Catfish” Parnell, Chairman; Brian Doohan, Administrator.  The CNC denies, emphatically, allegations that the organization, as well as any of its officers (including former Congressman Parnell, environmentalist/America-Firster Austin Tillerman and cosmetics CEO Rayna Finch) and references to Parnell’s works, “Entropy and Renaissance” and “The Coming Kill-Off” are fictitious or, at best, mere pawns in the web-serial “Black Helicopters” – and promise swift, effective legal action against parties promulgating this and/or other such slanders.

Comments, complaints, donations (especially SUPERPAC donations) always welcome at feedme@generisis.com or: speak@donjonesindex.com.

 

 

ATTACHMENT ONE – FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES

LAWYER TRIES TO SHAKE HIS CONFIDENCE

David Pecker, who was the keeper of Donald J. Trump’s secrets, insisted he had testified truthfully about his dealings with the former president.

By Jesse McKinley and Jonah E. Bromwich  April 26, 2024

Lawyers for Donald J. Trump on Friday grilled the former publisher of The National Enquirer, casting doubt on his explanation for why he suppressed salacious stories about the Republican presidential candidate before the 2016 election.

The witness, David Pecker, who has known Mr. Trump for decades, faced a stern cross-examination from one of the former president’s defense lawyers, Emil Bove, who pressed Mr. Pecker about two deals he had reached in 2015 and 2016 with people who were seeking to sell stories about Mr. Trump.

Mr. Bove sought to convince the jury of two fundamental points about the stories, which Mr. Pecker bought and then buried: Such arrangements, characterized by prosecutors as “catch and kill,” were standard for the publisher, and that Mr. Pecker had previously misled jurors about the details of the transactions.

The Links Between Trump and 3 Hush-Money Deals

Here’s how key figures involved in making hush-money payoffs on behalf of Donald J. Trump are connected.

 

In one particularly tense moment, Mr. Bove pushed Mr. Pecker to explain a seeming discrepancy between his testimony this week and notes from a 2018 interview with the F.B.I. Mr. Pecker testified that Mr. Trump had thanked him after the election for helping to conceal one such story, but the interview notes did not record Mr. Trump’s expression of gratitude.

 

Mr. Pecker, who ultimately acknowledged the inconsistency, resisted Mr. Bove’s implication that there was a contradiction and said he had been honest in his testimony.

“I know what the truth is,” Mr. Pecker said, suggesting F.B.I. agents might have erred in their notes. “I can’t state why this is written this way. I know exactly what was said to me.”

Mr. Pecker’s testimony was crucial for the Manhattan district attorney’s office as prosecutors seek to show that Mr. Trump was part of a three-man conspiracy to bury negative stories as he worked to win the presidency. Prosecutors argue that Mr. Trump eventually falsified records to hide a third hush-money deal in order to conceal the payment that his former fixer, Michael D. Cohen, had made to the porn star Stormy Daniels.

The former president faces 34 felony charges and could spend four years in prison if convicted. He denies all charges.

The prosecution witnesses who followed Mr. Pecker on Friday provided a less dramatic conclusion to the trial’s first week of testimony.

The Criminal Trial of Donald Trump in Manhattan

A historic trial begins. Donald Trump, who faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first degree to cover up a sex scandal, is on trial in Manhattan. He is the first former U.S. president to be criminally prosecuted. Here are answers to some key questions about the case:

What is Trump accused of? The charges trace back to a $130,000 hush-money payment that Trump’s fixer, Michael Cohen, made to the porn actress Stormy Daniels in 2016 to suppress her story of a sexual liaison with Trump in 2006. While serving as president, Trump reimbursed Cohen, and how he did so constituted fraud, prosecutors say.

Why did prosecutors cite other hush-money payments? Although the charges relate to the payment to Daniels, Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, is expected to highlight two other hush-money deals. Prosecutors say that the deals show that Trump had orchestrated a wide-ranging scheme to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Who will the key witnesses be? Cohen is expected to be a crucial witness for prosecutors. Bragg is also expected to call David Pecker, the former publisher of The National Enquirer, as well as Hope Hicks, a former Trump aide, to shed light on the tumultuous period surrounding the payments. Trump said he plans to testify in his own defense.

Who is the judge? Juan Merchan, the judge, is a veteran of the bench known as a no-nonsense, drama-averse jurist. During the trial, Justice Merchan will be in charge of keeping order in the courtroom and ruling on objections made by prosecutors and Trump’s lawyers. The jury will decide whether Trump is guilty.

What happens if Trump is convicted? The charges against Trump are all Class E felonies, the least severe felony category in New York. If convicted, Trump faces prison sentence of four years or less, or he could receive probation.

How is The New York Times covering the trial? The Times will provide comprehensive coverage of the trial, which is set to last six to eight weeks. Expect live updates from the courtroom in Manhattan, daily takeaways, explainers and analysis from our reporting team.

 

Rhona Graff, Mr. Trump’s former executive assistant and gatekeeper at Trump Tower, testified about entries from the Trump Organization computer system that contained contact information for Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, and for a “Stormy.”

The day’s last witness was Gary Farro, who was Mr. Cohen’s banker when the former fixer executed financial transactions with First Republic Bank to enable the hush money payment to Ms. Daniels.

Mr. Farro will return to the witness stand on Tuesday, when court resumes. He is expected to take less time testifying than Mr. Pecker, who began his four days on the stand on Monday and said that he had come to an agreement with Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen in a meeting at Trump Tower in August 2015.

There, Mr. Pecker said, he agreed to run what amounted to a covert propaganda operation for Mr. Trump, trumpeting his candidacy while publishing negative stories about his Republican opponents. Most importantly, Mr. Pecker said, he had agreed to be the campaign’s “eyes and ears,” watching out for potentially damaging stories.

On Friday, Mr. Bove called this testimony into question, arguing that Mr. Pecker’s promotion of Mr. Trump and denigration of other candidates was simply “standard operating procedure” for a tabloid, recycling titillating stories to sell magazines in supermarket checkout aisles.

Mr. Pecker agreed, without embarrassment, that such stories appeared in his publications. But he fought back several times as Mr. Bove sought to cast doubt on his credibility.

Mr. Bove focused on an August 2016 agreement that Mr. Pecker’s company, AMI, made with Ms. McDougal.

What to Know About Our Coverage of the Trump Trial