The Coronation of Michelle Obama

1Pulling Strings: From the Basement of the West Wing?

Around the time Donald Trump won the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, Joe Biden selected two White House advisers to join his reelection campaign.

Namely, the president’s longtime speechwriter, Mike Donilon, and his 2020 campaign manager, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, will be relocating to Biden’s campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware.

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According to Reuters, Donilon will focus on the “campaign's messaging and paid media strategy” while O’Malley Dillon “will oversee the organizing and execution of the campaign's path to the 270 electoral votes needed to win.”

Oh, and they’ll have access to Biden’t $117 million campaign stash.

That Biden tapped key West Wing staffers to work on his campaign signals Biden’s commitment to pursuing reelection… and taking his former boss’s advice.

In recent months, during a private luncheon at the White House, Barack Obama was “animated” when discussing Biden’s reelection strategy, The Washington Post reports.

“His concerns about the campaign structure were not tied to a specific moment, but rather his belief that campaigns need to be agile in competitive races,” the WAPO paraphrases an unnamed source.

“Obama has been even more explicit with people close to Biden, suggesting the campaign needs to move aggressively as Trump appears poised to quickly wrap up the Republican nomination.”

Obama also detailed a winning template from his own 2012 reelection campaign when inner-circle advisers David Axelrod and Jim Messina left the White House to take charge in Chicago. The implication? Go, Team Biden. And do likewise.

All to say, seeing Trump’s enduring popularity has Obama losing his crap. To such an extent that he even took a page out of Trump’s playbook, entertaining the possibility of a third (unconstitutional) term as president…

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Obama on a third term: “If I could make an arrangement where I had a stand-in, a front man or front woman, and they had an earpiece in and I was just in my basement… I'd be fine with that.” [Emphasis ours]

I first saw this November 2020 interview making its rounds on X-Twitter with some dubious sourcing — you just never know in this era of deep fakes. So I found the original Late Show With Stephen Colbert link on YouTube and further inquired at fact-checking source Snopes.

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Source: Snopes

Mind you, this wasn’t the first time Obama talked about a third term as president, however facetiously. “Obama also at least one other time [said] he believed he could win again if the U.S. Constitution… allowed him,” Snopes adds.

“Obama's ‘I think if I ran, I could win’ remark was delivered in somewhat of a joking manner in front of the African Union in Ethiopia on July 28, 2015,” notably after Trump announced his intention to run for president in June that year.

So…

Jim Rickards says the quiet part out loud. In Jim’s latest video — posted last night at our Paradigm Press YouTube channel — Jim asks the question…

Will Michelle Obama be our next president?

Biden’s campaign is floundering and, he believes, the Democrats are looking for their next nominee. Jim is here to tell you how Michelle Obama could replace Biden... in a very undemocratic way.

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And you might not want to wait to watch this one. It could run afoul of YouTube censors at any minute.

Watch as Jim reveals how the Democrats are planning to upset the 2024 election… He’s a man who’s hard to dismiss, seeing as Jim accurately predicted Brexit and Trump’s victory in 2016.

2More Big Reasons to “Think Small”

“Small caps are potentially flashing a tradable bounce after retreating back into their consolidation range,” says Paradigm’s trading ace Greg “Gunner” Geunthner, who largely agrees with editor Sean Ring’s “think small” take earlier this week.

“We saw a preview of just how strong these small-cap rallies could be during the Q4 melt-up,” Gunner says. “The iShares Russell 2000 went from breaking to three-year lows in late October to a 25% gain and fresh 52-week highs in less than two months.

“Obviously, this rally has cooled and IWM has underperformed its large-cap cousins by a wide margin so far this year. But the small-cap index is quietly catching a bid, logging its third-straight positive day with a gain of 1.5% to start the week.

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“A strong move back toward $200 would mean the furious rally that began just a few short months ago isn’t quite out of steam just yet,” Gunner says. Taking a look at IWM today, shares are priced just under $196.

“If IWM can remain above last week’s lows,” he concludes, “I’m giving the bulls the benefit of the doubt. I’d much rather go long IWM here than chase the extended semiconductors into the nosebleed seats.”

Glancing at the markets today, stocks are in the green. The Nasdaq has a slight lead, up 0.55% to 15,565, but the S&P 500 is on the tech-heavy index’s heels, up 0.45% to 4,890. In third place, the Big Board is up 0.20% to 37,880.

Crude, likewise, is catching a bid today: A barrel of WTI is priced at $76.44, up 1.75%. Precious metals, on the other hand, are paring their losses: Gold is just slightly in the red, at the time of writing, to $2,015 per ounce while silver — down 0.10% — is just under $23.

The crypto market is range-bound so far this week. Bitcoin is barely holding onto green, just under $40K, but Ethereum’s down 0.80% to $2,190.

As it happens, Mr. Market is taking good economic news in stride.

The Commerce Department issued its first guess at fourth-quarter GDP this morning. It came in at 3.3% — way higher than the 2.0% consensus among Wall Street economists.

Meanwhile, durable-goods orders came in flat for December. But if you factor out always-volatile orders for aircraft and military hardware, orders for “core capital goods” advanced 0.3%, in contrast with consensus expectations for a 0.2% drop.

Given Wall Street’s typical good-news-is-bad-news attitude — Oh, no! The economy is too hot! The Federal Reserve won’t cut rates as fast as we hope! — today’s rally is impressive.

3Follow-up File: A Super Tuesday for Civil Liberties

A Canadian judge ruled that Team Trudeau’s use of the Emergencies Act to suppress the 2022 truckers’ protest in Ottawa was unconstitutional.

“The act allowed… police to freeze truckers’ personal and corporate bank accounts and compel tow truck companies to haul away vehicles,” the AP says of the convoy “demonstrating against vaccine mandates for truckers.”

“I conclude that there was no national emergency justifying the invocation of the Emergencies Act and the decision to do so was therefore unreasonable,” said Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley in his decision Tuesday.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, the government will appeal the court’s decision. “I don’t want to minimize the gravity of the actions we took,” she avers. But? “Neither do I want to minimize the gravity of the threats Canada faced.”

No word on if, when or how the Canadian government would make restitution to targeted truckers and demonstrators…

Also on Tuesday, a panel of U.S. federal appeals court judges ruled the FBI violated the Fourth Amendment when it unlawfully searched-and-seized safe-deposit boxes.

It’s a story we’ve been tracking since 2021 when, in March that year, federal agencies — including the FBI — raided the premises of U.S. Private Vaults in Beverly Hills.

Federal agents claimed the California-based company (which has since gone out of business) pandered to criminals with its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and extreme customer anonymity.

But in the almost three years since the raid, it’s been a legal nightmare for everyday folks who used the safe-deposit boxes to store items including gold coins, cash and family heirlooms — items which the FBI unlawfully confiscated.

But the court’s decision on Tuesday was unanimous, ruling the FBI acted in a manner akin to the British before the American Revolution. “It was those very abuses of power, after all, that led to the adoption of the Fourth Amendment in the first place,” was Judge Milan D. Smith Jr.’s exasperated ruling.

“The Ninth Circuit today held that the FBI violated the Fourth Amendment rights of hundreds of people by breaking into their safe-deposit boxes to try to forfeit everything worth taking,” said attorney Robert Frommer who represented several plaintiffs in the case.

So far, there’s been, er, no comment from the FBI.

4Flying the Friendlier Skies

We have a feeling this filter that you can use on travel-booking platform Kayak is about to get more popular…

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Kayak reports, in fact, that traffic on the 2019 filter has increased 15-fold after the Alaska Airlines debacle earlier this month.

At Reddit, where we first spotted this feature, a Redditor wonders: “Is it me or is hate against Boeing being completely overblown?” Heck, no!

5“Free Speech Is an American Issue”

“I fail to see how covering the subject of payment processors blackmailing journalists due to their content is a far-right issue,” says a faithful reader and first-time contributor… responding to 5 Bullets criticism from a self-described “Reagan Republican.”

“Free speech is an American issue,” our new contributor adds. “Too many folks are caught up in this left-versus-right war. In my opinion, it is all designed by the elite to keep the masses at each other's throats. Divide and conquer. Perhaps this sounds crazy, perhaps not.

“I've found that your naysayers' complaints are usually precipitated by being faced with uncomfortable truths, which is important when practicing critical thinking. I feel the stance you take isn't by one that is far-right or far-left, but rather from the perspective of an analyst.

“I just wanted to go on record to say that I greatly enjoy the 5 Bullets. It is always chock-full of educational and enlightening content relevant to the economy, markets, country and world at large. It's also usually delivered with a sense of humor, making it that much more of a treat.

“Anyhow, consider me a 5 Bullets addict. Keep up the great work. I look forward to many more years of controversial reading that is bound to ruffle some feathers.”

Emily: A hearty “cheers” to our contributor today!

Our reader reminds us that, as a whole, we’re achieving our mission, providing you learn at least one interesting thing you didn’t know before… and enticing you to come back the next day. A mission Dave and I revisited just yesterday.

And Dave’s back at it again tomorrow. See you then…

Best regards,

Emily Clancy
Associate editor, Paradigm Pressroom's 5 Bullets

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