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  1. #11
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    Reginald H. Howe



    Trump's Trump: Gold

    "All paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value -- zero."
    Voltaire (1729)

    "Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation,
    and I care not who makes its laws."
    Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812, attributed)

    "Most unquestionably there is no legal tender, and there can be no legal tender,
    in this country, under the authority of this Government or any other, but
    gold and silver, either the coinage of our own mints, or foreign coins,
    at rates regulated by Congress. This is a constitutional principle,
    perfectly plain, and of the very highest importance.

    The legal tender, therefore, the constitutional standard of value, is established, and cannot be overthrown. To overthrow it, would shake the whole system."
    Daniel Webster (Senate Speech, 1836)

    "Money is gold, and nothing else."
    J. P. Morgan (on the difference between money and
    and credit, testifying in Congress, 1912)
    President Trump, in his inaugural address or soon after he takes office, has an extraordinary opportunity to seize control of the government and put the nation and the world on a proven path to a more prosperous and peaceful future by declaring (in substance):



    We will make America great again with what made America great in the first place:

    a constitutional dollar as good as gold. We will restore to the peoplethe use and benefits of sound, stable money, credibly defined with reference

    to a weight of gold, as required by the Constitution.




    The Federal Reserve and other major central banks have made such a hash of monetary policy over the past decade that the need for major reform is beyond dispute and their credibility as independent monetary stewards is in tatters. Almost a decade of near zero interest rates by itself proves their incompetence. They have now painted themselves into a corner from which the normalization of interest rates is practically impossible without crashing the world's debt markets and exploding national budget deficits. Their only road forward is more inflation and then hyperinflation, or "helicopter money" as they describe it.



    Even the village dunce knows what the "intellectual yet idiot" class and Keynesians do not: that borrowing should not be free. By artificially suppressing the price of credit, i.e., borrowed currency, the central banks have corrupted the pricing mechanisms across all markets, essentially negating the ability of free markets to function efficiently anywhere. Almost as bad, they have supported the biggest banks at the expense of savers and pensioners everywhere. Indeed, fiat money has long been the means by which the wealthy classes swindle the poor and the financial interests cheat the producers of real goods.



    Since President Nixon closed the gold window in 1971, thereby breaking the link between the dollar and gold and effectively putting the nation on unlimited paper money, the Supreme Court has declined to consider any constitutional challenge to the resulting monetary system. E.g., Petition for Certiorari, denied, 479 U.S. 1066 (1987). This silence flows from two facts: (1) there is no rational constitutional defense for the present monetary system in which the value of the dollar has no credible link to a weight of gold (or silver); and (2) the Court is unwilling to interpose its judgment on an issue of such paramount and far-reaching importance in the absence of support from either the Congress or the president. Ideally one might wish for a more a more courageous Court, but from a practical and political perspective, the Court's diffidence in this respect is not without merit. After all, the basic contours of nation's monetary system are left to Congress by the Constitution and to the president by historical practice.



    At the outset of the New Deal, President Roosevelt closed the banks, prohibited most private ownership of gold, and devalued the dollar from $20.67 to $35.00 per ounce of fine gold. In so doing, he pushed to their limits the government's powers under the monetary provisions of the Constitution, achieving bare five-to-four majority support of the Justices in the Gold Clause Cases, 294 U.S. 240-381 (1935), the Court's last pronouncement on this subject. Accordingly, should President Trump, or any president, declare his intent to return the nation to constitutional money credibly defined with reference to a weight of gold (or silver), any rational Supreme Court having respect for the clear commands of the Constitution should be supportive.



    What is more, such a reform would be in the best interests of all federal judges, who under the compensation clause (U.S. Const., Art. III, s. 1) shall "receive for their services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office." Long-term paper money inflation undermines this provision, which was intended to protect the independence of the judiciary by minimizing its dependence on the two political branches. Complaints by federal judges arising from loss of purchasing power of their fixed salaries during the inflationary 1970s eventually resulted in a working accommodation whereby Congress raises judicial salaries whenever it raises its own, but this arrangement -- ultimately resting on congressional discretion -- scarcely grants the constitutional independence originally intended.



    The monetary provisions of the Constitution appear in Article I, ss. 8&10, granting legislative powers to Congress and imposing certain prohibitions on the States, but the purpose of these provisions relates directly to the Bill of Rights, particularly the Fifth Amendment prohibiting the taking of property without due process of law or payment of just compensation. As the great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises explained (A Theory of Money and Credit, Ch. 21 (1952)):



    It is impossible to grasp the meaning of the idea of sound money if one does not realize that it was devised as an instrument for the protection of civil liberties against despotic inroads on the part of governments. Ideologically it belongs in the same class with political constitutions and bills of rights. The demand for constitutional guarantees and for bills of rights was a reaction against arbitrary rule and the nonobservance of old customs by kings. The postulate of sound money was first brought up as a response to the princely practice of debasing the coinage. It was later carefully elaborated and perfected in the age, which--through the experience of the American continental currency, the paper money of the French Revolution and the British restriction period--had learned what a government can do to a nation's currency system.


    Any announcement declaring an intent to return to constitutional money credibly linked to gold should make four additional points:



    First, the exact details and mechanics of the new system can await further study and discussion. Neither the classical gold standard, nor the post-World War I gold exchange standard, nor the post-World War II Bretton Woods system, need necessarily be the model. Technology and modern communications may have opened the door to other effective and more practical alternatives. See, e.g., G. Gilder, The 21st Century Case for Gold (Am.Prin.Proj., 2015); J. Shelton, Fixing the Dollar Now (Kindle, 2013) and Money Meltdown (Free Press, 1994); L.E. Lehrman, Paper Money or the True Gold Standard(Lehrman Institute, 2012). The main point is simply that the defined gold weight of the dollar must be credible on a continuing basis, and even then, not immutable for all time.



    In practical terms, President Trump would then have control of the monetary system in a way that no president has enjoyed since FDR. Of necessity, especially given the polarization of Congress, the White House would have to take principal responsibility for determining the operating details of the new system, to set in the first instance the new official or target gold price, and to choose when to recommend the whole package to Congress. The difference would be that whereas FDR was moving the monetary system away from constitutional principles, President Trump would be returning it to conformity with them.



    Second, before attempting to set any gold value for the dollar, there must be an independent and publicly reported audit of the nation's gold reserves. Whether the officially reported approximately 260 million ounces (8130 tonnes) remains fully intact, or is subject to any claims beyond the gold certificates issued to the Federal Reserve by the Treasury, has been the subject of considerable speculation. Although officially valued at $42.22 per ounce, at a recent price of $1300/oz., this hoard is worth almost $340 billion. Virtually the entire amount is reflected in certificates on the Fed's balance sheet. Indeed, the gold stock at market is what keeps the Fed solvent.



    If the gold reserves are what is claimed, they would presumably support a lower gold value for the dollar than if they are not. But if they are not, there will have to be an accounting as to why not. In this event, politicians from both sides of the aisle, past and present, are likely to share in the blame, or at least bear some culpability for the deception. And in this regard, being the total outsider that he is, President Trump will be insulated. Indeed, he can use any shortfall in the gold reserves as underscoring his criticisms of the political establishment.



    Third, before attempting to set any gold value for the dollar, there must be a period of time for a fully free gold market to operate in anticipation of the event. Accordingly, both the Exchange Stabilization Fund and the Federal Reserve should be directed to refrain from any intervention in the gold market, whether directly or indirectly, through intermediaries or otherwise, and all government agencies responsible for market supervision should likewise be on alert to uncover and stamp out any schemes or manipulations targeting gold prices.



    Fourth, those opposed to a gold-based monetary system, as a large majority of academic economists are almost certain to be, may suggest alternatives, but the burden must be on the proponents of any new unlimited fiat monetary system to secure a constitutional amendment authorizing whatever they propose. Should an amendment of this nature be forthcoming, the occasion might also provide the president an opportunity to push for amendments regarding term limits for members of Congress, possibly also for popular election of the president and/or a mandatory retirement age for supreme court justices, two other areas where the Constitution has failed to keep up with the times.



    Moving to a gold-based constitutional monetary system would put the president in a commanding position to move forward in several key policy areas where he has expressed a desire for major change:



    First, budget discipline. Prior to 1971, talk of a balanced budget amendment was nonexistent; more recently the idea has resurfaced regularly, driven by the exponential growth of federal deficits and debt. In short, when the dollar was defined as a fixed weight of gold, maintaining the credibility of the official gold price required budget discipline. Such will be the case again if the dollar is linked to gold; the tighter the link, the greater the discipline required. What is more, market judgment as to the ability of the political branches to maintain the required discipline will be reflected both in gold prices as the new system is being developed and in whatever official price is ultimately proposed to Congress. The president's leadership role in this whole process will by necessity be central.



    In this connection, the principal purpose of the Federal Reserve, if it continues to exist at all, should be to support and maintain the gold value of the dollar, and its ability through mere balance sheet entries to circumvent the appropriation and borrowing powers entrusted to Congress should be eliminated. No longer should any bank be too big to fail, and any bank that takes customer deposits insured by the government should be restrained from any activities that place those deposits at undue risk.



    Second, trade policy. Sensible and workable agreements on free trade require agreement on appropriate exchange rates. To liberalize trade restrictions while leaving the parties free to manipulate exchange rates is a bad deal, inviting abuse. As the nation transitions to a gold linked-dollar, the same should be required of its trading partners, particularly those with whom it has free trade agreements. Fixed exchange rates and settlement of trade balances in gold should be the ultimate goal in all the nation's trade agreements.



    Third, foreign and defense policy. Budget discipline will require a total review of all military and related defense spending. Nothing would do more to curtail ill-advised and unnecessary wars and other military adventures, engagements and entanglements than to put them on a budget that over time must remain in balance. The basic principle should be: If it's worth fighting for, it's worth taxing for, either currently or to pay off related debt incurred at reasonable rates and without jeopardizing the gold value of the dollar. Here again, the White House will of necessity have to take the lead in setting priorities.



    Fourth, international monetary policy. Dissatisfaction with the dollar as the world's principal reserve currency has increased, driven not only by the "exorbitant privilege" of which de Gaulle complained, but also by sanctions imposed for political purposes by the United States through its banking system. Both China and Russia have substantially increased their gold reserves in recent years, and indications are that the Chinese intend at some point to link the yuan to gold and to challenge the dollar's dominant international position.



    For the present, however, the American economy is still the world's largest and its dollar continues to sit atop an ever more shaky pyramid of fiat currencies. How much longer this tenuous situation can continue to exist is uncertain, but as long as it does, the United States remains in a far stronger position to influence reforms in the international monetary system than it will be after any serious future dollar crisis, virtually assured if the nation remains on its current monetary and financial course.



    Indeed, under present conditions, a restored constitutional dollar credibly linked to gold would almost automatically become the world's new and more permanent standard of value, though that might be a position it would have to share with any other currency having an equally credible gold linkage. Nothing would prevent China, Russia, or any other nation from following America's lead, but by leading rather than reacting to some future Chinese move in the same direction, the United States would have in the first instance more control over the details and design of the linkage mechanism and determination of the new or starting gold parity.



    What is more, returning the international monetary system to reasonably fixed exchange rates linked to gold might also give the European Union an opportunity to address the ever more obvious problems of its single currency. Restored national currencies at fixed exchange rates subject to occasional adjustment would allow considerably more leeway for dealing with the varying budgetary and economic constraints of the member countries while preserving most of the political and economic benefits of a single currency.



    The errors of the past several administrations have handed the new president an almost impossible challenge, exacerbated by the fact that many of those responsible for these mistaken policies remain not only in government service but also beholden to the same special interests that have supported them in the past. By putting the nation swiftly and firmly on course to restore constitutional money and making that reform the foundation of his administration's policies, President Trump would secure two further advantages.



    First, opponents of measures deemed necessary to carry out this reform will be boxed in by the monetary requirements of the Constitution itself, provisions that have fallen out of law school curriculums but still resonate with the public. Indeed, once the move to constitutional monetary reform is launched, and particularly if the linkage to gold is communicated effectively to the people as a constitutional command for their protection, the process should develop a self-sustaining momentum hard to turn around.



    Second, some have suggested that the establishment abandoned Secretary Clinton in order to set up Mr. Trump to take the blame for the economic depression and social upheaval that they believe is now the unavoidable result of decades of monetary mischief and mistaken policies, not to mention corruption and greed at the highest levels of government and private business. Rather than reprise the role of President Hoover, President Trump should get in front of this inevitable crisis by publicly identifying its true source and proceeding at once to begin the necessary monetary reforms.



    Of course effecting a return to constitutional money will not be easy or painless, but much of the burden will fall on those who have benefited the most under the current paper regime. In historical context, the cause of the pain is not the cure but the addiction that made it necessary. The body politic can no more survive ever-larger injections of fiat money than the human body can of drugs or alcohol. In both cases, effective treatment is no walk in the park. But the alternative -- no treatment and continued addiction -- is the path to disaster.



    The "continental" dollar of the American Revolution, the assignats of the French Revolution, the post-World War I German hyperinflation, more recently Mugabe's Zimbabwe, and now Maduro's Venezuela, are among the better known examples. Arguing in support of the monetary provisions of the Constitution, James Madison reflected on the continental dollar (The Federalist Papers (Madison), No. 44):



    The loss which America has sustained since the peace, from the pestilent effects of paper money on the necessary confidence between man and man, on the necessary confidence in the public councils, on the industry and morals of the people, and on the character of republican government, constitutes an enormous debt against the States chargeable with this unadvised measure, which must long remain unsatisfied; or rather an accumulation of guilt, which can be expiated no otherwise than by a voluntary sacrifice on the altar of justice, of the power which has been the instrument of it.



    President Trump has demonstrated courage, independence, toughness and patriotism in pulling off the political upset of the century. Able largely to self-fund a campaign costing half those of his opponents, he has managed to escape the grip of the special interests that in recent years have dominated American politics. As a father and a friend, he has long cautioned against addiction to alcohol or drugs. As a businessman and real estate developer, he has managed from conception to completion major building projects around the world. And as an entertainer and showman, he has reached the people.



    Not since FDR has a new president entered office with the international monetary system in such disarray and the American heartland facing such disheartening economic conditions. But President Trump has at hand a unique opportunity: the last best chance to do what President Reagan could not: restore constitutional money and save the American republic from the very monetary disorder that gave it birth. By expiating President Nixon's greatest constitutional sin, the United States can then lead the nations of the world to the peace and prosperity made possible by the end of the Cold War.



    Thanksgiving 2016

    Last edited by pywong; 24th November 2016 at 10:06 AM.
    py

  2. #12
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    "Obama Set Up The Next President For A Major Recession"... And A Giant Crash Is Coming



    by Tyler Durden
    Nov 22, 2016 8:30 AM


    754
    SHARES



    As SHTFPlan.com's Mac Slavo points out...






    The past many months have carried a lot of noise about the coming crash, about a tipping point that may be fast approaching. The economics are simply giving way, and they can’t hold the illusion forever. Now that Donald Trump will be calling the shots, the money powers can usher in collapse if they wish, and have ready their scapegoat. It won’t just be Trump the man or the president, but the people who elected him, who backed Brexit and who gave up on their system. The people who let loose the chaos that now consumes us.

    Their rage, their anger and their desperation is brewing unrest. The ascent of populism in the political arena has put the establishment in retreat, and revealed, at last, a most dangerous atmosphere, from which collapse can properly precipitate … one in which all regulatory steadiness on the part of the system has been thrown off balance and out of whack by popular revolt. By the time the hammer falls, and the markets fall to the ground, the people rioting in the streets and losing their civility when ATMs stop working and store shelves go empty – these people will become the face of the disaster. The banks have been planning the next rise and fall for sometime; the next phase is all digital, and tightly monitored and controlled.

    We Are Being Set Up For Higher Interest Rates, A Major Recession And A Giant Stock Market Crash


    via Michael Snyder's Economic Collapse blog,


    Since Donald Trump’s victory on election night we have seen the worst bond crash in 15 years. Global bond investors have seen trillions of dollars of wealth wiped out since November 8th, and analysts are warning of another tough week ahead. The general consensus in the investing community is that a Trump administration will mean much higher inflation, and as a result investors are already starting to demand higher interest rates. Unfortunately for all of us, history has shown that higher interest rates always cause an economic slowdown. And this makes perfect sense, because economic activity naturally slows down when it becomes more expensive to borrow money. The Obama administration had already set up the next president for a major recession anyway, but now this bond crash threatens to bring it on sooner rather than later.


    For those that are not familiar with the bond market, when yields go up bond prices go down. And when bond prices go down, that is bad news for economic growth.


    So we generally don’t want yields to go up.


    Unfortunately, yields have been absolutely soaring over the past couple of weeks, and the yield on 10 year Treasury notes has now jumped “one full percentage point since July”






    The 10-year Treasury yield jumped to 2.36% in late trading on Friday, the highest since December 2015, up 66 basis point since the election, and up one full percentage point since July!

    The 10-year yield is at a critical juncture. In terms of reality, the first thing that might happen is a rate increase by the Fed in December, after a year of flip-flopping. A slew of post-election pronouncements by Fed heads – including Yellen’s “relatively soon” – have pushed the odds of a rate hike to 98%.

    As I noted the other day, so many things in our financial system are tied to yields on U.S. Treasury notes. Just look at what is happening to mortgages. As Wolf Richter has noted, the average rate on 30 year mortgages is shooting into the stratosphere…






    The carnage in bonds has consequences. The average interest rate of the a conforming 30-year fixed mortgage as of Friday was quoted at 4.125% for top credit scores. That’s up about 0.5 percentage point from just before the election, according to Mortgage News Daily. It put the month “on a short list of 4 worst months in more than a decade.”

    If mortgage rates continue to shoot higher, there will be another housing crash.


    Rates on auto loans, credit cards and student loans will also be affected. Throughout our economic system it will become much more costly to borrow money, and that will inevitably slow the overall economy down.


    Why bond investors are so on edge these days is because of statements such as this one from Steve Bannon









    In a nascent administration that seems, at best, random in its beliefs, Bannon can seem to be not just a focused voice, but almost a messianic one:

    “Like [Andrew] Jackson’s populism, we’re going to build an entirely new political movement,” he says. “It’s everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up. We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution — conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.”

    Steve Bannon is going to be one of the most influential voices in the new Trump administration, and he is absolutely determined to get this “trillion dollar infrastructure plan” through Congress.


    And that is going to mean a lot more borrowing and a lot more spending for a government that is already on pace to add 2.4 trillion dollars to the national debt this fiscal year.


    Sadly, all of this comes at a time when the U.S. economy is already starting to show significant signs of slowing down.
    It is being projected that we will see a sixth straight decline in year-over-year earnings for the S&P 500, and industrial production has now contracted for 14 months in a row.


    The truth is that the economy has been barely treading water for quite some time now, and it isn’t going to take much to push us over the edge. The following comes from Lance Roberts









    With an economy running at below 2%, consumers already heavily indebted, wage growth weak for the bulk of American’s, there is not a lot of wiggle room for policy mistakes.


    Combine weak economics with higher interest rates, which negatively impacts consumption, and a stronger dollar, which weighs on exports, and you have a real potential of a recession occurring sooner rather than later.

    Yes, the stock market soared immediately following Trump’s election, but it wasn’t because economic conditions actually improved.


    If you look at history, a stock market crash almost always follows a major bond crash.
    So if bond prices keep declining rapidly that is going to be a very ominous sign for stock traders.


    And history has also shown us that no bull market can survive a major recession. If the economy suffers a major downturn early in the Trump administration, it is inevitable that stock prices will follow.


    The waning days of the Obama administration have set us up perfectly for higher interest rates, a major recession and a giant stock market crash.


    Of course any problems that occur after January 20th, 2017 will be blamed on Trump, but the truth is that Obama will be far more responsible for what happens than Trump will be.


    Right now so many people have been lulled into a sense of complacency because Donald Trump won the election.


    That is an enormous mistake.


    A shaking has already begun in the financial world, and this shaking could easily become an avalanche.


    Now is not a time to party. Rather, it is time to batten down the hatches and to prepare for very rough seas ahead.


    All of the things that so many experts warned were coming may have been delayed slightly, but without a doubt they are still on the way.


    So get prepared while you still can, because time is running out.
    py

  3. #13
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    List of Trump's executive orders

    Published January 24, 2017 FoxNews.com

    Since taking office, President Trump has looked to fulfill some of his campaign promises by using executive orders. Here are the orders he has signed so far:

    1. An order instructing agencies that whenever they introduce a regulation, they must first abolish two others.
    2. An order to restructure the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.
    3. An order to lengthen the ban on administration officials working as lobbyists. There is now a 5 year-ban on officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government, and a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.
    4. An executive order imposing a 120-day suspension of the refugee program and a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. from citizens of seven terror hot spots: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan.
    5. Multi-pronged orders on border security and immigration enforcement including: the authorization of a U.S.-Mexico border wall; the stripping of federal grant money to sanctuary cities; hiring 5,000 more Border Patrol agents; ending “catch-and-release” policies for illegal immigrants; and reinstating local and state immigration enforcement partnerships.
    6. Two orders reviving the Keystone XL pipeline and Dakota Access piplines. He also signed three other related orders that would: expedite the environmental permitting process for infrastructure projects related to the pipelines; direct the Commerce Department to streamline the manufacturing permitting process; and give the Commerce Department 180 days to maximize the use of U.S. steel in the pipeline.
    7. An order to reinstate the so-called "Mexico City Policy" – a ban on federal funds to international groups that perform abortions or lobby to legalize or promote abortion. The policy was instituted in 1984 by President Reagan, but has gone into and out of effect depending on the party in power in the White House.
    8. A notice that the U.S. will begin withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Trump called the order "a great thing for the American worker."
    9. An order imposing a hiring freeze for some federal government workers as a way to shrink the size of government. This excludes the military, as Trump noted at the signing.
    10. An order that directs federal agencies to ease the “regulatory burdens” of ObamaCare. It orders agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement” of ObamaCare that imposes a “fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.”


    Last edited by pywong; 31st January 2017 at 02:51 AM.
    py

  4. #14
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    First 100 days: What executive actions has Trump taken?

    What exactly is an executive order, and how significant are they to a president's legacy?One of the first ways a new president is able to exercise political power is through unilateral executive orders.


    While legislative efforts take time, a swipe of the pen from the White House can often enact broad changes in government policy and practice.


    President Donald Trump has wasted little time in taking advantage of this privilege.


    Given his predecessor's reliance on executive orders to circumvent Congress in the later days of his presidency, he has a broad range of areas in which to flex his muscle.


    What are executive orders?


    Here's a look at some of what Mr Trump has done so far:

    Business regulations


    An attempt to cut down on the burden of small businesses.


    Described as a "two-out, one-in" approach, the order asked government departments that request a new regulation to specify two other regulations they will drop.


    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will manage the regulations and is expected to be led by the Republican Mick Mulvaney.


    Some categories of regulation will be exempt from the "two-out, one-in" clause - such as those dealing with the military and national security and "any other category of regulations exempted by the Director".


    Immediate impact: Wait and see.


    Trump moves to cut business regulation



    Travel ban


    Probably his most controversial action, so far, taken to keep the country safe from terrorists, the president said.


    It included:



    • suspension of refugee programme for 120 days, and cap on 2017 numbers
    • indefinite ban on Syrian refugees
    • ban on anyone arriving from seven Muslim-majority countries, with certain exceptions
    • cap of 50,000 refugees


    The effect was felt at airports in the US and around the world as people were stopped boarding US-bound flights or held when they landed in the US.


    Immediate impact: Enacted pretty much straightaway. But there are battles ahead. Federal judges brought a halt to deportations, and further lawsuits concerning the constitutionality of the ban are brewing.


    Trump border policy: Who's affected?

    Border security

    Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
    On Mr Trump's first day as a presidential candidate in June 2015, he made securing the border with Mexico a priority.


    He pledged repeatedly at rallies to "build the wall" along the southern border, saying it would be "big, beautiful, and powerful".


    Now he has signed a pair of executive orders designed to fulfil that campaign promise.


    One order declares that the US will create "a contiguous, physical wall or other similarly secure, contiguous, and impassable physical barrier".


    The second order pledges to hire 10,000 more immigration officers, and to revoke federal grant money from so-called "sanctuary cities" which refuse to deport undocumented immigrants.


    It remains to be seen how Mr Trump will pay for the wall, although he has repeatedly insisted that it will be fully paid for by the Mexican government, despite their leaders saying otherwise.


    Steps before building can start


    Immediate impact: The Department of Homeland Security has a "small" amount of money available (about $100m) to use immediately, but that won't get them very far. Construction of the wall will cost billions of dollars - money that Congress will need to approve. Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Republican-led Congress will need to come up with $12-$15bn more, and the funding fight - and any construction - will come up against issues with harsh terrain, private land owners and opposition from both Democrats and some Republicans.


    The department will also need additional funds from Congress to hire more immigration officers, but the order will direct the head of the agency to start changing deportation priorities. Cities targeted by the threat to remove federal grants will likely build legal challenges, but without a court injunction, the money can be removed.


    How exactly will Trump 'build the wall'?

    Two orders, two pipelines


    Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
    On his second full working day, the president signed two orders to advance construction of two controversial pipelines - the Keystone XL and Dakota Access.


    Mr Trump told reporters the terms of both deals would be renegotiated, and using American steel was a requirement.


    Keystone, a 1,179-mile (1,897km) pipeline running from Canada to US refineries in the Gulf Coast, was halted by President Barack Obama in 2015 due to concerns over the message it would send about climate change.


    The second pipeline was halted last year as the Army looked at other routes, amid huge protests by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe at a North Dakota site.


    Steps before it can happen


    Immediate impact: TransCanada, the Keystone XL builder, has resubmitted their permit proposal, but the project will likely attract legal battles on the state level. The Army Corps of Engineers will continue its review of the Dakota Access pipeline route, but the executive order could speed up the process - and set the stage for a final route approval by a political appointee.


    Keystone XL pipeline: Why is it so disputed?


    Dakota Pipeline: What's behind the controversy?



    Instructing federal agencies to weaken Obamacare

    Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
    In one of his first actions as president, Mr Trump issued a multi-paragraph directive to the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies involved in managing the nation's healthcare system.


    The order states that agencies must "waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay" any portions of the Affordable Care Act that creates financial burden on states, individuals or healthcare providers.


    Although the order technically does not authorise any powers the executive agencies do not already have, it's viewed as a clear signal that the Trump administration will be rolling back Obama-era healthcare regulations wherever possible.


    Steps before it can happen



    Immediate impact
    : Not much, unless it's interpreted very broadly by the new Health Secretary and individual states. But it's probably more likely to influence how Congress proceeds with its repeal efforts.


    Can Obamacare be repealed?

    Re-instating a ban on international abortion counselling

    Image copyrightREUTERS
    What's called the Mexico City policy, first implemented in 1984 under Republican President Ronald Reagan, prevents foreign non-governmental organisations that receive any US cash from "providing counselling or referrals for abortion or advocating for access to abortion services in their country", even if they do so with other funding.


    The ban, derided as a "global gag rule" by its critics, has been the subject of a political tug-of-war ever since its inception, with every Democratic president rescinding the measure, and every Republican bringing it back.


    Anti-abortion activists expected Mr Trump to act quickly on this - and he didn't disappoint them.


    Immediate impact:
    The policy will come into force as soon as the Secretaries of State and Heath write an implementation plan and apply to both renewals and new grants. It will be much broader than the last time the rule was in place - the Guttmacher Institute, Kaiser Family Foundation and Population Action International believe the order, as written, will apply to all global health funding by the US, instead of only reproductive health or family planning.


    Trump's order on abortion policy: What does it mean?


    Freezing federal government hiring

    Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
    On Mr Trump's first full workday in the White House he issued a directive to federal agencies to halt any new government hiring.


    He told reporters who had gathered for the signing that the freeze would not affect military spending.


    The directive is part of Mr Trump's effort to reduce government debts and decrease the size of the federal workforce.


    During his campaign, he frequently railed against government bureaucracy, and vowed to "drain the swamp" of corrupt governance.



    Immediate impact:
    A hiring freeze is immediate, and is expected to last 90 days. The order allows exceptions under broad categories, including military, public safety, as well as case by case exceptions by the Office of Management and Budget.


    Has the federal workforce really 'dramatically increased'?

    Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESWithdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership


    The Trans-Pacific Partnership, once viewed as the crown jewel of Barack Obama's international trade policy, was a regular punching bag for Mr Trump on the campaign trail (although he at times seemed uncertain about what nations were actually involved).


    The deal was never approved by Congress so it had yet to go into effect in the US.


    Therefore the formal "withdrawal" is more akin to a decision on the part of the US to end ongoing international negotiations and let the deal wither and die.



    Immediate impact
    : Takes effect immediately. In the meantime, some experts are worried China will seek to replace itself in the deal or add TPP nations to its own free trade negotiations, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), excluding the US.


    TPP: What is it and why does it matter?
    py

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