Putin’s Miscalculation; Bold New Paul Ryan Plan; EPA Cracks Down on Sulfur

PUTIN’S MISCALCULATION: Vladimir Putin “will emerge from this crisis weaker, not stronger,” according to LtGen. Dan Christman (Ret.), who is PRG’s Senior National Security Analyst.  Christman and other strategists are in agreement that the push-back will be fierce in the wake of Putin’s reckless gambit.

ECONOMIC ISSUES IN THE FOREFRONT:  The Ukranian economy is in shambles, the Russians had to raise interest rates to protect the plunging ruble, its stock market fell by 9% this morning, and other financial markets are opening sharply lower. Barring a Russian attempt to take all of eastern Ukraine, which would produce a grave crisis, it appears that the big angle is economic — with a growing likelihood of sanctions that will bite, to the displeasure of multinational corporations which may have to curtail their business dealings with Russia.

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The Democrats’ Wish List — Three Major Issues

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN:   Just as the politicians abandon confrontation, here comes a government shutdown today as a major storm hits the East Coast.  Janet Yellen’s second day of testimony has been cancelled, along with just about everything else.  So this might be a good time to check in on the Democrats’ retreat . . .

A SHORT WISH LIST:  Democrats at their Eastern Maryland offsite are focusing on three major issues.  Here’s our take: … Read the full story Here

EM Crisis Unlikely to Affect Fed, Don Kohn Says; Obama’s Pen; The Monica Lewinsky Factor

THE EMERGING MARKET CRISIS is “worrisome,” former Fed Vice Chairman Don Kohn told PRG clients on Friday, but it’s unlikely to deter the FOMC from a $10 billion step-down in asset purchases this week.  The Fed traditionally views EM crises “through the prism of how they affect the U.S. economy,” Don said, and the outlook here is still for GDP growth of about 3% in 2014… Read the full story Here

Something for Everyone in Massive Spending Bill; A Sure Sign the GOP Will Keep the House

OMNIBUS SPENDING BILL — SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE: There were cuts and increases, silliness and surprises, as House-Senate appropriators unveiled their 1,582 page 2014 budget last night. No one can possibly digest it all before the present continuing resolution expires tomorrow night, so Congress will pass a three-day continuing resolution today. There will be grumbling, especially among House conservatives, but the measure should pass in a few days. Read the full story Here