Saturday, July 22, 2017

Observations and Sample of Recent Trades: EMP, PWCDF, SLV/ Trump and the Rule of Law

Trump, Sessions and The Rule of Law:

Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show - The Washington Post ("Russia’s ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, according to current and former U.S. officials.")

If that story is true, Sessions will not last much longer. 

Trump and his minions continued to perform acts that are inconsistent with the rule of law. 

In a NYT interview, Trump attacked the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, and the Special Prosecutor Mueller, all of whom were appointed by republicans in the past. 

Trump made it clear that the Justice Department should not be independent from the President, and that the Department needs to act like Trump's personal attorneys to protect Donald from investigation and to shield him from the consequences of his own actual and/or alleged malefactions: 

Trump Rages at Jeff Sessions in New York Times Interview - NBC News

Citing Recusal, Trump Says He Wouldn’t Have Hired Sessions - The New York Times

Trump shows disdain for rule of law with new attacks on Sessions, Rosenstein, Mueller - The Washington Post

Yes, Trump's Attacks on His Justice Department Are a Huge Problem - NBC News 

Trump's most recent rage may have been triggered by a Bloomberg story that Mueller has expanded the investigation to include Trump's financial transactions. Follow the money. Mueller Expands Probe to Trump Business Transactions - Bloomberg  

I would view the efforts described above and in the following WP article, republished at MSN, to be part of Trump's obstruction of justice efforts, and they along with other acts, including the firing of Comey, have a Nixonian quality to them. Trump team seeks to control, block Mueller’s Russia investigation

A Short History of Presidential Obstruction of Justice

Lawmakers from both parties warn Trump not to mess with Mueller - CBS News

Trump Made Several Misleading Claims in Times Interview - The New York Times

Trump routinely makes demonstrably false statements. In the recent NYT interview, and to highlight just one among thousands of recent examples, Trump asserted that the  Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein was from Baltimore; and there are "there are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any.” 

The suggestion is that Rob Rosenstein is biased against The Donald because he is from Baltimore. What can you say other than Rosenstein is not from Baltimore; and there are republicans in Baltimore. Rosenstein was appointed by George W. Bush to be the U.S. attorney for Baltimore in 2005: Rosenstein bio.PDF Donald by the way received 149,477 votes in Baltimore County. Maryland Election Results 2016 – The New York Times

While everyone can reach their own informed judgment, it is my opinion that Trump has no respect for the Rule of Law.  And, he is actively engaged in a war against the institutions necessary for a properly functioning Democracy. 


Trump's Power to Pardon Himself:

Trump, lawyers discussing pardons, ways to undermine Russia probe: report - MarketWatch

Trump says he has ‘complete power to pardon’ - MarketWatch

I would just note here that "all" do not agree that the President can issue a pardon for himself/herself. The Framers made it clear that the President could be prosecuted for crimes and those statements would make no sense if they contemplated the possibility that the President could pardon himself/herself. 

Moreover, the Constitution specifically states that a Pardon can not be issued for impeachable offenses: 

Article II, Section 2: "he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment." Article II | Constitution 

No, Trump can’t pardon himself. The Constitution tells us so. - The Washington Post

President Trump is considering pardoning himself. I asked 15 experts if that's legal. - Vox

While Trump could pardon his confederates, such pardons can form the basis of an impeachment article against him, which was the case in Nixon's impeachment where the Watergate burglars were offered pardons in exchange for their silence. Watergate Articles Of Impeachment

If Trump did issue a pardon covering any acts committed by him, then the political fallout would result in an impeachment investigation supported most likely by a small number of GOP politicians and all Democrats. A President can be impeached without criminal charges ever being filed. 


Trump and Leadership:

Trump made the following statement about leadership in 2013.

When has Donald ever taken responsibility for a negative outcome?


Trump and McCain:

Trump had previously referred to Senator John McCain's military record as follows: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured? I like people who weren’t captured."  

Trump Spokeswoman 'Not Sure' If He Regrets Trashing John McCain's Military Record


Trump-Putin Meeting Raises Red Flags for National Security Experts - NBC News

Trump's Honeymoon With China Ends as Dialogue Turns Frosty - Bloomberg

Trump and Putin May Have Met More Times Says Russia's Sergei Lavrov - NBC News

Mar-a-Lago requests permission for more foreign workers during "Made in America" week - CBS News

Lawyer who met with Trump Jr. had Russian intelligence connections - The Washington Post


Housing Losing Its Luster


1. Short Term Bond/CD Ladder Basket Strategy: 

A. Bought 2 WFC 1.7% CDs (monthly interest) Maturing on 7/19/19 (2 year term)

B. Bought 2 Morgan Stanley 1.15% CDs Maturing on 10/6/17 (3 month term):

C. Bought 2 WFC 1.5% CDs (monthly interest) Maturing on 8/20/18:

D. Bought 2 Bank of Hapoalim 1.2% CDs Maturing on 10/12/17 (3 month term):

Bank of Hapoalim is Israel's largest bank. This CD is issued by its U.S. subsidiary and is FDIC insured. 

$8K inflow into Short Term Bonds/CD Basket

2. Long Term Bond Basket Strategy:

A. Sold 50 EMP at $24.47-A Roth IRA Account:

I sold shortly after the quarterly ex interest date which was on 6/28/17:

Entergy Mississippi Inc. 4.9% First Mortgage Bonds (EMP) 

Profit Snapshot: $66.98

Item # 2.B. Bought 50 EMP at $22.85-A Roth IRA Account 

In Item #2A, I mentioned buying 50 EMP at 22.91 in a taxable account, using a commission free trade, and I still own those shares. 

3. Silver: Bought 50 SLV at $15.14:

I may add up to 200 shares but only at lower prices.  The $15.13 price is below my last entry point in this account which was $16.39+:

My only other SLV trade this year was to sell 30 shares at $17 on 2/10 that was bought at $15.23 last December:

2017 SLV 30 Shares +$52.02
The largest gain last year was a 50 share that was bought at $16.45 (6/22/16) and sold at $19.06+ on 7/6/2016:

2016 SLV 50 Shares +$129.73
I have not yet suffered a realized loss trading SLV and currently own only the 50 shares bought at $15.13.

I will buy back the silver bullion sold when silver went over $40 per ounce in 2011 only when the price to me is between $12 to $15 per ounce (silver eagles only). My last silver eagle purchase was at $7 per 1 ounce coin, and I still own those coins.  

Stocks, Bonds & Politics: The Road to Political Power: Lying Works/Recent Gold and Silver Sales (9/15/2011 Post); Stocks, Bonds & Politics: Snapshot of 1995 Purchase at $7 per Silver Eagle

Both silver and gold bullion have been in a bear market since 2011.

4. Continued to Pare Stock Allocation

A. Sold 100 PWCDF at $23.56 (used commission free trade)

Profit Snapshot: +$141.95 

ITEM # 3.A. at Stocks, Bonds & Politics: Observations and Sample of Recent Trades (PWCDF) 

History in this Account Only: 

The primary purpose for buying USD priced ordinary shares was to play a potential rebound in the CAD/USD exchange rate. The purchase at USD$22.14 (5/10/17) was a short term trade, along with several others made at about the same time. 

Both POW:CA and PWCDF are the same ordinary shares. The only differences are the exchange where the shares are traded and the currency in which the shares are priced. 

PWCDF Close on 5/10/17 USD $22.14
POW:CA Close on 5/10/17 C$29.98

PWCDF Close on 7/18/17 USD $ 23.72
POW:CA Close on 7/18/17 C$29.98

PWCDF Up 7.14%
POW:CA Down -1.19%

My next purchase will probably be made in Toronto using CADs. 

Prior POW:TO/PWCDF Trades:

Item # 4.A. Sold 100 PWCDF at $23.51Stocks, Bonds & Politics 3/20/17 (profit snapshot=+$237)-Bought 100 PWCDF at $21.05: Update For Portfolio Positioning And Management As Of 7/9/16 - South Gent | Seeking Alpha

Item # 1. Sold 400 POW:TO at C$31.05: Update For Portfolio Positioning And Management As Of 4/29/16 - South Gent | Seeking Alpha (USD Profit = $360.45)
Trading Profits to Date: $1,088.04

Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor but simply an individual investor who has been managing my own money since I was a teenager. In this post, I am acting solely as a financial journalist focusing on my own investments. The information contained in this post is not intended to be a complete description or summary of all available data relevant to making an investment decision. Instead, I am merely expressing some of the reasons underlying the purchase or sell of securities. Nothing in this post is intended to constitute investment or legal advice or a recommendation to buy or to sell. All investors need to perform their own due diligence before making any financial decision which requires at a minimum reading original source material available at the SEC and elsewhere. A failure to perform due diligence only increases what I call "error creep". Stocks, Bonds & Politics: ERROR CREEP and the INVESTING PROCESS Each investor needs to assess a potential investment taking into account their personal risk tolerances, goals and situational risks. I can only make that kind of assessment for myself and family members.


  1. South Gent,

    You have probably already read this

    The President can be indicted!

    1. Y: The link is to a long memo written by a law professor and forwarded to Kenneth Starr who was the special prosecutor investigating Clinton.

      Ultimately the issue will have to be decided by the Supreme Court.

      Personally, I would subscribe to the basic and fundamental principle that the President is not above the law and could be legally indicted by a federal court during the President's term in office.

      However, I have serious constitutional questions whether a sitting President could be tried for a crime.

      The proper course IMO would be to impeach the President and then indict and proceed with the criminal matters in court.

      Alexander Hamilton made this statement in Federalist paper number 69:

      "The President of the United States would be liable to be impeached, tried, and, upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors, removed from office; and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law. The person of the king of Great Britain is sacred and inviolable; there is no constitutional tribunal to which he is amenable; no punishment to which he can be subjected without involving the crisis of a national revolution. In this delicate and important circumstance of personal responsibility, the President of Confederated America would stand upon no better ground than a governor of New York, and upon worse ground than the governors of Maryland and Delaware."

      That statement indicates to me that the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution is not triggered by an impeachment so that the President could be impeached and then convicted. But Hamilton is silent in whether it is constitutionally permissible to indict a sitting President while impeachment proceedings are ongoing or have not even started yet.

      Several framers spoke to the later issue as noted in the memo at pages 21-22. The gist of those comments is that a President can be indicted since he is not above the law.


  2. Moreover, the Constitution specifically states that a Pardon can not be issued for an impeachable offenses:

    Article II, Section 2: "he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment."

    I'm not sure that "CASES of impeachment" means "impeachable offenses". I feel that a simpler reading of the words would be 'except for convictions following on impeachment'. In other words, if a president were impeached and then convicted by the Senate for murder, he couldn't pardon himself to clear himself of that conviction. On the other hand, I don't see that the words need apply to a case where the president were indicted before a court and then convicted by a jury. Maybe such a case isn't mentioned.


    1. David: I quoted that Constitutional provision in the post.

      For me, the literal interpretation of "cases for impeachment" would be impeachable offenses as defined in Article 2, Section 4:

      "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

      The literal interpretation would mean that any federal government official, who has committed an impeachable offense, can not be pardoned by the President and would be subject to criminal prosecution and imprisonment though the word "cases" throws an ambiguity into the mix.

      The interesting question would be then whether Gerald Ford's pardon of Nixon was even constitutional, since Nixon was subject to being impeached and could have been criminally charged and convicted of those impeachable offenses if the pardon was illegal.

      There was a challenge to the legality of Ford's pardon, but the only decision to my knowledge was by a federal district court judge in Murphy v. Ford, citing the Supreme Court's decision in Ex parte Garland (1867).

      I do not find either the 1867 Supreme Court decision in Garland or the district court's decision in Ford convincing on that limited point. I would agree with those decisions only insofar as they extend the pardon power to those who have not been convicted of a crime and who are not subject to the Constitution's impeachment provision. The intention being expressed by the Framers is that federal officials who have committed impeachable offenses can not be pardoned by the President.

      The word "cases" in the phrase "except in cases of impeachment" does create some ambiguity. Does that mean that there is a case for impeachment but no impeachment proceeding has yet commenced; or that articles of impeachment have been filed; or the House has voted out articles of impeachment by a simple majority; or the Senate has convicted by a two-thirds vote and impeached the President.

      The broadest meaning consistent with the Framer's intent would be that a pardon can not be issued regardless of whether an impeachment proceeding is underway for impeachable offenses committed by federal officials removable from office by the impeachment process. Those who hold positions of public trust are not subject to the same pardoning power as an ordinary citizen who commits a crime.

      If that view is not accepted, and an actual conviction in an impeachment proceeding is required, then the President could pardon himself, even if impeachable offenses had been committed, provided there was no impeachment in existence at the time of the pardon's issuance. The narrowest reading would allow a pardon up to the time of the impeachment and removal from office.

  3. In my next post, I will be discussing 4 buys in my small cap biotech lottery ticket basket.

    One of those is Concert Pharmaceuticals which is up today:

    Concert Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (CNCE)
    $16.06+2.03 (+14.47%)
    As of 2:28PM EDT.
    Volume 487,440
    Avg. Volume 168,114

    I bought only 20 shares at $13.42.

    The news today is that the FTC will allow Vertex (VRTX) to purchase Concert's CTP-656 and other assets related to the treatment of cystic fibrosis for $160M in cash. "If CTP-656 is approved as part of a combination regimen to treat CF, Concert could receive up to an additional $90 million in milestones based on regulatory approval in the U.S. and agreement for reimbursement in the first of the United Kingdom, Germany or France."

    The cash infusion was needed and there was some question about whether the FTC would allow the purchase to go forward after it requested additional information back in May.

    A lot now depends on securing approval of AVP-786.

    "AVP-786 is a combination of a deuterium-substituted dextromethorphan analog and a low dose of quinidine being investigated for the treatment of neurologic and psychiatric disorders. Avanir is conducting several Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials to evaluate AVP-786 for the treatment of neurologic and psychiatric disorders, the most advanced of which are Phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of agitation associated with Alzheimer’s disease."

    H.C. Wainwright started coverage today with a buy rating and a $20 price target.

  4. I have published a new post: