Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Selling Of America

“No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution.
What do…
President Barack H. Obama,
President George W. Bush,
President Bill Clinton,
President George H. Bush,
President Ronald Reagan,
President Jimmy Carter,
President Richard Nixon
all have in common?

They all released their tax returns.
New York Magazine

501 Days in Swampland
A constant drip of self-dealing. And this is just what we know so far …
New York Magazine
By Joy Crane and Nick Tabor
April 1, 2018

On the day he took the oath of office, Donald Trump delivered two messages about what to expect from his administration. First came the lofty promise of his inaugural address. “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,” he vowed. “For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth.”

The second message, which Trump delivered without speaking a word, was aimed at a much smaller, but very rich, audience. As the new president’s motorcade left the Capitol, rolling past knots of supporters and protesters, it suddenly stopped three blocks short of the White House. Trump, the First Lady, and the rest of his family got out of their limos and took a three-minute turn in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue.

This was no random spot. The very first place Trump headed after being sworn in — his true destination all along, in a sense — was the Old Post Office and Clock Tower, which only 12 days before the election had been repurposed as the Trump International Hotel Washington. The elegant granite structure, whose architectural character Trump had promised to preserve, was now besmirched by a gaudy, faux-gold sign bearing his name. The carefully choreographed stop sent a clear signal to the foreign governments, lobbyists, and corporate interests keen on currying favor in Washington: The rewards of government would now be reaped by a single man — and the people would bear the cost.
The article goes on to say that Trump “After hiking the nightly rate to $653 — 32 percent higher than other local luxury hotels — Trump collected $2 million in profits from the property during his first three months in office.” Now remember the Emolument Clause… of those staying at the hotel many are foreign dignitaries and lobbyists.

Then we go down south to Mar-a-Lago, do you remember when he met with Chinese president Xi Jinping guess who got paid to use Mar-a-Lago for the meeting… why it is none other than Trump.

The Cut reported that,
Ivanka Trump’s Brand Was Cleared for Chinese Trademarks the Same Day She Dined With Chinese PresidentBy Claire Landsbaum
April 18, 2017

Ivanka Trump became an official White House employee (albeit an unpaid one) to avoid ethical concerns, but it seems the First Daughter is still finding it difficult to keep business and politics separate. According to an Associated Press report, on April 6 Ivanka’s company won approval from the Chinese government for three new trademarks, “giving it monopoly rights to sell Ivanka-brand jewelry, bags, and spa services in the world’s second-largest economy.” Later that night, Ivanka sat next to Chinese President Xi Jinping during a formal dinner at Mar-a-Lago.
A little bit about the stock market and the commodities markets, there are two types of trades… long and short. Long is the most common type of trading, you buy stock in the hopes of the stocks climbing in value, while short trading is when you think the price of the stock is going to drop.

A short trade is selling stock you haven’t bought yet (sounds fishy doesn’t it); so I sell you a hundred shares at a dollar a share and I promise to buy the stock in 90 days (or 7 days, 30 days or some other time) the same thing is true in the commodities markets but they are called futures (so if you think the price of oranges is going to go down you buy short*).

So what does this has to do with Trump?

Well since we do not know what shock holding he has I wonder how his tweets are affecting his holdings? Is he making money when he tweets about Amazon? When he announces tariffs on steel do he make money on the down market?

We do know that one of Trump’s friends dumped millions of dollars of steel stock just before Trump announced the steel tariffs. ABC reported that,
A former Trump adviser is raising eyebrows in the investment community after disclosing a multi-million dollar sell-off in shares of a construction company reliant on steel just weeks before the President announced a 25 percent tariff on steel imports.

Carl Icahn, a billionaire investor and former special adviser to President Trump, disclosed in a February 22 SEC filing that his companies had shed a $31.3 million stake in Manitowoc. The company, according to its website, is a leading “manufacturer of cranes and lifting solutions with manufacturing, distribution, and service facilities.”
Is Trump milking our country dry?

We will never know unless Congress takes action. But do the Republicans want to look under the rocks?

* I knew a woman who was studying to become a broker and she saw the long range weather forecast and a cold front was going to move through Florida and thought that the orange crop would freeze so she bought futures for oranges hoping the price will go up. Well the cold front never made it to Florida and they had a bumper crop of oranges and the price dropped like a rock and she got murdered on the trade. So she held off selling them hoping the price would go back up, well one day she got a call from her broker… next week you will now own 10 railroad cars of oranges where do you want them delivered? Needless to say she immediately sold the oranges and took the loss. When you buy commodities you are buying a physical thing, so those million barrels of oil or pork bellies futures that you bought you better have a place to put them.

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