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Monday, April 18, 2016

 

Tomorrow is Primary day in NY

And we will be voting for John Kasich.  Or at least I will.  My wife and I agreed from the beginning to register in different parties so we would have one vote  in each primary, and she has the misfortune to be stuck in the Dems primary, with no one she wants to vote for.  Maybe this was a mistake.  We could have used another vote for John.  The polls show John second but well behind the Donald.  I wonder how accurate these polls will prove to be.  If you cold call a voter, ask him which primary he is voting in and he says Republican and he's voting for Trump, does the pollster do anything to be certain this voter will be eligible to vote in the R primary?  Unlike too many states, you have to be registered in the party to actually vote in the  NY primary.  And you can't just change your registration tomorrow.  You have to have done it by last October 15.  So I wonder how many of these Trump voters, who are really registered D's and Ind's will be turned away at the polls or forced to "feel the Bern."  Trump is likely to indeed win, but maybe not by nearly the margin pollsters expect.

This is the way primaries should be, if a state must have one at all.  My view is that the Trump squawking about "the voters should decide, not the insiders" is 180 degrees wrong.  Parties are private associations.  They make their own rules and offer candidates for election. They should want to pick a candidate who can win, because that means policies and political appointments friendly to the party.  Delegates after the first ballot will be largely free to pick such a candidate, and right now, the polls indicate that of those running, Kasich is the only Republican who could win.
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A couple of columns worthy of note in today's WSJ op ed section.  First, read Mark Helprin's essay called "The Candidates Ignore Rising Military Dangers."  Now, I will stipulate that Helprin has been writing alarming hyperbole for the Journal on military matters for a long time, but that doesn't mean he's wrong.  The degradation of our military capability while nuclear weapons proliferate and Russia, China, Iran and North Korea increase their capabilities and encroach on their neighbors should give one pause.  Helprin's essay lists in impressive detail where we have gone wrong over the last two administrations and what needs to happen to resume our leadership position.

A second essay by Stuart Taylor Jr. entitled "A Hollywood Hit-Job on Clarence Thomas" reviewed the currently playing HBO movie "Confirmation."  The movie presents a depiction of the Thomas confirmation hearings, especially the explosive exchange between him and harassment accuser Anita Hill.  The essay details the evidence that her testimony was mainly false, and takes the movie to task for taking her side in the "She said, He said" controversy.

It's no wonder that young people are feeling the Bern, given the propaganda they are subjected to throughout school, particularly at the college level and by Hollywood.  To me, it is just as bad that Sanders is still a viable candidate as it is that Trump is.  The former is a Communist, the latter a storm trooper.  Both represent the worst of 20th century demagogues and tyrants, and use the same tactic of scapegoating, whether it be immigrants, banks, businessmen or their rival politicians.  Neither should have anything like the following they have in this country.

I find the developments depicted in these two essays very troubling when I consider the future of our country and the world that our kids and grandkids will be dealing with.  In the end, it's theirs to make the best of it, and if they won't listen to those who really understand what our Constitution and way of life is about, they will be much at fault.  But the liberal tendencies of baby boomers have surely paved the way.
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Our portfolio finished the quarter up a couple of percentage points year-to-date, and given how the year started, that's pretty remarkable.  I do think this will be another challenging year for investors.  By the way, if you had capital gains as we did again last year, the tax bite from Obamacare and all the other anti - investor features of our code are now biting at full force.  It's enough to make me consider taking some offsetting losses next fall.  We'll see.  In the meantime, here are the investment transactions for the first quarter.  The final Fiduciary Rule seems to leave unpaid commentators like me outside the conflict of interest provisions so we can continue to list the transactions, with the reminder that they are just that, a list and not recommendations.  They may not be suitable investments for anyone else.

Purchases

Date    Symbol     Shares    Price            Comments
1/5       ONCS      900       2.44
1/6        TIP            20      110.12
1/7        BRS         100       22.11        Not giving up on Tulane portfolio
1/11      GBT         100       23.89     New name run by Haverford alum
 1/13     GLD         20       103.89
 1/14     OPK         250        8.30     On the bargain counter
1/14      ONCS     1300      1.55     Catching a falling knife?
1/20     JPM.PR.A   100     25  
1/21      MU           200       10.44
1/22      GBT          150       19.78
1/25     GGP.PR.A   100      24.70    Another new name
1/27     SF              100       32.26
1/28     AA             300        7.18    Aluminum bottoming?
2/2      TIP               20       111.48
2/3       OPK          300       7.756
2/4         GBT         150       19.37   Averaging down
2/8       JPM.PR.A   100      25
2/10     BRS             200      14.51
2/12     DVN           200      20.57   Oil and gas not going away yet
2/16    PRH           100        25.47
2/18    NR             600        3.84    Go Tulane!
2/18    GBT           150        17.56    averaging down
2/19    GLD            20        117.1775
2/22     KN           400         11.50
2/23     HSC         400          6.29
2/23  JPM.PR.A   100         24.98
2/29  NR              600          3.67
3/1    GBT           150          15.08   averaging down
3/10  TIP              20          112.55
3/17   GNE          300            7.78  Israeli oil on St Pats Day
3/24   GBT          200            14.85   Averaging Down
3/24  JPM.PR.A  100           25.21
3/28   SF             100           29.15
3/29   HSC         400             5.22
3/31   GLD           20           118.08

Sales

Date     Symbol      Shares     Price     Date Purchased   Price     Comments
1/4         ENI         1600        11.63       Various            16.99    Off the Buy/Hold list; give up      
1/29      PCP          100        234.90      10/6/08            69    Buffet bought the company
3/3       NEM          100         26.29       2012-13          48.97
3/4       GENC        200         13.67       2009                 6.40
3/7       XEL           100         39.89        10/2/13          27.71
3/8     AWCMY     500          3.97          2010              4.95
3/17    NEM          100          27.86        2013              38.63   We'll get even on this one
3/18   HON             25         111.56      10/27/10         46.59
3/18   ITW             25          100.41        9/15/06         44.50
3/21   NEM           100          27.63        2013             30.12
3/22   HZO           200          19.48        2010-11          7.38
3/30   TFX            15           159.03        4/26/04         49.84

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