Archive for the ‘High Mailing Priority’ Category

Clear the Smog


Clear the Smog

Courtesy of  and 

This post first appeared on

Scott Pruitt is an alarming choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, yet the Republican majority in the Senate is pushing to confirm him later this week.

This is an agency, remember, that was created to protect our health, our children’s health and our environment from toxic products and pollution. President Richard Nixon, a Republican president, signed it into law.

Pruitt, currently the attorney general of Oklahoma, is on the side of the polluters. He shut down his state’s own environmental enforcement unit. He joined polluters at least 14 times to sue the EPA in order to weaken laws.

He’s a living, breathing, walking conflict of interest. The Intercept’s Sharon Lerner reported on his conflicts earlier this week. Some 15 companies with EPA enforcement actions against them in recent years have either donated directly to Pruitt, to his super PAC or to the Association of Attorneys General when he led it. Those companies include Koch Industries, Murray Energy, Peabody Coal and Monsanto.

Pruitt’s conflicts were so brazen that at the Senate hearing Democrats boycotted the vote to confirm him. Republicans, on whom polluters spend lavishly, pushed his nomination out of committee and onto the Senate floor, where it is to be voted on possibly as soon as Friday afternoon.

More evidence has surfaced that will show just where Pruitt’s loyalties lies: 3,000 emails between Pruitt and fossil fuel companies that could potentially reveal even more cozy ties with the energy industry. Some have been released already, like the letter to the EPA written by lawyers for one energy company which Pruitt then sent with his name on it to dispute the EPA’s methods for estimating methane emissions.

But the public interest group Center for Media and Democracy says Pruitt is withholding many more documents. For more than two years, the center has asked for these emails to be released. They are supposed to be public under Oklahoma’s open records rules. During the confirmation hearing, senators also…
continue reading

Money can’t buy me love: what Valentine’s Day means for retailers


Money can’t buy me love: what Valentine’s Day means for retailers

Courtesy of Nelson Blackley, Nottingham Trent University

Love is big business. In the UK alone last year, total retail spending on Valentine’s Day was estimated at £980m on cards, gifts, flowers, food and drink. We’ve come a long way from Lupercalia, the fertility festival of ancient Rome which appears to be the origin of this celebration.

We really have Pope Galasius to thank for the modern-day consumerist splurge. He is supposed to have declared the first St Valentine’s Day on February 14 496AD, matching the traditional time of the pagan Roman celebration. But it is a gruesome tale that lies at its heart.

According to some stories, the day was in memory of Valentine of Rome, a young priest martyred after defying Emperor Claudius II in 270AD by conducting illegitimate wedding ceremonies in the capital. He was jailed and eventually beheaded, but not before falling in love with the jailer’s daughter. It is believed that on the evening of his execution the young priest passed her a note which read “from your Valentine”. Something to consider when you wrap your meagre box of chocolates.

Head over heels? St. Valentine relics in Rome. Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P./Flickr, CC BY-NC


Something close to our own Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known Valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.

Money started being made in earnest during the 19th century, the industrial revolution ushered in factory-made Valentine cards and in Kansas City in 1913, Hallmark Cards began mass production.

You might think that this marked the end for St Valentine’s Day as a genuinely romantic event. The day is now transformed into just another opportunity for retailers to take our hard-earned cash with an annual guilt trip – more to do with obligation than to do with…
continue reading

What Plato can teach you about finding a soulmate


Source: Sausage Dog Central

In honor of Valentine's Day, here is a thoughtful article on love that reminds us to be realistic in our expectations. ~ Ilene

What Plato can teach you about finding a soulmate

Courtesy of Firmin DeBrabander, Maryland Institute College of Art

In the beginning, humans were androgynous. So says Aristophanes in his fantastical account of the origins of love in Plato’s Symposium.

Not only did early humans have both sets of sexual organs, Aristophanes reports, but they were outfitted with two faces, four hands, and four legs. These monstrosities were very fast – moving by way of cartwheels – and they were also quite powerful. So powerful, in fact, that the gods were nervous for their dominion.

Wanting to weaken the humans, Zeus, Greek king of Gods, decided to cut each in two, and commanded his son Apollo “to turn its face…towards the wound so that each person would see that he’d been cut and keep better order.” If, however, the humans continued to pose a threat, Zeus promised to cut them again – “and they’ll have to make their way on one leg, hopping!”

The severed humans were a miserable lot, Aristophanes says.

“[Each] one longed for its other half, and so they would throw their arms about each other, weaving themselves together, wanting to grow together.”

Finally, Zeus, moved by pity, decided to turn their sexual organs to the front, so they might achieve some satisfaction in embracing.

Apparently, he initially neglected to do so, and, Aristophanes explains, the severed humans had “cast seed and made children, not in one another, but in the ground, like cicadas.” (a family of insects)

So goes Aristophanes’ contribution to the Symposium, where Plato’s characters take turns composing speeches about love – interspersed with heavy drinking.

It is no mistake that Plato gives Aristophanes the most outlandish of speeches. He was the famous comic playwright of Athens, responsible for bawdy fare like Lysistrata, where the women of Greece “go on strike” and refuse sex to their husbands until they stop…
continue reading

Chart o’ the Day: Stocks are booming, but new highs aren’t


Chart o’ the Day: Stocks are booming, but new highs aren’t

Courtesy of 

Another day, another new record open for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, Russell 2000 and the Nasdaq 100 and the Nasdaq Composite. New highs are bullish, not bearish – especially new highs across all major averages.

But what’s going on in the “market of stocks”, beneath the surface of these new highs for the indices?

My friend Jon Krinsky, ace technician for MKM Partners, points out a divergence worth keeping an eye on in the New York Stock Exchange Composite (NYA)…

As the market pushes to new highs, less stocks are making new highs. Like most divergences, this can persist so it is once again a warning more than a timing tool.

Josh here – it’s worth pointing out that this can change relatively quickly, as large numbers of stocks play catch up and break out to new highs individually. These divergences don’t have to end badly, nor do they necessarily guarantee a correction through price. It’s just as reasonable to guess that the index price could correct through time should the rally become too narrow and falter.


When Volatility Gets Low, Buy Low Vol. Stocks
MKM Partners – February 12, 2017

Tax Reform: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Part Two


Tax Reform: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Part Two

Courtesy of John Mauldin, Thoughts from the Frontline

“Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society.”

– Mark Skousen

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

– Ronald Reagan

Taxation is almost never an exciting subject, nor do we want it to be. The best tax system would be silent and unobtrusive. It would raise enough revenue to cover essential government functions and not a penny more. Sadly, our US system is nowhere near the ideal.

In part one of this series, I talked about whether the new tax proposals would actually create jobs and discussed the proposed “Border Adjustment Tax” and some of its possible complications. In part two, today, we will look more closely at the rest of the tax proposals. Then next week we will go much deeper into the BAT and then into what I think the tax system should actually look like, which will be far different from anything I’ve suggested in the past. That discussion will make more sense if we have placed the ideas in full context. That is today’s objective.

The BAT is not a stand-alone policy. It is one component of a broader House Republican tax reform plan, which in turn is part of an even broader federal government reform proposal called “A Better Way.” In theory, the different parts all work together, which is good but makes it hard to discuss any one element in isolation.

In this series, I’m looking specifically at the tax-reform portion of the Better Way proposal. It has other planks on national security, health care, poverty, and more. They are important, and I may discuss them in the future, but let’s leave them aside for now.

I must also note that I am not a CPA or any other sort of tax…
continue reading

Fake News is Not New and Huxley, Not Orwell, is the Messenger

This is not to say you shouldn't reread George Orwell’s book 1984 too. 

Fake News is Not New and Huxley, Not Orwell, is the Messenger

Why it's time to reread Neil Postman

By Jerry LembckeCommon Dreams

Neil Postman ended the preface to his 1985 book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, with a dedication to "the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right." If he could only see us now. (Image: Book Cover Detail)

The news business is in a sweat about fake news. The temperature has been rising since the November election of Donald Trump as President and it went febrile on February 2 when his press secretary Kellyanne Conway claimed the president’s restrictions on immigration announced on January 27 were justified by the massacre carried out by Iraqi refugees (some time ago) in Bowling Green, Kentucky. There had never been a massacre but she got away with saying it on the Chris Matthews MSNBC news show—and that has news critics apoplectic. How could mainstream journalism, which has to include presidential press secretaries, have fallen into such an embarrassing state?   

The idea of "fake news" became a talking point during the fall election season when stories such as Hillary Clinton’s involvement in a pizza-house pedophilia ring circulated. Few, if any, legitimate news organizations bought into that story, or into post-election White House claims that the president lost the popular vote because of voter fraud.  

Going back several years, though, the press and television news organizations have compiled a troubling record of reporting stories that were false. The most spectacular of those were The New Republic's gullible acceptance of editor Stephen Glass’s fabricated stories before finally firing him in 1998; CNN’s 1998 investigative report—later retracted as "unsupportable by the facts" and skewered as more fantasy than fact—that sarin nerve gas had been used on a 1970 covert raid by U.S. special forces to kill a group of GIs who had defected to the North Vietnamese on the Ho Chi Minh Trail; The New York Times 2003 admission that its reporter, Jason Blair, had filed numerous false stories before his editors owned-up to their own collusion in his duplicity and canned him.

Orwell, Postman pointed out, "warned

continue reading

The Fake News Problem [Chart]

By VisualCapitalist. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

There’s been no shortage of blame passed around for the so-called “fake news” epidemic that has been front and center since the U.S. election.

Social media has been singled out as one key factor leading to the spread of misleading or false news. However, low barriers to entry for creating content, hyperpartisanism, confirmation bias, and the echo-chamber effect have also been identified as causes or symptoms in the proliferation of such stories.

The Fake News Problem

The Fake News Problem

It’s certainly a complex problem to unravel, and many proposed solutions are just as alarming as the symptoms they try to treat. The decentralization and fragmentation of information is the core of what makes the internet great, and this democratization helps to decouple power away from the established institutions that may or may not have our interests at heart.

How do we regulate news for its authority and legitimacy without stifling alternate viewpoints, differing narratives, and independent sources of information?

Root Causes

In today’s landscape, people are turning away from traditional media and gravitating towards digital content. In this new digital media paradigm, who is considered a trustworthy and convenient source of information?

As long as they could remain reputable, the mainstream outlets that garnered eyeballs throughout broadcasting history should have been the obvious benefactors of this transition. Groups like CNN and Fox News, or The New York Times and The Washington Post, could have remained unquestioned authorities on the issues.

However, it seems like this opportunity has been recently squandered to some extent. These outlets have been slow to adopt their business strategies to the digital landscape, and they remain in damage control mode as advertising revenues drop and profitability wanes. Publishers have been under immense pressure to generate views, and have taken shortcuts in content creation to do this. Hyperpartisan viewpoints that confirm existing biases (aka, the Huffington Post or Breitbart models) and sensational clickbait headlines have been one easy way to build traffic. Some publishers also have…
continue reading

Appeals Court Rejects Administration’s Request to Reinstate Travel Ban

Trump isn't happy that the 9th Circuit ruled against him and, ever so professionally, tweets out that he will take the matter to the Supreme Court. 

Appeals Court Keeps U.S. Doors Open During Immigration Fight

By Erik Larson and Kartikay Mehrotra, Bloomberg

  • Trump Dealt Biggest Setback Yet in Legal Fight Over Travel Ban
  • Ruling in San Francisco Pushes Case Closer to Supreme Court

A federal appeals court ruled unanimously that the U.S. will remain open to refugees and visa holders from seven Muslim-majority countries, rejecting a bid by the Trump administration to reinstate a travel ban in the name of national security.

The San Francisco-based appeals court on Thursday spurned the government’s request to close the doors after days of public debate over President Donald Trump’s attacks on the judicial system and a rush of fearful immigrants. The ruling increases the likelihood that the administration will ask the Supreme Court to step into a case that’s the biggest test of Trump’s executive power yet.

Trump was defiant, tweeting within minutes of the ruling, “SEE YOU IN COURT. THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”

The panel’s ruling in favor of immigrants is a victory not only for Washington and Minnesota — the states that sued — but for Facebook Inc., Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., which said in court papers that the measure would hinder their global businesses.

Read also: 

Trump’s refugee and visa ban gets another big defeat in court

By Dara Linddara, Vox

President Trump has all but promised to appeal to the Supreme Court — something that would be relatively unusual, given that this is, after all, still a very preliminary ruling in the case. But this court battle, so far, has been about much more than legal procedure. It’s a fight over the policy that’s defined the still-young Trump administration — and a battle between a president who promises to do whatever it takes to ensure “security” and an opposition that sees “security” as a flimsy excuse for xenophobia and discrimination.

The judges could have ruled narrowly — but

continue reading

Hoisington Quarterly Review and Outlook-4Q2016


Hoisington Quarterly Review and Outlook—4Q2016

Courteys of John Mauldin, Outside the Box

Longtime readers of Outside the Box know that I am a fan of Dr. Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management. Lacy and his partner, Van Hoisington, produce a quarterly letter that is a must-read for me, as it reliably informs my thinking in a world drowning in conventional economics – economics that seem to continually miss the mark.

It almost goes without saying that Lacy will be speaking at our Strategic Investment Conference again this year, and he’s just one of a long (and still-lengthening) list of top-flight speakers. Learn more and reserve your chair, right here.

Today’s OTB is one of the most important pieces Van and Lacy have written in a long time. They establish that the proposed tax reforms will face enormous headwinds that were not there during previous tax-reform eras, which means that the benefits that Republicans think will accrue are likely to take longer to appear and be less than expected, which will mean that it is going to take more than what is presently proposed to jump-start the economy.

A few readers have asked me whether I am still a deficit hawk. The answer is, “Yes, more than ever,” because total debt has now rendered both monetary and fiscal policy much less effective. Debt, as Lacy and Van clearly show, is an impediment to growth.

There are other issues impeding growth, such as the ten million men between ages 24-64 who are not in the work force, a condition that has been steadily worsening for 40 years. It’s not just a recent phenomenon, but it must be addressed. These are men who have chosen to not participate for one reason or another and are perforce a drain on overall GDP growth.

And let’s not forget that for the last nine years we have seen more businesses close than be created, which has certainly affected GDP.

Tax reform is fine, but far more structural change is necessary if growth is to return. I will be writing on that topic over the next few weeks. But today we appreciate the work of Lacy…
continue reading

Tax Reform: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly-Part One


Tax Reform: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly—Part One

Courtesy of John Mauldin, Thoughts from the Frontline

Vizzini: He didn’t fall?! Inconceivable!
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
– From The Princess Bride

“A tariff is a scale of taxes on imports, designed to protect the domestic producer against the greed of his consumer.”
– Ambrose Bierce

“Vast possibilities matured into realities before their very eyes. Nevertheless, they saw nothing but cramped economies struggling with ever-decreasing success for their daily bread.”
– Joseph Schumpeter on the Industrial Revolution

The usual thrust of this letter is economics, finance, and investing. Lately, however, the political process has been invading my normal domain – sometimes to the dismay of some of my readers. I get that politics comes with the territory; and I think everyone, no matter their political persuasion, will agree that taxes, which are political in nature, have a major impact on economics, finance, and investment. And thus commenting on taxes is fair game.

My original intention for this letter was to do an analysis of the Republican tax reform proposals. My associate Patrick Watson and I spent two weeks doing a really deep dive into the proposed reforms. I had the privilege of talking taxes with the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, fellow Texan Kevin Brady, as well as his staff. The chairman was kind enough to allow his remarks to be on the record – but his staff made it clear that they were to be on background. We have also talked with numerous think tanks and other experts across the political spectrum. We’ve actually been able to get information on some of the proposed reforms that, as far as we can tell, isn’t available in anything that’s already out there on the Internet.

A few observations from 30,000 feet –

1. This is a far more sweeping proposed tax reform than Reagan’s. Not even in the same league. When I tell you that it touches everything, I mean that it touches EVERYTHING. And not just…
continue reading


Zero Hedge

Who's Really Behind The Soft-Coup? Obama-Founded Activist Group Offers Anti-Trump Protest "Guide"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

"The left is intentionally fighting to remain relevant," remarks Armstrong Economics' Martin Armstrong, adding that "the hatred spewing out of their mouths is really off the wall." Furthermore, Armstrong warns the Obama administration is behind the so-called 'soft coup' ...

more from Tyler

Phil's Favorites

Rand Paul Blasts McCain Over Perpetual War: "He Would Bankrupt the Nation"

Courtesy of Mish.

Senator Rand Paul blasted fellow Republican Senator John McCain over McCain’s perpetual warmongering on ABC’s “This Week”.

Some are undoubtedly disheartened by political infighting, but this infighting is good.

These are debates the country desperately needs to have.

Earlier today Rand paul stated “We’re very lucky John McCain is not in charge.”

Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) ripped fellow Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) on Sunday after McCain criticized President T...

more from Ilene


Warren Buffett - How to Calculate Intrinsic Value

By The Acquirer's Multiple. Originally published at ValueWalk.

One of our favorite investors here at The Acquirer’s Multiple is Warren Buffett.

Lat week I provided and excerpt from Buffett’s ‘Owner’s Manual’ – In June 1996, Berkshire’s Chairman, Warren E. Buffett, issued a booklet entitled “An Owner’s Manual” to Berkshire’s Class A and Class B shareholders. The purpose of the manual was to explain Berkshire’s broad economic principles of operation.

]]> Get The Full Warren Buffett Series in PDF

Get the entire 10-part series on Warren Buffett in PDF. Save it to your ...

more from ValueWalk

Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World


Financial Markets and Economy

Managers at a $1 trillion asset manager say investors are dangerously underplaying 3 things (Business Insider)

2016 was not a great year for forecasting. 

The UK's decision to leave the European Union, and President Donald Trump's win despite what the polls showed, humbled many people who were sure that the opposite outcomes would happen.

China Suspends All Coal Imports From North Korea (NY Times)


more from Paul

Digital Currencies

How to Use, Trade, Store and Invest in Bitcoin Digital Assets - Step by Step, Part 1

By Reggie Middleton

(Originally published on Zero Hedge)

I will teach novices and experts alike how to fit Bitcoin into an investment portfolio safely and with the optimum risk-adjusted potential - along with step-by-step guides, instructions and tutorials.

This first part of the series starts with the basics, obtaining and managing your bitcoin.

What is Bitcoin?

First off, we need to know what Bitcoin is since most media pundits and even experienced financial types truly do not know. Bitcoin (capital "B") is a protocol driven network (very similar to that other popular protocol-based network, the Internet). This network is a blank tapestry upon which smart and creative actors can paint a cornucopia of applications (just like applicat...

more from Bitcoin

Kimble Charting Solutions

Fear Indicator; Hitting highest levels in history, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Markets have been on a steady rise and the same can be said for Inverse Fear ETF (XIV). Below looks at Inverse Fear ETF (XIV) since the lows in 2011.


What a difference a year can make! One year ago this week, XIV was testing rising channel support, as relative momentum was hitting levels last seen at the 2011 lows.


more from Kimble C.S.

Members' Corner

Save Your Relationship?

Courtesy of Nattering Naybob.

Once again it's "in the Toilet Thursday" or "Thursday's in the Loo".

Our last episode How to Poop At Work? answered the question, what to do when your at a big fancy pants meeting, when out of nowhere, you need to download a brown load?

This week's installment, Save Your Relationship, demonstrates that people will do just about anything to save their relationshits...


more from Our Members

Mapping The Market

NSA May Be Withholding Intel from President Trump

By Jean Luc

These GOP guys were so worried about Hillary's email server and now we find out that we had something close to a Russian mole in the White House. In the meantime, Trump keeps on using his unsecured phone, had high level conversation in his resort in front of dinner guests! It's getting so bad that rumors are now circulating that the NSA is not sharing information with the WH:

NSA May Be Withholding Intel from President Trump


….Our spies have had enough of these shady Russian connections—and they are starting to push back….In light of this, and out of worries about the White House’s ability to keep secrets, some of our spy agencies have begun withholding intelligence fro...

more from M.T.M.


Swing trading portfolio - week of February 13th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...

more from OpTrader

Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Feb 12, 2017

Courtesy of Blain.

The week that was…

The quite long in the tooth rally continues as we had 3 days of minor loses to begin the week; ending with 2 days of moderate gains.  We are in a bit of a quiet zone as most S&P 500 companies have now reported earnings, the Federal Reserve is not a “worry” for about a month and a half, and the major economic news of the month hit the prior week.  So the gnashing of teeth (or not) about government policy seems to be the main driver right now- late in the week it was announced some major new tax initiatives would be coming down the pike soon which the market liked.

President Donald Trump said Thursday that an announcement concerning taxes is on tap for the coming weeks, which his press secretary later said would involve an outline of a comprehensive tax plan. “...

more from Chart School


Phil's Stock World's Las Vegas Conference!

Learn option strategies and how to be the house and not the gambler. That's especially apropos since we'll be in Vegas....

Join us for the Phil's Stock World's Conference in Las Vegas!

Date:  Sunday, Feb 12, 2017 and Monday Feb 13, 2017            

Beginning Time:  9:30 to 10:00 am Sunday morning

Location: Caesars Palace in Las Vegas


Caesars has offered us rooms for $189 on Saturday night and $129 for Sunday night but rooms are limited at that price.

So, if you are planning on being in Vegas (Highly Recommended!), please sign up as soon as possible by sending...

more from Promotions


The Medicines Company: Insider Buying

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

I'm seeing huge insider buying in the biotech company The Medicines Company (MDCO). The price has already moved up around 7%, but these buys are significant, in the millions of dollars range. ~ Ilene




Insider transaction table and buying vs. selling graphic above from

Chart below from


more from Biotech

All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.

To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

more from David

FeedTheBull - Top Stock market and Finance Sites

About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

Learn more About Phil >>

As Seen On:

About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

Market Shadows >>