Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

What Past Empires Tell Us About the Future

 

What Past Empires Tell Us About the Future

Courtesy of George Friedman & Jacob L. Shapiro, Mauldin Economics

Spanish essayist George Santayana once wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” but there is a problem with this famous and witty line. Studying history has little practical utility in averting past outcomes. We are doomed to repeat history whether we know it or not.

The value in knowing history is not that one might prevent its recurrence. Its value is that it allows you to identify those things that don’t change and that shape events… no matter the year on the calendar. It is not quite as clever a turn of phrase, but it would be more accurate to say: To predict the future, one must understand the past.

Geopolitical Futures, unsurprisingly, focuses on the future. But part of what gives GPF analysis such insight into the future is its grounding in history. This is not always obvious, as most of our writing stays focused on the future. But today, in This Week in Geopolitics, we thought we might pull back the curtain slightly and showcase four maps that highlight what parts of the world looked like in the past… and that point the way toward what may come in the future.

China

The map above simplifies a great deal of China’s ancient and imperial history. It identifies seven states that fought for control of the historic Chinese heartland during the Warring States period (475–221 BC).

Two observations can be made from this map. First and most important, China has always been a land power. Its control has never extended beyond the mainland in a serious way. Taiwan is the only notable exception—and Sinic civilization only came to Taiwan after the Ming Dynasty (not shown on the map) collapsed in 1644. Some Ming loyalists fled to Taiwan to use it as a base of operations. When GPF talks about China not having a tradition as a maritime power and being confined to the mainland, these facts often are not mentioned in the analysis, but that makes them no less important.

The second observation is that China’s core territory is well defined and has not shifted much over…
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    Long way to go for SVXY BDC! One step down, 2 steps up…







News You Can Use From Phil’s Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

Oil Executives Are Confident That the Future Is Bright (Bloomberg)

Oil prices are down nearly 10 percent over the past month, leading some to wonder if we're set for a resumption of the plunge seen between 2014 and early 2016. Executives at oil companies, however, are optimistic.

Trump’s Misplaced Priorities Imperil His Economic Agenda (Bloomberg)

Let’s begin by stating the obvious: My priorities are different than yours or Paul Ryan’s or the president’s. We all have a different agenda, motivated by different issues.

Trudeau Hits Brakes on Deficits: Canada Budget Takeaways (Bloomberg)

Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau released his 2017-18 budget Wednesday in Ottawa. Documents show the Liberals aren’t going any deeper into the red than they’d forecast in November.

Should America adopt universal basic income? If we want a more just society, yes (Salon)

Should America adopt a universal basic income? Philippe Van Parijs, co-author of “Basic Income: A Radical Proposal for a Free Society and a Sane Economy,” said yes during a recent Salon Talks interview.

There's about to be a solar 'boom' in India and companies are lining up to profit (Business Insider)

India is betting big on renewable energy and solar companies are taking notice.

SunPower CEO Tom Werner said India is about to become the biggest market for solar energy, primarily because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's interest in growing the sector.

This Gold Rally Has Recent History on Its Side (Bloomberg)

Gold has staged an impressive rebound since the Federal Reserve raised interest rates last week and reiterated that the pace of increases will accelerate. But is a rally logical?

A Fed official warns that another real estate bubble could collapse financial stability (Wolf Street)

The Fed caused it, but it won’t do much to contain it.

Last year, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren — considered a “dove” on the Fed’s policy-setting committee — started warning about the commercial real-estate bubble in the US and what its demise could do to banks.

Are investors too optimistic about Amazon? (The Economist)

Every chief executive hopes to lead his company


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Falling Friday – Market Wraps Up Worst Week of Trump Error

Image result for trump don't careUtter chaos!

As noted by the GOP leadership: "There is no Plan B" to the TrumpDon'tCare Act.  Either the GOP guts health care and takes insurance away from 24M Americans and begins to defund Medicaid or, as Trump now states "Obmacare Stays."  I know – WTF?  Is it possible that the GOP has purposely put forth an unpassable bill BECAUSE they realize Obmacare is too good to kill?

Keep in mind this is just the House Vote on Health Care, which was supposed to be easy, the Senate vote is next and the changes they made in the bill could cause it to fail simply under the parliamentary rules (because they changed it to a simple majority, which caused other rules to kick in).  

If 3 GOP Senators defect, the Bill dies and, even if it passes, the Dems can tie it up in court for a long time.  Since they have a 44 vote advantage in the House (10%) and can't get them in line, it's reasonable to assume they are going to have trouble with at least 5 Senators and Senators have to Represent whole states – this is a suicide mission for Republican Senators from Democratic states.  It's very possible this battle will cost the GOP the Senate next year and the Senate gets to do all those fun investigations.  So that's the upside on the Bill – the downside is TOTAL CHAOS!

Image result for white house chaos cartoonOf course, that may be exactly what the White House wanted because, clearly, they did not have a real Health Care plan but, much more importantly, you forgot all about Trump's false accusations that Obama tapped his phone and, even though Devin Nunes jumped on a grenade for Trump and tried to convince the American People that mentions of the Trump team in some investigations justified Trump's paranioa (destroying his own reputation in the process) - no one really fell for it but, suddenly, Health Care distracted us – how convenient!  

Yesterday, I was on the Benzinga Pre-Market Report at 8:30 and they asked me how to play the Dow and I told them (20 minutes in): "Figure
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News You Can Use From Phil’s Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

SEC May Regret the Day It Allowed Leveraged ETFs (Bloomberg)

That bit of truism is all you need to understand the rapid rise in leveraged exchange-traded funds, which were created in 2006 as a way for investors to double their exposure to stock indices.

Trump's Big Problems: Anemic Private Investment and Weak Productivity (Forbes)

Why was the Great Depression so deep, and why did it drag on for so long? According to impressive research by Robert Higgs of the Independent Institute, it was because President Roosevelt abandoned his campaign promises of 1932: to cut federal spending, to balance the budget, to maintain a sound currency, and to rein in Washington’s bureaucracy. Instead, Roosevelt switched gears.

Williams Says Three, Maybe More 2017 Fed Hikes Make Sense (Bloomberg)

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams said that three or “maybe even more” interest-rate increases this year make sense, depending on how the central bank is doing on its employment and inflation objectives.

Trump and automakers have criticized Obama’s fuel standards as expensive job killers. A new study disagrees. (The Washington Post)

Federal fuel economy standards may be easier and less expensive to comply with than previously projected, according to a new study. The finding could undermine the argument by automakers and the Trump administration that the fuel standards increase costs and would lead to prohibitively expensive vehicles and job losses.

ECB's Free Money Has Helped Banks More Than It Aids the Economy (Bloomberg)

When the European Central Bank announced its targeted lending program back in 2014, policy makers including President Mario Draghi held out great hopes that it would finally get financial institutions extending credit to companies and households again.

Renters Now Rule Half of U.S. Cities (Bloomberg)

Just 49 percent of Motor City households were homeowners in 2015, down from 55 percent in 2009 and the lowest percentage in more than 50 years. Detroit isn’t alone, of course: The rate of U.S. home ownership fell steadily for a decade as the foreclosure crisis turned millions of owners into renters and tight housing markets made it hard for renters to buy homes. 

Venezuela's Fuel Shortage Is
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QOTD: The WSJ Unloads on “Fake President”

 

QOTD: The WSJ Unloads on “Fake President”

Courtesy of 

If President Trump announces that North Korea launched a missile that landed within 100 miles of Hawaii, would most Americans believe him? Would the rest of the world? We’re not sure, which speaks to the damage that Mr. Trump is doing to his Presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.

A President’s Credibility (The Wall Street Journal)

Did Rupert Murdoch order the code red? This is tough stuff from the right-leaning editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. And it’s important that it be said by someone on the right, quite frankly. Nothing penetrates the mental force field between the two ends of the spectrum these days.

Bottom line: You can be the President of the United States or you can tweet bullshit from Fox & Friends or Alex Jones.

But you can’t do both.





OPEC Out Of Moves As Goldman Sachs Expects Another Oil Glut In 2018

 

OPEC Out Of Moves As Goldman Sachs Expects Another Oil Glut In 2018

By Nick Cunningham, OilPrice.com

Oil prices are heading down again on swelling U.S. crude oil inventories, with Brent dropping below $50 per barrel for the first time this year.

The OPEC deal that has taken more than 1 million barrels per day of oil off the market has not succeeded in reversing this bearish trend for inventories. And with the deal at its midway point, focus is shifting towards an extension of the cuts through the end of the year.

But OPEC’s usual strategy of jawboning the market back up ahead of these negotiations seems to be wearing thin amid record high crude oil inventories. "OPEC has used up most of its arsenal of verbal weapons to support the market. One hundred percent compliance by all is the only tool they have left and on that account they are struggling," said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.

"OPEC's market intervention has not yet resulted in significant visible inventory drawdowns, and the financial markets have lost patience," investment bank Jefferies said in a research note.

Although projections from Wall Street banks tend to vary quite a bit, there is a growing chorus warning about another slide in crude prices. At this point, the big variable is whether or not OPEC decides to extend the deal when it meets in May – an extension would likely stabilize prices and might even push them back up into the mid-$50s or higher. No extension and oil could fall much further into the $40s.Related: The Oil Market Is At A Major Turning Point

Looking out a bit further, things get much more complicated. Even if the supply/demand imbalance is taking a long time to correct itself, rising demand and tepid supply growth suggest that the glut will ease over time. At least that is the general consensus.

However, Goldman Sachs warns that another downturn could come over the next three years, sparked by a new wave of supply stemming from megaprojects planned years ago. These projects cost billions of dollars and take many years to bring online, and many of them were initiated back when oil prices…
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Why Big Insurance Adores the American Health Care Act

 

Why Big Insurance Adores the American Health Care Act

Courtesy of 

This post first appeared on BillMoyers.com.

There's been a lot of talk about just who was hurt and helped by Obamacare and who will profit or be imperiled by the next phase of health care legislation. Yet health insurance executives have been curiously silent about the House GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. While the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association, among many others, have come out against it, insurers have clearly made a strategic decision not to show their hand.

But know this: They love it. Their fingerprints are all over what the Republicans are calling the American Health Care Act. Arguably the only thing they don’t like about House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Ayn Randish creation is the way the plan would slash funding for the Medicaid program. That’s not because insurance executives are more compassionate for the poor than they’ve been in the past; it’s because a growing percentage of their profits now comes from Medicaid. In fact, more than half of the big insurers’ revenues is now coming from the government, not the private sector. And they’re fine with that.

Make no mistake, health insurance lobbyists also helped shape the Affordable Care Act. Most notably, they were able to get a provision stripped from the bill that would have created a government-run insurance plan (the “public option”) to compete with private insurers. But they didn’t get everything they wanted.

It gets rid of those pesky new rules on consumer protection

Over insurers’ objections, the ACA was enacted with important consumer protections. Thanks to the ACA, insurers can no longer charge older people more than three times as much as younger people for the same policy, and they can’t allocate more than 20 percent of what we pay in premiums to profits and administrative activities like sales and marketing. It’s also now illegal for insurers to deny people coverage because of a pre-existing condition. And policies sold now must cover several “essential benefits,” a provision that outlawed junk insurance.

Now that the insurance executives have…
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News You Can Use From Phil’s Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

U.K. Retail Sales Rebound in February Amid Gloomy Quarter (Bloomberg)

U.K. retail sales rose more strongly than expected in February but the outlook for the British consumer remains weak.

European Stocks Hold Steady as Gain by Miners Offsets Food, Tech (Bloomberg)

European stocks were little changed, with advances in mining companies countering declines in food and beverage producers.

Next Shares Rise as Retailer Holds Forecasts Amid Tough Market (Bloomberg)

Next Plc held its profit forecast and said it can mitigate a tough U.K. clothing market by improving ranges and switching suppliers, reassuring investors worried about the retailer’s price pressures and product challenges.

10 things you need to know before the opening bell (Business Insider)

Here is what you need to know.

The House is set to vote on Trumpcare. President Donald Trump and House Republican leaders are making a last-minute push to secure the votes needed to move the GOP's bid to overhaul the US healthcare system onto the Senate; 218 votes will be needed for the bill pass.

Pound Climbs to One-Month High as U.K. Retail Sales Rebound (Bloomberg)

Sterling gained versus all of its 16 major peers, while government bonds fell as sales rose 1.4 percent after sliding a revised 0.5 percent in January, the Office for National Statistics said Thursday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists was for an increase of 0.4 percent.

Bonds in India Rally Third Day as Foreign Banks Boost Purchases (Bloomberg)

Indian sovereign bonds climbed for a third day as foreign funds boosted holdings amid expectations of more economic reforms after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party won elections in a key state.

UK retail sales shook off Brexit fears to have a great month in February — but there are worrying signs for the future (Business Insider UK)

UK retail sales had a huge month in February, confounding the forecasts of economists who had predicted stuttering growth in the month, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.

The pound took off
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Thoughtless Thursday – TrumpDon’tCare Health Plan Gets a Vote

Image result for trump health careBig vote tonight.

If the TrumpDon'tCare Plan is approved (the CBO says it can no longer be called a health plan since the overall goal is to kill as many people as possible), then Trump's agenda is winning and the markets could leg higher.  If, on the other hand, the GOP revolts against The Donald, all Hell could break loose so ignore the politics if you want to but we're paying very close attention! 

Interestingly, the main GOP objection to TrumpDon'tCare is that it still cared about forcing Health Insurance Companies to provide minimum benefits to their customers.  That has now been removed by the White House and now the Insurance Companies don't have to do anything for anyone at any time – isn't that great?  As noted by Politico, however:

While altering the coverage requirements could help win over the Freedom Caucus members, it could drive away moderates — another coalition that House leaders need to build upon in the final 24 hours before the planned vote on Thursday. House leaders are still short of the 215 votes they need.

Image result for trump health care cartoonIt's going to be hard to bridge the gap because the bill still is not Draconian enough for the "Freedom Caucus":

Freedom Caucus members, led by Meadows, want at least some parts of Title One of the bill removed. Included in Title One are many of the Affordable Care Act's benefits, like a prohibition on insurers denying coverage over pre-existing conditions and a prohibition on lifetime and annual limits.

That's right, your pre-existing conditions can now stop you from getting coverage and, even if you are covered, there can be a cap – so don't get too sick or you'll be on your own!  Aside from leading to a great unwinding in the Health Care, Pharma and Biotech sectors, TrumpDon'tCare will put a huge burden on the bottom 99% and eat into their disposable income
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Zero Hedge

Mark Cudmore: "The Marginal U.S. Stock Trader Will Be Selling Rather Than Buying This Week"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

By Mark Cudmore, a former FX trader who writes for Bloomberg

U.S. Equities Face a Tough Week as the Love Has Gone

It’s going to be a long, tough week for U.S. equities.

While there’s no need to overreact to the Trump administration’s very public failure to reform health care, the evidence suggests that the marginal U.S. stock trader will be selling rather than buying this week.

Even if this wasn’t the key economic policy that equity investors were betting on, the failure is negative in two ways: his percei...



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ValueWalk

Six Graphs that Reveal Big Problems for Student and Auto Loans

By Mises. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Student and auto loan debt via Mises

The New York Fed’s most recent household debt report showed ballooning debt and delinquency in student and auto loans. Total household debt has just about reached its previous late-2008 high of over $12.5 trillion.

You’ll notice that housing debt (blue) has not increased much since its 2013 low, meaning that the increases in total debt have mostly come from non-housing debt (red). A closer look at the composition of non-housing debt reveals that the biggest increases in debt have come from student and auto loans (red and green, below).

In fact, the numbers make it look like the housing bubble was almost exactly replaced by new bubbles in education and cars....



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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Mar 26, 2017

Courtesy of Blain.

Tuesday’s long overdue >1% selloff in the S&P 500 broke a very long and rare streak in the S&P 500.   The S&P 500?s streak without a 1% down day was the longest since May 18, 1995!  A marginal close lower Monday was followed by a 1.2% drop Tuesday (the NASDAQ fell 1.8% that day).

“I think that investors are kind of starting to discount the likelihood of the immediacy of [President Donald Trump’s] policies and the enthusiasm has come off the boil as a lot of his policies got mired in the legislative process,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank. “Investors are not throwing in the towel but they are resetting their expectations.”

According to Bespoke, there have been only 11 instances since 1928 where the S&P 500...



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Phil's Favorites

EU Ponders Opening Its Brexit Strategy Book, Asks UK to Do the Same

Courtesy of Mish.

Here’s a negotiating strategy I am quite certain Donald Trump would never consider: EU looks at revealing negotiating positions for Brexit.

Brussels is considering publishing its main negotiating positions in Brexit talks, adopting a policy of full transparency that may wrongfoot the more secretive British side.

“The unity of the 27 will be stronger when based on full transparency and public debate,” Mr. Barnier said in a comment piece for the Financial Times. “We have nothing to hide.”

Theresa May, Britain’s prime minister, has, by contrast, said it is vital to “maintain discipline” and avoid disclosures tha...



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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

Treasury Bears on Reflation Train Face Peaking Price Pressures (Bloomberg)

Investors need to contend with the waning impact of energy base effects on inflation and a terminal rate that lacks momentum before they can aspire to push interest rates higher.

One of Wall Street's most steadfast bulls is worried about stocks (Business Insider)

In a note sent to clients on Friday, Lee said several factors that had supported his views on the market, including attractive valuations and central-bank support, had turned neutral or possibly ne...



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Members' Corner

More Natterings

Courtesy of The Nattering Naybob

[Click on the titles for the full articles.]

A Quick $20 Trick?

Summary

Discussion, critique and analysis of the potential impacts on equity, bond, commodity, capital and asset markets regarding the following:

  • Last time out, Sinbad The Sailor, QuickLogic.
  • GlobalFoundries, Jha, Smartron and cricket.
  • Quick money, fungible, demographics, QUIK focus.

Last Time Out

Monetary policy is just one form of policy that effects capital,...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Fund flows of this size could mark a top, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

A year ago flows into ETFs were extremely low, actually the lowest in years, as many stock market indices were testing rising support off the 2009 lows. The crowd wasn’t adding money to ETFs as lows were taking place. In hindsight, this was a mistake by the majority. Below I look at ETF flows over the past few years with an inset chart of the S&P 500.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

Nearly three months into this year, fund flows have surpassed mone...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of March 20th, 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 ...



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Tumbles Below Gold As China Tightens Regulations

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Having rebounded rapidly from the ETF-decision disappointment, Bitcoin suffered another major setback overnight as Chinese regulators are circulating new guidelines that, if enacted, would require exchanges to verify the identity of clients and adhere to banking regulations.

A New York startup called Chainalysis estimated that roughly $2 billion of bitcoin moved out of China in 2016.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, the move to regulate bitcoin exchanges brings assurance that Chinese authorities will tolerate some level of trading, after months of uncertainty. A draft of the guidelines also indicates th...



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Mapping The Market

Congress begins rolling back Obama's broadband privacy rules

Courtesy of Jean Luc

I am trying to remember who on this board said that people wanted to Trump because they want their freedom back. Well….

Congress begins rolling back Obama's broadband privacy rules

By Daniel Cooper, Endgadget

ISPs will soon be able to sell your most private data without your consent.

As expected, Republicans in Congress have begun the process of rolling back the FCC's broadband privacy rules which prevent excessive surveillance. Arizona Republican Jeff Flake introduced a resolution to scrub the rules, using Congress' powers to invalidate recently-approved federal regulations. Reuters reports that the move has broad support, with 34 other names throwing their weight behind the res...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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Biotech

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 insidercow.com.

Chart below from Yahoo.com

...

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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...

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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...

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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.

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