Posts Tagged ‘Advertising’

Only $4.2 Billion To Buy This Election?

Only $4.2 Billion To Buy This Election?

Courtesy of Robert Reich

This, from the Washington Post’s conservative pundit George Will:

Total spending by parties, campaigns and issue-advocacy groups concerning every office from county clerks to U.S. senators may reach a record $4.2 billion in this two-year cycle. That is about what Americans spend in one year on yogurt, but less than they spend on candy in two Halloween seasons. Proctor & Gamble spent $8.6 billion on advertising in its last fiscal year.

Those who are determined to reduce the quantity of political speech to what they consider the proper amount are the sort of people who know exactly how much water should come through our shower heads — no more than 2.5 gallons per minute, as stipulated by a 1992 law. Is it, however, worrisome that Americans spend on political advocacy — determining who should make and administer the laws — much less than they spend on potato chips, $7.1 billion a year?

In a word, Mr. Will, yes.

The number of dollars spent isn’t the issue; it’s the lopsidedness of where the dollars come from. Even if the total were only $1000, democracy would be endangered if $980 came from large corporations and wealthy individuals. The trend is clear and worrisome: The great bulk of campaign money is coming from a narrower and narrower circle of moneyed interests.

Anyone who doubts the corrupting effect has not been paying attention. Our elected representatives have been acutely sensitive to the needs of Wall Street bankers, hedge-fund managers, and the executives of big pharma, big oil, and the largest health insurance companies. This is not because these individuals and interests are particularly worthy or specially deserving. It is because they are effectively bribing elected officials with their donations. Such donations are not made out of charitable impulse. They are calculated investments no less carefully considered than investments in particular shares of stock. They are shares in our democracy.

Why $4.2 billion and not ten times that amount? Because the high-rolling political investors don’t need to spend a dollar more in order to exert overwhelming influence.

This figure, by the way, leaves out the tens of billions of dollars dedicated to lobbying, lawyering, and public relations — all of which deliver specific legislative outcomes the campaign money fuels. The economy of Washington, D.C. depends on this gigantic flow of funds (supporting…
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Welcome To The Banana Republic: GM In Hot Water With FTC Over Misleading “Repaid Bailout” Ad When All Just TARP Shuffle

See also the post two posts ago "How is that Bailout Coming Along?" with articles by Mish and Op-Toons Review.

Welcome To The Banana Republic: GM In Hot Water With FTC Over Misleading "Repaid Bailout" Ad When All Just TARP Shuffle

automaker bailout posterCourtesy of Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge 

We are too busy maxing out our credit cards buying AAPL shares after hours into the parabolic blow out (using Sigma X of course, how else could we subpenny front run our own orders?), stacks of Kindles, 7th vacation homes with negative equity, and LBOing zero EBITDA companies to comment on this, suffice to say that if you ever needed confirmation that America is a banana republic in which fraud, corruption and lies are now the norm, here you go: Government Motors is now blatantly lying to its existing and future buyers, and everyone in the administration is complicit.

From Fox News:

General Motors is running ads on all the major networks this week claiming it has repaid its bailout from the taxpayers "in full." But the claim isn’t standing up to scrutiny from lawmakers and government watchdogs who have found that the automaker was able to repay the bailout money only by dipping into a separate pot of bailout funds.

Uhm, what’s wrong with that? That’s precisely the reason why the market is now on for an 8th straight up week. In order to make the rich infinitely rich (before there is revolution, hyperinflation or dollar devaluation), the Obama people must resort to anything and everything.

General Motors is running ads on all the major networks this week claiming it has repaid its bailout from the taxpayers "in full." But the claim isn’t standing up to scrutiny from lawmakers and government watchdogs who have found that the automaker was able to repay the bailout money only by dipping into a separate pot of bailout funds.

The TV spot may land GM in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission over its truth-in-advertising laws, which prohibit ads that are "likely to mislead consumers."

"We have repaid our government loans in full — with interest — five years ahead of the original schedule," says Ed Whitacre, chairman and CEO of General Motors Company, asking Americans to give the bankrupt company another look.

But a top Senate Republican has accused GM


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The Best Gift For Paranoid Times: The Back-Up Bedside Shotgun Rack

Vince Veneziani at Clusterstock presents a last minute Christmas item, for folks that have everything, and want to protect it. – Ilene

The Best Gift For Paranoid Times: The Back-Up Bedside Shotgun Rack

Bitterwallet posted video of this infomercial-esque product called The Back-Up. It’s a $40 shotgun rack that slides between your bed’s box spring and mattress – easy access for when you need to blow an intruder’s face apart.

According to The Back-Up’s official website, research shows:

  • If a shotgun is in the corner of a room or under the bed, one must turn their back on a perpetrator to access it
  • The BackUp allows for 2 second accessibility when in need. The Back-Up provides this from a lying position in bed. Just reach 8 inches along the side of the mattress, feel your gun as it is racked parallel to the floor. Simply raise the gun from the rack for use.
  • The second amendment gives the right to Americans to bear arms.

Excellent points! Below, video of the commercial:

 

******* 

Caution:  If you’re taking this drug, featured by The Onion, do not place the shotgun rack by the bed.  Same if you have a volatile partner.


FDA Approves Depressant Drug For The Annoyingly Cheerful

 


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Crazymaker: Journal of American Media and Lifestyle

Fun post for the evening, by Charles Hugh Smith, in case you missed it earlier. – Ilene

Crazymaker: Journal of American Media and Lifestyle

Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds

If you wonder why our society is so schizophrenic--look no further than Crazymaker Journal.

I happened upon a fascinating new online publication: Crazymaker, the Journal of American Media and Lifestyle. I have to say the content set me back on my heels; rarely do I see such an honest portrayal of the carefully mixed messages dished out as "news" and "entertainment".

crazymaker journal

Gregory Bateson addressed how a cognitive "double bind" could create a schizophrenic state of anxiety and dysfunction.

Their findings indicated that the tangles in communication often diagnosed as schizophrenia are not necessarily result of an organic brain dysfunction. Instead, they found that destructive double binds were a frequent pattern of communication among families of patients, and they proposed that growing up amidst perpetual double binds could lead to learned patterns of confusion in thinking and communication.

Human communication is complex; 90% of it is nonverbal (see also Albert Mehrabian) and context is an essential part of it. Communication consists of the words said, tone of voice, and body language. It also includes how these relate to what has been said in the past; what is not said, but is implied; how these are modified by other nonverbal cues, such as the environment in which it is said, and so forth.

For example, if someone says "I love you," one takes into account who is saying it, their tone of voice and body language, and the context in which it is said. It may be a declaration of passion or a serene reaffirmation, insincere and/or manipulative, an implied demand for a response, a joke, its public or private context may affect its meaning, and so forth.

This is an apt description of the craziness created by media/marketing messages every minute of every hour of every day in the USA. Bake a super-rich cake, and oh my, why are you so fat? Now you have to torture yourself with diets which don’t work.

Girls: want to look hot and sexy? if you don’t, you’re a loathesome loser.

Guys: not ripped with bulging muscles? Too bad--you’re a loathesome loser, too. Image and exteriors are everything!

The media profits from selling marketing/adverts. Marketing
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Microsoft-Yahoo Deal A Logistical And Regulatory Nightmare

Microsoft-Yahoo Deal A Logistical And Regulatory Nightmare

Courtesy of Henry Blodget at Clusterstock

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The official details of the Microsoft-Yahoo deal aren’t much different than the leaks we reported last night. 

Here’s our take: 

  • The deal is significantly worse than expected for Yahoo, as the company will get no money upfront. 
  • The deal is positive for Microsoft, but largely because Microsoft was nowhere in search without it.  Saving the upfront payment is also a help.
  • Ironically, the deal will likely be positive for Google, which will now likely benefit from months of purgatory as Microsoft and Yahoo work to clear regulatory scrutiny and then go through the massive challenge of trying to integrate their sales forces and technology.   Google itself will also now be able to argue persuasively that there is a big, viable (if discombobulated) competitor in the market.

Conceptually, the idea of Microsoft and Yahoo combining forces is smart.  Neither alone has enough share of the search market to be a "must buy," and search relevance and pricing improves with scale.  Both companies would likely just continue to lose share ad infinitum without a deal, so they have little to lose by working together.  And Yahoo will gain some cost savings, at least for a while.

That said, we think the structure of the deal could end up being a disaster.

The deal calls for Yahoo to handle sales and Microsoft to handle technology.  This separation of responsibilities is likely to create headache upon headache for both sides.  When a Yahoo client is unhappy with the technology execution, will Yahoo salespeople call Microsoft engineers to complain?  When Microsoft is unhappy with the way Yahoo is selling search, will Microsoft’s engineers call Yahoo to complain?  When the combination misses targets, will investors call Microsoft or Yahoo to complain? (Both?) When Microsoft licenses Bing to Ask or AOL, will Yahoo’s salespeople sell premium search for those companies, too?  What if Ask and AOL are unhappy?  Who will they call to complain?

In our opinion, sales and technology are way too tightly linked in this business to split responsibilities between two huge companies that each have other things to worry about.  We think the execution of the deal will be a nightmare.

yahoo and microsoftSee Also:  First Take On


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Kimble Charting Solutions

Commodities – 20-Year bear market in play?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

This chart looks at the Thompson/Reuters Commodity Index on a monthly basis for the past 50 years

The index took off in the early 1970’s and rallied over 200% in a little over a decade at (1). Then it created a potential double top. What followed at (2)? An unwinding of the rally that lasted nearly 20-years, taking it to the bottom of its rising channel.

In the early 2000’s, the index took off again, gaining over 250% in a decades time at (3) and the rallied looks to have ended in 2011, as it was hitting the top of this long-term rising channel.

Since hitting the top of the channel the index has been pretty soft,...



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ValueWalk

Jeffrey Ubben 2010 Interview: Standing On Principal

By VW Staff. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Jeffrey Ubben: Standing On Principal

Combining a keen eye for value with a tenacity for instigating corporate change has proven to be a winning formula for Jeffrey Ubben's ValueAct Capital.

ValueAct Capital's Jeffrey Ubben describes how he hedges without shorting, why he may take 18 months to build a core investment, why he expects M&A activity to take off in the coming year, why he resists the “macro” fetish, and why he sees unrecognized value in Willis Group, VeriSign, Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) (TSE:VRX) Pharmaceuticals, C.R. Bard and Misys.

In what ways do you distingui...



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Phil's Favorites

Power and Compassion

Courtesy of The Automatic Earth.


Harris&Ewing “Slaves reunion DC. Ages: 100, 104, 103; Rev. Simon P. Drew, born free.” 1921

Time to tackle a topic that’s very hard to get right, and that will get me quite a few pairs of rolling eyes. I want to argue that societies need a social fabric, a social contract, and that without those they must and will fail, descend into chaos. Five months ago, I wrote the following about Europe:

Europe, The Morally Bankrupt Union

The European Union is busy accomplishing something truly extraordinary: it is fast becoming such a spectacular failure that people don’t even recog...



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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

Hedge Funds Boost Bullish Treasury Futures Bets to Two-Year High (Bloomberg)

As oil prices tanked, hedge-fund managers and other large speculators increased bullish bets on Treasury securities to the most in two years, even as the Federal Reserve moves closer to raising interest rates.

Crude Tumbles Near $46 Handle As US Oil Rig Count Rises For 2nd Week (Zero Hedge)

After last week's surge in total rig count, this week saw a modest 2 rig drop to 874 total rigs. However, oil rigs rose...



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Zero Hedge

Paying In A Broken World

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Tom Chatham via Project Chesapeake,

It is a common reaction to ask, how much is that, when we see something we want or need. The question is answered with some monetary figure that people will recognize and use to determine if they can afford it. But what happens when the monetary system we know becomes so dysfunctional that common monetary values mean little.

This could happen due to massive inflation, currency collapse or a frozen banking system that prevents you from accessing your funds. If you have no way to pay for something, it does not matter how much or l...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David 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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Insider Scoop

MagneGas Conducts Demonstrations for Fossil Fuel Division of Major NE Utility

Courtesy of Benzinga.

MagneGas Corporation (NASDAQ: MNGA) this week completed metal cutting demonstrations with over 40 representatives from the Fossil Fuel division of a major northeast Utility. The Company believes the demonstrations were successful as they have received multiple requests for fuel as a result of those meetings.

The Utility is one of the ten largest in the United States with over $35 billion in assets and large volume use of acetylene. Multiple company officials and representatives from the Fossil Fuel Division of the Utility were in attendance. This particular division is the largest user of acetylene and propane at the Company. The test used MagneGas® to cut 2 inch steel plates and resulted in very little pre-heat time with clean cuts. Officials have indicated an int...



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Chart School

Markets Remain Near and Above, Yesterday's Highs

Courtesy of Declan.

Tech indices finished strong after they overcame the opening half hour of selling. The Fed statement was greeted favorably, although market breadth is not looking pretty. The Nasdaq still has a distance to travel to make back all of its losses, but has done well to hold up against Semiconductor weakness.


The Semiconductor Index is struggling to make inroads against past losses as the Nasdaq and Nasdaq 100 push respectable gains. I find it hard to see how this scenario can continue, ...

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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Lackluster earnings reports put eager bulls back into waiting mode

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then offer up some actionable trading ideas, including a sector rotation strategy using ETFs and an enhanced version using top-ranked stocks from the top-ranked sectors.

Corporate earnings reports have been mixed at best, interspersed with the occasional spectacular report -- primarily from mega-caps like Google (GOOGL), Facebook (FB), or Amazon (AMZN). Some of the bul...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio

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

Gold Spikes Back Above $1100, Bitcoin Jumps

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Gold is jumping after the overnight double flash-crash...testing back towards $1100...

Bitcoin is back up to pre-"Greece is Fixed" levels...

Charts: Bloomberg and Bitcoinwisdom

...

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Pharmboy

Baxter's Spinoff

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

Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).

The Baxalta Spinoff

By Ilene with Trevor of Lowenthal Capital Partners and Paul Price

In its recent filing with the SEC, Baxter provides:

“This information statement is being ...



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Mapping The Market

An update on oil proxies

Courtesy of Jean-Luc Saillard

Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself. 

Since...



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Promotions

Watch the Phil Davis Special on Money Talk on BNN TV!

Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene

 

The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below. 

Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets) Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies) Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...

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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at jennifersurovy@yahoo.com with any questions.

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743

Thank you for you time!




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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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