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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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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of November 25th, 2014

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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Zero Hedge

Swiss Gold Initiative: Good Idea with Unintended Consequences

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Gold Standard Institute.

by Keith Weiner

 

There is now a very interesting initiative on the Swiss ballot, which will require the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to hold 20 percent of its reserves in gold. The voters will decide on November 30. I won’t predict the vote, but I want to discuss the likely impact of a yes vote.

Much of the analysis of this initiative is about the price of gold. A typical prediction is that it will go up, as SNB buying will exceed supply. However Mike Shedlock ...



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Phil's Favorites

"Regin" World's Most Advanced Cyber Snoop Hits Russia, 4 Other Countries; Western Intelligence Agency Likely Responsible

Courtesy of Mish.

Telecom companies in Russia and Saudi Arabia have been hit by the world's most sophisticated hacking software to date.

Symantec believes a Western intelligence agency is responsible.

Please consider World’s Most Advanced Hacking Spyware Let Loose
A cyber snooping operation reminiscent of the Stuxnet worm and billed as the world’s most sophisticated computer malware is targeting Russian and Saudi Arabian telecoms companies.

Cyber security company Symantec said the malware, called “Regin”, is probably run by a western intelligence agency and in some respects is more advanced in engineering terms than Stuxnet, which was developed by US and Israel government hackers in 20...



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Chart School

Overreaching Enthusiasm?

Courtesy of Declan.

Bullish monetary policy rumblings from China and Europe had kick started a bright opening for markets, but the feel good factor gradually wore off as the day lengthened, and in the end, the day felt oddly bearish. The S&P closed with a bearish inverse hammer, which could turn into a bearish shooting star if there is a gap down on Monday. Volume climbed to register technical accumulation, but this could mark significant overhead supply if sellers come back tomorrow. I have widened the Fib levels for the next decline. Note, pending MACD trigger 'sell,' although other technicals are in good shape.


The Nasdaq did alright as it emerged from a secondary handle. The 'b...

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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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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here's the Happy Thanksgiving Edition of Stock World Weekly!

Click on this link and sign in with your PSW user name and password. 

Picture via Pixabay.

...

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Market Shadows

Official Moves in the Market Shadows' Virtual Portfolio

By Ilene 

I officially bought 250 shares of EZCH at $18.76 and sold 300 shares of IGT at $17.09 in Market Shadows' Virtual Portfolio yesterday (Fri. 11-21).

Click here for Thursday's post where I was thinking about buying EZCH. After further reading, I decided to add it to the virtual portfolio and to sell IGT and several other stocks, which we'll be saying goodbye to next week.

Notes

1. th...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Investors make up new rules for their new market paradigm

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

By Scott Martindale

Investors in U.S. equities seem to have embraced a new market paradigm in which upside spikes come more swiftly than the downside selloffs. Remember when it used to be the other way around? When fear was stronger than greed? The market is consolidating its gains off the early-October V-bottom reversal, and no one seems to be in any hurry to unload shares this time around, with the holidays rapidly approaching and all. After all, there are bright blue skies directly overhead giving hope and respite from the early freeze blanketing the country.

In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer...



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Digital Currencies

Ukraine Central Bank Bans Bitcoin "To Protect Citizens" From Financing Terrorism

If you would have supposed that Ukraine had enough problems to make banning bitcoins a backburner issue, you'd have been wrong. The rationale, "to protect consumers' rights" makes little to no sense... The other one, "to keep money in the country" makes more sense. 

Ukraine Central Bank Bans Bitcoin "To Protect Citizens" From Financing Terrorism

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The Hryvnia has collapsed to new record lows near 15/USD this morning. The Central Bank and bankers "agreed to keep UAH at 15-16/USD" but are &qu...



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Option Review

Yamana Gold call options sink

Yamana Gold call options sink

By Andrew Wilkinson at Interactive Brokers

A four-year low for the spot price of gold has had a devastating impact on Yamana Gold (Ticker: AUY), with shares in the name down at the lowest price in six years. Some option traders were especially keen to sell premium and appear to see few signs of a lasting rebound within the next five months. The price of gold suffered again Wednesday as the dollar strengthened and stock prices advanced. The post price of gold fell to $1145 adding further pain to share prices of gold miners. Shares in Yamana Gold tumbled to $3.62 and the lowest price since 2008 as call option sellers used the April expiration contract to write premium at the $5.00 strike. That strike is now 38% above the price of the stock. Premium writers took in around 16-cents per contract o...



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Pharmboy

Biotechs & Bubbles

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

Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely.  From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.

First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices.  Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment.  Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer.  For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...



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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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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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