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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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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!

 
 

Insider Scoop

NQ Mobile Shares Plummet After Announcing Dismissal Of PwC

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related NQ Investors Focus On Earnings Rather Than Geopolitical Tensions NQ Mobile In Possible Short Squeeze; Muddy Waters Sticks To Guns

Shares of NQ Mobile (NYSE: NQ) dropped as much as 24 percent in Friday's pre-market after the company announced that it has dismissed Pricewaterho...



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Phil's Favorites

Holier than Thou: Why Should Anyone Believe the US, Ukraine, or Russia? What is the US Attempting to Hide?

Courtesy of Mish.

I am quite tired of rhetoric from the Obama administration and Kiev regarding the situation in Ukraine. Hardly any of it is believable.

Indeed, some Ukraine propaganda efforts of Kiev are so amateurish they appear as sloppy acts of desperate coverups.

If so, then it is far more likely Ukraine is the guilty party, not the separatists. If you are innocent, you do not choose such tactics.

What is the US and Kiev Attempting to Hide?

Earlier today, Obama Issued a Stern Warning to Russia coupled with a statement "What exactly are they trying to hide?"

That's a good question. But let me turn the tables by asking: "What exactly is the US and Kiev attempting to hide?"

C...



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Zero Hedge

The Ambitious Plan To Break California Into 6 States - A Model For The Future?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

The more I’ve thought about potential solutions to the gigantic mess we have found ourselves in as a species, the more I have come to believe we need to break apart into a vast multitude of city-states. The revolutionary concept of America in the first place was this idea of “self-governance,” something we do not posses an iota of in this day and age. As was noted recently in an ...



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Chart School

Gasoline Price Update: Down Another Four Cents

Courtesy of Doug Short.

It's time again for my weekly gasoline update based on data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Rounded to the penny, Regular and Premium both dropped another four cents, matching last week's decline. Regular is up 40 cents and Premium 39 cents from their interim lows during the second week of last November.

According to GasBuddy.com, three states (Hawaii, Alaska, and California) have Regular above $4.00 per gallon, unchanged from last week, and three states (Oregon, Washington and Connecticut) are averaging above $3.90, unchanged from last week. South Carolina has the cheapest Regular at $3.28.

How far are we from the interim high prices of 2011 and the all-time highs of 2008? Here's a visual answer....



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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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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Bulls remain unfazed by borderline Black Swans

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Despite a highly eventful week in the news, not much has changed from a stock market perspective. No doubt, investors have grown immune to the daily reports of geopolitical turmoil, including Ukraine vs. Russia for control of the eastern regions, Japan’s dispute with China over territorial waters, Sunni vs. Shiite for control of Iraq, Christians being driven out by Islamists, and other religious conflicts in places like Nigeria and Central African Republic. But last Thursday’s news of the Malaysian airliner tragically getting shot down over Ukraine, coupled with Israel’s ground incursion into Gaza, had the makings of a potential Black Swan event, which in my view is the only thing that could derail the relentless bull march higher in stocks.

Nevertheless, when it became clear that the airline...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of July 21st, 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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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 latest Stock World Weekly. Please use your PSW user name and password to log in. (You may take a free trial here.)

#452331232 / gettyimages.com ...

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Option Review

Dunkin' Put Options Change Hands Ahead Of Earnings

Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. (Ticker: DNKN) put options are active on Friday as shares slip on a downgrade to “Neutral” from “Buy” (with a 12-month target price of $45.00) at Janney Montgomery, and perhaps ahead of the company’s second-quarter earnings report next Thursday. Shares in the name are down 1.2% just before midday to stand at $43.36 and off the lows of the session. The stock has dropped nearly 20% since reaching a 52-week high of $53.05 in March.

The most traded contracts on DNKN today are the Aug 40.0 strike put options, with nearly 5,700 contracts in play against open interest of just 452 contracts. Mos...



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Market Shadows

Danger: Falling Prices

Danger: Falling Prices

By Dr. Paul Price of Market Shadows

 

We tried holding up stock prices but couldn’t get the job done. Market Shadows’ Virtual Value Portfolio dipped by 2% during the week but still holds on to a market-beating 8.45% gain YTD. There was no escaping the downdraft after a major Portuguese bank failed. Of all the triggers for a large selloff, I’d guess the Portuguese bank failure was pretty far down most people's list of "things to worry about." 

All three major indices gave up some ground with the Nasdaq composite taking the hardest hi...



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Vs Gold - The Infographic

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

While Marc Faber has said "I will never sell my gold," he also noted "I like the idea of Bitcoin," and the battle between the 'alternative currencies' continues. The following infographic provides a succinct illustration of the similarities and differences between gold and bitcoin.

Please include attribution to www.jmbullion.com with this graphic.

...

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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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Promotions

See Live Demo Of This Google-Like Trade Algorithm

I just wanted to be sure you saw this.  There’s a ‘live’ training webinar this Thursday, March 27th at Noon or 9:00 pm ET.

If GOOGLE, the NSA, and Steve Jobs all got together in a room with the task of building a tremendously accurate trading algorithm… it wouldn’t just be any ordinary system… it’d be the greatest trading algorithm in the world.

Well, I hate to break it to you though… they never got around to building it, but my friends at Market Tamer did.

Follow this link to register for their training webinar where they’ll demonstrate the tested and proven Algorithm powered by the same technological principles that have made GOOGLE the #1 search engine on the planet!

And get this…had you done nothing b...



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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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