Archive for the ‘Members’ Corner’ Category

NY Times: OPERATION INFEKTION

 

This is a three-part Opinion Video Series from NY Times about Russia’s meddling in the United States’ elections as part of its "decades-long campaign to tear the West apart." This is not fake news. Read more about the series here.

OPERATION INFEKTION

RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION: FROM COLD WAR TO KANYE

By Adam B. Ellick and Adam Westbrook

EPISODE 1

MEET THE KGB SPIES WHO INVENTED FAKE NEWS





Factory of lies: Russia’s disinformation playbook exposed

 

Factory of lies: Russia's disinformation playbook exposed

By Ben Popken, NBC News

Americans who want to be ready for the next Russian attack can just read an old newspaper.

During the Cold War, hundreds of bogus headlines around the world appeared: The U.S. invented AIDS. Wealthy Americans were adopting children to harvest their organs. If these sound like the kind of conspiracies pushed by Russian trolls during the 2016 election, there’s a good reason: They were once promulgated by Russian or Soviet agents.

Russia has a century-old playbook for “disinformation,” historians and former intelligence officers say, recycling tactics and narratives, and giving clues to detect their next information-warfare attack on our elections.

“I believe in Russia they do have their own manual that essentially prescribes what to do,” said Clint Watts, a research fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a former FBI agent.

“The main difference is the technology available to them,” said Todd Leventhal, a retired senior counter-disinformation officer at the State Department. “The methodology is the same.” 

Read the full article here.

NBC News Signal presents factory of lies: Democracy under attack

 





Why obvious lies still make good propaganda

 

This is very good; it's about "firehosing", a type of propaganda, and how it works.

Why obvious lies still make good propaganda

A 2016 report described Russian propaganda as:
• high in volume
• rapid, continuous and repetitive
• having no commitment to objective reality
• lacking consistency





Nike, Colin Kaepernick and the pitfalls of ‘woke’ corporate branding

 

Adding this article to Members Corner, in case anyone wants to share their opinions on Nike and Kaep, or on divisiveness in general. Also see "A Warning From Europe: The Worst Is Yet to Come" and "What’s behind the current wave of ‘corporate activism’?" ~ Ilene

Nike, Colin Kaepernick and the pitfalls of 'woke' corporate branding

Courtesy of Simon Chadwick, University of Salford and Sarah Zipp, University of Stirling

Nike reignited a culture war recently by revealing Colin Kaepernick as their spokesperson for the 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign. The sportswear brand’s announcement came via a new advert in which young African Americans, Muslim women, physically impaired athletes and white skateboarders all encourage the viewer to follow their dreams, no matter how crazy.

Nike is clearly taking advantage of hot-button social issues to promote their brand, but commercialising human rights is tricky territory. Can a global brand like Nike really support a cause without coopting it? And is the company prepared to face scrutiny over its own ethical record?

Colin Kaepernick, a former National Football League (NFL) star, knelt during the pre-game national anthem in August 2016, in silent protest at police brutality and in the wake of several high-profile police shootings of unarmed African American men.

Nike’s new campaign ad in Times Square, New York. Alba Vigaray/EPA

Dozens of fellow NFL players, of all backgrounds and heritages, followed suit and the protest soon included players from every team in the league. The backlash was swift and severe, with conservative pundits, veterans and president Donald Trump decrying the protests as disrespectful to the American flag and military.

The latest salvo in the debate was launched by Kaepernick’s narration of the advert, prompting a social media hashtag urging people to “#BurnYourNikes”. Some observers in the US seemed to think that Nike had gone too far, while the company’s share price and brand approval ratings fell, at least, in the short-term.

Nike’s skeletons in the closet

Kaepernick’s role as a Nike brand ambassador may seem like political theatre, intended to antagonise Donald Trump and his supporters. However, the reality is much more…
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There Are 3 Main Theories That Explain Trump’s Approach to Putin and Russia-Which One Makes the Most Sense?

What do you think?

Thom Hartmann suggests that the "Manchurian Candidate theory" is the least likely explanation for Trump's pro-Russia behavior in "There Are 3 Main Theories That Explain Trump’s Approach to Putin and Russia—Which One Makes the Most Sense?" (below).  disagrees and suggests that Putin probably has "the goods" on Trump in "Trump’s Plot Against America". (To be fair, Hartmann acknowledges that his three theories are not mutually exclusive.) Jonathan Chait argues that Trump has been a Russian asset for over three decades in "Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?". Taking a different view from Chait, , in "A Theory of Trump Kompromat", argues that the most likely explanation for Trump's servility towards Putin is that Trump is beholden to Putin due to years of shady financial dealings with Russian actors. ~ Ilene

There Are 3 Main Theories That Explain Trump’s Approach to Putin and Russia—Which One Makes the Most Sense?

Time for Occam’s Razor

By Thom Hartmann, Common Dreams

"If Mueller exposes financial fragility on Trump’s part, it may tip the first domino that then causes the entire Trump empire to collapse." (Photos by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images; Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

"If Mueller exposes financial fragility on Trump’s part, it may tip the first domino that then causes the entire Trump empire to collapse." (Photos by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images; Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

There are three general theories to explain Trump’s behavior toward Russia (and other hard-right broadly autocratic regimes), and for unknown reasons the two most likely ones are almost entirely absent from our electronic media. The three theories, in ascending order of likelihood, are:

  • The Manchurian Candidate: He’s being blackmailed or has been a Russian asset for years.
  • The Wannabe Dictator: He believes that countries should be run like companies—essentially autocracies.
  • The Deadbeat: He’s not only not rich, but he’s badly in debt, and Russian billionaires are among his main creditors.

The Manchurian Candidate theory was largely the one Democrats implied during the election, and most have implicitly embraced since then, along with many commentators on MSNBC and CNN. It’s the least likely, although if it’s true Robert Mueller will probably be letting us all know soon. But there’s little in Trump’s past that would suggest


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Cambridge Analytica and the 2016 Election: What you need to know (updated)

 

"If you want to fundamentally reshape society, you first have to break it." ~ Christopher Wylie

[Interview: Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: 'We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles' – video]

"You’ve probably heard by now that Cambridge Analytica, which is backed by the borderline-psychotic Mercer family and was formerly chaired by Steve Bannon, had a decisive role in manipulating voters on a one-by-one basis – using their own personal data to push them toward voting for Donald Trump in the last election. They did this with a backdoor data-gathering operation that had been quietly shut down after it had harvested the information from up to 50 million people. Cambridge weaponized this information by turning out highly personalized newsfeed content aimed directly at households in critical voting districts." ~ Joshua Brown

Key players in the latest war on democracy include Cambridge Analytica (CA) (the voter-profiling firm used by Trump's campaign in the 2016 election); SCL Group (British political and defense contractor that owns Cambridge Analytica); Robert Mercer (US hedge-fund billionaire, Republican donor, major investor in CA); Rebekah Mercer (Mercer’s daughter, board member of CA); Stephen Bannon (former executive chairman of Breitbart News, former head of CA, former Trump campaign and White House adviser); the Trump campaign; Facebook ("launchpad for an extraordinary attack on the democratic process"); Christopher Wylie (CA whistleblower); Alexander Nix (CA's CEO who set up the company with an investment from Mercer); Aleksandr Kogan (researcher who set up Global Science Research to carry out CA’s research, beneficiary of Russian government grants); Thisisyourdigitallife (app built by Aleksandr Kogan to collect data from Facebook); and Lukoil (Russian oil giant which alledged interacted with CA employees).

How Trump Consultants Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions (NY Times)

LONDON — As the upstart voter-profiling company Cambridge Analytica prepared to wade into the 2014 American midterm elections, it had a problem.

The firm had secured a $15 million investment from Robert Mercer, the wealthy Republican donor, and wooed his political adviser, Stephen K. Bannon, with the promise of tools that could identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior.


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Fatal Flaws of our Enlightenment?

 

David Brin is an astrophysicist, technology consultant, and best-selling author who speaks, writes, and advises on many topics including national defense, creativity, and space exploration. He’s also one of the “World’s Best Futurists.” Find David’s books and latest thoughts on various matters at his website and blog. In Fatal Flaws in our Enlightenment, David further discusses subjects he covered in our interview in October.

 

Fatal Flaws of our Enlightenment?

Courtesy of David BrinContrary Brin

I post this heading out the door to speak tonight at the California Democratic Party Convention, in San Diego. And yes, they even invite registered Republicans, when they have important ideas to share. Or at least vital questions. For example….

Is our Great Experiment in danger of coming to an end? Certainly, the world seems filled with forces pushing for Government of the people, by the people, for the people to perish from the Earth.

Ezra Klein summarizes the book: “How Democracies Die,” by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. Klein’s appraisal is cogent and very important reading in its own right. I urge you to find time for it, even if (like me) you lack time for the source material. As you might guess, I agree that Donald Trump is “not the disease” but a symptom, top-to-bottom. Here’s an excerpt:

‘“2017 was the best year for conservatives in the 30 years that I’ve been here,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week. “The best year on all fronts. And a lot of people were shocked because we didn’t know what we were getting with Donald Trump.”

"‘The best year on all fronts.' Think about that for a moment. If you want to know why congressional Republicans are opening an assault on the FBI in order to protect Trump, it can be found in that comment. This was a year in which Trump undermined the press, fired the director of the FBI, cozied up to Russia, baselessly alleged he was wiretapped, threatened to jail his political opponents, publicly humiliated his attorney general for recusing himself from an investigation, repeatedly claimed massive voter fraud against him, appointed a raft of unqualified and occasionally ridiculous


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An Interview with David Brin

 

An Interview with David Brin

Our guest David Brin is an astrophysicist, technology consultant, and best-selling author who speaks, writes, and advises on a range of topics including national defense, creativity, and space exploration. He is also a well-known and influential futurist (one of four “World's Best Futurists,” according to The Urban Developer). Here, David shares his ideas about the future, specifically the future of civilization. ~ Ilene 

 

Ilene: David, you base many of your predictions of the future on a theory of historical conflict between two models of civilization -– the diamond and the pyramid. Can we start with a brief explanation of these?

David: In somewhere like 99% of human cultures, the stable attractor state was feudalism or some variant, a pyramidal society with owner lords controlling ignorant masses. This structure was a huge success for the topmost males, who got harems, reinforcing the system… but it was lousy at governance because it inherently suppresses criticism and ferment and creativity from below. Whenever human males get a lot of power, we feel within us a temptation to consolidate that power and re-create that pyramid.

The Enlightenment diamond-shaped society, with a huge, prosperous, socially-mobile, empowered middle class, is by far the most productive and creative system the world has ever seen. In 200 years, we accomplished more than all other societies combined, and not just in physical endeavors. Also in attacking age-old assumptions about race, gender and environmental blindness. Adam Smith showed us how to use competition open and fair to create fecund arenas markets, democracy, science, etc. that in turn spawn cornucopia.

But the diamond is unstable. The very same wealth that we use to attract creative people to take risks and foster new goods, services, etc. starts to build a new caste of owner-oligarchs, whom Adam Smith knew to be the inherent enemies of the very system that engendered them! Marx was also aware of this basic "contradiction of capitalism." Capitalism's winners are tempted to become cheaters, using wealth to suppress new competition. And cheating kills capitalism, perverting it and giving it a bad name.   

Ilene: Lately, it seems like there are a lot of winners who are also cheaters… are we going backwards?


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Day of Last Dances

News today has been relentlessly terrible. A horrific mass murder happened last night in Las Vegas. (Our politician's abject failure to address gun control is beyond sickening.) And today, reports that Tom Petty died of a heart attack, followed by reports that Tom Petty is not dead, and now reports confirming that Tom Petty has passed away. 

Tom Petty, Staple of Rock Radio With the Heartbreakers, Dies at 66

Tom Petty, a songwriter who melded California rock with a deep, stubborn Southern heritage, died on Monday after suffering cardiac arrest. He was 66 and had lived in Los Angeles.

Tony Dimitriades, Mr. Petty’s longtime manager, confirmed the death.

Recording with the Heartbreakers, the band he formed in the mid-1970s, and on his own, Mr. Petty wrote pithy, hardheaded songs that gave a contemporary clarity to 1960s roots. His voice was grainy and unpretty, with a Florida drawl that he proudly displayed.

Mr. Petty’s songs were staples of FM rock radio through decades, and with hits like “Refugee,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” “Free Fallin’” and “Into the Great Wide Open,” Mr. Petty sold millions of albums and headlined arenas and festivals well into 2017. He played the Super Bowl halftime show in 2008 and entered the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. But his songs stayed down-to-earth, with sturdy guitar riffs carrying lyrics that spoke for underdogs and ornery outcasts. In his 1989 hit, “I Won’t Back Down,” he sang, “You can stand me up at the gates of hell / But I won’t back down.” More > 

Earlier today, confusion,

CBS Erroneously Reports Tom Petty’s Death, Setting Off an Outpouring

The news ricocheted around the web immediately: CBS News was reporting that Tom Petty was dead.

It kicked off widespread reaction and remembrances on Monday, with star singers like John Mayer, Shania Twain and Jon Bon Jovi all paying tribute to Mr. Petty on Twitter.

It soon emerged, however, that the news was premature.

When CBS reported Mr. Petty’s death on Twitter, preceded by a capitalized banner “JUST IN,” the network attributed the news to the Los Angeles Police Department. In an article published online, there was no mention of the L.A.P.D., merely the phrase “CBS News has confirmed.” (CBS later deleted the tweet.)  More >

We'll miss you, Tom Petty.





“Citron Exposes Ubiquiti Networks” But TNN Says “Not So Fast”

What do you think? (There's a comment section below smiley)

"CITRON EXPOSES UBIQUITI NETWORKS" 

Does Ubiquiti Networks (NASDAQ:UBNT) actually have real products that sell to consumers? Of course! So did Valeant and WorldCom, but that does not stop its financials from having every indication of being completely fraudulent.

Citron will detail a series of alarming red flags and detail how Ubiquiti Networks is deceiving the investing public.

Read the full report here.

******

Rebutal by The Nattering Naybob, Seeking Alpha: 

Left And Citron: The Boy Who Cried Wolf?

Excerpt:

Citron Shorts Again?

The latest target for infamous "activist" short seller Andrew Left and Citron Research is Ubiquiti (UBNT). After placing their short bets, the strategy involves launching torpedoes with intent to sink the stock, by publishing accusations of fraud or abuse. There is nothing illegal in these activities, as long as what Left and Citron publish is not fraudulent.

Before analyzing Citron's allegations of fraud, we will first exert some quick and dirty due diligence. An examination of Ubiquiti's debt service and short term liquidity situation should reveal whether they are in immediate danger.

Debt Service?

Below, UBNT debt to equity ratio is 43%, only a concern if earnings to interest payments ratios are not acceptable.

Courtesy SimplyWallSt

From Q4 2017 financials: income from operations 290M/4.8M = net interest expense = 60X, which is quite safe from a debt servicing standpoint.

Liquidity?

Below, near term liquidity measured as short term liabilities vs assets.

Courtesy SimplyWallSt

From the financials: Cash 604M; Current Liabilities 96M; Long Term Debt: 242M; Retained Earnings: 601M.

It appears that should adverse conditions arise, UBNT can readily meet expenses and debt (short and long term) with liquid assets.

Scratching the surface with the quick and dirty analysis above, with regard to debt service and liquidity, or can you pay the bills and debt, even if the note is called, there doesn't seem to be much to worry about here.

Taking It In The Shorts?

In the markets, some investors make it or take it, in the longs and or shorts. Below, Citron contends that the existing UBNT customer base does not "constitute a core competitive advantage". We address this further below.

Full article here >





 
 
 

Phil's Favorites

Theresa May's deal is almost exactly the Brexit the UK voted for

 

Theresa May’s deal is almost exactly the Brexit the UK voted for

Courtesy of Craig Berry, Manchester Metropolitan University

Forgive me, I may have missed something. There has of course been a lot to take in over the last few days. But, despite what the latest former Brexit secretary believes, it seems to me that the Brexit withdrawal agreement delivers almost exactly what the UK voted for in June 2016.

The reasons 17.4m people voted to leave the EU were mu...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

King Dollar Creating A Topping Pattern This Week?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

King Dollar has spent the majority of the past 7-years inside of rising channel (1), as it’s created a series of higher lows and higher highs.

The 2018 rally has it kissing the underside of potential resistance this week at (2), where it could be creating a bearish reversal pattern. This one week action has NOT changed the upward trend in King Dollar.

If it breaks rising support at (3), odds favor that some selling pressure takes place in the US$, which metals would lov...



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Zero Hedge

IMF Sounds The Alarm On Leveraged Lending

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Five months after the IMF sounded the alarm over junk bonds, it has now moved on to the credit market bogeyman du jour and overnight joined others such as the Fed, BIS, Oaktree, JPMorgan, and Guggenheim in "sounding the alarm on leveraged loans."

By Tobias Adrian, ...



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Insider Scoop

Analysts Cautious On Williams-Sonoma After Q3 Print

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related WSM 48 Stocks Moving In Friday's Mid-Day Session 28 Stocks Moving In Friday's Pre-Market Session ...

http://www.insidercow.com/ more from Insider

Members' Corner

NY Times: OPERATION INFEKTION

 

This is a three-part Opinion Video Series from NY Times about Russia’s meddling in the United States’ elections as part of its "decades-long campaign to tear the West apart." This is not fake news. Read more about the series here.

OPERATION INFEKTION

RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION: FROM COLD WAR TO KANYE

By Adam B. Ellick and Adam Westbrook

EPISODE 1

MEE...



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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Nov 11, 2018

Courtesy of Blain.

This past week was saw another positive move up by bulls – especially in the Dow and S&P 500; the NASDAQ was not quite as enthusiastic.   Wednesday’s rally was on the legs of an election that was seen as market friendly or at least not as bad as it could have been.   Essentially – paying people a lot of money to get nothing done the next 2 years – woo hoo!

The market is interpreting Wedneday’s result as insuring that “no big things will get done,” in Washington between now and 2020, Craig Birk, chief investment officer at Personal Capital told MarketWatch. “The market appreciates the relative certainty of the slow legislative agenda.” he said.

“As President Trump plans his 2020 reelection campaign, a gridlocked Congress is unlik...



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin's high energy consumption is a concern - but it may be a price worth paying

 

Bitcoin's high energy consumption is a concern – but it may be a price worth paying

Shutterstock

Courtesy of Steven Huckle, University of Sussex

Bitcoin recently turned ten years old. In that time, it has proved revolutionary because it ignores the need for modern money’s institutions to verify payments. Instead, Bitcoin relies on cryptographic techniques to prove identity and authenticity.

However, the price to pay for all of this innovation is a high carbon footprint, created by Bitc...



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ValueWalk

Vilas Fund Up 55% In Q3; 3Q18 Letter: A Bull Market In Bearish Forecasts

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The Vilas Fund, LP letter for the third quarter ended September 30, 2018; titled, “A Bull Market in Bearish Forecasts.”

Ever since the financial crisis, there has been a huge fascination with predictions of the next “big crash” right around the next corner. Whether it is Greece, Italy, Chinese debt, the “overvalued” stock market, the Shiller Ratio, Puerto Rico, underfunded pensions in Illinois and New Jersey, the Fed (both for QE a few years ago and now for removing QE), rising interest rates, Federal budget deficits, peaking profit margins, etc...



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Biotech

Gene-editing technique CRISPR identifies dangerous breast cancer mutations

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

 

Gene-editing technique CRISPR identifies dangerous breast cancer mutations

Breast cancer type 1 (BRCA1) is a human tumor suppressor gene, found in all humans. Its protein, also called by the synonym BRCA1, is responsible for repairing DNA. ibreakstock/Shutterstock.com

By Jay Shendure, University of Washington; Greg Findlay, ...



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Mapping The Market

Mistakes were Made. (And, Yes, by Me.)

Via Jean-Luc:

Famed investor reflecting on his mistakes:

Mistakes were Made. (And, Yes, by Me.)

One that stands out for me:

Instead of focusing on how value factors in general did in identifying attractive stocks, I rushed to proclaim price-to-sales the winner. That was, until it wasn’t. I guess there’s a reason for the proclamation “The king is dead, long live the king” when a monarchy changes hands. As we continued to update the book, price-to-sales was no longer the “best” single value factor, replaced by others, depending upon the time frames examined. I had also become a lot more sophisticated in my analysis—thanks to criticism of my earlier work—and realized that everything, including factors, moves in and out of favor, depending upon the market environment. I also realized...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 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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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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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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About Ilene:

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

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