Archive for the ‘Members’ Corner’ Category

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

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), and it is his ideas on the future, specifically the future of civilization, that I hope to learn about here.   

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?

David: Amid 6,000 years of feudal despotisms,…
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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 will 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)


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?


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.


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 >

Why we need to act on climate change now (updated)


Why we need to act on climate change now (updated)

Interview with Jan Dash, PhD, by Ilene Carrie, Editor at Phil’s Stock World

Updated in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on September 13 , 2017.

Jan Dash is a physicist, an expert at quantitative finance and risk management, and a consultant at Bloomberg LP. In his thought-provoking book, Quantitative Finance and Risk Management, A Physicist's Approach, he devotes a chapter to climate change and its long-term systemic risk. Jan’s Climate Portal provides extensive background and references. In this interview, Jan discusses climate change and how inaction is threatening our future. (Click here for pdf version.)

Ilene: Hi Jan. Thank you for taking the time to share your ideas on global warming. . . I’m looking at a graph, along with the current atmospheric CO 2 level that you and Yan Zhang modeled for the Bloomberg Carbon Clock, which shows just how sharply CO 2 levels have increased mostly in only the last 50 years relative to the last 12 thousand years. And I can see that CO 2 levels are currently about 400 ppm – and that at 450 ppm, the text says we will reach a “danger zone.” What happens when CO 2 levels reach 450 ppm? Why is that level considered the "danger zone?"


Screenshot of Bloomberg’s Carbon Clock


Jan: If we can limit CO 2 to 450 ppm, it is likely that we can limit the average global temperature increase to around 2 degrees Centigrade or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels. This is the goal of the Paris Agreement, designed to leave a livable planet to our descendants.

Ilene: Do you think we will be successful?

Jan: With present policies, it does not look like we will achieve that goal. Action must be increased urgently to avoid increasingly severe climate impacts on our grandchildren and their descendants. Solving the climate problem is prerequisite to any long-term solution to the many serious issues facing humanity today. Climate change is actually the outstanding moral, ethical, and survival issue of our time.

We are in a “ danger zone” now. Today’s CO 2 level of around 400

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Advice for Trump on how to avoid a nuclear war


Former Mexican President Shows Trump How To Avoid Nuclear War In Hilarious Video

By Carolina Moreno

The former Mexican president sat down with comedy site Super Deluxefor a new video, released Wednesday, in which he gave Trump some tips on how to avoid starting a nuclear war. 

[More here.]

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Interesting discussion of what affects our behavior. 

Description: "How can humans be so compassionate and altruistic — and also so brutal and violent? To understand why we do what we do, neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky looks at extreme context, examining actions on timescales from seconds to millions of years before they occurred. In this fascinating talk, he shares his cutting edge research into the biology that drives our worst and best behaviors."

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Filmed April 2017 at TED 2017


p.s. Roger (on Facebook) saw this talk and recommends the book Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, Third Edition. Roger writes, "Sapolsky is perhaps my favorite atheist. His research into stress and depression is as beautiful as it is almost terrifying. He somehow manages to put complex biology in a context that is instantly relatable. Personally I put a Creator into the equation but Sapolsky expands my frame of reference and I am very grateful. His book, Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, should be required reading for all humans before they launch out into the world like prey on the Savanah.


Inside Russia’s Social Media War on America – TIME


The Deep State


What is "The Deep State"? According to Wikipedia, "The concept of a deep state is that there exists a coordinated effort by career government employees and others to influence state policy without regard for democratically elected leadership." Originally, the term referred to entrenched shadow governments of countries like Turkey and Russia.

Conspiracy theorists and Trump supporters often use "deep state," with conspiratorial undertones, to refer to intelligence officers and government officials who use covert tactics, such as leaking information, to undermine the president (or control the world, depending on the purpose). 

In the article below, David Brin discusses the concept of "deep state" and how the term has been co-opted by Trump and the far-right to malign "every profession in U.S. society that deals in facts and knowledge." 

The Deep State

Courtesy of David BrinContrary Brin

[David Brin is an astrophysicist whose international best-selling novels include The PostmanEarth, and Existence. Dr. Brin serves on advisory boards (e.g. NASA's Innovative and Advanced Concepts program or NIAC) and speaks or consults on a wide range of topics. David Brin's nonfiction book about the information age – The Transparent Society – won the Freedom of Speech Award of the American Library Association.]

"Deep State" is a buzz phrase being used by the confederacy to explain the hostility they face, from every profession in U.S. society that deals in facts and knowledge. Their narrative is that these professions — the same ones that were maligned for decades in right wing media, from science, teaching, economics, skilled labor and journalism to the civil service, law professionals, medical doctors and judges — have colluded to create a truth-bending, Orwellian cabal. And now, note two of the last knowledge castes have been added — members of the Intelligence Community (IC) and the U.S. Military Officer Corps (MOC).  

This Deep State – the story goes – has been responsible for both liberal tyranny and American decline from greatness. (See Is Michael Flynn the first casualty of a “deep state” coup? It’s not unthinkable.) 

Never mind that these are the same professions that empowered the great burst of creativity and invention and entrepreneurial drive that multiplied our wealth a…
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Insider Scoop

12 Stocks To Watch For March 22, 2018

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Some of the stocks that may grab investor focus today are:

  • Wall Street expects Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) to report quarterly earnings at $1.63 per share on revenue of $2.14 billion before the opening bell. Darden shares fell 0.12 percent to $93.20 in after-hours trading.
  • Analysts expect Accenture plc (NYSE: ... more from Insider

Zero Hedge

PBOC Raises Interest Rate On Open Market Operations

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Moments after the Fed did as expected when it raised rates by 25bps, we - along with most other central bank watchers - made a prediction: now it was China's turn.

And now, it's China's turn to hike

— zerohedge (@zerohedge) March 21, 2018

And since in recent years, the PBOC has not hiked the main benchmark rate but engaged in "targeted" tightening using the various reverse-repo facilities, we had to wait until today's open market operation was un...

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Phil's Favorites

After Tempe fatality, self-driving car developers must engage with public now or risk rejection


After Tempe fatality, self-driving car developers must engage with public now or risk rejection

An autonomous vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian on March 18. via AP

Courtesy of Andrew Maynard, Arizona State University; Jameson Wetmore, Arizona State University, and Thaddeus R. Miller, ...

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Digital Currencies

Why accountants of the future will need to speak blockchain and cryptocurrency if they want your money


Why accountants of the future will need to speak blockchain and cryptocurrency if they want your money


Courtesy of Anwar Halari, The Open University

If you haven’t already heard of Bitcoin, you either haven’t been paying attention or you’re a time traveller who just touched down in 2018. Because by now, most of us will have heard of Bitcoin and some of us have even jumped on the bandwagon, investing in cryptocurrencies.

But despite its popularity, many people still don’t understand the technology that underlines it: blockchain. In...

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Chart School

Stall in Decline

Courtesy of Declan.

The good news for bulls was the lack of follow through on the selling. An argument could be made for bullish harami doji in some key indices with stops on a loss of yesterday's lows.

The Semiconductor Index held on to breakout support in what looked to be a successful defense by traders in what could still be a pullback buying opportunity. There was a MACD trigger 'sell' which was a follow-through from Friday - leaving only stochastics in the green. However, relative performance remains in bulls favor. Long opportunities...

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Peter Thiel: Need To Rethink Tariffs In Light Of Trade Deficit With China; SF Sucks, Bitcoin Rocks

By VW Staff. Originally published at ValueWalk.

PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel in a wide-ranging interview on President Trump’s trade tariffs, China’s economy, technology regulations and his outlook for bitcoin.


Check out our H2 hedge fund letters here.

Peter Thiel: Need To Rethink Tariffs In Light Of Trade Deficit With China

Peter Thiel On Leaving Silicon Valley For Los Angeles

Billionaire investor Peter Thiel argues Silicon Valley is is a ‘totalitarian place’ where people are not allowed to have dissenting views.


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Members' Corner

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 ...

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How your brain is wired to just say 'yes' to opioids

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


How your brain is wired to just say ‘yes’ to opioids

A Philadelphia man, who struggles with opioid addiction, in 2017. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Courtesy of Paul R. Sanberg, University of South Florida and Samantha Portis, University of South Florida


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Mapping The Market

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

Via Jean-Luc

How propagandist beat science – they did it for the tobacco industry and now it's in favor of the energy companies:

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

The original tobacco strategy involved several lines of attack. One of these was to fund research that supported the industry and then publish only the results that fit the required narrative. “For instance, in 1954 the TIRC distributed a pamphlet entitled ‘A Scientific Perspective on the Cigarette Controversy’ to nearly 200,000 doctors, journalists, and policy-makers, in which they emphasized favorable research and questioned results supporting the contrary view,” say Weatherall and co, who call this approach biased production.

A second approach promoted independent research that happened to support ...

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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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NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!


We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.


EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...

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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...

Learn more About Phil >>

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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.

Market Shadows >>