Archive for the ‘Members’ Corner’ Category

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 >





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

 





 
 
 

Phil's Favorites

US is already fighting a conflict with Iran - an economic war that is hurting the wrong people

 

US is already fighting a conflict with Iran – an economic war that is hurting the wrong people

Courtesy of David Cortright, University of Notre Dame

Many are worried about the risk of war with Iran after the Trump administration leaked discussions of a troop deployment in response to claimed threats to U.S. warships in the region.

And in recent days, the rhetoric has only gotten more heated, with President Donald Trump saying a war would be “the official end of Iran.” Iranian officials responded in ki...



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Zero Hedge

USPS Starts Testing Self-Driving Trucks For Long Hauls

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The US Postal Service (USPS) has awarded TuSimple, a global self-driving truck company, a contract to haul mail across the country with self-driving trucks, a move that could save the money-losing government agency millions of dollars per year if implemented, reported a TuSimple press release.

The two-week pilot started Tuesday will haul USPS trailers about 1,000 miles bet...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

DAX (Germany) About To Send A Bearish Message To The S&P 500?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Is the DAX index from Germany about to send a bearish message to stocks in Europe and the States? Sure could!

This chart looks at the DAX over the past 9-years. It’s spent the majority of the past 8-years inside of rising channel (1), creating a series of higher lows and higher highs.

It looks to have created a “Double Top” as it was kissing the underside of the rising channel last year at (2).

After creating the potential double top, the DAX index has continued to create a series of lower highs, while experiencing a bearish divergence with the S...



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Insider Scoop

55 Biggest Movers From Yesterday

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Gainers
  • Obalon Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: OBLN) shares jumped 233.3 percent to close at $1.30 on Wednesday after the company reported expanded data from a large scale commercial use study that was presented at the Digestive Disease Week.
  • Ascent Capital Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASCMA) shares jumped 51.4 percent to close at $1.37 after the company announced a restructuring support agreement with Monitronics International.
  • Valeritas Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: VLRX) shares dippe...


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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap May 18, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

China – U.S. trade talk continued to dominate the week.   A heavy selloff Monday was followed by 3 up days, with Friday moderately down.

On Monday, Chinese officials announced retaliatory tariffs against the U.S., hitting $60 billion in annual exports to China with new or expanded duties that could reach 25%.

Then on Wednesday:

The Trump administration plans to delay a decision on instituting new tariffs on car and auto part imports for up to six months, according to media reports.

...

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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream - the battle is on to bring them under global control

 

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream – the battle is on to bring them under global control

The high seas are getting lower. dianemeise

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

The 21st-century revolutionaries who have dominated cryptocurrencies are having to move over. Mainstream financial institutions are adopting these assets and the blockchain technology that enables them, in what ...



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Biotech

DNA as you've never seen it before, thanks to a new nanotechnology imaging method

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

 

DNA as you've never seen it before, thanks to a new nanotechnology imaging method

A map of DNA with the double helix colored blue, the landmarks in green, and the start points for copying the molecule in red. David Gilbert/Kyle Klein, CC BY-ND

Courtesy of David M. Gilbert, Florida State University

...



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ValueWalk

More Examples Of "Typical Tesla "wise-guy scamminess"

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Stanphyl Capital’s letter to investors for the month of March 2019.

rawpixel / Pixabay

Friends and Fellow Investors:

For March 2019 the fund was up approximately 5.5% net of all fees and expenses. By way of comparison, the S&P 500 was up approximately 1.9% while the Russell 2000 was down approximately 2.1%. Year-to-date 2019 the fund is up approximately 12.8% while the S&P 500 is up approximately 13.6% and the ...



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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

Excerpt:

The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...



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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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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.

Market Shadows >>