Trump All but Completes His Hostile Takeover of the GOP Pres Nomination: RIP Conventional Wisdom

Danger Shock Hazard

Trump’s win in Indiana coupled with Ted Cruz dropping out of the race all but ensures Trump’s eventual clinching of the GOP’s Republican Presidential nomination, leaving all the pundits who never fathomed such a scenario in their wildest dreams stunned, and scratching their heads.

This election cycle has been a perfect case study of why you shouldn’t trust the “experts” when it comes to making assessments/predictions. We’ve seen in the 2008/2009 market crash that the vast majority of political and economic “insiders” had no idea of that approaching crisis and certainly gave no warning to investors.

This time just about all the so called political guru’s completely missed the rise of Trump and his ability to stay afloat regardless of what he says no matter how inflammatory. They are flummoxed about his ability to withstand increased scrutiny and a biased assault of press related articles against him, attempting to write him off in hopes that the polling numbers would follow, which they didn’t.

Even worse, having missed the boat on predicting the ascendancy of Trump’s campaign, they have the audacity of now writing articles on explaining how this came to pass- like anyone should pay attention to the same folks that were completely oblivious  to his sustainability in the first place.

Simply psychology can explain the Trump phenomenon.  People are angry at Washington and the constant failure of their elected officials to live up to their promises. In their frustration they seek someone not yet “tainted” by the system that constantly overpromises and underdelivers. They are now ready to pick an outsider over the political insiders.

Trump remains on top due to his public persona of brashness/arrogance towards the establishment. The more he is attacked, the more he fits the role as the “rebel” of politics to all his supporters, which increases his appeal. It’s very similar to the daughter who is dating a “bad boy” and the more the parents admonish and scold her to let him go, the more attractive he becomes to her.

The “experts” ask, how can Trump supporters be so oblivious to all the negative things he has said as well as his past flip flops on opinions? Why doesn’t this exposure change their mind? The answer is they have made an emotional choice based on their resentment of their elected politicians as well as his positive message on better times ahead with bringing back outsourced jobs and good times in general, and are ignoring/rejecting anything else said, period. Back to the daughter/bad boy example- how many times will she be “persuaded” with a list of rational cogent reasons why the guy she is dating is a bad match? How many times have your parents persuaded you to change your mind after you became passionate/excited about something or someone?

The “experts” asked, why did Marco Rubio fail to beat Trump at his own game of childish attacks/insults? The answer is you can’t imitate someone’s “brand” and expect to beat them with it. It’s the equivalent to the school valedictorian/nerd taking off his suit/tie, and putting on a leather jacket to try to woo the daughter away from the bad boy. All that does is make you look like a “wannabe” as well as corrupts the “brand” you stood for.  Notice how Cruz and Kasich didn’t take the bait to go into the mud, and how they continued to poll higher than Rubio before he dropped out.

Now these “experts” are saying in 20-20 hindsight Rubio made a mistake in fighting Trump in the mud when they were the ones who suggested he should do it! The lesson here is to be true to yourself, or at least “appear” that way. =)

Tonight we know that not even the behind the scenes 3D Chess Level strategy of Ted Cruz or his team up with Kasich was enough to stop Trump’s growing momentum.

This election season is one for the history books – that a non political outsider could take out a field of seasoned elected professionals that were way more funded and entrenched in the system than he ever was, and ride a populist wave to the Republican nomination turns all conventional wisdom and expert analysis on its ear. We live in interesting times!

 

 

Trading 101: The Key Ingredient to Sustained Success is Failure

My trading style uses fairly tight stop loss settings, which demands that my entries be pretty accurate with a small margin of error. In some trading circles, this would be seen as being “amateurish” for not allowing your trade to have breathing room to deal with the range of market volatility. Of course, most of those same trading circles view the market as mostly random in the short term that must be met with a ball park entry with a wide stop loss.

I used to trade with wide stop loss settings, or threw caution to the wind with “mental stops” rather than actual programmed stops. The market can gyrate so much that it’s an easy habit to get into. The market rarely moves in a straight line and can drift back and forth before making a definitive move in a particular direction. When stops are tight, it’s easy for price to move just enough against you to trip the stop loss before moving in the anticipated direction. This often happens enough to be a common frustrating experience among traders.

Using wide stops gives you more leeway when in a trade, but that also means your losses will be greater when they are tripped. Of course some traders don’t use stops at all- as that guarantees you will never be whipsawed out of a trade, but that also leaves you without protection if the market makes a big move against your position.

Not using stops is high risk, yet most traders including myself have engaged in such behavior due to the frustrations of getting whipsawed out of trades that would have eventually worked. But eventually the Grim “Stopless” Reaper cometh and will make you pay for not using stops. Eventually one learns to incorporate hard exits via stops, or the market will do it for you with severe losses that can blow out your account.

Over time I’ve learned that while using stops can be frustrating, and using tight stops VERY frustrating, it forces you to really focus on your trading system to find ways of improvement. Typically when a trade is entered that doesn’t work out, it’s one of three things:

  1. System is correct, but market had a random spike/dip due to some late breaking news.
  2. System is correct but the application of system was wrong.
  3. System has flaws that need to be worked out.

Out of most events encountered, #1, is VERY rare, while #2 is more common and #3 is typically the most common. One could say that #2 is a subset of #3 since proper execution is also part of the system.

I’ve been working on precision trading, where one can trade the daily battle between resistance and support with a fair amount of accuracy so as to not need to use wide area stops. Using tight stops and the ensuing failed trades and frustrations that resulted were actually great motivation in improving my trading system.

I find that my post trade analysis of failed trades have been responsible for the bulk of my trading system evolution. Preparation and planning can only go so far but I seem to be able to pick up so many more fine details of what went right and wrong when the analysis is done right after the trade is finished- likely because my plan is fresh in memory so it’s easier to pinpoint the aberrations. It’s a great feeling to spot a problem that was previous missed that when fixed, improves the accuracy of my system.

It’s a lesson I like to forget – that failure is a part of progress, since it opens the window for improvement. To get the best out of failing, it helps tremendously to have a clear and concise system trading plan that you can back track step by step to see what went wrong as well as what went right. A big mistake I’ve seen other traders make is “winging” trade entries in real time without a clear plan of specific entry and exit strategy. The point of system trading is the eliminating of seat of your pants “ad lib” style trading.

 

 

 

NY Times Caught Red Handed Editing Released Article on Bernie Sanders to Convert it from Laudatory to “Hit Piece”

This election cycle has never been clearer in showing just how much the mainstream media works in projecting their own bias against threats to the status quo. Trump from the beginning was continually put in a negative light and written off as non serious no matter what the polls showed about his sustained popularity, and they finally had to change course once he started winning elections.

For, Bernie Sanders, the treatment has been one of largely being ignored compared to the attention given to the other major candidates running such as Clinton, Bush, Cruz, Trump, Rubio, etc..

Like Trump, many of the articles that did feature Sanders were cast in a negative light favoring Clinton over him. The Washington Post was caught running a marathon string of negative articles against Sanders – 16 of them in 16 hours.

The most recent egregious example of another so-called established and principled source, the NY Times, got caught making changes to an article they had already released that was so significant to change the tone of the article from a positive to negative/dismissive. What’s worse, they left no “editorial updates” or revisions to let people know a change had been made- just significantly changing an article that had already been released on the fly, as if they were “motivated” to make these “corrections” after the fact.

Did they not think they wouldn’t be called out on this, which certainly appears to be driven by partisan politics? The NY Times is claiming no wrongdoing, but even their public editor, Margaret Sullivan, disagrees.

 

And yet another stake is driven through the heart of the belief of an unbiased “Fourth Estate” that is supposed to serve the public interest.

 

Links to all the info:

http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/17/new-york-times-bernie-sanders-coverage-public-editor/?ref=topics&_r=1

http://www.mediaite.com/print/ny-times-public-editor-chastises-paper-for-stealth-editing-bernie-sanders-piece/

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-the-new-york-times-sandbagged-bernie-sanders-20160315

 

 

 

 

Senator Warren Calls Out The GOP SCOTUS Nomination Blockade

The GOP is taking their opposition to Obama to new heights with the decision to not hold any hearings for a Supreme Court nomination. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley are united in their stance to not hold any hearings until a new President is elected.

Some Republicans have attempted to argue that this type of blocking has been done in the past, but in reality this has never been done to a sitting president with close to a year left in office.

What this action does is basically nullify a President’s FULL last year in office, which is a subversion of the will of the people as well as the Constitution in the name of political gaming.

If this action is allowed to stand, it will set a new dark precedent in obstruction when it comes to mixed government. Every two years a “stunt” like this could be pulled  by either side with claims that major appointments and bills should be ignored until the election cycle is over. Our already hobbled government would function even worse than ever before.

It’s understandable why the GOP wants to avoid the nomination process- it poses high risk for GOP Senators in purple States if they vote against qualified candidates for no good reason. Meanwhile, their fellow Senators in hard-right leaning States fear getting the boot if they approve any pick from Obama. Those are indeed tough prospects to face, but it’s no excuse to just stop doing their job. All elections have consequences and one can’t just go on a work strike because the election results were not favorable.

 

Senator Elizabeth Warren provides her own scathing commentary on the damages of continued GOP obstruction:

 

 

2016 Already? New Year Delayed Updates

There’s a reason for a absence of blog activity. Shortly after the year started, I managed to catch some “bug” that’s been going around the area. This caught me off guard since it’s been years since I’ve caught a cold in Cali.

This put a monkey wrench in activity this month with having little energy for anything – although I did muster the strength to get some lottery tix for that $1.6 billion jackpot.

Thanks to the new tech advancements of special cameras and time lapse photography I was able to capture the area of initial infection as the virus entered the body, and the corresponding battle with a the body’s fighter cells:

 

Now I’m in catch-up mode, but blogging will be resuming shortly.

 

Man Engages in High Risk Shorting, Loses His Shirt, makes a “Go Fund Me” Page to Recoup Loss

A tale of woe and caution against excessive risk taking.

Most traders/investors are well acquainted with the warnings against shorting stocks, and many choose not to do so. Those that do, should obviously employ judicious risk management, which seems to be MIA in this case.

Before I provide the link to the story- here’s a primer of some of the dos and don’ts of short selling that were not heeded:

  1. Avoid penny stocks
  2. Don’t short in the hole
  3. Don’t over leverage
  4. Overnight positions carry much more risk
  5. Respect the market

 

Explanations:

 

  1. Penny stocks- stocks that are very low in value such as a few bucks or less are typically pretty volatile as they are avoided by institutional buyers and therefore typically lack volume and is subject to being manipulated by buying/selling spikes. Risky to be long, but much risker to be short since gains are limited as the stock is already near the floor.
  2. This refers to shorting a stock after it has already dropped precipitously. Much higher risk of a reversal move at this point.
  3. One can typically buy on margin, meaning the brokerage will loan you money based on the amount in your account. In order to short you must be on margin as you are selling stock you don’t own and must repurchase. As such, taking on too many shares can result in being over leveraged and at risk for bigger losses. People sometimes forget that leverage works two ways, but they only focus on the potential  gains rather than losses.
  4. Once the market closes, anything can happen news wise that can affect the price of the stock. Day trading minimizes risk of exposure by having positions closed at the end of the day. A good rule of thumb is market = risk, so shorting overnight = more risk.
  5. The market has more firepower than your account by a wide margin and can vaporize it if you allow it to. As such, you have to manage risk.

 

So what did this guy do:

He shorted over 5700 shares of a penny stock at $2, thinking it would go to $0, and left it on past the market trading session.

……and this is what ensued:

 

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/help-my-short-position-got-crushed-and-now-i-owe-e-trade-10644556-2015-11-19

 

 

Trading Chart Analysis Enlightenment – Achievement Unlocked!

enlightenment

 

I’ve once again fallen behind providing updates on my trading, but events that occurred this week provided my most significant milestone to date.

When it comes to investments and trading, my main tool of the trade is chart analysis, that is analyzing price and volume movements over time as an indicator of future market moves. As prices tend to be pretty volatile and jumpy, trying to see the order in the seeming chaos is no easy task. Like looking at cloud formations, it’s easy to see what you “want” to see rather than what is actually happening.

So my focus over the months and years was to develop a system approach to interpreting prices moves, which are a collection of reactions of support (buying) and resistance (selling).

Going back in time to my banner year in 2012, I had a great intuitive feel for market price movement using trendline analysis, but over time lost that intuitive focus the following year. This is the problem with just using intuition or gut instincts- they come from the sub conscious and as such can be elusive to hold on to since you can’t evaluate on a conscious level. One is basically doing things without knowing the details of how and why certain actions are taking place.  My focus then shifted into making that intuitive subconscious knowledge into conscious knowledge.

Last year I made a big discovery that helped me lock in some conscious mapping of resistance and support price action and improved trendline drawing and analysis. This helped immensely with helping to refine my system to make it a better predictor of future price action. My last posted performance results were the fruit of that work.

Despite the major progress, there was still one significant problem- while I had developed a system of chart trendline analysis to predict moves, I couldn’t explain the action it was doing. I could tell where the price was going to go by chart constructs, buy it didn’t make sense to me logically. So I would place trades that my analysis told me would succeed, but I felt would fail, because the movement didn’t “look” right. The trades succeeded, but that disconnect between my trendline analysis and intuition eventually led to problems and my search for more clarity.

More grind work and chart analysis R&D ensued with a healthy amount of trial and error over the next several weeks which culminated in yet a new breakthrough discovery this week.

The discovery came as I was analyzing my failed trades after market – which is where most of my big breakthroughs occur. I realized that my assumptions made for constructing trendlines were not all correct. In some cases the rules of behavior I had made were incorrect. In other cases, the rules were correct, but my application of them was off.

I did some recalibrating, refining, and adjusting of my trendlines and price behavior assumptions when a new level of enlightenment started seeping in. I was now able to do chart analysis that perfectly captured price moves based on support and resistance. The key difference with this new modified analysis was that I now understood the market movement and there was no longer a disconnect between my intuition and analysis.

I could now look back on the market moves of 2012 and understand the behavior by both intuition and reason, which is what I did when I tested my new understanding on past years data to verify consistency.

Long story short, I’m as about as close to achieving the holy grail of creating a system of both high precision and high probability trades as I think I will get.

Now as usual, I write this ahead of fully implementing my system as this discovery is hot off the press. I also know that seasoned traders would take what I said with a grain of salt as we’ve all heard bold claims before on trading forums that came up short. Performance results going forward will show the reality. But I’m stating my discovery and assessment now because that’s how confident I am based on back testing and preliminary results.

 

 

 

Back to the Future Day – The Future has Arrived!

bttf2-main

The movie time setting was “1985”, and  “future” date the Doc and Marty went to visit was “October 21, 2015”.

Back to the future

 

That date has finally arrived!

Back to the Future II was released in 1989, and many movie theaters are celebrating with a special showing of the film today only.

Hmm, the future doesn’t look quite like it was imagined all those years ago. Where are the flying cars?? Here are the hits and misses:

 

 

 

Xanga 2.0 Celebrates its “2.0” Anniversary With Eerie Silence

Xanga undead

 

It’s now been two years since Xanga converted to the WordPress based system with the help of about $70K from their supporters:

Xanga_Crowdhoster

 

So what is the status of the site at the 2+ year mark? Well, you won’t find it from any official Xanga update from their site– there have been no updates provided since Feb  11, 2015:

Here is the list of the previous number of official updates from Xanga since the switch to “2.0”:

(September 6 2013 – September 30, 2014) – Over a YEAR of silence

(This update was more of a blurb than something to justify a year in a vacuum. My complete thoughts here.)

(More of the same back office updates)

That’s just 5 updates for a span of over two years.

At no time do they provide any CUSTOMER DRIVEN updates such as:

  1. When will the front page be restored?
  2. What is the schedule for community feature restoration?
  3. Why are features promised “out of the box” not yet available?
  4. How can I contact a user on followers lock?
  5. When will we get the “Xanga” we enjoyed back?

The lack of updates would raise eyebrows even if it were still a free blogging site. As Xanga took close to $70K in pledge money and is now charging $48/yr for their service, the situation stands out glaringly- especially knowing they’ve been told numerous times that regular communication is most desired by their customers.

Broken-Friendship-Quotes-apihyayan

In terms of current status the review I wrote at the 1 year mark will suffice since not much has changed since then.

The “Community Based” Xanga that everyone enjoyed and appreciated ended with the shutdown of Xanga 1.0 and has yet to be reinstated on Xanga 2.0, despite all the promises made.

It should be abundantly clear to all that any hope to restore the old community is long past. Many People who would have continued to blog on Xanga have stopped altogether and those who still blog have moved on to other free platforms. Any excitement or momentum from the conversion to “2.0” has been lost long ago. The site now being “promoted” for latest member updates is facebook as Xanga has lost its front page since the conversion to 2.0.

The thing that bothers me most is the sense of injustice that Xanga has done for all the people that worked so hard for them to be able to update to Xanga 2.0. So many people were disappointed and have moved on- and all the while Xanga makes no apologies or updates on what their completion schedule is. To take money from people as well as charge them for services that are available on other sites for free, and still feel they don’t need to provide any type of regular updates is beyond the pale of customer disrespect.

custsrv

So when the official appointed liaison  EdLives (Joel) blogged about Xanga on August 12, which turned into another defense of Xanga’s current condition despite being into two years of this mess, I felt compelled to set the record straight with the true reality of the situation. That led to my original posted comment being “held for review”, my accusation of being censored, and all the brouhaha that followed.

Some may have the opinion that I’ve been overly harsh in my critique and response to EdLives’ posts. I believe he has confused his job responsibilities. As a liaison, you mutually represent two or more parties in their communication. However, he wasn’t doing this. Instead, as mentioned by Kamikaze_Zealot, he was really taking on the role as Xanga’s “PR” person in standing up for and defending Xanga’s shortfalls. Taking on the role of a PR person will of course be in direct conflict with being a neutral liaison and will likely land you in the crossfire. If you look at our exchanges he is definitely picking up and defending the Xanga flag as opposed to also representing the needs of the community.

I would like to see accountability and ownership of Xanga’s failure to deliver what they advertised in a timely manner and no explanation to justify it. Both Xanga and EdLives heavily promoted the switch to “2.0” but It seems to me neither will open up and just state what the true situation is.

Here’s a short blog walk down “Xanga” memory lane:

Walk on “Classic” Xanga:

May 17, 2012Xanga offers “Lifetime Memberships” for a limited time.

That was just a year before they announced the impending shutdown of “1.0” I would think the fair/ethical thing would be to refund anyone who bought memberships at that time. Selling folks “lifetime” memberships that only last for a year is highly suspect.

June 4, 2013Edlives  argues the case that the “ad based” revenue model won’t work in support of fee based blogging.

June 11, 2013 – Edlives Compares free blogging sites to Xanga 2.0

EdLives argues that Xanga 2.0 will be superior to free blogging sites.

June 15, 2013 Edlives posts a blog on the Rise and Fall of Ad Revenue Websites

Here, he argues that the ad revenue model is flawed and destined to fail over time. I counter argue that his assessment is wrong and success depends of the company’s ability to market themselves to keep and grow their user base.

Of course the gigantic sustained success of Facebook, Google, Youtube, Tumblr, WordPress, BlogSpot, etc, clearly prove that the ad based revenue model is not only alive and well, but growing and providing new opportunities for individuals who can grow a sizable subscriber base. Facebook recently announced a milestone of having one billion users online in one day.

June 24, 2013– Edlives compares Free WordPress to Xanga 2.0 fee based WordPress

Of course we know that the current features of Free WordPress still greatly surpass “Fee based” Xanga 2.0 for 2+ years and counting…

Free WordPress provides regular updates, constant feature upgrades like themes, fonts, viewcounters (stats), likes, etc…, and I’m able to automatically cross post to other social network sites like Tumblr, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Path, or Facebook- one post is pushed out to the other sites if desired. Most media sites like Time, News (both local and national), Variety, Fortune, etc,.. are now in WordPress RSS format allowing you to subscribe to their sites and get direct updates in your feed. Of course all this comes with being able to cross communicate with other folks on many other social network platforms like BlogSpot/Tumblr, using your just your WordPress or Disqus login account. Unfortunately, none of these features are currently available on WordPress based Xanga 2.0, which is still lacking even the most basic search function to find/contact users.

The irony is it appears to be much easier to make free WordPress Xanga-like than “paywall” Xanga 2.0.

July 1, 2013 – Transcript of Interview of Xanga CEO John Hiler by Alex

July 8, 2013Xanga 2.0 Vision is presented

Reading this will let you know the difference between what was envisioned versus current reality.

July 18, 2013 – EdLives Posts about Improving Communication

The lack of communication between Xanga and the community is addressed yet again. It’s not as if Xanga is “in the dark” about the issue with their lack of communication – they’ve been told more than once, and while they apologize, their behavior remains the same.

Walk On “Xanga 2.0”:

September 20, 2013 – EdLives posts updates on the Xanga 2.0 switch

It’s been about three weeks since the launch to “2.0” and the blogging site is in a sorry state with no updates from XangaCorp. The crowd is starting to get restless. The major 1st sign of trouble was Xanga’s Facebook account was going to be used to update people rather than Xanga. If you think my criticism is harsh, PrincessPowers makes me look quite tame by comparison.

October 10, 2013 – EdLives posts Looking at the Positive

Edlives states Xanga is just in a “transition period” and that things will get better. Many are not buying it with Xanga’s continued lack of updates.

November 11,2013EdLives Does another Update in the Wake of Xanga’s continued Silence

More of the same – people wondering about progress and restoration of community features like the frontpage and EdLives doing his best to provide some assurances. All this- TWO YEARS AGO.

So it should be clear as day that both Xanga and Edlives were quite involved in advertising Xanga 2.0. Based on this I tend to get irritated when Edlives now responds to questions about the problems of Xanga 2.0 along the lines of “Hey, I’m just a volunteer, I don’t work for Xanga”, or “That’s up for John or someone from Xanga to answer” instead of twisting arms to get Xanga to honor their commitments to provide regular updates.

The defense that really gets to me is when he states “What are YOU doing to improve things?”. Can you imagine reporting a problem with a company and they try to turn it around on you as if it’s your responsibility? Bizarre! Makes absolutely no sense.

Customer: Hi power company, my service is out- when will it be restored? Your technicians haven’t arrived when you said they would

Power Company: What are YOU doing to help the situation?

Customer: ???

As I told him, people have every right to complain about services that were promised and not rendered and should NOT be the targets of reverse blaming. The victim blaming has to stop.

The truth is Xanga is basically having EdLives twist in the wind so their lack of promise fulfillment and customer contact makes him look like a bad guy as well. At least now he is being “somewhat” more neutral in his responses, although there is still ongoing defending of Xanga  such as stating they are taking what we say seriously, but just not responding. The reality is not responding is action that shows they are NOT taking the concerns of the customer seriously at all.

If I were the liaison – I would be pushing John to do a live Q&A on Google hangouts  or ask Alex to host to field user complaints and concerns. You can’t keep telling folks “You understand their anger or concerns” without pushing for the other side (ie, Xanga/John) to respond. Otherwise, you become the defacto “wall” that Xanga is hiding behind.

The complaints are far fewer these days as the majority of folks that had issues have long since moved on and stopped caring. In fact, it seems that of  the remaining trickle of people still blogging there, most must be quite content with the current “alpha-beta” state of Xanga based on their silence or words of support to counter my noted areas of concern.

According to Xanga’s “Splash Page” update last year:

We are now officially in phase 2 (of four) of the Xanga 2.0 launch!

Phase 1: Data Migration
Phase 2: Site Tuning  <—
Phase 3: Feature Prioritization
Phase 4: Building Together

They state they are in “Site Tuning”. The Feb 11 update states they are now “starting” to move into features, which is typically the hardest and longest part of software development. At their current rate it looks like at least 3 –  5 more years to cover phases 3 and 4, making the likely “completion” no earlier than 2019.

cobwebs_thinkstock_2

I hope the remaining customers are Zen masters of patience- as they will certainly be given much time to practice it in the solitude and quiet of Xanga non updates.

(PS to EdLives, who has reviewed my blogs in the past – if you think I’m not being fair or correct in my comments or assessment of the situation, you’re more than welcome to post your side of the issue and state where I am in error.)

keep-calm-and-enjoy-the-silence-30