Critical Analysis of the Presidential Candidates: Clinton, Trump

Politics are a “fun” part of American tradition where each side tires to paint their opponent in a negative light and the back and forth attacks can cloud out the main issues worth considering in making a choice.

It also reveals that no matter what is said, some people will stick with a person/party regardless of the attacks brought against them, which is also a bad thing. It’s important to make a decision based on critical thought rather than emotion if you want both the most effective leadership in power while having them know they will be judged on their actions and past history rather than just charisma or slick advertising. Emotional voting is one main reason why we never seem to nominate the most qualified deserving candidates.

This election cycle is one that will go down in history books as having two of the most polarizing people in recent history. It has been joked that each candidate has enough flaws that they should be thankful they have each other to run against. There is a huge segment of the population that will be voting against one of the candidates more so than voting for one.

While both Clinton and Trump elicit high emotion from people, it’s still rather straight forward to break down the true pros/cons of each to make a true logical and non emotional choice.

 

Clinton:

Pros:

  1. 1st female candidate to be nominated for Prez in a major party.
  2. Extensive political background experience covering domestic and foreign relations.
  3. In favor of overturning “Citizens United” and getting big money out of politics

It’s a historical moment for a woman to be nominated in a major party, but of course one’s gender shouldn’t be ranked over one’s abilities. The capacity to handle the job should be the top concern.

One big plus is she is in favor of getting big money out of politics that is destroying our political system. Most of our politicians are bought out by corporate interests, which is why things seem to be getting worse over time no matter which party wins.

Cons:

  1. Political choices made in conflict with Progressive movement.
  2. Unforced error in email controversy- heavily criticized by FBI in handling classified emails.
  3. Seen as the typical “quid pro quo”,  pro corporate politician.

Years in the political arena has given Clinton that feel of squirmy politician who adjusts according to current public sentiment. Of course, this is no different than over 90% of out current elected candidates, and is the reason why the American public is growing so exasperated.

While she has extensive experience, her choices have not always aligned with Progressives. For example, she voted in favor of the disastrous/needless Iraq War  as well as US involvement in Libya and Syria, all of which has caused compounded problems and more instability in the Middle East. The irony is her choices here have been more in line with Conservative strategy, so these are issues that Conservatives have no moral high ground to attack her on, but Progressives do.

The email server controversy was a ridiculous unforced error on her part because she decided on a private server rather than use the government server. The FBI clearly called her out as being very careless. To make matters worse, she attempted to try to explain that the scathing FBI report was a good thing and showed she was honest when in fact it contradicted several statements she made in the past about sending/receiving marked and unmarked classified documents. Doing things like this only justifies the “Crooked Hillary”  nickname given by Trump.

She was paid for speeches to Goldman Sachs that she is unwilling to release, indicating they must be pro corporation and embarrassing.

I left out the Benghazi controversy because I don’t hold this to be a true issue. Embassies have been attacked and/or lives lost on the watch of both Reps and Dems (Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Obama), only now we live in such a polarized environment that every tragedy is held under a microscope to find fault.  Past administrations would fare no better if held under the same level of scrutiny.

 

Trump:

Pros:

  1. Lots of business experience
  2. Not afraid to speak his mind
  3. Against Citizens United

Trump steps up to the plate with extensive experience in real estate and name brand recognition. As a businessman, he has direct practical experience on the state of the economy. He also ran a near flawless campaign against his Republican opponents during the primaries.

The fact that he was able to beat seasoned politicians should also be a warning to our elected officials that the American public is growing weary of the same old tired politics where much is promised and little is delivered.

One of the things that stood out about Trump is the fact that he didn’t sound “scripted” like the other seasoned politicians he faced. His answers sounded off the cuff and wasn’t afraid to call out the faults of his fellow Republicans. Now compare that to the standard political talk we hear, and it sounded refreshing.

He has stated real problems that other Republicans seem to ignore like the loss of manufacturing jobs to outsourcing- a populist stance more associated with Progressives.

He has also taken a stand against big money in politics, but not to the same level as Progressives. Big money corruption is mutually hated by base Dems and Reps.

 

Cons:

  1. Has seriously insulted or threatened numerous demographics of ethnicities/religions.
  2. Won’t release his Tax returns – breaking ranks with all other Pres nominees in modern history.
  3. Trump has his own set of legal problems with lying/fraud with Trump University.
  4. There is no “Trump 2.0” for the general election.
  5. Wants to repeal “Obamacare” without showing/offering a superior replacement.

 

I could clearly see Trump winning the primary race because he was willing to be more extreme than all his rivals. He moved to the far right- more so than his opponents were willing to go because they had enough experience to know that to win a general election, you have to appeal to more than just your base. His opponents failed to call out his extremist viewpoints in the beginning and it then became silent approval from which they couldn’t recover from.

The key moment in the primary was when Trump labeled the majority of illegal Mexican immigrants as drug users/pushers,  criminals, and rapists. That should have been immediately called out and condemned by all candidates, but they stayed silent for the most part.

The anti illegal Mexican statement was bad enough, but he proceeded to make even more extremist statements such as:

  1. Banning all Muslims from entering the US
  2. Did not disavow FDR’s use of Japanese-American internment camps.
  3. Bringing back globally defined torture such as water boarding.
  4. Killing the families of known terrorists.
  5. Claiming a Mexican-American judge can’t do his job because of his ethnic background.

Making statements like these may be well received as red meat to a Conservative base, but it makes it very hard to pivot towards the center in a general election to win over moderates and Independents. This is where we get to another critical problem of his campaign- he has continued making extremist statements since being nominated and hasn’t pivoted at all. There doesn’t appear to be a polished, more refined and “presidential” Trump able to appeal to a wider audience than his initial primary base. This is bad news for Republicans in general because without building a consensus vote, the odds of winning an election drop like a rock.

Some current examples of Trumps continued offensive/outrageous statements:

  1. Attacking Muslim gold star family whose son died defending our country.
  2. Calling Obama/Clinton the founders of ISIS.
  3. Making statements that can be construed as threatening the life of his opponent Clinton.

You simply can’t act in this manner if the main goal is be the adult in the room and build a working consensus among all groups. Worse yet, he’s now making statements of the “system being rigged” so that if he loses, the election must be illegitimate. This is a direct danger to our Republic since he is priming his group of followers to consider the election to be a fraud if he doesn’t win. This will only further fracture our political system and make the polarization that much worse. Trump is attacking the very legitimacy of our democratic process on baseless claims.

As a result of his continued bombastic statements, more and more prominent Republicans have started coming out denouncing him. These are interesting times people when members of a party are now publicly campaigning against their Prez nominee. Interesting times indeed! What they fear is the outrage against Trump will result in down ballot losses for all Republicans in general.

Lastly, he can’t claim to be “transparent” or more honest than Clinton if he refuses to disclose his tax returns. Trump claims he can’t because he is currently being audited. However Warren Buffet has given him a challenge that he is also being audited but wants Trump to join him in showing their returns.

 

Market Takes a Breather and Drops over 9% in 4 Days

Dow_Jones_week_aug_24

What a difference a week makes! Last Tuesday, the Dow closed around 17500. Today the Dow closed at 15781, about 9.3% lower – erasing all its gains for the year.

Of course all the market talking heads have plenty to say about it after the fact, but what were they saying before it happened? If they don’t have the ability to warn of impending market reversals, then how much weight should you put in their “after market” analysis?

Mega moves like this is a great illustration of why one should always employ stop losses and risk management when in the market. The only absolute control you have is when you enter the market and when you exit.

It’s a guaranteed fact that there were traders who were long in this market without employing any stop losses. It’s also a near guarantee that those traders had their accounts wiped out.

It’s also likely that there are traders who were short without using stops, and those who didn’t blow up their accounts with the market’s move up during this year likely made a killing these last few days, but these type of traders are doomed to give their returns back to the market because eventually they will be on the wrong side of a massive move and suffer the same fate as the traders who wiped out their accounts. Trading without using stop losses is equivalent to engaging in Russian Roulette on a continual basis- it’s not a question of if you will suffer devastating losses, but when.

The true professionals love downdrafts like this as they look for some good bargains that were oversold due to excessive fear. Of course low prices can head even lower, so risk management and stop losses are still needed.

Those like myself, analyzing market price behavior, have been given a golden year of data. The market spent several months in a pretty narrow trading range that heavily favored a delta neutral style of trading. The big drops now favor trending and momentum players. Seeing how the market behaves in both a tight range and trending environment provides great insight opportunities.

 

Trading Update: “Sharingan Trading” in Sights

Sharingan_Wallpaper

After what seems like endless days and nights of system tweaking, testing, analyzing, and modifications, I believe I’ve finally assembled and configured the necessary ingredients for greatly improved trading accuracy in determining entries and target price, while also minimizing the set risk in the form of narrow stops.

System checks out with old and new data and different timeframes. The funny thing is it’s not like I’ve made a new discovery of some brand new method or technique. It’s basically me doing what I’ve normally done for the last few years, but I had to redefine what certain actions/reactions meant from what I originally thought.

The key now is getting more familiar with applying it in real time, which is my current focus.

I feel comfortable in saying I’ve never been closer to locking this day trading biz down.

To be continued…..

Trading Update 5/12/14 – 5/16/14: A Look Back at 2012

Continuing to put in a heavy rotation of hours analyzing market movement…and it helped me understand why trading became trickier for me after what I felt was a relatively “straight forward” 2012 (key word is “relative” as 2012 was not exactly a walk in the park).

2012 was what I would call a year of long ball or “super” trends where the market made continuous extended moves either up or down. This would allow one to use longer term trend charts to capture these moves with little worry of the trend suddenly changing direction before moving a considerable distance. Compared to human behavior, it would be like watching a person leave the house in the morning on a weekday, and being able to guess that once they left for work, they would drive all the way to their workplace destination. I’m oversimplifying it, but the market in 2012 was essentially more predictable for the most part.

Things changed in 2013/2014 where the market has become increasingly volatile on the long term charts so that while they may eventually reach the same destination as before, the reversal movements are larger and much more extended than before. This leads to constant stop outs or worse due to these strong directional whips. Compared to human behavior, it would be like a person going to work and hitting the road so you think their next destination is work. Then about 1/2 way or 3/4 way to work, the person makes a violent u-turn and speeds back towards home.  Then when they get towards their house, they continue to speed past it, so you’re not sure where they are going, only to have them soon reverse wildly again and head back towards the direction of work. They eventually make it to work  but with their new more chaotic behavior, predicting their movements has become much more challenging.

So my focus has been on updating my techniques to adapt for this new behavior, which coincides with what I needed to do anyway- which is gain better mastery over the timing of my entries/exits.

Progress has been slow but steady- systematically making adjustments to account for market zigs and zags. The key here is being consistent with your methods. The market merely “looks” random, but it operates according to rules, albeit complex ones. If your system is consistent, it will also react in a similar consistent way with the market. The challenge is then reducing your system risk through trial and error.

Another positive week of system development progress yielding some market gains. Trading is an area where all your work is immediately scored by the market. Either it works and you make a profit, or it doesn’t and you don’t.

 

 

Working the Grind – Market Chart Analysis Ad Nauseam

Valentines Day was just another Friday, which was just another day of market chart trading analysis.

I’ve been spending heavy hours day after day focused on market price fluctuations…

The general process is:

1) Researching and analyzing chart data.

2) Using my research results into the design of my trading system for predicting future movement.

3) Testing my methods in live trading for direct evaluation.

4) Check trading system for how accurately trading model matched actual market movement.

5) Determine what trading model changes are needed for improvements.

Then it’s back to step one of researching/analyzing chart data, as well as going through all the other steps in a repeat loop until the desired results are obtained.

It can be quite time consuming and tedious, which is the heart of manual system building. Doing this with focus over time creates a feedback system with your mind and trains your brain to problem solve in this particular area.

I’m happy to report that this process has been paying out dividends in market understanding – finding key pieces of the puzzle of market behavior that repeats over time, and more importantly, determining how these puzzle pieces fit together. It’s taken quite a bit longer than I anticipated in developing this deeper understanding, but that’s related to the nature of the market being filled with so many elements that need to be considered.

One of my first big revelations was that economic news reports and headlines have negligible use in determining future market activity. The news can be horrible and the market can continue to climb higher and higher. Conversely, the news can be good and the market will remain flat. It’s been my experience that the market drives the news, and not the other way around. What I mean by that is the news media looks at market activity, and then tries to link that action to some corporate or economic event. Knowing this makes it easier to maintain focus on market behavior rather than all the talking heads spouting varied opinions of where the market is headed.

Trading analysis can be a grind, but the progress gained, though not as fast as desired, makes it all worthwhile.

Market Trading Updates of Updates – The Big Catch Up

I have been mostly MIA with regard to trading updates for the last several months during the revelation that Xanga was preparing to close its doors and possibly reopen under a new version on a “pay to blog” model, and my full-time transition to my WordPress site- so there’s quite a bit of updating to do….

During this “blackout period” I’ve been dutifully trading on a near daily basis. Trading this year has proven to be a big challenge and rough sledding. I guess one could call it “The Sophomore Jinx” after my prior highly successful 1st year of keeping and blogging my full portfolio trading results.

To catch folks up who are unfamiliar with my Xanga blog, I had committed to studying/learning how to be a successful trader/investor, success being defined as the ability to earn enough by my trades/investments to make a living – making it my primary income as opposed to the salaried route working for someone else.

I had been trading/investing for awhile, but I made a commitment to making learning to day trade well enough to make it my profession priority one in 2010 and spent more time and effort than ever before reading books on the topic of trades and investments combined with daily trading and analysis and keeping records of all my activities along with resulting gains or losses.

By 2011 I was using all that I had learned in 2010 to move forward with trading. It was a year where I started to see the first fruits of my labor with more consistency in my gains although I was still getting mixed results with some losses thrown in as well. By the end of 2011, I felt that I had acquired enough experience to be a successful trader. I kicked off 2012 with making the decision to post my trading results every month to make my progress public to my readers. The year had several instances of high drama with swings of greater than 15 – 20%, but overall, there was a solid consistency in getting gains and the overall year was a big success by any standard. I had indeed arrived with the capability to earn my keep trading the market.

I figured 2013 would be even better as I worked to smooth out some of my rough edges that put me in some high intensity roller-coaster trades the prior year. What I didn’t know is that the market had something else in mind as it “leveled up” on me and gave me a new set of challenges.

All of a sudden, I started having more difficulty in predicting day to day movement, but my long term predictions were still accurate. What usually unfolded was despite my knowing where the market was heading in a longer time frame, I was getting beat up trying to trade that movement in the short term. After such a successful prior year, it was a painful experience being spun around and beat by the market time and time again.

It felt like this mentally:

No need to point out which one is me.  >.<

So was 2012 just a fluke? No, I never doubted my trading ability, but I did realize that an upgrade in my methods were needed. My methods were working for the long term view, but were failing in the short term. The answer to why that happened lies in the chart data.

The market data this year is a lot more frenetic and volatile in the short term than it was last year.

To show you an example- here’s chart data of ES futures from 2012:

Chart of GLOBEX~@ESU2

Now here’s the same corresponding chart data for 2013:

Chart of GLOBEX~@ESU3

The day to day volatility is much greater this year that is was in 2012. This extra “volatility” is like kryptonite to my method of using trend line analysis to predict future trends in the short term, and it raises the difficulty for me to find the right entry and exit areas. It also greatly increases the risk of getting stopped out of one’s position as the market zigs and zags by significant amounts.

The net result was my original weakness in getting the right entry area was made a lot worse. It is all kinds of frustrating to enter a position, get stopped out of your position on a strong counter move, only to have the market reverse again and go to exactly where you thought it would. It’s even more frustrating when you thought one’s skills had progressed beyond getting caught up in this type of problem.

The market behavior this year basically demanded I solve my problem with short term entries if I wanted to move forward- and that’s where my focus for the much of the year went- staring at charts for hours and looking for commonality in behavior with trend line support and resistance.

It was pretty much like this:

Just replace the equations with chart data. =)
Weeks then months went by with me staring at and analyzing chart data, trying to establish order in the chaos. As fate would have it during my down time in NYC, while I was staring at chart data only since I wasn’t trading, I finally managed to make a good amount of progress picking up the cause-effect connections. That led to a much needed recalibration of my chart analysis techniques, and a restoration of my ability to deduce likely upcoming trends.

The end result is more successful market encounters:

This video is nearly identical in analogy in dealing with market behavior. It wasn’t until Tom Cruise’s character calmed down, concentrated, got in the zone, and started mentally seeing his opponents moves beforehand (battle precognition)- enabling him to finally get a draw in battle. Being able to see what the market is likely to do gives you a jump on your position compared to those who are less certain.

The best part about my updated knowledge is that I now believe I can analyze chart data at its roots – meaning if the data takes on new characteristics in the future, I shouldn’t have a problem in updating my analysis and methodology for it. What I now know would have greatly helped in keeping me out of tight situations last year.

In time I will resume performance updates, and I will include all the missed updates so you can see for yourselves the highs and lows of my struggles this year.