Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Fascism’s return and Trump’s war on youth

 

Fascism’s return and Trump’s war on youth

Courtesy of Henry GirouxMcMaster University

File 20171213 27568 1p6ih1d.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Donald Trump’s policies represent a particular attack on American youth and children, particularly those who are disadvantaged. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Fascism is all too often relegated to the history books.

The word conjures up a period in which civilized societies treated democracy with contempt, engaged in acts of systemic violence, practised extermination and elimination, supported an “apocalyptic populism,” suppressed dissent, promoted a hyper-nationalism, displayed contempt for women, embraced militarism as an absolute ideal and insisted on obedience to a self-proclaimed prophet.

But the seeds that produced such fascist horrors have once again sprung to life, returning in new social and political forms.

Today, a culture of fear dominates American society, one marked by massive inequities in wealth and power that not only uphold structures of domination, but also view differences as threats, compassion as weakness and shared responsibilities —if not the common good itself — as pathology.

Fascist thought is on the rise all over the world, but its most blatant and dangerous manifestation has emerged in the Trump administration.

Fear and the ethos of mass consumerism —coupled with widespread insecurity and ignorance —now drive people into a malignant notion of security, self-inflicted cynicism and into the arms of demagogues like Trump. For too many Americans, critical thinking and hope have given way to emotional bonding and the revival of the discourse of ultra-nationalism and bigotry.

Trump: Not Hitler, but dangerous nonetheless

Trump is not Hitler in that he has not created concentration camps, shut down the critical media or rounded up dissidents; moreover, the United States at the current historical moment is not the Weimar Republic.

But in the Trump era, remnants of fascism exist in different shapes and forms and include a celebration of the cult of the leader, systemic racism, the embrace of a toxic macho-populism and state support for ultra-nationalism, racism and the threat of violence against critics.

All of these elements are evident in Trump’s rhetoric and policy initiatives.

Trump’s corporate brand of neoliberal fascism is highly visible in right-wing policies that favour
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With FCC’s net neutrality ruling, the US could lose its lead in online consumer protection

 

With FCC's net neutrality ruling, the US could lose its lead in online consumer protection

Courtesy of Sascha MeinrathPennsylvania State University and Nathalia FoditschAmerican University

File 20171214 27568 1ex762b.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Three of these smiling people undid U.S. consumer protections online. Federal Communications Commission

The internet may be an international system of interconnecting networks sharing a rough global consensus about the technical details of communicating through them – but each country manages its own internet environment independently. As the U.S. debate about the role of government in overseeing and regulating the internet continues, it’s worth looking at how other countries handle the issue.

Our research and advocacy on internet regulation in the U.S. and other countries offers us a unique historical and global perspective on the Federal Communications Commission’s December 2017 decision to deregulate the internet in the U.S. The principle of an open internet, often called “net neutrality,” is one of consumer protection. It is based on the idea that everyone – users and content providers alike – should be able to freely spread their own views, and consumers can choose what services to use and what content to consume. Network neutrality ensures that no one – not the government, nor corporations – is allowed to censor speech or interfere with content, services or applications.

As the U.S. continues to debate whether to embrace internet freedom, the world is doing so already, with many countries imposing even stronger rules than the ones the FCC did away with.

The US as trailblazer and laggard

Before 2015, many internet businesses in the U.S. discriminated against or blocked customers from particular legal uses of the internet. In 2007 Comcast illegally blocked its customers from sharing files between themselves. In 2009, AT&T blocked access to Skype and FaceTime apps on its network. In 2011, MetroPCS blocked its customers from streaming Netflix and all other streaming video except YouTube (possibly due to a secretly negotiated deal). In 2012, Verizon disabled apps that let customers connect computers to their mobile data service. There were many other violations of the principle of net neutrality, too.

Customers and regulators tried to control these discriminatory practices…
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Zimbabwe’s financial system is living on borrowed time – and borrowed money

 

Zimbabwe’s financial system is living on borrowed time – and borrowed money

Courtesy of Roger SouthallUniversity of the Witwatersrand

File 20171031 18730 lzg8n8.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

An illegal money changer holds bond notes outside a bank in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare. Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwe’s financial system increasingly resembles a house of cards. Were one card to give way – for instance, if South Africa’s power utility, Eskom, were to have the temerity to suggest that Zimbabwe actually pay for the electricity that it’s supplying the country – the entire edifice would collapse.

To put it another way, the government is bust. It is again printing money to cover its spiralling costs, and inflation is rising. And given that there’s an election looming in 2018, Zimbabwe’s ruling party, ZANU-PF doesn’t want to cut-back. Far from it, it wants to carry on spending, as fast as it can.

The rot goes back to the early 2000’s. ZANU-PF profligacy had been fuelled by acontinuous cycle of simply printing more money, and resultant runaway inflation. Mega-inflation meant that ordinary people lost their pensions and whatever savings they had, as the Zimbabwe dollar lost its value and people resorted to barter or the use of other currencies.

Ultimately, the government faced no choice but to accept reality. In 2008 it scrapped the Zimbabwe dollar in favour of a basket of other currencies, although within a short time, this meant in effect the reign of the US dollar.

“Dollarisation” allowed for the pursuit of more rational policies by the coalition Government of National Unity which followed the disputed 2008 election. However, its control of the electoral machinery ensured that ZANU-PF won a resounding victory in the 2013 election. Within a short space of time it returned to its familiar policy mix of profligacy, corruption and populist economics.

Yet ZANU-PF faced major problems. Above all, “dollarisation” meant that the cost of Zimbabwe’s exports on international markets was high. Worse, the dramatic collapse in agricultural production since the early 2000s (following the appropriation of white farms) alongside the decimation of the country’s manufacturing industries meant that there was relatively little to export anyway. Tobacco production has recovered a little, but the quality…
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Bitcoin is a highly speculative investment. Why caution is required

 

Bitcoin is a highly speculative investment. Why caution is required

Courtesy of Co-Pierre GeorgUniversity of Cape Town and Qobolwakhe DubeUniversity of Cape Town

File 20171205 22962 14ls1wu.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Shutterstock

With the price of a bitcoin reaching record highs of more than $10,000, more and more ordinary people consider investing in the cryptocurrency. The recent price surge, however, comes with tremendous risks. Investors should be prepared for the possibility that they could lose their entire investment.

Bitcoin was launched in 2008 by an anonymous author under the name of Satoshi Nakamoto as a means of transacting among participants without the need for intermediaries. Since the beginning of this year, the price of bitcoin has increased by 1300% as more and more consumers flock to it hoping to profit off its increasing popularity and the associated increase in value.

Cryptocurrencies are not currencies at all. As the Financial Times explains, bitcoin is a string of computer codes which means that new bitcons can be created – up to an agreed limit – by computers that gain the right to do so by solving complex puzzles. Transactions are recorded in a database called a blockchain.

Bitcoin, like other assets like gold, doesn’t yield income. You have to sell it to realise any value. And, like gold and other currencies, it can be transferred peer-to-peer.

Part of the nervousness about bitcoin is that, along with other cyptocurrencies, it challenges the traditional role of banks and central banks. In the classical world, banks act as intermediaries by providing loans out of the deposits they took and from funding from the central bank. The central bank uses the rate at which it provides this funding as a lever to ensure price stability. The introduction of cryptocurrencies threatens this model because banks are no longer necessary to intermediate funds and there is no central bank to ensure that prices are stable.

The more immediate fears about bitcoin centre on the recent dramatic rise in its value. There’s nervousness in the market that a flash crash might be imminent after the cryptocurrency tumble by more than $1,300 in minutes on the bitcoin exchange Bitfinex. It did recover to levels above $10,800.

The…
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Alabama and #MeToo’s disruptive force

 

Alabama and #MeToo's disruptive force

Courtesy of Ashwini TambeUniversity of Maryland

File 20171213 27583 16rhcbc.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

A woman rallies for Doug Jones on Dec. 12. Jones defeated Republican. Roy Moore who was accused of sexual misconduct. AP Photo/John Bazemore

Roy Moore’s electoral defeat in Alabama is an important victory for #MeToo.

Let’s recall that the allegations about his preying on teenagers came to light amidst a wave of #MeToo-inspired charges. National attention to sexual harassment raised the profile of this state-level race.

The focus has now turned to Donald Trump, as some members of Congress call for investigating multiple complaints of sexual misconduct against him. If their call gains traction, it will be a remarkable development.

The words “movement,” “uprising,” and even “revolution” have been used to describe events over the past two months. As a feminist scholar, I see them as apt because of the unprecedented momentum and scale of the outcry.

There is also another term that quite precisely conveys what is happening: “disruption.” I borrow this term from technology and business writers who use it to describe an upheaval of institutionalized ways of doing things. In many ways, what we are seeing is a textbook case of cultural disruption.

Moving ‘relentlessly upwards’

According to the theory, disruptors are typically small actors who ask: Why should we do things the same way as before? They offer new and low-cost solutions to problems from below, moving “relentlessly upwards” and “eventually displacing” established institutions. In our time, disruptions in the business world are mostly made possible by digital technology, the best examples being Netflix, which used digital streaming to subvert network television, and Airbnb, which directly connected home sharers with potential guests.

I see sexual harassment victims as disruptors because they use social media platforms to circumvent legal channels for pursuing justice. The current sea change began with little-known individuals using Twitter and Facebook to share personal stories, echoing the “survivor speak-out” model long championed by feminists of the anti-violence movement.

Short-circuiting the law

The scale of the viral #MeToo hashtag led journalists to investigate and …
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Lessons From the General

 

Lessons From the General

Courtesy of 

Failure is a far better teacher than success because it’s much easier to duplicate failure than it is to replicate success. If we can study somebody’s shortcomings, we can take away tangible lessons and also realize that mistakes are just a part of the process. Some can be avoided, some we must learn for ourselves.

Ulysses S. Grant was an enormously successful General in the Civil War and he spent eight long years as President of a healing United States. But despite this heroic body of work, his financial life had plenty of room for improvement.

After a failed attempt at becoming a third-term President, the General settled into civilian life. He and his wife moved from St. Louis to New York City where, with the help of money raised for them, they bought a four-story brownstone for $98,000 ($2.1M in today’s dollars).

One of Grant’s sons, Buck, got into business with a young hotshot financier, Ferdinand Ward. Ward was referred to as the “Young Napoleon of finance” and some suggested he would one day become Secretary of the Treasury. The General had such confidence in Buck and his partner that he decided to kick in $50,000, most of the money he had, to help get the brokerage firm Grant & Ward up and running. This arrangement worked well for a few years. Grant & Ward paid him a monthly stipend and even kicked in some extra money from time to time.

Grant & Ward was did so well for its clients that there was a line of people waiting to throw money into the operation. In the epic biography Grant, Ron Chernow wrote, “One friend invested $50,000, disappeared for six months on a European vacation, then came home to a whopping $250,000 check. As others reaped 15 percent to 20 percent profits per month, a mania to invest with Grant & Ward overtook Wall Street.”

Today we recognize Grant & Ward as a classic ponzi scheme, but at the time, Grant was hopelessly naive. He said, “I think we have made more money during the past year than any other house in Wall Street.” He had no business…
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3 myths about the poor that Republicans are using to support slashing US safety net

 

3 myths about the poor that Republicans are using to support slashing US safety net

Courtesy of Michele GilmanUniversity of Baltimore

File 20171212 9451 1baw0sz.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Sen. Chuck Grassley recently seemed to suggest some poor people spend all their money on “booze or women or movies.” AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Republicans continue to use long-debunked myths about the poor as they defend lower taxes for the rich and deep cuts to the social safety net to pay for them. In so doing, they are essentially expressing scorn for working class and low-income Americans.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, for example, recently justified reducing the number of wealthy families exposed to the estate tax as a way to recognize “the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

Similarly, Sen. Orrin Hatch raised concerns about funding certain entitlement programs. “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything,” he said.

These statements, the likes of which I expect we’ll all hear more of in coming months, reinforce three harmful narratives about low-income Americans: People who receive benefits don’t work, they don’t deserve help and the money spent on the social safety net is a waste of money.

Based on my research and 20 years of experience as a clinical law professor representing low-income clients, I know that these statements are false and only serve to reinforce misconceptions about working class and poor Americans.

Food participants get an average of $125 a month, hardly enough to feed a family without earning money as well. AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Most welfare recipients are makers not takers

The first myth, that people who receive public benefits are “takers” rather than “makers,” is flatly untrue for the vast majority of working-age recipients.

Consider Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, formerly known as food stamps, which currently serve…
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How Republican missteps turned Alabama blue

 

How Republican missteps turned Alabama blue

Courtesy of David HughesAuburn University at Montgomery

File 20171213 27568 1gucpki.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Doug Jones supporters celebrate his stunning victory. AP Photo/John Bazemore

If there was one Republican in Alabama the Democratic Doug Jones could beat, Roy Moore was that Republican.

And in a Tuesday night nail-biter, Jones did just that, edging Moore by a mere 1.5 percentage points in a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1992.

So while the Democrats are celebrating a victory in the special election, perhaps it makes sense to ask: How did Republicans manage to lose this seat?

How we got here

Let’s take a moment simply to marvel at the bizarre and cumulatively improbable series of events that ever led us to a “Senator Jones.”

You could say it began in 2014. That’s when Dianne Bentley, wife of 50 years to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, a 71-year-old Baptist deacon, began to suspect her husband was having an affair with a member of his staff decades his junior. Dianne planted a recording device in the governor’s office and captured some intimate phone dialogue. The governor attempted to use state resources to cover up his affair. Dianne leaked her tape to the press and the controversy exploded.

Meanwhile, another scandal was brewing. Alabama Chief Justice and conservative firebrand, Roy Moore, was suspended from active service as a result of an ethics investigation stemming from orders he gave to the state’s 67 probate judges to disregard the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage. This was, incredibly, the second time in his career that he had been removed from the bench for defying a federal court order.

Back in gubernatorial purgatory, pressure had mounted upon Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange to investigate Bentley. Strange, though, was in no hurry to do this. You see, while the Bentley scandal was unfolding, Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. Trump selected Alabama’s junior U.S. senator, Jeff Sessions, to become his attorney general, thereby creating a vacancy in the Senate.

In this vacancy, Gov. Bentley…
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Comment by GrassHopper67

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  1. GrassHopper67

    Wonder if there is a sales pitch to get your Greencoin on their list of 50?  

    Is Bitcoin the only supported payment method?

    Pay with 50+ cryptocurrencies on OpenBazaar: BitcoinEthereumLitecoinZcashDash, etc. Seller receives payment in Bitcoin 

     

     







Why Worry Wednesday – The Fed Will Save Us Every Time

Bubbles, bubbles, everywhere.  

BitCoin has passed tulips in 1637 as the biggest bubble that ever existed.  The S&P bubble (see yesterday's post) is only up 300% in 8 years – hardly a blip on a chart where BitCoins (/XBT) is now up 6,500% in 3 years.  Amazingly, it was only two weeks ago when I said "We Will All Be Billionaires" if the markets keep growing at this pace yet the pace most certainly has continued, with our Money Talk portfolio (see yesterday) hitting +80% in yesterday's trading.  

There were no changes and no adjustments – just the same 4 positions going from +70% to +80% in two weeks while BitCoin went from $11,200 to $18,000 (+69%) and our GreenCoins went from 0.000220 to 0.000812 (+269%) before crashing back down to 0.000305 as we reminded people not to be greedy and take profits in yesterday's Live Member Chat Room.  Of course the whole thing is ridiculous, but it's a ridiculous thing we can play with – so why not?

We're still accepting GreenCoins (GRE) as payment for 2018 Annual Memberships during the month of December at 0.00044 so, if you can buy them for 0.000300, you're getting a 25% discount at the moment but I'd offer 0.000200 – as those lows are still filling if you are patient.  That gives you a 50% discount on Annual Memberships so, assuming you wanted an Annual Membership anyway, it's a free way to go through the process of playing the cryto market and, if you get lucky, GRE pops again and you can sell them for 4x, which pays for the Membership (2x) and leaves you 2x in your pocket as well!

Image result for bitcoin milestonesSee how easy it is to make money in America – we just make everyone rich on a weekly basis – what could possibly go wrong?  Two weeks ago, if you bought a BitCoin for $11,200 to exchange for GreenCoins (that's how small cryptos work, they trade in BitCoins) and you waited until they were back at 0.00022 on the 8th, your BitCoin was at $20,000 and you only needed 22.7M GreenCoins for a Premium…
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Zero Hedge

Swedish Housing Bubble Pops As Stockholm Apartment Prices Crash Most Since June 2009

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Even though Sweden’s property bubble is not the longest running (that accolade goes to Australia at 55 years), it is probably the world’s biggest with prices up roughly 6-fold since starting its meteoric rise in 1995.

Of course, as we noted last month when the SEB's housing price indicator, which measures the difference between those who believe prices will rise and those who expect t...



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Phil's Favorites

Fascism's return and Trump's war on youth

 

Fascism’s return and Trump’s war on youth

Courtesy of Henry GirouxMcMaster University

Donald Trump’s policies represent a particular attack on American youth and children, particularly those who are disadvantaged. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Fascism is all too often relegated to the history books.

The word conjures up a period in which civilized societies treated democracy with contempt, engaged in acts of systemic violence, practised extermination and elimination, supported an “apocalyptic populism,” suppressed dissent, promoted a hyper-nationalism, displayed contempt for women, embraced militarism as an absolute ideal and in...



more from Ilene

Biotech

Designer proteins that package genetic material could help deliver gene therapy

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

 

Designer proteins that package genetic material could help deliver gene therapy

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

Delivering genetic material is a key challenge in gene therapy. Invitation image created by Kstudio, CC BY

If you’ve ever bought a new iPhone, you’ve experienced good packaging.

The way the lid slowly separates from the box. The pull...



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Chart School

Rallies Slow As Semiconductor Selling Eases

Courtesy of Declan

Markets experienced early gains but gave them back by the close of business. Given the mini-rally of the past five days, some of the indices are looking vulnerable to a new round of selling.

The S&P finished with a narrow inverted hammer on low volume but at new highs. A move back to the newly accelerated channel is looking favored.
 


The Nasdaq also finished with a narrow doji but wasn't able to make new highs.  It's already close to one channel but looks more likely to reach down to th...



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Insider Scoop

Earnings Scheduled For December 13, 2017

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Companies Reporting Before The Bell
  • Lightinthebox Holding Co Ltd-ADR (NYSE: LITB) is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $0.01 per share on revenue of $78.49 million.
Companies Reporting After The Bell
  • ABM Industries, Inc. (NYSE: ABM) is expected to post quarterly earnings at $0.49 per share on revenue of $1.49 billion.
  • ...


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Digital Currencies

Not A Bubble?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Meet The Crypto Company - up almost 20,000% since inception in September...

To a market cap of over $12.6 billion...

Grant's Interest Rate Observer drew the world's attention to this 'company' yesterday.....



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ValueWalk

Tax Bill May Spark Exodus From High-Tax States

Courtesy of FinancialSense.com via ValueWalk.com

The following is a summary of our recent podcast, “Exodus – The Major Wealth Migration,” which can be listened to on our site here on on iTunes here.

It’s looking increasingl...



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Members' Corner

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 historica...



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Mapping The Market

Puts things in perspective

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

Puts things in perspective:

The circles don't look to be to scale much!

...

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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

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.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

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...

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

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