Archive for the ‘Members’ Corner’ Category

10 ways to spot online misinformation


10 ways to spot online misinformation

When you share information online, do it responsibly. Sitthiphong/Getty Images

Courtesy of H. Colleen Sinclair, Mississippi State University

Propagandists are already working to sow disinformation and social discord in the run-up to the November elections.

Many of their efforts have focused on social media, where people’s limited attention spans push them to share items before even reading them – in part because people react emotionally, not logically, to information they come across. That’s especially true when the topic confirms what a person already believes.

It’s tempting to blame bots and trolls for these problems. But really it’s our own fault for sharing so widely. Research has confirmed that lies spread faster than truth – mainly because lies are not bound to the same rules as truth.

As a psychological scientist who studies propaganda, here is what I tell my friends, students and colleagues about what to watch out for. That way, they can protect themselves – and each other – from lies, half-truths and misleading spins on current events.

Does this make you angry?

1. Did a post spark anger, disgust or fear?

If something you see online causes intense feelings – especially if that emotion is outrage – that should be a red flag not to share it, at least not right away. Chances are it was intended to short-circuit your critical thinking by playing on your emotions. Don’t fall for it.

Instead, take a breath.

The story will still be there after you verify it. If it turns out to be real, and you still want to share it, you may also want to consider the fire you may be contributing to. Do you need to fan the flames?

During these unprecedented times we have to be careful about not contributing to emotional contagions. Ultimately, you are not in charge of alerting the public to breaking news, and you’re not in any race to share things before other people do.

2. Did it make

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Bloody Mob Sh*t: An Interview with Lincoln’s Bible


Bloody Mob Sh*t: An Interview with Lincoln's Bible

We talk Trump, Mogilevich, Epstein, Giuliani, Fred Trump, Roy Cohn, and more.

Courtesy of Greg Olear at PREVAIL, author of Dirty Rubles: An Introduction to Trump/Russia

(Originally published on Feb. 21, 20.)


I DID NOT COME EASILY to the conclusion that Donald John Trump was a money launderer for the Russian mob. When I wrote Dirty Rubles in the spring of 2018, I was reluctant to make definitive accusations regarding the president’s relationship to organized crime. I had to be positive, before I said it with confidence.

Lincoln’s Bible (@lincolnsbible) always knew. She knew from the gate. And she was not shy about sharing her vast knowledge. She understands the workings of the mafiya better than anyone not paid to understand it. With her colleagues Louise Neufeld and Jay McKenzie, she established, a consortium of “self-funded citizen researchers” that serves as a bulwark against the underworld enemy “attacking and overwhelming the Fourth Estate.” That site is required reading, particularly “Poke the Bear,” published 3 November 2017, which connects a series of dots to reveal, basically, a bunch of mobbed-up Russian nesting dolls with Trump on the inside.

Hers is one of a select handful of Twitter accounts that are absolute must-follows. I’m quite sure that in the last three years, I’ve RT’d her more than anyone else. (She’s also a terrific editor who helped me hone one of the pieces I wrote about Brett Kavanaugh during his hearing). Eric Garland, of Game Theory fame, once told me, “There’s no one on Twitter I trust more than Lincoln’s Bible.” (Later, he added Lisa Page and Sally Yates to his short list). I quite agree.

Here is our interview, conducted this past week:

Greg Olear: Why did you choose the name Lincoln’s Bible?

Lincoln’s Bible: Symbolism is one of the most powerful tools of the Presidency. In 2008, the Library of Congress offered Abraham Lincoln’s personal bible to President Obama for his swearing-in ceremony. It was a potent symbol of our progress as a republic—as a people, striving for unity. So, when I saw donald put his filthy, blood-drenched, mob-money-laundering paw on it to swear his oath of office, I was

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Dark Towers – David Enrich’s Best-Seller About Deutsche Bank And Donald Trump


In his best-selling book Dark Towers, David Enrich, finance editor at The New York Times, chronicles the complicated history of Deutsche Bank and its entanglement with Donald Trump. Reviewing Dark Towers, Roger Lowenstein writes, 

"Enrich’s most tantalizing nugget is that in the summer of 2016, Jared Kushner’s real estate company (which received lavish financing from Deutsche) was moving money to various Russians. A bank compliance officer filed a “suspicious activity report,” but the report was quashed and she was fired. The suggestion that maybe the money was payback for Russian campaign meddling isn’t one that Enrich can prove. Similarly, we will have to wait to see if Deutsche can recover from years of banking malpractice that destroyed its capital and wiped out 95 percent of its stock price. In the meantime, Enrich has given us a thorough, clearly written and generally levelheaded account of a bank that lost its way."


From the book DARK TOWERS: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction by David Enrich. Copyright © 2020 by David Enrich. From Custom House, a line of books from William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.

In 2010, Deutsche hired a young man named Eric Ben-Artzi to work in its risk-management group, with a specific focus on its holdings of hard-to-value derivatives. Ben-Artzi had grown up in Israel in a family full of big, stubborn personalities. His grandfathers fought to secure Israel’s independence. One of his uncles was a paratrooper killed in action. Another uncle was Benjamin Netanyahu, the once and future prime minister. Ben- Artzi’s brother had become Israel’s most famous, or infamous, refusenik—a conscientious objector who was locked up for shirking his mandatory conscription in Israel’s armed forces. Less dramatically, Eric became a mathematician and computer programmer. Like so many others with those qualifications, he had drifted into banking, lured by the money and the challenges of solving complex financial riddles. But after a spell at Goldman Sachs, he discovered that he didn’t have the right constitution for Wall Street. The way he saw it, he wasn’t aggressive enough to be a salesman and wasn’t greedy enough to be a banker. His goal was to ease into academia, and he figured the Deutsche gig— with a heavy emphasis on theoretical research about…
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Threats to democracy: oligarchy, feudalism, dictatorship


Threats to democracy: oligarchy, feudalism, dictatorship

Courtesy of David Brin, Contrary Brin Blog 

Fascinating and important to consider, since it is probably one of the reasons why the world aristocracy is pulling its all-out putsch right now… “Trillions will be inherited over the coming decades, further widening the wealth gap,” reports the Los Angeles Times. The beneficiaries aren’t all that young themselves. From 1989 to 2016, U.S. households inherited more than $8.5 trillion. Over that time, the average age of recipients rose by a decade to 51. More than a quarter of bequests now go to adults 61 or older.

Fascinating and more evidence that stupidity is inherited. Because the rich should be the first to advocate FDR methods to prevent revolution, which the smartest aristos of the 1930s, like Joe Kennedy, all knew to be in their own interest. Instead, today's oligarchs appear to be doing everything in their power to bring tumbrels rolling. (And imagining that their hideaways in Patagonia, Siberia, New Zealand and under the sea will somehow provide safety from that inevitable rage.)

Matt Stoller explains how the fight against the recurring human curse of feudal oligarchy was fought in the 1930s, just in time for America to lead in resolving the crises of the 40s & 50s. (See The Man in The High Castle for where we were headed, without Greatest Generation heroes like FDR.) This seriously good video is highly informative and shows that other generations solved their own oligarchic putsches. We can solve ours.

I've seen one of the latest alt-right bullshittisms going around. They know they lose every wager based on facts and they now know everyone sapient can see climate disasters rising all around, directly caused by their cult. So one meme is "it was never gonna last, anyway!" Either fundie revelationism or else good old playground cynicism. "Soon all that will be left is jellyfish, so what matters?"

As you might guess I have an unusual answer. Do you know the Fermi Paradox? The question of why we see none of the great works out there among the stars, that we hope our own descendants may build?

Among my top five Fermi Paradox theories is one that I've seen no one else mention… feudalism as an attractor
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Why do people believe con artists?


Why do people believe con artists?

Would you buy medicine from this man? Carol M. Highsmith/Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Barry M. Mitnick, University of Pittsburgh

What is real can seem pretty arbitrary. It’s easy to be fooled by misinformation disguised as news and deepfake videos showing people doing things they never did or said. Inaccurate information – even deliberately wrong information – doesn’t just come from snake-oil salesmen, door-to-door hucksters and TV shopping channels anymore.

Even the president of the United States needs constant fact-checking. To date, he has made an average of 15 false or misleading public claims every day of his presidency, according to a tally from the Washington Post.

The study of business history reveals that people everywhere have always had a sweet tooth for the unreal, enthralled by what should be taken as too good to be true.

Cognitive scientists have identified a number of common ways in which people avoid being gullible. But con artists are especially skillful at what social scientists call framing, telling stories in ways that appeal to the biases, beliefs and prominent desires of their targets. They use strategies that take advantage of human weaknesses.

Unpleasant reality

Creator of the ultimate rationalist detective, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle became a devoted Spiritualist. Arnold Genthe/Wikimedia Commons

Often, people who are “emotionally vulnerable” are unwilling to accept an unpleasant reality. Consider Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the British author who created Sherlock Holmes, the ultimate deductive rationalist – a character who said, “When you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

Yet, after experiencing family tragedies and the horror of the deaths in World War I, Doyle publicly announced in 1916 that he subscribed to Spiritualist beliefs, including that the spirits of the dead can communicate with the living.

In 1922, Doyle visited Harry Houdini in his home in New York City and was shown a clever magic trick involving automatic writing on a suspended slate. Houdini…
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How to Stop Bill Barr


How to Stop Bill Barr

We must remove this cancer on our democracy.

Courtesy of Greg Olear, at PREVAIL, author of Dirty Rubles: An Introduction to Trump/Russia

THE THREE INDIVIDUALS on whose support the impeached criminal Donald John Trump most depends are Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corp., who heads the president’s popular propaganda media network; Mitch McConnell, the obstructionist Senate Majority Leader, who throttled the will of the people in the sham impeachment trial; and, above all, William Barr, the nihilist Attorney General, who has done everything in his considerable power to insulate Trump from the law—and, thus, to lurch our democracy toward despotism.

Murdoch will remain at Fox until he steps into direct sunlight or Van Helsing stakes his charred and ashy heart. McConnell will be dealt with in November, at the ballot box. But Barr represents a clear and present danger to the United States. His maneuvers at Justice have neutralized the Office of the Special Counsel, which Barr almost certainly shut down early, inoculating Trump and his minions from further investigation, despite the President’s numerous and egregious crimes.

With the news that the DOJ revised its sentencing recommendations for convicted Trumpist Roger Stone, and the subsequent resignation of all four of the federal prosecutors working that case in protest, it is now clear that, to help his orange overlord, Barr is willing to put his fat thumb on the scales of justice. This is especially dangerous because Barr, like McConnell, but alone among Trump cabinet members, actually knows how to wield the mighty powers at his command.

Let me be clear: Barr is not all-powerful. The DOJ is not a monolith, and it is staffed, in the main, by patriots, not traitors—as demonstrated by the aforementioned protest resignations of the four federal prosecutors. These patriots are doing their jobs, albeit working in what must be less-than-ideal circumstances. Even the report that Barr must sign off on any investigations into the president or any presidential candidate is not necessarily the tyrannical power-grab it might seem at first glance:

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We Are Different. And Different is Difficult.


Best-selling author and scientist David Brin shares another excerpt from his new book on the relentless war against democracy and how we can fight back. You can also read the firstsecond and final chapters of Polemical Judo at David's blog, Contrary Brin, and an excerpt from chapter 5, The War on All Fact People, right here



Excerpted from David Brin's book, in chapter 10, Polemical Judo: Memes for our Political Knife-fight (pp. 159-161). Kindle Edition.    

I’ve asserted that the Rooseveltian reforms might have been too successful. Historians credit them with saving western capitalism by vesting the working class with a large stake. Indeed, they were so successful that the very idea of class war – rampant across almost every other nation and time – seems not even to occur to American boomers. [230]  But as boomers age-out, is that grand time of naïve delusion over?

Forbes in 2016 announced that just 62 ultra-rich individuals have as much wealth as the bottom half of humanity.[231] Five years before, it took 388 rich guys to achieve that status.[232] Which raises a question I’ll repeat ad nauseam throughout this book. Where the heck does this rising, proto-feudal oligarchy think it will all lead?

To a restoration of humanity’s normal, aristocratic pyramid of power, with them on top? Or to radicalization, as a billion members of the hard-pressed but highly skilled and tech-empowered middle class rediscover class struggle, alongside five billion angry workers? (I portray both possibilities in a near-future novel, Existence.) The last time this happened, in the 1930s, lordly owner castes in Germany, Japan, Britain and the U.S. used their mass media ownership to stir populist rightwing movements, hoping to suppress activity on the left while allowing business as usual. Not one of these efforts succeeded. In Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan, their pet monsters rose up and took over, leading to immense pain for all and eventual loss of most of that oligarchic wealth.

In Britain and the U.S. 1930s reactionary fomenters dragged us all-too-near the same path… till moderate reformers
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Humans are hardwired to dismiss facts that don’t fit their worldview


Could the tendency for biases to lead to fact denial as described here for beliefs about subjects such as climate change, vaccines, GMOs and Donald Trump could be applied to investing decisions as well? Think about our reluctance to give up on a failing company or lock in a big loss…  


Humans are hardwired to dismiss facts that don't fit their worldview

What’s behind this natural tendency? Zhou Eka/

Courtesy of Adrian Bardon, Wake Forest University

Something is rotten in the state of American political life. The U.S. (among other nations) is increasingly characterized by highly polarized, informationally insulated ideological communities occupying their own factual universes.

Within the conservative political blogosphere, global warming is either a hoax or so uncertain as to be unworthy of response. Within other geographic or online communities, vaccines, fluoridated water and genetically modified foods are known to be dangerous. Right-wing media outlets paint a detailed picture of how Donald Trump is the victim of a fabricated conspiracy.

None of that is correct, though. The reality of human-caused global warming is settled science. The alleged link between vaccines and autism has been debunked as conclusively as anything in the history of epidemiology. It’s easy to find authoritative refutations of Donald Trump’s self-exculpatory claims regarding Ukraine and many other issues.

Yet many well-educated people sincerely deny evidence-based conclusions on these matters.

In theory, resolving factual disputes should be relatively easy: Just present evidence of a strong expert consensus. This approach succeeds most of the time, when the issue is, say, the atomic weight of hydrogen.

But things don’t work that way when the scientific consensus presents a picture that threatens someone’s ideological worldview. In practice, it turns out that one’s political, religious or ethnic identity quite effectively predicts one’s willingness to accept expertise on any given politicized issue.

Motivated reasoning” is what social scientists call the process of deciding what evidence to accept based on the conclusion one prefers. As I explain in my book, “The Truth About Denial,” this very human tendency applies to all kinds of facts about the physical…
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What We Talk About When We Talk About the Russian Mob


What We Talk About When We Talk About the Russian Mob

Iron Triangles & the Taxonomy of Treason

Courtesy of Greg Olear, at PREVAIL, author of Dirty Rubles: An Introduction to Trump/Russia

IN ROBERT MUELLER’S famed “Iron Triangles” speech, given to the Citizens Crime Commission of New York on 27 January 2011, the then-FBI Director explains how 21st century transnational organized crime works. (He also, improbably, cracks a joke about Justin Bieber’s haircut, the only sentence in the speech that feels dated). The so-called “mob” is no longer run by a few families, Mueller says, but rather “flat, fluid networks with global reach,” comprised of groups in countries all around the world, which are “more anonymous and more sophisticated.”

What we call the Russian mob is not even Russian, per se. Most of the key players hail from other former Soviet Socialist Republics—Ukraine in particular. Semion Mogilevich was born in Ukraine. So was Dmytro Firtash. Lev Parnas is Ukrainian, as is Michael Cohen’s wife’s family; Igor Fruman was born in today’s Belarus, but owns a club (Mafia Rave) in Odessa. But none of them live in the Old Country anymore. After escaping the Soviet Union via Israel, Mogilevich operated for many years in Budapest, and now resides in Moscow. Vienna is the base of operations for Firtash. Parnas, Fruman, and Cohen’s wife’s family all live in the U.S.

In Dirty Rubles, I wrote that the Russian mob was “more S.P.E.C.T.R.E. than GoodFellas.” Mueller uses a different, but no less relevant, pop cultural reference: “This is not The Sopranos, with six guys sitting in a diner,” he says, “shaking down a local business owner for $50 dollars a week.” The operation is orders of magnitude greater, he tells us.

In Red Mafiya, still the seminal book on the Russian mob, Robert Friedman outlines numerous mob operations that are basically schemes to rip off Medicare. What that means is that these crooks come to the United States and flat-out steal our money—and make medical costs more expensive in the process. That sort of thing is the tip of the iceberg. Mueller goes on:

These criminal enterprises are making billions of dollars from human trafficking, health care fraud, computer intrusions, and copyright infringement. They are cornering the market on natural gas, oil, and precious metals, and selling

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The War on All Fact People


Best-selling author and scientist David Brin shares an excerpt from his new book, Polemical Judo, on the relentless war against democracy and how we can fight back. You can read the first, second and final chapters on David's blog, Contrary Brin, and an excerpt from chapter 10, We are Different, Different is Difficult, here.


The War on All Fact People 

Excerpted from David Brin's new book, the beginning of chapter 5, Polemical Judo: Memes for our Political Knife-fight (pp. 56-62). Kindle Edition.    

I may be ostracized for saying it, but the core targets of the Fox/Putin-led oligarchic putsch aren’t racism or sexism or nativism.[80]

Oh, the foremost victims – those most deeply hurt – are minorities, women, immigrants, non-binaries, the disempowered, millions of children and vulnerable others! To varying degrees, they are the ones suffering pain and gross injustice. And sure, bigotry’s dog-whistles have incited America’s worst elements into violent rage. In The New York Times, Charles Blow summarizes: they support Trump because he is mean to the people they like to be mean to.[81]

“Trump’s own punitive spirit aligns with and gives voice and muscle to American conservatives’ long simmering punitive lust. And this insatiable desire to inflict pain has particular targets: women (specifically feminists), racial minorities, people who are L.G.B.T.Q. and religious minorities in this country. In short, the punishments are directed at anyone who isn’t part of, or supportive of, the white supremacist patriarchy.”

Still, turn your gaze upward from pathetic Nazis and jibbering supremacists, to their masters and hypnotizing controllers. Ponder what those masters need. To them, bigotry is incidental – a leverage tool. Their bid for total power is not blocked by the powerless. But it might truly be thwarted by other, competing “elites.” Consider the bleak prospects for enlightened civilization across this current battlefield. With our elections cheat-stolen, our courts stuff-stacked with shills, millions incited into populist madness, and wealth disparities skyrocketing, just one force stands in feudalism’s way. The new lords must neutralize the counter-effectiveness of our fact-professions.[82]

  • Scientists.[83]                 

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Phil's Favorites

Here's how scientists are tracking the genetic evolution of COVID-19


Here's how scientists are tracking the genetic evolution of COVID-19

Why do scientists care about mutations on the coronavirus? Alexandr Gnezdilov Light Painting

Niema Moshiri, University of California San Diego

When you hear the term “evolutionary tree,” you may think of Charles Darwin and the study of the relationships between different species over the span of millions of years.

While the concept of an “evolutionary tree” originated in Darwin’s “...

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Here's how scientists are tracking the genetic evolution of COVID-19


Here's how scientists are tracking the genetic evolution of COVID-19

Why do scientists care about mutations on the coronavirus? Alexandr Gnezdilov Light Painting

Niema Moshiri, University of California San Diego

When you hear the term “evolutionary tree,” you may think of Charles Darwin and the study of the relationships between different species over the span of millions of years.

While the concept of an “evolutionary tree” originated in Darwin’s “...

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Zero Hedge

"They've Left Me High And Dry": Here Is The Real Reason Companies Have Drawn Down A Record $293 Billion In Revolvers

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

One week ago, we reported that starting exactly one month ago on March 5, an unprecedented wave of corporate revolver draws was unleashed, resulting in what JPMorgan calculated was a record $208BN in revolving credit facilities being fully drawn (for the full list of companies see ...

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AZO and ORLY: Which one is a better buy?

By Marek Mscichowski. Originally published at ValueWalk.

AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE:AZO) and O’Reilly Automotive Inc (NASDAQ:ORLY): Both auto parts retailers are uncorrelated to S&P 500, but which one is a better buy?

By Price Earnings Ratio Tracker Team

Q4 2019 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Over recent months I have created valuation models for the two main competitors in the auto parts retail business – AutoZone, the leader on the coasts with a $26 billion market ca...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

S&P Repeating 2000 & 2007 Patterns Almost Exactly?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Does History Repeat? Is does rhyme sometimes!!!

This chart looks at the S&P 500 on a weekly basis over the past 20-years.

The S&P declined by 50% during the 2000-2003 bear market. On the week of 3/23/2001, it experienced its first counter-trend rally, which lasted 8-weeks, before the bear market resumed.

The S&P declined by 50% during the 2007-2009 bear market. On the week of 3/21/2001, it experienced its first counter-trend rally, which lasted 8-weeks, before the bear ...

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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
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The Technical Traders

Founder of TradersWorld Magazine Issued Special Report for Free

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Larry Jacobs owner and editor of TradersWorld magazine published a free special report with his top article and market forecast to his readers yesterday.

What is really exciting is that this forecast for all assets has played out exactly as expected from the stock market crash within his time window to the gold rally, and sharp sell-off. These forecasts have just gotten started the recent moves were only the first part of his price forecasts.

There is only one article in this special supplement, click on the image or link below to download and read it today!


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Chart School

Big moving Averages and macro investment decisions

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

When price is falling every one wonders where demand will come in.

RTT black screen Tv videos study the simplest measure of price (simple moving average). What has happen before guides us now. 

Changes in the world is the source of all market moves, to catch and ride the change we believe a combination of Gann Angles, ...

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Members' Corner

10 ways to spot online misinformation


10 ways to spot online misinformation

When you share information online, do it responsibly. Sitthiphong/Getty Images

Courtesy of H. Colleen Sinclair, Mississippi State University

Propagandists are already working to sow disinformation and social discord in the run-up to the November elections.

Many of their efforts have focused on social media, where people’s limited attention spans push them to ...

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Digital Currencies

While coronavirus rages, bitcoin has made a leap towards the mainstream


While coronavirus rages, bitcoin has made a leap towards the mainstream

Get used to it. Anastasiia Bakai

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

Anyone holding bitcoin would have watched the market with alarm in recent weeks. The virtual currency, whose price other cryptocurrencies like ethereum and litecoin largely follow, plummeted from more than US$10,000 (£8,206) in mid-February to briefly below US$4,000 on March 13. Despite recovering to the mid-US$6,000s at the time of writin...

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Free, Live Webinar on Stocks, Options and Trading Strategies

TODAY's LIVE webinar on stocks, options and trading strategy is open to all!

Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

This week, we also have a special presentation from Mike Anton of It's a new service that we're excited to be a part of! 

Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  


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Lee's Free Thinking

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires


Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

Courtesy of  

The repo market problem isn’t the problem. It’s a sideshow, a diversion, and a joke. It’s a symptom of the problem.

Today, I got a note from Liquidity Trader subscriber David, a professional investor, and it got me to thinking. Here’s what David wrote:


The ‘experts’ I hear from keep saying that once 300B more in reserves have ...

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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:


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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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