Archive for the ‘Members’ Corner’ Category

Trump impeachment trial: Decades of research show language can incite violence

 

Trump impeachment trial: Decades of research show language can incite violence

The U.S. Capitol, which was besieged by insurrectionists on Jan. 6, and where the Trump impeachment trial takes place in the Senate. Xinhua/Liu Jie via Getty Images

Courtesy of Kurt Braddock, American University School of Communication

Senators, acting in the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump that begins on Feb. 9, will soon have to decide whether to convict the former president for inciting a deadly, violent insurrection at the Capitol building on Jan. 6.

A majority of House members, including 10 Republicans, took the first step in the two-step impeachment process in January. They voted to impeach Trump, for “incitement of insurrection.” Their resolution states that he “willfully made statements that, in context, encourage – and foreseeably resulted in – lawless action at the Capitol, such as: ‘if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.’”

Impeachment proceedings that consider incitement to insurrection are rare in American history. Yet dozens of legislators – including some Republicans – say that Trump’s actions leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol contributed to an attempted insurrection against American democracy itself.

Such claims against Trump are complicated. Rather than wage direct war against sitting U.S. representatives, Trump is accused of using language to motivate others to do so. Some have countered that the connection between President Trump’s words and the violence of Jan. 6 is too tenuous, too abstract, too indirect to be considered viable.

However, decades of research on social influence, persuasion and psychology show that the messages that people encounter heavily influence their decisions to engage in certain behaviors.

Donald Trump’s speech on Jan. 6 at the “Save America March.”

How it works

The research shows that the messages people consume affect their behaviors in three ways.

First, when a person encounters a message that advocates a behavior, that person is likely to believe that the behavior will have positive results. This is particularly true if…
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Navalny returns to Russia and brings anti-Putin politics with him

 

Navalny returns to Russia and brings anti-Putin politics with him

Protesters oppose riot police during a rally in support of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny on January 31, 2021 in Moscow, Russia. Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images

Courtesy of Regina Smyth, Indiana University

Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny and his team have stunned the Russian government again, forcing President Vladimir Putin and his allies to confront significant protest led by a foe they hoped to first sideline and, more recently, eliminate.

Navalny was nearly killed in August by the Novichok nerve agent in what most experts believe was an assassination attempt by the Kremlin. But he survived, after being airlifted from Russia to Germany, where he spent five months recovering.

The Kremlin discouraged Navalny from returning to Russia by revoking his probation on previous charges and issuing an arrest warrant.

In response, Navalny said, “Russia is my country, Moscow is my city, I miss them.” He flew back on Jan. 17 and was immediately detained.

Navalny didn’t go quietly: His call for protests against his detention brought Russians to the streets in late January, in the largest opposition events in a decade and the most geographically widespread actions since the late Soviet period.

Navalny at passport control in Moscow on his return, just before he was arrested.

Alexei Navalny is seen at the passport control point at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Jan. 17; he was then arrested by Russian police. Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images)

A controversial leader

I write about Navalny’s opposition strategy in my book “Elections, Protest, and Authoritarian Regime Stability: Russia 2008-2020,” which explores the nature of Navalny’s threat to the Kremlin.

Since 2011, Navalny has been often quoted saying that his goal is to live in a normal country that is fair and can realize its economic potential. When he ran for Moscow mayor in 2013, his campaign slogan was “Change Russia, Begin with Moscow.”

Rivals in the opposition and in the regime dispute his motivations. During his early political career, Navalny espoused ethnic nationalist beliefs, and participated in the far…
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Far-right groups move to messaging apps as tech companies crack down on extremist social media

 

Far-right groups move to messaging apps as tech companies crack down on extremist social media

Far-right groups like the Proud Boys, seen here marching in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 12, are increasingly organizing their activities on messaging services like Telegram. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Courtesy of Kevin GrishamCalifornia State University San Bernardino

Right-wing extremists called for open revolt against the U.S. government for months on social media following the election in November. Behind the scenes on private messaging services, many of them recruited new followers, organized and planned actions, including the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Encrypted messaging platforms like Telegram, which was launched in 2013, have become places for violent extremists to meet up and organize. Telegram serves a dual purpose. It created a space where conversations can occur openly in the service’s public channels. Those who wanted more privacy can message one another through private chats.

In these private chats, violent extremists can share tactics, organize themselves and radicalize, something I’ve observed in my research of hate and extremism. New Telegram users are exposed to violent extremist beliefs on the public side of Telegram and then group members carry out the logistics of recruiting and organizing in the private chats.

Online extremism’s long history

Violent extremists’ use of the internet is not new. In the 1990s, electronic bulletin boards and simple websites allowed white supremacists, neo-Nazis, anti-government groups and a variety of other violent extremists to sell their ideologies and recruit.

In the 2000s, mainstream social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter became the new way for extremists to recruit and spread their beliefs. For many years, these groups cultivated their online presences and gained followers on these mainstream platforms.

Alternative social media outlets, including Gab, 4chan and 8kun (formerly 8chan), developed shortly thereafter. These provided forums where violent extremists could post hate speech and calls for violence without fear of being blocked.

Studies have shown that after 2010 social media generally contributed to an increase in radicalization of individuals by violent extremist movements in the U.S.

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One Day More

 

Happy Weekend! After four years, I'm finally not worrying that Trump will do something crazy over the weekend and cause the market to plunge on Monday. Progress. 

 





What is the ‘boogaloo’ and who are the rioters who stormed the Capitol? 5 essential reads

 

What is the 'boogaloo' and who are the rioters who stormed the Capitol? 5 essential reads

Rioters mass on the U.S. Capitol steps on Jan. 6. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Courtesy of Jeff Inglis, The Conversation

In the wake of the insurrection on Jan. 6, the U.S. is bracing for the possibility of additional violent demonstrations and potential riots at the U.S. Capitol and state capitol buildings around the nation. While many were in Washington, D.C., ostensibly to protest what they wrongly saw as a stolen election, their presence – and their actions – reflect a larger set of goals that American militants are hoping to seize upon to take more extreme action.

Several articles by scholars of violent extremism, white supremacy and militias explain the path down which these rioters and insurrectionists seek to take America. The Conversation U.S. has compiled excerpts of five of those articles, seeking to explain the rift that has torn wide open in American society.

U.S. Capitol storming, gallows, Trump supporters

A gallows, in part symbolizing the lynching of Jews as part of a massive race war, was among the hate symbols was erected as crowds stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C. Shay Horse/NurPhoto via Getty Images

1. What is the ‘boogaloo’?

QAnon followers, the Proud Boys and the other far-right and alt-right groups that converged on Washington imagined that they were living out the great fantasy that underlies what many consider to be the bible of the white nationalism movement, a 1978 dystopian novel, ‘The Turner Diaries,’ by William Luther Pierce,” writes Jonathan D. Sarna, a scholar of anti-Semitism at Brandeis University.

“The novel depicts the violent overthrow of the government of the United States, nuclear conflagration, race war and the ultimate extermination of nonwhites and ‘undesirable racial elements among the remaining White population,’” he explains.

This widespread and extremely violent conflagration is often called the “boogaloo” by its adherents.

2. Militants seek to accelerate conflict

Amy Cooter, a sociologist at Vanderbilt University who has extensively studied the American militia movement, reports that some far-right…
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Trump’s Twitter feed shows ‘arc of the hero,’ from savior to showdown

 

Trump's Twitter feed shows 'arc of the hero,' from savior to showdown

Trump’s tweets depict himself as the lone savior of America. AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Courtesy of Ronald Hill, American University Kogod School of Business

The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The big idea

I’ve analyzed over 30,000 tweets from Donald Trump’s Twitter feed from January 2015 to December 2020. They show Trump following a “hero’s journey,” from presenting himself as a savior as he first announced his candidacy for president to his post-election fight and showdown with his perceived enemies.

My paper, which is currently undergoing peer review, looks at Trump’s social media use through the lens of brand storytelling and what is known among scholars as the “hero’s journey,” based on the work of mythologist Joseph Campbell. In his 1949 book “Hero with a Thousand Faces,” Campbell explains that hero quests follow similar trajectories: The hero leaves his ordinary world and enters a place of supernatural wonders. He then faces a series of trials, survives, receives his reward and returns home.

Trump’s Twitter feed – now archived after his account was suspended – chronicles how the president left his comfortable life as a billionaire real estate magnate and entered the political realm as a savior who would protect Americans from immigrants, Muslims, Democrats and even fellow Republicans such as the primary opponents he vanquished to become the party’s nominee. As his Twitter feed tells the story, he also experienced trials that ordinary persons could not have endured, such as the “Russia hoax” and his first impeachment, emerging unscathed. “No collusion, no obstruction,” he frequently wrote, referring to his account of the result of the Mueller investigation into Russian election interference.

His election loss in November means his journey must come to an end, but, to him and his supporters, his job is not complete – and no one else can take his place. So it is no surprise that the hero of the story would fight back with all his might in a final showdown and call on the supernatural energy of his…
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Trump supporters seeking more violence could target state capitols during inauguration – here’s how cities can prepare

 

Trump supporters seeking more violence could target state capitols during inauguration – here's how cities can prepare

The FBI says armed protests are planned at all 50 state capitols ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Courtesy of Jennifer Earl, University of Arizona

Americans witnessed an alarming and deadly failure in planning and policing at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The FBI failed to sound intelligence alarms, including about dozens of targets on the terrorist watch list traveling to Washington, D.C.

U.S. Park Police, D.C. police and the National Guard, who collectively policed the “Save America” rally that preceded the riot, deviated from common crowd-control techniques by allowing rallygoers to bring flagpoles and other items that were later used as weapons. Capitol Police also failed to take seriously threats from white supremacists and other Trump supporters. They lacked contingency planning, proper staffing and adequate equipment.

As an expert on the policing of protest and political violence in the U.S., I understand why D.C. agencies are embarrassed by their lapses and feel pressure to take intelligence on threats of violence at President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20 more seriously.

The inauguration is a national special-security event, an official designation that means the event gets more resources and interagency planning.

Other cities across the country, however, also face a risk of violence.

Risks to other cities

The FBI says it has intelligence on threats of violence at state capitols throughout the U.S. over the next week. It expanded its warnings to include other government buildings and even legislators’ homes.

State capitols were already attacked multiple times in 2020. Armed anti-maskers stormed the Michigan Statehouse in April to protest COVID-19 safety measures. Right-wing rioters in Oregon, who were allegedly let into the Statehouse by a sympathetic legislator, attacked officers and damaged Capitol property. And, of course, there was the foiled plan by members of a white militia to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and overthrow the Michigan state government.

These risks outside of D.C. may be…
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The far-right rioters at the Capitol were not antifa – but violent groups often blame rivals for unpopular attacks

 

The far-right rioters at the Capitol were not antifa – but violent groups often blame rivals for unpopular attacks

Protesters who claimed to be members of the far-right Proud Boys gather with other Trump supporters outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Courtesy of Mia Bloom, Georgia State University

Some Republican congressional leaders, including U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz, Mo Brooks and Paul Gosar, along with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, joined President Trump in trying to pin the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol building on antifa, a loose movement of left-wing, anti-racist and anti-fascist activists.

The FBI negated the baseless claims, and people have recognized the conspiracy theory as a false flag – an act designed to disguise the actual source or responsible party and implicate another.

In contrast, members of extreme right-wing groups like the boogaloo movement and the Proud Boys did in fact infiltrate the George Floyd protests this summer, trying to spark violence between Black Lives Matter protesters and police.

And at the Capitol, it appears Proud Boys members hid their affiliation to better blend in with the crowd.

As an expert on terrorist tactics and propaganda, I am well acquainted with the idea that far-right militants sometimes try to hide their own identities.

Terrorist deception is an age-old tactic. Deception helps terrorist groups innovate by allowing them to learn, master and experiment with new tactics while protecting their identities and reputation.

The guise of mimicry

The most obvious form of deception – mimicry – is emulating the specific tactics and strategies of other groups.

The history of suicide terrorism, for example, is replete with examples of contagion and mimicry. Suicide terrorism spread from Iran to Lebanon to Sri Lanka to the Palestinian territories. It has been used by at least 58 different groups in 35 countries.

Just as plants and animals mimic other species to lure prey or hide from predators, mimicry enables violent groups to portray themselves in a variety of guises for…
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The Confederate battle flag, which rioters flew inside the US Capitol, has long been a symbol of white insurrection

 

The Confederate battle flag, which rioters flew inside the US Capitol, has long been a symbol of white insurrection

A historic first: the Confederate battle flag inside the U.S. Capitol. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Courtesy of Jordan Brasher, Columbus State University

Confederate soldiers never reached the Capitol during the Civil War. But the Confederate battle flag was flown by rioters in the U.S. Capitol building for the first time ever on Jan. 6.

The flag’s prominence in the Capitol riot comes as no surprise to those who, like me, know its history: Since its debut during the Civil War, the Confederate battle flag has been flown regularly by white insurrectionists and reactionaries fighting against rising tides of newly won Black political power.

Four flags of the Confederacy

An 1897 lithograph shows changes in Confederate flag design. The ‘Southern Cross’ design, chosen to visually distinguish Confederates from Union soldiers in battle, became a symbol of white insurrection. Library of Congress via National Geographic

The infamous diagonal blue cross with white stars on a red background was never the Confederacy’s official symbol. The Confederacy’s original “stars and bars” design was too similar to the U.S. flag, which led to confusion on the battlefields, where troop positions were marked by flags.

The official flag went through a series of changes in attempts to distinguish Confederate from Union troops. The Confederacy would ultimately adopt the “Southern Cross” as its battle flag – cementing it as a symbol of white insurrection. While it is technically the battle flag, it has been used the most, and therefore has become known more generally as the Confederate flag.

The battle of Franklin

The Confederate battle flag figures prominently in this depiction of the 1864 battle of Franklin, Tennessee. Kurz and Allison, restoration by Adam Cuerden, via Wikimedia Commons

The original emblem

Six decades before the Nazi swastika became an instantly recognizable symbol of white supremacists, the Confederate battle flag flew over the forces of the insurgent Confederate States…
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QAnon is an Attack on Democracy and Must Be Eliminated

 

[Jim posted a detailed Tweet-thread to follow up on the characters mentioned in the graphic below. I've added his tweet at the end of the article.]

QAnon is an Attack on Democracy and Must Be Eliminated

Courtesy of Jim Stewartson@jimstewartson

[Originally published 12-17-20, updated 1-12-21.]

This is a chart developed over several months of investigation. It shows the individuals, functions and relationships of the top leadership of QAnon as currently understood.

This is not a historical review—it is only concerned with the people running QAnon now.

Update: January 12, 2021

I will write a full update soon. But the recent events at the Capitol emphasize the urgency of understanding this operation and shutting it down immediately.

Twitter has done a good job of dismantling most of the major QAnon accounts but the cult has not disappeared. It is moving into the shadows in small alt-right social media networks. In our estimation there are at least thirty million people who believe at least part of the QAnon fiction.

There is a serious danger of violence through the Inauguration and thereafter. Please consider your personal risk factors and plan accordingly.

If you are interested in helping or need help with loved ones, we are building a movement. please DM: https://twitter.com/jimstewartson?s=21

Investigation and Process

This investigation began in early August 2020 by Jim Stewartson who has joined hundreds of fellow patriots in exposing and suppressing this dangerous group. Here is an article summarizing some of our activities.

Where the F*CK is Q?

TL;DR [too long; didn't read]:

  • We have collected thousands of pieces of hard evidence including emails, DMs, Discord chats and other comms between these parties.
  • We have conducted an extremely thorough review of the available relevant material online, including on Tor and other dark web networks.


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Zero Hedge

Developer Pivots Luxury Brooklyn High-Rise Condo To Rentals 

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

A high-end condominium glut in Brooklyn forced one developer to reconstruct its entire business model from condos to rentals for one of its new luxury highrises. 

Avery Hall Investments announced Monday the commencement of leasing at One Boerum Place located at Brooklyn Heights and Boerum Hill. Bloomberg notes ...



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Phil's Favorites

After Mega Banks Supervised by the Fed Lose Over $10 Billion to a Highly Leveraged Hedge Fund, Fed Puts Lipstick on a Pig in its Financial Stability Report

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Remember the phrase “putting lipstick on a pig.” It became popular after the dot.com bust when it was learned that the big Wall Street banks had glowingly recommended “hot” new issues of stocks to their customers while secretly calling them “crap” and “dogs” in internal emails.

Putting lipstick on a pig is what the Federal Reserve is attempting to do in the Financial Stability Report it rel...



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Digital Currencies

NFTs are much bigger than an art fad - here's how they could change the world

 

NFTs are much bigger than an art fad – here's how they could change the world

Homes fit for zeroes (and ones). Julien Tromeur

Courtesy of James Bowden, University of Strathclyde and Edward Thomas Jones, Bangor University

Sotheby’s has become the latest establishment name in art to dive into NFTs (non-fungible tokens) through its collaboration with anonymous ...



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Biotech/COVID-19

India COVID crisis: four reasons it will derail the world economy

 

India COVID crisis: four reasons it will derail the world economy

India is the fifth largest economy in the world. Deepak Choudhary/Unsplash

Courtesy of Uma S Kambhampati, University of Reading

The second wave of the pandemic has struck India with a devastating impact. With over 300,000 new cases and 3,000 deaths across the country each day at present, the total number of deaths has just passed the 200,000 mark – that’s about one in 16 of all COVID deaths across the world....



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Chart School

Yellen can not stop the dollar decline

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Printing money results in a lower currency, so long as the currency does not fall too fast.

Previous Post: US Dollar Forecast - Weakness

Here are the very strong fundamentals for a lower US dollar: 

(a) US inflation exploding.
(b) Massive US twin deficits.
(c) Better conditions in Europe.

However French election worries in 2022 Q1 and Q2 may provide US dollar strength (via European weakness) after Christmas, but this strength may come after a low in the DXY near $84.  

It looks like Yellen knows a down swing in the US dollar is near because ...

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Politics

If China's middle class continues to thrive and grow, what will it mean for the rest of the world?

 

If China's middle class continues to thrive and grow, what will it mean for the rest of the world?

Over the past few decades, hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens have become part of the middle class. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Courtesy of Amitrajeet A. Batabyal, Rochester Institute of Technology

China’s large and impressive accomplishments over the past four decades have spurred scholars and politicians to debate whether the decline of the West – including the ...



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ValueWalk

Managing Investments As A Charity Or Nonprofit

By Anna Peel. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Maintaining financial viability is a constant challenge for charities and nonprofit organizations.

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

The past year has underscored that challenge. The pandemic has not just affected investment returns – it’s also had serious implications for charitable activities and the ability to fundraise. For some organizations, it’s even raised doubts about whether they can continue to operate.

Finding ways to generate long-term, sustainable returns for ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Will Historic Selloff In Treasury Bonds Turn Into Opportunity?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Long-dated treasury bonds have been crushed over the past year, sending ETFs like TLT (20+ Year US Treasury Bond ETF) spiraling over 20%.

Improving economy? Inflation concerns? Perhaps a combination of both… interest rates have risen sharply and thus bond prices have fallen in historic fashion.

Today’s chart looks at $TLT over the past 20 years. As you can see, the recent decline has truly been historic. $TLT’s price has swung from historically overbought highs to oversold lows.

At present, the long-dated bond ETF ($TLT) is trading 7.8% below its 200-...



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Mapping The Market

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

 

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

Courtesy of Marcus Lu, Visual Capitalist

The Suez Canal: A Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

On March 23, 2021, a massive ship named Ever Given became lodged in the Suez Canal, completely blocking traffic in both directions. According to the Suez Canal Authority, the 1,312 foot long (400 m) container ship ran aground during a sandstorm that caused low visibility, impacting the ship’s navigation. The vessel is owned by Taiwanese shipping firm, Evergreen Marine.

With over 2...



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Promotions

Phil's Stock World's Weekly Webinar - March 10, 2021

Don't miss our latest weekly webinar! 

Join us at PSW for LIVE Webinars every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 PM EST.

Phil's Stock World's Weekly Webinar – March 10, 2021

 

Major Topics:

00:00:01 - EIA Petroleum Status Report
00:04:42 - Crude Oil WTI
00:12:52 - COVID-19 Update
00:22:08 - Bonds and Borrowed Funds | S&P 500
00:45:28 - COVID-19 Vaccination
00:48:32 - Trading Techniques
00:50:34 - PBR
00:50:43 - LYG
00:50:48 - More Trading Techniques
00:52:59 - Chinese Hacks Microsoft's E...



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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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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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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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