Archive for the ‘Phil’s Favorites’ Category

Militarization has fostered a policing culture that sets up protesters as ‘the enemy’

 

Militarization has fostered a policing culture that sets up protesters as 'the enemy'

Sheriffs deputies in riot gear move in on protesters in Los Angeles, California. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

Courtesy of Tom Nolan, Emmanuel College

The unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd after being pinned to the ground by the knee of a Minneapolis police officer has left parts of U.S. cities looking like a battle zone.

Night after night, angry protesters have taken to the street. So too have police officers dressed in full riot gear and backed by an arsenal that any small military force would be proud of: armored vehicles, military-grade aircraft, rubber and wooden bullets, stun grenades, sound cannons and tear gas canisters.

The militarization of police departments has been a feature of U.S. domestic law enforcement since the 9/11 attacks. What is clear from the latest round of protest and response, is that despite efforts to promote de-escalation as a policy, police culture appears to be stuck in an “us vs. them” mentality.

Setting up the enemy

As a former police officer of 27 years and a scholar who has written on the policing of marginalized communities, I have observed the militarization of the police firsthand, especially in times of confrontation.

I have seen, throughout my decades in law enforcement, that police culture tends to privilege the use of violent tactics and non-negotiable force over compromise, mediation, and peaceful conflict resolution. It reinforces a general acceptance among officers of the use of any and all means of force available when confronted with real or perceived threats to officers.

We have seen this play out during the first week of protests following Floyd’s death in cities from Seattle to Flint to Washington, D.C.

The police have deployed a militarized response to what they accurately or inaccurately believe to be a threat to public order, private property, and their own safety. It is in part due to a policing culture in which protesters are often perceived as the “enemy.” Indeed teaching cops to think like soldiers and learn how to
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Trump, the politics of fear and racism: How our brains can be manipulated to tribalism

 

Trump, the politics of fear and racism: How our brains can be manipulated to tribalism

A protester reacts after being hit by pepper spray from police as their group of demonstrators are detained prior to arrest at a gas station on South Washington Street, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Minneapolis. John Minchillo/AP Photo

Courtesy of Arash Javanbakht, Wayne State University

Tribalism has become a signature of America within and without since the election of President Trump. The nation has parted ways with international allies, left the rest of the world in their effort to fight the climate change, and most recently the pandemic, by leaving the World Health Organization. Even the pandemic was not a serious issue of importance to our leaders. We did not care much about what was happening in the rest of the world, as opposed to the time of previous pandemics when we were on the ground in those countries helping block the progress so long as it was China’s or the European Union’s problem. This marks drastic change from previous U.S. altruistic attitude, including during the World War II.

Whether Trump is the cause or effect of the changes in America’s collective attitude, an attribute of our current president is his eagerness and ability to use fear for intimidation of those who disagree with him, and subordination and shepherding of those who support him.

Fear is arguably as old as life. It is deeply ingrained in the living organisms that have survived extinction through billions of years of evolution. Its roots are deep in our core psychological and biological being, and it is one of our most intimate feelings. Danger and war are as old as human history, and so are politics and religion.

I am a psychiatrist and neuroscientist specializing in fear and trauma, and I have some thoughts on how politics, fear and tribalism are intertwined in the current events.


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Trump’s Message of Unity: “Vicious Dogs,” “Ominous Weapons,” “Heavily Armed Soldiers”

Courtesy of Pam Martens

White House

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens

The words of the President of the United States over the past three days suggest that he is determined to be a wartime president and that he has found the enemy: it’s the American people.

As racial justice protests raged in cities across the United States on May 30 over the murder of George Floyd in broad daylight at the hands of four policemen in Minneapolis, President Donald Trump tweeted that if the protesters had breached the fence at the White House, “they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen.” (Considering that the President avoided military service on the basis of bone spurs, he probably hasn’t actually seen too many ominous weapons.)

Yesterday, President Trump held a phone conference with state Governors around the U.S. He said this at one point: “You have to dominate. If you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time. They’re going to run all over you, you’ll look like a bunch of jerks. You have to dominate, and you have to arrest people, and you have to try people and they have to go to jail for long periods of time.”

During the call with Governors, Trump put the Secretary of the Department of Defense, Mark Esper, on the phone. Esper’s message to the Governors was this: “We need to dominate the battle space.” To have a battle waged by the Department of Defense you need an enemy. If the “battle space” is American cities and the people on the other side of the military are American citizens, then it seems reasonable to say that the President and the Pentagon are preparing to go to war against Americans.


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Police officers accused of brutal violence often have a history of complaints by citizens

 

Police officers accused of brutal violence often have a history of complaints by citizens

Police work to keep demonstrators back during a protest in Lafayette Square Park on May 30, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Courtesy of Jill McCorkel, Villanova University

As protests against police violence and racism continue in cities throughout the U.S., the public is learning that several of the officers involved in the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville share a history of complaints by citizens of brutality or misconduct.

Decades of research on police shootings and brutality reveal that officers with a history of shooting civilians, for example, are much more likely to do so in the future compared to other officers.

A similar pattern holds for misconduct complaints. Officers who are the subject of previous civilian complaints – regardless of whether those complaints are for excessive force, verbal abuse or unlawful searches – pose a higher risk of engaging in serious misconduct in the future.

A study published in the American Economic Journal reviewed 50,000 allegations of officer misconduct in Chicago and found that officers with extensive complaint histories were disproportionately more likely to be named subjects in civil rights lawsuits with extensive claims and large settlement payouts.

In spite of this research, many law enforcement agencies not only fail to adequately investigate misconduct allegations, they rarely sustain citizen complaints. Disciplinary sanctions are few and reserved for the most egregious cases.

Protesters went to the home of the Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, who is now charged with George Floyd’s death.

Complaints, lawsuits – but few consequences

Derek Chauvin, the ex-officer who has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for killing Floyd, is no stranger to situations in which deadly force has been deployed.

During a 2006 roadside stop, Chauvin was among six officers who, in just four seconds, fired 43 rounds into a truck driven by a man wanted for questioning in a domestic assault. The man, Wayne
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The COVID Comeback

 

The COVID Comeback

Courtesy of Wade Slome, Investing Caffeine

Rocky Balboa (“The Italian Stallion”) the underdog boxer from the movie, Rocky, was down and out until he was given the opportunity to fight World Heavyweight Champion, Apollo Creed. Like the stock market during early 2020, Rocky was up against the ropes and got knocked down, but eventually he picked himself up and rebounded to victory in his rematch with Creed.

The stock market comeback also persisted last month as the COVID-19 pandemic health situation continued to stabilize and the broader economy accelerated business re-openings. For the month, the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased +4.3% (+1,037 points to 25,383), while the S&P 500 index bounced+5.3%, and the NASDAQ catapulted the most by +6.8%.

How can the stock market (i.e., the Dow) rebound +39%, or more than 7,100 points, from the March 2020 lows? The large move is even more surprising once you consider 41 million people have lost their jobs since the epidemic hit American soil (see chart below), and COVID-19 related deaths have climbed to over 100,000 people.

Source: PBS

Getting Back to Fighting Shape

By the time we reached Rocky VI, Rocky Balboa was retired and recovered from brain damage. But Rocky is no quitter, and he trained himself into championship fighting condition and got back into the boxing ring. With unemployment rates approaching Great Depression levels, the U.S. economy has been experiencing challenging circumstances as well – a self-induced coma (shutdown). Fortunately, our country has been slowly recovering day-by-day, and week-by-week. The economy may not be back to peak fighting shape, but activity is slowly and consistently getting better.

There are many different perspectives in looking at this extremely complex, unprecedented coronavirus pandemic. The speed and pace of selling stocks during February and March reached radically-high panic levels, as…
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Antibody injections could fight COVID-19 infections – an infectious disease expert explains the prospects

 

Antibody injections could fight COVID-19 infections – an infectious disease expert explains the prospects

Antibodies (pink) attacking a virus particle (blue). STEVEN MCDOWELL/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Courtesy of Dimiter Stanchev Dimitrov, University of Pittsburgh

Antibodies are part of us – literally.

We have billions of them in our bodies with a combined weight of about 100 grams, or about the weight of a bar of soap. If there are so many antibodies inside our bodies then they must be safe and very important, right?

Indeed, antibodies are perhaps the safest type of therapy and have many important functions. One of them is to protect and cure infections caused by viruses. The human immune system can produce antibodies specific for each type virus that bind strongly to the virus and block it from infecting our cells – so-called neutralizing antibodies.

I am an infectious disease scientist and am interested in antibody therapeutics because they are a relatively safe way to prevent severe disease and save lives, particularly when a new, deadly virus emerges.

To stop the spread of COVID-19, billions of people will need to have antibodies to protect against the new coronavirus. So the question is how can we isolate and produce neutralizing antibodies in large enough quantities to serve everyone who needs them, including research laboratories and pharmaceutical companies?

What are antibodies?

Our immune system makes antibodies in response to a foreign pathogen, whether that be a bacterium, virus or fungi.

Antibodies are Y-shaped blood proteins made by white blood cells called “B cells.” They neutralize pathogens by attaching to their surface, blocking them from entering our cells and signaling our immune system to clear the pathogen from our bodies.

Humans have all sorts of different antibodies floating around inside us at any given time looking for foreign pathogens to attack. When a specific virus, such as SARS-CoV-2, infects our bodies, our immune system will try to produce enough specific antibodies against it before the infection becomes overwhelming.

This process can happen faster and be more successful in preventing infection if we already have existing antibodies against the pathogen.


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Financial Lynching Must Be Part of the National Debate

Courtesy of Pam Martens

U.S. Capitol With Storm CloudsAs we watched the dangerous scenes of protesters interacting with riot police and the ransacking of banks and businesses in cities across the United States this past weekend, a warning from the 19th century abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, came to mind:

“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”

The protests last week and this past weekend were sparked by unspeakable cellphone videos of a Minneapolis policeman, Derek Chauvin, torturing and murdering George Floyd with his knee crushing his throat for almost nine minutes as Floyd lay handcuffed and pinned face down on the ground by Chauvin and three other police officers. Only Chauvin has been charged with third degree murder and manslaughter. The three other police accomplices have not been charged – adding more fuel to the outrage and protests across the country.

Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security in the Obama administration, spoke on CNN on Saturday night, saying that Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s throat was like he was a hunted animal. In fact, Chauvin seemed to be exuding bravado in the video with his hand placed confidently in his pocket in the moments before Floyd became lifeless. Tragically, it reminded us of trophy photos we have seen of hunters and their dead prey.

Floyd’s death comes on the heels of what some members of the black community are calling a string of extrajudicial killings of African Americans by police.

Chelsea Peterson, a white protester in Portland, Oregon on Friday night, told CNN she wanted to “show my solidarity with my black brothers and sisters.” Peterson added: “It was important for me as a white person to actually show up because it is our responsibility to dismantle the systems of oppression that we have created.”


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Dying to Work

 

Dying to Work

Courtesy of Robert Reich

Most of Europe and all fifty states of the US are in various stages of “reopening.” But why, exactly?

The pandemic is still with us. After the first tentative steps to ease the lockdown in Germany – the most successful large European country to halt the spread of the virus thanks to massive testing – the disease has shown signs of spreading faster.

At least Germany is opening slowly and waiting until almost no new cases are occurring there, as is the rest of the EU.  

By contrast, the United States – with the highest death rate and most haphazard response to Covid-19 of any advanced nation – is opening chaotically, each state on its own. Some states are lifting restrictions overnight, although relatively few tests for the virus have been conducted. 

Researchers expect the reopenings to cause thousands of additional deaths.

?Two weeks after Texas Governor Greg Abbott began reopening the state’s economy, Texas experienced the single-highest rise in cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Since Nebraska reopened May 4, Covid-19 cases in Colfax County alone have surged 1,390 percent

Experts warn that Dallas, Houston, Southeast Florida’s Gold Coast, the entire state of Alabama and several other places in the South that have rapidly reopened their economies are in danger of a second wave of coronavirus infections over the next four weeks.

Last week, Ford Motor reopened its large North American assembly plants. The following day Ford closed and then reopened its Chicago Assembly plant twice in less than 24 hours after two workers tested positive for Covid-19. On Then Ford temporarily shut its Dearborn, Michigan Truck plant after an employee tested positive, then promptly resumed operations.

So why “reopen” so abruptly, when Covid-19 continues to claim lives?

The main reason given is to get the economy moving again. But this begs the question of why an economy exists in the first place, other than to promote the wellbeing of people within it.

Both Ford plants are vital to its profitability, and Ford’s profitability is important to jobs in the Midwest. But surely the…
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Does nicotine protect us against coronavirus?

 

Does nicotine protect us against coronavirus?

Shutterstock

Courtesy of Adrian Bauman, University of Sydney; Leah Shepherd, University of Sydney, and Melody Ding, University of Sydney

If you noticed headlines recently suggesting smoking could protect against COVID-19, you might have been surprised.

After all, we know smoking is bad for our health. It’s a leading risk factor for heart disease, lung disease and many cancers. Smoking also reduces our immunity, and makes us more susceptible to respiratory infections including pneumonia.

And smokers touch their mouth and face more, a risk for COVID-19 infection.

Initial observational findings suggested a history of smoking increased the risk of poor outcomes in COVID-19 patients, as the World Health Organisation and other bodies have identified.

But a recent paper which examined smoking rates among COVID-19 patients in a French hospital hypothesised smoking might make people less susceptible to COVID-19 infection.

So what can we make of this?

What the study did

This study was a cross-sectional survey where the researchers assessed the exposure (smoking) and the outcome (COVID-19) at the same time. This type of research design can’t prove the exposure causes the outcome – only that there may be an association.

There were two groups included in the study – 343 inpatients treated for COVID-19 from February 28 to March 30, and 139 outpatients treated from March 23 to April 9. Among other data collected, participants were asked whether they were current smokers.

The researchers compared smoking rates in both groups with smoking rates in the general French population.

The results

The study found 4.4% of inpatients and 5.3% of outpatients with COVID-19 were smokers, after adjusting for differences in age and sex.

This was only a fraction of the prevalence…
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Is COVID-19 a Blood Vessel Disease?

Worth reading, the theory presented here is strongly supported by the evidence.





 
 
 

ValueWalk

Gold Bullion Demand Hits Record Volumes in USA

By James Anderson. Originally published at ValueWalk.

With ongoing bailouts exploding the fiat US dollar’s M1, M2, & M3 supplies at record paces. It is not surprising to see physical gold bullion USA imports now hitting 21st Century high levels.

Q1 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

U.S. Physical Gold Bullion Imports

Most of this recent record-sized US gold import volume is being delivered from Switzerland which has four of the five largest gold refineries in the world.

It is safe...



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Phil's Favorites

BlackRock Is Bailing Out Its ETFs with Fed Money and Taxpayers Eating Losses; It's Also the Sole Manager for $335 Billion of Federal Employees' Retirement Funds

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Laurence (Larry) Fink, Chairman and CEO, BlackRock

BlackRock, the international investment management firm run by billionaire Larry Fink, has played an outsized role in Federal Reserve bailouts of Wall Street. As it turns out, it’s also been quietly managing hundreds of billions of dollars for more than five million federal government employees in their retirement plan, known as the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).

During the last financial crisis of 2007 to 2010, the Federal Reserve gave BlackRock no-bid contracts to manage the toxic assets held in ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Crude Oil Rallies 222% in 30-days, Peak Oil Time Again?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Can you believe that Crude Oil has rallied 222% in the past 30-trading days?

It’s hard to believe that Crude Oil is trading nearly $75 off its lows, yet the current price is around $36!

The chart looks at the Crude Oil continuous contract on a monthly basis for the past couple of decades.

Crude has spent the majority of the past 12-years inside of falling channel (1). The collapse in Crude Oil prices in April saw it hit the bottom of the channel at (2), where it created a large bullish reversal pattern. Since hitting the bottom...



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Zero Hedge

Consumer "Cash" Spending Is Much Worse Than The Reported Figures

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Submitted by Joe Carson, former chief economist of Alliance Bernstein

Consumer spending fell a record 13.6% in April, according to the preliminary estimates by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). But the spending numbers based on “cash” outlays are much worse.

The government’s monthly report on consumer spending (i.e. personal consumption expenditures) is a blend of actual cash outlays and estimated figures. Spending on durable and nondurable goods reflects “cash” outlays as reported by the monthly sales at retail establishments. But spendi...



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The Technical Traders

Gold & Silver "Washout" - Get Ready For A Big Move Higher

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Gold and Silver moved lower early on June 2nd and 3rd.  Our research team believes this is a “Washout Low” price rotation following a technical pattern that will prompt a much higher rally in precious metals.  This type of washout price rotation is fairly common before very big moves after Pennant/Flag formations or just after reaching major price trigger levels.

With Gold, a sideways Pennant/Flag formation has been setting up near our GREEN Fibonacci Price Amplitude Resistance Arc.  We believe the downward price rotation recently is a perfect setup for skilled technical traders to take advantage of lower entry price levels.  The GREEN Fibonacci Price Amplit...



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Biotech/COVID-19

You don't need to worry about spreading the coronavirus with cash

 

You don't need to worry about spreading the coronavirus with cash

Cash is unlikely to give you the coronavirus. Rolf Bruderer/Getty Images

Courtesy of Marilyn Roberts, University of Washington

Some people worry that cash may be spreading the coronavirus.

Earlier this year, bot...



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Chart School

Silver volume says something is near boiling point

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Fundamentals are important, but they must show up in the chart. And when they do and if they may matter, it is a good sign if price and volume waves show a change of character.

The Point and Figure chart below is readtheticker.com version of PnF chart format, it is designed to highlight price and volume waves clearly (notice the Volume Hills chart).

Silver ETF volume is screaming at us! The price volatility along with volume tells us those who have not cared, are starting to, those who are wrong are adjusting, and those who are correct are loading up. Soon the kettle will blow and the price of silver will be over $20. 

Normally silver suffers in a recession, maybe this time with trillions of paper money being creat...

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Lee's Free Thinking

US Southern States COVID19 Cases - Let's Give Credit Where Due

 

US Southern States COVID19 Cases – Let’s Give Credit Where Due

Courtesy of  

The number of new COVID 19 cases has been falling in the Northeast, but the South is not having the same experience. The number of new cases per day in each Southern state has been rangebound for the past month.

And that’s assuming that the numbers haven’t been manipulated. We know that in Georgia’s case at least, they have been. And there are suspicions about Florida as well, as the State now engages in a smear campaign against the fired employee who built its much praised COVID19 database and dashboar...



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Digital Currencies

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

 

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

App-etising? LDprod

Courtesy of Michael Rogerson, University of Bath and Glenn Parry, University of Surrey

Food supply chains were vulnerable long before the coronavirus pandemic. Recent scandals have ranged from modern slavery ...



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Members' Corner

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

 

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

No matter the details of the plot, conspiracy theories follow common patterns of thought. Ranta Images/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Courtesy of John Cook, George Mason University; Sander van der Linden, University of Cambridge; Stephan Lewandowsky...



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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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Promotions

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 TradeExchange.com. 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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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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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.