President Trump recently directed federal agencies to divert dollars away from racial sensitivity training on white privilege.
In a Sept. 4 letter addressed to the heads of executive departments and agencies, Russell Vought, director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote, “It has come to the President’s attention that Executive Branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date ‘training government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda” that “teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil.”
Vought added, “The President has directed me to ensure that Federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund…any training on ‘critical race theory,’ ‘white privilege,’ or any other training or propaganda effort.”
The president’s actions come as a growing number of Republican voters say they personally believe that systemic racism exists in the country today, according to a new report on “The Fight for Racial Justice in America” by Edelman, the global public relations and marketing firm.
The Aug. 23 shooting of Jacob Blake by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisc., impacted Americans’ views of systemic racism in the U.S, according to the report. (Edelman surveyed 2,000 respondents from Aug. 14- 21, and performed additional fieldwork from Aug. 28-31.)
More than three-quarters (76%) of survey respondents acknowledged that systemic racism is a problem in America in the wake of Blake’s shooting, a 5-point increase from survey results prior to his shooting.
The greatest increase in awareness of racism in the country was among respondents who identified as Republicans – 57% – a 12-point jump the week of Aug. 28 from the week of Aug. 21 (before Blake’s shooting). That compares with a 2-point increase among the 93% of Democrats who said systemic racism exists in the U.S. over that same period.
In a previous report conducted by Edelman about two weeks after the death of George Floyd in May, 63% of Americans indicated they were concerned about systemic racism. Only 40% of Republicans were, compared to 84% of Democrats. (Edelman surveyed 2,000 respondents from June 5-7).
“I think that systemic racism is the cancer of our society and I hope that people just process that when they decide whether or not to vote and for whom to vote,” Edelman CEO Richard Edelman told Yahoo Finance.
Overall, only 33% of Americans trust the federal government to do what’s right when it comes to responding to the problem of systemic racism, according to the report. “Government at the moment is in its sort of low ebb because of politics,” said Edelman.
While most Americans do not trust the federal government on its racism response, 71% of people say their employer is the only institution they trust to do what’s right. However, most Americans believe that employers have a lot of work to do to address racism.
“That’s a big clue for all the companies in the country where [Americans] are looking for you to fix your supply chain, to make sure that you’ve got diverse population within your executive ranks, that you’re doing everything you can to offer financing to small business, and making sure that the people who are in community of color in this country feel as if they’re being properly treated at work,” said Edelman.
According to the report, 58% of Americans see some amount of racism in their workplace.
“Seventy-five percent of the African Americans who we studied said they’ve had experience with racism in their company. That’s shocking. It’s not supposed to be,” said Edelman.
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President claims he could hardly hear the ‘vote him out’ chant at Supreme Court
Donald Trump claimed he could hardly hear the “vote him out chant” at the Supreme Court as he visited the late justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Thursday, a scene the White House called “appalling”.
The president earlier told Fox News Radio that only a ruling by the court that Joe Biden has won November’s election will convince him of his defeat, predicting once again that ballot fraud will result in “a horror show”.
He’d especially accept the Supreme Court’s rulings if Republicans pack the court, which he threatened to do if they retain power in November in response to Democrat’s threats of court-packing. “I guess we could do that too, right?” Trump said.
It followed his refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power during a White House press conference on Wednesday, saying: “We’re going to have to see what happens… There won’t be a transfer frankly. There’ll be a continuation.”
Bernie Sanders said the president’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power was a “threat to democracy”, saying the election wasn’t a choice of Trump versus Biden but Trump versus Democracy.
Sanders was campaigning while Biden called a “lid” on the day around 9am, meaning he wouldn’t be making anymore public campaign appearances. The president didn’t hesitate to mock Biden’s early end to the day, saying at a campaign rally in Florida that the Democratic candidate was the “lowest energy individual” ever seen.
At an earlier event in North Carolina to announce his “America first” healthcare plan, Trump said he was signing executive orders to include pre-existing medical conditions and end surprise medical bills as he called Republicans the “healthcare party”.
Mary Trump, meanwhile, filed a lawsuit claiming her uncle cheated her out of tens of millions of dollars while pushing her out of the family’s real estate business.
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3 ‘Strong Buy’ Stocks With Over 7% Dividend Yield
Markets are volatile, there can be no doubt. So far this month, the S&P 500 has fallen 9% from its peak. The tech-heavy NASDAQ, which had led the gainers all summer, is now leading the on the fall, having lost 11% since September 2. The three-week tumble has investors worried that we may be on the brink of another bear market.The headwinds are strong. The usual September swoon, the upcoming election, doubts about another round of economic stimulus – all are putting downward pressure on the stock markets.Which doesn’t mean that there are no opportunities. As the old saw goes, “Bulls and bears can both make money, while the pigs get slaughtered.” A falling market may worry investors, but a smart strategy can prevent the portfolio from losing too much long-term value while maintaining a steady income. Dividend stocks, which feed into the income stream, can be a key part of such a strategy.Using the data available in the TipRanks database, we’ve pulled up three stocks with high yields – from 7% to 11%, or up to 6 times the average dividend found on the S&P 500 index. Even better, these stocks are seen as Strong Buys by Wall Street’s analysts. Let’s find out why.Williams Companies (WMB)We start with Williams Companies, an Oklahoma-based energy company. Williams controls pipelines connecting Rocky Mountain natural gas fields with the Pacific Northwest region, and Appalachian and Texan fields with users in the Northeast and transport terminals on the Gulf Coast. The company’s primary operations are the processing and transport of natural gas, with additional ops in crude oil and energy generation. Williams handles nearly one-third of all US commercial and residential natural gas use.The essential nature of Williams’ business – really, modern society simply cannot get along without reliable energy sources – has insulated the company from some of the economic turndown in 1H20. Quarterly revenues slid from $2.1 billion at the end of last year to $1.9 billion in Q1 and $1.7 billion in Q2. EPS in the first half was 26 cents for Q1 and 25 cents for Q2 – but this was consistent with EPS results for the previous three quarters. The generally sound financial base supported the company’s reliable dividend. Williams has been raising that payment for the past four years, and even the corona crisis could not derail it. At 40 cents per common share, the dividend annualizes to $1.60 and yields an impressive 7.7%. The next payment is scheduled for September 28.Truist analyst Tristan Richardson sees Williams as one of the midstream sector’s best positioned companies.“We continue to look to WMB as a defensive component of midstream and favor its 2H prospects as broader midstream grasps at recovery… Beyond 2020 we see the value proposition as a stable footprint with free cash flow generation even in the current environment. We also see room for incremental leverage reduction throughout our forecast period on scaled back capital plans and even with the stable dividend. We look for modestly lower capex in 2021, however unlike more G&P oriented midstream firms, we see a project backlog in downstream that should support very modest growth,” Richardson noted.Accordingly, Richardson rates WMB shares as a Buy, and his $26 price target implies a 30% upside potential from current levels. (To watch Richardson’s track record, click here)Overall, the Strong Buy analyst consensus rating on WMB is based on 11 Buy reviews against just a single Hold. The stock’s current share price is $19.91 and the average price target is $24.58, making the one-year upside potential 23%. (See WMB stock analysis on TipRanks)Magellan Midstream (MMP)The second stock on our list is another midstream energy company, Magellan. This is another Oklahoma-based firm, with a network of assets across much of the US from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi Valley, and into the Southeast. Magellan’s network transports crude oil and refined products, and includes Gulf Coast export shipping terminals.Magellan’s total revenues rose sequentially to $782.8 in Q1, and EPS came in at $1.28, well above the forecast. These numbers turned down drastically in Q2, as revenue fell to $460.4 million and EPS collapsed to 65 cents. The outlook for Q3 predicts a modest recovery, with EPS forecast at 85 cents. The company strengthened its position in the second quarter with an issue of 10-year senior notes, totaling $500 million, at 3.25%. This reduced the company’s debt service payments, and shored up liquidity, making possible the maintenance of the dividend.The dividend was kept steady at $1.0275 per common share quarterly. Annualized, this comes to $4.11, a good absolute return, and gives a yield of 11.1%, giving MMP a far higher return than Treasury bonds or the average S&P-listed stock.Well Fargo analyst Praneeth Satish believes that MMP has strong prospects for recovery. “[We] view near-term weakness in refined products demand as temporary and recovering. In the interim, MMP remains well positioned given its strong balance sheet and liquidity position, and ratable cash flow stream…” Satish goes on to note that the dividend appears secure for the near-term: “The company plans to maintain the current quarterly distribution for the rest of the year.”In line with this generally upbeat outlook, Satish gives MMP an Overweight (i.e. Buy) rating, and a $54 price target that implies 57% growth in the coming year. (To watch Satish’s track record, click here)Net net, MMP shares have a unanimous Strong Buy analyst consensus rating, a show of confidence by Wall Street’s analyst corps. The stock is selling for $33.44, and the average price target of $51.13 implies 53% growth in the year ahead. (See MMP stock analysis on TipRanks)Ready Capital Corporation (RC)The second stock on our list is a real estate investment trust. No surprise finding one of these in a list of strong dividend payers – REITs have long been known for their high dividend payments. Ready Capital, which focuses on the commercial mortgage niche of the REIT sector, has a portfolio of loans in real estate securities and multi-family dwellings. RC has provided more than $3 billion in capital to its loan customers.In the first quarter of this year, when the coronavirus hit, the economy turned south, and business came to a standstill, Ready Capital took a heavy blow. Revenues fell by 58%, and Q1 EPS came in at just one penny. Things turned around in Q2, however, after the company took measures – including increasing liquidity, reducing liabilities, and increasing involvement in government-sponsored lending – to shore up business. Revenues rose to $87 million and EPS rebounded to 70 cents.In the wake of the strong Q2 results, RC also started restoring its dividend. In Q1 the company had slashed the payment from 40 cents to 25 cents; in the most recent declaration, for an October 30 payment, the new dividend is set at 30 cents per share. This annualizes to $1.20 and gives a strong yield of 9.9%.Crispin Love, writing from Piper Sandler, notes the company’s success in getting back on track.“Given low interest rates, Ready Capital had a record $1.2B in residential mortgage originations versus our $1.1B estimate. Gain on sale margins were also at record levels. We are calculating gain on sale margins of 3.7%, up from 2.4% in 1Q20,” Love wrote.In a separate note, written after the dividend declaration, Love added, “We believe that the Board’s actions show an increased confidence for the company to get back to its pre-pandemic $0.40 dividend. In recent earnings calls, management has commented that its goal is to get back to stabilized earnings above $0.40, which would support a dividend more in-line with pre-pandemic levels.”To this end, Love rates RC an Overweight (i.e. Buy) along with a $12 price target, suggesting an upside of 14%. (To watch Love’s track record, click here)All in all, Ready Capital has a unanimous Strong Buy analyst consensus rating, based on 4 recent positive reviews. The stock has an average price target of $11.50, which gives a 9% upside from the current share price of $10.51. (See RC stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for dividend stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
Ring announces a new camera for the car that can record police interactions
Ring has announced a new security camera for the car called the Ring Car Cam, which can monitor vehicles while parked or in transit.
The camera has a feature called Traffic Stop, which prompts the camera to start recording and alerting designated contacts after hearing the trigger phrase “Alexa, I’m being pulled over.”
The launch comes as Ring’s partnerships with police departments across the US has drawn scrutiny from civil rights activists, lawmakers, and privacy advocates.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories and check out our list of everything Ring launched here.
Amazon-owned security camera maker Ring is launching a new device for the car that can monitor vehicles whether they’re parked or in transit, marking the company’s first major expansion outside of the home.
The $200 Ring Car Cam also includes a feature called Traffic Stop, which enables the device to record an interaction with police, alert designated contacts, and save the recording to the cloud by saying the phrase “Alexa, I’m being pulled over.”
The launch comes after Ring’s partnerships with hundreds of police departments across the United States has drawn scrutiny from civil liberties activists, privacy advocates, and lawmakers. At the same time, leaked law enforcement documents obtained by The Intercept have also shown that the FBI has raised concerns about Ring products being used to spy on police.
Jamie Siminoff, Ring’s founder, said the company has been transparent with customers about its relationship with law enforcement and pointed to the fact that Ring owners must choose to turn over footage to authorities if asked.
“We’ve been very proactive at reaching out to our customers with that and telling them about that,” Siminoff told Business Insider. “And I think they’re very comfortable with how we built this, and I think we have taken privacy to the next level.”
In addition to its Traffic Stop feature, the Ring Car Cam can also surveil your car while it’s parked to check for potential break-in or vandalism attempts. The camera can then send an alert to your phone via the Ring app if it picks up any unusual activity. While driving, the Car Cam can also request help from first responders if it detects that a severe accident has taken place.
Ring’s Car Cam has a physical shutter that disables the car’s interior video and auto when enabled. The company is also launching a smart car alarm for $60.
Car makers can also integrate with Ring so that owners can see auto-related alerts and other information within the Ring app. Tesla is among the first major carmakers to support this, as Ring says owners of Tesla’s 3, X, S, and Y vehicles will be able to access Tesla’s Sentry Mode within the Ring app.
The launch of Ring’s new auto products signals another push by Amazon to branch out of the home when it comes to its tech offerings. Last year, Amazon launched the Echo Buds, its first truly wireless earbuds with Alexa built-in, and in 2018 it unveiled the Echo Auto.
Ring’s Traffic Stop feature also comes months after protests against police brutality erupted across the United States after George Floyd died in police custody in May. At the time, a Siri shortcut that triggers your iPhone to record police interactions after reciting the phrase “Hey Siri, I’m getting pulled over” started to make the rounds after launching in 2018.
Read the original article on Business Insider
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