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Robinhood and WeBull Users Revolt After Apps Heavily Restrict GameStop, AMC Trading

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  • The Robinhood app has restricted users from buying new stocks in GameStop, AMC, Blackberry, Nokia, Bed Bath & Beyond, and other companies, citing “recent volatility.”
  • It currently only allows users to sell off their existing shares of the selected stocks, essentially helping push those stock prices back down.
  • The app WeBull made a similar move a short time later, prompting users to flood both apps with negative reviews. Robinhood specifically now also faces two customer lawsuits.
  • Lawmakers have criticized the moves as well, with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Ny.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mi.) calling for an investigation by the House Financial Services Committee. Notably, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) has supported those calls. 

Update: As of Thursday afternoon, Robinhood has announced that it will resume limited trading of securities on Friday. Meanwhile, WeBull has now lifted its trading restrictions.

Robinhood Restricts Trade of GameStop, AMC, & Others

In an extremely controversial move, the popular trading app Robinhood restricted users from being able to buy new stock for GameStop, AMC, Blackberry, Nokia, Bed Bath & Beyond, and more on Thursday. 

WeBull, another free-to-trade brokerage app, made a similar call hours later when it blocked users from buying shares of GameStop, AMC, and Koss. In separate statements, each company cited volatility in the market as catalysts for their decisions.

https://twitter.com/WebullGlobal/status/1354828730674372610

While users can’t buy new stock, both apps are still allowing users to sell off their existing shares. In effect, that means Robinhood and WeBull are only allowing moves that will push stocks in companies like GameStop back down.

Both moves come as the U.S. stock market has been heavily upended by a group of Redditers from the subreddit WallStreetBets (WSB). Notably, they’ve been leveraging a process known as short-squeezing to force hedge funds to take massive losses in these stocks. 

While short-squeezing is by no means a new tactic, the efforts by WSB over the last week have been wholly unprecedented. For example, GameStop’s share price surged to $470 Thursday morning, but just half a year ago, its shares were only priced at $4. 

Its success then led to a number of other stocks getting short-squeezed, though none of them have come close to matching GameStop’s metrics. In fact, Thursday, many of those stocks fell and appeared to re-approach their pre-squeeze numbers (with the notable exception of the joke cryptocurrency Dogecoin).

Robinhood and WeBull Users Outraged

The loss of Robinhood and WeBull for WallStreetBets traders, as well as those jumping onto the hype fueled by their actions, represents a significant setback.

For one, both apps are extremely popular. Coupled with that popularity, they also allow users to purchase stocks without any fees attached. Notably, that feature has been instrumental in driving up GameStop’s price as traditional brokerage firms generally charge fees.

It’s also why news of Robinhood’s decision has far out-shadowed similar restrictions put on some forms of trading by traditional firms like TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab.

Online, users of Robinhood were quick to criticize the company and accuse it of abandoning its mission: “to democratize finance for all.”

As criticism continued to pour in from all corners of the Internet, users began to review-bomb the app on Google Play, and Robinhood has now even been slapped with at least two class-action lawsuits from customers. 

Source: Google Play

Before WeBull announced it would follow Robinhood’s example, many users lamented that they would be switching to WeBull; however, that still represented a problem for GameStop’s stock. Two hours after Robinhood’s announcement, shares of GameStop plummeted to $130. Meanwhile, a new WeBull account would take several days to activate. 

Lawmakers have also criticized the move, with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Ny.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mi.) calling for an investigation by the House Financial Services Committee. Notably, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) has supported those calls. 

Shares of GameStop eventually closed at just under $200 on Thursday.

See what others are saying: (Newsweek) (Engadget) (CNBC)

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Conservatives Slam Elmo For Getting Vaccinated Against COVID-19 

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While critics accused the muppet of promoting propaganda, CDC data shows the shots are safe and effective.


Elmo Gets Vaccinated 

Conservative politicians expressed outrage on Twitter after the beloved “Sesame Street” character Elmo revealed he got vaccinated against COVID-19 on Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently cleared the way for children between the ages of six months and five years to get vaccinated against the virus. The famous red muppet is three years old, making him finally eligible for the jab. 

In a video shared by “Sesame Street,” Elmo said that he felt “a little pinch, but it was okay.” 

Elmo’s father, Louie, then addressed parents who might be apprehensive about vaccinating their own kids. 

“I had a lot of questions about Elmo getting the COVID vaccine,” he said to the camera. “Was it safe? Was it the right decision? I talked to our pediatrician so I could make the right choice.” 

“I learned that Elmo getting vaccinated is the best way to keep himself, our friends, neighbors, and everyone else healthy and enjoying the things they love,” he continued. 

Republicans Criticize “Sesame Street”

While some praised the video for raising awareness and addressing the concerns parents may have, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx) quickly lambasted the effort.

“Thanks, Sesame Street for saying parents are allowed to have questions,” Cruz tweeted. “You then have Elmo aggressively advocate for vaccinating children UNDER 5. But you cite ZERO scientific evidence for this.”

Despite Cruz’s claim, the CDC has provided ample resources with information on vaccines for children. 

He was not alone in criticizing the video. Harmeet Dhillon, a committeewoman of the Republican National Committee for California, suggested that Elmo would be taking puberty blockers next. 

Other anti-vaxxers claimed Elmo would get myocarditis and accused “Sesame Street” of promoting propaganda.

COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be both safe and effective against transmission of the virus, but this is not the first time conservatives have turned their anger against a friendly-looking muppet who opted to get the jab. When Big Bird got vaccinated in November, Cruz and other right-wing figures accused the show of brainwashing kids.

Big Bird’s choice to get vaccinated was not a shocker though, clips dating back to 1972 show him getting immunized against the measles. 

See what others are saying: (CNN) (The Hill) (Market Watch)

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Uvalde Puts Police Chief on Leave, Tries to Kick Him Off City Council

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If Pete Arredondo fails to attend two more consecutive city council meetings, then he may be voted out of office.


Police Chief Faces Public Fury

Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo was placed on administrative leave Wednesday following revelations that he and his officers did not engage the shooter at Robb Elementary for over an hour despite having adequate weaponry and protection.

Superintendent Hal Harrell, who made the announcement, did not specify whether the leave is paid or unpaid.

Harrell said in a statement that the school district would have waited for an investigation to conclude before making any personnel decisions, but chose to order the administrative leave because it is uncertain how long the investigation will take.

Lieutenant Mike Hernandez, the second in command at the police department, will assume Arredondo’s duties.

In an interview with The Texas Tribune earlier this month, Arredondo said he did not consider himself in charge during the shooting, but law enforcement records reviewed by the outlet indicate that he gave orders at the scene.

Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw told state senators on Tuesday that some officers wanted to enter the classrooms harboring the shooter but were stopped by their superiors.

He said officer Ruben Ruiz tried to move forward into the hallway after receiving a call from his wife Eva Mireles, a teacher inside one of the classrooms, telling him she had been shot and was bleeding to death.

Ruiz was detained, had his gun taken away, and was escorted off the scene, according to McCraw. Mireles later died of her wounds.

Calls for Arredondo to resign or be fired have persisted.

Emotions Erupt at City Council

Wednesday’s announcement came one day after the Uvalde City Council held a special meeting in which community members and relatives of victims voiced their anger and demanded accountability.

“Who are you protecting?” Asked Jasmine Cazares, sister of Jackie Cazares, a nine-year-old student who was shot. “Not my sister. The parents? No. You’re too busy putting them in handcuffs.”

Much of the anger was directed toward Arredondo, who was not present at the meeting but was elected to the city council on May 7, just over two weeks before the massacre.

“We are having to beg ya’ll to do something to get this man out of our faces,” said the grandmother of Amerie Jo Garza, a 10-year-old victim. “We can’t see that gunman. That gunman got off easy. We can’t take our frustrations out on that gunman. He’s dead. He’s gone. … Ya’ll need to put yourselves in our shoes, and don’t say that none of ya’ll have, because I guarantee you if any of ya’ll were in our shoes, ya’ll would have been pulling every string that ya’ll have to get this man off the council.”

One woman demanded the council refuse to grant Arredondo the leave of absence he had requested, pointing out that if he fails to attend three consecutive meetings the council can vote him out for abandoning his office.

“What you can do right now is not give him, if he requests it, a leave of absence,” she said. “Don’t give him an out. We don’t want him. We want him out.”

After hearing from the residents, the council voted unanimously not to approve the leave of absence.

On Tuesday, Uvalde’s mayor announced that Robb Elementary is set to be demolished, saying no students or teachers should have to return to it after what happened.

We make it a point to not include the names and pictures of those who may have been seeking attention or infamy and will not link out to websites that might contain such information.

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Texas Public Safety Director Says Police Response to Uvalde Shooting Was An “Abject Failure”

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New footage shows officers prepared to engage the shooter one hour before they entered the classroom.


Seventy-Seven Deadly Minutes

Nearly a month after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers, evidence has emerged indicating that police were prepared to engage the shooter within minutes of arriving, but chose to wait over an hour.

The shooting at Robb Elementary began at 11:33 a.m., and within three minutes 11 officers are believed to have entered the school, according to surveillance and body camera footage obtained by KVUE and the Austin American Statesman.

District Police Chief Pete Arredondo reportedly called a landline at the police department at 11:40 a.m. for help.

“It’s an emergency right now,” he said. “We have him in the room. He’s got an AR-15. He’s shot a lot… They need to be outside the building prepared because we don’t have firepower right now. It’s all pistols.”

At 11:52 a.m., however, the footage shows multiple officers inside the school armed with at least two rifles and one ballistic shield.

Law enforcement did not enter the adjoined classrooms to engage the shooter until almost an hour later, at 12:50 p.m. During that time, one officer’s daughter was inside the classrooms and another’s wife, a teacher, reportedly called him to say she was bleeding to death.

Thirty minutes before law enforcement entered the classrooms, the footage shows officers had four ballistic shields in the hallway.

Frustrated Cops Want to Go Inside

Some of the officers felt agitated because they were not allowed to enter the classrooms.

One special agent at the Texas Department of Public Safety arrived about 20 minutes after the shooting started, then immediately asked, “Are there still kids in the classrooms?”

“It is unknown at this time,” another officer replied.

“Ya’ll don’t know if there’s kids in there?” The agent shot back. “If there’s kids in there we need to go in there.”

“Whoever is in charge will determine that,” the other officer responded.

According to an earlier account by Arredondo, he and the other officers tried to open the doors to the classrooms, but found them both locked and waited for a master key to arrive. But surveillance footage suggests that they never tried to open the doors, which a top Texas official has confirmed were never actually locked.

One officer has told reporters that within minutes of the police response, there was a Halligan bar, which firefighters use to break down locked doors, on-site, but it was never used.

At a special State Senate committee hearing Monday, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw called the police response an “abject failure” and “antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades since the Columbine massacre.”

“The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from (entering rooms) 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children,” he said. “The officers have weapons, the children had none.”

We make it a point to not include the names and pictures of those who may have been seeking attention or infamy and will not link out to websites that might contain such information.

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