“Conspiracy Against US” – Google News
Donald Trump wasted yet another day today, failing to do anything to close his deficit in the polls, as he now runs the danger of running out of days. Instead of doing anything to try to turn around his losing campaign, Trump is instead hallucinating about President Obama and – for some reason – former special prosecutor Ken Starr. Trump tweeted this nonsense:
The Obama Administration was not out to get the facts, they were out to “get Trump”. Ken Starr…And got caught red handed – All of them. “Trump was right”, they said!
Well, some of those words go together, but not most of them. We think he’s quoting Ken Starr, but if so, it’s unclear why he’s referring to Starr as “they.” In any case, there’s no reason for anyone to care what Starr, who is most famous for being out to “get Bill Clinton,” might have to say about the current situation. Trump is wasting his time on hallucinatory nonsense, which is why he’s losing.
The post Donald Trump has bizarre late night meltdown involving President Obama and Ken Starr appeared first on Palmer Report.
1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)
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“Mueller Report” – Google News
THANK YOU VIRGINIA! #MAGA
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By John K. Davis and Jason Crawford
Technology and science have played a key role in human history. Many successive civilizations have contributed to the world’s advancement. Often the development of technology also helped these societies to dominate militarily, politically, and economically their neighbours, as well as increase the welfare of their citizens.
Following is the dialogue between Dr John K. Davis, Professor of Philosophy at California State University, Fullerton, and Mr. Jason Crawford, the author of The Roots of Progress. The bilateral exchange is posted on PAIRAGRAPH, a hub of discourse between pairs of notable individuals.
Philosopher Dr Davis argues: We face a growing array of problems that involve technology directly or indirectly, To name just a few: nuclear weapons, climate change induced by fossil fuels, the possibility that AI will get out of control, the effect of automation on employment, using bots and targeted fake news to influence elections, deepfake software, data and privacy concerns in general and, in particular, the capacity of facial-recognition software to create a surveillance state (like China).
These problems came to light during the last few decades, and several of them within the last 20 years. Some of these problems have older antecedents, but the newer versions are worse. Climate change, for example, has been underway since the 19th century, but it didn’t have a noticeable effect until the latter half of the 20th century. War has always been destructive, but nothing like what nuclear weapons make possible.
So these problems are new, dependent on technology, and getting worse. We can easily feel like the sorcerer’s apprentice, confronted by an ever-widening array of new toys that are spinning out of control.
Three trends lie behind all this.
First, technology continues to make us more and more powerful, as it always has. Second, thanks in part to miniaturization and computers, many new technologies can be used by individuals or small groups without oversight from anyone else (computers, desktop 3D printers, deepfake software, desktop biolabs).
Third, the pace of development continues to accelerate, and that, combined with the possibility of artificial intelligence that is programmed to evolve and improve itself on its own, threatens to leave us on the sideline. This makes it harder to foresee and control what is coming.
To handle these challenges, we must make prudent decisions for the collective good, rising above short-term gain and self-interest. In short, we must be wise. Wisdom is the ability to make choices we won’t regret (that’s why it correlates with age and experience). We should choose not to have nuclear weapons, choose to protect privacy, choose not to use bots and fake news, choose to limit the uses of A.I., and so on.
However, we’re not making those choices. The problem is that technology evolves but our wisdom does not. We have a certain capacity for altruism, cooperation, and prudence. Our moral instincts, our cognitive heuristics, and our degree of altruism and cooperation evolved to handle life for small bands of people living on the margin of survival with puny powers over their environment.
Under those conditions, we evolved tendencies to favour short-term gain, to favour our own group against others, and to resort to violence. These tendencies can be modified by nurture, education, and culture only up to a point, and only with great difficulty.
So the core problem is that we’re becoming more powerful but not more wise. The growing gap between our technological power and our wisdom is the ultimate cause of all these problems. We are clever enough to create problems we aren’t wise enough to avoid.
Mr Crawford, author of The Roots of Progress says: Dr Davis lists some real and important technological risks. However, to answer the question, “is technology making things better?” we need to assess the benefits of technology as well—including the risks that technology has reduced.
The world of just a few hundred years ago was a terrible place to live. The average person got along on about $3/day—well below the poverty line. Homes had no toilets, running water, refrigerators, or electricity. Famine was common. Today, technology and industrialization have provided us with abundant food, clothes, and other goods; and well-lit, sanitary homes.
The people in that world were isolated, too. Limited to horse and sail, most people rarely travelled far outside their hometowns. With no telephone, television, or even radio, they received little news, and could not see the faces or hear the voices of friends and family far away. Nor could they listen to recorded music or go to the movies. Today the average person in a wealthy country is vastly more informed and connected, with unprecedented access to the world’s art, philosophy, and culture. Ideas and commerce flow rapidly around the globe.
And despite the risks created by technology, it has also saved us from many risks. Infectious disease, from smallpox to tuberculosis to pneumonia, was once rampant, killing half of the children before the age of five, and life expectancy at birth was around 30 years. Germs were finally brought under control through sanitation, vaccines, and antibiotics. Large swaths of cities burned to the ground before fire safety technology, such as London in 1666 or Chicago in 1871. Extremes of cold and heat were more deadly before good internal heating and air conditioning. Even floods, hurricanes and earthquakes kill fewer people than in the past, owing to better buildings and infrastructure, and a more robust food supply.
When technology does create new risks, it is usually new technology that counters them. When we invented the car, we inadvertently invented the car crash. We countered it with seat belts, airbags, traffic lights, divided highways, and driver education. When we introduced X-ray imaging, we also introduced radiation burns and cancer risk. We countered that by limiting X-rays to medical necessity, minimizing exposure, and using shielding. Similarly, technology can help us control the climate, make AI safe, and improve privacy.
On balance, technology has clearly made us better off. The medieval peasant, burning the last of his coal to keep from freezing, who has just lost his crops to blight, whose home has been ravaged by war, and whose infant has died of cholera, would laugh at modern concerns and would gladly change places with any of us.
All that said, I agree with the statement that “we’re becoming more powerful but not more wise”, and this is indeed one of the things I worry about the most. Helping society become more wise is exactly what philosophers are here for—so I would love to hear Dr. Davis’s thoughts on how we can get wiser, faster. We need it.
Link to the original article: https://pairagraph.com/dialogue/354c72095d2f42dab92bf42726d785ff
The article The Boons And Banes Of Technology: Is It Really Making Things Better? – OpEd appeared first on Eurasia Review.
Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites)
Trump and FBI – News Review from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites)
Claudio Grass (CG): In this surreal policy environment, how has the role and the investment process of the value investor evolved, especially over the last decade? How can one still identify value in a world of subsidized binge borrowing, extreme indebtedness, and stock buybacks? (Click here for Part I of the interview)
Robert Mark (RM): The patriarch of value investing, Ben Graham, once said, “In the short run the market is a voting machine, but in the long run it is a weighing machine.” As markets have evolved into modern, global electronic exchanges, Graham’s analogy remains true. Short-term, stock markets are beauty pageants. Speculators continue to vote for the Wall Street darlings. On the other end sits the weighing machine which measures the future earnings of a business. As a value investor, my role is to focus on the weighing machine despite the party over at the voting machine. Binge borrowing, extreme indebtedness, and stock buybacks all feed into the emotions of the voting machine. Value does exist in certain pockets of the market, but one must simply step aside and operate at their own pace.
CG: Many mainstream analysts and commentators have rushed to declare value investing obsolete, especially following the recent losses suffered by value giant Warren Buffet. Could it be that the markets have become too distorted by central bank policies and by algorithms to identify value or is this assessment simply too simplistic and naive?
RM: Warren Buffett and his company Berkshire Hathaway have come in for criticism from those sitting in the bleacher seats—”too big, too slow, too old-fashioned”. Buffett had his worst performance versus the S&P 500 in 2019, and 2020 is looking just as bad. Instead of highlighting Berkshire’s fortress-like balance sheet, critics argue that Buffett needs to fundamentally rethink his mix of businesses and investments. Berkshire Hathaway’s cash position has increased to about $140 billion, but to the surprise of many, Buffett did not deploy any of that dry powder during the market’s plunge in March. He did not see “anything attractive.”
In short, yes-central bank policies, passive investing, algorithms, and any number of factors are distorting the markets and will continue to distort markets. We cannot choose the game to play, but we can play the game by our own rules. Buffett’s job is to remain focused on the weighing machine, not the voting machine… which is exactly what one would expect from a value investor. Buffett built Berkshire Hathaway to reward investors over time, but not on time. Investing always involves making decisions under uncertainty. We never know what the market will do in the near term, but value investors understand that if they vote for assets rather than patiently weighing their potential investments, they run the real risk of permanently destroying their investment capital.
CG: Aside from the obvious economic concerns, we’re also seeing a lot of turbulence in the geopolitical and social fronts, from US-China relations to internal social unrest in much of the western world. Do you see real risks there too and did you have to adjust your own investment approach to account for them?
RM: It boils down to three simple words: margin of safety. Our psychology is critical to the investment process. For example, if an investor loses confidence and has made too many mistakes recently, it becomes very easy to say, “I can’t stand being down more than this.” Therefore, we believe in being conservative all the time—by being both a patient buyer and a disciplined seller. If we do so, we ensure a margin of safety in our investments. We frequently reference another quote from Benjamin Graham in every presentation we make: “An investment operation is one which, upon thorough analysis, promises safety of principal and an adequate return. Operations not meeting these requirements are speculative.” We do not speculate, we invest. And when we invest, we demand a margin of safety.
Back in 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld used the phrase “There are known unknowns and unknown unknowns” during a news briefing about the lack of evidence linking the government of Iraq with the supply of weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups. A lot of people sort of scratched their head at these linguistic gymnastics. Known unknowns are risks you are aware of, while unknown unknowns are risks that come from situations that are so unexpected that they are not even considered. We always see very real risks when investing but try to account for these risks in the quality of the companies we select and the margin of safety we apply to our estimate of fair value.
CG: A lot has been said and written about the rally in precious metals and the reasons behind it. What do you think is driving it and what is your view on the role of gold in an investment portfolio?
RM: One can readily point to any number of reasons as to why gold is moving ‘higher’ over short periods of time, beginning with a loss of confidence in central banks or the soundness of one’s currency or negative real interest rates. However, we forget that over time, gold is not moving higher but rather our currencies are losing value against gold. Or at least that is how I view the situation. As for the role of gold in one’s investment portfolio, you are preaching to the choir. So yes, I absolutely believe in the value gold provides to one’s asset allocation. Personally, I first started buying physical gold in the summer of 2000, when I walked into a local jewelry store and asked the owner if he sold gold coins. He laughed and said that he did sell gold coins, but it had been about ten years since he last sold any coins. As a natural contrarian, I found the jeweler’s response interesting.
CG: In the last few years, we’ve witnessed the rise of the amateur investor, facilitated by popular apps and zero-commission brokers, and this trend was drastically accelerated during the lockdowns. Are you concerned about this wave of inexperienced investors entering the market en masse and making bets they don’t really understand, with money they can’t afford to lose? Do think this has the potential to have a wider impact on the markets?
RM: There is little doubt in my mind that the advent of Robinhood and zero commissions at the online brokerage firms like Charles Schwab has certainly generated a lot of excitement. A new generation of retail investors are at the voting booth and chasing the prettiest candidates that Wall Street has to offer. I watched in shocked amusement when a U.S. federal judge approved plans for bankrupt rental car company Hertz to sell $1 billion in stock AFTER the company filed for bankruptcy and HTZ stock increased tenfold. Another example that comes to mind was when a small Chinese real estate company in one day jumped 1300% on no news. The company’s name is Fangdd Network Group, which is similar to the popular acronym “FAANG,” representing Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google. FAANG shares were up that day; therefore, I guess that a number of new traders somehow believed that Fangdd should trade higher as well.
I have no issue with new retail traders. In time, they will learn their own lessons and draw their own conclusions as to how one should best allocate their investment capital. The one group that I would single out are the professional “paid-to-play” active managers desperately trying to keep up with their respective benchmarks. I suspect that many are actively trading these FAANG names in order to catch up to their benchmark. One wonders if they really believe that they are doing the right thing for their clients or are they focusing on retaining and growing assets under management? These professional managers know the game: clients will fire them if they underperform their benchmark. Therefore, they constantly try to closely track their index, fearful of being too cautious in a rising market and straying from their target benchmark performance. I can understand the retail investor who is trading and taking risk with their own capital. I do not forgive the professional who knows better and yet goes ahead and puts his clients’ capital at great risk.
CG: Looking ahead, and given the uncertainty and the legitimate fears that are on many investors’ and ordinary savers’ minds, what would be your advice for those who wish to preserve and protect their wealth during this crisis?
RM: I suggest that one takes a serious look at the investment philosophy behind the ‘permanent portfolio’ allocation. Libertarian Harry Browne first proposed this concept in the book Fail Safe Investing. To summarize, the permanent portfolio is an investment portfolio designed to perform well in all economic conditions… Remember, there are unknown unknowns!
The permanent portfolio is composed of an equal allocation to stocks, bonds, gold and cash. Browne believed that a portfolio equally split between stocks, precious metals, government bonds and US Treasury bills would be an ideal investment mixture for investors seeking safety and growth. Browne argued that the portfolio mix would be profitable in all types of economic situations: stocks would prosper in expansionary markets, precious metals in inflationary markets, bonds in recessions and Treasury bills in depressions.
The biggest potential problem with this investment strategy is that sitting through long periods of underperformance can be very difficult, if not impossible… The price action in Tesla and Apple after they recently announced stock splits is far more exciting than rebalancing a simple asset mix each year. However, the goal of the strategy is not to outperform, but to generate long-term investment returns that exceed inflation while protecting your investment capital. To borrow an American baseball analogy, your likelihood of long-term success is far greater if you consistently hit singles rather than swing for homeruns.
The article ‘US Economy Felt Like A Balloon In Search Of A Needle’ (Part II) – Interview appeared first on Eurasia Review.
Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites)
Trump and FBI – News Review from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites)
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