The culture wars part 3: Understanding the backlash against masks, lockdowns, and vaccines

Right-wing (as well as non-woke) news sources commonly run stories about liberal hypocrisy because it resonates strongly with that audience.  Because of this, certain segments of the Western world are well aware of hypocritical liberals who break mask or lockdown rules: Nancy Pelosi, CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins, BLM protestors, etc. etc.  Conservatives view mask shaming as partisan because woke media outlets limit their attacks to their ideological enemies.  So, some conservatives believe that mask mandates are a liberal ploy designed to shame and control conservatives.  Some conservatives push back by not wearing a mask.

I would point out that many conservatives and Trump supporters are not anti-maskers.  If you watch footage of a Trump rally on Youtube, you will see that many in the audience do wear masks.

There is also a segment of the Western world that believes in a globalist conspiracy.  According to that worldview, globalists would love to use mask mandates, lockdowns, and mandatory vaccination as a way of controlling the population.

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The culture wars part 2: Cloud service providers are destroying their franchises (AMZN, TWLO, ZEN, GDDY, NET)

If you follow mainstream media, you might get the wrong idea and believe that the Big Tech companies will only deplatform conservatives or far right / white supremacist / neo-Nazi / extremist content.  This is a dangerous misconception.  Part 1 in this series gave the example of Ravelry, whose founder was attacked with lies despite following woke ideology.  If a woke transwoman can be cancelled, nobody is safe from cancel culture.

This phenomenon is extremely problematic for Amazon Web Services (and other companies providing cloud services) because the company forced Parler offline (and damaged Parler’s reputation).  Smart AWS customers will eventually figure out that they should avoid using AWS for mission-critical infrastructure.  AWS could lose most of its customer base unless it dramatically changes course.

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The culture wars are going to explode (part 1)

Back in August, I wrote about how the explosion in woke politics is something to pay attention to.  It has since taken over major media institutions and tech companies.  America is becoming a surreal place as these corporations are passing up on profits so that they can persecute their customers for wrongthink.  There is also a growing cultural movement that views the destruction of Trump supporters’ lives as virtuous; the politician AOC openly calls for the suppression of political views on Twitter.  What’s happening isn’t normal and will get a lot uglier.  Most investors don’t understand the cultural shifts because most mainstream media outlets spread false propaganda and are participants in the culture wars.

The culture wars will likely lead to:

  • A continuing boom in gun demand (RGR VSTO SWBI).d
  • Potential catastrophe for journalistic institutions like the New York Times (NYSE:NYT) and Thomson Reuters (TSE:TRI).
  • Splitting of the economy into a woke and anti-woke economy.  Many corporations with dominant market share will see their earnings take a hit when they jettison their customers for having non-woke political views.

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Vaccines look promising

I previously said that there is a very good chance that a coronavirus vaccine won’t save the economy.  With the interim vaccine results from Pfizer and Moderna, it seems likely that a silver bullet vaccine is on the horizon.  The issue of mucosal immunity (more specifically- whether or not the vaccine will slow down the spread of the coronavirus) is not important if the vaccine will be highly effective (e.g. 90%) in preventing serious complications from the coronavirus.  There is still a small chance that the first vaccines won’t save the economy:

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Don’t bet on a coronavirus vaccine saving the economy

While there is a lot of talk about a vaccine saving us, much of that talk isn’t supported by scientific evidence.  Some key points:

  • Most vaccine candidates are not designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.  The virus would still spread even if it causes less serious disease.
  • There are mixed indications about whether or not a highly-effective vaccine for the coronavirus will emerge.
  • There are now highly credible reports of re-infection cases.  It is unlikely that herd immunity is possible.  As far as a vaccine goes, it is likely that a vaccine would need to be frequently re-applied so that immunity does not fade.

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Woke culture is a pandemic that we need to talk about

Woke = being pretentious when pretending to care about a social issue.  Or, a way of seeing the world as oppressors and victims based on race, class, gender, etc.

More than ever, social media has allowed outrage to spread quickly in a way that makes it easy for people to be cancelled.  This has given birth to what I call ‘Woke activists’- charlatans who exploit others’ fear of being cancelled.  They use physical violence, bullying, doxxing, and cancellation campaigns to get what they want.  Many are afraid of standing up against Woke politics because they are afraid of being bullied themselves.  The ‘civil unrest’ in the United States is actually the work of Woke activists pushing their different agendas.  Some of these Woke activists intentionally agitate police with violence so that the Woke activists might end up in a viral video showcasing police brutality.

Many journalists have chosen to actively embrace and enable Woke politics through misleading journalism.  Such journalists talk about ‘mostly peaceful’ protests while standing in front of a burning building.

The rise of this fraudulent political movement is one of the most important events of 2020.  It has completely hijacked major mainstream media outlets.  Free speech and press freedom have been undermined, making it hard to find insightful news with a diversity of viewpoints.  Emboldened liberals are actively discriminating against Trump supporters, creating a persecuted group that will eventually push back hard.  Democracy is under attack as Woke corporations are censoring opposing viewpoints and Wokes are punishing critics for their political beliefs.  Journalists are afraid of talking about these issues… so let’s talk about them.

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The path out of this coronavirus mess

All countries are now realizing that some degree of restriction needs to be in place to keep the virus suppressed.  While South Korea has a sophisticated contact tracing program in place, the country learned the hard way that it cannot re-open nightclubs without allowing the virus to explode.  To break out of this dilemma, countries should look at taking aerosol (“airborne”) transmission seriously.  If we are willing to reject scientific dogma and believe in real science, then fighting the virus’ main route of transmission will give us our best shot at normalcy.

Personally, I’ve been quite frustrated at the world’s pathetic response to fighting the coronavirus.  Most politicians and scientific leaders have not been trying.  They are failing to employ tools such as CT scans and government-run quarantine centers.  It is embarrassing that most developed countries have failed to suppress the virus while Thailand, Cuba, and other developing countries have succeeded in doing so.  We as a society should demand that our leaders act responsibly and start using the tools available.

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Understanding China

China has a highly unusual business environment- the government is currently holding 2 Canadians hostage to benefit a private company (Huawei).  Those with the right connections regularly use government resources for their own benefit.  As far as investing in Chinese stocks go, it is a trap for foreign capital:

  1. Massive fraud.
  2. The CCP encourages mainlanders to be racist, nationalist, and xenophobic.
  3. Because of state-sponsored racism and xenophobia, there are far fewer (or no) consequences when somebody cheats a foreigner versus an ethnic Han Chinese citizen.
  4. The CCP often exploits foreign capital and sponsors the theft of intellectual property.
  5. Relations between the CCP and most developed countries will deteriorate because the CCP has been increasingly antagonistic towards other countries.  The resulting trade wars will hurt China’s economy and make the environment sketchier for foreign capital.

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Hong Kong is dying

Hong Kong is a place where its residents have previously enjoyed economic prosperity and civil liberties.  That is coming to an end.  Through the proposed “national security” law, the CCP (China’s ruling party) has pretty much announced that it has given up on trying to win over Hong Kongers and will now proceed to act against them without their consent.  The CCP has indicated that its weird obsession with control will trump sensible economic decisions.

The Hong Kongers who choose to stay will almost certainly make the CCP burn with them.  The CCP will never control the Hong Kong people and turn them into obedient mainlanders who sing the Chinese national anthem instead of the Hong Kong anthem.  At the same time, the Hong Kong people will suffer a terrible price at the hands of the CCP much like the Uyghur Muslims, Tibetians, Falun Gong, etc.

The loss of freedom is in many ways worse than COVID-19.  Tanya Chan, a pro-democracy lawmaker, has described the day of the national security laws being introduced as the “saddest day in Hong Kong[‘s] history”.


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TIKR: a lightweight, cost-effective financial data terminal

TIKR is a startup whose goal is to bring institutional-quality investment research tools to a broader audience.  TIKR provides:

  1. Standardized financial data (from S&P Capital IQ) so that you can quickly put together financial models.
  2. High-quality conference call transcripts with better coverage and fewer typos than many other transcript providers.
  3. News.

While TIKR is in beta, you can sign up for a free account.

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