Here we are, looking at the end of 2018, and wow, does it look glum. As of Monday, stocks were off into “correction territory.” Yesterday was better. The government is shut down, the Dems are blaming Trump and Trump is blaming the Dems…. Et cetera.
As usual, I have a different take. Two months ago in this letter I speculated the stock sell-off, then in its infancy, was not caused by the trade war or interest threats, but by loss of investor confidence in the tech sector. In my view, nothing has changed.
Granted, the tech losses have put a drag on algorithms and caused other stocks to dive, as well, but algorithms are tech. What do you expect?
With the usual caveat that I am no broker, I think now is a good time to look at production stocks. Manufacturing stocks like Caterpillar, Raytheon, Deere, Lockheed and Dow DuPont. Back in the day, these things used to be derisively called “the military/industrial complex.” And, I guess it is, but the fact is, without military and industrial, all the tech stuff combined is nothing but a cypher. Put one worm in the right wormhole, and the whole country, the preppers would have it, goes cold.
I am not a prepper. However, I have to admit I got a call out of nowhere from somebody that said he had heard me speak once and thought I would be the perfect addition to his end-of-times bunker team, no cost to me, and would I join? I told him if the end of the world is that close, I’d prefer to die with my friends.
So, where was I? Oh, yeah, tech stocks. I said buy industrial. Once the world has gone cold, whoever is left will need industry to rebuild and the military to protect it, so the stocks should be good at least until then.
Just to prove this is not merely a “rant,” let’s look reasonably at Google — the one currently being sanctioned by Europe and co-opted by China. That Google.
Back in the day, Google touted itself as the be-all and end-all of “search.” And, I suppose it was. It excelled in search and porn. It also surreptitiously gathered unto itself all the data it could, archived it and made up a new word, “monetize” to justify selling your wife’s bra size to the highest bidders. Later, it added the information to fill if you had been stupid enough to digitize pictures.
To be fair, Google is about as broad a net as you can imagine for finding stuff. At one time, the search was to be objective and inclusive — terms usually used for civil rights complaints, but there, nonetheless. You can find out about nearly any word or phrase you can imagine. For example, I just Googled “pigeon troop,” to dream up two random words, and discovered that the French, in the WWI Battle of the Marne, advanced 72 homing pigeon lofts with the army. Given the state of rations in WWI, this gives new resonance to the old imperative, “don’t kill the messenger.”
However, and this is important and true, the current state of Google is to provide up to hundreds of pages of “sponsored” content or “trending” content or content otherwise “monetized” before you can ever hope to find an objective and valid piece of information.
Worse, for all the breadth that Google search offers, there is no depth.
You may not believe this, but newspapers once reported events as they occurred and archived them in print so that researchers in the future could find out what happened. The papers considered themselves the “publication of record.” That is, they were the truthful observers of fact and archive. Today, they are falling over themselves to report what they think should happen. The current matter of politics and the media being an unavoidable example. The law has become an anachronism. All that matters is the tribal debate and sophistry.
The point is, if you want to find out how contemporary Islamic terrorism got going, you can’t find it on Google because it happened before 1981. All the archives that reported on terrorist attacks in the Philippines and the new world order as envisioned by Muslim extremists were published back then as a manifesto and you can find it. However, you need to look at print and Google does not do well are microfilm, microfiche and paper. Those media also have the awkward principle of being unhackable. What you read is what was written. Google is not restrained in that manner. Or any other. Google’s historic perspective stops at about 30 years, except for that which they have pirated from real histories.
We all have seen digital media weaponized against politicians by the media by now, but we may be missing that it is also weaponized against us. The people. Take the Keep It In The Ground movement, or substitute Black Lives Matter or any other so-called movement. You will see that the idea is to subvert the law and create enforcement upon people without legal oversight.
There are laws, for example, governing the production of fossil fuels. Keep It In The Ground does not like the laws, as they allow stuff that KIITG doesn’t like. So a group of four glib stoners can come up with a “movement,” file for NGO status, apply for funds, create shocking “memes” that “go viral,” then turn on the politicians with threats and intimidation, against which the politicians always comply. Politicians with a spine are as common as passenger pigeons.
Anyway, I’m not glum. I’m saying that Google, Facebook and their ilk are caught out in a worldwide web of their own making and are being corrected in public. For the rest, invest in the industrial sector, and keep focused on housing starts, building permits, renovation investment and employment, and you will see that Washington, cyberspace and the world’s non-producers have melded with Hollywood to create a temper tantrum not seen since Avril Lavigne did her first video of “Complicated.” But complicated, it’s not. Hollywood, Washington, cyberspace and Avril all could use a good spanking, and, with the possible exception of Avril, they are getting it.
C U in the New Year, as the techies-cum-publishers love to meme.