A special chapter of the Becoming Cancel-proof series

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The last week or so has been major in investing news. Just yesterday, even Jim Cramer on CNBC’s Mad Money was talking about it. Many institutional investors and hedge funds are complaining, but the community on Reddit known as r/wallstreetbets (WSB)is laughing and continuing to buy. Just what is happening, and why is it important to becoming cancel-proof?

The stock of the video game retailer GameStop is undergoing a short-squeeze (ticker symbol GME). Short-selling is when a stock is traded at a higher price in the hopes that the price will decline decently to be repurchased at a lower price. Investing firms and hedge funds often borrow stock to short and split the profits with the stock owner. The difference is that, since they are borrowed stocks, the short seller is obliged to return them to owner at some point. …

More on my Becoming Cancel-proof series

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It’s remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.

— Charlie Munger

Last month, I wrote about my goal of becoming cancel-proof, and I announced I would share the things I learn on Medium for other folks to borrow. The long-term goal is to create a passive income for myself by investing in companies that pay good dividends. The focus of this post will be on the first principle of value investing: the elimination of risk.

In the quote above, Munger refers to the wealth he and Warren Buffett have attained not by chasing growth promises but instead by focusing on the elimination of risk. Value investors like them believe that by avoiding risk, they don’t have to worry about losing their capital and thus always have an opportunity for growth. If your investment fails and loses money, that puts you in a much worse position for future investing, after all! Therefore, we will talk about key ways to avoid risk when investing in companies that can give you a passive income through their dividends. …

Until there’s a basic income, what can we do?

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Joe Rogan, comedian, martial artist, and host of ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’

What is this thing called cancel culture?

“Cancel culture” is a controversial term about an era of controversy. Many disagree on what exactly is cancel culture or not, since it’s a term that has developed organically and lacks a historical, academic, or etymological basis, except that it seems to borrow from the concept of having TV shows cancelled (more on that in a moment). In an attempt to encapsulate it as best as possible, I’ll define it myself. I think cancel culture has the following features:

  1. The purpose is to deny an income source to a targeted individual or group, permanently.
  2. The motives for cancellations are primarily political in nature. …

Using my work experience and recent investing knowledge

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From February 2019 to June 2020, I was a barista at Starbucks (ultimately getting phased out because of the Coronavirus). I ended up being there not quite long enough to benefit from stock options that partners (Starbucks workers) can receive. Nevertheless, I remain subscribed to r/starbucks and have made several visits to my old store. I keep in touch with my manager, who become a good friend of mine. I therefore still have a residual, personal interest in the company.

Recently I started studying the principles of investing, namely, a school known as value investing, which is associated with the likes of Warren Buffett and his teacher, Benjamin Graham. Where other investors see their work as investing “in the market,” value investors ignore the market and look at simply buying a company at a good price. …

Why was Andrew Yang right?

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Campaign print of a $1000 bill, featuring a dank and based Andrew Yang.

Andrew Yang sought the Democratic nomination in the 2020 Presidential Election. His flagship campaign position was the Freedom Dividend, a form of Universal Basic Income (UBI). UBI is income, essentially, that one gets for existing. Financed by a Value-Added Tax (VAT), Yang’s goal was to provide payouts of $1,000 per month to individual Americans. Because he was an outsider, he did not win, but his idea caught fire and is now a major topic for future elections. Let us know review why the Dividend is still a good idea for the future, as we look to 2022 and 2024.

1. It Doesn’t Discriminate

A lot of political programs can have the misfortune of taking from someone else and giving to another. The Freedom Dividend would make every American eligible for a payment, thereby eliminating that potential controversy. In an era of heightened political divisions and the seeming breakdown in race relations, additional wedges are not only inconvenient; they are risky. The future success of what has been a successful Republic is better assured when we can all share in its prosperity. …

Looking back on a fall from grace

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Dave Rubin has an interesting story. He started on The Young Turks, an alternative media source to the major, corporate outlets like CNN or MSNBC. It was a populist source, but around 2013 it became increasingly partisan and biased. The lack of self-restraint in reporting and conduct stood out to me like a sore thumb. Rubin had been working with them at this time, as a self-avowed progressive, but it was in this period that he began to have differences with them, apparently due to this shift (as he has since claimed).

This culminated in his departure from the show and the formation of his own program, The Rubin Report. This is the point where many people became familiar with Rubin. A lot of fans from TYT carried over and formed his initial audience. As the show came to understand itself, it took on the role of long-form, sit-down interview, in the vein of Larry King (an early guest of Rubin’s and personal hero). …

Disclaimer: All of these terms have kernels of truth in them. The purpose of this list is to understand what these terms mean as they are used in political discourse, what they explain well, and what they explain poorly.

Abolish/Defund the Police: This term is variable in its use. Sometimes it refers to actual abolition or slashing funds of police departments. Sometimes it refers simply to firing the current police, hiring people to do the same law enforcement work, and then calling them something other than police. It can also refer to restructuring budgets without overall cuts. …

How these two applications define a single conversation

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“Racism” is a tough term today. Anyone who has watched the news lately will know that. Much of this is due to the inherent conflict between the term in a modern sense and a postmodern sense. The modern sense is more familiar and follows from the norms of the Enlightenment. It generally holds that individuals are racist or not, and that, being tied to the individual, it is dependent on attitudes and beliefs that someone has in regard to race. The presentation of the term is thus straightforward. The postmodern sense is only recently known, and it is based more on a meta-analysis of the society in which racial conflicts and iniquities occur. It de-individuates, focusing instead on systemic patterns. …

How an NYT author missed her mark

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A few months ago, writing for The New York Times, Maya Phillips released a scathing review of the famed Nickelodeon show, Avatar: The Last Airbender. Yes, I do mean that it was scathing, even if the prose otherwise seemed quite gentle. I rarely have read a review that is so harsh while simultaneously so subtle about it, but true to her skills as a writer, Phillips accomplished this to such a height that even she may not realize how much she crucified the series. Ironically, this is also a product of her weakness as a reviewer.

Titled ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ Imagines a World Free of Whiteness, Phillips makes the point expressed in that title. The overall take is ultimately disappointing because she starts out by seeming to have a solid understanding of the show, praising the writing, the pacing, the narrative, and the aesthetics. After opening with that, she nevertheless…


Joseph Parrish

I discuss politics, economics, art, video games, and other interests.

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