A Message From My Friend in Kyiv

Please, try to understand me and here is answer for “how are you?” inside me is a bomb of hatred, rage, pain, fear and injustice…

They stole our possibility to live our life, to happiness, to have home and even die as a humane… in Mariupol, people who were killed during the bombing and attack by the Russians were buried today in a common grave…

They shoot civilians, men because they try protect women and them child…Russian soldiers rape women in front of their children. Some of them shoot after, some were hanged…some of them had “the luck” to survive…

That is not just a “story” That is our reality today.

In moment when for Russian people is a problem closed store of lovely brand…

How many killed children, mothers, men…? How many raped women…? How many destroyed houses, bridges, cities…?

When it’s gonna be ENOUGH for you understand that not only about UKRAINE IT’S ABOUT ALL WORLD

1 Comment

Filed under Home

Vladimir Putin: “A leader with few followers”

President Vladimir Putin’s primary goal in life has been to earn a memorable place in history. “Congratulations Vladi, you’ve done it.” You’ve also booked a reservation in hell, sharing a room with Adolf Hitler.

Your most notable achievements:

Alienating the entire civilized world against your own people.

Sending young, poorly equipped soldiers into battle who have no desire to kill their ethnic Ukrainian cousins.

Instead, using missiles and bombs, which have no conscience, to do your killing.

REST ASSURED, YOU WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN OR FORGIVEN!

1 Comment

Filed under Home

Putin’s Folly

My girlfriend ten years ago was from Ukraine. One parent was Russian and one was Ukrainian. This was very common making this current conflict somewhat like a civil war.

I have two Russian friends in Russia who feel shame about what Putin is doing. How long will Russian soldiers do Putin’s bidding? It’s easy to convince a soldier to kill an enemy who looks different and speaks a different language. But killing someone who is very similar to your own friends and family is not that easy.

Putin will end up being the big loser!

3 Comments

Filed under Home

Greed + Discrimination = MLB Profits

Back in the mid-nineties I met an African American man in Atlanta, it was midsummer, and upon learning I was from the St. Louis area we struck up a conversation about the St. Louis Cardinals. He had been a baseball coach in the majors but now owned a limousine company.

I shared my memories from the 60’s and 70’s and how much I admired former greats like Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith and Curt Flood. I even had a glove signed by Flood whom I was fortunate to meet later at a charity event.

When I inquired as to why he was no longer involved with the MLB he said the owners had decided there was more money to be made promoting the careers of Latino players versus African/Americans. I was skeptical and ask why, it made no sense to me. But he explained that there was a huge market for anything “baseball” in Latin America. Broadcasting revenue, video tapes, fan merchandise, etc., etc.

He suggested I look at the numbers comparing the number of African/American players versus the number of Latino players and watch how the ratio was going to change over the next 20 years. I have now and see what he was talking about. It’s not about race it is all about the money. But the collateral damage to young African/American athletes aspiring to follow in the footsteps of Bob Gibson, Hank Aaron and all the other great Hall of Fame African/Americans I admired and cheered for in the past is obvious!

I had not thought about that conversation years ago until this past week when the owners of MLB took the All-Star Game away from Atlanta and gave it to the city of Denver in an attempt to portray themselves as dedicated supporters of African/Americans.

Here are the numbers which clearly show the incredible hypocrisy of the MLB owners.

YEAR     WHITE   BLACK   LATINO


1990       69%         17%             15%  

 
1995       64%           16%           19%


2000       61%           13%           25%


2005       61%           9%             28%


2010       63%           8%             27%


2015       63%           7%             28% 

And as many others have noted, the game, and all the economic benefits, have been moved from a predominately black city to a predominantly white city.

2 Comments

Filed under Home

The Pollsters Have No Access

Before reading this you should go back and read again “WHAT THE POLLS ARE TELLING US?”, posted back in February.  Nothing has changed regarding the excruciatingly difficult challenge faced by those attempting to accurately forecast the election results next week.

According to most Polls, Joe Biden has an insurmountable lead and will coast to victory over President Trump.  However, the Media, recalling the results four years ago, is taking no chances this time.  Even with Biden’s big lead in the Polls, and with just one week to go, they are employing what I call their “HATE STRATEGY” (which I wrote about back in March 2016).  Only now it’s on steroids.  

So I’ve been trying to understand why.  I’ve observed a lot of Presidential elections since my first back in 1968 and I can’t recall witnessing what I’m seeing now.  It’s almost as if the Media is having a panic attack, in spite of Biden’s big lead.  What are they afraid of?  The dire forecast, back in 2016, of the looming disaster of a Trump Presidency, has made the Media look foolish if not corrupt.  Even so, we have a Presidential election every four years giving us the opportunity to make a change.  It’s not like Russia or China where you can become “President For Life”. 

The fear of Trump is irrational unless there are other issues beyond the standard political issues.  The economy, foreign policy, national defense, health care etc. are the issues we usually consider when electing a President.  But what other issues are driving this obsession to get rid of Trump?  Perhaps the Political Establishment has other things to fear.

But let me digress.  If the Pollsters had access to every opinion expressed in every phone call, text message, e-mail, etc. by every eligible voter it would be relatively easy to forecast the winner of every election.  But obviously they don’t have access to that information.

That information is exclusive to the NSA and others who are part of our intelligence establishment.   I believe the NSA has a very accurate forecast of the results of next week’s election.

And perhaps that forecast has been shared with others, who are terrified of another four years of a Trump Presidency.  After all he is an outsider, and not in “The Club”!   

2 Comments

Filed under Home, Politics

Xi Jinping Virus

As speculation grows that the Chinese government may have intentionally launched Covid 19 into the world I began thinking of what could they possibly hope to gain from such dastardly action.  What could be their motive?  In search of an explanation I could not come up with anything external to China vis-à-vis the rest of the world.  But then it occurred to me that perhaps the motive could be perceived threats to their absolute dictatorial power.

Before joining the global community the Chinese people were impoverished with very few, if any, individual rights.  They lived, no “existed”, at the very bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  By opening their country to the World and providing vast amounts of cheap labor, the Chinese people began to climb up Maslow’s pyramid.  But this may have ignited the first potential challenge to the Communist Party leadership.  It’s human nature to expect more as you move up Maslow’s pyramid and what you desire, is more individual freedom.  Not something the Communist Party will ever concede.

To make matters worse, it is no longer possible for Despots, to prevent their subjects from knowing what is happening in the rest of the world.  When the Chinese people of Mainland China see the standard of living of Chinese living in Taiwan and Hong Kong they cannot help but ask why?  Is it our government?  Of course, asking that question too often in Mainland China is not advisable.

Here are the facts:

                   Per Capita GDP

Hong Kong           $66,527

Taiwan                  $57,214

China Mainland   $20,984  

With Covid 19 Xi Jinping has crushed any hopes the Chinese people may have regarding more individual freedom.  It also shows the Chinese citizens of Hong Kong that he will be ruthless, if necessary, to gain control of their government.

5 Comments

Filed under Home

“THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE MAYOR”

The “Mayor” is the personification of the Career Politician whose first thoughts each day are about how can I advance my career, not what can I do to improve the lives of my constituents.  There is no doubt the Mayor is a very bright young man with a very large ambition.  Smart enough to know that his resume as a small city mayor was not going to take him very far in his quest to become President.

​Our military has a program whereby civilians can volunteer to serve with the military for a short period of time if they have a useful skill and/or experience. (You can read the list of jobs on Wikipedia.)  When reading this list you will notice there are no options that would put these volunteers in harms way.  Why?  They have no military training.   Their training lasts 2-5 weeks during which they learn the “chain of command”, terminology (e.g. a Captain in the Marines and a Captain in the Navy are two very different ranks), and what to wear.  (It wouldn’t look right if they continued to wear their civilian attire.)  And with no weapons training no one is going to issue them a weapon.  At least I hope not.

​The Mayor’s assignment was to look for illicit bank transfers to potential terrorist groups.  Important, but no battlefield courage required.  The Mayor worked in an air-conditioned office, slept in air-conditioned officers quarters and enjoyed three meals a day at the Officers Club.  His attempts to position himself as a “war veteran” is not going work with those who have actually served or with the family and friends of those who paid the ultimate price while defending our country.  As a Vietnam veteran, I find the Mayor’s actions; exploiting the respect our Country has for those who actually serve, to be insulting, dishonest, unethical, and immoral.  It is beyond my comprehension to see the Mayor as the “Commander and Chief” of our Military.

3 Comments

Filed under Home

WHAT THE POLLS ARE TELLING US?

Actually, very little!  Four years ago most people were surprised by the failure of polls to forecast accurately the outcome of numerous elections, yet now, the media continues to report the results of current polls that claim to show us the future.  But the job of the Pollsters has become excruciatingly difficult.  

In the past, the degree of success for a polling company was primarily determined by the design of the sample.  Using a sample size of fewer than 1,000 to reflect the opinion of millions required a lot of skill.  And some were very skilled and showed consistently good results.

But oh how the world has changed.  One of the unintended consequences of the technological revolution is the advent of the ubiquitous “robo call”!  Pollsters need people in their sample to answer the phone.  I’m betting most people won’t answer the phone unless they know who’s calling.  At best they will let it go through to voicemail, and I doubt there will be many people returning the pollster’s call.

Combined with the increasing desire of many to keep their opinions private tells me the polls this year will not be a very reliable source of useful information.  However, the Media will continue to report polling results simply because it gives them something to report.  But why the Democrats have been using poll results as one of the criteria for participation in their debates is beyond me.

Fortunately, we’re entering the Primary Season and we will begin to get a measure of what actual voters are thinking, not what pollsters say voters are thinking.   

Leave a comment

Filed under Home, Politics

COMPETITION??

Like so many others I was surprised to hear that my friend Eduardo Repetto and Pat Keating have started a new firm to compete with DFA.  Perhaps the added competition will benefit advisors and their clients, who knows?  When reading the news I had time to reflect on my years building the Advisor business at DFA, and all the success we had making a difference for so many investors.

In my opinion, the only serious mistake I made was hiring Pat Keating who had very different ideas regarding what DFA’s relationship should be with financial advisors.  Perhaps Pat’s ideas would  have been better and now he will have a chance to prove it.  DFA owes so much to the advisors who contributed a great deal to our success and in my opinion Pat failed to appreciate that.

I did however make some great hiring decisions.  I believe everyone acknowledges the talent and ethics of people like Dave, Bryce, Brad and Mark just to name a few.  They have continued to make DFA a great firm long after my departure.

3 Comments

Filed under Home

Discrimination and Diversity In the Workplace

Discrimination:  When an individual is denied a job, a raise, a civil right, due to their race, gender, age, religion or sexual orientation, that defines discrimination.  It is illegal and in my opinion immoral.  It is also counter productive to whatever an organizations goals (both private and public) happen to be.

Diversity:  When an individual is given a job, a raise, special privileges, etc. due to their race, gender, age, religion or sexual orientation it is legal but will always be counter productive to an organization’s goals.  With such diversity employee performance will reach the lowest common denominator.

Too many “professional politicians” don’t seem to understand this and believe that individuals are interchangeable. The goal is to make the pool of employees reflect the same makeup as the general population.  It’s not their seemingly lack of intelligence, it’s their lack of experience working in the private sector.  In the private sector there is a need to have a positive bottom line and as a result the strategy is to hire and promote the most qualified individuals regardless of their race, gender, age, religion or sexual orientation.

In the public sector there is no incentive to excel, just do your job and you will get your paycheck.  So perhaps diversity is the proper way to divide the budget provided by taxpayers, but diversity will never work in the private sector.  Politicians on the left know this and that is why they want to minimize or totally eliminate the role of the private sector in the U.S.  The goal is diversity and the methodology is called “affirmative action”.  It may work in the public sector but the “all knowing politicians” should not be allowed to determine how those in the private sector manage their employees.  Market forces are much more efficient at teaching those lessons.     

 It is rare, in both Political Parties, to find candidates with any work experience in the Private Sector.  That is until they retire or get voted out of office.  They will then accept a position in the Private Sector to collect on all the IOUs earned while in office.  But that is a discussion for another day.     

1 Comment

Filed under Home