The daily view: 11/21/2023

Item #1: Texas attorney general opens investigation into Media Matters for ‘potential fraudulent activity’:

EXCLUSIVE—Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is opening an investigation into Media Matters for “potential fraudulent activity” after X CEO Elon Musk accused the left-wing media watchdog group of manipulating data on the social media platform.

After a slew of advertisers, including IBM, Apple, Disney, Lionsgate and Paramount, fled X, formerly known as Twitter, Musk pledged to hit the watchdog group with a “thermonuclear lawsuit.”

Good. The question is what will happen to Media Matters? Typically, attorney generals deal with civil cases, compared to district attorneys, who open criminal cases. This means that it has not yet been referred for criminal prosecution. I don’t think Media Matters violated criminal law, as libel cases typically fall under civil law. Winning will be hard owing to First Amendment protections, even though Media Matters took the data out of context. Invoking New York Times v Sullivan (1964), the plaintiff has to clear two hurdles: that they were defamed, and second, that it was made with malice. Collecting on civil judgments is even harder. The best outcome, and the one Musk is hoping for, is that Media Matters is put out of business and ceases operations due to debts, even if the amount of money is irrelevant to Twitter. I am not sure what is to stop the people of Media matters from simply creating a new organization then.

Item #2: OpenAI CEO and co-founder Sam Altman ousted from board, days later hired by Microsoft to start new AI division. It’s chaos at OpenAI as hundreds of employees threaten to leave, and others have already quit, such as OpenAI co-founder and president Greg Brockman, who now joined Altman at Microsoft.

Meanwhile, Microsoft stock was actually up on Monday on the news, at new highs to $370, while OpenAI is in serious trouble (similar to Twitter, being a private company, there is no way to know how much market value of OpenAI has been lost due to the turmoil, but estimates are a obviously a lot). This shows, again, I was right: OpenAI was not a good investment, as I predicted. And second, ‘big tech’ always wins. Given Microsoft’s poor track record at branching out into new markets without acquisitions, whether it’s search engines (Bing) or smart phones (Zune…remember that?), I suppose this is good news for AI-safety advocates, as Altman’s talent and Microsoft’s resources will likely be squandered.

Item #3: Crypto weakness resumes. The news keeps getting worse: Crypto exchange Kraken sued by SEC yesterday. BTC is back to crashing:

And possible criminal investigation into Binance, CEO steps down. Yet again, showing how stocks are better than crypto: more upside and less risk.

Two more days until the first window on the ETF approval closes. ETF delayed, as I correctly predicted, but the price has not fallen yet (it will soon). The method of shorting BTC wile the market is open is still profitable, which I am still doing. One can see that Bitcoin stalled out at $35,000-37,000 while the Nasdaq keep going up.

Item 4: Meta stock is above $330, having regained almost all the losses from 2021-2022. Meta is the best-preforming stock on the S&P 500 for 2023–the one stock I honed in on out of five-hundred, second maybe to Nvidia. From 2021-2022 Meta fell from $350 to $100, but I didn’t have any doubts at all. It’s not like I made a post expressing contrition that I was wrong. I knew I would be right, and I added to the position.

I don’t personally have any Meta accounts or spend much time on those sites, but I know the industry pretty well, and I knew that the underlying business models of Facebook and Instagram were unscathed by the high inflation of the 2022 downturn, and that the selling of Meta stock was unjustified.

Item #5: Tech stocks keep surging. The Nasdaq is almost at yearly highs.

Crisis tends to be good for stocks, whether it’s Covid or the Gaza war. The tech portfolio is now up 11x , from 10x a few weeks ago. Due to the magic of compounding, it only takes a 9% gain now to double my money from the initial investment. By comparison, the S&P 500 is up 3x in that same 9.5-year period with dividends included, which is still really good. This is why index funds are so great compared to most alternatives in terms of growing wealth. This 11x performance would technically make my performance possibly the best in the world, or among the best, second maybe to Renaissance (and close to Renaissance after fees, at about a 35% CAGR). Unlike Renaissance and other quant funds, the whole thing is passive. Hardly any trading…just buy and hold (although there is the possibility others have done better and I don’t yet know about it).

Item #6 Online, a lot of people are expecting or hoping for a realignment. Maybe it will come from unstoppable/runaway-AI, Middle East war, nuclear or World War due to Russia or Israel, or pollical upheaval that topples the two-party hegemony or the status quo. Nothing of the sort is going to happen. My thesis also is that the future is much like today, but more so, punctuated by the occasional burst of activity or unrest, like BLM protests or Middle East conflict. The future is one of continuity and stasis, not change. The unrest in Gaza is following the same pattern as Ukraine, in which the is a sudden eruption of conflict that grabs the attention of everyone worldwide, followed by a long slog and lull after the initial theatrics end. Hamas does not have the resources to sustain an attack on Israel, and Israel killing too many civilians, even if deservedly so, is not a good look from a public relations perfective.