The Amateur Society Blog Turns 1!

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Greetings fellow amateurs!

Exactly one year ago today I made my first post on this blog for The Amateur Society. We had been having meetings since the summer of 2014, but at the suggestions of my compatriots I put this WordPress site together. What an awesome year it has been! It’s a great time to be writing, prognosticating, and communicating, and I’m looking forward to the next year. To God be the glory!

I’m a numbers guy, so here are some statistics:

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I’d also like to thank our readers from 76 countries! Shout outs in alphabetical order:

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Ross Powell – Finally A President Who Gets It: Jobs Make America Great

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Ross Powell is the founder of Survival 401k, a specialty financial services company that provides hard-asset based retirement account solutions and preparation recommendations. Please visit his website to explore the critical solutions that Ross offers. This article was originally published on US Daily Review: Finally A President Who Gets It: Jobs Make America Great

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With the inauguration of Donald J. Trump swiftly approaching, our divided nation waits with great hope and expectation on one side and great rancor and trepidation on the other. Outbound Barack Obama has sought in his final stretch to define his legacy and to sabotage the incoming administration. One of the core planks of Obama’s stated legacy is the so called economic recovery from the financial crisis and Great Recession that began in 2008. The government measure of unemployment sits squarely below 5%, the claim of millions and millions of jobs have been created or saved resounds, and words of tremendous confidence, accomplishment, and congratulations echo through the Democratic offices and press conferences around the Beltway.

Continue reading “Ross Powell – Finally A President Who Gets It: Jobs Make America Great”

The Media Manipulation Miscalculation

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With 16 days – and about 160 news cycles – remaining until the presidential election, if you look at the news and data coming out of establishment media outlets you get the sense that the election of Hillary Clinton is a foregone conclusion. Yet, if you look at polling data on alternative outlets or even look at social media traffic you get the sense that Donald Trump will win in a landslide. The discrepancies in the information trends dictate that someone must be wrong. Unfortunately, without the tendency or the wherewithal to investigate, potential voters are being bombarded with headline numbers that are rapidly absorbed as indisputable fact due to repetition.

We should never forget the effect that confirmation bias has on this process. Whatever you want to believe, there is a way to manipulate data in order to justify your belief. I participated in a version of this ‘goal seeking’ back when I was an investment banking analyst. Rather than build up the assumptions and properly model out the most likely outcomes based on fundamentals and probabilities, a range of numbers would be deemed acceptable and then the calculations would be performed in a way to justify those numbers. The objective was to win clients. A valuation figure presented to the company needed to be as high as possible without being perceived as unreasonable. Once we won the business and as reality set in more and more, the valuation numbers invariably came down because they didn’t meet the rosy forecasts we had advertised in order to gain the business in the first place.

Why aren’t we taught logic and statistics? It’s a literal tragedy that our populace is not prepared to think critically and quantitatively. Without going off on a roller coaster of a tangent, I’ll simply say that it is not entirely accidental in my view. My degrees in mathematics, statistics, and economics don’t make me anyone special, but I have spent years interacting with these topics and understanding the shortcomings of data analysis – particularly how information can be manipulated using statistics and how theoretical models often don’t apply to reality. The good news is that you don’t need to spend years interacting with the material if you have five minutes to spare, common sense, and an open mind.

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Thoughts from Just Before the Fall

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With August coming to a close and the fall season shortly at hand, I have a few observations to make:

1. It is becoming clear to more and more people that the primary narratives in essentially every area of our lives are nothing but lies and propaganda.

Cognitive dissonance levels are so far off the charts right now that a new descriptive term may be necessary that goes beyond total denial. The severity of the narrative contortions going on currently points directly to a troubling yet all too real prospect: spiritual blindness.

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I Have a Few Questions

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Why do we typically make the insane assumption that we are always right?

How many times does a person or organization have to lie for you to no longer trust them?

What proportion of your opinions are robust to the sharpest level of criticism?

How many questions of substance do you ask yourself on a regular basis?

Why are we usually fully confident in our understanding of history?

When was the last time you fully researched an issue?

Who do you look to in order to define your worldview?

How much further advanced is technology than what is available to the consumer?

Why hasn’t physics been able to find a unified theory of gravity?

Why are we surprised at immorality when moral relativism is taught in schools?

At what point will people demand that crimes of corruption have consequences?

Why do we care about polls knowing that political statistics are universally manipulated?

How can unemployment be ~5% with ~100 million working age Americans not employed?

Why don’t all Western women’s rights activists call for reform in Islamic countries?

Have you heard of taqiyya?

Why don’t most Christians read the Bible?

What will happen to the unprepared and dependent in the event of a disaster?

Do you know how long you will live?

Do you know where you will spend eternity?

Do you know Jesus?

Does Jesus know you?