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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Memorable Quotes - Part 5

A follow on from:
- "The problem with trying to disabuse someone of a conspiracy theory is that any argument you make becomes part of the conspiracy, so I don't know if it's possible to convince the Chinese that it's not about encircling them," she said.
- M: Today I've repeatedly heard how irrelevant my department has become. "Why do we need agents, the Double-0 section? Isn't it all antiquated?" Well, I suppose I see a different world than you do, and the truth is that what I see frightens me. I'm frightened because our enemies are no longer known to us. They do not exist on a map. They're not nations, they're individuals. And look around you. Who do you fear? Can you see a face, a uniform, a flag? No! Our world is not more transparent now, it's more opaque! It's in the shadows. That's where we must do battle. So before you declare us irrelevant, ask yourselves, how safe do you feel? Just one more thing to say, my late husband was a great lover of poetry, and... I suppose some of it sunk in, despite my best intentions. And here today, I remember this, I believe, from Tennyson: "We are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are. One equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will. To strive, to seek, to find, AND NOT TO YIELD."
- When someone is bluffing with chips, their actions are often stilted and visibly precise, with a notable pause to think before they are carried out. Look for his responses that don't appear to flow naturally; these are the ones that should require further examination.
- the doctrine, developed after Rwanda's genocide, that the international community must act if governments fail to protect their own citizens. The Henry Jackson Society, a UK think-tank, has also argued that legal authorisation from the General Assembly could be based on the "Uniting for Peace" resolution of 1950, which was used to overcome the Soviet Union's obstruction at the Security Council in the Korean war.
- "The euro zone has long since stopped being a brotherhood for increasing prosperity and mutual stability. It has transformed itself into a school of gladiators in which everyone fights for his own advantage and his survival."
- "Peace, like air and sunshine, is hardly noticed when people are benefiting from it," Chinese President Xi Jinping noted in his opening speech at Boao. "But none of us can live without it."
- "We turned the inside of our tent into a circus. 'Cause inside of our circus, we cannot be injured. Inside of our circus, we cannot be touched."
- The fact that the polls now seem to be locked into an easy Coalition win on September 14 has meant that the prospect of Anthony John Abbott, Prime Minister, has finally to be confronted as emerging reality rather than a possible future scenario, so the punters are reluctantly turning away from the easy pickings of the carcase of the Labor Party to take a few cautious sniffs at the fresh meat of an incoming government. And, by and large, they are not too keen on the smell.
- But leadership, especially for someone who has achieved that level of power, requires three elements: It must communicate a clear vision and a commitment to its realization; it must mobilize and inspire others into action; and it must produce results."
- "He may be a sonofabitch, but he's our sonofabitch."
- Today's nugget of investing wisdom comes courtesy of a refreshing post from Joshua Brown of The Reformed Broker.

So often in investing, people feel the need to break out fancy trading equipment, glue themselves to their computers all day and employ a host of complicated math equations to make the best decisions.
Not so, says Brown:

"The fancier the math one uses to justify an entrenched investment opinion, the more obscure and arcane the indicators employed, the more desperate and wrong that person is," he writes.

"We don't resort to algebraic equations when we're on the winning side of a trade and confident that we have gotten the broad strokes right. It is only when our backs are against the wall and the core beliefs we've publicly held have proven to be ineffective or incorrect that we resort to mining for "new" data from decades ago to re-prove our original thesis. This is more about saving face and nursing a bruised ego than it is about making money."

In fact, as an individual investor, you may have insights that the professionals who get paid to trade could never possess.
- "In some ways the devastation is beautiful. There is regrowth and regeneration, it's part of nature and relative to the debate about global warming and climate change."
- Intrusive government regulations and high costs, uncompetitive labour agreements that lock in above market wage increases, and insufficient volumes for economies of scale all played a significant role in Ford's demise. Another important factor is excess capacity in the global car market due to foreign government subsidies.
- A newspaper comes out once a day and needs to be put together differently every time. It can no longer be used to find out what's going on, except by a rapidly diminishing group of people who don't really want to know what's going on.
Newspapers must be reinvented to be sort of daily magazines, bought for reading rather than finding things out, and that should have happened years ago. Websites need to be fast-moving, constantly updated, accurate sources of information and analysis.
- The glory of mountain climbing lies in the fact that success is never guaranteed.
- "Things are changing way faster than they were in the 1970s or 1980s with technology, capital and talent available everywhere in the world, which was not the case then. This is making the lack of action, vision and priorities a much more difficult thing and a much bigger sin than before."
- "Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men's protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it bounces, marked, 'Account overdrawn." -Ayn Rand
- "We are not engaging in a purely material enterprise, we are engaging in a human enterprise which will promote peace and mark a major step for civilisation".
- But leadership requires more than an unusually elevated dose of political vitamins: it requires a disciplined intellectual framework that can shape an understanding of the past, underpin mastery of the present and guide the search to enlarge the future. Lacking that, no number of resurrections can transform persistent failure into enduring success. To believe otherwise is to court ultimate disaster, with nothing but disappointment along the way.
- "We seem to be standing by --and, frankly, asking -- for perfectness in science,"' Sullivan wrote in the 2007 CNA report. "People are saying they want to be convinced, perfectly. They want to know the climate-science projections with 100 percent certainty. Well, we know a great deal, and even with that, there is still uncertainty. But the trend line is very clear. We never have 100 percent certainty. We never have it. If you wait until you have 100 percent certainty, something bad is going to happen on the battlefield. That's something we know. You have to act with incomplete information. You have to act based on the trend line. You have to act on your intuition sometimes."
- "We don't don't get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? We've all chosen to do this with our lives. So it'd better be damn good."
- "You need brilliant minds to write good reports. But you also need efficient practitioners to apply those recommendations," he said.
- In his book Mother Earth and Mankind, celebrated historian Arnold Toynbee wrote that if the Chinese remain mindful of their past and future, "they may do a great service, not only to their own country, but to the whole of mankind at a critical stage in mankind's enigmatic course."
- Wall Street fails to understand the compounding power of a viral feedback loop. Hence, traditional financial firms underestimate the global demand for Tesla automobiles and related products. Most Wall Street firms are linear thinkers, and they do not understand the non-linear mathematics of viral feedback loops. Consequently, their linear models miscalculate the power and impact of viral marketing.

So get with the loop.
- In an age dominated by economic fears and corroded by loathing for politicians, the irreducibles of life make the health service the sole arena where the visceral issues of love, birth and death bind parliamentarians and the people. The NHS, a conduit through the no man's land separating the governing and the governed, is not the creaking relic of Tory myth.

Its problems are not, at heart, poor management or regulation (though neither help) but that it is being asked to do too much with too few staff. And yet, with demography and demand stacked against it, it accounts for 9.6 per cent of GDP, compared to 17.9 per cent in the US for far worse care. Some golden future of privatisation is a neverland sustained only by the erroneous notion that private services offer better and safer treatment. The public, who queue at GPs' surgeries, who languish in A&E and who, too often, see their parents or grandparents condemned to live and die like cattle, know all of this.

That is why the battle for the NHS is so bitter and the prize for offering a 21st-century settlement so immense. Ed Miliband is sitting on the big idea which might just save the health service. He should back it.
- Political memoirs are their own thing. There is inevitable self justification, sometimes outright delusion. There is record setting and score settling, foes touched up, fellow travellers flattered.

Some are stagey and allegorical, their true purpose all too transparent - the text is a bridge to life on the speaker's circuit after politics, a crude marketing exercise. Some hold back, constrained by dull instincts, cramped rooms, cut lunches and wooden formulations. Some are gossipy and gonzo, like Bob Carr's magnificently picaresque romp through the foreign affairs portfolio published earlier this year.

The best contributions tell the truth, or if not the truth (a vexatious and flexible concept, given history's tendency to be somewhat in the eye of the beholder) - then at least truth according to the person providing the story. The reflections are authentic, and ring true. There is an attempt to interrogate events and emotions and experiences.

- as usual thanks to all of the individuals and groups who purchase and use my goods and services

Quick Beef Stew Recipe, Random Stuff, and More

This is the latest in my series on quick, easy, and tasty meals:   http://dtbnguyen.blogspot.com/2017/11/chinese-style-congee-jook-recipe...