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Special Episode
Featuring Ed McCabe
We discuss the latest woes plaguing Tesla after the SEC’s recent allegation that Elon Musk, violated a settlement with the agency when he tweeted about the company’s 2019 production targets. Ed McCabe and Demetri are joined midway through by Montana Skeptic and continue their conversation into the overtime segment.

In this Special Episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Ed McCabe about the latest woes plaguing Tesla after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently alleged in a federal filing that its CEO Elon Musk, violated a settlement with the agency when he tweeted in February about the electric carmaker's 2019 production targets. Midway through the episode, the two are joined by Lawrence Fossi, known by his pen name Montana Skeptic, and the three continue their conversation for the rest of the episode and into the overtime segment.

 

When considering the performance of Tesla’s stock in the face of sober calculations, one cannot help but be reminded of Benjamin Graham’s famous quote: "In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run it is a weighing machine.” For anyone looking to weigh the merits of Tesla’s valuation, he or she would be best served by obtaining a degree in forensic accounting. For anyone looking to understand how or why the stock has remained as high as it has while the company has been busy liquidating assets, shutting down distribution points, and restructuring operations in order to keep the electricity running, he or she will likely need to rely upon the expertise of cultural anthropologists and theologians.

 

The immediate danger for Elon and Tesla is one of insolvency and lifeless demand. On a personal level, it was recently reported that Musk’s banker, Morgan Stanley, who likely holds most or all of his margin debt, extended itself further last December by making mortgage loans on five of Musk’s California mansions. Elon took out $61 million in mortgages: four in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles and one in the Bay Area. The loans, signed in the final days of 2018, represent about $50 million in new borrowing. Considering Tesla’s deteriorating financial position in the face of cratering demand, massive mismanagement, and continued disarray in its manufacturing and logistics operations, it is instructive to know that the CEO may conduct his personal finances with comparable degrees of recklessness and malpractice. If Tesla’s share price continues to decline, Musk will eventually need to post more collateral, which means approaching the Tesla board and asking it to waive its pledging limits of company stock. Assuming the board gives him the waiver and the stock continues to drop, Morgan Stanley will be forced to begin selling collateral to recoup some of the outstanding loan. This could cause the bottom to fall out very quickly, for both Tesla, as well as Elon Musk.

 

As far as demand is concerned, the picture has gone from alarming (going off a publicly available spreadsheet that tracks VIN numbers) to downright nightmarish (the rushed slashing of the Model 3 price). Pictures of lots stacked with ownerless Model 3’s have been circulating on the Internet for months. There is also a theory that the number of Model 3’s being returned to Tesla is much higher than is being reported and that this helps to explain the persistent gap seen since September between the number of Model 3’s Tesla claims to have delivered and the number showing up as registered. The theory is that this is the result of a strategic decision on the part of Tesla to delay registering newly sold cars for 3-4 weeks in order to provide an opportunity to resell the car with a “clean” title to unsuspecting new buyers. On top of all this, Tesla’s list of executive departures continues to grow by the day with the VP of Engineering, the General Counsel, the VP of Global Recruiting, and the Chief Financial Officer among the company’s latest casualties.

 

In short, Tesla appears to be in the midst of an informal restructuring and liquidation process being driven on the fly by a Shakespearean CEO whose personal finances and singularly large ego are so fragile that nothing seems capable of standing in his way.

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Ed McCabe has over 20 years of experience in research and portfolio management, working on both the buyside and sell-side. Following positions of increasing responsibility on the sell-side at CIBC (formerly Oppenheimer & Company) and Merrill Lynch, which included lead research coverage of several technology and internet/media sectors, Ed has worked at several hedge funds generating investment ideas across a variety of industries.

In 2007 Ed co-founded Clean Value Partners, where he was COO and co-portfolio manager of the Clean Value Fund, a long/short equity hedge fund focused on energy and related industries. Clean Value Fund was ranked the #1 and #5 energy hedge fund for calendar-year 2012 and the three years ended December 2012, respectively, by Barclay Managed Funds Report.

On March 28, 2013 Clean Value Partners was acquired by Longbow Capital Advisors.

Most recently, Ed worked as an analyst for TLF Capital, a concentrated long/short equity strategy focused on investments across various industries.

Ed’s most impactful (and satisfying) investment ideas have been those differentiated by information gathered through primary sources where investigative work produced elements of value or risk unappreciated by investors.

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Technology
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Episode 80
Featuring Thomas Reardon
Demetri Kofinas speaks with CTRL-labs CEO Thomas Reardon, about his company’s ground-breaking innovations in neural interface design, computational neuroscience, and machine learning that turn science fiction into reality.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with CTRL-labs CEO Thomas Reardon, about his company’s ground-breaking innovations in neural interface design, computational neuroscience, and machine learning that turn science fiction into reality.

 

Thomas Reardon’s career is no less impressive than his most recent endeavor to displace the graphical user interface and revolutionize immersive computing. He is a founding Board Member of the World Wide Web Consortium and famous for having created Internet Explorer at Microsoft, which, at its peak, represented 96% of all web browsers in existence. Over one billion people on earth have used Reardon’s software to access the Web. After leaving Microsoft, Reardon decided to go back to school, receiving his undergraduate degree in Classics from Columbia, gaining fluency in Latin and Greek. He followed that up with a Ph.D. in Neuroscience split between Columbia and Duke.    

 

It’s hard to capture the paradigmatic nature of the innovations stemming from the work being done at CTRL-labs without seeing it for yourself. Anything that I can say is insufficient to capture the awe of watching someone type on a screen without moving his fingers, use her intentions to pick up and finely control objects in three-dimensional space or play a video game while remaining visually motionless. The implications of this technology are perhaps, rivaled only by the practical genius of its implementation. By focusing their attention on translating only the final, neuronal output of our brain’s commands as expressed through electrical impulses sent directly to our muscles, the team at CTRL-labs has managed to create a device that can capture the brain’s intentions non-invasively, through the use of a simple armband that you can wear like an article of clothing, a wristwatch, or a fancy bracelet. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this technology turns yesterday’s future into today’s reality, blowing wide-open the world of immersive computing and expanding our sense of possibility beyond our wildest imagination.

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Thomas Reardon is CEO & Co-Founder of CTRL-Labs, a company that builds transformative brain-machine/neural interfaces whose work spans the intersection of computational neuroscience, statistics, machine learning, biophysics, hardware, and human-computer interaction. He was previously CEO and Co-Founder of Avogadro, Inc., acquired by Openwave where he served as CTO, and creator of the Internet Explorer project at Microsoft. He’s a founding Board Member of World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), has 7 patents, and was an MIT “Top 35 Young Innovator” in 2004. Dr. Reardon has an undergraduate degree in Classics from Columbia and split his Ph.D. in Neuroscience between Columbia and Duke University. He is one of 18 siblings.

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Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

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Technology
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Episode 79
Featuring Shoshana Zuboff
Demetri Kofinas speaks with Shoshana Zuboff, about the rise of “Surveillance Capitalism,” a pernicious new economic logic, which robs us of our experiences, dispossess us of our sanctuaries and makes our lives increasingly unlivable.

In this week's episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri speaks with Shoshana Zuboff, whose career has been devoted to the study of the rise of the digital, its individual, organizational, and social consequences, and its relationship to the history and future of capitalism.

 

In 1609, while in search of a rumored, northeast passage to Asia on behalf of the Dutch East India Company, the English explorer and navigator Henry Hudson, landed on what is modern day New York City.

 

Though written accounts exist of Hudson’s encounters with local tribes, native accounts have been handed down to us through oral tradition, often transcribed much later by missionaries and settlers. In 1765, a Moravian missionary who lived for many years among the Delaware and Mohican tribes recorded a native account of the first meeting:

 

“A long time ago, some Indians who had been out fishing, where the sea widens, spied at a great distance something remarkably large swimming or floating on the water. It was agreed among those who were spectators, that as this phenomenon moved towards the land, it would be well to inform all the Indians on the inhabited islands. Chiefs, from scattered tribes who arrived in numbers, concluded the strange appearance to be a large canoe or house, in which the great Supreme Being himself was coming to visit them.“

 

Such descriptions by native peoples of their first encounters with white settlers were common throughout the Americas. The first man to bring news to the great Aztec King Montezuma of Spanish ships described what he saw from the Gulf coast as “towers or small mountains floating on the waves of the sea.” In other accounts, natives looked from the shore and thought the awesome, approaching ships were giant, white seabirds or floating islands. There are even theories that the Arawak - the first tribe to encounter Columbus’ ships off the coast of Hispaniola - could at first, see only their ripples across the horizon. They were unable to picture what was for them, unprecedented. Unimagined. Alien.

 

What all these people had in common was that they were unable to name, let alone recognize a force of creative destruction so vast and boundless that it would make their worlds unrecognizable, their homes uninhabitable, and their lives unlivable. They were unable to see the ships and their crew for what they were – the vessels of conquerors, pillagers, and looters of unsullied lands. Unable to name them, they welcomed them, agents of their own annihilation.

 

This week, on Hidden Forces, we explore the unprecedented force of surveillance capitalism – how it threatens to dispossess us of our experiences, our sanctuaries, and our very lives.

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Play
Special Episode
Featuring Bruce Schneier & Leemon Baird
Special Episode
Featuring Bruce Schneier & Leemon Baird

Shoshana Zuboff joined the Harvard Business School faculty in 1981. One of the first tenured women at the school, she was the Charles Edward Wilson Professor of Business Administration. In 2014 and 2015 she was a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. Her career has been devoted to the study of the rise of the digital, its individual, organizational, and social consequences, and its relationship to the history and future of capitalism. She also founded and led the executive education program, Odyssey: School for the Second Half of Life.

 

@shoshanazuboff

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

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Episode 78
Featuring Matt Taibbi
Demetri Kofinas speaks with Matt Taibbi, about his ambitious project to update Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent, which is a sort of operational manual for those looking to understand how journalists and the media shape social reality. Topics include the Iraq War, the 2008 Financial Crisis, and the 2016 Election.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Matt Taibbi, a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and winner of the 2008 National Magazine Award, about his latest book, Hate, INC.

 

Matt Taibbi is someone who truly needs no introduction. His polemical, but also highly illustrative and expository writing stands apart from his contemporaries, and the significance of his contributions, particularly to the public debate during the 2008 financial crisis cannot be understated. He served as an interpreter for what was, in his own words, “a crime story that most people mistakenly thought of as an economic story.” His attacks on those he identified as being chiefly responsible for the crisis were relentless, and in a media environment tenanted and owned by government apologists and banking sycophants, they were noticeably ruthless and unforgiving. In an article he penned in the spring of 2010 titled, “The Great American Bubble Machine,” Taibbi referred to the investment bank Goldman Sachs as a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

 

Fortunately for Goldman Sachs, Matt Taibbi has since turned his attention towards the media itself, embarking on an ambitious project to update Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent, for the 21st century, as a serialized book that he’s been releasing through sub-stack. The majority of this conversation deals with the subject of that book, which is a sort of operational manual for those looking to understand how journalists and the media shape social reality.

 

When Manufacturing Consent was first published in 1988, the media landscape was still largely dominated by print and broadcast television. We’ve since gone through two, major technological disruptions, first with cable, and then with the Internet, both of which altered the traditional pathways through which governments and big business try to shape and control public opinion. Matt and Demetri discuss these changes at length, including the amplification of “flak” through social media, the new orthodoxies of groupthink, as well as an exploration of victimhood hierarchies as understood through Herman and Chomsky’s “worthy vs. unworthy victims” framework.

 

Finally, Matt Taibbi and Demetri discuss the circus that is the media’s political coverage, including some amazing stories from Matt’s time on the 2016 campaign trail, as well as a scathing critique of his old buddies at Goldman Sachs, who are back in the news over their role in a scheme to defraud the Malaysian government and its citizens of billions of dollars through the use of a state-owned investment fund known as 1MDB. If you want access to this part of the conversation, as well as a transcript of the full episode along with this week’s 14-page rundown, which includes an updated outline of the propaganda model and a timeline of important events in the evolution of the news business, you can subscribe directly by clicking on the overtime, transcript, or rundown tabs within this episode page. Subscribers instantly gain access to our entire library of content, including nearly 80 transcripts, close to 60 rundowns, and overtime segments going back to the end of December 2018.

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Play
Episode 72
Featuring Senator Bob Kerrey
Episode 72
Featuring Senator Bob Kerrey

Matt Taibbi is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and winner of the 2008 National Magazine Award for columns and commentary. His most recent book is ‘I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street,’ about the infamous killing of Eric Garner by the New York City police. He’s also the author of the New York Times bestsellers 'Insane Clown President,' 'The Divide,' 'Griftopia,' and 'The Great Derangement.'

 

@mtaibbi

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Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

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Philosophy
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Episode 77
Featuring Cal Newport
Demetri Kofinas speaks with professor of computer science Cal Newport, about Digital Minimalism and the act of “choosing life” in a surveillance economy that is governed by algorithms scientifically engineered for addiction, supervision, and control.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Cal Newport about his latest book, Digital Minimalism and the act of “choosing life” in a hyperconnected world.

 

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” writes, transcendentalist author and essayist Henry David Thoreau, in the first chapter of Walden titled, “Economy.” “But men labor under a mistake...the improvements of ages have had but little influence on the essential laws of man's existence.” In an effort to uncover those “essential laws” Thoreau went to the woods: “I wished to live deliberately,” he says, “to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear;”

 

What is often missed in Thoreau’s reflections from his 2-year excursion into the woodlands of Concord, Massachusetts, is the rigor with which he calculated, measured, and weighed those “essential facts of life.” Philosopher Frédéric Gros calls Thoreau’s “New Economics,” a theory that builds on the following axiom, which Thoreau establishes early in Walden: “The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.” “The striking thing with Thoreau,” Gros argues, “is not the actual content of the argument. After all, sages in earliest Antiquity had already proclaimed their contempt for possessions…what impresses is the form of the argument. For Thoreau’s obsession with calculation runs deep…he says: keep calculating, keep weighing. What exactly do I gain, or lose?”

 

In the century and a half since its publication, Thoreau’s economics – his methodology for apprehending the cost of a thing by weighing and measuring it against the dearness of life’s value – has been supplanted by allegiance to growth at all costs. But unlike the “mass of men” about which Thoreau writes in the mid-19th century, today’s society is burdened by more than just the labor of miscalculation. In today’s hyperconnected, surveillance economy, the mass of humanity has lost autonomy over that calculation, ceding authority to the commands of a new technocracy that governs the behavioral forces of our primitive biology through platforms scientifically engineered for addiction, supervision, and control.

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Play
Episode 4
Featuring Gary Edgerton
Episode 4
Featuring Gary Edgerton
Play
Special Episode
Featuring Demetri Kofinas
Special Episode
Featuring Demetri Kofinas

Cal Newport is an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University. He started blogging at calnewport.com in 2007 while a graduate student at MIT and has authored six books, including Deep Work and So Good They Can't Ignore You. In recent years, he’s been primarily writing about the intersection of technology and society. He is particularly interested in the impact of new technologies on our ability to perform productive work, as well as on our ability to lead interesting and satisfying lives.

 

You won't find him on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, but you can often find him at home with his family in Washington, DC, or writing essays for his popular website calnewport.com.

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

Media
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Play
Special Episode
Featuring Lee Pacchia
Demetri Kofinas and Lee Pacchia discuss the existential challenges facing media companies, the impact of the 2008 crisis on financial news, as well as what it was like to come of political age during the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Additional topics include the wealth gap, cryptocurrencies, and foreign policy.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas and Lee Pacchia discuss their experience working in media during the 2008 financial crisis, as well as what it was like to come of political age during the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Learn more about how you can gain access to the full episode, including transcripts and rundowns, by clicking on the "subscribe" tab at the top of this website.

 

Lee is currently a Director at Traxi, a consulting firm focused on helping businesses in crisis, turnaround and restructuring scenarios. In his capacity at the firm, Lee works with companies across a wide variety of industries, including media firms, which gives him a unique insight into some of the problems that these organizations are facing.

 

Additional topics include the wealth gap, cryptocurrencies, and foreign policy.

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation on FacebookInstagram, and Twitterat @hiddenforcespod

Lee Pacchia is a Director at Traxi, a consulting firm focused on helping businesses in crisis, turnaround and restructuring scenarios. He is a former lawyer and journalist. Prior to joining Traxi, Lee helped design and launch the multimedia channel for Bloomberg Law, where he produced and hosted a number of video programs.

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

Culture Wars
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Culture Wars
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Episode 76
Featuring Robby Soave
A journalist at the center of the biggest news story in America joins us to discuss how a group of Catholic school students from Kentucky were thrust into the national spotlight for seeming to denigrate and mock the dignity of a native American at the steps of the Lincoln memorial on the day of an Indigenous People’s March on Washington.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Robby Soave, the journalist at the center of what has become the biggest national news story in America, eclipsing the thirty-five-day-long government shutdown that ended today.

 

This conversation centers on a drama that began unfolding over the previous weekend and which has continued into this week. It concerns a group of Catholic school students from Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School, who were thrust into the national spotlight for seeming to have denigrated and mocked the dignity of a native American man who was solemnly beating his drum at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during MLK weekend and on the day of an Indigenous Peoples March in the nation’s capital.

 

This story hit all the trigger buttons. The protagonists were a group of adolescent, white, privileged, Catholic schoolboys from Kentucky wearing MAGA hats who were smirking at and mocking an individual from what is perhaps the most marginalized group in American society. The oppressors were taunting the oppressed. Here it was in all its despicable glory, and the media and millions of people across social media ate it up. They swallowed it hook, line, and sinker and these students were all but crucified by both sides of the political spectrum before all the facts had been collected and laid bare.

 

Were it not for our guest, Robby Soave, and his timely reporting about what actually transpired at the Lincoln Memorial this past Friday, the 18th of January, this news cycle may have ended and these Covington Catholic High School kids could very well have been expelled, their applications to colleges denied, and their families attacked before anyone would learn the truth of what really happened.

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Play
Episode 72
Featuring Senator Bob Kerrey
Episode 72
Featuring Senator Bob Kerrey

Robby Soave is an associate editor at Reason.com. He enjoys writing about college news, education policy, criminal justice reform, and television. He is also a columnist for The Daily Beast and has penned articles for The New York TimesNew York Post, CNN, USA TodayU.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, The Orange County Register, and The Detroit News. Forbes named him to the 2016 "30 Under 30" list in the category of law and policy.

 

Soave is perhaps best known for his early skepticism of Rolling Stone's investigative reporting on sexual assault at the University of Virginia. He won a 2015 Southern California Journalism Award for his commentary on the subject.

In 2016, Soave won the Alumnus of the Year Award at the International Students for Liberty Conference. He was also appointed to the D.C. Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

 

Soave is a 2017-2018 Novak Fellow at The Fund for American Studies and a graduate of the University of Michigan, who appears regularly on Fox News, CNN, and syndicated radio programs.

 

@robbysoave

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Bitcoin
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Episode 75
Featuring Pierre Rochard
Demetri Kofinas speaks with bitcoin maximalist Pierre Rochard, about arguments for hyperbitcoinization, including a conversation about anarcho-capitalism, governance, decentralization, monetary theories of value, lightning network, and the importance of bitcoin’s supply schedule in setting it apart from the rest of the crypto ecosystem.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Pierre Rochard, a self-ascribed “bitcoin maximalist,” who co-founded the Satoshi Nakamoto Institute and who has been a researcher, investor, and software developer in the space since early 2013. In addition to developing Bitcoin software, Pierre is an outspoken advocate for Bitcoin's decentralized governance, the operator of one of the largest Lightning Network routing hubs, and the host of the Nodded Bitcoin Podcast.  

 

This conversation is broken into two parts. The first deals with fundamental questions concerning bitcoin’s base layer protocol, the supply schedule, governance, decentralization, utility, and challenges to layer 1 scalability. Included in this first part is a fascinating conversation about anarcho-capitalism and the role of Austrian economics and theories of hard money in the bitcoin community with comparisons made between bitcoin and gold.   

 

The second part of the conversation, which is available as a 40-minute overtime segment for our subscribers, consists of a prolonged series of discussions on hyperbitcoinization, including the mechanics of a speculative attack by bitcoin against the US dollar and other fiat currencies. Also discussed are the existential threats posed by governments and how Pierre believes that bitcoin will manage to overcome all of them on its path towards becoming the global currency standard in the 21st century. Demetri ends by asking Pierre for his predictions and forecasts, not only for bitcoin but for the market more broadly, including a conversation on how he’s positioning himself for the start of the next bull phase in crypto.  

 

Additional topics include monetary theories of value, the Lindy effect, Gresham’s law, and layer 2 solutions for scaling bitcoin as a viable medium of exchange.

 

As a reminder, all information provided in this podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as financial advice, nor should it be relied upon as the basis for financial decisions.

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Pierre Rochard has been involved with Bitcoin as a researcher, investor, and software developer since February 2013. He co-founded the Satoshi Nakamoto Institute to curate the best primary source literature on Bitcoin and cryptography. In addition to developing Bitcoin software, Pierre is an outspoken advocate for Bitcoin's decentralized governance. In 2017 he began co-hosting the Noded Bitcoin Podcast

 

Pierre is recognized as an authority on the investment case for Bitcoin. He has previously worked at Deloitte, BitPay, Hudson River Trading, and Axial. His successful open source software projects include BitcoinACKs.com and the Node Launcher. He operates one of the largest Lightning Network routing hubs, LightningPowerUsers.com.

 

@pierre_rochard

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Markets
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Episode 74
Featuring Peter Boockvar
A discussion about recent Fed comments, the prospect and performance of financial stocks, concerns about liquidity, the government shutdown, trade, China, marijuana stocks, Tesla, and what Demetri believes is the resurgence of democratic socialism as a powerful force that markets will need to contend with in 2020.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Peter Boockvar. Peter is Chief Investment Officer for Bleakly Advisory Group and a regular on CNBC, where he provides market commentary about fed policy, market trends, economic data, stocks, bonds, etc.

 

Every now and again, Demetri brings people from the media onto Hidden Forces in order to get their take on the markets and to hear their interpretations about the latest data, news, and information. The purpose of this is to gain a better understanding of how the news media is constructing the very narratives that given reason to what we’re seeing and what we can expect to see in the coming weeks and months.

 

There has been a significant shift in how the financial press has been talking about markets recently. Even the words that they have been using to describe developments that could otherwise be viewed in a positive light are being characterized in bearish terms. Demetri asks Peter for his interpretation of some of the recent economic data, including the latest manufacturing numbers out of Germany, as well as the recent anecdotal data provided by Apple in their 1,400-word letter to investors, which lead to a 10% drop in their stock price (their worst, one-day performance in five years). The two discuss recent comments by Fed chairman Powell, the prospect and performance of financial stocks, concerns about liquidity, the government shutdown, trade, China, marijuana stocks, Tesla, and what Demetri believes is the resurgence of democratic socialism as a powerful force that markets will need to contend with in 2020.  

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Peter Boockvar is the Chief Investment Officer of Bleakley Advisory Group, a $3.5B wealth management firm. He is also Editor of The Boock Report. He previously was the Chief Market Analyst for The Lindsey Group, a macro economic and market research firm started by Larry Lindsey. Prior to this, Peter spent a brief time at Omega Advisors, a New York-based hedge fund, as a macro analyst and portfolio manager. Before this, he was an employee and partner at Miller Tabak + Co for 18 years where he was recently the equity strategist and a portfolio manager with Miller Tabak Advisors. Peter graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.B.A. in Finance from George Washington University.

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Crypto
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Play
Special Episode
Featuring Haseeb Qureshi
Haseeb Qureshi of MetaStable Capital, joins us to discuss the recent 51% attack against Ethereum Classic, its implications for exchanges that continue to list smaller market-cap cryptos like ETC, Dash, Monero, etc., and what it means for the debate between proof-of-work and proof-of-stake.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Haseeb Qureshi of MetaStable Capital about the recent 51% attack against Ethereum Classic, its implications for exchanges that continue to list smaller market-cap cryptos like ETC, Dash, Monero, etc., and what it means for the debate between proof-of-work and proof-of-stake.

 

On January 5th, 2019, the digital currency exchange Coinbase detected a deep chain reorganization of the Ethereum Classic blockchain. In order to protect customer funds, they immediately paused interactions with the ETC blockchain. Coinbase reported the 51% attack on January 7, 2019, but a few people on Twitter had already become aware that something wasn’t right with ETC. Pierre Rochard, an emerging thought-leader in the Bitcoin space, asked ETC developer Donal McIntyre on Twitter:  “Was there a deep reorg on Ethereum Classic yesterday?… 75 blocks deep I hear, with a double-spend.” Donal McIntyre replied: “Well ETC is still small and has many enemies so an attack with sufficient GPU power may be plausible, but I will check with others in the ecosystem.”

 

Cryptocurrencies that are not dominant in their respective mining algorithm, especially ones for which hashing power can be easily rented out, are more vulnerable to being 51% attacked than are other cryptocurrencies with larger market-caps that are not ASIC-resistant. According to Charlie Lee, founder of Litecoin, “ETC has less than 5% of the total Ethash hashrate and is 98% NiceHash-able. 1-hr attack costs $5k,” making it particularly vulnerable according to these two metrics.

 

Reports of the amount stolen in the attack range from the low six-figures to over one million dollars worth of ETC. Perhaps what is most remarkable is that this is only the latest 51% attack against a smaller-cap currency where the attack did not materially impact the price of the cryptocurrency in question.

 

Demetri and Haseeb explore the reasons why the price of ETC was largely unaffected, what this latest attack means for the listing (or delisting) of similarly sized cryptocurrencies, and how this is sparking a larger debate about the efficacy of proof-of-work vs. proof-of-stake as mechanisms for securing a cryptocurrency.

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Haseeb Qureshi is a partner at MetaStable Capital, a leading cryptocurrency hedge fund. Haseeb was formerly a software engineer at Airbnb and Earn.com and teaches a seminar on cryptocurrencies at the Bradfield School of Computer Science. He's collaborated with researchers from Cornell on analyzing blockchain frontrunning attacks and previously made a living as a top-ranked professional poker player.

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Finance History
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Episode 73
Featuring Daniel Peris
Demetri Kofinas speaks with Daniel Peris about the history of financial theory, how certain theories like MPT, CAPM, efficient markets, etc., became the dominant paradigm by which investors have come to understand risk, and what happens when happens when everyone is using them.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Daniel Peris, a Senior Portfolio Manager at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh where he oversees the firm's dividend-focused products. He is the author of three books on investing, most recently: "Getting Back to Business: Why Modern Portfolio Theory Fails Investors, and How You Can Bring Common Sense to Your Portfolio." Before transitioning into asset management, Peris was a historian focused on modern Russian history. He is the author of a book and several articles on the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s.

 

Today’s conversation is about the evolution of financial theory, beginning with the rough and tumble world of 19th-century finance with its stock syndicates, market corners, and curb exchanges. Where big personalities like Daniel Drew, James Fisk, and Jay Gould conspired and fought to take from Joe Public, and from each other, the riches afforded to them by laissez-faire capitalism and the industrial revolution.

 

The discussion is broken into two parts. The first deals with the world as it was before 1929 with its unregulated, unstructured, and highly inefficient markets. The second part explores the world after the Great Crash, where a confluence of forces – economic, demographic, institutional, and intellectual – supported the procurement and distribution of a new set of financial theories that promised to explain away uncertainty and guide the allocation of risk in the pursuit of profits.

 

As inheritors of this new world, we cannot help but function under the fallacies of its paradigms. One of these fallacies is the notion that economies are independent phenomena that operate, by and large, according to a certain set of physical laws. Most people will acknowledge that our economic and financial models are imperfect, but most people also think of them as being somewhat analogous to models developed in the natural sciences. Because of this false comparison to physics (equilibrium) and nature (normal distributions), people often remain unaware of the centrality of politics in theories of the economy. Economies are not independent phenomena that answer only to the laws of nature. They are political and social phenomena that exist within a political system. Theories of the economy that do not take into account the system within which they operate are flawed...in some cases, significantly so.

 

Austrian theories of money and credit, for example, are better at describing how the banking system operates in a laissez-faire society, whereas Modern Monetary Theory is better at describing how it works in our current, fiat-based system of unrestrained credit growth. What often happens is that devotees of these different schools are actually advocating for a specific set of policies, under the pretense that their views are scientific and that their policies derive logically from some objective view of how an ideal economy operates, when in fact, they are based on political values and societal ideals. The MMT school is full of progressive social-democrats who want governments to play a larger role in the economy, whereas the Austrian school is full of conservative libertarians who want less government. This sorting along political lines is not a coincidence. Investment theories operate rather differently than theories about the economy, in that there is no argument in the investment world about what matters most. It’s profits.

 

In light of this fact, the discrepancies between various investment theories require alternative explanations that do not rely on political ideology or moral sentiment. It would seem sufficient to declare that the widespread adoption of theories like Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT), the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH), Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM), etc., was enabled by the growth of a large middle class with excess income available for investment that had not directly experienced the boom and bust of the Roaring 20’s and accelerated by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974. Entrepreneurially minded financial industry professionals saw an opportunity, but this opportunity required a more streamlined approach to investing and one that would put themselves, and their clients, at ease.

 

The need to bring order to the chaotic world of prices has encouraged the adoptions of systematic investment strategies that claimed the ability to quantify risk. When it comes to investing other people’s money, having a more coherent, easy-to-understand theory that provides the illusion of control is a very valuable tool. From an evolutionary point of view, it is no wonder how theories purporting to quantify risk and target reward proliferated so quickly. It was in everyone’s interest that they do so.

 

How these theories came together to form the dominant, ideological template of risk-adjusted-return measured against exposure to the broader market is the essence of today’s episode. Its significance can be found in the implications associated with equating diversification with correlation: trading idiosyncratic risk for systemic risk and what happens when everyone is doing it.

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Daniel Peris, Ph.D., CFA, is Senior Vice President and Senior Portfolio Manager at Federated Investors, Inc., in Pittsburgh. Before transitioning into asset management, Peris was a historian focused on modern Russian history. He is the author of two prior books on investing, The Strategic Dividend Investor, and The Dividend Imperative, as well as a study of early Soviet history.

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Politics
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Episode 72
Featuring Senator Bob Kerrey
Politics
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Episode 72
Featuring Senator Bob Kerrey
Demetri speaks with Senator Bob Kerrey, about the economic, cultural, and political transformations that have overtaken American society throughout the course of his life and career. The two also discuss his experience serving on the 9/11 commision, as part of the show’s overtime segment available to subscribers.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with former US Senator and Governor from the great state of Nebraska, Bob Kerrey. Senator Kerrey currently serves as Managing Director at Allen & Company. He is also Executive Chairman of the Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship. Senator Kerrey also served as one of the ten members of the 9/11 commission, tasked with investigating the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001.

 

In this conversation, Senator Kerrey shares stories of his experience growing up in 1950's and early 1960’s America, his service in Vietnam, and the life-altering injury that sent him down a path of service, first as Nebraska’s governor and later, as its senator. We discuss both the cultural, as well as the political transformations that have overtaken American society throughout the course of his life, as well as how the media and social media have altered the political landscape and introduced new challenges to governing and elections that are altogether new. We discuss the tremendous wealth divide currently present in the country, the role of the 2008 crisis and its aftermath in furthering that divide, and the emergence of populism, both on the left and on the right, as a powerful new force that is shaping American politics in ways that we are only just begging to appreciate.

 

We also discuss Senator Kerrey’s work on the 9/11 commission, the role that the Saudi government played in orchestrating the September 11th attacks, as well as Demetri’s questions about why the Bush administration and the media refused to hold the Kingdom accountable for its involvement. This part of the conversation can be accessed as part of our premium subscription, available through the overtime tab on our website.

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Play
Episode 4
Featuring Gary Edgerton
Episode 4
Featuring Gary Edgerton

Bob Kerrey is Managing Director at Allen & Company. He is also Executive Chairman of the Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship, supporting The Minerva Project, an exceptional liberal arts and sciences education.

 

From 2001 to 2011 Kerrey was President of The New School, a university founded on democratic ideals and daring educational practices. On his watch, The New School experienced unprecedented growth in enrollment, faculty, scholarships, capital projects, research, and international engagement.

 

From 1989 to 2001 Bob Kerrey represented Nebraska in the Senate, where he promoted equity for rural communities, led in farm and environmental legislation, strengthen taxpayers’ rights, led in restructuring our intelligence agencies, and partnered with local leaders to build projects of lasting value to Nebraskans.

 

His public service since leaving the Senate includes the 9/11 Commission, the advisory board of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association, co-chair of the Concord Coalition, and a member of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

 

Prior to his Senate service, Bob Kerrey served one term as Nebraska’s Governor. Before entering politics he was a businessman who helped build a chain of restaurants and health clubs employing over 1000 people.

 

Kerrey served as a U.S. Navy SEAL during the Vietnam War. For his service, he received the Medal of Honor. While in Vietnam, he was wounded, permanently disabled, and received from this injury a great gift: sympathy for those who are suffering and an appreciation for the capacity of government to save your life.

 

Senator Kerrey earned a BS degree in Pharmacy from the University of Nebraska. He is married to Sarah Paley and lives in New York. They have a 16-year-old son, Henry, and the senator also has two children from his previous marriage, Ben and Lindsey Kerrey, and four grandchildren.

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Investing
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Special Episode
Featuring Howard Marks
Investing
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Special Episode
Featuring Howard Marks
In this Christmas Day special, Demetri shares twenty-five minutes of never-before-heard audio from his conversation with Howard Marks, but not before announcing the long-awaited-for launch of the Hidden Forces subscription. Subscribers can gain access to overtime segments, transcripts, and rundowns from each and every episode.

In this Christmas Day special, Demetri Kofinas shares twenty-five minutes of never-before-heard audio from his conversation with Howard Marks, but not before announcing the long-awaited-for launch of the Hidden Forces subscription service. Subscribers can gain access to overtime segments, transcripts, and rundowns from each and every episode. Subscriptions require creating a Patreon account, but can be accessed directly through the Hidden Forces website via subscription tabs located within any particular episode.

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

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China Relations
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China Relations
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Episode 71
Featuring James Mulvenon
James Mulvenon is an expert on Chinese military affairs, cyber issues, and commercial espionage. He has been investigating and writing about Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, for years, which makes him the ideal person to speak to about the recent arrest of the company’s CFO and its implication for US-China trade talks.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with James Mulvenon, Vice-President of Defense Group Inc.’s Intelligence Division and Director of DGI’s Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis. Dr. Mulvenon is an expert on the Chinese military and Chinese cyber issues and has published widely on Chinese military affairs, party-army relations, C4ISR, and nuclear weapons’ doctrine and organizations. He’s a regular commentator on the Chinese military, cyber warfare, and Chinese industrial espionage, all of which we discuss in today’s, hour-long conversation.

 

This episode was prompted by the recent arrest of telecommunications giant Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou during her transit through Vancouver airport on December 1st, 2018. Meng is currently out on bail, awaiting the service of a formal extradition request from the United States on charges related to Huawei’s alleged evasion of Iranian sanctions. James has been investigating and writing about Chinese commercial espionage, and in particular about Huawei, for years, which makes him the ideal person to speak to about this ongoing, diplomatic drama and its implication for US-China trade talks. Will Trump’s hard-nosed, no-holds-barred negotiating style work to level the playing field between these two countries? More importantly, is it time to acknowledge that our multi-decade long effort to integrate China into the neo-liberal world order has failed and that a new strategy must be developed to deal with a more obstinate and adversarial China? Considering the important role played by information technology in the 21st century, any strategy for confronting China must also deal with the country’s cyber capabilities and its use of commercial espionage in the service of champion companies like Huawei. These are just some of the topics we consider in today’s conversation.

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Play
Episode 43
Featuring Elizabeth C. Economy
Episode 43
Featuring Elizabeth C. Economy

James Mulvenon is currently General Manager of SOS International’s Special Programs Division and was previously Vice-President of Defense Group Inc.’s (DGI) Intelligence Division and Director of DGI’s Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis (CIRA). Dr. Mulvenon is an expert on the Chinese military and Chinese cyber issues, and has published widely on Chinese military affairs, party-army relations, C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers,


intelligence, and reconnaissance), and nuclear weapons doctrine and organizations.
Among his professional affiliations, Dr. Mulvenon is a founding member and current President of the Cyber Conflict Studies Association, is presently a member of the National Committee for U.S.-China Relations, and was a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations between 1999 and 2004. He is a regular commentator on both the Chinese military and cyberwarfare in major U.S. print and TV media.


Dr. Mulvenon's book, Soldiers of Fortune (Sharpe, 2001) details the rise and fall of the Chinese
military's multi-billion dollar international business empire. His more recent publications include Chinese Industrial Espionage: Technology Acquisition and Military Modernization (co-authored with William C. Hannas and Anna B. Puglisi; Routlege, 2013) and “PLA Computer Network Operations: Scenarios, Doctrine, Organizations, and Capability,” (in Roy Kamphausen, et al. Beyond the Strait: PLA Missions Other Than Taiwan, NBR, 2009). Dr. Mulvenon holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles, and attended Fudan University in Shanghai from 1991-1992.


Dr. Mulvenon has testified before the Commission before and is the lead researcher on a forthcoming report sponsored by the Commission on cloud computing in China.

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Investing
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Investing
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Episode 70
Featuring Andrei Shleifer
This episode centers on the subject of beliefs: how they impact markets and how economists and financial practitioners like Andrei Shleifer are attempting to model them using data about people’s expectations, assumptions, and attitudes in order to make better informed investment and policy decisions.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Andrei Shleifer, professor of economics at Harvard University. Dr. Shleifer is the most cited economist in the world according to RePEc’s database. Throughout the course of his career, Andrei Shleifer has worked in the areas of comparative corporate governance, law & finance, behavioral finance, as well as institutional economics. He has published seven books, including, A Crisis of Beliefs: Investor Psychology and Financial Fragility with his co-author Nicola Gennaioli.   

 

Demetri’s conversation with Andrei centers on the subject of beliefs: how they impact markets and how economists and financial practitioners are attempting to model them using data about people’s expectations, assumptions, and attitudes in order to make better-informed investment and policy decisions.

 

The first half of the episode is devoted to exploring the mechanics of the 2007-2008 credit crisis, and the role played by structured products and derivatives, off-balance sheet vehicles, money market funds, GSE’s, and a policy of ultra-low interest rates that fueled over-confidence in the power of regulators and in the sustainability of the status quo. In the second half, Dr. Shleifer provides us with a more formal approach to thinking about Hyman Minsky’s instability hypothesis and how market participants can draw radically different conclusions about that same data when their beliefs about the world change dramatically.

 

Given the destabilizing forces of populist politics, trade tensions, and changing geopolitical fault lines, the ability to draw valuable insights from data about expectations and beliefs is invaluable for any investor or policymaker looking to gain a sense of market sentiment: where it stands and where it might be going.

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Andrei Shleifer is John L. Loeb Professor of Economics at Harvard University. He holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard and a Ph.D. from MIT. Before coming to Harvard in 1991, he has taught at Princeton and the Chicago Business School. Shleifer has worked in the areas of comparative corporate governance, law & finance, behavioral finance, as well as institutional economics. He has published seven books, including The Grabbing Hand (with Robert Vishny), Inefficient Markets: An Introduction to Behavioral Finance, and A Crisis of Beliefs: Investor Psychology and Financial Fragility (with Nicola Gennaioli), as well as over a hundred articles.

 

Shleifer is an Editor of the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and a fellow of the Econometric Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Finance Association. In 1999, Shleifer won the John Bates Clark medal of the American Economic Association. According to RePEc, Shleifer is the most cited economist in the world.

 

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

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Philosophy
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Episode 69
Featuring Rebecca Goldstein
The question, “what makes life worth living?” is one that has concerned humanity since time immemorial. This week, we search for answers by considering what some of our most ancient and celebrated philosophers and poets had to say on the question of life's mattering.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with renowned philosopher and novelist Rebecca Goldstein, about the philosophy of mattering and what makes human life worth living.

 

The question of “what makes life worth living,” is something that human beings have been grappling with since time immemorial. Perhaps, nowhere did this question pose a more existential imperative than in ancient Greece, which provides the setting for this conversations. The show begins with an anecdote from “The Histories of Herodotus,” where the ancient historian recounts the story of King Croesus, the late ruler of Lydia, who governed the lands of western Anatolia in the mid-sixth century B.C. At the height of his reign, Croesus was visited by Solon, the lawgiver who had just laid the foundations for Athenian democracy. "Stranger of Athens,” inquired Croesus, “we have heard much of thy wisdom and of thy travels through many lands, from love of knowledge and a wish to see the world. I am curious therefore to inquire of thee, whom, of all the men that thou hast seen, thou deemest the most happy?" Croesus, expecting to hear the sound of his own name sung from Solon’s lips, was angered by the Athenian's reply. Solon proceeded to extol the virtues of otherwise “ordinary” men who lacked the trappings of wealth and power that Croesus so readily possessed. Seeing the king’s dissatisfaction, Solon responded with words that would come to haunt not only Croesus but which would obsess the whole of Athenian society for decades to come: «μηδένα προ του τέλους μακάριζε». Solon’s message was clear: Let me see your life’s ending. Only then I can know if you lived a good and happy life. Only then I can know if you lived a life worth praising.

 

Not long after Solon’s visit, Croesus’ kingdom was invaded and conquered by Cyrus the Great, ruler of the Persian Empire. Condemned to death, it is said that Croesus yelled out Solon’s name three times from the flaming pyre atop which his body burned. It was not until that moment that he understood the message that Solon had so dutifully delivered. Croesus believed himself to be the happiest man, because of all the material wealth and power he had accumulated. But we cannot judge the happiness or the worth of a human life until it is over. A good life requires a good death, and learning how to live requires that we wrestle with our own mortality.

 

The question of “what makes life worth living” therefore, was another way of asking: “what justifies life’s suffering?” Unlike for the Christians who succeeded them, there was, for the Greeks, no easy answer. It’s why they would congregate every spring in the amphitheater to laugh and cry and work out their grief over the pitiless predicament of human existence. 'Fairness’ was as foreign a concept to the Greeks as fate is to us. The stories of Croesus, Minos, Oedipus, Agamemnon, and the like were not only reminders of how the fortunes of the fated turn; they were also evidence for the futility of relying on present circumstances for evaluating the merits of existence. It is no surprise, therefore, that this obsession with deriving meaning from one’s own life independent of the whims of tempestuous Gods or of fated circumstance manifested itself in Greek philosophy. Its open-endedness posed an existential imperative then, as it does today.

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein is a philosopher and novelist. She is presently Visiting Profesor of Philosophy at New College of the Humanities in London, England. She graduated from Barnard College and received her Ph.D. in philosophy of science from Princeton University. She has published seven works of fiction, the latest of which was 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction, and three of non-fiction: Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel; Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity; and Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away. She also delivered the Tanner Lectures in Human Values at Yale University in 2012, which have been published as The Ancient Quarrel: Philosophy and Literature. She has been awarded visiting fellowships at Yale University, the Santa Fe Institute, the Radcliffe Institute, and Dartmouth College.

 

Her books have won numerous awards, both for fiction and scholarship, including, in 1995, a MacArthur, and in 2006, the Koret International Jewish Book Award in Jewish Thought for her work on Spinoza. In 2005, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in 2006, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship, in 2008 she was designated a Humanist Laureate by the International Academy of Humanism, and in 2011 was named Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association and Freethought Heroine by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. In 2015 she was given the National Humanities Medal by President Obama in a ceremony at the White House.

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