Sunday, October 6, 2019

Trump's Retaliatory Impulse Knows No Bounds

In the sports arena players are often cited for fouls in retaliation for a previous slight.  Political counter puncher and President Donald Trump's recent actions feel like a product of a retaliatory foul.

I wrote five pieces from 2012 to 2016 on Hunter Biden, Rosemont Realty and Burisma on my PEUReport blog, so I have a history of questioning the value of having someone who failed a drug test for cocaine (and ejected from the Navy reserves) on an international corporate board.

The problem is a retaliatory foul is still a foul.  In Trump's world there is no referee, he makes the rules.  Anything that appears out of bounds is quickly normalized.

A number of dynamics portend a very difficult time as Congress moves forward in its impeachment investigation.

  • Everything either builds up and honors President Trump's greatness or is a personal attack tearing him down.
  • Any errors are a result of inadequate underlings.  All successes are due solely to his magnificent efforts.
  • There is no capability for self reflection, no ability to see parallels across countries, parties, families or individuals.  
  • There is no relationship, only complete and total fealty to President Trump.
When President Trump gets punched he punches back harder.  Things could become ugly very quickly.

Update 12-22-19:  Impeachment passed the House but has not made it to the Senate.  Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci spoke about Trump's penchant for payback and the harm it could do to the Republican Party.

Update 2-6-20:   President Trump punched back hard this morning after the Senate voted to acquit him of all impeachment charges.  "It was evil.  It was corrupt.  It was dirty cops.  It was leakers and liars.... It was a disgrace."  He called them horrible people and stone cold crazy.  Earlier today Trump attacked the faith of House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Mitt Romney at the National Prayer Breakfast, which had a "love your enemies" theme.  Trump only loves compliant followers.

Update 2-9-20:  El Jefe's Senate support ensured Trump's gloating victory rants and subsequent retaliation.

Update 2-16-20:  Trump tweeted ‘When you strike at the King, Emerson famously said, “you must kill him.’  Baker wrote that “a triumphant Mr. Trump emerges from the biggest test of his presidency emboldened, ready to claim exoneration and take his case of grievance, persecution and resentment to the campaign trail.  Shortly after Trump quoted the piece, the phrase “you are not a king” began trending in the United States." A U.S. President with absolute power?  That's a king.

Update 2-19-20:  Loyalty is the only qualification needed.  A Trump Twitter Warrior will be acting Director of National Intelligence.  How will America's intelligence organizations be mobilized for retaliation against Trump offenders?

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

AOC: New Congressional Low

Anal Opening Congressman.  Louie Gohmert, the new AOC.  Liftoff!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

The United States of Chaos

Chaos, the state of  disorder and confusion, feels widespread.  I see it everyday I work in a large healthcare company where private equity owners deform our operations for their financial gain.  Executives termed it "a bumpy year" for employees.  Those lucky enough to keep a job characterize it as chaos. Taking a broader view affordable, accessible healthcare remains a major worry for citizens. 

I hear it on television news stations, regardless of channel and political persuasion.  I observe it from our President, who insists on punching back harder than he believes he's been hit, and Red team officials who dare not give anything but 100% fealty.   Many business executives display the same personality dysfunction as our President.  Real relationship is absent. 

I see it in big data which often uses correlation to make critical decisions, one that impact life and death.  Probability is based on theoretical distributions that often do not exist in our real world.  Algorithms work until they don't i.e. until the fundamental assumptions used in their creation are revealed to be wrong.  Correlation isn't causation. Data does not speak, people do.

Chaos initially referred to a void before it's definition changed.  Our county has a leadership void on both the political and corporate front.  Americans have lower confidence in figures and institutions, according to Gallup.  The vast majority of employees have disengaged from their workplace

Chaos has a number of synonyms:

Disorder grows until a natural system reaches a bifurcation point, the point of maximum instability, after which the system reorders itself.    Is the workplace a natural system?

Self serving elected officials and corporate chiefs can choose to atone for their wrongs on this earth.  We will all face our maker, that is assured.   

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Conservatism No Longer Fiscal

Bloomberg reported:

The U.S. posted its biggest monthly budget deficit on record last month, amid a 20 percent drop in corporate tax revenue and a boost in spending so far this fiscal year.

The budget gap widened to $234 billion in February, compared with a fiscal gap of $215.2 billion a year earlier. That gap surpassed the previous monthly record of $231.7 billion set seven years ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

February’s shortfall helped push the deficit for the first five months of the government’s fiscal year to $544.2 billion, up almost 40 percent from the same period the previous year.
Fiscal conservatism is dead as President Trump and Congress gifted corporations and the wealthy.

Corporations have so far this fiscal year paid $59.2 billion, compared to $73.5 billion at the point in 2018, when the tax law was only partially in effect for some corporations. In 2017, however, the year before the law was enacted, corporations had paid $87.4 billion at this point in the year.
 America's billionaire President serves the billionaire class. 

Update 9-17-19:  The U.S. government’s red ink for fiscal 2019 swelled past the $1 trillion mark.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Senator Sasse Cites Loneliness Problem, Misses Abandonment, Manipulation

Senator Ben Sasse blamed American angst on "loneliness" in a Face the Nation segment this morning.  I would use a different term, abandonment.

The former McKinsey consultant seems unaware of the failure of extrinsic motivators.

There's a ton of literature now that shows we're the richest people in the history of humanity. And yet we're some of the most dissatisfied people in the history of humanity. How do you make sense of that?
Pursuit of things outside ourselves can only produce a fleeting impact.  Money does not buy happiness.  Surely ex-consultant Sasse is familiar with Maslow's hierarchy of needs and Dr. W. Edwards Deming's teachings on motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic,

Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation that is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself, and exists within the individual rather than relying on any external pressure.
Extrinsic motivation comes from outside of the individual. Common extrinsic motivations are rewards like money and gold stars on the one hand, and coercion and threat of punishment on the other.
America's leaders are responsible for an extreme over-reliance on extrinsic motivators, turning our country into a failure factory.  Education over relies on testing, rating and reward/punishment systems.  The workplace is rife with scarcity systems.  Raises have been nonexistent in years for many workers.  Executives, in collusion with club boards of directors, reap rewards of a feudal king, all on the back of serf-like workers toiling in cubicle farms.

Workers know the consequence for failure to achieve an arbitrary mark or measure, thus they cheat or lie to save their job.  Executives backdated roughly 30% of stock options, supposedly the most pure form of incentive pay.  Executives effectively stole from shareholders to maximize their pay.  Without these extrinsic reward systems distorting behavior there is little incentive to lie, cheat or steal. 

Former GE CEO Jack Welch imposed benchmarking a person's value relative to their co-worker, eliminating the bottom 10% of his employees every year.  Sasse said firings/job eliminations will get worse, much worse.

50 percent of Americans are going to be primarily freelancers in three years.
Translation:  Half of Americans will have been abandoned by their employer, living in the least committed relationship of freelancer.  We'll call you if we need you, pay you as little as possible, and not provide any benefits.  That's abandonment, not loneliness, Mr. Sasse.

Social media turned the intrinsic possibility for real connection into an extrinsic reward system via friend counts and number of likes.   It took a person's personal information and monetized it for business or political purposes.  It became a high tech tool to use people.

Oddly, Host John Dickerson conflated intrinsic/extrinsic motivators with his recent story on Benign Envy.  Envy is one of the seven deadly sins.

Envy is the intense desire to have an item or experience that someone else possesses.
Dickerson's piece tried to paint someone observing another person doing something good as producing envy in the observer.  That envy then motivates the observer to behave similarly to garner the reward.  His story cites "how selfless actions can inspire all of us" and "service often goes hand-in-hand with sacrifice."

An act driven by envy is not selfless, it is about having or possessing.   

Benign Envy -- The desire to be better when we see someone doing something good.  
I would consider this learning or questioning in a manner that fosters intrinsic motivation.  Acting selfless for selfish reasons does not ring true.    

When I watched the Dickerson piece it felt like society was trying to paint lesser human behaviors, like envy and greed, as noble. Weeks later Dickerson and Sasse hit the same chord.

Work is statistically one of the most significant drivers of whether or not people are happy.-- Senator Sasse on Face the Nation 10-14-18
It is easy to deduce work is a significant cause of widespread dissatisfaction cited earlier by the Senator.  Sasse voted for Trump tax cuts late last year.  Those cuts make the "richest people in the history of humanity" even richer.

Sasse did not challenge corporate executives to shore up their relationship with employees with pay/benefit increases or make commitments to maintain jobs.  Corporations, executives and board members took Trump tax cut windfalls and used it to buy back stock, further enriching themselves.  Envy and greed are widespread among leaders in our country.

Senator Ben Sasse delivered his comments as if he were your next door neighbor, your friend two doors down.  Sasse knows Americans are being abandoned by employers and America's political elite.  Together they further victimize the harmed by discounting their situation as mere loneliness.   Leadership greed and envy are killing our workplaces.

Senator Sasse's comments arise from the sick leadership displayed in corporations and the political world, so unbalanced it verges on the unhinged.  It is hard to detect when envy is benign, greed is lauded and freelance is employment.  Some 40% of Americans cannot afford a surprise $400 expense.

Our leaders care not about the people's suffering as no one is home emotionally.  Executives and politicians have reward systems to manipulate on their behalf.

Update 10-16-18:  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell piled on with his call to abandon Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security commitments.  How lonely will these people be after they lose healthcare and retirement?  Tax cuts for the rich got no mention in McConnell's analysis.

Update 10-21-18:  Senator Ben Sasse reframed President Trumps's encouragement of violence as "playful."  Our leaders have abandoned civility and honesty.

Update  10-22-2018:  Companies spend huge amounts on stock buybacks but continue to underfund their pension plans.  This is part of the abandonment employees feel.

Update 10-23-18:  Paul Volker noted the preferential treatment given to the billionaire PEU class.

Update 12-26-18:  NYT ran a piece on McKinsey that raises questions about the consulting firm's motivation in bankruptcy cases.

Update 12-28-18:  McKinsey abandoned a Saudi partner who is yet to be released from the Crown Prince's abusive shakedown.

Update 12-30-18:  McKinsey played a role in an international bribery case.

Update 1-4-19:  Trump political appointees will get huge raises while federal workers continue to work with paychecks.  The blame goes to the bottom while the top rakes it in.  It's enough to make a person very lonely angry.

Update 1-13-19:  McKinsey is a sponsor of the 2019 World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.  While the average citizen saw little to no economic gains for the last two decades the greed and leverage boys did very well.  Is anyone lonely for a raise?  That would mean someone would have to share....

Update 2-5-19:  NYT reported:  In 2009, McKinsey wrote a report for Purdue Pharma saying that new sales tactics would increase sales of OxyContin by $200 million to $400 million annually and “suggested sales ‘drivers’ based on the ideas that opioids reduce stress and make patients more optimistic and less isolated.”.

Update 3-23-19:   The United States fell to 19th in a world ranking of happiness.  The culprit was not Ben Sasse's loneliness but addiction. Me?  I'm still waiting for trickle down as executives take and take and take but let not one crumb fall from their table.

Update 12-5-19:  Residents of Sidney, Nebraska would cite lack of good paying jobs as their biggest problem.  Fox News Tucker Carlson did a story about their town and how they were undone by a big Sasse donor.  Senator Ben refused to comment.  Loneliness?

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Ego Over Institution

The Guardian reported:

U.S. President Donald Trump has celebrated Chinese Premier Xi Jinping’s bid to shepherd China back into an era of one-man dictatorship, suggesting the United States might one day “give that a shot”.
Xi's effort to suspend term limits is not new.  Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez did that very thing.  Egypt's Hosni Mubarek benefited from a constitutional change implemented before he rose to the Presidency.   Chavez died of cancer while Mubarek lives, a free man.  A divided Togo wrestles with re-instituting term limits.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is serving his sixth term as President.  Russia would have to drop term limits for Putin to run again for office.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel formed a coalition government and will serve her fourth term.

I took the liberty of changing a famous quote by reality TV star Donald Trump.
"And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything ... Grab them by the p___residency. You can do anything."
Xi's a star on a Shakespearean stage.  Ego over institution is a global tragedy.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Blue Team Keeps Domestic Spying

The Intercept reported:

Joining the pro-surveillance coalition led by Trump, Paul Ryan-R, Devin Nunes-R, Adam Schiff-D, and Eric Swalwell-D was the House’s liberal icon and senior Democrat, Nancy Pelosi. 
It's a bipartisan effort to not ensure our Fourth Amendment rights.  The Blue Team joined with the Reds to enable the Trump administration to continue spying on Americans, started under President George W. Bush and extended under President Barack H. Obama.

It's America's uniparty.