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Useless Numbers

In today’s world, the bean counters like to have a number to support any conclusion that they wish to draw (decision that they wish to have made for them instead of by them). If you can name a number, it will appeal to the general populace because they have learned to take solace in numbers, so numbers sell. What are they selling, though?

They are selling the mean, nothing more and nothing less.

The mean gives the bean counters solace because they define the impact associated with or arising from the mean. However, the anomaly scares the hell out of the bean counters. Why? Because they only see the anomaly when they do a post mortem on “what went wrong here?”. After they figure out what went wrong, they then decide: “Well, that will never happen again since it was so situation specific, and we can go back to targeting for the mean.”

Seeing anomalies as they arise, at a point in time when they can be taken into consideration, can only be achieved by an odd ball since it is an odd ball occurrence – by definition. Useless numbers are mostly noise, since falling within the mean, while not best, is mostly not bad. However, when achieving the mean is bad, it cannot be rectified by other decisions made in reliance upon the numbers.

Anybody get this besides me? (I think the understanding is limited, again by definition.)

Odd  Balls are the sheriffs that the town council finally turns to when the bad guys are affecting business in town. But once the Odd Ball cleans up the town, he then scares the shit out of the council and they want to return to that comfortable, but flawed, reliance on numbers (that can be useless).


The Finger

Trump, Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon have effectively given America the Finger on behalf of a subset of Euro Americans who see themselves as white put upons.

NeighborDave is old. When he was growing up the finger meant more, apparently, than it does now a days. Then it meant a throw-down or a race as the giver fled the target.

Conscientious Americans must throw-down. Of course, if the threesome and their ilk flee, then it will be just like my childhood.

Truth wins, eventually. It took a second world war to enforce the truth of the bad behavior exhibited by this type of assault in a developed country. It happens in lessor developed countries from time to time, but in America it needs to be recognized and stopped now.

America has always been different and it is time again to show that to the world. Don’t brush off the Finger that has been directed at you America.

Will the Acknowledgement come?

I had “When” in front of the title of this thought, but I had to take it off, simply because at this time, I cannot go over 50% chance that enough people recognize that Trump is as dangerous to the US and the world such that he must be muzzled, legally. I see the bus we are all in headed for the obvious cliff that is ahead of us, and realize that there is a parade necessarily following our bus. I go up to the driver, but he waives me off, maybe with an F bomb. I go to the back of the bus and have my hand on the emergency door handle, hoping to bail at the final moment. I don’t see many others that are seeing things like me. How do you turn the herd when it is stampeding.

It is better to divert the herd, but in this current situation do we have any hope that we can get a certain percentage of the herd to realize that whatever interest they have in any ultimate goal that Trump may espouse, they cannot absorb, on many levels, the philosophy he is allowing to be “his” at this time. It is so black and white to me, when does it become black and white to everyone. Pardon the pun?

Bannon is a diverter of the herd, and there have been others in such roles, but not one that is so directly connected with a racist espousal of philosophy. That is a given, but he would divert. That may be why direct stop by some of those in the herd might stop, upon not accepting the diversion, effectively saying, “Don’t piss on my back and tell me it’s raining.”

Hence my 50% hurdle on when. I sure hope it happens in time. He will not survive his term, it is so obvious to me. I have seen his type all over the world. He is such an easy read. In business they only survive if they have the ultimate leverage in the situation. Trump, in business, could always find a financial leverage. Either he owed you way too much for you to look short term, such that you would eat something currently in order for a chance to make it up over time, or you were too small to survive the fight such that you might accept 25% in lieu of the fight. In Trump’s world of leverage he would give the long term away consistently, paying the old debt that was now secured, ahead of current debts newly engaged in. The lenders will always be there, I guess, up to some certain point. I would not be surprised to learn of very interesting international banking debts of Trump.

He presumed that he became an emperor, not a mere president. He will have to be shown the distinction. What leverage the US has in any situation is such that it is more effective when exercised with restraint. The US is not in the mode of merely flopping its “case” out on the table and figuring that was the end of the discussion. That is exactly the style that Trump knows, and perhaps the only one he can practice. In the world of real negotiation, flopping gets everyone on the flopping side excited, but once the “case” lays out there for a while, it doesn’t have the same magic as that of sudden appearance of the “case”. The rest of the world is in no hurry, as they have centuries of experience with this kind of behavior. They  have never seen it from the US, but they have a record of it in their history. They smile and wait, as do I.

The resigning CEOs all acknowledge the conclusion that he just ain’t right on this. Just ain’t, but he does not see it. I almost said will not see it, but does not is better. Might he ever?

The four or five heads of divisions of the Armed Forces all see it, which should allow all of us to relax. Here’s the thing, they got the fist signal on the Transgender debacle such that they were on guard for an opportunity to make a clear statement that they will preclude his exercise of force in support of any patently unconstitutional goals would fall on deaf ears, forcing a showdown. That is how far ahead they are playing the game of Trump, because they recognized it in time.

Congress must be next, in overwhelming  numbers in agreement that is unwavering, consistent and conscientious. Some of the American people get it, but I don’t think they get the severity enough yet, at least not universally. As hard as it is for me to believe, they have other things to think about such that they set this aside. They will be the last of the herd to turn. The sure end point would be the Supreme Court, in deciding a conflict of authority. Will Trump make that happen by never recognizing that his position cannot be maintained under scrutiny? Well, if that has to happen, what else takes place in the mean time? I can’t do anything except point it out. Everything else must stop until he is shown his folly and accepts it. Truly, that is the only short cut.

Call it what it is

If the US were not a nation made up by a diverse set of people, we would be well down the road that Germany traveled when it became a Nazi state. Sure, when we started out we were dominated by “white” (hate that designation, but..) Europeans. However, those white folks were fundamentally diverse in the religion that they practiced. We have separation of church and state because those that created the “state” of the US did not want one of their religions franchised at the expense of the other. The two main choices were the Protestants of New England vs the Episcopals of Virginia and it’s surroundings. So, the diversity was still within the white world, but it was a fundamental schism that assured that we would be different than Europe in which the religion and the state were tied to each other. We also precluded a King or Emperor and the developing separation between congress and Trump is illustrating that division. (Trump’s advisers think his base will pressure the congress to toe the line, but the base is not enough votes to survive the battle.)

That diversity, created within the white folks and the relatively wealthy folks, but surely those solidly within the “franchise” of how things would run, may not have anticipated how far the created divisions would reach at the time of creation. After all, only male landowners could vote, so it is understandable that the breadth of the franchise could not be anticipated to include women, Catholics, brown people, etc. (Aside, the Jews already had a big inroad that few recognized at the time. The Dutch East India company owned a lot of New York and it was largely a Jewish run company, since every other country in Europe had kicked out or run off the Jews. The Netherlands did not, and that is where the Jews could safely carry out business (and pay taxes).) Now a days, everyone has a voice in the franchise, even though those with big money and a PAC have a much louder voice, but still.

The people that are now the “Alt-Right” see themselves decedent of the creators of this country, but they would likely not have been recognized as such at the time. The working laborer was not part of the franchise at that time. They had no right to vote and no voice. They fought, but that is because England, with a King, was more objectionable than the land owning businessmen who wanted to create a meritocracy as a new way to govern. None the less, the Alt-Right is who elected Trump. Yes, that is probably 25% of America that will never be disenchanted with/by Trump, unless he truly calls them out and he is unlikely so to do. The AR wants a meritocracy, but they want it to favor them because they think “they” (read: their people) created the meritocracy and they are now excluded from it. That is not true on both points, but unless you are able to discern reality from perception, it is lost.

The AR is who organized the Charlottesville invasion this weekend. They are organizing one for Boston next, at least that is what I hear on TV. The AR is Steve Bannon, the guy who came on once Trump was done with the Republicans and had only Hillary to face. The AR got the unfranchised white folks to vote for the Trump franchise, thinking he was one of them. Heck, he looks down his nose at all of them, just look at his history. He likes rich folks, of any color, not poor white folks. Here’s an illustration, in financial terms that might be understood, between the Trumps of the white world and the laborers of the white world:

The laborers might drive a full size pickup truck. Probably one that is 10 years old and has over 100,000 miles on it. They buy it used, then they use it. The Trumpers might drive a Cadillac Escalade, or even a big pick up. They buy it new and they don’t use it to haul stuff, except maybe floats to the Country Club swimming pool. However, look at the license plate of their vehicle and you may discover it has a “Farm” plate. Seriously, go to a place where only rich people go, the Country Club, the Boat Club, the exclusive restaurant, etc. and look for Farm plates on big SUVs and Trucks. They won’t have any mud on them and the inside won’t have tools or file folders on the seat. Why then do they exist you might ask. Well, they are tied to a piece of property that satisfies a section in the US Tax Code that allows the buyer of such a vehicle to amortize its cost (a direct offset to income) over 2 or 3 years. It is deemed to be used in furtherance of “farming” because it falls within the language of the tax code, which was a gift from law makers to rich folks and to the car companies that wanted to sell more of those big environmentally burdensome vehicles upon which there is a very nice “margin” of return.

So, poor white guy, you are supporting a sect of society that does not want you in their club, but smiles and puts their arm around you when they want your vote. Just try to get in their gated community some time, in your old pickup. No go, unless you are there to do landscaping or other manual labor, but never on Saturday night!

So, when trump “denounced” the KKK, and other named groups, he expressly left out the Alt Right by name. That was a key omission by his handlers and was not called out by the news people. Why not? That is the true crux of the matter. The AR is emboldened by Bannon – Breitbart – Trump. The AR is Trump’s base. The AR hoped that the US would toe the line under Trump and convert itself accordingly.

Fortunately, we are diverse enough to not let them sneak up on us, but they will always be there and it will take more and more of them showing their heads above the foxholes in which they have resided before the spades can be called spades, but in this time of increased communication curtesy of the internet, it will be harder for them to have it both ways. (It is my understanding that some faces showing up on the internet got fired by employers who recognized them. How could they not see that coming?)

Last thought – for those that want to protest and confront the AR. Don’t use violence or loud shouting. That is what they want, plays right into their hand, what they expect and what they feed off. Here is my suggestion. Form up, don’t say a thing, don’t carry a thing, but wait for them to march or talk. When they do, turn your back as one. If you really want to make a statement, then MOON THEM.

Holy Cow, how Silly does it have to get?

It is stunning to me the level of bare-ass idiocy exercised by the Trump Card (and his folks, to be fair). Not that he could do it, but that he (they) would do it. And, it continues to take steps down paths that it should have avoided. Excluding Transgender people from services in the armed forces, when “they” are already there (forgive the pronoun in reference to diverse people grouped together by a label, but which are each individuals).

How about the diversion that there is a Russian team that was also working to discredit Trump. Isn’t every sophisticated player in politics aware that you play both sides, cause you never know. Who cares? Or So what! Is the response to that “argument”.

Trump made, maybe 10-25%, of the populace happy with the silly move, because they, at true heart, believe this is against their particular religion, mostly Christian. However, anyone that is practical on his side of the fence (wall for now) knows that this is silly at best. Combining such a silly step with the other silly steps lead to the conclusion that eventually more and more people will see that the Emperor walks paths that appeal to one certain segment of the voting populace. To get elected, everyone on Trump’s side had a pet subject upon which he won them over. He would say anything then and a lot of people were whispering in his ear. He laughed and gave each one the story they wanted to hear. He knew that once elected, he could do what he want. That is because he only ever answered to Directors, many of whom were somehow beholden to him. He has no experience in the Dance in which he is now immersed.

He believes that he can name the tune of any Dance he is in. He has been largely successful in business getting the other sides to dance to the music he named. Some out danced him, but many were worn down by their unfamiliarity with the tune. They paid a tuition for the education they got from contracting with him the first time. Every commercial litigation lawyer has seen the Trump Card type party representative. Once seen, though, you can avoid them getting to the orchestra, he only controls the music once on anyone as the tune he plays is easy to change in the contracting stage, because you don’t do the work without contract terms that do the opposite of enabling his behavior. He only knows one tune.

A President, if he is good, can influence the tune being played, but only if he finds the Rhythm. The Card’s silliness will eventually show his true position, or lack of position, on the myriad limited issues that attract a pocket of voters of maybe 2-15%, each, of the voting populace. As a group sees that their desire is not met (because there was a competing desire The Card had not accounted for). He has pissed on the backs of many people and told them it was merely raining. Eventually the input of the ears is superseded by the input of the nose.


Look at the number of times that LeBron James takes “steps” when on a breakaway and you will see another reason why he is tired near the end of the game. His foot work is not as elegant as is the footwork of Curry, Thompson and KD of GS. Having good footwork does more than make you look quicker, it saves you energy. LB spends a lot of energy by powering through bad footwork, meaning at the end of the game he has less energy. That includes less mental energy.

Watch the Thompson footwork when defending the smaller (and quicker?) Irving. LB makes up for the footwork he never had to learn as a kid because he was bigger and stronger, because he is still big and strong. Note, Thompson and Curry learned it because their dads were pros and they were not merely big guys with talent. I would bet KD learned it because he was skinny as a kid (ask him?).

However, at the top level, the exercise catches up with you. LB is strong, but not elegant.

I know this because I was a skinny baller as a kid. Now, I understand the application of this principle in business. If you have good footwork at the start of a negotiating effort you will have saved steps and energy by the time the exercise ends. You can make decisions better (the footwork of negotiation) because you don’t spend yourself in the missteps earlier in the dance.

LeBron Getting Faster?

Dan LeBatard played a post-game interview piece by a Toronto Raptor that started with the concept that LeBron was a little quicker than he had been in the past. LeBatard then wondered, aloud, whether the compliment was really a (passive aggressive) suggestion that steroids were in play. It is an honest question that has to be asked, but there is another explanation for his perceived quickness improvement.

LeBron has shown that he is an intuitive learner of the first degree. He had childhood coaching and high school coaching. From my personal experience, those coaches taught the average kid on the team and let LeBron alone because his physical talent was so much advanced from everyone else that he did not have to have great mechanics. The average kids got drilled on the mechanics, but LeBron did not appear to have been exposed to them as others his age might have been had he not been so talented. Skipping college meant that his footwork when he came to the NBA left him flatfooted against those he faced.

His footwork kept him back his first 4 or so years. In the one early playoff with Boston, near the end of the game there is a jump ball and Paul Pierce out steps him on the circle to get the ball and seal the game. LeBron had size on Pierce, but did not even see the need for the move – most likely because he had never been shown it. Pierce schooled him that night.

LeBron had to learn all of his footstep correction by playing at the highest level. I think Olajuwon taught him offensive foot work one summer, but he has, apparently, learned his defensive footwork through his personal failures. (I always thought he should have hooked up with Rasheed Wallace for work on his defensive footwork.) The Championship won by Dallas had two games ended by a Nowitzki drive and with LeBron never seeing or moving from his weak side position until it was too late to step right. His feet (and head) were wrong and he never made a move to help.

Here’s the thing. LeBron is faster now because he doesn’t make the missteps he used to make. He has intuitively learned as he was exposed to the footwork of the best in the world and he now has a big book of knowledge. He also doesn’t have to think, though, about what he is doing, so he avoids the “lag” that thinking can create. When you are really balling you don’t want to be thinking, just doing. LeBron may get even faster over the next couple of years.