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Jan 21 17

The Electoral College

by Gormack

The purpose of the Electoral College is to insure all parts of the country are represented in the selection process, not just high population areas.

The Electoral College performed its function magnificently.

 

Electoral MapSmaller

 

 

Jan 16 17

Cocoon

by Gormack

It’s a typical talk radio team: male, female, left leaning. Ignorance does not prevent the spewing of strongly held opinions.

Mr. Host says “certainly no one can contest the fact that Barack Obama was a great president”. This despite that familiar map of the USA: Red but for small blotches on the coasts and a few stains in the interior.

Since 2008, courtesy Mr. Obama and the DNC, the GOP has picked up 900 State Legislature seats, 19 Governorships, 60 House seats, 13 Senate seats, and now the Presidency.

One might think liberals would be chastened, but think again. Are they impervious to facts?

Their Mr. Obama parades a recovery that never happened; points to improved race relations while American cities are in turmoil; and celebrates foreign policy success as the Middle East burns and Europe totters.

The adoring minions, meanwhile, are insulated from anything that might spoil the anointed narrative – wrapped in a cocoon: news according to CNN, Entertainment from the left coast, Documentary by Michael Moore, Market Data from CNBC, Financial prognostication from the Fed supported by magic numbers from the BLS.

The collusion, corruption, and crime exposed in the emails? Never happened; only the hacking.

With apologies to Winston Churchill: Correct opinion is so precious that it must be shielded from the truth by a bodyguard of lies.

Somewhere George Orwell must be smiling.

 

Dec 1 16

The Simple Truth

by Gormack

politicalcorrectness1

Nov 21 16

Dodging Bullets

by Gormack

The aftermath of this election might be contentious and ugly, but it could have been worse. Far worse. Several catastrophes have been averted by the outcome. Consider these:

1)  War with Russia

“Putin is a bully.” “The Russian economy is the size of Manhattan’s.” “We can take down Russia in a day.”

Let’s be clear: we are talking about the world’s largest nation by area with a population of 140 million; a country with a thousand years of history, advanced in mathematics, science, and technology. A country with a long, proud military tradition having large, sophisticated armed forces and, by the way, 8000 nuclear warheads and the means to deliver them.

Ms. Clinton has shown herself many times, including Libya, to be an aggressive and dangerous bungler.  She says she would enforce a no-fly zone over Syria. The Russians say this is Casus Belli.

This is only one of many flash points between the US and the Russian Federation.

Russian troops even now rehearse for the eventuality of nuclear confrontation. The US war generation had a tremendous dread of nuclear conflict; remember the “Duck and cover” drills of the fifties; kids huddled under their desks? How did we get from there to a page 5 story?

This is a very, very dangerous situation, and this woman who so narrowly missed having her finger on the button has demonstrated in word and in deed to be clinically unqualified for the seat of power.

We truly hope the master of the deal will show the wisdom and restraint so desperately needed to deal with a dangerous world. With Madame Secretary this was not a possibility.

2) Constitutional Crisis

The Clintons conceived and operated an international extortion ring, enriching themselves by selling influence, and in Ms. Clinton’s case, the office of Secretary of State. To bribery and extortion add defiance of court orders, lying under oath, obstruction of justice, collusion, and what other crimes God only knows.

Remember Loretta Lynch on the runway. Remember the public humiliation of Gennifer Flowers, Monica Lewinski, and the others. Remember the collusion with the Department of Justice, obstruction of Congressional investigations, violated court orders.

Look at this power mad woman who shows no trace of ethics, scruples, or morals, with a fawning and a compliant media, and with a huge constituency that gives her a pass on criminal behavior.

Now imagine her with the full power of the Presidency of the United States of America at her disposal as the Congress tries to bring her to bay for her many crimes.

This had the makings for not only a Constitutional crisis like no other; a long and contentious struggle that would disrupt the functioning of the government of the United States of America, from which we might never recover.

3) Monetary Policy

A sleeping world is beginning to understand that current policy is profoundly unwise: it has done far more harm than good and it must stop. We must send the academics with their calculus, statistics, and stochastics back to the classrooms and get back to models based on an understanding of human behavior!

But among the rising tide of calls for a return to sanity is one voice screaming that we have not done enough. That we must follow the path of The Bank of Japan and beyond: take interest rates negative; buy corporate bonds; buy equities; drop cash from helicopters.

Do it all, and do it like never before! Eclipse Abe and Kuroda with interventions on a scale never tried, maybe even dreamed of, except in the nightmare mind of one man: Lawrence H. Summers.

Truly the poster child for Academics gone wild, this man is a danger to the western world, and he was forty-two electoral votes from being in position to ride that fiscal bomb down, like Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove, onto an unsuspecting world below.

It was that close.

This has been truly ugly, but count your blessings America!

Oct 7 16

Channeling Sun Tzu

by Gormack

“It is best to win without fighting” – Sun Tzu

Young Hong was a tough little Korean guy from Seoul who got on a boat and headed to the new world. He was a veteran of ROK Army and a master in the Martial Arts, neither of which seemingly qualified him for much in the way of employment in New York. His limitations in English didn’t help, either.

But he was here. He found work where he could, maintenance, construction. He was strong as an ox and a hard worker.

Before long he made his way to Chicago, linking up with Korean expats there. They found a career path for him: Karate was hot! GI’s brought it back from Japan, Okinawa, and Korea. Tae Kwon Do, the Korean style, was really popular.

Teaching was a challenge at first, but he got the hang of dealing with Americans; the harsh treatment the Senseis dealt out in Korea was a no-go here, nor would parents tolerate kids suffering concussions or broken bones.

But they were OK with discipline: you could be stern and make them do push-ups if they messed up, just not the rough stuff. Mister Hong had found his calling: he was a great instructor.

And an excellent practitioner: his Kata were excellent; so were his Step Sparring techniques; but his Free Sparing was off the charts! He was one hell of a fighter: nimble, fast, strong, athletic.

And smart! He could size up an opponent instantly: what was his reach, which side did he favor, what techniques were his best, did he drop his hands, or leave himself open after an attack, how was his stamina?

Once he had the book on someone they couldn’t hurt him. He played defense, dancing out of range, parrying blows, waiting for a mistake, an opening, for signs of fatigue.

Then, when the opportunity came he took it; took it decisively. If the guy was good a match could go a couple of rounds, if not he could be off the mat in a minute. He took home a lot of first place trophy’s for his Dojo.

Soon he was looking for his own place, away from Chicago. His buddies weren’t looking for competitors, so somehow he found Belvidere, maybe because of the Chrysler plant there. But that’s where a landed, a blue collar town of autoworkers and tradesmen.

He developed a student following, became a man about town, breaking down the town’s normal suspicion of foreigners. All he needed was an opening, his humor and good nature took care of the rest. Belvidere learned to love and respect their new martial arts master.

But he had lots of stories. He told me this one years after it happened. He walked into Red’s bar on North State Street. The drinkers stopped talking to look at him. Soon a big, burly guy came over. He repeated to me what the man said in his Korean pigeon “Hey! You Young Hong! You tough guy, I fight with you!”

Mr. Hong said “No. I not tough – I know little bit” and raised his hand to show a little gap between his thumb and his index finger.

The guy persisted: “You tough guy. We go outside. I fight with you.”

To me he said “I say myself, ‘I make that man my friend!'”

But to his protagonist he said, laughing “No my friend, I not fight with you – you beat me up!” and put his hand on the man’s shoulder. “We be friends. I buy you drink!”

Soon Joe, that was the man’s name, and Young Hong were drinking, trading stories, laughing and having a good old time in Red’s Bar on State Street in Belvidere, Illinois.

“Hey Joe, you come my studio. You watch!”

Joe did come to the studio the very next week and sat in the observation area to watch an advanced class: warmups; stretching, Kata; three steps; and sparring.

Free sparing: put on the gloves, foot pads, mouth guard and mix it up. Mixed it up big time on that day. Mr. Hong, one on two against his best black belts. They couldn’t touch him but he went in at will against either, dodging the other; tapping them on the stomach, the chest, the temples, the nose, showing he could take them down any time he wanted.

Joe watched, eyes open wide. Mr. Hong said after the class Joe was very quiet.

I didn’t know Joe, knew nothing about him, but I’ll bet it was a long time before he challenged another Korean to a bar fight.

Sep 15 16

The Clothesline School of Writing

by Gormack
Molly Daniels-Ramunujan

Molly Daniels-Ramanujan

The old Studebaker Building was down and across from the Art Institute of Chicago on South Michigan. It was built for the manufacture of carriages by the Studebaker Brothers of South Bend, Indiana in 1884.

Now it was “The Fine Arts Building” though still served by its now ancient, elevators with a human operator in each: proficient with the metal cage gates and expert at lining up with the floors of the building using the antique lever mechanisms.

The Clothesline School of Writing was on the sixth floor: a single large classroom with folding chairs and banquet style tables arranged at right angles to make a large box. Molly sat in the King Arthur position.

On the east side of the room, paint spattered, cloudy windows overlooked Michigan Avenue with its steady stream of traffic at all hours of the day. The sounds of cars and trucks on the streets were overlaid with noises contributed by the old building itself: random clanking’s, creaking’s, banging’s, and groaning’s.

The classes varied: we discussed reading assignments; we brainstormed; we journaled; we recited. Then at last, we wrote. “Don’t stop to think; don’t compose; don’t pick up the pen until I say ‘stop!’”

Then we headed home to fix it up, and turn it in next week before class. I would lay mine on the pile and then slink down in my chair as she scanned them, hoping against hope that I had not yet again offended the angry gods of fiction – it could be brutal!

Often we had to stand up and “tell” our story. That way, she explained, you couldn’t disguise with pretty words the fact that there was no story.

Other times she would take someone’s draft, cross out two, three, even four paragraphs, hand it back to the writer and say “start here”. We were always “setting the stage,” she said, “you vastly underestimate your reader!”

One night she thrust a redacted story into the hands of its author, pointing to a page saying “read this.” When the student finished she went around the room asking each of us in turn what we heard. We got it all, all of us. Molly said the removed paragraph “explained the punchline.”

She looked at the writer: “Don’t do that!” Then she became quiet, laid her hands on the table, and looked up at the slowly spinning ceiling fan. When she finally spoke she said “Do you know the tuition barely covers the rent here?” She smiled at that; a rare thing, that smile.

She was serious again. “Write densely,” she said. “Make every word count. Don’t tell your reader what he can figure out for himself! Don’t tell your reader what you have already told him!”

“Think about this: a story does not take place on the page! A story takes place in the mind of a reader. Do you understand? A story is a collaboration between a writer and a reader. If you fail to engage your reader in that partnership, he will stop being your reader!”

The room was quiet. She respected that silence, giving us a few extra minutes before we put pen to paper that night. The work from that session was very good, even Molly said so.

Molly A. Daniels-Ramanujan a.k.a. Shouri Daniels was a highly acclaimed author, educator, and critic.

She taught Creative Writing and Poetry at the University of Chicago and at her own school, The Clothesline School of Writing.

No student could be untouched by Molly’s profound understanding of and love for the written word. She demanded the best of us. She took us to places we didn’t know we could go.

Molly A. Daniels-Ramanujan passed away on November 26, 2015 at her home in Ithaca, New York.

Thank you, Molly, from all of us!

Aug 5 16

Oh Say Can You See?

by Gormack

We flatter ourselves, singing the national anthem at any occasion.

But this is not the Nation that won the West, dug the Panama Canal, and prevailed in the World Wars!

This is a State of self-indulgent crybabies led by an army of corrupt, self-serving politicians.

Heading toward a Crisis that will overmatch our crumbling, decadent Society

Jul 27 16

Lies, Damned Lies, and Collaborators

by Gormack

In the course of a day I sometimes catch the two-minute market news on Chicago’s radio superstation. I call it Happy Face/Frowny Face reporting: Markets Up/Markets Down.

The market guy, let’s call him “O”, is an experienced journalist; been around forever, started with farm commodities but now he is an expert on everything from genetically modified foods to ethanol to equities.

I shouldn’t pick on O, he’s no different than the hacks on CNBC, but I will. He’s been around markets long enough to know a lie when he sees one. He should at least raise an eyebrow at the barrage of spin, half-truths and falsehoods that spew from the financial news feeds. But he doesn’t.

Guess what O: Earnings suck; Terrorism is on the rise; Europe is breaking up; We have riots and murder in the streets; the Fed has destroyed Bonds as an asset class; Corporate defaults are exploding; Equities maintain crazy valuations only because Central Banks buy ETFs and stage midnight raids on the VIX.

Why are you complicit in this rosy bullshit day after day? Are you seriously telling those legions of gray haired listeners to go all in on Facebook and Amazon?

You are an experienced professional: you should be embarrassed, ashamed, and probably fired!

Wake up O! Do your job!!

Jun 28 16

The Third Mandate

by Gormack

Describing the financial crisis of 2008 George W. Bush famously observed that “the market ceased to function.”

But “the market” is nothing but a macro level manifestation of human behavior. It does not “cease to function” although it may fail to follow a script.

The script in 2008 was written by the Financial Elite and by its rules Markets are simply not allowed to purge themselves of toxic assets: that would bring the authors of the crisis to account. Instead creative financial engineering pushed the consequences from Wall Street onto Main Street.

But the creativity didn’t stop there. Ever more brazen actions followed and it soon became clear even to those outside the circle of privilege that something was going on. Things felt rigged. But by who? To give them a name lets call them “Plunge Protection Team”. Some uncharted, unelected entity or entities not meant to be known or understood.

Precious metals have been manipulated for years, of course; remember the Hunt brothers in the seventies? Bad, but their malfeasance in the silver markets are dwarfed by what’s possible in the age of Derivatives! Paul Craig Roberts published a great exposé on an attack on gold that took place on the New York Comex in 2014:

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/01/17/hows-whys-gold-price-manipulation/

But Manipulations certainly don’t stop at Metals: “Interventions” in the Securities markets have become equally pervasive and equally creative! Charles Hugh Smith posted a great piece on how the VIX is “monkey-hammered” to keep sky high valuations afloat.

http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com/2016/06/is-market-rational-after-all.html

The “whatever it takes” madman of the ECB is buying everything in sight, corporate debt, junk bonds, with funny money!

It goes on and on leading an exasperated David Stockman to declare “Honest, market-driven price discovery is dead as a doornail!”

http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/tyranny-of-the-phds/

In age Dark Pools, off-the-books Derivatives, non-GAAP reporting, transparency is dead as well and the Fed, beyond the pale of any conceivable constitutional legitimacy, has declared for itself a Third Mandate: “A stable and rising stock market”

http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/the-feds-third-mandate-and-the-destruction-of-honest-finance/

Most troubling of all is that the Wealth Management crowd has bought into this. Earnings, Savings, Productivity are irrelevant! Damn the Fundamentals, Monetary Policy is the only Mantra!

The rampant corruption of the free operation of Markets is wrong, dangerous and doomed. Soon, for we are in the end game, it will come undone.

Natural Law will awaken. He will be angry, and he will be hungry!

Apr 27 16

Edicts and Dictates

by Gormack

Wisdom from David Stockman:

Everything one thought they understood about free market capitalism has been thrown into the wastebasket of history and replaced with edicts and dictates set forth by an un-elected gaggle of economic theorists who’ve decided the world of business is theirs to control.

Post on David Stockman Contra Corner