Friday, July 29, 2016

Media and Political Disclosure

"A journalist makes himself the hero of the story. A reporter is only a witness."
--Jim Cleary (Deadline U.S.A.)

Why don't contributors to political media regularly reveal their political party, voting affiliations, campaign contributions, etc up front when presenting a story? An article would certainly be more accurately interpreted--particularly to 'low information' consumers--as consumers would be alert to misleading statements, incomplete analysis, and potential biases showing thru from the writer.

Particularly with 'journalists' that claim to be objective, then they should have not problem revealing their political leanings up front. Honest and open.

Full disclosure is not something most journalists would look forward to.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

From Bad to Great

"Is there anything more indecent than the human smile? All those predatory teeth reminding us of our animal descent."
--William Russell (The Best Man)

In politics, things are always terrible when the other party controls things. Once your party is in charge, then you MUST say that things are better, not worse.

A candidate for president from the same political party as the sitting president cannot say that things are bad, as that would be a slap in the face of the sitting president and the party itself.

Instead, that person will smile and say that things are downright great and that, if you vote for me, then things will remain great.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Black Votes Matter

"And, Lenny, you would have saved the lives of millions of registered voters."
--Dr Peter Venkman (Ghostbusters)

Thomas Sowell observes that Democrats must pander to the fears, anger, and resentment of blacks in order to secure enough votes to win a presidential election. Should more than 10% of blacks turn their hats around and vote Republican or third party--or merely stay at home, then the likelihood of a Democratic victory declines appreciably.

Thus Democrats trot out the racism and victimhood cards, and the race baiting charlatans that promote them. Prof Williams notes (and Prof Sowell) that, while few would argue that racial discrimination exists, it is difficult to persuasively argue that racism is worse today than a few decades ago. It does not satisfactorily explain the deteriorating socioeconomic condition experienced by blacks over this period.

A more straightforward explanation of the plight of blacks involves destructive public policies, or what some have termed structural statism. Sowell and Williams posit that policies such as those related to welfare benefits and minimum wage laws explain socioeconomic trends among blacks in a straightforward manner--and in a manner that was predictable back when 'Great Society' and related legislation was enacted.

In fact, true 'institutional racism' can be seen in the policies promoted and implemented by Democrats that subsidize unproductive behavior and increase state dependency among blacks. These policies amount to bigotry that restrains the progress of a particular people.

If Democratic leaders were intellectually honest, then they would engage in a discussion of 'What else could it be?' What other factors might be contributing to black socioeconomic problems more so than the 'institutional racism' card that we propose?

Of course, Democrats can't afford to go down this path as it would lead to truth and likely defection of millions of black voters.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Locus of Control

Benjamin Franklin Gates: Of all the ideas that became the United States, there's a line here that's at the heart of all the others. 'When in a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and provide new guards for their future security.
Riley Poole. Beautiful. I have no idea what you just said.
Benjamin Franklin Gates: It means that if there's something wrong, those who have the ability to take action have the responsibility to take action.
--National Treasure

Locus of control (Rotter, 1966) is a construct of personal psychology that considers the extent to which individuals believe that they can control events and outcomes affecting them.

People with strong internal locus of control believe that events in their life derive primarily from their own actions. They believe that hard work leads to positive personal outcomes. They believe that all actions have consequences, and that more control over those consequences depends on them.

People with strong external locus of control believe that their behavior and outcomes depends on environmental factors that cannot be influences, or by chance or fate. They tend to praise or blame others for their success and failures. They tend to be more subject to disease and stress than internally grounded people.

Bi-locals are individuals with mixtures of internal and external characteristics. Bi-locals can take personal responsibility for their actions while remaining open to depending and having faith in others.

I have seen several papers published in organizational research that feature locus of control as a main or control variables in studies of organizational behavior (leadership, supervision, etc.). What seems most interesting to me, however, is locus of control as an outcome variable--i.e., how a particular locus is acquired or how it might shift from one position to another over time.

Such studies might lend explanatory power to many social phenomena that we currently observe, including those related to trends in politics and candidate support.

References

Rotter, J.B. (1966). Generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement. Psychological Monographs, 80(1): 1-28.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Card Sharks

Every gambler knows
That the secret to surviving
Is knowing what to throw away
And knowing what to keep
--Kenny Rogers

Central bankers are building the largest house of cards in the history of the world.


When the walls come tumbling down, claims will be made that the work in progress was difficult to see.

This claim will not hold water, as it failure to recognize this disaster in the making has been purely a matter of choice for those with capacity for reasoned thought.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Junior

"You're better than anyone I ever had. And you're the best goddamned hitter I ever saw."
--Pop Fisher (The Natural)

Today Ken Griffey Jr goes into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Natural in his prime may have been the greatest player to ever lace 'em up. A great visual tour of his career highlights can be seen here.

Like many others, I fondly recall his warehouse shot at the HR Derby in Baltimore in 1993. I marveled at his sweet swing, turned around cap, and easy demeanor. He was special.


My favorite personal memory, however, was during Junior's time with the Reds. It was late summer 2001 and I had scored a couple of box seat tickets game from my boss. My brother and I headed down to watch the Reds play the Cardinals at Cinergy Field, better known to me as Riverfront Stadium. Not having been to many Reds games recently, I was still getting used to the opened outfield look and real grass--modifications made in lieu of Great American Ballpark going up next door. I remember a young Albert Pujols hitting one far over the signs in dead center field early in the game.

The game went into extra innings. Junior came to bat in the bottom of the 11th with no one on. He connected on one to left center. Both the center and left fielders jumped against the fence for the ball but couldn't come up with it. I glanced at Griffey who, after rounding first, had briefly slowed thinking that the ball had either left the yard or had been caught. Once he saw that the ball was still in play and had caromed away from the outfielders, Junior turned on the jets. In our seats behind the bag, my brother and I waved him around like third base coaches once we saw he had a chance. He slid across home and popped up with arms held high and that patented grin on his face. We high fived as The Kid was mobbed at home plate.

My most exciting moment ever at a Reds game (and that's saying something). It was also Griffey's only career inside the park home run.

Hats off to Junior, another fellow Moe alum, and the only first pick of the MLB draft ever, to make it into the Hall of Fame.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Dangerous Candidates

"That's right, Ice...Man, I am dangerous."
--Lt Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Top Gun)

Loyalists from both the Republican and Democratic parties claim that the presidential candidate from the other party is the most dangerous candidate they have ever seen.

Both sides are right.

As state power grows, anyone who benefits from the strong arm of government has much to lose if someone takes charge with the intentions of changing the state's redistributive power. Because Republicans and Democrats both favor more state power, albeit for different (in many cases only slightly different) policy ends, then both sides will naturally feel threatened by the prospect of losing control of the resources sent their way strong armed agents.

The biggest threat, of course, would come from a candidate that promises to dismantle the state entirely, thereby collapsing the benefits enjoyed by either Republican or Democrat principals.

In such case, we would be sure to see establishment Republicans and Democrats unite to condemn that candidate in true 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' fashion.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Still Not Confirming

Arrows of neon and flashing marquees out on Main Street
Chicago, New York, Detroit and it's all on the same street
Your typical city involved in a typical daydream
Hang it up and see what tomorrow brings
--Grateful Dead

Although the Dow Industrials have recently marked all time highs,


the Trannies are not confirming.


The late Richard Russell would surely be chirping about this persistent Dow Theory divergence.

position in SPX

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Political Rationalization

"It's a kingdom of conscience. Or nothing."
--Balian of Ibelin (Kingdom of Heaven)

Have always found it interesting to observe how people rationalize behavior related to politics that they would never engage in elsewhere.

"It's just the political sausage being made."

"The ends justify the means."

"We're doing it for the greater good."

"I know my party's candidate has major flaws, but the alternative candidate would be far worse."

Conscience is compromised. And things get worse.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Divider-In-Chief

Come together, right now
Over me
--The Beatles

When he was elected president, Barack Obama entered the Oval Office with a label of  being a great unifier. He would be The One to bring a divided people together. There can be little doubt that, eight years later, he has failed miserably on this front.


Nearly every time this man speaks, he says something that polarizes rather than unites. See, for instance, his recent speech at the funeral for the slain Dallas cops. 'Unity' to this president seems to mean compliance with his ideology.

Now, it can be argued that seeking high degrees of unity among a naturally diverse people all seeking to pursue unique interests is a fool's errand to begin with. Diversity naturally, and by definition, spawns disagreement and conflict. But those differences should be welcome as it is variation that fosters progress and adaptation. Order is not maintained forcibly by the strong arm of the state, but spontaneously by individuals who voluntarily cooperate with each other to better their conditions.

Nonetheless, no 'leadership coaches' that I know of would advise an executive seeking better cohesion in a group to go about it in a manner similar to this president.