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Follow The (Bank’s) Money?

I have no facts to back up any of what follows, but I don’t think this is fake news because I am presenting a possible scenario, hoping that someone younger than me, and with more energy, will pick up the thread, as I believe following the money in this case would be fairly direct.

Here is my prediction. (Based upon litigating Commercial Dispute and Bankruptcy cases, as the result of which I became familiar with the modus operandi of developers.)

Developers are always beholden to one or more lenders, with the promise, to themselves and to the lenders, of payment resulting from the completion of the project and the generation of revenue therefrom. Guess what, not every project delivers. The banks know this, as they have been in the business for centuries, at least the big ones have. There are a lot of newer banks springing up to get in this business, but do you ever see any news on the number of start up banks? Why banks? Well, there are very specific laws that govern banks. These laws protect the banks, and Dodd Frank sought to limit some of the assumption of risks by the banks that was a loop hole in the laws that protect the banks. In other words, if you are going to be protected by laws, then you need to not stretch the rules that limit the risk you are allowed to take in support of the protections provided.

Anyway, the banks know that a certain percentage of projects fail, and that is part of their calculation. They also know that by being the lender they have a favorable place in the creditor line when things go wrong. I had to learn, with my client, the contractor, that when things fell apart, the bank would have first grab at any money not yet spent, and they could take it and leave with it. The contractor, and others, might well have a lien against any real property upon which they placed their work, but that value is not the same as revenue from a completed project. What happens then is that a new developer, with new lenders, comes in and pays off the creditors at a much lower amount than earned by them, but they get loose of the vice they are in. In fact, some are paid to finish and if they have been down this path before such that they learned the leverage lesson, they assure that they stand in front of the line for payment out of the “new” funds. Shaping the loan as a construction loan by which the contractors have direct periodic payment rights can serve their purpose. Most have to pay tuition for this lesson by being stung at least once.

I gave you all of that so you can see the path upon which the Trump Card has trod for his career.

He acknowledges that he is a developer. As such, those in the business know that he is always chasing the next revenue in order to cover the debt that is constantly in his portfolio. Here’s the thing, as he walks the path, he goes through lenders who learn about his ability to deliver the promised revenue such that the revenue will profit them. At worst, they have to be sure that even if there is not profit, there is at least break even from the level of security they hold on the property in question.

The Card made his first imprint in NY. It is LIKELY that he borrowed from banks with headquarters in NY, since it is one of the top three bank cities in the world. (I am postulating that NY, London and Shanghai are the top three bank towns, maybe someone who knows could correct any error in such postulation.) As outlined above, the banks would insist upon security of the first in line in exchange for the loans to enable the project. The Card would accept as he is sure that he will do the project, and off they go. Set aside for now the Card’s behavior with his contractors, as that is just a consequence of the development. There is a good record of the failures of Card projects, from litigation. The lending NY banks would eventually get their security, at a cost of time and lawyers, and they may end up having some negative impact. As such, they would establish higher criteria for any future loaning to the Card, if they would do it at all. In general, any bank would likely stop after a 2nd or 3rd failure, unless they just kept raising the rate and accepted the cost. One way or the other, they would work the numbers up to either assure no loss in the worst case, or they would allow for the “loss” at the recognition of a higher interest that would ameliorate the net impact.

The Card, though, even if he could pay a bigger rate for a NY bank, would naturally move to other banks. Perhaps, banks that had not yet experienced a project with the Card and therefor about to pay their own tuition for the lessons he teaches. By the way, he teaches that lesson up and down the chain of privity.

That is why the Card had such an adverse reaction to the false claim that Mueller was looking into the Card’s financial profile vis a vis Deutsche Bank. Here is the path that jumps out to me, for consideration of those who may be interested.

The Card gradually moved from the NY banks, because they were tired of the dance he did with them. He moved to banks in Europe, not just Deutsche, but also banks in Paris and in London. Remember, he was always promoting a new development, he had name recognition, and some of his projects probably worked out close to what was promised. With the number of loses he has claimed, and which were made public, as limited as that public record is, shows that his tax bill is very low because of claimed accumulated losses. This is a common scenario for developers, claiming all these great successes, but paying little in taxes because of losses from other investments all tied to the same “entity” for tax purposes.

Eventually, the Euro banks would get hip to the Card, make the same numerical conclusions as did the NY banks. The Card then moves to banks in other parts of the world. And trust that they are there, anxious to try their hand. Obvious choices are the banks in Shanghai, a port city that has an entire waterfront street with bank buildings sitting side to side for at least a quarter mile, if not longer. This banking arrangement goes back so far that the city of Shanghai has a great “Western” feel to it, even in comparison to Tokyo. So, maybe the Card owes banks in China. Some would believe that it is likely, but I am not aware. Likewise, I am not aware if the Card is in bed with Russian banks. However, if you look at the public “ownership” of interests of Putin and his Oligarchs who were just penalized by the US, the link to banks is there. What if the Card owes them a shit load?

Well, there you have it. A question that can be answered by following the money.

That is what makes the hair on the back of the Card’s neck stand up. That debt would explain a lot of Card behavior and a lot of Russian interference behavior. What if the goal of the play has nothing to do with the limited money invested with the Card, but the belief that destroying the US is a good economic move for Putin and the Oligarchs. (To the extent that the Chinese are consulted, or merely passive, they could accede to the play with their own moves.) Perhaps the history of the world is about to be greatly impacted. Alternatively, the US Constitution may once again prove its beauty in application.

Outing the Flop

The rich whores who supported Trump (“Card”) are finding out that whoring out always brings a price. They supported the Card because they would make money, call it found money now, because of reduction in regulation. All that they spent in defense of, resisting implementation of or otherwise giving attention to regulation compliance/avoidance, is greatly reduced now. Focus of certain people can be altered to a different issue, or the people let go completely. Certainly, third party consultation will shrink. The tax act was their real bonus on top of the ease of business regulatory give and take.

Each of the Card’s segments of interest (the split of his base along idealogical lines) has to whore out something in order to have the Card promote (they think) their particular issue. The right wing religious, for instance, give up a lot of moral ground.

The rich whores probably like the idea of appointment of conservative minded judges, or at least would think, “Why not?”, so they have another smile. The impact on the trading of stock, though, does not make them happy. How long can they sustain that price to them? They probably have objection to his womanizing, undercurrent of racism and anti antisemitism, or other particulars individually, but, well, you can’t have everything.

Now a lesson about the Card, just so everyone will know that he thinks his behavior succeeds. This is the real story.

The Card negotiates by means of the flopping his “argument” on the table. It is an obvious move and there are very few subtleties to it. The choice of responsive move is thought to be limited to two choices:  Either you eat shit and give up (unlikely in the current pool in which the Card floats, but sometimes can intimidate a much less financed down stream party on the contract chain); or, The other choice idealized by those that actually promote this tactic is a like response from the other side. The result of this expected move is that both parties enter the “argument” arena. Here’s the problem, the argument arena rarely creates a good solution, and certainly not a timely solution since it will immediately  suspend any efforts at discussion of the situation, shifting to a discussion of the adversarial effort now underway. Energy is not allocated to look for a solution, but is expended, instead, on the distraction of building the best city to defend, if you will. The Card lives by distraction. (Boy would he be fun to cross exam under oath.)

The time period in which the Chinese are willing do the dance of the argument arena is much, much longer than anything the Card has in mind. And, the Chinese are capable of maintaining their efforts for the entire period without real threat to the powers that make the decision (just won election and allowed to be lifetime). The Card is used to having some form of financial leverage over time when his technique works, but big banks have given him the lesson that it does not work in the absence of that financial leverage, and he has always been a one issue guy. (Some people have a hard time adjusting their paradigm, and the Card is the poster boy for that.) I have negotiated around the world, including China, and as I participated in the efforts, I learned a lot about what works in negotiation, and it is different every time, every time. I have seen floppers silenced by their own side, entirely by body language in the room.

So, the Card does this consistently in life. Fine, but to the extent that it affects our country it must be pointed out. I brought this up now because I saw a headline that the Card tweeted that we are not in a trade war with China. Ha, only if he removes his “argument” from the table because the Chinese put their argument out there as well and, all of a sudden, the Card’s argument did not look so big, after all it had been sitting out for a while, exposed.

Now, think of this exact situation applying to the North Korean incident. The only really big flop that can occur there is a nuclear situation, which has already been flopped by both sides. Do we really want the Card to be able to elect that flop? That is what is at stake. Smart and aware people get it, but the Card’s base either don’t get it or are wiling to whore out for that possibilit7, saying, “Naw, he’s just flopping”. The erosion of the ice flow upon which the Card floats is obvious, but not recognized by all those riding the flow.

Sorry, I had to do it. I have never seen a flopper that could stop on his own. They can be modified in the middle of a negotiation, but it takes a fine art to achieve the result of changing a paradigm and, clearly, the Card removes people from his proximity if they affect his paradigm at all. The emperor who had no clothes was always sure he was covered.

On to the other whores that comprise the Card’s 33% or so, of the opinion populace. They know that the Card behaves in one way to which they have express repulsion, but they allow it by looking the other way. Each segment of his supporter groups has one such objection to the overall Card, but they whore it out because he whispers in their respective ears enough to induce them, or they imagine that whisper.

Trump Negotiation Behavior

I was tempted to call Trump’s behavior a “technique”, but it is not sophisticated enough to be considered such. He behaves in a way, and that should be clear to everyone one who can look at him without the rose colored glasses that he will (figuratively) provide to you if you care to put them on.

He negotiates with at least two very obvious behaviors: Flopping and Diversion.

For instance, he currently diverts the Russian inquiry by suggesting that Obama did nothing about Russian interference. Not to get too far in the weeds, but the interference was being investigated by the Federal Government while Obama was president. Nothing was overtly done for a number of reasons that I can see. 1. the investigation was no where near complete; and, 2. Once the investigation would be complete, the resolution should be done more quietly than is now occurring. The length and breadth of the current investigation show the first, and certainly the sense of the second bullet point seems to be just as obvious.

Now lets get to the Flopping on the “Tariff” issue.

NeighborDave has negotiated professionally for over 40 years, and really has negotiated his entire life. The Flop is the reactionary behavior first observed as a child, and is the go to move of a bully in the neighborhood. The guy that is big and strong, maybe older and less smart, the guy with no real future beyond exercising size or muscle to get what they want. It is like flopping your dick on the table and saying look how big that is. (Apparently, President Lyndon Johnson articulated this behavior once when he revoked a promise to Abe Fortus of a Supreme Court appointment.)

Here’s the thing. The move only works if you have the leverage necessary for the other side to be afraid of the leverage you have. With a bully, in the neighborhood, unless you are really slow or really stupid, you only get caught by the move once. After that you see it coming and avoid it, or just as it is about to happen, you speed away. Look at David and Goliath for an example. David could hit a flying bird with that sling shot, but Goliath had to be within swinging distance to use his weapons. David knew he could disable him without getting in the danger zone.

Trump revels in the concept that he is Goliath, but he doesn’t get that when you are the big dog, maybe even the alpha dog, you take care of your needs, but if you get your wants at the expense of the pack’s needs, then the pack is hurt. The US is (for now) the big dog, but if we focus on our wants to the exclusion of the worlds needs, WHERE DO WE END UP?

Sorry for the graphic example of the Flop, but that is how it is known in the world of negotiation. I have seen it many places around the world and eventually the people on the side from which it is exercised learn to discount “their” guy and he gets shunned by both sides as the negotiation continues. Trump’s disciples smile and enjoy the flop, so they will never shun him. It is up to the rest of the pack to see it though, and move on.

Simple behavior is just that, and honest behavior is just that too. Make a choice and stand behind it.

The Nunes Memo “Bits and Bytes”

I purposely float between four different “news” programs playing from time to time during the day, usually on in the background while I do things. Right now I am ranting internally as I listen to discussion regarding the Nunes Memo. Yes, that must be the name from now on, clearly.

Anyway, so many things. First, the news programs, when I was growing up, seemed to be less focused on the add revenues that paid their wages. (I would bet the purveyors of the news were paid much less, relative to revenues received, than the current mechanism.) Anyway, they all acknowledge a bent in their pick of what they focus on and with whom, and how, they discuss various “breaking news” as they all opine.

The people that discuss the impact of the Nunes Memo discuss it with reference to the intelligence collection system and the Constitution with a predigested understanding of the “inside” of the subject. However, and that is a BIG however, the general public has no such awareness or are they ever going to acquire anything close to that level of awareness – on either side. Sure, on both sides there are some folks who will dig in and look at stuff that is available. In todays world, you can find lots of reference points. However, the reference points need not all be reliable now. Clearly, the one lesson everyone with even a bit of intelligence as applied to connecting dots, is that anyone, including Russians, can publish a “piece” on the internet that appears to be an authority upon which one might be entitled to rely.

For the most part, as recent as 100 years ago, if you were being told an outright lie, or even a small lie, the lie was coming to you face to face. Now, you might be in a crowd, being sold some magic elixir or a political line, but you were at least face to face. The only other alternative was a newspaper, and the relatively new radio. TV was coming, adding a face that was trained, to the radio voice that was trained. Now there is the internet upon which artful manipulators can photo shop, and voice shop, whatever they want. Sure, if someone with skill digs into the “bits and bytes” (my phrase for it only), they can tell if it is made up, but the time lag between publishing and such a discovery cannot be erased, just as a statement in front of a jury hangs around with them despite the granting of an Objection immediately after its utterance.

What happens today with the voting public cannot be greatly impacted by a dissection of a situation without the aid of competent cross examination, as both sides can always find a mere conclusion falling within their paradigm and accepted as a coping mechanism to cognitive dissidence. Cross examination is what makes or breaks most court cases. Why, because it is an interchange the shows the truth, if not in the words, in the body language. The Jury gets to read the witness, and the attorney(s) and the Judge, and truth usually emerges to many of the Jurors. The hope is that they the truth can be pointed out to those that missed it, when they all get in the room such that their cognitive dissidence can be resolved definitively (See, 12 Angry Men, which did not focus on this, but I bet shows it.)

Anyway, all the news channels seem to cross examine someone with a position, but they never really get them to go to the end of the path. A partial cross exam is nothing, as the witness merely cuts through the woods back to their path after the discussion ends, usually with a talking points run that is followed by a thank you for the time. The follow up to the talking points statement is never, “Don’t give me that shit, let’s go back to this…..”

Here is the issue: What can be put in front of the common man that can give them the truth, but from an angle that is not limited to that being “vertically” discussed, face to face, by those who are controlling the situation (for their own personal goals, such as re-election)?

NeighborDave could find the answer, but only face to face for the reads necessary.

All Hope Rests on John Kelly

Let’s face it, regardless of ideology, a very reckless situation is on the table with the Russian matter. The current release of a memo, drafted by people who read FBI reports, then wrote a memo promoting their view of HOW the reports COULD be read to support a position that they liked, is well outside the realm of any verification of the truth of the matter at issue. If subject to cross examination the truth could come out, but by the time this ends up in any court, it will be too late as the means by which the FBI investigated the charges that were originally raised, will likely be released, as that is the fear that everyone with any sense has. The Russians are laughing at this, and the rest of the world is just shaking their heads. (It may be that ISIS is smiling about it.)

John Kelly is the sole person of influence who can whisper in the ear of Trump, or even take him in a room and scream at him, that he cannot participate in this because it is dangerous to our country.

This move is designed to save the Trump administration from being embarrassed by what took place with regard to the Russian situation. Kelly was not part of that, I think, and with his history of service we have to hope that his understanding of the risk associated with the release of the memo will drive him to stand firm. Hopefully, Trump will listen to him (and not to people like Stephen Miller).

This is a big as it gets.

By the way, look at Nunes’ CV. He is a purely political person, except for his start as a “farmer”.

Do You Give a Shit?

I don’t give a shit – about much

As I have aged I have discovered that I gave a shit about a lot of stuff. I also discovered that caring too much about things that were not critical was a waste of my time, as the caring would not have any lasting effect on the situation. For instance, reprimanding a ne’er do well about parking in a handicap parking spot was appropriate, but rarely did it change the perpetrator’s behavior. Sure, I could embarrass him, but such a perp is merely a Chihuahua – the barking never stops unless you are willing to really enforce it physically, and if you are a big dog, where does that get you?

Here’s the flip side. For the important things, I am perfectly willing to trade my life in order to spare a less able person from bad behavior of an individual who wants to pick on them. It may happen someday, and many people who know me predict that I will be shot. I now figure that a life spent exposing a bad person is that of a hero and avoids the multiple deaths of a coward. I put to rest one guy, who drove his pick up truck up to me as I got out of my sedan and asked me if it was my day to be an asshole. I answered, “No, I am an asshole every day, today I am a Mother F**ker”. What I learned that day is my next line to him should have been, “Now, here is what you are going to do. You will drive far enough away to be sure you can get away clean, then you will lean out your window, give me the finger, and tell me to go f**k myself.”

Don’t know why, but just felt like sharing that.

Trump as Surrogate

People generally gravitate to not making decisions – in general (let’s say 80% give or take).

A big segment of the population bought the theme that “Washington” did not make decisions, they just talked all the time. They thought that Trump would make decisions, and they liked the thought that he would make such decisions with leverage*. They would all like to have leverage, but most do not. Trump would become their Surrogate for the making of decisions.

In their current state leading up to the election a year ago, as with all of the working class, they either eat shit or die, so if someone told them that he would make America Great Again, they heard “You white folks won’t have to eat all this shit that Obama and his folks have been feeding you.” Also, we will feed a lot of shit to others such that you don’t have to eat so much, since the same amount will continue to be produced. What the story really was, and would become if Bannon had his way, is we fill feed you our shit, and you will like it more.

All those that did not buy the Trump story to begin with are now confirmed in their understanding that he is the Emperor that Bannon wanted to create, but, alas, he has no clothes. Those that bought his song, are still in tune with the rhythm they heard, and believe me they all heard a rhythm that was individual to them, but not out of sync with that hummed by Trump, et al. Soon, they will recognize the taste of the shit they are still eating, realize that it is not much different than before, and they (some) will turn (I hope). Not sure of the time frame, but…

Also, the racists will never turn as they will eat shit gladly in order to be on the top they perceive, at least to the limited, but severely nasty, extent of that status. They still believe, and their belief is not unlike any other zealot – only limited and narrow logic need apply. How far down the road must we go before all the non-believers get off the bus, because it is surely headed to the brink. The sane people need more believes in the greater good, not the individual good.

*(His business was built on the leverage of: I owe you so much that you have to listen to me, or my lawyers will cost you even more money and aggravation. The end result is that people would run from his leverage just to be loose of him. However, they also learned not to do business with him again – unless they got a Letter of Credit or other banking mechanism to assure that when the last payment became due he did not have the leverage he used before.)