Tag Archives: machine politics

TRUMPED

donald-trump-tby John Jonelis

Political outsider elected president! Nationwide shock! Emotions run wild! Markets in turmoil! Worst riots since Orson Wells’ WAR OF THE WORLDS broadcast!

Loop Lonagan watches the mayhem on television. People on the streets shout lewd obscenities—carry hate signs—crawl over cars—destroy businesses—throw bricks at police. “Da theater o’ dee absurd,” Lonagan mutters, “Did deeze folks even vote?”

He continues his impromptu soliloquy. “Why don’t deeze malcontents all move t’ Greece?” Ah, Greece—where socialism is in full bloom and the weather is gorgeous. “Maybe President Elect Trump will offer free one-way luxury cruises to da Mediterranean and make da Greeks pay for it.” Lonagan figures that will make everybody happy.  But then he reflects that Greece is bankrupt. Socialism didn’t work there.

riots-washington-times

European-style Riots in Chicago – [The Washington Times]

The riots disturb Lonagan because he now sees a political party that generates looters. His own! “Hmmf!”  It shames him. He’s embarrassed for the European decadence of his people. This is not our way. Americans don’t throw temper tantrums after elections. We vote. We accept what happens. We come together. These are principles Lonagan grew up believing.

He pats his bull terrier, Clamps. The dog lets out a long satisfied sigh while Lonagan takes a stiff slug of scotch. “You never worry ‘bout dis kinda stuff, do you Clamps old buddy?” In this election, with a choice between the crass and the criminal, Lonagan never expected a good outcome. In his view, which he loudly stated to everyone that would listen, “Anybody with half a brain knows we’s gonna get one o’ two things—Cleopatra II or Nebuchadnezzar III. I dunno which is worse. So why all da fuss?”

trump-obama

Improbable White House Briefing – [Associated Press]

As a practical man, Lonagan figures the real game is to do well no matter who is in office. On the night of the election—during all the hyper uncertainty—when index futures were tanking big time—Lonagan capitalized on the unexpected.  He went Long all he could during the after-hours session on slim capital and crazy margin, using all the leverage he could muster. Now, during the riots, he’s cashing out of those positions to the tune of millions. But what if—

A small tug at his sleeve and he suddenly remembers his duties as a babysitter. He shuts off the TV and takes Jim Kren’s little girl into his arms.

“G’night Uncle Loop”, she says, wrapping her arms around his neck, “I love you,”

“I—uh,” he squeezes out the difficult words, “I love you too, Angelica.  Lemme tuck you in.”

And when he sets her on her feet, she bursts out, “And tell me a bedtime story!”

“I dunno, Princess. Last time yer papa grilled me fer an hour—”

“But I want to hear what happens to the Dragon Lady and the Big Bad Duck.”

He stares at her good and hard. Precocious little tike. “No, babe, it don’t seem right to—”

“Please, Uncle Loop. PLEEEEEZE!”

Lonagan wipes a hand across his jaw. It’s nine o’clock. Mama and papa are out. He’s supposed to use his judgement in emergencies like this. “Okay, Princess.” He can hardly believe what he hears himself saying. “We’ll do anudder chapter o’ da Dragon Lady ‘n’ da Big Bad Duck.”

Angelica claps her hands and jumps in place, her long curls bouncing on her shoulders. “Thank you, Uncle Loop!”

“Go brush yer teeth er somethin.’ I’ll be right up.”

She calls out, “Clamps!” The enormous bull terrier bounds up the stairs after her.

57661370ca0ff_image

Crazy Political Campaign – [Associated Press]

Lonagan goes over the images of this absurd campaign and pours himself three more fat fingers of scotch. He’s playing with dynamite and curses his lousy imagination—using hardcore news to create a bedtime story—stupid, just stupid. Chicago-style political intrigue on the national stage is a tough lesson for anybody. It’s the wrong material for a youngster. Maybe it’s child abuse. He wishes he never told her that story, but he did and now she wants the rest of it.

He pours more scotch. Maybe, just possibly—if he sticks to the script and keeps the whole thing in a child’s world—it might all turn out fine. All the Lonagans love happy endings. Plunking down his empty whiskey glass, he checks his watch. Five minutes. Showtime. And keep it clean!

Upstairs, Angelica is curled up with Clamps, rubbing the dog’s ears. The animal squeezes its eyes closed in ecstasy and rumbles a soft, deep rhythmic growl. He’s the only dog Lonagan knows that can purr.

clamps

Clamps is at Peace – [John Jonelis]

After pulling the covers over those two, he settles his rump on the foot of the bed. “Okay Princess, lemme catch up on da story. Best I can remember, yer at school, it’s recess, ‘n’ yer gonna play soccer. It’s da Jackasses—I mean da Donkeys vs. da Elephants. You’se is picked fer da Elephant team, right?”

She nods.

“Da best player is da Dragon Lady ‘n’ da whole Donkey team treats her like some kinda queen. I mean she’s got skill. She’s got clout. She’s got her team all hand-picked and organized. She’s got—whadayacallit—a ground game. And she cheats—oh yeah, she cheats—big time. That’s called politics. That’s Civics lesson 101. Am I givin’ ya da straight goods?”

“Yes, Uncle Loop.”

“Okay then. So we already know her plan with da Duck.  He’s s’posed t’ start a big fight. Then he’s s’posed t’ take his regulation soccer ball ‘n’ summa da best players on yer team with ‘im. Then they’s s’posed t’ go off t’ play with some udder kids. So yer team loses.  That’s called splittin’ da ticket. That’s Civics 201. I think dat’s da way I told it last time.”

Angelica blurts, “I know, I know! That Dragon and Duck! They planned this whole mess together! And now my team doesn’t stand a chance!”

Lonagan grins. “Okay, so ya got basic conspiracy theory all figured out now. Yer learnin’ fast. That’s Civics 301. But da Dragon’s smart and mean, see? Maybe cunning’s a better word. There’s deeper waters goin’ on here. Way deeper. Now she rolls out her REAL plan.”

The girl knits her brows while scratching the thick short fur on Clamp’s neck. “I don’t understand.”

“Sure ya do, kid. Da Duck’s a big bully and he’s got dis huge ego, see? C’mon, you know that. Ever’body knows that. So, da Dragon taunts ‘im. Mocks yer team. Calls you a buncha morons. Says she can cheat all she wants. Who’s gonna find out? Yer all trash—nobody’s gonna believe ya. How d’ya feel about that, Princess?”

“I’m just so mad!”

“Okay, so after all da yellin’ ‘n’ pushin’ around, da Duck gets mad too. Now he turns against da Dragon. He’s gonna fight her now, insteada doin what they cooked up beforehand. He’s too proud t’ quit da team after all da abuse she spits out, so bein’ da biggest, he takes over. And da Dragon Lady is smilin’ da whole time. Ever see dat smile? It’s enough t’ zap yer spine outa joint.”

new-normal

Clinton’s prepares to smile – [The New York Times]

Angelica sits straight in bed. “But Uncle Loop, that means the Dragon has to play against the Duck. That doesn’t make sense. She would never plan it that way.”

“Ah, Princess, lay back ‘n’ relax.” He tucks the covers under her chin. “Doncha see? She WANTS t’ play against da Duck. She figures he’s her easiest opponent ’cause allota his team won’t play so hard for ‘im.  I mean, plenty o’ kids don’t like dis guy so much.  He’s her handpicked patsy. Has been since day one. She’s so sure she can beat ‘im, it tastes like candy. Ever’body says she can’t lose. She already watched him bust up da udder team ‘n’ now she’s ready fer da killshot. Pick yer opponent.  That’s Civics 401.”

Angelica squeezes out a tear. “So my team loses anyway? This is an awful bedtime story!” 

“Don’t cry, Princess.  Stop ‘n’ think! da Dragon’s got a buncha great big weaknesses. Mosta da kids don’t like her so much neither.  And she don’t see what’s about t’ happen ’cause she’s—whadayacallit—a nar-sisist-sisist-sisit.”

“A narcissist?”

Cute kid. “Yeah, what you said there. She’s selfish ‘n’ she’s ruthless.  She ain’t got no idea how udder people feel. She don’t like ’em.  She don’t understand ‘em. She don’t care about ‘em. All she cares about is herself.  It’s gonna bite ‘er big time. She’s got dis big master plan, but da more complex da plan, da more chances fer a mistake.  Somethin’ unexpected always happens.  Da Dragon’s set herself up fer a big fall.”

The girl just stares at him

“Doncha get it?  Same kinda thing happens in all competitions.  Like when ya play pinochle with yer folks.” 

“What’s that, Uncle Loop?”

Lonagan shakes his head.  Kren always boasted about the way his little girl played.  “Just a card game, kid.  Allota times da udder side thinks dey hold all da cards.  Then comes da big shock.”

“I don’t understand.”

 “Look Angel, every hand o’ pinochle’s got a different set o’ special cards, see?  They’s da most powerful ones ‘n’ ever’body’s gotta keep track o’ dem real careful-like.  Sometimes, da udder players don’t do that so good ‘n’ you snap down one o’ deeze big fat cards.  You just trumped da udder side!  Let’s get back to soccer.”

“What trump card does my team have, Uncle Loop?”

“Ah, you figured it out!  You got outrage, anger, drive, determination–stuff like dat!” He throws his arms out in a broad gesture.

Clamps lets out a powerful bark and Angelica strokes the animal’s massive head.  “Everybody is so angry.”

“No, take a look over there, sweetheart. Her team’s all smiles.  They’s so sure.  They just know they’s gonna win.  They’s—whadayacall—overconfident.  It’s da players on yer team is steamin’ mad.  They’s breathin’ smoke.  So what happens when people get all pumped up like that?”

She sniffs. “They fight?”

“Bingo! I seen it happen again and again in sport after sport.  They fight like wildfire!  Ever’body gives a hunert ‘n’ twenty percent.  They win da game!  A surprise victory!  A major turnover!  Somethin’ nobody expects!”

“So you mean that my team wins?”

“Yeah, Princess, you win!  Den da recess bell rings ‘n’ it’s back t’ class.   Look, ya gotta get some sleep, so listen up—lemme give ya da moral o’ da story. Sh— I mean stuff happens. Stuff nobody expects. So’s when you’se is growin’ up, learn t’ expect what nobody expects. Dat’s where ya find success.  Ya get it?”

She nods silently.

“Ya don’t look sleepy yet. Anudder story, maybe?”

She shakes her head no, and hugs Clamps tighter.

trump-in-whitehouse-ap

Dazed Trump tours the White House after Briefing – [Associated Press]

 

Lonagan closes Angelica’s door and sits on the stairs. For months he’s heard stupid quote after stupid quote from The Donald. Now the guy’s president elect. So he searches his phone for some quotes from Hillary and comes across a nasty collection that shocks him.

  • Clinton on voters: “Look, the average Democrat voter is just plain stupid. They’re easy to manipulate. That’s the easy part.” [Read it on Tumbler]
  • Clinton on voters: “… you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? They’re racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it.” [Read it in the New York Times]
  • Clinton on Benghazi: “What difference at this point does it make?” [You saw it on television]

As Lonagan reads more of her words, the invective gets strikingly shrill and profane. Finally he pockets his phone. He refuses to think any more about the foul stench pouring out of Cleopatra’s mouth.

hil-face-1024x682

Clinton cursing – [Tumbler]

Maybe the country got lucky, maybe not. Lonagan doesn’t know such things.  He believes that every politician, without exception, is a self-serving bastard.  Maybe that’s all we can expect, but at this point, he wishes with all his heart that President Elect Nebuchadnezzar eats his bitter greens and becomes the leader this country needs so badly.

The opinions of Mr. Lonagan and his wild conspiracy theory are not endorsed by the management.  Mr. Kren has been made aware of possible turmoil planted in the mind of his young child.

Read Part 1:

“THE DRAGON LADY AND THE BIG BAD DUCK”

 

Photo credits: Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Times, Tumbler, John Jonelis

Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2016 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

.
.

Comments Off on TRUMPED

Filed under big money, chicago, Conflict, Entrepreneurship and Politics, investor, Jim Kren, loop lonagan, the chicago machine

THE POLITICS OF INVESTING

The Chicago Innovation Awards – Part 4

John Jonelis

Time Share Gulfstream JetI’m at 40,000 feet on Loren Bukkett’s Gulfstream G450 trying to squeeze out his views on two accolades at the Chicago Innovation Awards—the ones they gave to Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. So far Loren is holding out on me.

I splash the last of the Hennessy into our snifters when this doggerel runs through my head: Loren pontificates that prizes to politicians will puncture their perfect performance and I ponder what precisely he proposes.

The plane bucks in turbulence and I almost fall out of my seat. The altitude and liquor sure are working on me—as you probably noticed.  Even in a pressurized jet, you’re effectively at 8000 feet or more and liquor packs a terrific wallop. I hope it loosens up Loren before it claims me entirely. My strategy is to get him jawboning on one thing and then slide into the main issue.

Gulfstream G450

Gulfstream G450

I take a deep breath of thin, dry air and get Loren’s attention.  “Let’s talk about the keynote speaker, Andrew Mason.  He won a Chicago Innovation Award back in 2009.  Groupon had only 100 employees at that time and now it’s got 12,000 people all over the world and 1.6 billion in revenue.  Not bad for a music major from Northwestern.”

The plane yaws and I continue: “Groupon was an amazing pick for the Chicago Innovation Awards.  That year, the company was still in its infancy.” I might have added, in all this turbulence I feel like a baby rocking in a cradle.

Loren sizes me up before answering in his acerbic tone. “Most of what Andrew said was just a short version of the same talk I heard him give several times.”

“Really?  I only heard it once before.”

Loren pauses a long moment. “One part of it is new to me—his admission that in 2009 he campaigned to beat Abbott Labs for the People’s Choice Award. He used false negative attack ads and now he’s bragging about it! Maybe he’s joking—I hope so. I’m just glad it didn’t work.”

“It earned him a big laugh from the audience.”

“Well, I don’t think it’s funny.”

“Don’t you like anything about Groupon?”

Again, he takes his time responding. “I like it that his customer service comes out of the Chicago Improv. That’s highly creative.” He pauses again. “He sometimes just throws tidbits like that out there without explaining the significance.  To me, this one is striking. If that kind of thinking is systemic—and I believe it is—then the company should succeed.” He goes silent then blurts out: “And naturally I like the acceleration in growth.”

I’ve been keeping an eye on Aussy. She’s still taking notes but I notice her quick worried glances at her husband.  He’s taking longer and longer to join his ideas together and I sense that it’s time to drill down to the core:

“Loren, what did you mean when you told me the Chicago Innovation Awards just ruined their perfect record?”

He knits his formidible brows.  “I warn you, John. Don’t go there.”

“Is it that you don’t think political awards are appropriate?”

Loren tightens his lips and finally responds. “Actually, on one level, I agree with it. I like to see local government throw its weight behind entrepreneurs as much as possible. Bringing in the governor and the mayor to this event draws a bigger crowd and that’s positive too. But Rahm’s been popping up at these things a lot, I have to ask myself why. If he’s really contributing something, that’s fine. But if he’s just riding the backs of these hard working young people for political gain, I don’t like it.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the Chicago Innovation Awards

Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the Chicago Innovation Awards – jaj

He swallows his Hennessy and sets the empty glass down hard. “How can they can give the 2012 Visionary Award to a mayor?  They should’ve used the politicians as keynote speakers and left it at that!”

“Maybe they won’t count those awards in the stats.”

“That would render the whole event meaningless!”

“You mean like giving the Nobel Peace Prize to Yasser Arafat?”

He jerks his head to the side as if he’s been jolted, then turns back and glares at me. “I choose to take that as hyperbole.  But yes, that’s it precisely.”

“But you still endorse these guys?”

He passes a hand over his unkempt brow. “I like Emanuel’s sentiment when he says investors create all the jobs. And when he says that government only helps create the atmosphere for success, I agree with him. He may be the only progressive politician I ever heard rub those two ideas together. But entrepreneurship in this town is driven by the whip of massive unemployment. At the same time, the banks won’t lend. I scarcely call that an atmosphere for success.”

He draws in a sharp breath of rarified air. “I know, I know–I told you these cruel circumstances are forcing the creative renaissance that we see. It’s true. They are. But that’s not any way to sustain growth. So many of these fervent young entrepreneurs will start out with initial success only to have their hopes dashed.”

I’m amazed at Loren’s intellectual capacity. And he holds his liquor a lot better than I do even though he rarely drinks. I have to admit it, even when he’s sloshed he’s the sharpest knife in the drawer.  So I try a dig: “People like it when Rahm says he’ll lengthen the bike path. You can’t deny that thunder of applause.”

Loren thumps the table with an angry fist. “A bike path! Pshaw! Civic projects! He’s mayor—that’s all he is. Don’t expect more than that.”

“He lengthened the school day so kids don’t have to pick between math and music.”

Loren stops and smiles. “That I like!”  He waves a finger at me slowly.  “That takes backbone!”

“Tell me about the governor.”

Governor Pat Quinn at the Chicago Innovation Awards

Governor Pat Quinn at the Chicago Innovation Awards – jaj

He snorts. “He’s a party guy. What did Quinn ever do to merit—what do they call it? The Distinguished Innovator Award. Did he invent anything? No—he raised taxes because the state is going bankrupt. While he drives business out, he talks about the state investing in companies. On whose dime? That’s not free enterprise. That’s messing in my backyard.”

“Do you withdraw your support?”

He winces. “A governor should lean on the banks to free up capital. I’d applaud an effort like that. But he talks about education reform, high speed rail, clean water—the usual high-ticket malarkey. You want to know what really happened tonight? They propped those two guys up front like carved idols and bowed down in homage! It’s the golden calf all over again!”

“Loren, it’s a political season and this is still Chicago. These guys are trying to get in front of any crowd they can.”

“This is a distinguished event! There’s no reason to encourage that kind of behavior!” He shakes his head. “The old political machine grinds on and on, year after year–I can’t get involved in that!” Then he yawns and says something unintelligible. “I’m tired.  Interview over.”  He closes his eyes.

I figure he just got something off his chest—he relieved the pressure—and now the liquor and altitude can take over.

Just when I think he’s asleep he speaks softly, eyes still closed: “John, did you ever see the Great McGinty?  The motion picture…Preston Sturges…written and directed…brilliant…such a long time ago…it still tells the whole story…nothing has changed…”

See it on Amazon

Again I think he’s asleep when he mumbles, “Next time you want to interview me, pick a different topic.”

I give him a salute as he drifts off to sleep.

Aussy tucks a blanket around him and then turns to me with an accusing look. “I hope you’re satisfied,” she says.

Those are the first words I hear from her the whole flight and it’s all scorn. Then she tosses a blanket in my face. As I make myself comfortable, I get a nasty feeling that she’ll arrange a slow plane with lots of layovers for my return trip.

.

Go back to Part 1

Comment on this article — Your name and email is optional

.

Find Chicago Venture Magazine at www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts are welcomed and encouraged. This is not investment advice – do your own due diligence. I cannot guarantee accuracy but I give you my best.

.

Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

.

.

6 Comments

Filed under 1871, Chicago Innovation Awards, Chicago Venture Magazine, Chicago Ventures, Conflict, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship and Politics, Events, Innovation, Innovation and Culture, Internet, Invention, Northwestern, University of Chicago