The greed black hole sucked and then it sucked even harder.
I like playing the occasional game of cards. I’m not picky about which particular game but I have to admit, I’m partial to a poker evening with friends – modest stakes, a few drinks, a bit of banter and busting each others chops. When I was younger with few responsibilities, I played it a lot. Like most players, I lost money at the start until I really learnt how to play the game but thought of it as a tuition fee, or a sort of ante up into a world where you could pass a few hours having some interesting fun.
As a kid, I used to play chess but the problem with chess as a game, is that if you make one mistake, you’re pretty much buggered from then on. Once you realise that, you can see what’s coming at you in a few moves and unless you’re playing against a complete incompetent, it’s game over. It’s a simple strict procedural game where all the variables are known and therefore a prime candidate for computerisation which will probably kill it off in the end. Who’d want to play a game a stupid computer is invincible at?
Poker is different simply because unlike a chess board where everything is visible, what your opponent has in their hands is an unknown. More importantly, it’s not only unknown but theoretically unknowable beyond some statistical probabilities. Sure, you can watch the patterns of their betting and a few things like that, but none of it means anything because of the bluff element.
Strictly speaking, bluffing is dishonest but it’s not cheating, since it’s a permissible activity inside the rules of the game, like stealing a base in baseball. The nearest thing to a bluff in chess, is the offered sacrifice, which is usually screamingly obvious. If it’s too good to be true, it ain’t.
If you want to get an idea of what they’re holding, you have to learn to study the person, especially in that moment when they first realise the hand they’ve been dealt. It’s always very specific to them. When they look at their cards, do they lean forward onto the table with their elbows on it? Perhaps for them it means it’s a bad hand and they’re digging those elbows in or it means they’ve got something good and they’re pushing their face into yours.
They lean back in their chair, they’ve got something good, a boss man about to teach everyone else around the table a lesson or it’s their sign of exasperation of how bad the run of the cards is. They go unusually silent, because they don’t want to give away they’ve got something good for once or mebbe they’ve finally given up on the fickleness of Lady Luck.
Stuff like that, the physical mannerisms, are called “tells” in poker. When you spot them they can be very useful but a number of the craftier players cultivate false tells just to sucker you in.
If you want to be a good player, what you have to do is look at the person in the round. How patient or aggressive are they? The former translates into someone who will quietly lay traps for you the whole evening, sucking you gently into a big committed pot because they’re aiming to cut your throat in one clean slice, while the latter just charge at you from the front with a tomahawk. Between those two personality extremes, there is a large and subtle spectrum of drivers. You learn the game but more importantly, you learn to read people or you lose money.
The easiest motivation to read is greed for the money on the table in front of them and it’s also the most easy to predict and therefore exploit. You can see it in the way they stare at the pot. It tends to overpower their judgement, making them overplay a weak hand or more usually bluffing that they have a very strong hand when they’ve nothing of the sort. You play the game, reluctantly match their betting but keep steadily raising the pot until they realise the terrible truth and either fold or call.
Greed is corrosive. It makes people stupid, predictable but above all it makes them careless.
It also tends to make them inclined to cheat.
Apart from a declining number of millennial fanatics and climate fetishists, the last of the significant players left around the global warming table and heavily into the game are the bread heads and now their excessive greed is exposing their cheating. You can only love another person so much, but greed has no limits. The more money they make, the more rapacious they become, the more careless they become. Greed is a black hole, the more money it sucks in, the harder it sucks for more. It’s insatiable. Feed me, feed me will always be its motto.
They’re so focused on troughing, they take their eye off the altruism con they’ve been masking their greed behind and get exposed.
There have been a number of examples lately of people being caught red-handed grabbing their fair share of the hog swill under the pretence of saving the planet. It’s been delicious. Volkswagen, along with other car manufacturers, has been adding code to its Diesel engine management systems that detects if the car is being tested for emissions and if so, momentarily tunes the engine in such a way as to scrape past the emissions legislation.
Was that a surprise, were their emission numbers ever credible? Well, no actually, if you know anything about Diesel engines, but nobody could believe, never mind investigate if such people valiantly trying to save the planet could possibly be cheating. Their altruism cover for the con held for years when all it needed was someone to simply look at the code. Computer code isn’t ambiguous, it doesn’t lie.
That amazingly clean and environmentally friendly Diesel car you were persuaded to part with your precious pennies for turns out to be a complete con.
Will there be prosecutions? Dream on.
A more outrageous example of greed being cloaked by supposedly good people and their noble intentions is an epistle sent to President Obama requesting that global warming skeptics be imprisoned using RICO legislation. It turns out that upon examination, a number of the luminaries who signed their name to it have been playing fast and loose with federal grants. We’re not talking pennies here, but millions of dollars. White collar crime at its finest.
Millions of dollars of government money went into organisations they were essentially corporate officers in, and out the back door to them. Not only that, they’d been paying spouses and other family members nice big fat salaries for what appears to be non jobs. Having apparently got away with such pillaging and looting, year after year they paid themselves even more money. The greed black hole sucked and then it sucked even harder.
It’s so blatant that a few of them will now be making an appearance before Congress to explain how the financial intricacies of saving the planet ended up with them trousering so many government dollars. Stand by for a few fifth amendment replies to some awkward questions.
Will there be prosecutions? Dream on.
I put out an article a few years back which was essentially an offer to mediate a slice of the reward with anyone who was prepared to tell me about financial fraud connected to the global warming bonanza. I got and still get a few interesting replies but the numbers involved fall below the thresholds I set. The offer still stands though.
With the sheer billions of dollars being thrown at the non-problem of global warming, it was always certain that large-scale financial fraud was occurring. What has prevented its exposure for years is the twin evils; it’s being done under the virtuous and therefore unquestionable green cover of saving the planet and the mainstream media that should be investigating it, is a toothless and timorous dog once it comes to anything to do with the environment.
It’s a sign of the times that the green cover story to hide common thievery is crumbling and the cheaters are being found out.
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