The Great Revolt – by Salena Zito and Brad Todd – A Book Review – Part 3

In Part 2 of this review I said that the Great Revolt is divided into a number of chapters, each named after a particular group of Trump voters that because of their circumstances either flipped from the Democrats to Trump or stayed with Trump despite an ideological conflict with him.

For each of these categories there are several individuals who exemplify the profile but live in a different location.  These locations are rural, or towns and cities located in the ten counties in question in Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

In each of these categories and in each of these locations we are shown how the Democrats started out as the natural or default political party but ended up becoming the reason to vote for the unlikely personage of Donald J. Trump.  Although the list includes some individuals who are affluent and highly educated they all reside in areas of the country that have been taken for granted and at the same time abandoned by the Democratic Elite.  The people interviewed range from pillars of the community and entrepreneurs to folks who have barely survived hard economic times that coincided with personal tragedy and challenge.  But they all look to Donald Trump to correct problems.  Economic problems, cultural problems, moral problems.  Not all of these people are conservatives or even moderates.  Some are demonstrably old school Democrats.  But what they all are is self-described Americans.  None of them think of themselves as citizens of the world.  None of them have bought into the globalist perspective and many of them are obviously mourning for the death of their homes.  Places like Erie and Freeland Pennsylvania are for all intents and purposes dead.  There aren’t any growing industries and even the few employers left are slowly moving out to the sunbelt.  Young adults leave for opportunities elsewhere.  Parents and grandparents stay because they can’t sell their houses.  Who would buy them?  All they are left with is memories of happier times when they were part of a thriving community with a future and the dignity of earning a living and raising their families.  In these places voting for Donald Trump is almost a reflex.  A final self-defensive movement.

But other examples show communities that are still viable and even thriving but even in these places the inhabitants recognize that the Democrats don’t pretend to share the values that these communities still believe in.  Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio.  These are all places that are seeing themselves ignored because they are the areas where remnant blue collar communities are supposed to disappear and be replaced by the new constituencies that are earmarked for inclusion in the “coalition of the ascendant.”

So, speaking in broad generalities, who are the Trump voters that handed him Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa?  For the most part, they are the union guys who stopped voting for Republicans after Ronald Reagan.  If we start in the worst hit spot in the Rust Belt we’re in Pennsylvania.  Places like Erie and Wilkes Barre have been deconstructed to the point that it’s remarkable anyone at all is left.  After all the industries from yesteryear shut down and off-shored to China Obama finished it off by outlawing coal.  Places like Wisconsin are comparatively healthy.  Many of the largest manufacturers are gone but entrepreneurial types have stepped in and started smaller companies in emerging industries that still employ many people and keep the areas as viable communities for families and young adults to remain in.  In between these extremes is the rest of the gradient.  What they all share was a dependence on large scale union employment in heavy industry.  And because of this history they typically voted Democrat.  And they thought of the Republicans as their class enemies.  What they didn’t see happening was the Democrats moving on from needing them or more specifically pretending to care about their votes.  Once the Democrats had built up the “Coalition of the Ascendant,” these mid-west white union workers were an embarrassment to the rest of the coalition.  They weren’t college educated and they didn’t eat the right foods or care about the right causes and they might even believe in God.  So, the best thing to do was quietly stop talking about them and wait until they dropped dead so they could be replaced with some Central Americans or Middle Easterners.  But somehow, they are still there so they are looking for a new political home.  Donald Trump provided that.  He was the first Republican since Ronald Reagan to acknowledge their plight and actually come up with a plan for helping them.  Finally, let’s sum it up.

Bottom Line

Boiling down all the cases and places it comes down to this.  Donald Trump was elected president by the Rust Belt blue collar working areas because he was willing to promise to save them.

 

In the last part of this review I’ll give my thoughts on where we go from here.

The Great Revolt – by Salena Zito and Brad Todd – A Book Review – Part 2

In Part 1 of this review I said that there were a number of personal accounts by Trump voters in swing states that provided remarkable insight into how Trump was able to topple the Midwestern “Blue Wall.”  After finishing up the book I can confirm that this is the case.  But this only one of several facets that the book reveals about the current state of the American electorate and how it intersects with the political parties, the media, corporate America and the globalist elites in general.

I will divide the review into appropriate topics that correspond to the book’s logical components.  But first I’ll give a general synopsis of the overall conclusion of why Donald Trump was elected President of the United States.

The bottom line is that Donald Trump ended up with a healthy majority of electoral votes (304 to 227) because just ten counties in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa flipped their votes from Democrat to Republican.  Each of these counties had voted for Obama in both 2008 and 2012.  Trump was able to convince Democratic voters to vote for a Republican presidential candidate.  The rest of the book is devoted to figuring out why this happened and what the larger significance is.

The book is divided into a number of chapters, each named after a particular group of Trump voters that because of their circumstances either flipped from the Democrats to Trump or stayed with Trump despite an ideological conflict with him.

The categories are:

  • Red Blooded and Blue Collared
  • Perot-istas
  • Rough Rebounders
  • Girl Gun Power
  • Rotary Reliables
  • King Cyrus Christians
  • Silent Suburban Moms

The category names are probably transparent enough to more or less figure out what each group is defined by.

For each of these categories there are several individuals who exemplify the profile but live in a different location.  These locations are rural, town and cities located in the ten counties in question:

  1. Lee County, Iowa
  2. Howard County, Iowa
  3. Macomb County, Michigan
  4. Lake County, Michigan
  5. Ashtabula County, Ohio
  6. Stark County, Ohio
  7. Erie County, Pennsylvania
  8. Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
  9. Kenosha County, Wisconsin
  • Vernon County, Wisconsin

 

In each of these categories and in each of these locations we are shown how the Democrats went from being the natural or default choice to instead become the reason to believe in the unlikely personage of Donald J. Trump.  Although the list includes some individuals who are affluent and highly educated they all reside in areas of the country that have been either taken for granted or abandoned by the Democrat Elite.  They range from pillars of the community and entrepreneurs to folks who have barely survived hard economic times that coincided with personal tragedy and challenge.  But they all look to Donald Trump to correct problems.  Economic problems, cultural problems, moral problems.  Not all of these people are conservatives or even moderates.  Some are demonstrably old school Democrats.  But what they all are is self-described Americans.  None of them think of themselves as citizens of the world.  None of them have bought into the globalist perspective and many of them are obviously mourning for the death of their homes.  Places like Erie and Freeland Pennsylvania are for all intents and purposes dead.  There aren’t any growing industries and even the few employers left are slowly moving out to the sunbelt.  Young adults leave for opportunities elsewhere.  Parents and grandparents stay because they can’t sell their houses.  Who would buy them?  All they are left with is memories of happier times when they were part of a thriving community with a future and the dignity of earning a living and raising their families.  In these places voting for Donald Trump is almost a reflex.  A final self-defensive movement.  But other examples show communities that are still viable and even thriving but recognizing that the Democrats don’t pretend to care about the values that differentiate these communities from the progressive narrative.  Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio.  These are all places that are seeing themselves ignored because they are the areas where remnant blue collar communities are supposed to disappear and be replaced by the new constituencies that are earmarked for inclusion in the “coalition of the ascendant.”

In the next installment I’ll give my thoughts on some of the stories and what I think they mean to me, in other words, how they square with my own understanding of the American situation.

The Great Revolt – by Salena Zito and Brad Todd – A Book Review – Part 1

The full title of this book is “The Great Revolt, Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics.”  When I was told I needed to read this I was a little resentful.  I don’t enjoy reading about politics for the most part.  This may be because lately political books are typically candidates telling us their inspirational biographies and why they are uniquely qualified to save the United States and by extension the whole free world.  Obama, Hillary, McCain, blah, blah, blah.  But I dutifully bought it two months ago and put it into the stack.

So, I started it.  It’s a combination of election analysis identifying the categories of voters who flipped the election to Donald Trump and then interviews with people in those categories.  The analysis is interesting but the interviews are riveting.  As someone who understands the anger over being categorized as a deplorable or being dismissed as unimportant or openly mocked as a defeated yesterday man with no future I was fascinated.  The stories being told by people from small towns and dying cities in the Rust Belt resonated like a tuning fork with what I felt.  Now here I am, an Italian American from Brooklyn living in New England and an engineer working in a 21st century industry and yet I feel more kinship with these unemployed factory workers and small business people than with any of the people I work with every day who don’t believe in any of the things I do.

They voted for Trump for a variety of reasons depending on the type of person or their specific circumstances but as a whole they were voting for the idea that they still counted and couldn’t be just discounted because they weren’t the coalition of tomorrow.  Their grievances weren’t progressive enough and they were too white.  They were old news.  And the interesting thing so far is that all of them that voted in 2008 and 2012 voted for Obama.  I’ve still got a bunch to read and I have to digest the analytical stuff to see what it means to my understanding of national politics but I can already see that the personal stories are the bigger news.  This proves to me that the Trump rallies were very significant.  A lot of these people voted because it was personal.  Trump reached them with his message.  It spoke to them.  These marginalized people in depressed areas of what used to be the industrial heartland resonated to a message from a billionaire New York City reality show cartoon character.  I think this means both parties have abandoned a very large swathe of Americans and if Trump can address what they want he actually could ignite a Populist Revolt.  If most people figure out that they’ve been used by both parties we could have a real awakening and some big things can get done.

I’ll get into more detail when I finish this, but I’ve already learned more about the 2016 election from reading the personal accounts than by all the political analyses that came out in the last almost two years.  I’ve met the people that made Trump president.  Zito and Todd have written an important book.

Galaxy’s Edge (Volume 7) – Turning Point – A Science Fiction Book Review

Legionnaire (Galaxy’s Edge) (Volume 1) by Jason Anspach & Nick Cole – A Science Fiction Book Review

(Above is the review of the first book of the series)

Followers of my reviews of Jason Anspach’s and Nick Cole’s Galaxy’s Edge series know I am an avid fan.  Each volume has expanded the scope and depth of the imaginary universe that Galaxy’s Edge inhabits.  But “Turning Point” represents a sea change in the story.  It literally represents the turning point of the war.  For whereas each volume has included heroic resistance by the Legion to the enemies of the Republic, the corrupt regime of the House of Reason has always had free rein to sabotage every effort to save the Galaxy from its many enemies.  But in this episode, the mask is off and the Legion is unleashed to fight war as war should be fought, on equal terms.  To fight a treacherous foe without quarter and pay back sadistic evil with a merciless reckoning.  How sweet it is.

The story revolves around the decision by the House of Reason to arm the barbaric zhee with cutting edge weaponry and ships.  These fictional zhee are modelled after Islamic jihadis and they have a propensity for suicide bombings and decapitations that immediately reminds the reader of the Al Qaeda maniacs hiding out in the slums of Baghdad waiting for a chance to ambush any unlucky American soldiers guarding the Green Zone or manning a Forward Operating Base (FOB).  The other bizarre touch is that the zhee have donkey heads.  Now maybe this is the authors’ idea of political humor but it is truly a weird image for me.

The House of Reason is playing some kind of three-dimensional chess where they use the Black Fleet or the zhee to weaken the Legion so that the House can maintain control of the Galaxy even if it risks one of these enemies threatening to destroy the Republic itself.

In several of the earlier volumes there have been memorable battles portrayed, especially in Attack of Shadows and Legionnaire.  But Turning Point brings it to a new level.  Several new characters are very memorable but it’s the action that stays with you.  The set up is dire and just to make sure things don’t get easier there is treachery at the highest levels.  And the zhee are so despicable it’s hard to not enjoy every single gore-flinging kill.  The struggles, reversals, heroic sacrifices and exhausted victories keep your attention right to the end of the book.

And finally, the end of the book is a catharsis that the readers have been waiting for since book one of the series.  I won’t spoil it by giving details but I will say that the writers have given the readers what they needed and deserved, revenge.

Anspach and Cole have justified my loyalty through the whole series and now I’ll continue on to (!) Book Eight?  Sure, why not?  How many modern science fiction series not only provide fantastic mil-sci-fi action but also make fun of Progressives, the Deep State, Democrats and Al Qaeda all at the same time?  Not many that I know of.  So, in the words of the Legion, KTF and Ooah!

Congratulations to Kevin J. Anderson and Sarah A. Hoyt for their Dragon Awards Win

Dragon Award for Best Alternate History Novel went to “Uncharted” by Kevin J. Anderson, KJA and Sarah A. Hoyt.

As one of the Sad Puppies, Sarah sacrificed a great deal of her status and probably a good chunk of her friends in science fiction circles along with some significant measure of her peace of mind by bucking the CHORFs of the science fiction SJWs.  Thanks to the Sad Puppies a goodly number of people were reintroduced to readable science fiction long after they believed it had all been reduced to boring unreadable marxist, intersectionalist, message fiction, drivel.  Thanks to the Puppies and especially Larry Correia the Dragon Awards were founded and have provided a sane alternative to the self-parody that the Hugo Awards have devolved into.  Requiescat in pace.

So good for them and if you are looking for good stuff to read check to see who was nominated for the Dragons   http://awards.dragoncon.org/2018-ballot/  .  But for pity’s sake don’t even glance at the list of Hugo nominees.  No man can hope to look into the gorgon’s face and survive!

Galaxy’s Edge (Volume 6) – Prisoners of Darkness – A Science Fiction Book Review

Galaxy’s Edge (Volume 5) – Sword of the Legion – A Science Fiction Book Review

 

For the readers who are unfamiliar with the Galaxy’s Edge series let me say up front that I am a big fan of the story and if you want to hear about the beginning of the series then go back to my review of Book 1 – Legionnaire.  For the rest of you who have been following my reviews then let me start off by saying that “Prisoners of Darkness” is good stuff.  Several of the story threads are advanced and the plots and characters are interesting and fun.  Several new reveals occur that show additional complexity to one of the newer threads.  And the newer aspects of the plot seem to be leading in a totally unexpected direction.  All really good stuff.  But here we are at Book Six and I’m getting the idea that maybe there will never be an end (at least not within my lifetime).  Of course, I’m being slightly facetious but what I’m getting at is I think authors are building up a fictional universe that they can continue to spin into different story arcs.  And that’s alright.  Jason Anspach and Nick Cole have built a very entertaining universe.  I would say if we were comparing the Star Wars universe to Galaxy’s Edge that the latter is orders of magnitude better in every way.  The characters, plots and atmosphere are far superior.

But back to the story.  Prisoners of Darkness has as one of its threads, the rescue operation of one of the Legion’s officers from a prison planet.  The action is a result of the aftermath of the Battle of Tarrago where the Legion ignored the orders of the House of Reason and destroyed the critical assets of the Tarrago shipyards to deny them to the Empire.  The imprisoned officer learns some important aspects of the Republic’s relation to some criminal enterprises.  These will seemingly have a bearing on how the Legion will interact with the civilian government of the Republic, namely the House of Reason.  And that’s to the good.  For some time, it has seemed unreasonable that the Legion would defer to the corrupt and incompetent leadership of the Republic.  But come to think of it, that seems to be the case in our own conflicted and afflicted republic.

Another aspect of the story is the conflicted allegiance of Captain Ford.  His time as an independent agent has loosened his loyalty to the Legion and the danger to his kidnapped crew members tears him away from the Legion responsibilities that command Chun and his team to risk a desperate rescue mission for the sake of a Legion brother.  This ambivalence will probably rear its head again when the Legion and the Empire come to terms with the common threat they will both face farther down the road.

Okay, so the story is great and I’m loving the series and I can’t wait to see where this goes.  Just be aware this isn’t even close to finished.  So, make sure you’re in it for the long haul.  You have been warned.

Galaxy’s Edge (Volume 7) – Turning Point – A Science Fiction Book Review

Southern Dust – by Caspar Vega – A Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Review

Caspar Vega must be an interesting character.  His books are a bizarre mixture of fantasy/horror and crime drama.  Many of his characters are not the kind of people you’d want to live next door to or even meet.  They range from anti-social to sociopath to worse.  And his books are never linear.  They track back and forth in time and place and skip from voice to voice in unexpected directions.

I’ve read and reviewed two other books by Caspar Vega, “The Pink Beetle” and the “The Eclectic Prince.”  And after each one I confirm both to myself and to my readers that Mr. Vega’s stories are way outside my wheelhouse.  Not that I only read or enjoy light-hearted fare.  I enjoy horror and even crime drama.  But there is something nihilistic about the atmosphere in these stories that is off-putting for me.  I must be getting old.

But here I am again.  I decided to try out Southern Dust.  The premise of the story is that in the near future the Democrats assassinate a Republican president and install one of their own through chicanery.  In response, a revolt in Alabama breaks the state away from the Union.  And in short order a good number of other states also declare their independence.  This story follows the fates of three individuals that collide in this strange new world.

Along with the other suppositions of this world are super soldiers, vampires and black magic.  But the mainstay of the story are the characters.  And they live up to the type that I remember from Mr. Vega’s earlier books.  Even the good guys are very troubled individuals.  The criminals on the other hand can be at least somewhat sympathetic but brutality is their stock in trade.  Murder for hire, framing up ex-girlfriends and bounty hunting all occur but brain-washed undead is probably the weirdest plot device you run into.  And even when one of the characters tries to do a good deed it boomerangs back on him in the classic no good deed  goes unpunished catergory.

I’ll finish my review of this book much as I’ve done with its predecessors, with a mixed message.  This is an interesting book.  But it’s not for everyone. It’s for those who like gritty crime dramas with a staccato, post-modern, minimalist writing style.  Your call.

Galaxy’s Edge (Volume 5) – Sword of the Legion – A Science Fiction Book Review

Galaxy’s Edge (Volume 4) – Attack of Shadows – A Science Fiction Book Review

 

Jason Anspach and Nick Cole have now consistently produced a series of military science fiction adventure stories that compares favorably to the better products in the genre from whatever era one might choose.  And I am being specific.  This is science fiction not Tolstoy.  The criterion is enjoyment not enlightenment or prose purity.  They write a story that has interesting characters caught up in a cataclysmic moment in the history of their science fictional civilization.  With respect to the question I asked in the review of the first installment, that is whether the authors could build on a well written military science fiction story about a small battle and produce a series that holds the reader’s interest, the answer is an emphatic yes!  Here we are at book five and I’m completely sold.  The story keeps expanding and becoming more complex and interesting.  The range of characters keeps growing and they are varied and entertaining.  Once again, this is not deathless prose.  It is a very well written science fiction series that can hold its head up among any of the favorites in its genre.

Getting back to the review of the book, the action begins before the end of the previous volume, “Attack of Shadows.”  In that book, the Black Fleet was attacking Tarrago in order to capture its shipyards.  The Republic and the Black Fleet needed those shipyards for the coming war.  The majority of the present book chronicles a kill team working to destroy those shipyards.  And like the battle scenes from the earlier books the action is non-stop and well written.  We renew our acquaintance with Dark Ops Team Victory.  And then the story collides with Wraith and his shipload of oddballs.  Here two threads of the larger story touch and the last quarter of the book lurches off in a completely unexpected direction and we meet an even more sinister force than Goth Sullus.  In fact, I’m starting to like old Goth.  He seems conflicted about having to kill old friends.  I’m really looking forward to a more thorough understanding of his back story.  I won’t go into details but suffice it to say that the new threat to the Galaxy is much more existential than the Black Fleet and its leader.

“Sword of the Legion” is lots of fun and is one more stepping stone in the journey that is Galaxy’s Edge.  If you’ve come this far you either like the series or you have an OCD thing going on.  This book is highly recommended.

 

Galaxy’s Edge (Volume 6) – Prisoners of Darkness – A Science Fiction Book Review

Chuck Dixon’s Avalon #1 – The Street Rules – A Science Fiction & Fantasy Review

I’ve never been a comic book guy.  My thing was always science fiction books.  My closest approach to comics was the Marvel and DC tv shows I saw as a kid.  So, I never really had a reason to buy any.  But my policy on right wing artistic and commercial endeavors is to always give them the benefit of the doubt when they compete on the Left’s turf.  I decided to pick up Avalon #1 to see if I could understand what it was all about.  A comic book is like a book chapter with pictures.  You tell a piece of a story and try to hook the reader in for the next installment.  The story and the art work are of equal importance.  Well, to me they are.  I guess if you’re really more of an art lover then the pictures might be the main attraction.  But I don’t think that would work for me.  There’s got to be a story I want to hear.

I’ll make this short because I don’t have the background to talk any nuance about comic books.  The story is introducing a world where people with superpowers are a fact of life and not all of them are good and not all of them are heroes.  We meet a small cross section as we are primarily introduced to King Ace and Fazer.  They are close to the classic vigilante super hero like Batman or Superman.  They fight crime outside of the prescribed legal framework that superheroes adhere to in this world.  They do it according to their code.  Well, for the most part.  Some hints of a less selfless motive do show up in the book.  The story is good.  It’s set up as Fazer telling his story to a reporter but the action bounces back and forth between narrated action and other events that give additional information on other characters and other plot lines.  I like the art work but I will not claim I know much or even anything about the state of the art in comic book aesthetics.

Long story, short I think it’s good.  I look forward to the next installment.  I won’t say I’m hooked but I’m interested enough to want to see where this all goes.  Bravo Chuck Dixon and good for Vox Day for venturing into enemy territory.

Skin in the Game – Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life – by Nassim Nicholas Taleb – A Book Review

Back in March 2017 I purchased Taleb’s four volume set “Incerto: Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, The Bed of Procrustes, Antifragile.”  Taleb is a retired options trader.  He made his fortune betting on unlikely events.  And the topic of that whole, almost sixteen hundred page work, was the concept of the Black Swan.  The Black Swan is the very rare but extremely disruptive event.  It’s the thousand-year storm, the “extinct” volcano eruption, the Black Monday stock crash.  The subject is extremely interesting and I plan to review these books in the future.  “Skin in the Game,” on the other hand is not about any of that.  It’s more or less exactly about what it’s named, skin in the game.  Well let me qualify that.  He explains why those without skin in the game shouldn’t be trusted with deciding what is and isn’t risky.

Taleb’s writing style is iterative.  He provides numerous examples of various aspects of this thesis.  I will now distill the whole book into one sentence.  Never trust anyone who doesn’t have skin in the game.  That’s the whole thing right there.  But Taleb provides the logic, the applications and the ethical underpinning for why those who avoid a risk have no credibility talking about risk.  One of his prime examples are the big banks who benefitted phenomenally from financial practices that ignored the risks associated with their business practices but when the meltdown finally came were bailed out by the federal government by claiming the meltdown was an act of God.  So, if they know they can’t lose they have no skin in the game and therefore can’t be trusted to avoid endangering everyone.

The list of untrustworthy authorities is defined to include any entity that is centralized, bureaucratic and otherwise insulated from accountability.  Highest on that list is anyone who either directly or indirectly partakes in the immunity of the federal bureaucracy.  EPA administrators, climate and wildlife scientists, IRS agents, FDA and banking regulators and all other petty mandarins that are immunized against real life consequences but revel in their ability to bully and dictate to the productive sectors of the population.

Taleb makes a lot of good points and reinforces his theories with examples from normal life and even adds some mathematical rigor to his argument to show that these unaccountable experts that benefit from heads-I-win-tails-the-fed-bails-me-out tactics need to be made accountable for benefitting from Black Swan government insurance.

Throughout the book Taleb makes use of concepts that he explored in his larger study Incerto.  The concepts of fragility and the above described Black Swan.  He also mentions the “Lindy Effect.”  It’s the phenomenon that the longer something is successful the longer it is predicted to continue being successful.  This highlights that one of the real advantages of skin in the game is the sorting of winners and losers along an evolutionary and survival of the fittest mechanism.  Without this accountability it’s possible for hidden bubbles to grow unnoticed and take down the system they reside in.

Skin in the Game is a strange combination of philosophical meditation and real-world critique of the unaccountable entities that put us all at risk.  I can’t and won’t pretend that this book will be enjoyed by everyone.  Taleb has an odd repetitive style that at times can seem almost garrulous.  He has many axes to grind and he can be both petty and somewhat gossipy in his personal anecdotes.  But he has a very strong case for his thesis.  And the point is a valuable one to keep in mind.  Basically, he is providing a tool to evaluate experts.  The question to ask yourself about them is what would they lose if they are wrong.  If the answer is not much then run away.

And finally, this reminds me of a story I once heard about Grouch Marx.  It might be apocryphal.  When the New York Stock Exchange crashed in 1929 Groucho Marx lost $800,000.  When Groucho received this news in his stockbroker’s office he was devastated and became almost incoherent.  His broker tried to console him by saying Marx wasn’t alone and that everyone had lost.  When Groucho thought about this he regained some composure and asked the broker how much he had lost.  When the broker replied $350, Groucho then attempted to strangle him.

Remember.  Look for skin in the game.