Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Advantages of Outsiders

Job interview for an 'outsider'.

----------

Hi, my name is Donald and I would like to apply for the job of CEO of your company.  Here is my resume.

- I notice you have never been a CEO before.   What makes you think your experience as Mayor in anyway prepared you to run a business?  Running a business is not the same as being a politician.

Well, they are both managerial positions, I'm sure I can pick up anything I need on the job.  Besides, I have to be better than your last guy - he ran the business into bankruptcy FOUR times.  And look at the IRS scandal - how could engage in such unusual tax practices?  I have never declared bankruptcy and have no tax scandals at all.  That's not the kind of man I am -  I would never take those particular tax risks. Especially when I have such cool, new innovative ideas that the IRS has never heard of before.

- True, but you ran a city that was given a set budget and never had to file taxes.  Basically I have to take your word that your new tax strategies are legal.  

Perhaps, but notice my main competitor, Hillary, has been severely yelled at by the IRS and her tax issues were declared faulty, even if she was not sentenced for any crime because they had no evidence of intent.  The IRS has never yelled at me for any of my tax strategies.


- But the reason you have never failed is because you have no experience.  You can't get away with claiming your methods are better if you've never tried them.  I'd have to be a complete idiot to trust someone that has no experience actually implementing their program, simply because they have never failed. 

Look, do you want to go with someone that's had proven problems, even if they didn't get arrested, or do you want to go with someone that has no experience at all, so can't possibly have proven problems? It's that simple.


- The thing is, you have no experience, so even if you honestly and truly believe your plane will work, because you have no experience, your own opinion about your plan is worthless.   It's like asking a first time pilot how well he thinks he is going to do - he doesn't know how hard it is.  Tell you what, tell me your plan, and I will have it looked over by tax experts.

Oh, I can't do that.  If I tell anyone the plan, our competitors will hear about it and take steps to prevent it from happening.


 - Then talk about something that isn't a secret, or give me an example of how you would fix another company problem.

I'll get back to you on that later.   Look, your company doesn't work.  I, being an outsider, can at least try something new.

- But our company DOES work - we have a real profit.  Yes, it could be better, but we are still looked up to by most of the outside world.

Trust me, ignore the statistics that show your company's doing well both economically and lower workplace accidents.  Doesn't it FEEL like your company is doing poorly?  So shouldn't you try something new?

- But the math says our feeling is wrong,  and it's not just something new it's untested with WILD claims.  I'm sorry, but we can't go with someone with no experience, no record, simply because our other main choice has made some mistakes in the past.  Frankly, Donald, even if we feel bad about our economy and safety, things are going OK.  It looks like we will hire Hillary.

OK, so when do I start?  And when should we talk about salary?

- Goodbye and good luck with your search.

Where are you going?   What's going on?

-----------------
Outsiders are a great idea for the Senate and Congress.  They have experienced colleagues there that can ensure we don't screw things up too badly, and for that same reason, they need that innovation.

But Presidents are different.   He is the top guy, no one can really tell him no, as he appoints his own men.  That particular job needs someone with real experience in politics.  Business is too different, among other things we encourage businesses to fail, while we want a more conservative approach to government.

As such no sane person truly wants an 'outsider' to be President.  We need someone that has at least spent a couple of years in a political job - congress, senate, governorship, or at least mayor of a large city.  That gives him the back ground necessary to judge his own ideas, as well a record for us to judge him (or her) on.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

How Hillary is going to rig the US election

Donald Trump claimed 'someone' is planning on rigging the 2016 election.  I have a big announcement.

He is right - Hillary and the Democrats are planning on doing it.  I even know how they are planning on doing it.  It's a very simple plan, and very hard to stop them.

What she is going to do is get people that have no business voting to vote for her.

You know the types - the Hispanic Americans, the gay Americans, the black Americans, the disabled Americans, American Reporters, Muslim Americans, Seventh Day Adventist Americans, Asian Americans, American women, American veterans that were once POWs, American Gold star families, American Fireman, etc.

You know  - all the people that good, god fearing, white, male Republicans fear, that's who Hillary is secretly talking to.  

Hillary is going to get all of these people, and convince them to secretly vote for her.  That's her plan on how to 'rig the election'.

How dare these people vote?   How DARE they!  

Of course, please note that all these people that Donald and his followers fear - they have one thing in common with each other (besides hating Donald Trump for some unknown reason).  Something Donald forgot.

They are all Americans.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Racism

There are lots of different kinds of prejudice.  "Prejudice" just means judging someone/thing without knowledge of them.  I for example am prejudiced against the taste of manure.  While I have never actually tasted any, I fervently believe that it tastes bad and I have zero desire to test my belief - in fact I will strongly resist any attempt to force me to do so.

There are two major categorizes of prejudice:

  • Intellectual
  • Emotional

My prejudice against the taste of manure is intellectual and organized.  I can give you a list of well thought our reasons, from smell, germ theory, how much effort my body took to eliminate the stuff, cultural bias, etc.

But I also have the other kind of prejudice - emotional prejudice.  Emotional prejudice is less organized - it's practically subconscious.  Even if you somehow convinced me that this particular manure smelled nice, had been sterilized and did not come from a human body, I still would not be willing to taste it.   In fact, studies have shown that people will refuse to eat chocolate if it is merely molded into a shape reminiscent of manure.  That is not logical, it is instead purely emotional.

Emotional prejudice lasts long after the intellectual prejudice is removed.   You can't teach it away, it is self -reinforcing. 

Most (not all) of American culture has removed the intellectual racial prejudice.  No one goes around talking about racial superiority anymore.    For this reason, if you ask people if they are prejudiced they say 'no' and get offended.

But the emotional prejudice remains.  Studies have found that unconsciously, people still have racist reactions.  People are more afraid of black men then white men.   Porn stars are considered tainted if they have sex with a black men.  The list of unconscious, illogical, emotional biases go on for a very long time.

The problem is that it doesn't matter to the victim of racism if their racism is organized or unconscious.  Blacks don't care if they are pulled over because the cop thinks all blacks are criminals, or if the cop simply thought "hm, he looks suspicious".   Neither do Mexicans care if you think Mexicans are rapists, murderers and thugs or if you just think that Mexico sends their rapists, murders and thugs to the US.   Jews don't care if you think they are crooked thieves, or merely good with money, it's still prejudice.

Nobody cares that you don't want to be a racist, they care if your actions reflect inherent bias. And yes it does matter.   Ask any short guy or overweight woman that can't get a date.  It doesn't matter if the bias is intentional or unconscious, it still stings.

That is the major problem conservatives and the Republican party in particular have failed to understand.  They get the intellectual racism and stand firmly against it.  But they refuse to admit the emotional racism exists, they refuse to admit that under the civilized actions, we still harbor unconscious biases.  So they let them run riot.  They let TSA and cops racially profile, they allow situations where black kids get rejected from colleges not because they were black, but because they were arrested by cops six times (and found innocent all six times).

As long as we refuse to have government fight back against the pernicious emotional bias form of racism, we will never achieve a race-blind society. 

It's not enough to reject the idea of racism, we have to ensure that it doesn't affect our choices even without evil intent.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Church and State: Taxes

In the United States we have laws preventing churches from engaging in political speech.   We don't arrest the holy men, we just take away their tax free status.  When some people hear about this they get all upset - mainly because they think we are taxing holy men.   No - we are taxing criminals.  

The thing they forget is that in the US, we accept ALL religions.  Including the 'bad ones'.  It's not just the Catholic church, the Protestants, the Jews, that get tax free status.

It's also the Mormons, the Muslims, the Scientologists, and the Moonies (until a court found them to be propagating political views, so it took away their tax status).  But that's not the worst of it - it's also The Children of God, Heaven's Gate, the Branch Davidians, the Order of the Solar Temple, and Jim Jone's The People's Temple.

And don't forget those TV Evangelists that tell poor people to send them money, all the while living in mansions and buying airplanes for personal use.  While the people sending them money are literally unable to pay their own rent.

So how do you tell the difference between a "real" religion and a cult?  Well, we can't.  There is NO way to do it.  NONE.   As strange as you think some of the religions are, in the eyes of the law, they are the same - as long as they obey the law.  That doesn't just mean not killing people, not forcing them to work for free - it also means obeying the law to not interfere in our political process.


All of them get the same tax free status.  Yes, even the Branch Davidians had legal tax free status, - at least until they got caught breaking laws. 

Lots of people have abused these laws.  Not just the violent and crazy cults I mentioned.  There are also the thieving liars.  People that start a church not because of a true belief in god, but simply out of a greedy desire to not pay taxes.  They even have a preferred system, called "the prosperity gospel".  You preach that giving money to the church will put you in God's favor.   This is NOT in any of the 'real' bibles - not the christian, Jewish, or Muslim versions.   They just made it up for their own benefit.   You can do that too, and it's all legal.  It just requires you to be a soul-less, corrupt, evil, son of a bitch, willing to lie to everyone about what you belief - and not get caught doing so. 

The United States has not found a legal, constitutional way to stop them.   Because the real problem is not their philosophy, but the fact that they don't really, truly believe in it (with perhaps some exceptions for those that are really good at self-deception).  

[If you find a way to stop them, that does no make a value judgement on their religion  (the US Constitutions says the government shall not make value judgements on religions - we accept all, no matter how bat shit crazy it is, because of how badly the English and other European countries did at judging religions), speak up.  But I doubt you can, lots of very intelligent people have tried for a very long time.]

But we did find a way to stop ONE clear and obvious abuse of religion - political lobbying.

Remember - the US is supposed to not favor any one religion.  As politicians are not supposed to favor any one religion, that means religions should not be trying to tell politicians what to do.  If the politicians obeyed, that would mean favoring one religion over the other ones that disagreed with them.  So any religion that attempts to influence politics is attempting to violate one of the most sacred principles of our Constitution.

Which is why we made it illegal for churches to do this - with the minor punishment of removing their tax free status.  This stopped just one of the several abuses 'fake' religions that were set up only for tax purposes.

Is this evil?  No.   Churches are not entitled to tax free status.   Do you think that the Moonies, who worship a North Korean man and want to establish a world wide government ruled by Moonies should get tax free status?

The Mormons have walked a very fine line, basically running the state of Utah, but being careful to not step over it.  So we let them stay tax free as long as the church itself doesn't engage in political lobbying.

God's honest truth say there is nothing about democracy or capitalism that exempts churches from  paying taxes.  That is just an old hold over from the European custom of not taxing churches because they were basically an arm of the government.

Unlike the Middle ages, we have religious freedom, there should be no connection between church and state, so there is no reason to give ANY church tax free.  We have however graciously given all churches tax free status on the one condition that they don't get involved in politics.

You break that rule, you give up your special, UNEARNED status.  The same rule applies to the Moonies, the Mormons, the Muslims, the Protestants, the Catholics, and the Jews.

Monday, August 1, 2016

How should we talk about political opponents?

Politicians  love to insult their opponents.  Watching Trump and his pawns use words like "stupid", "evil", "crooked", and "liars" proves the point.

That is not helpful - not to society as a whole, nor to their election chances.  Why not?  Because while it engages the faithful, it does not convince the independents and worse, it enrages the victims of that name calling.

Because that's what it is, just name calling.  Even when it's true, (yes, both sides - Democrats and Republicans - have stupid, crooked liars working for them), it in no way convince any real independent to vote for them.

Frankly, it's like a small child calling another child 'poopy head' - it doesn't convince an adult they are right, it just makes you look childish and pisses of the independent.  Pure Insults (where the character and nature of the activity is by definition wrong/evil), are LESS effective than claims of excess (where you imply that "it's OK to do this a little, but that is just way too much.")

So, if those kinds of insults don't work, what does?

Here are a few words to call your opponent, that actually increase your political chances, rather than just make your base happy:

Paranoid
Partisan
Cheap
In the pocket of big...
Racist
Politically Correct
Religious Fanatic
Virulent Atheist
Callous
Reckless
overly trusting
Asleep at the wheel/negligent
Arrogant

For example, I could call Donald Trump a callous, arrogant paranoid, partisan, racist.   Or the GOP could use other words on that list to describe Hillary.

The advantages of these words, are clear I am avoiding ascribing an evil motivation, and instead describing character flaws.  I make no claim that Donald Trump wants to do evil, just that he will make major mistakes because he doesn't know better.   You can be all of those things and STILL get into heaven.

Why is this important?

1)   When you attack motivation, you are making a claim that is both very hard to prove and unlikely for you to have any real evidence of it.  If you did, you would be pressing charges, rather than having to convince people not to vote for them.  No one is going to vote Madoff (an actual crook) into the White House.  If they were really that bad, they would be in Jail, rather than have convinced many good people to vote for them.   Everyone knows you have no real evidence of the crooked/evil/bad motivation, and your words get dismissed as just a partisan attack.

2)  They can explain how they got other people to vote for them without insulting the character of their supporters.  It's OK for me to like someone that's reckless - that person may have done a lot of good work even if they are reckless.  Similarly, the focus ceases to be on the nature, but instead on the extremeness, i.e. you can be religious but still decide not to vote for a religious fanatic.

3)  They don't involve assumptions that ONLY your own people make.  Almost everyone thinks that being reckless is wrong, and they also think that being paranoid is wrong.   It's not like claiming that they are horrible spendthrifts.


Calling Hillary "crooked" will not convince anyone not to vote for her.  Only people that dislike her will believe you.  It's not convincing.   It won't affect her supporters, and doesn't do much to the independents.  If she really were crooked, the FBI would have arrested her, and they didn't.

But if you call her ignorant of proper security procedures, quite a few Democrats would agree with you, and you might convince independents to vote against her.

Similarly, calling Trump evil won't do anything to any Republicans or independents. But if you bring up the fact that he never EVER admits he or anyone working for him was wrong - whether you are talking about plagiarized speeches, stopping all Muslim from entering the country, whether Hispanics and women vote for him - then you make independents question whether they can trust him and remind Republicans that he is not what the party wants.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Subject Vs Citizen

The difference between a Subject and a Citizen is that Subjects just obey the laws of their government, while Citizens make the laws of their governments (as well as obey them). 


One of the things I have noticed, particularly among the more conservative subjects (not citizens), is the tendency to say "you can't make a law that says that because their is no inherent right to...".
 
The thing is there is no such thing as 'inherent rights'.  Rights are things we grant each other via laws.

When we talk about making, amending, changing, or removing laws we are talking about making, amending, changing or removing rights.

We are talking about how we want people to act in the future, and how government should respond to their actions.

There is nothing that is sacrosanct except what we declare such.  If we are despicable, we could make laws requiring crimes (rape, murder, theft, torture, all the evil stuff).   That is in fact what many of the evil empires of our world have done and still do  (NAZI Germany, Stalin's USSR, the current state of Daesh).

Or we can make laws that allow crimes, but not requiring them.  This is what happens when we do not act, when we try for the laissez faire form of libertarianism.

Or we can choose to do our best to out unethical actions, encouraging and promoting ethical actions.

This is not government over-reach, it is the appropriate actions of a government.

Government over reach is when it stops and prevents ethical actions for one of three reasons:
  1. People in power are hurt by those ethical actions and dislike it (corruption)
  2. People in power are trying to stop real unethical actions, but have written a law too broadly so it catches innocent people (incompetent use of power)
  3. People in power have a personal/religious belief that certain actions are unethical, despite the general consensus disagreeing (abuse of power).
Here are some examples of this type of activity:

When certain states try to stop Tesla's 'no-dealer' business strategy because it hurts the dealers in their state, that's corruption.  It's not government's job to help one business over another.

When the government uses "civil asset forfeiture laws" to take the money of honest, law abiding citizens without any evidence of illegal activity, that's incompetent use of power.

When state legislatures try to prevent legal abortions via abusive regulatory requirements (such as requiring doctors to have admitting privileges or that abortionists meet the requirements of a surgical center) , that's abuse of power.

But when you pass a law to prevent fraudulent/cheating behavior that is designed with loopholes for ethical actions, that's not government over reach.

Citizens have the right to create appropriate laws.  If you think a law is inappropriate, then you need to show how it will either benefit those in power, catch innocent people, or  how the actions it intends to prevents are really ethical.  Simply claiming that 'people have no right to fairness' is not a valid objection.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Why Donal Trump is not buying TV Ads.

I have no inner knowledge of the Trump Campaign, but I suspect I have figured out why he hasn't bought any TV ads.

I predict he won't buy any for all of July and August.

The reason is simple - it's too early. 

Yes, politicians have traditionally come out blazing.  But honestly we all know that political polls this early don't matter.  People don't make up their mind yet.  You can spend millions every month, get good polls, then lose it all in the last month.


The election is Tuesday, November 8th.   That is more than 100 days away.  A lot happens in 100 days.  People forget about the current scandals and new ones happen.  People die.  People turn 18.  


I think Trump looked at that fact and said "Hell, I can play the media via twitter and press releases, I don't need any advertisements yet."  Throw in a dash of PAC spending and all he wants to do is wait.

Till September comes along.  Sometime in September, expect to see a fusillade of pro-Trump ads.  Hopefully Hillary will still have enough cash to fight back.  

That's my theory and I am sticking by it.