Friday, April 29, 2016

Advice to Bernie Sanders

I sent $25 to the Bernie Sanders campaign a few weeks ago, and now I am bombarded with requests for money and volunteer calling.  I decided that the campaign could use my "advice" more.  So, I sent the following to in response to the message: "I will be with Bernie as long as he is willing to fight".  I wonder if any of it will percolate up to the great man.

Bernie has a whole arsenal to use: the actual contents of documents that the billionaires and their lackeys misrepresent.

Adam Smith only used "free market" once, and that was the wool merchants kept the price of wool down by legislative means.

Adam Smith said that "This order of men is not to be trusted..."  These were those who lived by profit.

Adam Smith's invisible hand really is a variation of the law of unintended consequences. He did not state that either man succeeded, only that the outcomes did not necessarily match their intentions.

The billionaires ignore much of the constitution.  What part of Congress having the power to "regulate commerce" among the states don't they understand?  Isn't sending pollution to another state commerce among the states?

What part of "no religious test" don't they understand?

In his "Farewell Address" George Washington warned about foreign entanglements and admonished his reader to pay their taxes.

If you can find an expert on the Federalist Papers, he or she can give you lots of ideas to counter the selfish who have no sense of community.

I can't find my reference, but a true free market is

Many buyers and sellers,
Both buyers and sellers are free to enter and leave the market,
Both buyers and sellers have all the information they need to make a decision,
There are no externalities.

Finally, avoid any questioning of the personal integrity.  Providing honest definitions of their pronouncements should do quite well for "hoisting them on their own petards."

For other ideas, see

I didn’t mention that he should also remind the Republicans of the warning given by the last great Republican President: Dwight David Eisenhower; the military-industrial complex.  Now Ike’s party as been taken over by the military-industrial complex.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Free opinion vs. free speech

The Duluth News Tribune ran a Pro/Con about free speech and climate change.  The Con was an article by H. Sterling Burnett of the Heartland Institute.  He claimed that climate change deniers should be protected by the First Amendment: the right of free speech.  I think he seriously misreads the Constitution and established law.

According to him, we should all be free to yell “Fire” in a crowded theater.  According to him, there should be no libel laws to prosecute those who slander another.

He somehow conflates opinion with lying.

I could say H. Sterling Burnett is a jerk, and all he could do would be to refute my statement.  He could not take me to court for my statement.  On the other hand, if I said that H. Sterling Burnett embezzled the Heartland Institute of $100,000 when he did not, then he has every right to deny me my “free speech rights” and take me to court for slander.

Check out what Wikipedia has to say about The Heartland Institute.  Among other nefarious activities they worked with " Philip Morris to question or deny the health risks of secondhand smoke and to lobby against smoking bans”.  So, if an organization denies the dangers of smoking, should we believe them when they claim there is no climate change?  They are not stating an opinion; they are lying to the public for the benefit of their paymasters.

His article was only published by two newspapers that I could find.

I hope most other papers had the common sense not to do so.

The climate scientists are the fire marshals telling theater owners there should be no smoking in their theaters.  The climate change deniers are the owners who insist their free speech rights are being denied if they can’t tell their customers there is no problem.  Guess who will be successfully prosecuted when one of those crowded theaters catches fire?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Political Ad Not Paid For By A Billionaire

This ad was paid for by nobody on behalf of everybody.

If you vote for nobody, everybody loses.

If you stay away, you throw your vote away.

Whether you vote for Jane or Wayne, Harry or Mary, be sure to vote.

Here are some simple rules for intelligent voting.
Don’t watch TV.
Read lots of newspapers.
Always vote.
Nobody thanks you but everybody wins.

You can be a somebody by helping this ad go viral.  Please pass on this link:

Monday, April 18, 2016

Thought for the day: spousal differences

My wife and I are having difficulty co-ordinating plans.  She’s in Tokyo and I am in Duluth.  In an email reply about her change of plans I concluded with:

These are the times that try women’s soulmates!

This is a pun on “These are the times that try men’s souls.”  This sentence is the opening line of “The Crisis” by Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776.  See

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thought of the day; 2016 election turnout

See”Trump or Cruz?  Why It Doesn’t Matter Anymore for the GOP, Fiscal Times, 2016-04-14,
Now the trick is that those who would vote Democratic don’t stay away because they don’t like Sanders or Clinton.  In fact, a huge Democratic turnout and a huge Republican stay-away are needed to give support to Sanders or Clinton.

Remember my mantra: If you stay away you throw your vote away!

Quote of the day: Capitalism and Liberalism

 "Capitalism is not a form of government."
- Ghost Dansing, comment to Roger Cohen's “Death of Liberalism” column, New York Times, 2014-07-14

This link includes Ghost Dansing’s and my comments.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

The Blamer Games

Sometime last year I switched from Republic Bank to Pioneer National Bank.  I could not access Republic Bank from my cell phone using cellular data.  I could access my account if I went to a coffee shop and used wi-fi.

Republic Bank and Consumer Cellular (my cellular) provider each absolved themselves of any problem.  Republic Bank said that Consumer Cellular was changing its IP address.  Consumer Cellular said they were not.

I could access my wife’s accounts at Pioneer National Bank without a problem.  So, I switched my account to Pioneer also.

Now this problem has raised its ugly head again.  I tried making a estimated tax payment to the State of Minnesota.  It would not open any page where I was to provide information, whether I wanted to pay online or just request a form to pay by mail.  It said I had cookies turned off.  This happened with both FireFox and Safari.  With Safari it happened both with my MacBook Air and with my iPhone.

As far as I could see, in both FireFox and Safari I did not have cookies turned off.  In fact, in one of these browsers I had a long list of cookies.

I went to Perk Place and bingo, everything worked.  Same laptop.  I have a receipt in my email.

Wanna bet that somebody will blame the problem on my Mac.  As I gaze around the coffee shop, I see over a dozen Mac laptops and only on or two other laptops.  I think these providers better get with the program.

I have heard this same thing from the Duluth News Tribune, a problem with Macs.  I can’t even access the Olive edition of the DNT.  Olive is the name of the software that provides a facsimile of the printed edition and allows expanding any article for easier reading.  However, I access the Olive edition of the Star Tribune without problem.  In fact, the Strib has even fixed the annoying problem of inconsistent expansion of the comics.

This whole mess would be comical if it weren’t so time-consuming and frustrating.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Rime of the ancient computer user

'puter, 'puter, everywhere, but not a FLOP to think!

With a nod to Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

FLOP = floating-point operation

Friday, April 01, 2016

Why you should always vote!

I would rather see a 90% turnout with 60% voting for someone I didn't like than a 60 % turnout with 60% voting for someone I liked.

Think about it!  In the first case 54% of the eligible voters elected the winner.  This is democracy.  A government by "the people".

In the second case 36% of the eligible voters elected the winner.  This is oligarchy, government of the few.

Always vote!  You may not like your choice, but if you don't vote for "the lesser of two evils" you may get "the greater of two evils".

Also never ever believe polls.  Did they ask you who you would vote for?  Chances are better than 90% that they did not even call you.

Never respond to polls.  If you don't respond you increase the uncertainty of polls.  By increasing the uncertainty you will decrease the uncertainty of people who might not vote because their candidate was "down" in the polls.

Polls have another bad effect on democracy.  Candidates may change their messages to align with the polls.  If candidates ignored polls, they would work harder to convince you of their solutions.  if candidates adjusted their messages to match the polls, they might give you solutions which they have no intention of implementing.

Finally, my favorite mantra that I have yet to see elsewhere:

Always vote!
The only way you throw you vote away
Is to stay away!

Donald Trump wins!

With a dismal 50% turnout across the nation, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States.  He received about 40% of the votes in states with a large number of electoral votes, but given the “winner take all rules for the electoral college he easily won the Presidency.  Otherwise, he only received 30% in the other states.  Hilary Clinton received 50% in these states, and the last-minute Republican alternative candidate received 20%.

This means that Donald Trump received the votes of less than 20% of the eligible voters.  Once again, “None of the Above” really won because of the 50% no-shows.

Almost as soon as the projections were made on national TV, the border crossings at Vancouver, Thunder Bay, Niagara Falls, and others started filling up with U.S. citizens seeking resident status in Canada.  The websites of all the airlines with trans-Atlantic flights crashed with  thousands seeking one-way tickets to Europe.   Scandinavian Air and Icelandic Air were hardest hit because of an extremely large number of U.S. citizens wishing to move to Scandinavia.

The Scandinavian countries experienced many demonstrations of Syrian refugees.  They were upset that after all their trials and tribulations to get safe haven in these countries well-off Americans were welcomed with open arms.

The stock markets had a 25% drop because so many sold their stocks and put the proceeds into foreign banks.  This major sell-off also caused a 25% drop in the value of the dollar against other currencies, especially those of Canada and Europe.

Surprisingly, many multi-millionaires moved to their villas in Switzerland, Mexico, and the Bahamas.  Most company boards were not meeting in the U.S., but were conducting their meetings by secure video.

Many Chinese immigrants went back to China, to the “devil” they understood.  They could plan their lives and careers much more easily under the Communist dictatorship than under the Trump whimsyship.

H1-B workers left in droves.  They thought it would be best to plan when to leave than suddenly have their H1-B status removed.  This “brain drain” worsened even more the value of tech companies already hit with the stock sell-off.  Software updates and new products were delayed for months if not years.  The upside was that older tech workers were suddenly in demand even though their skills were “outdated”  Tech companies realized that these workers could be trained in-house for less money than lobbying for H1-B extensions.

Fruits and vegetables became scarce because the migrant workers disappeared.  Meat processing almost ceased.  Office workers had to vacuum their own floors.  Like the H1-B workers, the migrant workers also thought it would be best to leave on their own terms.  Unlike the H1-B workers, they could suddenly be put into detention centers.

Many countries around the world sought loop-holes in their treaties with the U.S.  Not only did they not think the U.S. would be a reliable ally, but they thought the “toughness” proclaimed by Trump would make them even more vulnerable to any threats by other countries.

This threatened closure of bases also put the U.S. military-industrial complex in a tailspin.  Investors sold their shares at steep discounts because they foresaw a much smaller market for military wares as U.S. bases were closed.

Things got so bad that the Republican-controlled Congress was desperately looking for ways to impeach Trump.  But even as they considered impeachment, the Capitol was besieged by thousands of Trumpistas who saw their hero threatened.  The Capitol police staffing the metal detectors were overwhelmed by protesters carrying pistols, rifles, and automatic weapons.

You did note the date of publication of this post, right?