Saturday, November 26, 2016

Small Business Saturday Post

Small Business Saturday is a marketing gimmick dreamt up by American Express.

The primary purpose of Small Business Saturday is to get the American Express Brand in front of consumers and to encourage small shops to accept American Express Cards, despite the fact that the premium is higher than other payment methods.

The focal point of Small Business Saturday is the Shop Small advertising program by American Express which includes Small Shop Guides for America's largest cities.

The site for the event says: "Only qualifying American Express Card accepting small merchants will be featured on the map. Please." This excludes most small business.

Big media loves to push Small Business Saturdays. The name just resonates in the brain. Tweeting about small busness saturday makes a media outlet feel all comfy and progressive.

I like Small Business Saturday because the idea is so full of contradictions that it borders on the humorous.

First of all, anyone who regularly works with small businesses know that a huge number of small business owners prefer to do business during the weekdays and not on the weekends.

If you actually want to do business directly with the owner of a small business; your best bet is to march into the small business on some nondescript Tuesday. Most family owned business owners prefer spending holiday weekends with family.

The event is, from the ground up, a gimmick dreamt up by marketers from big business and follows big business type thinking. The multimedia campaign around the gimmick is big marketing to the core.

My Contribution to Small Business

A decade ago, I realized that small business was getting the shaft in the digital age. My small contribution to small business was to make small directories for small towns. The goal of the effort was to raise community awareness and promote locally focussed web development.

My small effort has sent tens of millions of hits to small businesses, blogs, community organizations, churches, artists and charities.

The Community Color sites have small directories for select towns in the Mountain West (Utah, Colorado, etc.). There were more directories in Idaho, Oregon and Montana. I gave those sites away; So, I only have a few left.

I get a couple million pages views each month.

The original idea of the directories was that I would link to all of the web sites I could find in a given town for free. The directory would also include affiliate links for big businesses with a local presences. The big affiliate programs would pay for local services. My affiliate income completely dried up a few years back.

Currently I get about $25 for every 100,000 page views on the site. That is a CPC rate of 25¢ per thousand impressions. My earnings per clicks (EPC) is about 1 penny per click.

I've been experimenting with the idea of selling ads directly to local small businesses for $25 for 100,000 page impressions. I haven't received any orders yet.

Anyway, I was thinking about making a big push on Small Business Saturday to sell the advertising, but a voice inside my brain is yelling: "Are you nuts? The people who would make the purchasing decision like this aren't working on Saturday.

Here is the announcement that I am selling ads at a rate of $25.00 per 100,000 page views. You can order the ads on my Park City Site. This is the only site on my new server. The ads will go live on all the sites as I port them to the new server.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Cautionary Tale of George Walker Bush

George Walker Bush was a center right candidate pushing an ideology called "compassionate conservatism."

After his election Bush began moving left toward the center. GW Bush moved so far left that he past the center.

The result of Bush's leftward swing was that American ended up with a Republican administration that dramatically expanded the Federal role in health care and education. Bush engaged in unprecedented deficit spending and got America mired in two foreign wars.

During the Bush Administration, the Democratic Party turned radically left. Bush's left of center administration opened up an opportunity for the radical left to take over.

The Tea Party of 2009 wasn't just unhappy with Obama. It was unhappy with GW Bush who's left of center administration turned our country into a mess.

Donald Trump is a center-right populist who is moving left to maintain his popularity.

The left wing reaction to Trump is even more shrill than the reaction to Bush. What we are likely to see happen is that Trump will continue to move left to maintain his popularity. His center-right candidacy will become a center-left administration.

The really bad news is that Trump will, most likely, be replaced by another far left administration.

This stupidity that we see is due largely to a partisan ideology called "conservatism." Unless the GOP address the inherent flaws of conservatism, our nation is doomed forever to follow the letward progression seen in the Bush/Obama years. We can't handle much more of it.

The Cautionary Tale of George Walker Bush

George Walker Bush was a center right candidate pushing an ideology called "compassionate conservatism."

After his election Bush began moving left toward the center. GW Bush moved so far left that he past the center.

The result of Bush's leftward swing is that American ended up with a Republican administration that dramatically expanded the Federal role in health care and education. Bush engaged in unprecedented deficit spending and got America mired into two foreign wars.

During the Bush Administration, the Democratic Party turned radically left. Bush's left of center administration opened up an opportunity for leftwing radicals to dramatically shift our nation to the left.

The Tea Party of 2009 wasn't just unhappy with Obama. It was unhappy with Bush who's left of center administration turned our country into a mess.

Donald Trump is a center-right populist who is moving left to maintain his popularity.

The left wing reaction to Trump is even more shril than the reaction to Bush. What we are likely to see happen is the Trump administration will keep moving left until it is a center-left administration.

The bad news is that Trump will, most likely, be replaced by another far left administration.

This stupidity that we see is due largely to a partisan ideology called "conservatism." Unless the GOP address the inherent flaws of conservatism, our nation is doomed forever to follow the letward progression seen in the Bush and Obama administrations.

On The Future of Conservatism

Some blogs have posed an interesting question: What will happen to Conservatism under Donald Trump?

American Conservatism is based on a coalition formed by Sir Winston Churchill between the English Conservative Party and Liberals in the fight against Hitler.

The Conservative coalition encourages its members to use free market rhetoric when the party is in the minority. But it never actually does anything to advance the cause of liberty when it is in the majority.

Trump appears to me to be a right of center populist who likes to make deals and has very little interest in advancing the ideals of liberty.

My guess is that, over the next couple of years, we will see the people who voice the ideals of liberty marginalized. The country will move leftward and Trump seeks to make deals.

As for Conservatism, I suspect that "conservatism" will return closer to its historic roots.

The problem with this scenario is that the roots of conservatism do not lay in the American Revolution, but lay with the English reaction to the revolution.

I am sorry, but I have to repeat the history of Conservatism.

Roots of Conservatism

Conservatism is a strange beast. It is a partisan ideology that was created back in the 1830s with the creation of the Conservative Party under King William IV.

Prior to the 1830s, the King selected the Prime Minister. Many of the electoral districts in England (boroughs) had sparse population and were control by powerful Tory families.

Electoral reforms included redistricting and a radical idea that the Parliament would choose the Prime Minister.

Electoral reforms meant that the ruling coalition of the Tories would fail.

King William IV appointed Sir Robert Peel as Prime Minister and charged Peel with creating a ruling coalition around the dwindling remains of the Tories.

This ruling coalition called itself the "Conservative Party." The party drew its name from efforts to restore the French Monarchy after the Napoleonic Wars. Members of the Conservative Party still affectionately call themselves "Tories."

The Tories as you may recall from American History were the people who fought against the US Founders.

BTW, when you climb on a fence and proudly declare yourself a "conservative," you are part of a great intellectual tradition that reaches back to the people who fought against the US Founders.

The hated opposition of the Conservatives was a liberal group called Whigs. The Whigs included people like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, etc..

King William blamed the Whigs for the loss of the colonies and the break up of the empire.

A fundamental aspect of Conservatism from its inception is that liberals are dangerous thinkers whose naive belief in liberty lead to the break up of nations.

Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel was stuck with the difficult task of creating a party that would appeal to the people while "conserving" the social structure of the monarchy.

So, he created an ideology designed to conserve the social order and the supremacy of the Anglican Church (the state run church of Great Britain). Robert Peel emphasized law and order. Robert Peel created the "bobbies." His coalition used free market rhetoric but supported centralized financial institutions and passed regulations that gave the insiders an advantage.

The prime example of "Conservatism in Action" is a set of regulations and taxes called "The Corn Laws."

The Corn Laws were designed to give rich English Lords a monopoly on growing traditional cash crops. The Irish Peasants were forced to subsist on an imported exotic called "The Potato."

The potato crop failed. Despite the fact that Ireland had bumper harvests of traditional crops, the failure of the potato crop created a famine that took one million lives.

I need to emphasize. Potatoes came from the new world. They were not the primary Irish Crop. Conservatives past laws that prevented the Irish from growing traditional crops.

The Conservative Party saw the mass famine as an opportunity. Conservatives passed relief laws. To get relief, however, the Irish peasants were forced to give up their remaining land and homes.

The very first Conservative Party led to the death of 1 million British Citizens and the displacement of 1 million more.

Even some Conservatives were ashamed at the role of their party in the Potato Famine. Led by Sir William Gladstone, these people stomped out of the Conservative Party and created a thing called "The Liberal Party."

The Liberal Party supported free markets and the emancipation of Catholics in Ireland under the guise of religious liberty.

It quickly became clear that, if the Irish were given the vote, they would vote for home rule and would expel their rich English Lords.

The Liberal Party quickly fell apart. Conservatives derided the dangerous talk of liberty as the dangerous idealism that breaks apart nations. The Conservatives created a new coalition that emphasized national unity. This new party created a model for new right wing parties throughout Europe.

Ironically, in the same decade that the Liberal Party was formed from the Whigs in Britain, a group of people who were upset that the Whig Party of the United States approved the Kansas/Nebraska act that threatened to expand slavery in the Western US.

A group of American Whigs that included John Fremont and Abraham Lincoln created a new party opposed to the expansion of slavery.

The Liberal Party was formed in England seeking the emancipation of Catholics at the same time that the GOP was formed with its long term goal of the emancipation of slaves.

The Republican Party and the Liberal Party had the same roots (the Whigs). Both the GOP and Liberal Party had the goal of freeing the disenfranchised.

Don't you get it? The Republican Party was the liberal party!!!!! The Democrats were populists who wanted big government and slavery. The GOP wanted small government and small business.

In the late 19th and 20th century things got weird.

The Liberal Party fell apart over the issue of home rule. A new party aroused called "The Labour Party" which promoted a new ideology called socialism.

In Parliament, the members of the opposition form an opposition coalition. Conservatives began calling socialism "liberal." Socialists and progressives loved being called "liberal" as well. By assuming the label "liberal," socialists were able to frame big government and limited opportunity as liberating.

In the twentieth century, a Liberal politician named Winston Churchill had it up to the eyeballs with the idiocies of the social progressives. Churchill encouraged liberals to join the Conservative Coalition.

The Conservative coalition led by Neville Chamberlain ended up being problematic. Conservatives saw the young Adolph Hitler in Germany and the dashing Franco in Spain and the inspiring Mussolini in Italy as people they could work with.

The Conservatives pursued a policy called "appeasement."

Churchill saw appeasement as nuts. The once Liberal Churchill took charge of the Conservative coalition and led Britain in the fight against fascism.

The strange beast called "American Conservatism" was based largely on the coalition created by Churchill.

Conservatism took hold in the GOP as people reacted to the Civil Rights Movement.

Conservatives in the Republican Party simply surrendered the Republican history as the Liberal Party that fought to free the slaves to attract the Dixiecrats in the GOP (The term Dixiecrat applies to people who left the Democratic Party when the Democrats switched their support of the Jim Crow Laws.)

The Conservative movement encourages people to use free market rhetoric when the party is in the minority. Conservatives slam the door and kick down dangerous talk of liberty as liberal claptrap when the GOP gains a majority.

With the election of Trump, the GOP is now in the majority.

The people who threw themselves on the line to defend the ideals of liberty during the Tea Party are sitting on the margins. I suspect that the Trump Administration will do much to advance liberty.

Trump will promote law and order. He will reduce those regulations that annoy his powerful friends, but is unlikely to create a climate conducive to small business.

I suspect that the Trump Administration will create a Conservatism that is more like the stodgy Conservatism of King William IV and Sir Robert Peel and that we will move further from the robust ideals of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln.

I fear that this stage of history can simply be summed up with the phrase:

The Republican Party threw the American ideals of liberty on the altar of Conservatism and our nation lost its way.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

On Trump's Seeking Guidance from Romney

Local news, here in Utah, reports that Donald Trump is on a pilgrimage today to seek counsel from Mitt Romney, as if Mitt Romney were some sort of Jedi Master because of his religion.

It will be a fun meeting.

During the election, Mormons, including Romney, heaped derision on Trump then stomped off to vote from some Mormon guy who had worked for the CIA and Goldman Sachs (two entities that are even scarier than the LDS Church).

After the election, Mormons appear to have become even more insufferable and less tolerant.

I made a few post election attempts to suggest people should talk about free market health care reform.

Attempts to talk about issues are being put down even more abruptly than before the election.

Anyway, as I write, Trump is making a pilgrimage to a golf course Trump owns in New Jersey to seek wisdom from Mitt Romney. The scuttlebutt is that any less than than an offering of the position of Secretary of State to Romney will be taken as an affront.

Personally, I see the fact that Trump is meeting with a person who attacked his character during the election shows indicates that Trump just might have more character than the caricatures that Mormons built in the mind about the president elect.

If you want to see character assassination, you should read: Neal Silvester's piece on Trump in Silvester compares Trump to a fictional King Noah of the Book of Mormon.

As I consider Free Market Health Care Reform to be a primary concern, I hope the LDS influence on the national stage diminishes in the upcoming year.

Mormons played a prominent role in the current health care fiasco. Senator Harry Reid was the primary architect of Obamacare in the Senate. Obamacare was based on a plan developed by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts. Governor Huntsman and Governor Herbert are ardent supporters of the basic structure of the plan. Former Governor Mike Leavitt is the head of companies that implement the plan.

The LDS Church holds that Health Care Policy was revealed to Joseph Smith in a form initially called "The Book of Commandments" but renamed to "The Doctrine and Covenants."

Belows is the text concerning health care drawn from The Institution for Religious Research.

25 Thou knowest my laws, they are given in my scriptures, he that sinneth and repenth not, shall be cast out.

26 If thou lovest me, thou shat serve me and keep all of my commandments; and behold, thou shalt consecrate all thy properties, that which thou hast unto me, with a covenant and deed which cannot be broken; and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church, and two of the elders, such as he shall appoint and set apart for that purpose.

27 And it shall come to pass, that the bishop of my church, after that he has received the properties of my church, that it can not be taken from the church, he shall appoint every man a steward over his own property, or that which he has received, in as much as is sufficient for himself and family:

28 And the residue shall be kept to administer to him who has not, that every man may receive according as he stands in need:

29 And the residue shall be kept in my storehouse, to administer the poor and needy, as shall be appointed to the elders of the church and the bishop; and for the purpose of purchasing lands, and the building up of the New Jerusalem, which is hereafter to be revealed; that my covenant people may be gathered in one, in the day that I shall come to my temple.

This commandment (which is theoretically on par with the Ten Commandments) states that people who are not in keeping with The Covenant are to be cast out.

In other words: One should not even talk to people outside the LDS Church.

God commands that people surrender their property to the LDS Church which will take from each according their ability and distribute to each according to their need.

This principle is called The United Order and Covenant.

In unrelated news. The Doctrine and Covenant also revealed that powerful men in the LDS Church should have multiple wives. Joseph Smith sealed himself to 49 women including some 14 year old girls.

One should note that both principles are practiced by LDS Fundamentalists. LDS Fundamentalists often live in communally owned compounds with the powerful men having multiple wives.

Back to Health Care:

The LDS Church holds that God commanded that central authorities should take from each according to their abilities and give to each according their needs.

It really is not surprising that the two most powerful LDS politician of our day (Senator Harry Reid and Mitt Romney) played key roles in the creation of the disaster known as Obamacare. Senator Harry Reid drove a bill based on Romney's Massachusetts plan through Congress without any serious debate.

I need to highlight the LDS prohibition against debating health care reform.

This phenomenally intolerant holds that people who are not in the fold must be cast out.

As I watch the Romney/Trump meeting. I am hoping that the president elect politely rebuffs Romney's solicitation for a cabinet level position.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Post Election Post

I believe that the people matter more than the president.

I did not support Trump because I am scared of the way that the left will react to a Trump presidency.

Trump is a billionaire with a boisterous voice.

Since modern education is based on images and themes instead of logic or insight, the left can use the flamboyent image of Trump to project all of the evils of the world on the GOP.

Trump is a billionaire who likes to build things. The fear I have is that the left will build a reaction to Trump so deep that it ushers in a radical left wing government.

I had been reconsiled to a Clinton victory with a hope that Democrats might finally realize that their party and ideology is the primary source of much of the corruption we se in this world.

A Trump presidency will create huge challenges for defenders of liberty.

Trump is a populist who likes to build things and is not into protecting liberty per se.

As I said at the beginning of this post. I believe that the people matter more than the president.

People who want to defend liberty need walk a razor's edge these next years. The goal should be to force discussions of liberty while distancing the cause of liberty from excesses that might be done by a populist president.

It is a difficult challenge, but not impossible.

The Mormon Candidate Takes Utah

I can't believe it. Mormons did vote for the Mormon Guy. This table from Google shows the Utah Vote with 75% of the votes counted. The Mormon Guy got 21% of the vote. 21% is phenomenal for a candidate who had no possible chance of winning the election.

Utah Vote
CandidatePartyPctVote
Donald Trump Republican 46% 360,634
Hillary Clinton Democratic 28% 217,820
Evan McMullin Mormon 21% 160,801
Gary Johnson Libertarian 3% 25,096
Jill Stein Green 0.7% 5,295

Yesterday I linked to an article by Neal Silvester on why Mormons voted against Trump and for a political operative from Goldman Sach whose only qualification is that he is a member of the LDS Church. The article is a great example of Mormon-think in action.

Silvester starts with a with a standard sales pitch for Mormonism. The pitch includes a claim that Mormons are somehow victims of great persecution.

Silvester whines that non-Mormons project false images on Mormons.

He then spends twenty pages projecting images from the Book of Mormon onto Donald Trump. Silvester's thesis is: "men like Donald Trump are everywhere in the Book of Mormon;" therefore I can take any negative image from the Book of Mormon and project the image onto Trump. (Mormons pull this type of crap routinely.).

Silvester says idiotic things like Trump seeks to persecute Muslims because Trump is worried about the current wave of immigrants from Syria who many suspect of being infiltrated by ISIS. Silvester accuses Trump of adultery and accuses him of promoting whoredoms among priests because Trump once owned the Miss Universe Pageant. (This from a state that brought the world "princess pageants").

Silvester complains that Trump builds tall buildings. This is supposed to be sinful because some fictional Nephite King built a tall building on temple grounds. (Mormons built a tall building on Temple Grounds).

Silvester's post has page after page where he throws invective from the Book of Mormon at Trump.

The article had me rolling on the floor with laughter.

Before reading the article, I want to point out: The Book of Mormon was written in the 1800s. It is based on a speculative idea that Native Americans descended from the lost tribes of Israel.

Joseph Smith claimed that a group of Israelites called "The Nephites" came to the new world on a submarine.

The Nephites were a "white and delightsome" people. The Nephites kept doing sinful things. After each episode, God would curse the people he didn't like and turn them brown.

The idea is similar to the "The Mark of Cain." The "Mark of Cane" idea states that God turned the descendents of Cain black and doomed African Americans to be the slaves of the white people. Realizing that everyone was supposed to have died in the Great Flood, Brigham Young said blacks were descendent of someother person who did great evil.

Anyway, the Book of Mormon conflict ends with an extermination war where the "white and delightsome" Nephites are slaughtered by the dark and loathsome Lamanites.

The "proof" for of the Book of Mormon is the observation that Native Americans have darker skin than European settlers.

I've heard Mormons called Barack Obama "the antichrist" based on the observation that Obama has dark skin.

Anyway, Silvester's page on why Mormons voted against Trump is quite amusing. It provides insight into a strange think called "Mormon think."

PS: Apparently the Mormon candidate Evan McMullin has called for Mormons to leave the Republican Party (Washington Post). I would love to see that happen as such a departure would improve the GOP.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Silvester on Trump

I admit. The thing that most interests me this election is whether or not the Mormons will vote for Evan McMullin.

McMullin is a candidate who worked for Goldman Sachs and the CIA. His only real qualification for the presidency is that he is Mormon.

While you are watching the election returns, you might enjoy reading a piece by Neal Silvester on why Mormons are voting for McMullin.

The article is a perfect example of projection. Silvestre starts by pulling the victim card and claims that Mormons are persecuted and the subject of deep prejudice by people who don't know their history.

He then spends twenty pages projecting the nastiest images possible on Trump and Trump's followers based on his reading of the Book of Mormon.

I found the article hilarious because I've encountered numerous Mormons who use the exact same form of arguments. They lead in with false claims that Mormons are deeply misunderstood and persecuted people. They then start projecting stories from the Book of Mormon on the people around them.

Monday, November 07, 2016

The Political Class Fears Independents

The political class presents the presidential election as if it were a binary choice. One must vote for either the Republican or Democratic candidate.

But the choice is not binary. Every year there's a dozen or so people listed as candidate for president. Yes, most of the third party candidates are just people looking for some publicity and none have a chance to be president.

However, voting for these candidates is seen by the political machine as the rebuke of the partisan process used to select candidates.

In recent decades, the presidential election tends to be close. If enough people vote third party and independent then they can deny the winning candidate a majority of the popular vote.

People who vote third party in a swing state could create a situation where neither of the primary candidates get over 50% of the vote.

The primary candidate with the most votes will take the state. But a huge vote for third party and independent candidates is seen as a clear rejection of the partisan system which creates divisive and corrupt campaigns like the thing we witnessed this last year.

I listen to both Republican and Democratic speaches. Both sides are equally afraid of independent votes this year.

I would encourage anyone who is staring at a ballot and considering to vote between the lesser of two evils to make a clear statement by voting for a third party or independent candidate.

The political class and political historians analysize presidential votes in minute detail.

Voting against both candidates is a clear and decisive statement that our nation is fed up with the manifactured divisions created by the political class.

The political class on both sides of the aisle fear people voting independent. Both Trump and Hillary have issued admonishions against voting independent.

I say that, if this is what the political class fears, then it is what the people should do.

In this election both candidates are problematic. People (left, right and center) are livid with the candidates.

As independent voters will take from both parties, neither party could decisively say that the independents cost them the election. However, both parties will see that the political class has lost the faith of the people.

The best vote on November 8th is to vote for an independent or third party candidate.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Deny the Mandate

The smart money says Hillary will win the general election.

Actions taken by the Clintons during the primary and general elections have people questioning the integrity of our election system and the direction of our nation.

I suspect that many people are so frustrated with the election that they are thinking of staying home and not voting.

In some cases, not voting is the best course of action.

In this election, however, I believe that the best course of action for the frustrated, disenfranchised voter is to vote for a third party candidate.

I am voting for Gary Johnson as I would love to see the GOP discuss free market policies in the next election.

Polls in Utah say that a huge number of people are voting for Evan McMullin because he is a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Voting for McMullin will show the world the size and depth of the Mormon voting block.

Some polls say McMullin will take Utah. I think that would be a hoot.

Some avid Bernie Sanders voters claim to be supporting Jill Stein, hoping to move the Democratic Party leftward.

In Utah, I suspect that Bernie Sanders vote will go to Hillary. Democrats here believe that if McMullin and Johnson split the GOP vote; then Hillary might win the day turning the state blue for the day.

Utah has too few electoral votes to matter, but, if the third party vote is large enough to deny the major candidates a clear plural vote then the major parties will notice and candidates might actually start discussing issues.

IMHO the best possible outcome for this election would be one in which the third party candidates actually denied the primary candidates a clear majority.

Such a vote would deny the next president a mandate and force a discussion of ideas.

So, as we head into the final days of the election, my position is simple. It doesn't matter who you vote for so long as it is neither Trump nor Hillary. The best hope for America is for the disgruntle Americans who are thinking of staying home this election to vote for a third party candidate to show our growing displeasure with the parties.