Friday, July 22, 2016

Trump's Nomination Speech

This web site transfer is  taking up all of my free time, but I did take out time to watch Trump's nomination speech at the Republican National Convention.

I wondered why the RNC played "Send in the Clowns" before the speech. But, maybe the Republican Party really has devolved into clowns and cartoon characters.

Trump made a great point that something is dreadfully wrong with the trade agreements of the last few decades.

Being a defender of free trade, I tend to shy away from discussing trade agreements fearing the discussion would promote isolationism or nationalism.

But, I have to admit, the trade agreements we've seen in the last few decades appear to written by politicians for the benefit of the ruling class. I am not quite sure how someone can approach these bad trade agreements without appearing as an isolationist.

The first step is to recognize that what we are seeing is an attempt of unelected international groups to regulate, control and monopolize markets. What we are seeing is not free trade, what we are seeing is the creation of a corrupt international regulation regime.

As for this post. I noticed that Conservatives began cheering the loudest when Trump declared that he will be "The Law and Order President."

Conservatives are against regulation, but favor law and order.

Well, guess what? Regulation and Order are synonyms. 

A regulatory regime is top heavy system of government where the ruling elite create an ordered society through the law. A Law and Order Regime is a top heavy government where the ruling elite regulate (put people in order) through the law.

Progressive scream at the top of the lungs that they want more regulations. Conservatives managed to scream even louder that they want Law and Order.

Conservatives and Progressives are spouting the same thing. Conservatives and Progressives are screaming loudly for centralization and less freedom. The result of both conservatism and progressivism is a empowered elite and disenfranchised people.

Anyway, I like Judy Collins' song "Send in the Clowns."

America has two cartoon characters running for president. I think we should play Send In the Clowns or the introduction to Looney Tunes at all political events.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Parties and Power

Judging from the life work of the US Founders, I contend that, to a large extent, they were seeking ways to decentralized powers.

Yes, they created a centralized federal government to handle a small set of issues that they felt needed to be handled by a central government. Yet, for the most part they appeared to have wanted to empower individuals.

The Constitution made no mention of political parties and the Federalist Papers spoke with disdain of the factions that held power in Europe.

The system of national political parties rose after the founders. The political parties are built around a hierarchical structure and seem to work as a force that centralizes power.

Some of the speakers at the convention have compelling rhetoric about liberty.

Yet, to truly judge the effect of the GOP, one needs to look beyond the rhetoric to the structure of the party for the structure of a political system is often more telling about what a group does than the words spoken while building the structure.

The structure of the GOP is one that concentrates power. The people drawn to participate in the convention are people who are drawn to centralized. The expected effect of the GOP is greater centralization.

So, while the convention looks like it is a great deal of fun. The convention itself makes me fear for the future of this nation.

Monday, July 18, 2016

On Tempering Rhetoric

Yesterday, after an ambush shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, President Obama gave a wonderful speech about how Americans need to tone down rhetoric and seek unity.

Shortly after Obama's speech, the press released the fact that the perpetrator was a black activist.

The question in my mind is: Would Obama have given the same speech if the perpetrator was a white right-wing militia member?

I am certain that Obama knew the race of the perpetrator before his speech.

It is certain that the police knew the race of perp either during or shortly after the shooting.

Obama spoke to the police department and it is inconceivable that the police would not have mentioned the race of the shooter to Obama.

In my post yesterday, I lamented the fact that we've been trained to use sensational events like this ambush shooting of police officers in our rhetoric.

As everyone waited for the press  to release the name of the perpetrator, I imagined how the event would play out in different narratives.

The second the name was release, people rushed to read his twitter feed and blog. Apparently Gavin Long was a former Marine who joined the Nation of Islam. He called himself a "sovereign citizen." It appears that he was radicalized by the rhetoric associated with Black Lives Matter.

This case fits the narratives of the people opposed to Obama and not the narratives that Obama has been pushing.

Although I personally agree with the call to moderate rhetoric. Obama's call to moderate rhetoric when facts don't fit his narrative comes off as partisan and falls flat.

Divisive rhetoric is not simply about the tone of the voice or the words used. Division is often created by the timing of one's argument. We see a paradoxical situation here where Obama's call for moderate rhetoric itself comes off as divisive.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Narratives and Political Discord

There was another shooting; I decided to go to twitter to see if they had identified the shooter. Was it political? Was it crime related or was it a deranged individual?

There was already a huge number of people spinning the event.

The only information I've gleaned from reports is that the suspect was on the street with body armor and a gun. The suspect shot officers sent to investigate.

As in Dallas, the police immediately went on a search for accomplices, which is what they should do in a mass shooting. This led to thousands of claims of possible conspiracy and political motives. Police should look for accomplices in all such events.

News outlets were clearly rushing to get incomplete articles online; so that they could get the top spot on twitter and google for the story.

But, I am left wondering, why are other people spinning the story when there is insufficient information?

The only real fact on the table is that police officers were shot. I concede that statements supporting the police are clearly in order. I would also concede to those who complain that the police have been made a target by our civil discord.

My guess is that a large number of posts happened because a large number of people are working on political narratives and that we want to take sensational current events and make them part of our narrative.

Quite frankly, this game of creating political narratives is a technique that I was taught in school.

As we all pursue the creation of our political narratives, we are creating false narratives.

I suspect that we will soon know the name of the suspect. This new information will lead to a frenzy of people speculating on motives. People will rush to look up the shooter's twitter account and blog to see what the shooter had to say and spin some more.

But, think about it? of all the people in Baton, this shooter is the one person who I care about least.

So, while we wait for the press release about the shooter's identity, I wish people would stop and look at the way that we've been trained to engage in discourse. For it is the way that we engage in discourse that has led us to such great division and discord.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Box Sizing

I just discovered that CSS3 has a box-sizing directive that determines the way the browser handles the padding attribute. This directive appears to be supported by most major browsers.

Adding the following code at the top of a CSS sheet will cause the padding attribute to behave intuitively:

* {
  box-sizing: border-box;
}


I spent hundreds of compensated hours dealing with problems created by the box-sizing model used in Firefox, Opera and Chrome; So, I am really excited to start using this new feature of CSS.

But, I also admit, this new directive makes me angry. There should never have been a market with two different box-sizing models. The reason for the confusing box-models is political.

What happened is: Thugs at W3C wanted to punish Microsoft (which was acting like a monopoly). They encouraged Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera to adopt an unintuitive box model that increases the size of a box when one adds padding.

The term "intuitive" refers to the way we expect things to happen in the real world. If you had a 10" box and lined it by 1" padding; you will reduce the interior of the box by an inch on each side. The interior of the box will be 8".

WC3 says adding padding to a box will increase the size of the box ... which doesn't happen.

Netscape, the first popular web browser, used the intuitive box-sizing model. Microsoft adopted this de facto standard for Internet Explorer.

Opera, Firefox and Chrome adopted the unintuitive box model. This means that boxes would be different sizes on different browsers. The two boxes below have width=200px. a 5px border and 10px padding. The box shows up as different sizes on Chrome and IE.

This is how the box would appear on Firefox and Opera.

This is how the box would appear on Netscape and Internet Explorer.

The following line is 200px.


Because the WC3 encouraged use unintuitive box-sizing, the boxes would be rendered differently on different browsers.

I am not the only person who had problems with this. Web Designers around the world spent millions of man hours trying to create web designs that would render well under both box-sizing styles.

Politicos at W3C wanted everyone to blame Microsoft. But it was the politicos at W3C who caused the confusion in the market.

I added an article on box-sizing to my primary web page. The article recommends that web designers use the intuitive border-box model.

I recommend that web-designers use the intuitive box model. But in doing so, I believe it important that people remember that the reason that box-sizing is such a challenge on the Web is because the technorati at W3C were playing political games. They wanted to punish Microsoft to reward their friends.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Utah's High Teen Suicide Rate

Folks in the LGBT community are on a campaign to frame the high suicide rate among Utah's teens as an LGBT issue.

While framing the suicides as an LGBT issue might advance the LGBT cause, it does nothing to help the kids who committed suicide or help use prevent suicide.

A group called The New Civil Rights Movement claims that 32 LGBT kids (most in Utah) committed suicide because of a political policy by the LDS Church.

I find the claim bogus because suicide is a lot more complicated than that. For one thing, we don't even really know if these particular kids were gay.

I need to point out that, after a suicide, parents are likely to look for a cause. If a group is out providing a cause to explain the event, the parents are likely to latch on to the cause even if it wasn't the cause.

I've known several Mormons who've committed suicide. In every case, their story was complex. Trying to boil the event down to a simple cause doesn't do any good. Imagine the conversation at the ward house:

Parent: "My son committed suicide because he was gay."
Bishop: "We are so sorry to hear your son was gay."
Parent: "My son's sexual identity was such a hardship on the family, alas, alas."

The conversation shows the issue being used as a scapegoat to avoid having to ask the real questions behind the suicide.

IBIS by the Utah Health Department reports that there's been an average of 557 suicides in Utah by year (that's 20.8 per 100,000 people). There are 3181 visits to the emergency room for self inflicted wounds.

Utah has a higher than average suicide rate. There is reason to believe that religions is involved. The Doctrine and Covenant of the LDS Church states:

28 Thou knowest my laws concerning these things are given in my scriptures; he that sinneth and repenteth not shall be cast out.


Mormons are taught to ostracize the people who are not in good graces with their faith. My experience is that this culture of ostracism leads to all sorts of problems and not just problems for the LGBT community.

The Utah suicide problem is not a simple issue that some people identify as LGBT and that LGBT people need special treatment and special privileges. The suicide problem is due to social climate in which a powerful group, the LDS Church, is trying to maintain control by "casting people out" as is described in the D&C.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Brexit and the Market Plunge

International stock markets took a huge plunge after the Brexit Vote.

Pundits frame this plunge as proof that the Brexit vote was a bad decision.

I look at the plunge and see further proof that the top heavy financial system created by centralized banks is inherently unstable.

The Brexit plunge was not the first wild market swing in the history of financial markets. Economic history shows that these wild market drops are common and seem to be increasing as the forces of economic centralization take hold.

Each time there is a huge plunge, pundits try to identify an event that caused the crash, as if presenting the event could have prevented the crash.

What we should do is look at the way that the markets are structured. The markets crashed after the Brexit vote because the centralized markets in the EU and US are structured in a way that make them prone to crashing.

Our bureaucrats respond to crashes by piling financial regulations on top financial regulations. These financial regulations tend to enrich the centralized bankers that write the regulations, but they have never achieved their stated goal of providing financial stability.

The Brexit market crash has, so far, been relatively minor. I fear that people in the West, at large, have been facing harsh economic times. The crash of the centralized markets may get worse.

The fact that the Brexit vote won shows that people are starting to question policies that favor economic centralization and wealth concentration to those policies that favor economic distribution.

(PS, the EU was actually being built on the ideals of international socialism. Socialism concentrates economic power in the central authorities. Socialism is not the answer to economic centralization. Socialism makes economic centralization absolute.)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Free Trade v. One Market

A few years back I began a series of articles on economics.

One of the themes I wanted to explore was the difference between two closely related ideas: free trade and the concept of one world market.

Free trade simply means that countries place few restrictions on trade and people can freely trade with people beyond the local market.

The one market concept involves a group of countries attempting to develop their economy as a single market.

Free trade tends to enhance the well being of the people at large because free trade expands opportunity and brings more goods to local market.

The one market concept, however, can have devastating effects on the people. This is especially true when that one market is developed as a centrally controlled market.

What happens in a single market is that a few huge companies can come to dominate the one market pushing the people at large into a subservient position.

The EU was developed as one market. The Bureaucrats in Brussels were creating regulations that favored politically powerful interests at great cost to the people at large. The predictable effects of the EU was a great concentration of wealth at a cost to the people at large.

The concepts of Free Trade and One Market are not opposites of each other. The difference between "Free Trade" and "One Market" is a matter of perspective.

In free trade one has a huge number of small autonomous entities seeking to maximize the return of their interest.

The One Market concept has a small number of billionaires seeking to create a dominate position in the one market.

The European Economic Union was originally sold as though it would create a huge free trade zone.

What happened instead was that ruling class and bureaucrats in Brussels began developing the EU as if it were one market.

While the ruling elite prospered under the EU, the people at large felt disenfranchised and saw their economic condition diminish under the new ruling regime.

Now, I am stuck here in Utah with no resources. But it would be fun to create an actual academic study that fully developed the distinction between "free markets" and unified markets.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Joke on the Tumblr's Ads

Tumblr started putting on their dashboard. Yahoo's strategy for monetizing tumblr's is to show ads to the people who are providing free content to the site.

If it works. More power to them.

As most of the bloggers on tumblr are left leaning sheep, the site added this snippy phrase to their about the ads section:

"A post-consumerist society built on an economy of surplus instead of scarcity would enable Yahoo and Tumblr to procure both labor and materials at zero marginal cost."

The hint here is that if we had a Marxist economy, then Tumblr would be free.

The truth is that if we had a Marxist society, most of us would be hungry and most of the free spirits who use tumblr would be spending their days in Gulags and not on Google.

The original business model of Tumblr was the model of the Dotbust economy. The company would build an ad free site. Concentrate on building a user base then sell out to a mainstream company that would then have to figure out how to monetize the site.

When one looks at Tumblr from a broad perspective, what David Karp did was actually quite evil.

Tumblr has people spending millions of uncompensated man hours "reblogging" content from other sites, with only a few people at the very top of the pyramid receiving any rewards. I suspect that much of the content found on tumblr was taken without permission of the copyright holder.

To build its user base, Tumblr actively encouraged people to upload and pirate pornography. Tumblr feeds porn addictions, and I fear that many people have been abused in the last few years as tumblr addicts abused friends and acquaintances to create tumblr porn.

From an economic perspective. Tumblr is one of the many constructs on the Internet that takes wealth from the people at large and concentrates it in a few greedy hands. The corporate executives who created Tumblr being among the greediest.

The mindless drones railing with hatred against the one percent are doing so on a site created by and for the one percent.

Personally, I don't fault Tumblr for Greed. I do fault them for duplicity for spouting out Marxist nonsense along side their ad.

Tumblr's business strategy is to make money by displaying ads to the people who are creating free content for their site.

The people who provide free content might receive some kudos from their peers, but receive little in the way of financial compensation for their effort. Tumblr takes from the many and gives to the few.

I realize that Tumblr has to apologize to its users for the ad.

Personally, I hate this thing were people have to apology for showing ads on a web site as if trying to make money off one's actions is a sin against Gaia.

If we really wanted a better society, then we should engage in a dialog about how we could structure the internet so that people throughout our society could benefit financially through the Internet.

Personally, I like the blogspot model better than Tumblr.  Blogspot encourages bloggers to put a Google Ad on their site. Both the blogger and Google can make a little money from the ad. I also love the affiliate model where web sites can many money by selling products online.

This game where people are supposed to apologize for trying to make money is absurd. It hurts the hard working honest people who are upfront about their actions while piling riches on power on the manipulators of our society.

NOTE: I joined Tumblr in 2013 (shortly before its acquisition by Yahoo!) I decided to create a selection of tumblr blogs with images from the Mountain West. You can see a list of the Community Color tumblr sites here. My sites have reblogged about 7000 images. I think my sites are quite pretty. Here are pictures of the Grand Canyon, Here are pictures of Arches National Park and here are pictures from Rocky Mountain National Park.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Updating Narratives

News reports suggest that the Orlando Shooter had frequented the Pulse night club and may have been gay. The politicos are spinning and trying to change their narratives. The hate crime angle doesn't have as much traction when the perpetrator is a member of the targeted group.

I would still consider the crime both a terrorist act and hate crime. Quite frankly, I think many of the biggest homophobes are people who have anxiety about their own sexual thoughts.

It appears that the politically correct thing to do is to switch to a gun control narrative.

Like everyone else, I've been trained to face the news by developing narratives, but all of our narratives eventually break down for a narrative itself it not a true pursuit of truth.