Monday, July 25, 2016

So Long to Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Apparently some people were surprised to learn, during this last round of Wiki Leak emails, that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was a political operative and that the DNC does things to favor insiders.

Bernie Sander supporters booed Wasserman Shultz off the stage and forced her to resign because she did things to favor long standing Democrats their candidate.

The whole point of a party system is to regulate political discourse.

When Democrats scream at the top of their lungs that they want more regulation, this is what they are screaming for. The term "regulation" means a small group of insiders controlling a system.

When Democrats scream for more regulation, they are screaming for more power for the insiders and less opportunity for people on the outside.

Anyway, I think Wasserman Schultz's forced resignation is humorous. The protest against Wasserman Schultz is basically a bunch people who are upset for getting what they wanted.

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.